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Candidate for Premier Stops in Niverville

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Heather Stefanson is running to be Manitoba's first female premier. Sara Beth Dacombe

Heather Stefanson, a Progressive Conservative MLA from Winnipeg who is running to become the leader of the PC party and the next premier of Manitoba, made a campaign stop in Niverville back on September 1, stopping for a meet-and-greet at the Hespeler Park picnic shelter.

Stefanson recently resigned from her duties as Minister of Health to enter the leadership campaign. If successful, she would become the province’s first female premier.

Local MLA Ron Schuler, Minister of Infrastructure, presented at the event along with former Niverville mayor Gordon Daman, who gave Stefanson his endorsement. Mayor Myron Dyck also attended the event, along with a group of approximately 50 members of the public.

Stefanson shared her vision for leadership in Manitoba and took a variety of questions from the crowd, including questions on COVID-19 vaccinations.

One question was asked by a mother from the Niverville area.

“I know everyone has a different opinion, and mine is that these vaccines were rushed, they are experimental, and I’m not the only one,” said the mother. “There are those of us that aren’t comfortable with it yet and don’t want to put our kids’ health on the line, so I’m just curious as to what your opinion is on that.”

“I hear people on all sides of this out there,” said Stefanson. “It’s a very, very personal issue—and it should be, frankly. I have said that I think there are those working on our frontlines who choose not to get vaccinated, who then, okay, we have to have some testing. So let’s have testing then, not mandatory vaccines. We have got to be free to decide what we put into our bodies. It’s up to us. We can’t take that right away or force someone to do something that they’re not comfortable doing.”

Schuler thanked the mayor and political representatives from the surrounding areas for being “decision-makers” and “influence-makers” and for coming out to meet Stefanson.

“I have known Heather for a long time, and Heather will always come across as being nice,” said Schuler. “We have an individual who not only has political experience, but has experience in the Manitoba Legislature. We have an individual in Heather who doesn’t need training wheels on her bicycle. She’ll be able to get right into the race and pedal as hard as she can. And I think that is incredibly important.”

Stefanson has been the MLA for Tuxedo for more than 21 years and has served in many appointed roles in the Legislature, including Minister of Justice, Deputy Premier, Minister of Families, and Minister of Health and Seniors Care. She also has a background as an investment advisor and has federal government experience, having worked as an advisor in the offices of the Prime Minister and federal Minister of Agriculture.

While Stefanson continues her campaign tour around Manitoba, other leadership candidates have since joined the race. One of them is Shelly Glover, a retired Winnipeg police officer and former Conservative federal cabinet minister.

A third candidate for the position is Shannon Martin, who currently represents the riding of McPhillips. However, locals are more likely to remember Martin from where he represented the Morris riding, which included Niverville for several years.

The members of the Manitoba PC party will vote for their new leader on October 30, 2021.

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