Arthur-Virden MLA Doyle Piwniuk is still mulling over what the changes to his riding will mean for him, his family and his place of residence. But one thing he knows for certain: his Virden headquarters will be moving, likely to Boissevain or Killarney.
When the Manitoba Boundaries Commission did its 10-year review of electoral districts last year, it erased the riding of Arthur-Virden effective at the next provincial election, divvying it up between Riding Mountain to the north and the newly-created Turtle Mountain riding, which sweeps across the base of southwestern Manitoba.
The updated electoral boundaries put Virden, Elkhorn and Reston at the southerly end of Riding Mountain constituency meaning, among other things, that Piwniuk will no longer represent the people of the Virden area after the October 2020 election.
MLAs are not compelled to live inside the ridings they serve but many see it as an advantage. Piwniuk still has time to decide if he’ll continue to live in his family’s restored century home in Virden or move to a more central location in his new riding.
“First I have to win the election, then I have to relocate the office and review the situation with my family. We’ll see how the first year goes.”
Piwniuk says he feels a bond with the Turtle Mountain region in part because of his connection to one of its main attractions.
“I’m still on the board of the International Peace Garden, and it’s one of the biggest assets in Westman…. especially nowadays with relationships with the US, we need it as a symbol of the peace between the two countries.”
In January 2019, the PC party nominated Piwniuk to run in Turtle Mountain and Greg Nesbitt to run in Riding Mountain, the riding he currently holds.
Greg Nesbitt, MLA
For those who aren’t familiar with him, Greg Nesbitt was formerly a village councillor and was elected as MLA for Riding Mountain in 2016. He has been publishing newspapers in the Shoal Lake area for about 40 years.
Nesbitt has a long history with both the Manitoba and Canadian Community Newspapers Associations and is currently chairman of the board of the Canadian association, which represents 840 newspapers across the country.
He’s a founding member of the Shoal Lake Regional Airport Authority, a coach and manager of local minor and senior hockey teams, and was a volunteer firefighter with the Shoal Lake Fire Department for 15 years.
Nesbitt told the media he was excited for the opportunity to make contacts in the new parts of his constituency. "It’s all a great area, they’re all great people, they all have great rural conservative values, so it’s not an issue," he said.