The spotlight will be on the constituency of Portage-Lisgar as the leader of the People's Party of Canada has announced he will be running in the upcoming by-election.
Maxime Bernier announced to his supporters in Portage la Prairie late Friday morning, saying he would be focused on family values. After making his announcement, he asked if he had plans to move here if he were to win.
"Absolutely. I had a couple of discussions with my wife, and I believe that she's on my side on that!"
Bernier's party had a strong showing in the last federal election when representative Solomon Wiebe finished in second place with a little over 21 per cent of the vote, or 9,000 votes. Candice Bergen won with 52 per cent of the vote, or almost 24,000 votes. Now that Bergen has stepped down, a by-election will need to be called. The Conservative Party of Canada recently selected their candidate, Branden Leslie. Bernier says he talked to Wiebe, who did not intend to run this time, so it was a perfect opportunity for him.
Bernier believes he will be in Portage-Lisgar full-time for the entirety of the by-election campaign period.
"All the time that I need. That's why I am asking Justin Trudeau to call that by-election, this weekend, as soon as possible," says Bernier. "I'll be on the ground with our team and I'm very pleased. We are building the team for us. It's a new beginning. I will work hard to be able to be elected, and that will be only the beginning."
Bernier adds he is energized by the people of Portage-Lisgar, saying they are a lot like the people in Beauce, Quebec, the riding he used to represent with the CPC. After his own second-place finish in that riding back in 2021, he is ready to try again in a new riding, and a new province. Once the by-election is called, Bernier says he is ready to be the voice of the rural ridings all over Canada.
"I just have a speech to deliver in Calgary next weekend, but my agenda is clear for that by-election, so I'm waiting on Trudeau," says Bernier. "I'll be there full-time. I'm here today, and I will travel across the riding to meet more people, and have a strong organization in every corner of this riding."