Ousted Tory MLA Steven Fletcher takes reins as leader of Manitoba Party
Manitoba Party board members say they didn't know about Fletcher's plans
A Manitoba MLA and former federal cabinet minister is taking a page from Maxime Bernier's playbook and becoming the leader of a new party.
Steven Fletcher is planning to take over the leadership of the Manitoba Party after finding himself on the outs with the federal and provincial Tories.
He ran for the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives after losing his federal seat and won in 2016, but a year later was booted out of that caucus for publicly breaking with the party on a number of policies, including voting against a bill to create a Crown corporation on energy efficiency.
Fletcher says he considered joining Bernier's promised party when the maverick Quebec MP left the federal Conservatives last month, but instead hopes the Manitoba Party may one day become the provincial sister to Bernier's political movement.
Fletcher is vowing to run a "serious" party with candidates in all 57 Manitoba ridings in the 2020 provincial election.
Various groups have used the Manitoba Party moniker in past elections, but Fletcher says no one previously active in the party is still involved in its operations.
Elections Manitoba confirms a change of leadership at the party even though party board members say they didn't know of Fletcher's plans.