Morris, Arthur-Virden stay Tory blue in byelections

Voters in two Manitoba ridings are sending Progressive Conservatives to the provincial legislature again.
Progressive Conservatives Shannon Martin, left, and Doyle Piwniuk have been elected MLAs for the Morris and Arthur-Virden constituencies, respectively, in Tuesday's provincial byelections. (CBC)

Voters in two Manitoba ridings are sending Progressive Conservatives to the provincial legislature again, as a result of byelections held Tuesday.

Tories Doyle Piwniuk and Shannon Martin secured commanding leads over all other candidates in the Arthur-Virden and Morris constituencies, respectively, shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.

"I'm going to be excited to be part of the PC caucus, with the leadership of Brian Pallister," Piwniuk told CBC News on Tuesday night.

"The people in this constituency want change, and I think we really want to let the government know that we're going to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the next general election."

Martin, a former legislative intern and Tory researcher who later served as Manitoba director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said he's looking forward to his new job as an MLA.

"It's all very overwhelming, but it's exciting. I'm excited about the prospect and I'm excited about the future and where we go from here," he said.

The Morris constituency had been vacant since Mavis Taillieu, a longtime Progressive Conservative MLA, retired from provincial politics in February 2013.

Arthur-Virden was without an MLA when PC Larry Maguire resigned to run for the federal Conservatives in a byelection in Brandon-Souris last November. He won that byelection and made his debut in the House of Commons on Monday.