Manitoba

Manitoba Liberal leader stays on despite losing official party status

Dougald Lamont says he plans to stay on as leader after the Manitoba Liberals lost official party status, retaining three seats in Tuesday's provincial election.

Dougald Lamont will face mandatory leadership review

Dougald Lamont says he plans to stay on as leader after his Manitoba Liberals lost official party status, retaining three seats in Tuesday's provincial election. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

Dougald Lamont says he plans to stay on as leader after the Manitoba Liberals lost official party status, retaining three seats in Tuesday's provincial election.

The outcome was disappointing but the future of the party is secure, Lamont said.

Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives won a second consecutive majority when they captured 36 seats in the 57-seat legislature.

The New Democrats improved their seat total to 18.

Lamont will now face a mandatory leadership review, but said he expects to be supported by the party.

Former Manitoba Liberal leader Rana Bokhari resigned following the 2016 election, which garnered similar results for the party.

"I'm not concerned. I'll take whatever judgment people have," Lamont said Thursday.

The Manitoba Liberals attained official party status when Lamont won in St. Boniface, gaining a fourth seat for the party, in a byelection last year.

A party needs four members in the legislature to receive more funds, research staff and a guaranteed presence in question period and on committees.

Judy Klassen, elected as a Manitoba Liberal in 2016, announced earlier this year that she was running in the federal election. Her northern Manitoba district of Keewatinook was won by New Democrat Ian Bushie on Tuesday.

Lamont said he plans to bring forward a bill that would reduce the number of seats required for official party status but acknowledged it could be difficult to get it passed.

Lamont will face a leadership review. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

The leader said the Liberals will come out of the election without debt, but couldn't elaborate on the party's financial future.

The party's campaign, specifically around Lake Winnipeg and the methamphetamine crisis, was successfully received, Lamont said, but the party "got caught in the squeeze" because potential Liberal voters may have cast their ballots for the NDP to keep the Tories out, or vice versa.

"People will tell you, 'Look, if you work really hard, if you do these things, if you persist, it will pay off,' but that's not always the case."

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