By Marianne Curtis
When it comes to selecting the official Tory candidate in the newly recreated constituency of La Verendrye, Progressive Conservative supporters have several candidates to chose from.
At the beginning of June, two more candidates announced that they are seeking the nomination to become the first legislative member for the redesigned constituency.
Twenty-three year old Amos Wiebe from Grunthal and Dennis Smook from Vita are both vying for the chance to be the first PC candidate to run in the next provincial election.
Wiebe is looking forward to hearing the concerns of residents in the riding as the next provincial election draws closer. He feels that over the past decade there has been a growing general apathy towards the concerns of rural Manitobans on the part of the NDP government. He says it is this growing apathy which has spurred him to run to represent this new riding.
“I believe that consultation on farming and conservation policies are important, but we have seen very little of that from the NDP. These are the policies and laws which affect rural Manitobans the most, yet they get very little say in them,” added Wiebe. “While the riding may only contain about 20,000 people, the issues and concerns of the communities in it will vary significantly.”
Smook, who is a longtime community organizer and Vita businessman announced his intent to seek nomination the next day.
“My business interests and community work have provided me with the opportunity to meet many people who have the ideas, energy and commitment to strengthen our communities.” said Smook in making the announcement. “I look forward to working with people in all communities to untap our collective potential.
Former Emerson MLA Jack Penner publicly endorses Smook.
“I have know Dennis for over twenty years and with his business background and community commitment, he certainly has what it takes to be a great MLA. He knows the whole Laverendrye Constituency.”
The new constituency of La Verendrye is one of the largest and most geographically diverse ridings in the province. It stretches from Pointe du Bois in the north, to the Canada-U.S. border in the south and takes in Anola, Whitemouth, Falcon Lake, La Broquerie, Grunthal, Vita and Piney among other communities.
Doug Wiens from Grunthal and Glenn Malkoske from Whitemouth announced their intent to seek nomination last month.