September 5, 2012  |Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister announced new responsibilities for his Caucus today as the Party moves forward with a unified goal of building a stronger Manitoba.

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister won the byelection in the Winnipeg riding of Fort Whyte on Tuesday night, guaranteeing him a front-bench seat as opposition leader in the Manitoba legislature. Pallister took the lead ahead of Liberal Bob Axworthy shortly after polls closed and never relinquished it. Pallister secured a total of 3,626 votes, followed by Axworthy with 2,074 votes, according to unofficial results from Elections Manitoba.

“We don’t need a political party that spends money to become popular,” Pallister told supporters after his victory was confirmed.

“We will work hard as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and will engage members of our Party and all Manitobans to help us prepare policies that will earn the support to form government after the next general election,” said Pallister.

New Caucus appointments include:

  • Brian Pallister becomes critic for Federal-Provincial Relations and Francophone Affairs;
  • Myrna Driedger becomes critic for Finance, Civil Service and Crown Corporation Accountability. Myrna is a diligent caucus member and a hard working critic with a forward-looking perspective concerned for future generations;
  • Blaine Pederson becomes critic for Local Government. Blaine is well respected across Manitoba and understands the critical importance of building relationships with local government leaders;
  • Mavis Tallieu becomes Infrastructure Transportation, Emergency Measures and Lotteries critic. Mavis is knowledgeable, hard-working and experienced in the area of business and job creation through private sector economic growth;
  • Kelvin Goertzen becomes Education critic. Kelvin is determined, focused and as a parent of young children, in tune with the concerns of Manitobans with regard to our education system and the important role it plays in the betterment of our province;
  • Reg Helwer becomes critic for Justice, Attorney General, Constitutional Affairs and MPI. Reg is a keen, energetic member of Caucus and has a record of solid community service and success in business.  He understands the need for respect for hard-working, law-abiding citizens of Manitoba;
  • Bonnie Mitchelson becomes Immigration and Multiculturalism critic. Bonnie played a key role in creating the provincial immigration nominee program in the Filmon government and is dedicated to strengthening diversity in Manitoba;
  • Cameron Friesen becomes Health critic. As a father of young children and a former educator, Cameron has a strong understanding of how to manage today’s problems without burdening future generations and create a better province for all Manitobans;
  • Larry Maguire becomes Conservation and Water Stewardship critic. Larry has vital experience dealing with victims of the flood and the NDP’s mismanagement of the disaster;
  • Ron Schuler becomes critic for Innovation, Energy and Mines, as well as Manitoba Hydro. Ron is energetic, forward-looking and will work hard to bring fresh ideas to the table to build a more innovative and progressive economy;
  • Heather Stefanson becomes Aboriginal and Northern Affairs critic. Heather is a consensus builder and her work will be a cornerstone to building a future for our province linked to the greater inclusion of our First Nations and Aboriginal peoples in our economy.  Heather will also assume critic duties for Sport, Aboriginal Education, and the Floodway and East Side Road Authority Act;
  • Cliff Cullen becomes critic for Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs and the Liquor Control Act. Cliff is a conscientious critic who has a clear sense of the importance of building a strong community for all Manitobans;
  • Cliff Graydon becomes critic for Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade. Cliff is an experienced member of Caucus who is also an entrepreneur and former union representative in blue-collar industries and will bring wisdom and new ideas to this critic portfolio;
  • Ian Wishart becomes Housing and Community Development critic. Ian has a sharp mind for crafting innovative policy to respond to community needs. His experience will help him respond to challenges many communities and families face;
  • Leanne Rowat becomes critic for Family Services, Labour, Workers Compensation, Persons with Disabilities and Status of Women.  Leanne is experienced and brings her compassion, thoughtfulness, and caring nature to her critic duties;
  • Wayne Ewasko becomes critic for Culture, Heritage and Tourism. Wayne has demonstrated ability to tackle important and complex problems that are vital to the development of the province;
  • Stuart Briese becomes critic for Advanced Education and Literacy. Stuart will advocate for accessible, high-quality education as a link to building a more prosperous province;
  • Dennis Smook becomes critic for Children and Youth Opportunities and Healthy Child Manitoba. Dennis has an extensive record of successful community service and a keen willingness to take on major assignments.  The well-being of youth is of critical importance to the future of our province;
  • Ralph Eichler becomes critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. Ralph has an extensive agricultural background with expertise and research skills that will serve the province well in this important portfolio.

“These changes reflect a strong, experienced and innovative team of hard-working MLAs who are eager to hold the government accountable while putting forward ideas to build a better Manitoba,” said Pallister. “We will earn the support of Manitoba voters by having the best ideas in order to help our Province aim higher and achieve its full potential.”