Former MP Shelly Glover joins Manitoba PC leadership race

Former MP and former Winnipeg Police Service member Shelly Glover is officially throwing her hat in the leadership race for the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.

“I am Shelly Glover and I am going to be the next PC leader of Manitoba and the next Premier,” said Glover at a leadership bid announcement event in Winnipeg on Friday.

Glover immediately distanced herself from current party leadership, saying she is committed to Indigenous reconciliation and condemned past comments made by former Premier Brian Pallister on Indigenous history.

Glover also said, if made Premier, she would appoint a senior's advocate, increase hospital capacity, and would not impose vaccine mandates.

“I will not support mandated vaccines,” said Glover, describing the process as “unfair” to workers, particularly in the health care sector.

Glover did not offer details on how she would increase vaccination rates across the province.

A stance against vaccine mandates could be strategic, said Curtis Brown with polling firm Probe Research, as the platform may resonate with some conservatives.

"Among progressive conservative voters, in terms of what their values are, their values are individualism and liberty," said Brown. "They're not going to be all that excited by the government saying, 'you need to get the vaccine.'"

Recent polling by Probe Research has found only one in four Manitobans support vaccine mandates in the workplace, added Brown.

Glover, who represented the federal riding of Saint Boniface in the Harper government, has been out of the political spotlight for over five years.

Given recent polling numbers for the provincial Conservatives, Glover's absence could be a boon to her candidacy, says Christopher Adams, adjunct professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba.

"The PCs have been low in the polls and so, as a result of that, it might be food for Shelly Glover not to be seen as someone from the Pallister government but someone coming from the outside," said Adams.

Glover is the second candidate to enter the race and will be running against Heather Stefanson to succeed the PC party. PC MLA Shannon Martin has also announced he intends to run for leadership.

"Shelly Glover in some ways would be the contender," said Adams. ""She might be seen as the person from the outside in this leadership battle."

Glover, who is Metis, distanced herself from recent controversial comments on colonial history made by PC party leadership, saying she would immediately apologize for those comments if elected leader.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas spoke positively about Glover, saying he is confident of her ability to work towards reconciliation.

"She's somebody who I am very confident will work towards ensuring we build upon the positive relationship we have in this province," said Dumas.