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Manitoba Liberals say they won’t field candidate in Thompson byelection

Party encourages Progressive Conservatives not to contest election either out of respect for the late NDP MLA Danielle Adams.
stock hand ballot box
One of the parties that currently holds seats in the Manitoba legislature says it will not run a candidate in a byelection for a new Thompson MLA.

Manitoba’s Liberal party says it will not run a candidate in an upcoming Thompson byelection resulting from the death of Thompson NDP MLA Danielle Adams in December.

“Out of respect for the memory of Danielle Adams, the Manitoba Liberal Party will be standing down in the upcoming Thompson byelection,” said party leader Dougald Lamont in a Jan. 6 statement. “If it were not for this tragic accident, Danielle would have held the seat until the next election. Given the tragic circumstances of Danielle’s passing, we believe that this is the right and honourable thing to do. We encourage the PCs to consider doing the same.”

The Liberals finished fourth in the Thompson electoral division in the 2019 general election with less than 200 votes. The party says it is committed to running strong candidates and strong campaigns in every Manitoba constituency in the next general election.

A date for the Thompson byelection has not yet been set.

Under the Legislative Assembly Act, a byelection must be held to fill a vacancy in the Manitoba legislature within 180 days of the vacancy starting, which means the first week of June would be the latest that a Thompson electoral division byelection could be held.

The only circumstances in which a byelection does not have to be held within six months of the vacancy occurring is if a set date general election is less than a year away.

The byelection will be the 10th in Manitoba resulting from the death of a sitting MLA. The vast majority of the other 163 byelections dating back to 1870, the year Manitoba became a province, were brought about by resignations.

The byelection will be the first for the Thompson electoral district, which was created in 1968. Adams is the third person who served as Thompson MLA to die, along with Joe Borowski and Ken Dillen, each of whom died decades after leaving office, with Dillen’s death the most recent, having occurred in 2020.

The last Manitoba byelection resulting from the death of an MLA was in 2009, when The Pas MLA Oscar Lathlin died. Prior to that, there had not been a byelection resulting from the death of an MLA in the province since 1985.