Clock is ticking to name candidates as Manitoba NDP calls Tuxedo byelection for June 18

The electoral seat of former Manitoba premier Heather Stefanson is up for grabs — and both the governing NDP and a Liberal candidate who’s previously had byelection success against the Tories believe the conditions are ripe for a steal.

A byelection to fill the vacancy in the Tuxedo constituency will be held on Tuesday, June 18, Premier Wab Kinew announced on Monday.

Kinew’s government called the byelection before any other party formally announced their candidate.

The NDP announced Monday afternoon that registered nurse Carla Compton will run in the riding. 

“Being of service for others is a main motivator for me. It’s what led me to become a registered nurse over 18 years ago,” Compton said at a news conference Monday.

“I think being an MLA is a start of something similar and I’m ready to come together with my community to be with you through the hard times and the good times.”

A woman standing at an orange podium smiles as she is surrounded by people clapping.
Carla Compton (centre) was officially named the NDP’s candidate in the upcoming byelection in Winnipeg’s Tuxedo riding at a news conference Monday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

NDP volunteers are expected to be out knocking on doors in a seat the party believes is winnable, despite historically being a stronghold of the Progressive Conservatives. The NDP came within 300 votes of upsetting the Tories last year. 

The Progressive Conservatives were planning to hold a nomination meeting in early June, but that may now change. The Tories didn’t immediately respond when asked if their timelines would change.

Tories have contested nomination

Former MLA Shannon Martin, real estate agent Lori Shenkarow and family lawyer Lawrence Pinsky are each in the running for the PC nomination. 

Candidates were already rushing to sign up new members to vote for them in the nomination meeting, as the PCs previously picked Tuesday as the deadline.

The byelection became necessary after Stefanson, who served as premier until her party’s electoral defeat last October, resigned as MLA. Her resignation took effect May 6.

The Manitoba Liberal Party may return to Willard Reaves, a star Blue Bomber running back in the 1980s, as its byelection hopeful. 

Reaves, who came within 200 votes of taking PC stronghold Fort Whyte in a 2022 byelection, has submitted his nomination forms to seek the Liberal nomination in Tuxedo. 

A man in black winter clothing stands on the street.
Liberal candidate Willard Reaves went door-knocking despite the cold in Fort Whyte during a previous campaign. (Travis Golby/CBC)

“There’s no hesitation; I know I can do it,” Reaves said.

“I’m not that status quo-type politician who tells people what they want to hear, right? And if it’s not the truth, then I’m not going to tell it,” he added.

“The fact is that I know how to represent people, no matter what riding it would be.”

The Liberals told CBC News last week two people were working on candidate application forms for the byelection.

Manitoba Liberal interim leader Cindy Lamoureux chose Reaves as her deputy leader last year, after the party was reduced from three seats in the legislature to one. Reaves also ran unsuccessfully in the 2023 election in Fort Whyte.

Green Party Leader Janine Gibson told CBC News on Monday she will run for her party in Tuxedo.

Under provincial law, a byelection must be held within six months of the seat becoming vacant.