We asked our Spruce Woods Electoral District candidates three questions and gave them up to 400 words to tell voters what they need to know.
- Why did you decide to run for office in this election?
- What do you bring to the job, if elected?
- What are your top three priorities for your riding, if elected?
Gordon Beddome - Green Party of Manitoba
Gordon’s son, James, has served as the leader of the Green Party of Manitoba for the past 11 years. It is the confidence Gordon has gained in the party that has made him decide to run as a Green candidate in the Spruce Woods riding. He feels strongly the values that the Green Party represents in their policy and platform should be a choice given to all voters.
Gordon Beddome is a cattle rancher and the success of his operation depends upon the health of the native grasslands that grow on the beautiful Sandhills that border the Assiniboine River. His goal has been to develop ways to maximize summer pasture production, while also maintaining carryover for spring grazing plus extended fall grazing. Gordon believes he has proven to himself that environmental protection and economic benefits can go hand in hand.
The past 20 years Gordon has served as Pasture Manager on the Yellow Quill Grazing Project, a 2400-acre grassland preserve that is situated near Shilo and is owned by Nature Conservancy of Canada.
In 2004 Gordon was presented with the “Conservation Farm Family of the Year” award for his work with pasture management and conserving native grasslands. In 2005 Gordon became a board member of the Assiniboine Hills Conservation District and held that position for nine years.
He has allowed a parcel of land to be used by the Ojibwa as a Sweat Lodge, and for traditional gatherings that educate the Ojibwa youth of their ways and customs. He has seen firsthand the positive effects that can result when we all try to learn to understand and respect one another.
His top three priorities for the riding, if elected:
a) Include good economic/environmental decisions in all our business and farming operations.
b) Protection of watershed and water resources.
c) Address misunderstandings between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
“I realize my priorities are more general than specific to the Spruce Woods riding, but most of our biggest concerns are not just local,” says Beddome. “Having all four parties represented is a positive accomplishment in a democratic system.
“In closing, I would like to thank the Virden Empire-Advance for allowing me to introduce myself. If you vote for me I will be representing a new party with a fresh approach.”
Cliff Cullen - PC
Cliff was born and raised on a cattle farm near Wawanesa. He attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a Diploma in Agriculture.
Cliff now makes his home in the Glenboro area with his wife Marilyn who recently retired from a middle years teaching career. They are the proud parents of three boys: Braydon, Addison, and Colby.
Cliff was elected as the MLA for Turtle Mountain in 2004 and re-elected in 2007. In 2011 and 2016, he was re-elected in the new constituency of Spruce Woods. He previously served as the Minister of Growth, Enterprise, the Minister of Crown Services and as Government House Leader.
In 2018, he was appointed as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Keeper of the Great Seal of the Province of Manitoba.
Prior to his election to the Manitoba Legislature, Cliff worked in the agricultural and environmental sectors. He served on the Treasury Board which he said brought insight into the finances of the province.
"It really is about affordability for everyone. We want to reduce taxes for Manitobans,” said Cliff. “We recognize we're paying some of the highest taxes in the country. We’re trying to save the average Manitoban $2020 over the course of the next four years. At the same time, we want to make sure they have the services they have come to expect, which includes healthcare, for sure.”
Added Cliff, "We want to make sure we are bringing value for taxpayers' money. In healthcare, we're trying to make the system more efficient and make sure the frontline services are there for Manitobans. Infrastructure, to me, is important as well, with roads, sewer and water. It is an important role for government. We want to make sure this region is getting what they need."
He brings a strong background in community service and involvement, serving as captain of the local volunteer fire department and volunteering on various community boards such as the Glenboro Community Development Corporation, Community Round Table, Glenboro Curling Club and the Glenboro United Church.
Cliff is also committed to protecting the environment. He has served as President of the Manitoba Weed Supervisors Association and as Provincial Manager of the Association for a Clean Rural Environment.
Jennifer Harcus - Liberal
As of press time, Jennifer Harcus could not be reached for information.
Justin Shannon – NDP
I decided to run for Manitoba’s NDP because of the way that three years of austerity and cuts by Brian Pallister and his PC government have weakened our public services, and harmed Manitobans. As President of the Brandon University Students’ Union, I saw first hand how these cuts made it harder for young people to afford an education.
If elected, I bring a passion and energy for representing everyone in the Spruce Woods constituency, and the commitment of the Manitoba NDP to investing in healthcare and our public services, while also making life more affordable for all Manitobans.
Without a doubt the issue I hear about most frequently is healthcare. Whether I’m speaking with healthcare workers, or the people who rely on them, everyone is concerned that three years of cuts, 500 nurses lost, and ERs closed, have left our health system in crisis. That is why my first priority is the NDP’s plan to invest in healthcare, to hire nurses, and reopen ERs.
Another priority I hear from people is the meth crisis, and the way in which addiction, and the crime associated with addiction have left people both in Brandon and rural communities feeling less safe. This is why, while the PCs have failed to act, the NDP have committed to funding 25 chemical detox beds in Brandon within our first hundred days in government, and within the second year to create a permanent detox and treatment centre in Brandon to serve Westman communities.
Finally, people have told me how life is getting less and less affordable. Whether that means paying for college or university, or paying for groceries and rent. That’s why I and the Manitoba NDP will fight for working families by bringing back the tuition freeze, by giving first time home-buyers $1000 off the land transfer tax, and by giving Manitobans a raise, by increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour.
I’m proud to stand with Wab Kinew and I’m proud to stand up for everyday families in Spruce Woods.
On September 10, I’d be honoured to have your vote.