A party with a new name has arisen within Manitoba. From recent beginnings as Wexit, the Maverick Party, billed as the West’s only federal party, exclusively represents the four western provinces, from B.C. to Manitoba.
On May 12, the Maverick Party announced their first Federal Electoral District Association (EDA) in Manitoba within the riding of Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, with Don Armitage of Miniota as president.
Don and Sandra Armitage lived in Alberta for a number of years. Initially, in 1976 Don went out to Sundry Alberta, forming a partnership with a classmate in the veterinary business out there.
In recent years, back in Miniota, Armitage was well aware of the rumblings of discontent in the west. The concern grew as the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau formed a minority government despite a Conservative sweep in western Canada.
Armitage said, “The country and our society are in such a mess right now, I feel I have to do my part to make it better for my grandchildren.”
As newly elected president, Armitage feels the “entrepreneurial, self-reliant, small government culture” sets western Canada apart as very different from eastern Canada.”
Although Don and Sandra were born in the Miniota area, the Armitage family spent 19 years, in two different stints, in Alberta.
“I’m very familiar with the way that Alberta has been mistreated by the east over the years. I was living there when the first [Prime Minister] Trudeau brought in the National Energy program and devastated the oil industry and the real estate market and everything else. It certainly had a direct impact on us. We had a mortgage and were buying a home at the time.”
Armitage has helped out in Canadian conservative circles over the years.
“I was a delegate at the founding of the Reform Party in 1987.” Armitage started the Manitoba association of the Reform Party in Dauphin-Swan River constituency in 1988. He served as its first president and continued as an association board member after that.
Having witnessed Preston Manning’s leadership, Armitage says wryly, “He was the best Prime Minister that we never had.”
Armitage continued with the conservative movement as it morphed from the Canadian Alliance Party in 2000 to see conservative unity as the Conservative Party of Canada under Steven Harper.
The Maverick Party evolved from the Wexit movement to launch in September 2020 as an alternate voting option for Western Canadians.
Interim leader of Wexit and now Maverick Party, Jay Hill is a seasoned politician whom Armitage first knew as a Reform Party MP in 1993.
Hill continued as a conservative MP until 2010, representing a northern B.C. riding. “He’s was a good MP, very capable,” stated Armitage.
Hill was raised on a farm in the B.C Peace River country. He worked in the oil and gas sector, both in exploration and production in northern BC. A return to his family farm roots led him into ag related leadership positions
He served as President of the B.C. Grain Producers Association, Director with the B.C. Federation of Agriculture, a Director of Soil Conservation Canada, and Chair of the B.C. Provincial Seed Fair.
Hill was in federal politics for 17 years, through six general elections and had a role in Canada’s political landscape through the years of the Reform Party, the Canadian Alliance and finally the Conservative party of Canada. He presided over the caucus transition, serving in senior roles, as Whip and House Leader, both in Opposition and in Government.
Through a virtual meeting, the Maverick Party Board of Directors are:
Don Armitage – President
Kevin Tyschinski – Vice President
Carl Teichrib – Secretary
Lori Austin – Director at Large
Chester Tuck – Director at Large
Tamara Lich – Director at Large
The Maverick Party, Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa constituency, has room for growth. The Chief Financial Officer position remains open and the team is actively seeking a volunteer to fill this role. Armitage says the Maverick Party “will welcome board members from as many areas of the constituency as we can get.”
For more information about the party visit: www.maverickparty.ca