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The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION

Dawson Trail PCs choose unconventional in Lagasse

By: Ian Froese

Posted: 10/29/2015 10:09 PM

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Bob Lagasse greets a supporter after claiming the Progressive Conservative nod in Dawson Trail Thursday night.

IAN FROESE | THE CARILLON Enlarge Image

Bob Lagasse greets a supporter after claiming the Progressive Conservative nod in Dawson Trail Thursday night.

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In rural Manitoba, Progressive Conservatives chose a candidate with tattoos down his arm who wears earrings. It may not be conventional but conventional doesn’t always win.

Bob Lagasse surprised political observers Thursday night when he won the PC party nomination at the TransCanada Centre in Ile des Chenes to represent Dawson Trail, a territory NDP Ron Lemieux has held since 1999.

"That's why my sleeve is rolled up tonight, I'm not hiding anything," said Lagasse after his victory. "I didn't take out the earrings, I didn't put on a suit, I came as Bob. At least I put on a dress shirt, I would have got in trouble if I didn't," he said, laughing.

Lagasse’s victory is stunning considering the fanfare that came with Doug Dobrowoski’s announcement this summer he was seeking the candidacy. Flanked by local politicians, the RM of Macdonald councillor stepped down as president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities in order to run.

Though Lagasse doesn’t fit the typical political mould, he looks great on paper, reflecting the riding’s varied demographics. He has served in the social services field for 16 years. Plus, he's French, Metis and had married a Mennonite girl.

Lagasse, a Landmark resident, figured the vote would be close but that's as much as he could predict.

"If God’s got a plan, who am I to stop it?" he said. "I didn’t know what to expect when we came here tonight. I knew we were identifying with the grassroots people in the riding, we weren’t identifying with the political people."

He thinks he won out because people wanted something different.

"They want someone who’s not political, someone who identifies with the everyday."

PC members have chosen experience in the past in unsuccessful bids to unseat Lemieux. Former La Broquerie and Springfield CAO Larry Tetrault captured the party nomination in 2011 and in 2007 Ritchot’s Bob Stefaniuk stepped down as mayor of the municipality to run as the PC candidate against Lemieux.

Two others who sought the PC nomination Thursday were David Sutherland, a sign-maker from Landmark, and Wayne Sturby, a corrections officer from Lorette. 

Vote counts were not released.

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