Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Willard Reaves hopes to score a win in Premier Pallister’s vacant seat
When it comes to winning and commitment to excellence, former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Grey Cup Champion Willard Reaves is a natural choice to replace former Premier Brian Pallister as the MLA for Fort Whyte. The seat became vacant in August of this year, after the resignation of the Premier. There has not been a date set for a By-Election by the Conservative Party or the incoming Premier-designate.
The announcement of Reaves candidacy sends a signal by the Liberal Party they believe they can win the riding. The last time Fort Whyte held a by-election was in 2012 to elect Brian Pallister. The former Premier defeated the Liberal candidate Bob Axworthy to win the seat.
People tend to vote for candidates that can win, and Reaves checks all the boxes of the ideal candidate. He is a respected community leader, has the name recognition and the necessary skills and experience to serve in the cabinet should the Liberal party form the next government.
Reaves candidacy marks are a stark contrast from the former Premier should he become the MLA. He will be known for his proven ability to operate within a team atmosphere, unlike Pallister, known for ruling with an iron fist and often dismissive of ideas proposed by members within his government.
“It’s time to stand and get off the sideline and bridge the divide with our government to be accountable to all Manitobans.” Said Willard Reaves
Reaves will be officially nominated on November 5, 2021, as the candidate for the riding and plans to hit the ground running. The former Winnipeg Blue Bomber lives in the riding and understands the importance of having an active MLA.
Reaves is no stranger to being an active member of the community and has spent decades travelling to and from hockey rinks and football fields throughout North America. Reaves’ commitment to a healthy community played a role in seeing his two sons achieve success at the highest levels in sports. His eldest son Ryan Reaves plays in the NHL for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and his younger son Jordan Reaves plays Defensive End for Winnipeg’s arch-rivals Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The next Manitoba general election will occur on or; before October 3, 2023, to select the 43rd Legislative Assembly. Although elections tend to have fixed dates, nothing stops the current government from sending Manitobans to the polls early as it did in 2019. That decision was calculated and resulted in a Conservative majority.
Governments with a majority mandate rarely call early elections and, it is unlikely the incoming Premier will send Manitobans to the polls early for a second time. The first time that happened, Manitobans were angry that the government did not honour its fixed election date sending them to the polls months before the federal election.
As of now, there has not been a by-election date set to fill Pallister’s vacant seat. Per elections rules, one must be called within six months of an MLA’s resignation with the exception if the next general election falls within the six-month timeline.
Neither the NDP or governing Conservative party has put forward a candidate to fill Pallister’s vacant seat. With the Liberals putting forth a high profile candidate, there will be pressure on the Conservative Party to field one of their own or risk the embarrassment of losing a safe seat.