Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party leader Brian Pallister rolled up his sleeves for his first day on the job as leader of the official Opposition on Wednesday.
Pallister won the Fort Whyte byelection on Tuesday evening, securing his seat in the Manitoba legislature.
The 58-year-old held his first news conference this afternoon with members of the PC caucus at his side. During his roughly 20 minutes of media availability, Pallister began by thanking the many volunteers who worked on his campaign.
“Today, I want to hit the ground running,” Pallister said, just before announcing his new Tory shadow cabinet. “In the past, portfolio responsibilities have been divided among two or sometimes three or more caucus members. This is not going to the case in the future.”
Pallister announced a shuffle in MLA responsibilities, including appointing himself as critic for Federal-Provincial Relations and Francophone Affairs.
The first order of business under Pallister’s leadership will be to establish outreach representation in communities where the PCs don’t have a MLA.
“We’ve structured a group of our caucus team to look into and enact a plan to do better outreach across the province. We represent approximately one in three ridings, but two in three we do not. But those people matter, too.”
Pallister is taking a slow and steady approach to winning the support of public opinion, saying a platform and ideas for the party moving forward will be unveiled eventually. He’s been at the helm of the party for about five weeks, but spent the majority of that time on the campaign trail. His official swearing-in will happen September 20.