A March 22 date has been set for the byelection in Manitoba’s Fort Whyte riding, to fill former premier Brian Pallister’s empty seat.
Premier Heather Stefanson announced the byelection date on Tuesday for the Winnipeg seat, which has been vacant since Pallister officially stepped down last October. He announced late last August that he intended to resign as premier, and later resigned as the MLA for Fort Whyte.
“This byelection will provide the constituents of Fort Whyte an opportunity to share their voice on who will represent them in the Manitoba legislative assembly going forward,” Stefanson said in a news release.
Now that the byelection has officially been announced, candidates can file nomination papers, which must be done before March 7.
Candidates can be nominated before the election is called, however, and the Elections Manitoba website lists four prospective candidates so far:
- Patrick Allard (Independent).
- Obby Khan (Progressive Conservatives).
- Willard Reaves (Liberal).
- Trudy Schroeder (NDP).
At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Schroeder said the byelection gives Fort Whyte voters a chance to send a message to the Progressive Conservative government ahead of the next provincial election, scheduled for 2023.
“Fort Whyte should not be taken for granted,” said Schroeder, a former executive director with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
“This is an important riding. This is an important step leading up to our next election.”
In a news release Tuesday, Khan — a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber who is now a restaurant owner — said he believes Stefanson “has a great plan and a solid team to move this province forward.”
“I’m excited to help contribute to that,” he said in the news release. “I’m a community-focused person and we have a community-focused PC Party.”
Advance voting will be held from March 10 until March 17. Voters can apply to vote by mail at the Elections Manitoba website.
All Fort Whyte residents who are 18 or over as of March 22, and have lived in Manitoba for at least six months, are eligible to vote in the byelection. Registered voters will receive a voter information card in the mail telling them where to vote on election day or during advance voting, Elections Manitoba says.
Voters who do not receive an information card or who need to update their information can visit Elections Manitoba’s website.