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Brian Pallister

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Brian Pallister

Brian Pallister
Pallister speaking at the 2014 Manning Networking Conference
Manitoba Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
July 30, 2012
Premier Greg Selinger
Lieutenant Governor Philip S. Lee
Preceded by Hugh McFadyen
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba
Assumed office
July 30, 2012
Deputy Heather Stefanson
Preceded by Hugh McFadyen
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
Assumed office
September 4, 2012
Preceded by Hugh McFadyen
Constituency Fort Whyte
In office
September 15, 1992 – April 28, 1997
Preceded by Edward Connery
Succeeded by David Faurschou
Constituency Portage la Prairie
Member of the House of Commons of Canada
In office
November 27, 2000 – October 14, 2008
Preceded by Jake Hoeppner
Succeeded by Candice Hoeppner
Constituency Portage—Lisgar
Manitoba Minister of Government Services
In office
May 9, 1995 – January 6, 1997
Premier Gary Filmon
Preceded by Gerry Ducharme
Succeeded by Frank Pitura
Personal details
Born Brian William Pallister
(1954-07-06) July 6, 1954
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Political party Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba
Other political
Conservative Party of Canada (2003–present)
Canadian Alliance (2000–2003)
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (before 1993 – 2000)
Alma mater Brandon University
Occupation Financial analyst, civil servant

Brian William Pallister, MLA (born July 6, 1954) is a Canadian politician and the Leader of the Opposition of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. He represented the riding of Portage—Lisgar in the Canadian House of Commons from 2000 to 2008. He previously served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1992 to 1997, and was a key cabinet minister in the provincial government of Gary Filmon. Pallister is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.

On April 11, 2012, Brian Pallister announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. On July 28, 2012, he became the presumptive nominee when the nomination process closed with no other candidates entered,[1] and was acclaimed as leader on July 30, 2012.[2]


  • Early life and career 1
  • Provincial politics 2
  • 1998 Progressive Conservative Party of Canada leadership bid 3
  • Canadian Alliance MP 4
  • Conservative MP 5
  • Trivia 6
  • Table of offices held 7
  • Electoral record 8
  • Footnotes 9
  • External links 10

Early life and career

Pallister was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from Brandon University. He worked as a high school teacher in rural Manitoba from 1976 to 1979, where he also served as the local union rep, and later became a chartered financial consultant, serving as chair of the Canadian Insurance Agents Advisory Council (Sunlife).[3] Pallister is also a skilled curler, and won the provincial mixed curling championship in 2000.[4] This qualified him for the 2001 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship, finishing with a 2-8 record in second last place.[5]

Provincial politics

Pallister began his political career at the provincial level, winning a by-election in Portage la Prairie on September 15, 1992 as a candidate of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. He entered the provincial legislature as a backbench supporter of the Filmon government, and pushed for balanced budget legislation.[6] In 1993, he endorsed Jean Charest's bid to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.[7]

He was re-elected in the 1995 provincial election, and was sworn into cabinet on May 9, 1995 as Minister of Government Services. He carried out reforms that eliminated almost 3,000 pages of statutory regulations as part of a government campaign against any type of regulations,[8] presided over changes to the Manitoba Disaster Assistance Board, and oversaw provincial flood claims.[9] He stepped down from cabinet on January 6, 1997 to prepare for his first federal campaign.

Pallister defeated Paul-Emile Labossiere to win the Progressive Conservative nomination for Portage—Lisgar in the 1997 federal election, and formally resigned his seat in the legislature on April 28, 1997.[10] He lost to Reform Party incumbent Jake Hoeppner by 1,449 votes.

There were rumours that Pallister would campaign to succeed Gary Filmon as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba in 2000, but he declined.[11]

Following the 2011 provincial election, Hugh McFadyen announced his resignation as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. On April 11, 2012, Pallister announced his intention to seek the party's leadership, which he subsequently won by acclamation on July 30, 2012.

In 2012, after becoming leader of the provincial Conservatives, he purchased a $2 million, 9,000 square foot home in Winnipeg. He has been criticized for taking long unexplained breaks away from the province. In 2014 during the province's severe summer floods, Pallister was absent, not returning from his vacation property in Costa Rica. He has also been criticized for the way he leads his Conservative caucus. Each month, Pallister awarded a small wooden 'Bison of Shame' to the worst performing member of his caucus.[12]

1998 Progressive Conservative Party of Canada leadership bid

Pallister campaigned for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party in 1998, on a platform designed to win back voters who had left the party for Reform.[13] His supporters included former cabinet ministers Don Mazankowski and Charlie Mayer, Senator Consiglio Di Nino, and Jim Jones, the sole Progressive Conservative representative in the Canadian House of Commons from Ontario.[14] He finished fourth on the first ballot of the 1998 Progressive Conservative leadership election with 12.5% support, behind David Orchard, Hugh Segal, and the eventual winner, former Prime Minister Joe Clark. He withdrew from the contest a few days later, and declined to endorse another candidate. Pallister said that Progressive Conservatives had "voted for the past", and had missed an opportunity to renew themselves.[15]

Canadian Alliance MP

In July 2000, Pallister wrote an open letter to Joe Clark announcing his intent to run in the next federal election with a dual endorsement from the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance associations in Portage-Lisgar.[16] The latter party was a successor to Reform, and emerged from the efforts of Reformers to merge with Blue Tory elements in the Progressive Conservative Party who were opposed to Clark's Red Tory leadership. Clark had previously rejected Pallister's proposal as a violation of the Progressive Conservative Party's constitution, and did not respond to the letter.[17] As a result, Pallister left the Progressive Conservatives and joined the Alliance on August 17, 2000.[18] He won his new party's nomination for Portage—Lisgar over Dennis Desrochers and former MP Felix Holtmann, in a contest marked by some bitterness.[19]

Pallister was elected to the House of Commons in the 2000 general election, defeating his nearest opponent by over 10,000 votes. The Liberal Party won a majority government, and Pallister served on the opposition benches. He did not openly endorse any candidate in the 2002 Canadian Alliance leadership election.

Conservative MP

The Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties merged on December 22, 2003, and Pallister became a member of the resulting Conservative Party of Canada. He initially considered launching a bid for the new party's leadership, but instead endorsed outgoing Alliance leader Stephen Harper for the position.[20] He was easily re-elected in the 2004 election, in which the Liberals were reduced to a minority government. In July 2004, he was appointed to the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet as critic for the Minister of National Revenue.

Pallister gained increased national prominence in September 2005 after drawing attention to $750,000 worth of apparent spending irregularities in the office of David Dingwall, the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Canadian Mint.[21] Dingwall resigned after the accusations were made public, but later claimed that his expenditures were inaccurately reported and fell within official guidelines.[22] An independent review completed in late October 2005 found only minor discrepancies in Dingwall's expenses, amounting to less than $7,000 in total. Pallister criticized this review as "little more than a whitewash", and argued that the auditors failed to include numerous ambiguous expenses in their findings.[23]

Prior to the 2006 federal election, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that some Manitoba Progressive Conservatives were trying to persuade Pallister to challenge Stuart Murray for the provincial leadership.[24] Murray subsequently resigned, after 45% of delegates at the party's November 2005 convention voted for a leadership review. A subsequent Free Press poll showed Pallister as the second-most popular choice to succeed Murray, after fellow MP Vic Toews.[25] Pallister campaigned for re-election at the federal level, and was noncommittal about his provincial ambitions.

Pallister was easily re-elected in the 2006 campaign. The Conservative Party won a minority government, and Pallister requested that Prime Minister-elect Stephen Harper not consider him for a cabinet portfolio while he was making his decision about entering provincial politics.[26] On February 17, 2006, he announced that he would not seek the provincial party leadership and would remain a federal MP.[27] He was appointed as chair of the House of Commons standing committee on Finance,[28] and in 2007 indicated that he wanted to remove financial access to offshore tax havens such as Barbados.[29] Later in the year, he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Trade and to the Minister for International Cooperation.

Pallister surprised political observers in January 2008 by announcing that he would not run in the next federal election.[30]


  • Pallister sang a parody of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two" in the House of Commons on October 3, 2005, during the "Statements by Members" session before Question Period. The adjusted lyrics attacked David Dingwall and the Liberal government. The Speaker ruled him out of order.[31]

Table of offices held

Political offices
Preceded by
Hugh McFadyen
Leader of the Opposition (Manitoba)
Provincial Government of Gary Filmon
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Gerald Ducharme Minister of Government Services
Frank Pitura
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
Preceded by
Ed Connery
Member of the Manitoba Legislature for Portage la Prairie
Succeeded by
David Faurschou
Preceded by
Hugh McFadyen
Member of the Manitoba Legislature for Fort Whyte

Electoral record

Canadian federal election, 2006: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Conservative Brian Pallister 25,719 69.78 $44,321.83
Liberal Garry McLean 4,199 11.39 $13,875.88
New Democratic Daren Van Den Bussche 4,072 11.05 $2,450.07
Green Charlie Howatt 1,880 5.10 $4,073.82
Christian Heritage David Reimer 987 2.68 $9,372.57
Total valid votes 36,857 100.00
Total rejected ballots 123
Turnout 36,980 62.04
Electors on lists 59,609
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
Canadian federal election, 2004: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Conservative Brian Pallister 22,939 65.93 $55,524.92
Liberal Don Kuhl 6,174 17.74 $70,773.27
New Democratic Daren Van Den Bussche 3,251 9.34 $13,159.49
Christian Heritage David Reimer 1,458 4.19 $12,986.64
Green Marc Payette 856 2.46 $649.69
Communist Allister Cucksey 117 0.34 $741.52
Total valid votes 34,795 100.00
Total rejected ballots 146 0.42
Turnout 34,941 57.35
Electors on lists 60,922
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution. Conservative Party percentages are contrasted with the combined Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative percentages from 2000.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
Canadian federal election, 2000: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Alliance Brian Pallister 17,318 50.31 $44,417.63
Liberal Gerry J.E. Gebler 6,133 17.82 $44,267.57
     Progressive Conservative Morley McDonald 5,339 15.51 $16,872.28
     Independent Jake Hoeppner 3,558 10.34 $40,395.49
New Democratic Diane Beresford 2,073 6.02 $3,880.73
Total valid votes 34,421 100.00
Total rejected ballots 101 0.29
Turnout 34,522 61.56
Electors on lists 56,082
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
Canadian federal election, 1997: Portage—Lisgar
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Reform Jake Hoeppner 13,532 40.25 $55,221
Progressive Conservative Brian Pallister 12,083 35.94 $52,473
Liberal Heather Mack 4,913 14.61 $14,412
New Democratic Glen Hallick 2,420 7.20 $9,391
Christian Heritage Martin Dewit 517 1.53 $2,674
Canadian Action Roy Lyall 159 0.47 $1,210
Total Valid Votes 33,624 100.00
Total Rejected Ballots 149 0.44
Turnout 33,773 60.63
Electors on lists 55,706
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
Manitoba general election, 1995: Portage la Prairie
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Brian Pallister 3,977 51.36 $21,925.75
Liberal Bob Turner 2,117 27.34 $22,544.59
New Democratic Connie Gretsinger 1,519 19.62 $3,123.00
     Independent Ralph Jackson 130 1.68 $0.00
Total valid votes 7,743 100.00
Rejected and discarded votes 21
Turnout 7,764 65.84
Registered voters 11,792
Manitoba provincial by-election, September 15, 1992: Portage la Prairie
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Brian Pallister 3,226 51.56 $17,992.91
Liberal Helen Christoffersen 1,995 31.88 $12,952.25
New Democratic Ralph Jackson 648 10.36 $13,381.00
Reform Fred Debrecen 388 6.20 $0.00
Total valid votes 6,257 100.00
Rejected ballots 20
Turnout 6,277 53.81
Registered voters 11,665

All electoral information is taken from Elections Canada and Elections Manitoba. Provincial expenditures refer to individual candidate expenses. Italicized expenditures refer to submitted totals, and are presented when the final reviewed totals are not available.


  1. ^ "Brian Pallister unopposed for Tory leadership in Manitoba," CBC News, July 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "Brian Pallister takes over Tory leadership in Manitoba". CBC News. July 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Possible candidates to lead the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 November 2005, A8.
  4. ^ "Pallister wins Manitoba mixed curling tourney", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 March 2000, C2. Pallister is also a former member of the Rideau Curling Club in Ottawa. See "Pallister curls from one House to another", National Post, April 13, 2004.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Brian Pallister's commitment to fiscal responsibility", Winnipeg Free Press, 30 May 1997, A10.
  7. ^ "Campbell slips in Manitoba", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 June 1993, Canadian Wire Stories.
  8. ^ "Manitoba to alter or eliminate 133 out of 560 regs", Eco-Log Week, 31 May 1996.
  9. ^ Tony Davis, "Flooding sows devastation", Winnipeg Free Press, 9 July 1995, A5; Bud Robertson, "Province demands Ottawa pay flood costs", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 December 1995, A7; "Filmon Tories overhaul disaster board", Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 1996, A7.
  10. ^ Bud Robertson, "3,000 turn out for nomination", Winnipeg Free Press, 28 February 1997, A8.
  11. ^ Scott Edmonds, "Only one contender left for Manitoba Tory leadership", Canadian Press, 19 May 2000, 10:02 report.
  12. ^ Winnipeg Free Press 1 June 2015
  13. ^ Graham Fraser and Brian Laghi, "Pallister embraces right-wing platform", Globe and Mail, 16 September 1998, A4.
  14. ^ Paul Samyn, "Pallister gains prestigious ally", Winnipeg Free Press, 11 September 1998, B2; Graham Fraser, "Leadership hopeful winning support", Globe and Mail, 12 September 1998, A7; David Roberts, "Two Tories get behind Pallister", Globe and Mail 25 August 1998, A5.
  15. ^ David Kuxhaus, "Pallister exits Tory race, says PCs voted for past", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 October 1998, A5. One published report indicates that Pallister later endorsed Clark over Orchard. Sarah Binder, "Clark won't take leadership win for granted", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 6 November 1998, A9.
  16. ^ Brian Pallister, "Dear Joe: An open letter to: The Rt. Hon. Joe Clark", Globe and Mail, 26 July 2000, A15.
  17. ^ Jean-Denis Bellavance, "Manitoba Tory challenges Clark on coalition ban", National Post, 4 May 2000, A06.
  18. ^ "Canadian Conservatives hit by another defection", Reuters News, 17 August 2000, 13:06 report.
  19. ^ Helen Fallding, "Pallister carries Alliance flag", Winnipeg Free Press, 2 November 2000, A1. Desrochers was an army captain who had served in Yugoslavia. See Helen Fallding, "Alliance stars faltering", Winnipeg Free Press, 26 October 2000, A1.
  20. ^ "Manitoba Alliance MP Brian Pallister says he won't lead merged party", Canadian Press, 6 January 2004, 20:25 report.
  21. ^ Paul Samyn, "Mint manager's spending questioned by Tory MP", Vancouver Sun, 28 September 2005, A6.
  22. ^ Bruce Cheadle, "Dingwall denies breaking Mint rules, says he quit to save controversy", Canadian Press, 19 October 2005, 18:44 report.
  23. ^ Paul Samyn, "Mint audit clears me: Dingwall", Montreal Gazette, 27 October 2005, A13.
  24. ^ Mia Rabson, "Leadership dispute distracting Tories", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 October 2005, A6.
  25. ^ Mia Rabson, "Toews, Pallister for Murray's job: poll", Winnipeg Free Press, 27 December 2005, B2.
  26. ^ "Pallister weighs bid for Manitoba Tory crown", Globe and Mail, 28 January 2006, A5.
  27. ^ Mia Rabson, "Pallister says he'll stay on as MP", Winnipeg Free Press, 18 February 2006, A3.
  28. ^ Tara Perkins, "MPs play broker in battle between insurers, banks", Toronto Star, 15 May 2006, C3.
  29. ^ Paul Samyn, "MPs aim to kill corporate loophole", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 May 2007, A7.
  30. ^ "Conservative MP Pallister to leave politics", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 2008, A5.
  31. ^ "Tory MP tunes up on Dingwall", Edmonton Journal, 4 October 2005, B6.

External links

  • Official website
  • Brian Pallister – Parliament of Canada biography
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