Manitoba farmer sells cows to help fund election campaign

A Manitoba provincial election candidate is funding part of his campaign by means unique to rural Manitoba.

Farmer and CFIA inspector running as an independent candidate in Agassiz

Damian Dempsey is running as an independent candidate in the Agassiz constituency. (Supplied )

A Manitoba provincial election candidate is funding part of his campaign by means unique to rural Manitoba.

Damian Dempsey , a cattle farmer and Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspector from Arden, Man., is running as an independent candidate in the Agassiz constituency. 

Arden is a small village 158 km northwest of Winnipeg near the town of Neepawa, Man. 

"I sold some calves," he said, chuckling. "I'm not sure if anyone else has done that."

I sold some calves. I'm not sure if anyone else has done that.- Damien Dempsey 

Dempsey said he sold 15 head of cattle as a way to build up funds for his run, admitting that he won't be able to use all of the money from the cows for his election campaign. 

"I can only put down $3,000 of my own money," Dempsey added. "I'm restricted by campaign donation legislation."

Dempsey said he was inspired to get involved with politics after seeing similarities between politics in England in the 1970's and the current state of Manitoba's government.  

"The Manitoba government is living well beyond their means," he said. "It would harm everybody."

He compared the current NDP government's policies to policies in England in the 1970s that he said damaged and divided the nation. 

"It's one of the main reasons I wanted to get involved." 

He emigrated from England in 1993. He's on an unpaid leave from the CFIA from now until the election wraps up. 

Dempsey said he's been considering running for office for about two years only decided recently to file his paperwork.

Advantages to running as independent 

He believes not being affiliated with one of the major political parties has it's advantages.

"They haven't got to worry about political interests," he said. "They can worry about their own constituents interests."

And while he might not have the funding or guidance from a political party, he's optimistic about his chances.

"I'm always optimistic... I guess I'm kind of like the underdog because I don't have a party machine backing me," Dempsey said. "I've got a small group of friends. I'm a farmer, I'm used to hard work."

He said he's had good response from constituents he's talked to in the area so far.  

The Agassiz constituency is currently represented by Progressive Conservative MLA Stu Briese. He isn't seeking re-election and party faithful nominated former Gladstone mayor Eileen Clarke to run in his place.

The NDP and Liberal Party haven't confirmed candidates for the constituency, according to Elections Manitoba. 

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