Manitoba

Pandemic restriction opponents line up behind Shelly Glover's bid for Manitoba PC leadership

Vocal critics of Manitoba's public health orders — including a protester who has been charged a dozen times — are openly campaigning for a Progressive Conservative leadership candidate who says she supports pandemic restrictions.

Glover says she respects pandemic restrictions, garners support from many Manitobans with diverse views

Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Shelly Glover said her campaign is supportive of the public health orders and has garnered a wide range of support. (Ian Froese/CBC)

Vocal critics of Manitoba's pandemic-related public health orders — including a protester who has been charged a dozen times — are openly campaigning for a Progressive Conservative leadership candidate who says she supports the restrictions.

Shelly Glover has the backing of Patrick Allard, who has organized several anti-mask rallies, and Karl Krebs, the organizer of a rally outside Winkler where People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier violated quarantine requirements by refusing to isolate upon entering Manitoba, according to social media posts. 

A self-described "law-and-order candidate" who follows the rules, Glover said she adheres to the health orders and has called on Manitobans to do the same.

But the former police officer and Conservative member of Parliament doesn't appear to have qualms with accepting the endorsements of people who have mobilized others in opposition to pandemic restrictions.

"We respect all public health orders and have garnered support from a great number of Manitobans who come from every corner of the province and represent a wide variety of views," Glover's campaign said in an email.

Glover is challenging MLA Heather Stefanson for leadership of the governing PC Party in the Oct. 30 vote, which will also determine the next premier of Manitoba.

Opposes testing requirements

Political and health experts have accused Glover of courting the anti-vaccine vote. She has voiced opposition to mandatory vaccination or testing for some front-line workers, insisting the practice, which took effect Monday, will leave the health-care system short-staffed.

She's also said she does not believe in "economic lockdowns" that negatively impact businesses.

Last week, Glover, who says she's fully inoculated against COVID-19, told The Western Standard, a conservative publication based in Alberta, she wouldn't pit unvaccinated people against the vaccinated.

"Any leader of a province must represent all constituents. You can't just say that one sector of society is good, and another sector is bad," she told the publication.

Felix Mathieu, a University of Winnipeg political scientist, said Glover appears to be "tacitly supporting" anti-vaccine voters, which he considers a calculated risk.

Mathieu noted she is going up against the Tory caucus, which overwhelmingly supports Stefanson and the status quo of vaccination or testing requirements.

A Stefanson spokesperson said the MLA has "always taken the advice of trusted health professionals and will continue to do so. If we don't do this right, we will never recover from this pandemic."

Patrick Allard, who has been charged 12 times for violating pandemic restrictions, is supporting Glover's campaign for party leadership. He said Glover has been open to having conversations with Manitobans. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

When reached by phone Tuesday, Allard said he initially endorsed leadership hopeful Ken Lee, who opposed vaccination requirements to enter businesses or work in some government jobs. The party disqualified Lee's leadership bid.

Allard, who told his Facebook friends he was delivering ballots for Glover's campaign, considers her a fresh start for the party. He said Stefanson, a former health minister, would be a continuation of Brian Pallister's era in government. The former premier became increasingly unpopular in his waning months in politics. 

Allard agreed to an interview but later changed his mind, instead sending an email saying Glover "has been open to talking with anyone who seeks out a conversation and does not discriminate for who she makes time for."

He said that's "what a real leader needs to do."

In the spring, Allard was arrested for allegedly taking part in two outdoor public gatherings that violated health orders at the time.

He was later arrested for allegedly encouraging people to block the roads into IG Field before the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' home opener, which was only open to fully vaccinated attendees. 

Karl Krebs, organizer of the Things That Matter movement, which has fought against pandemic restrictions, has backed Glover's bid to become Manitoba's next premier. (Karen Pauls/CBC)

Krebs declined an interview on his support for Glover. In encouraging people to buy a party membership for her, he wrote on Facebook this is a chance "to get a voice at the table to stop the damage being done to our province of Manitoba especially our business community."

Krebs organized the Sept. 6 rally near Winkler with Bernier, who disregarded the rule requiring unvaccinated people from out of province to isolate after entering Manitoba. At the time, outdoor gatherings were limited to 1,500 people — a number the rally may have eclipsed.

He's also behind the "Things that Matter" movement, which has hosted rallies and condemned pandemic restrictions in and around Winkler.

Glover's campaign has also garnered the blessing of  "The People MB," a collective of voters who say they've decided to back the candidate that best stands for their values, including an end to vaccine passports.

In an email to supporters, the collective said Glover "might not support all of the values that we have on our website, but we feel she is the better candidate for Manitobans."

The People MB did not respond to a request for comment on who runs the group, nor the numbers on their mailing list. Ken Lee's campaign said it had no involvement with the group.

Pandemic restriction opponents back Glover for PC bid

1 month ago
2:02
Vocal critics of Manitoba's pandemic-related public health orders — including a protester who has been charged a dozen times — are openly campaigning for a PC leadership candidate Shelly Glover, who says she supports the restrictions. 2:02

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

With files from Radio-Canada's Zoé Le Gallic-Massie

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