After his nomination was criticized by a fellow party member and political hopeful, Arthur-Virden Progressive Conservative MLA Doyle Piwniuk says he is looking forward to being his party’s candidate in the newly-formed constituency of Turtle Mountain.
In an email to The Sun, Piwniuk said he chose to put his name forward after reviewing the final report of the Manitoba Electoral Boundaries Commission that was released in December, which "made substantial changes in southwestern Manitoba."
"This constituency includes a large portion of the area I have represented as the MLA for Arthur-Virden since 2014. It also includes the International Peace Garden, which I am honoured to serve as a member of the board," Piwniuk said.
"I… look forward to being the PC candidate for Turtle Mountain in the next provincial election."
Killarney-Turtle Mountain Mayor Rick Pauls has criticized Piwniuk’s nomination as a closed process, the details of which weren’t disclosed in a letter Pauls received from the party on Jan. 2. In the letter he was indirectly informed that he had missed the membership application deadline of Dec. 31 and that nominations would close on Jan. 5.
Pauls, who was acclaimed in the Killarney-Turtle Mountain municipal election in October, planned to seek the PC nomination in Turtle Mountain, but said it is his full intention to run as an independent instead, "just to raise a point."
He also alleged that Piwniuk doesn’t live in the new Turtle Mountain constituency, which extends from the Saskatchewan and U.S. borders north to Hartney and east to Manitou, and roughly includes the southern portions of the current Arthur-Virden, Spruce Woods and Midland constituencies.
Under the boundary change, the northern section of Arthur-Virden — north to Hamiota and south to Reston — will be folded into the constituency of Riding Mountain.
Piwniuk and his family have made their home in Virden, which will be included in Riding Mountain (see sidebar).
Piwniuk was first elected as the MLA for Arthur-Virden in a 2014 by-election and was reelected in 2016.
A meeting to officially form the Turtle Mountain PC constituency association and select the party’s candidate was scheduled for Jan. 16 in Boissevain.
Hey Virden and Reston, welcome to Riding Mountain!
By Heather Reimer
Confused about electoral boundaries? Not surprising.
Back in May 2018, the Empire-Advance reported that the electoral division of Arthur-Virden was being reorganized by the Manitoba Electoral Boundaries Commission.
Under the proposed map, Arthur-Virden disappears and parts of the riding including Virden and Reston were to become part of the new Turtle Mountain electoral division.
But things have changed. Public hearings were held last fall followed by more planning, and the electoral borders were moved again.
Virden, Reston and a large rectangular area encompassing Hamiota and the area across to the Sask. border will join the Riding Mountain riding.
This has sparked debate over Doyle Piwniuk’s place of residence. He lives in Virden which is now in Riding Mountain but plans to run for office in Turtle Mountain to the south and east.
Manitoba’s electoral boundaries must be reviewed every ten years to take shifting populations into account, ensuring each riding has roughly the same number of residents. The finalized map is now online at the official Boundaries Commission website.