Ex-Wheat Growers’ chief to seek Man. Commons seat

A former president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association turned provincial politican has scored the Tory nomination for a southwestern Manitoba federal riding.

Larry Maguire, who farmed at Elgin, Man. until 2002 and led the farm group from 1995 to 1999, was named Sunday to run for the federal Tories in the Brandon-Souris riding.

If successful, he would replace Merv Tweed, the riding’s MP since 2004 and the most recent chairman of the Commons standing committee on agriculture. Tweed quit his post at the end of August for a job as president of railway operator OmniTRAX Canada.

The Brandon Sun’s Graeme Bruce reported Monday that the nominations for Maguire’s rivals for the federal Tory nomination — Len Isleifson, who this month was named deputy mayor of Brandon, and Chris Kennedy, formerly Tweed’s executive assistant — had been rejected Saturday by the party, leaving Maguire the lone nominee.

According to Elections Canada, the Brandon-Souris seat was formally declared vacant Sept. 3. A byelection for the riding hasn’t yet been called, but can be held no earlier than Oct. 21.

Maguire, 64, has been the Progressive Conservative MLA for the southwestern riding of Arthur-Virden since 1999, when Gary Doer’s New Democrats swept out the previous Tory government.

The opposition critic for conservation and water stewardship since 2010, Maguire previously served as critic for infrastructure and transportation, finance, environment and intergovernmental affairs (rural), and as deputy leader (2007).

According to the Sun, Maguire does not have to quit his provincial seat until a federal byelection is called.

“If I’m fortunate enough to be elected when this campaign is over,” Maguire wrote on his campaign site Sunday, “I want to get right to work with provincial, municipal, business and community leaders to continue building on the economic growth our region is experiencing as a result of our thriving agricultural sector and the continued development of our natural resources.”

Before entering provincial politics, he served on the Canadian Wheat Board farmer advisory committee from 1987 to 1994, two terms on the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange’s board of governors, and a stint on the executive of the Canada Grains Council. — AGCanada.com Network

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