Acclaimed Conservative candidate Larry Maguire said he has put the controversy surrounding the Brandon-Souris byelection behind him and has every intention of pursuing his campaign to the end.
“The whole nomination process is over and I’ve … spoke with both Mr. (Len) Isleifson and Chris Kennedy and we’ve moved forward with it,” Maguire said.
The Brandon Sun caught up with Maguire this week to see how he is preparing for the byelection, and how he has been affected by what some have called a nomination fiasco.
He said it was “very surprising” when he was acclaimed last month, after nomination applications submitted by Kennedy and Isleifson were rejected.
“That’s behind us now,” said Maguire, who referred to a letter of support that appeared in the Sun on Sept. 27, signed by Kennedy and Isleifson.
“They put the letter together so that we could have our sort of shaking hands at the end of a nomination meeting that didn’t take place.
“I respect the fact that they have helped me move forward with this and have stated that they want to make sure that there’s a Conservative government here in Brandon-Souris to help keep this country on line financially.”
In a recent interview with the Sun, Kennedy said he is putting politics on the “side burner” for now. The 29-year-old, who spent four years as former MP Merv Tweed’s executive assistant, had aspirations of becoming the next MP. He campaigned across the riding for more than a month and was the perceived front-runner.
“I felt that I was a young voice that hopefully could bring some end to the stigma of politics always being bad," Kennedy said last week. “It’s getting to the point now where we all need to move on.”
Maguire said constituents are talking to him about poor roads, infrastructure and sewer/water issues.
“We’ve seen a huge growth in the last few years in the economy and this is an opportunity to take advantage of that and move forward,”
he said. “They seem concerned about the condition of some of the roads … and not just for the grain or the oil but for general movement of products in their industries.”
At least one former Conservative has switched parties following the nomination process. Killarney-Turtle Mountain Mayor Rick Pauls is now vying for the Liberal party nomination against Rolf Dinsdale.
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau last week stopped in Brandon, where he held a meet-and-greet attended by hundreds of people. He will return to the city on Thursday, the day after the Liberal nomination meeting.
Maguire said “it’s not surprising” that Trudeau is coming back.
“He spent quite a bit of the summer on issues that aren’t important to Canadians … The whole issue of marijuana all summer long, but I think that’s not top of mind to the people in Brandon-Souris at least anyway.”
Until the byelection, Maguire continues as Arthur-Virden MLA.
Maguire’s Twitter and Facebook accounts haven’t been active since Sept. 25, a day before the Sun printed a story about Kennedy denying his nomination package was filed late. The Sun asked Maguire if he’s taking a break from those aspects of the campaign.
“Yeah, we have a little bit on that because I’ve been more on the road myself … and getting organized,” he said.
“We’re just re-establishing, I guess, in regards to putting the whole nomination process behind us and moving forward with the team for the election coming up.”
A date for the byelection has yet to be called.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 5, 2013