Former MP Shelly Glover plans to enter PC leadership race

The Manitoba Progressive Conservative leadership contest has become a two-woman race: former MP Shelly Glover says she'll run against Heather Stefanson to succeed Brian Pallister as leader of the party.
Shelly Glover, former MP and retired Winnipeg police officer, plans to run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The Manitoba Progressive Conservative leadership contest has become a two-woman race: former MP Shelly Glover says she'll run against Heather Stefanson to succeed Brian Pallister as leader of the party.

Glover, a retired Winnipeg police officer and former federal cabinet minister, joins former Manitoba health minister Heather Stefanson as the only candidates to declare their intentions to run for the leadership position.

"I belong to a party that needs some renewal, needs some resetting," Glover told CBC News.

"I am right now applying to enter the race to become the leader of the PC Party and hopefully reset, renew and make up for some unfortunate incidents in the last several months and years."

Priorities for Glover include creating a provincial seniors advocate and scrapping the government's widely criticized education reform bill. 

Glover, who is Métis, also said the party needs to apologize for "insensitive and harmful comments" members have made about Indigenous people. 

"That would be one of the first things that I would do, is make sure that Indigenous people in Manitoba understand that Conservatives do not reflect some of the comments made by people who just happen to be Conservative," she said.

Pallister has been criticized for previous comments about Indigenous people, including referring to conflict over Indigenous night hunting practices as a "race war" and more recently, amid the discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools, saying that early Canadian settlers "didn't come here to destroy anything."

The latter comments led to the resignation of Eileen Clarke as Indigenous and northern relations minister.

A leadership race is important for renewal, Glover said. She was "saddened" by rules set by the party that she said have kept others from entering. 

Anyone wanting to run must pay $25,000 and sign up 1,000 party members by Sept. 30.

More than two dozen members of the PC caucus have already declared their support for Stefanson, giving her an early advantage in the competition.

Clarke supports Stefanson

On Wednesday, Clarke announced she would support Stefanson's leadership bid. In a Facebook post, Clarke praised Stefanson's leadership skills and work in government, including her support for reconciliation with Indigenous people.

"She has the composure and stature of a true diplomat when working with provincial, national and international partners," she said. "Good relationships based on trust and respect are critical."

Clarke also defended the party's requirements for potential leadership candidates, pointing out that she paid approximately $13,500 for her nomination to run as a candidate in Agassiz, and signed up 900 party members in her constituency in two months with the help of supporters.

Others who had been considered possible contenders, including Families Minister Rochelle Squires and Finance Minister Scott Fielding, have said they are no longer thinking about running for the job.

Glover was elected to the House of Commons in the riding of St. Boniface, later renamed St. Boniface-St. Vital, serving from 2008 to 2015.

The Manitoba PC Party will hold its leadership convention on Oct. 30. 

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson


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