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Portage-Lisgar seat filling up with interest

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WINNIPEG — Another Tory has decided to join the race to replace prominent federal Conservative MP Candice Bergen.

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WINNIPEG — Another Tory has decided to join the race to replace prominent federal Conservative MP Candice Bergen.

Former provincial Tory staffer Liz Reimer publicly announced Monday she’s seeking the nomination for Portage-Lisgar, the seat that former interim Conservative leader Bergen is expected to resign next week when MPs return to the House of Commons.

Bergen announced in September that she would not seek re-election in the next federal election, which will take place on or before Oct. 20, 2025.

Reimer, a regional director of the Progressive Conservatives and community economic development officer who lives in Morden and is a former assistant to Morden-Winkler MLA and Finance Minister Cameron Friesen, did not respond to requests for comment Monday. Friesen had no comment on the matter, the PC caucus said Monday.

Reimer is up against Bergen’s former campaign manager and Grain Growers of Canada manager of policy and government relations Branden Leslie. On Friday, he posted a video on social media billing himself as the “right Conservative” for the socially conservative rural riding.

Former MP Lawrence Toet — who held the Elmwood-Transcona seat for the Conservatives for one term before losing it to NDP candidate Daniel Blaikie in 2015 — has expressed an interest in taking a run in Portage-Lisgar. So has Rejeanne Caron, who ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in two Winnipeg ridings in the last two federal elections.

Manitoba Senator Don Plett, a confidant of Bergen, said he was surprised to learn that Reimer, a provincial Tory, is also seeking the nomination.

“That’s not a name that either of us talked about,” he said Monday, noting that Reimer’s former boss is someone he and Bergen had discussed as a possible nominee. Friesen, however, has already announced that he’s planning to seek re-election in the Oct. 3 provincial election.

The senator said he thinks the race for the federal seat in Portage-Lisgar will heat up when it officially becomes vacant later this month.

Under the Parliament of Canada Act, when notice is given that a seat is vacant, a byelection must be called within 180 days, with an election period of at least 36 days and no more than 50. The only exception is where a vacancy occurs in the nine months before a fixed-date general election. In that case, no byelection is called and the seat remains vacant until the general election.

The Conservative Association in Portage-Lisgar has not announced a date for selecting a nominee and did not respond to requests for comment Monday, but sources have said it may be held as soon as March.

Meanwhile, in Winnipeg South Centre, Ben Carr said in a text message Monday that he expects to announce early next month if he will seek the Liberal nomination for the seat held by his father, Liberal MP Jim Carr, until his Dec. 12 death at age 71. Winnipeg city councillor Sherri Rollins is also seeking the Liberal nomination in the riding.

» Winnipeg Free Press

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