Race to replace Inky Mark already underway 0
Although the official race to replace retiring Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette MP Inky Mark won't be for some time, names of potential candidates are already starting to surface.
Mark said the names he's heard so far are: current president of the Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette Conservative Riding Association Wayne Mathison from Hamiota, Ken Waddell from Neepawa and Robert Sopuck, who writes a column for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Seeing people interested in politics is a good thing the outgoing MP said.
"I encourage more people to get into politics," Mark said, "I always have."
Mark was quick to point out that anyone interested at this point is only a potential candidate and will have to go through a rigorous screening process to be considered for the nomination.
Once the national Conservative Party of Canada calls an election, a date will be set to choose a successor, Mark noted.
Anyone who wants their name to stand will then face the screening process, which includes a 50-page document to fill out and a criminal background check.
One person who is familiar already with that 50-page document is Sopuck, who lives north of Sandy Lake. He officially announced he would be seeking the nomination in late July.
Having always been interested in politics and having been involved with government before, the step seemed natural to both him and his wife.
"I've always been a public policy person," he commented, "and interested in the workings of government."
It was not only he and his wife who were involved in the decision though, Sopuck said. He had some encouragement.
"A number of people gave me a call and urged me to let my name stand," he said.
Sopuck said he had basically made his decision in early July and got underway filling out the aforementioned 50-page questionnaire, which he said was intimidating when he printed it off the computer and had it sitting in front of him.
"The party wants you to understand completely what you're getting into," he noted.
Sopuck, who holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Manitoba and a Masters from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and who has worked for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial government in various environmental capacities, said he considers himself an advocate of rural people and their way of life.
Another of the rumoured potential candidates has already quashed the rumour. Waddell, who had run previously for the nomination against Mark, said he, in fact, would not be seeking the nomination again.
"A number of personal, family and business reasons made me decide not to seek the nomination," said Waddell, who started The Neepawa Banner newspaper in late 1989.
Mathison, a farmer, confirmed he, too is interested in the position.
"I am considering applying to be a nomination contestant," he confirmed via email.
Mark, who has held the MP's position since 1997, said he would not throw his support behind any particular candidate lest it sway the association's membership, who should pick their new representatives without his influence.
"I believe the will of the membership should take precedence," he said.
Mark announced his retirement on June 23, saying he wanted to spend more time with his wife Lynda and their family.