Mamadou Ka wins PC nomination in St. Boniface for upcoming byelection

Ka, an adjunct professor at Université de Saint-Boniface, says he would fight for French language and culture should he win the St. Boniface byelection.

Last candidate from largest parties to be chosen before byelection to replace Greg Selinger as MLA

Brian Pallister shakes the hand of Mamadou Ka, who won the nomination to represent the Progressive Conservatives in the upcoming St. Boniface byelection on Saturday. (Bert Savard/Radio Canada)

The slate for the upcoming byelection in St. Boniface has been set — in terms of the candidates for Manitoba's largest political parties, at least.

Mamadou Ka, an adjunct professor at the Université de Saint-Boniface who ran for the Progressive Conservatives in St. Boniface during the 2016 general election, secured the PC nomination by acclamation on Saturday. 

In 2016 Ka lost to then premier Greg Selinger, who secured 3,624 votes (42 per cent of votes cast) compared to Ka's 2,211 (25 per cent of votes), according to Elections Manitoba

Selinger stepped down in March after several women made allegations against former NDP cabinet minister Stan Struthers, saying he touched them inappropriately. Some of the offences Struthers is accused of happened while Selinger was leader of the party.

Wide-open race

The long-time St. Boniface resident said he feels confident in his chances of a victory in the byelection this time because "there's no Greg Selinger," saying he came close to the former premier in 2016, and feels he will secure more votes without an incumbent in the race.

Ka also believes the people of St. Boniface would rather have their MLA in government than sitting in Opposition.

Mamadou Ka will face Liberal party leader Dougald Lamont, NDP candidate Blandine Tona and the Green Party's Françoise Therrien-Vrignon in the upcoming byelection. (CBC)

"People want a representative of St. B. in the new government. I'm not sure the people are ready to have a backbencher," he said.

When asked what platform he would run on, Ka said he wants "to make sure that the French language, the French culture is promoted more and more. To make sure the French language and community survive." 

'Humble beginnings'

Ka, who is black, also said he wants to be an "inspiration for all the kids, all the visible minorities, all the Manitoban kids who want to be something."

Premier Brian Pallister feels his new candidate is well poised to be that person. 

"I think in many ways [Ka] is a role model for people around the province," Pallister said, calling him a "brilliant person who comes from humble beginnings."

Pallister went on to describe Ka as "someone who came here, who immigrated here with hope and helped to build that hope in Manitoba. That's the kind of province we are and that's the kind of person [Ka] is."

4 parties have candidates 

Ka is the final candidate from the province's three largest parties to be chosen for the upcoming byelection.

In April the Liberals nominated party leader and university lecturer Dougald Lamont for the seat and the NDP nominated Blandine Tona, who is an educator and activist. 

In May, the Greens nominated Françoise Therrien-Vrignon, an education and artistic consultant who lives in St. Boniface and formerly sat on the Université de Saint-Boniface's board of governors. 

According to Pallister, the St. Boniface byelection will be called in the next three months.