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This article was published 5/10/2011 (3587 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Arthur-Virden’s re-elected Progressive Conservative MLA Larry Maguire says he will be on the phone this week to provincial officials, pushing for infrastructure improvements in the southern corner of the province.
The incumbent Maguire handily held on to his legislature seat in Tuesday’s election, garnering 4,975 votes to NDP candidate Garry Draper’s 2,274 votes. Liberal candidate Murray Cliff placed a distant third in the polls with 286 votes.
Maguire said Wednesday he’ll be pressing for the still-closed bridge on Highway 251 near Coulter to be fixed as soon as possible, as well as improvements along Highway 10 south and to the Hartney bridge.
“I’m concerned that the NDP have made rural Manitoba look like the scapegoat on a number of issues in regards to the environment and other areas without using science as a basis and so I am worried about their attitude toward rural Manitoba,” he said. “We need to be working together, not dividing urban and rural issues in this province.”
Maguire said the Tories’ policies on ecological goods and services, conservation district development and rural health-care development would have served rural Manitobans extremely well, and he’ll do his best to continue representing that “good, sound” platform in his opposition role.
Tory incumbents Leanne Rowat and Cliff Cullen were also returned to their opposition seats by Westman voters, but both will be representing newly formed constituencies for the next four years.
Rowat picked up 4,461 votes on Tuesday night to win the Riding Mountain constituency, which encompasses some of her former Minnedosa constituency and parts of the former Russell constituency that had been long held by now-retired Progressive Conservative MLA Len Derkach.
NDP candidate Albert Parsons was second to Rowat with 2,604 votes, while Liberal candidate Carl Hyde garnered a mere 270 votes. Green Party candidate Signe Knutson managed 266 votes.
Rowat says many of the constituency’s communities and needs are familiar to her.
“It’s a huge riding. I think I’ve probably put over 6,000 kilometres on the car (during the election campaign), but I tell everyone that a constituency office is just four walls,” she said. “I’m a believer in being in the community. If people want to meet, I will meet with them.”
Though being in government would have made it easier to address the area’s continued concerns of health care and infrastructure, Rowat said she will continue “to hold the government to account” as an opposition member.
Meanwhile, Cullen’s new constituency of Spruce Woods takes in much of his former Turtle Mountain constituency, but mixes in some of the communities from the former Minnedosa constituency.
Cullen easily secured his win on Tuesday, gathering 4,487 votes compared to NDP candidate Cory Szczepanski’s 1,923 votes. Liberal Trenton Zazalak finished far back with 318 votes.
Cullen says infrastructure and health care remain his top priorities in the area.
“I was travelling the roads today and there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done here, especially before winter,” he said. “When I say infrastructure, it’s not just roads. We still have carry-over from water issues we had this spring and a lot of those issues will need to be addressed in a number of these communities — Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Souris and, also, we still have a number of producers that obviously have been impacted by high water and we don’t really know what the future holds in terms of the winter and next’s spring’s conditions.”
In the constituency of Agassiz to the northeast of Brandon, Tory incumbent Stu Briese cruised to an easy re-election, picking up 4,390 votes.
His nearest opponent, NDP candidate Amity Sagness received 1,058 votes, while the Liberal and Green candidates Garry Sallows and Kate Storey were far behind at 410 votes and 317 votes, respectively.
All of Tuesday’s election results are considered “unofficial” until final numbers are released by Elections Manitoba on Tuesday.