Killarney-Turtle Mountain Mayor Rick Pauls confirmed on Friday that he intends to seek the Liberal nomination for the federal byelection. (SUBMITTED)
If all goes according to his plan, Killarney-Turtle Mountain Mayor Rick Pauls will be the second Liberal candidate in the Brandon-Souris nomination race.
Pauls confirmed on Friday that he intends to seek the Liberal nomination for the federal byelection, rather than run as an independent.
"I have talked to a number of Liberals in the area as well as a number of Conservative supporters of mine … I’ve talked to a lot of people throughout the province who think that this is the best way to go," he said.
"I think it’s our best chance of uniting everybody else to ensure that we have a change of government in Ottawa."
Pauls said he will be filling out his paperwork over the weekend, and intends to hand in his entire package to the Liberal Party of Canada by Monday morning.
"Time is of the essence for me. I need as many people out there to buy Liberal memberships as they can," he said. "I am coming in at the 11th hour."
Earlier this week, the card-carrying Conservative announced his intention to run as an independent.
He said it was "disgust" with the party that led to his decision to run in the byelection.
Pauls said he bought a Conservative membership so he would have an active say in supporting who the next candidate would be.
"They took away that democratic process from their party by doing it this way," he said earlier this week, referring to the application rejection of both Chris Kennedy and Len Isleifson, leaving Arthur-Virden MLA Larry Maguire to be acclaimed.
Pauls said he made the shift to Liberal because he thinks he has a better chance of running with a political party "to take over this riding."
"If I were to go as an independent, I think what would end up happening is I’d end up splitting some votes and I don’t think that necessarily the desired outcome would happen," he said.
Back in 1993, the Liberals won Brandon-Souris — Glen McKinnon beat Progressive Conservative candidate Maguire — and Pauls said he hopes that 20 years later, history will repeat itself.
"If I am the Liberal nominee, I intend to do the same thing, bring a Liberal to power in this area and beat Larry Maguire," he said.
Pauls has a busy weekend ahead, filling out the 40-page document and encouraging supporters to sign up for Liberal memberships.
"People who want to go to a nomination meeting who didn’t have the opportunity in the last little while ... all they have to do is go to the federal Liberal site, buy a membership and come on down, and they can have a part in the nomination process that they were denied."
A date for the Liberal nomination meeting has not yet been announced.
If Pauls’ application goes through he will be battling against media executive Rolf Dinsdale for the Liberal nomination. When contacted on Friday, Dinsdale said he welcomes the opposition and looks forward to "an open and fair nomination process."
"The Liberal Party will benefit from having an open nomination, and it’s a very good thing for the riding association," he said.
"This is just another step in the right direction in terms of presenting the Liberal Party as a new voice in politics in Brandon-Souris that represents something very different and very positive."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 28, 2013