Brian Pallister is the new leader of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative party after a nomination process ended on the weekend with him being the only person seeking the job.
Pallister replaces Hugh McFadyen, who announced he was stepping down after disappointing results in the provincial election held last fall.
Pallister suggested Monday he would seek election in the Fort Whyte consituency. He said he will focus on rebuilding the party in the run-up to the next election. "It's a significant rebuilding job," he said. "Much work has been done but there's a tremendous amount of work still to be done."
In the Oct. 2011 election, the NDP won 37 of the province's 57 seats, the PCs earned 19 seats, and Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard kept that party's sole seat.
Pallister, a financial analyst, previously served as a Manitoba MLA for Portage la Prairie from 1992 to 1997, and as a federal MP for Portage-Lisgar from 2000 to 2008 — first as a member of the Canadian Alliance and then as a member of the Conservative Party after the merger of the Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.
While with the provincial government he was a cabinet minister under Gary Filmon, the premier at the time.
NDP officials suggested Monday that a byelection in Fort Whyte, giving Pallister an opportunity to gain a seat in the Manitoba Legislature, is likely to come sooner rather than later.