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Heather Stefanson steps down from PC leadership, experts explain next steps

Click to play video: 'Heather Stefanson steps down from PC leadership, experts explain next steps'
Heather Stefanson steps down from PC leadership, experts explain next steps
Manitoba’s former premier is also now Manitoba’s former Progressive Conservative leader. But who's next to steer the ship after Heather Stefanson stepped down? Marney Blunt reports – Jan 15, 2024

Manitoba’s former premier is also now Manitoba’s former Progressive Conservative (PC) leader.

Monday, Heather Stefanson officially stepped down from leading Manitoba’s official opposition, which she had announced after the election on Oct. 3 last year, and confirmed at a party meeting in Winnipeg on Saturday.

Now, with Stefanson out of the picture, “there has to be an interim leader put in place,” Christopher Adams, adjunct political studies professor at the University of Manitoba told 680CJOB.

“I suspect there will be many people who will suggest Kelvin Goertzen,” Adams said, adding he would be the obvious pick. “When he became interim leader last time, he was automatically the premier for a couple of months. A lot of people forget that,” he said.

But, Steve Lambert of the Canadian Press said Goertzen doesn’t want the job because he thinks its time for a generational change.

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“He’s long been used as a deputy leader, house leader, interim leader and premier briefly after the resignation of Brian Pallister,” Lambert said.

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Adams said there are a lot of newer faces in the party after a number of PC Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) decided not to run in the most recent election.

New members from the rural caucus “I’m sure would be of interest for possible leadership candidates,” he said.

“I would bet later this week caucus will meet, choose a new leader, and I think it will be somebody younger, perhaps one of the MLAs who’s got a term or two under their belt as opposed to four or five,” Lambert said.

There might be around two to four candidates representing different political ideologies, Adams said. “There will be those who represent the more right, and those who represent the more centrist, urban wing of the party.”

He said there are a couple of people he wouldn’t be surprised to see running in the race for leadership.

“The widespread understanding is that Kevin Klein is very interested in running, there’s also the view that Obby Khan is very serious (and) he’s considering it,” he said.

A new system will be used to pick the next leader of Manitoba’s official opposition.

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Adams explained how it will work. “A constituency with 100 members would be given 100 points, and a constituency with 400 voting members would have 200 points. So, the very large constituencies would have a bigger say, but not overwhelmingly,” he said.

This is different from the previous one-member-one-vote system.

“I think it’s a good system,” Adams said.

Global News reached out to the PC caucus of Manitoba for an interview about what the party plans to do next and some of the rules around voting in a new PC leader, but has not heard back yet.

Click to play video: 'Stefanson to lead Manitoba Opposition until successor chosen: Tories'
Stefanson to lead Manitoba Opposition until successor chosen: Tories

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