Manitoba NDP leader claims PC leadership hopeful tried to enlist him in ‘takedown’ of rival

The leader of Manitoba’s Official Opposition claims one of the women vying to become leader of the governing Progressive Conservative Party reached out to the NDP with dirt on her competition.

NDP leader Wab Kinew claims Shelly Glover’s campaign shared concerns about sales of PC memberships by Heather Stefanson’s campaign.

The PCs will chose one of the two women to become the party’s next leader — and Manitoba’s next premier — on Oct. 30.

Kinew claimed Glover tried to enlist the NDP’s help in her effort to claim the job.

“The Glover campaign reached out to the NDP a week ago to try and use us for a takedown of Heather Stefanson. The Glover camp then provided us with compromising information,” Kinew said on the floor of the Manitoba Legislature.

Kinew then claimed the Glover campaign alleged the Stefanson campaign has sold PC memberships improperly.

“We call on the Glover campaign to explain to PC party members why they are trying to use the NDP to win that leadership race. We call on the campaign being run by the member for Tuxedo to respond to the allegation of irregular memberships.”

The NDP later shared screenshots of texts sent from a Glover campaign spokesperson to an NDP official. In the texts, the Glover spokesperson noted Stefanson sold some PC memberships directly through the her campaign website while Election Manitoba rules seem to forbid the practice.

CBC News has been trying to verify the nature of Glover’s complaint against Stefanson.

“There are a number of matters being reviewed by the PC party and as such it would be inappropriate  for the campaign to comment at this time,” Glover spokesperson David McKay said Wednesday in a statement.

The Progressive Conservative Party declined to comment on whether Glover’s campaign made a formal complaint.

“We will not be commenting on the internal complaints process,” party spokesperson Keith Stewart said Wednesday in a statement.

Tuxedo MLA Heather Stefanson and former Conservative member of Parliament Shelly Glover are vying to become the next leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and Manitoba’s next premier. (John Woods/Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Elections Manitoba also declined to say whether it is looking into a complaint.

“I’m afraid my policy is not to disclose whether an investigation is ongoing, nor to discuss the progress of an investigation,” elections commissioner Bill Bowles said Wednesday in a statement.

CBC News has asked both the Glover and Stefanson campaigns to comment on Kinew’s allegation. 

On the floor of the legislature, Deputy Premier Rochelle Squires accused Kinew of pulling a stunt.

“It’s obvious that the leader of the opposition is obsessed with the Manitoba PC party leadership and I can assure you if he keeps up with stunts like that, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about his own leadership in due time,” Squires said.

Before Kinew raised his allegation about Glover’s campaign, he claimed the former Conservative MP is trying to cater to people opposed to COVID-19 while also stating she supports vaccination. 

“You are being exploited by people who will say or do anything to advance their careers,” Kinew said in reference to comments Glover made about “natural immunity” to CBC News and to Western Standard, a conservative publication based in Alberta.

Glover told both media outlets health-care workers who contracted COVID believe they should be exempt from Manitoba’s directive they get vaccinated by Monday or take rapid COVID tests up to three times a week.

Glover later clarified she does not believe contracting COVID should be an exemption.

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