Shannon Martin officially launches PC Leadership bid citing reconciliation as priority

Martin joins both Heather Stephenson and Shelly Glover as candidates to replace Brian Pallister.

A PC MLA who has been critical of his own government has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the Tory leadership.

Shannon Martin has mused for weeks on social media about running.

On Monday, he made an official announcement at a McGillivray Boulevard construction company.

He joins Shelly Glover and Heather Stefanson who have also declared bids.

The MLA who represents McPhillips says the government has not always listened nor been there for people and businesses struggling during the pandemic.

“We’re going to do better, and that’s why I am running to be the PC Party of Manitoba leader, and the next Premier of Manitoba,” he said.

Martin says he is just shy of the 1,000 memberships needed by the Sept. 15 cut-off.

The PC backbencher has been critical of his own government on a number of files including Indigenous relations.

If elected, Martin says he would make reconciliation a priority, stop fighting Ottawa over a carbon tax, eliminate education taxes on farmland, and explore a supervised consumption site to tackle addictions.

“This is part of the challenge we have as a government when you put ideology ahead of policies. I don’t intend to do that,” Martin said.

Where he does side with the province - the mandatory vaccine policy.

“These kind of incentives have proven to work, and I’m confident they will continue to work,” he said.

While heavy on policy, Martin doesn’t have the caucus support like his colleague and challenger Heather Stefanson. The other hopeful in the race, Shelly Glover, is a former MP and police officer, and is also seen as a strong candidate.

Mary Agnes Welch from Probe Research said Martin’s campaign may be a long shot.

“I think sometimes you run for leader perhaps with future ambitions in mind…to become a bit of a spoiler, to be a kingmaker,” Welch said.

Martin says his only focus is what happens between now and the Oct. 30 convention.

“It’s one member one vote, so that’s as simple as that,” he said.

Martin also pledged to create a mental health committee of cabinet chaired by the Premier, and to improve air quality in schools.