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Manitoba politician loses assignment after supporting leadership candidate

Andrew Micklefield has been stripped of his role as caucus whip for the governing Progressive Conservatives.
Andrew Micklefield has been stripped of his role as caucus whip for the governing Progressive Conservatives. John Woods / The Canadian Press / File

A Manitoba legislature member has been stripped of his role as caucus whip for the governing Progressive Conservatives.

Andrew Micklefield, who represents the Rossmere constituency in Winnipeg, has been helping ensure Tory legislature members are on hand for votes in the chamber.

Read more: Manitoba premier not committing to stay on until leadership vote

The role of whip also carries a salary boost of more than $7,000 per year.

The Tory caucus says Micklefield was asked to step down after publicly backing former health minister Heather Stefanson’s bid for the party leadership.

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A written statement from the caucus office says party whips and people with similar caucus duties are expected to remain neutral in leadership contests, to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

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The statement says the change is temporary while the leadership contest is decided, and fellow Tory Blaine Pedersen has taken over the job.

Read more: Manitoba’s governing party sets date, rules and entry fee for leadership race

The Tories have scheduled a leadership vote for Oct. 30 to replace Premier Brian Pallister.

Two high-profile Tories who had said they were considering a run — Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Families Minister Rochelle Squires — said Tuesday they had decided to bow out.

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