Rolf Dinsdale wins Liberal nod in Brandon byelection race

The Brandon-Souris byelection took another strange turn this week after a politician abruptly crossed party lines to run on the Liberal ballot.
Rolf Dinsdale, seen in a Facebook photo playing in a punk band, won the Liberal nomination in Brandon-Souris on Wednesday night. (Facebook)

A former punk rocker has defeated a former Conservative to become the Liberal candidate in the Brandon-Souris federal byelection race.

Rolf Dinsdale won the Liberal nomination at a meeting Wednesday evening in Brandon, garnering more votes than Rick Pauls.

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who was in Winnipeg on Wednesday, is expected to spend time with the new nominee in the Brandon-Souris riding on Thursday.

The byelection is being held to replace former Conservative MP Merv Tweed, who resigned to take a top job at rail company OmniTrax in August.

While the byelection date has yet to be set, the nomination race has already had some unusual twists and turns, most recently with Pauls's abrupt decision to cross party lines to run on the Liberal ballot.

Pauls, who is the mayor of Killarney, Man., was a card-carrying Conservative Party member until two weeks ago.

He said he decided to run on the Liberal ticket rather than the Conservative ticket because the Tory candidate he had been supporting, Chris Kennedy, was tossed out of the competition over issues with his nomination papers.

Pauls told CBC News before Wednesday night's nomination meeting that he wants voters to see him as a middle-ground candidate.

“I don’t want to convince them that necessarily I am the strongest Liberal in the room because plain and simply I’m a right-leaning Liberal, and the Conservatives would say I’m a left-leaning Conservative,” he said.

Byelection drama

Pauls’s move came after a series of confusing and strange events in the byelection nomination contest.

The winning candidate, Dinsdale, landed in hot water last month over claims that he was a senior executive at Facebook.

The 47-year-old was the only candidate in the race late last month when he announced in an online biography that he had experience as a senior executive at Facebook.

He later clarified that statement, saying that he worked for a communications company that handled sales for Facebook between 2007 and 2009.

Until recently, Dinsdale was in a band S—t From Hell, with songs titled Horny Single Mom and Jesus Got Wood. Dinsdale said he thinks the songs show he has a sense of humour.

His father, Walter Dinsdale, was the area's Progressive Conservative member of Parliament for 32 years. His grandfather, George Dinsdale, was a Brandon mayor and legislature member.

The Conservative ticket in the byelection has also seen some controversy, with Kennedy excluded from the byelection over confusion about when his nomination papers were sent and if they were complete.

The New Democratic Party ticket will be occupied by Cory Szczepanski, a welder and former president of the Brandon District Labour Council.

The date of the Brandon-Souris byelection has not yet been set, according to Elections Canada's website.

With files from The Canadian Press

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