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Brian Pallister

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Brian Pallister

Brian Pallister - 2019 (48002323306) (cropped).jpg
Pallister in 2019
22nd Premier of Manitoba
Assumed office
May 3, 2016
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorJanice Filmon
DeputyHeather Stefanson
Preceded byGreg Selinger
Leader of the Opposition in Manitoba
In office
July 30, 2012 – May 3, 2016
Preceded byHugh McFadyen
Succeeded byFlor Marcelino
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba
Assumed office
July 30, 2012
DeputyHeather Stefanson
Preceded byHugh McFadyen
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Fort Whyte
Assumed office
September 4, 2012
Preceded byHugh McFadyen
ConstituencyFort Whyte
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Portage la Prairie
In office
September 15, 1992 – April 28, 1997
Preceded byEdward Connery
Succeeded byDavid Faurschou
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Portage—Lisgar
In office
November 27, 2000 – October 14, 2008
Preceded byJake Hoeppner
Succeeded byCandice Bergen
Manitoba Minister of Government Services
In office
May 9, 1995 – January 6, 1997
PremierGary Filmon
Preceded byGerry Ducharme
Succeeded byFrank Pitura
Personal details
Brian William Pallister

(1954-07-06) July 6, 1954 (age 66)
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada
Political partyProgressive Conservative Party of Manitoba
Other political
Conservative Party of Canada (2003–present)
Canadian Alliance (2000–2003)
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (before 1993 – 2000)
Height6 ft 8 in (2.03m)
Spouse(s)Esther Johnson Pallister
ResidenceWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Alma materBrandon University
OccupationFinancial analyst, civil servant

Brian William Pallister MLA (born July 6, 1954) is a Canadian politician serving as the 22nd premier of Manitoba since 2016. He has been the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba since 2012. He was previously a cabinet minister in the provincial government of Gary Filmon and a member of the House of Commons of Canada from 2000 to 2008.

Early life and career[edit]

Pallister was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, the son of Anne Ethel (Poyser) and Bill Pallister.[1][2] He 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 representative, 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 3–8 record in second last place.[5]

Provincial politics[edit]

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]

Pallister was reelected in the 1995 provincial election, and 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 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 Filmon as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba in 2000, but he declined.[11]

Federal politics[edit]

1998 Progressive Conservative Party of Canada leadership bid[edit]

In 1998, Pallister campaigned for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party on a platform designed to win back voters who had left the party for Reform.[12] 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 House of Commons from Ontario.[13] 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 missed an opportunity to renew themselves.[14]

Canadian Alliance MP[edit]

In July 2000, Pallister wrote an open letter to Joe Clark announcing his candidacy in the next federal election with a dual endorsement from the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance associations in Portage-Lisgar.[15] 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 opposed 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.[16] As a result, Pallister left the Progressive Conservatives and joined the Alliance on August 17, 2000.[17] 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.[18]

Pallister was elected to the House of Commons in the 2000 general election, defeating his nearest opponent by over 10,000 votes. Hoeppner, running as an independent, finished in a distant fourth place. The Liberal Party won a majority government, and Pallister served on the opposition benches. He did not openly endorse anyone in the 2002 Canadian Alliance leadership election.

Conservative MP[edit]

The Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties merged on December 7, 2003, and Pallister became a member of the resulting Conservative Party of Canada. He considered launching a bid for the new party's leadership, but instead endorsed outgoing Alliance leader Stephen Harper for the position.[19] He was easily reelected 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 National Revenue.

Pallister gained increased national prominence in September 2005 after drawing attention to $750,000 of apparent spending irregularities in the office of David Dingwall, the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Canadian Mint.[20] Dingwall resigned after the accusations were publicized, but later claimed that his expenditures were inaccurately reported and fell within official guidelines.[21] An independent review completed in late October 2005 found only minor discrepancies in Dingwall's expenses, amounting to less than $7,000. Pallister criticized this review as "little more than a whitewash", and argued that the auditors failed to include numerous ambiguous expenses.[22]

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.[23]

Before 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 reelection at the federal level and was noncommittal about his provincial ambitions.

Pallister was easily reelected in 2006. The Conservatives won a minority government, and Pallister requested that incoming Prime Minister 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 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]

Return to provincial politics[edit]

Pallister with Andrew Scheer in Ottawa in 2018.

Leader of Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba[edit]

After 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. On July 28, he became the presumptive nominee when the nomination process closed with no other candidates entered,[31] and was acclaimed as leader on July 30, 2012.[32] Two months later, he easily won a by-election for McFadyen's seat of Fort Whyte.

Pallister came under fire by his critics for some off-color remarks he made while opposition leader. In 2013, when filming a holiday greeting, he called atheists "infidels". Pallister said that he never intended to offend anyone with the statement.[33]

During a debate in the Legislature on November 24, 2014, Pallister expressed his personal disdain for Halloween when talking about the NDP's PST tax increase. He compared the government's move to that of the holiday and said Halloween was bad for the integrity of children. The video went viral a year after the statement was made.[34]

2016 Manitoba general election[edit]

On April 14, 2016, a CBC News report revealed that Pallister had traveled to Costa Rica 15 times since elected to Manitoba MLA in 2012.[35] Since then, he spent about 240 days either in Costa Rica or en route.

Pallister's Tories went into the election having led in most opinion polls for almost four years. He led his party to a decisive victory over the NDP, claiming 40 of the 57 available seats in the legislature[36] – the biggest majority government in recent Manitoba history.[37] He also became the first Progressive Conservative premier of the province since Filmon lost the 1999 election.

Premier of Manitoba[edit]

Pallister and his cabinet were sworn in on May 3, 2016. He was reelected to a majority government in 2019.[38][39]

Pallister led the provincial government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.[40] In December 2020, he received media attention and praise for his "impassioned plea" for adherence to social distancing restrictions during the Holiday season, to keep people safe. Manitobans were reported as finding the province's response too slow, waiting for infection rates to soar before increasing restrictions, allowing the virus a rapid spread into November,[41] when the province witnessed the worst per capita rate of infection in Canada.[42] Critics of Pallister's government blamed the surge of COVID-19 cases in part on Pallister's Restart Manitoba plan, which rushed to re-open the provincial economy in direct opposition to the advice of Manitoba doctors.[43]

Table of offices held[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Greg Selinger
Premier of Manitoba
Preceded by
Hugh McFadyen
Leader of the Opposition (Manitoba)
Succeeded by
Flor Marcelino
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[edit]

2019 Manitoba general election[edit]

2019 Manitoba general election: Fort Whyte
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Brian Pallister 5,619 57.19 -6.99
New Democratic Beatrice Bruske 1,757 17.88 +1.61
Liberal Darrel Morin 1,731 17.62 +6.21
Green Sara Campbell 665 6.77 -0.15
Manitoba First Jason Holenski 54 0.54 -0.65
Total valid votes 9,826 100.0  
Eligible voters 16,386
Source: Elections Manitoba[44]

2016 Manitoba general election[edit]

2016 Manitoba general election: Fort Whyte
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Brian Pallister 6,775 64.18 +9.00
New Democratic George Wong 1,718 16.27 +5.02
Liberal Peter Bastians 1,205 11.41 -20.15
Green Carli Runions 731 6.92 +5.20
Manitoba Daryl Newis 127 1.20 +1.20
Total valid votes 10,556 100.0  
Eligible voters
Source: Elections Manitoba[45][46]

2012 by-election[edit]

Manitoba provincial by-election, September 4, 2012: Fort Whyte
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
  Progressive Conservative Brian Pallister 3,626 55.18 -7.29
Liberal Bob Axworthy 2,074 31.56 +23.64
New Democratic Brandy Schmidt 739 11.25 -18.36
Green Donnie Benham 113 1.72
  Independent Darrell Ackman 19 0.29
Total valid votes 6,571 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 8
Turnout 6,579 42.28 -19.63
Electors on the lists 15,560

2006 Canadian federal election[edit]

2006 Canadian federal election: 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.

2004 Canadian federal election[edit]

2004 Canadian federal election: 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.

2000 Canadian federal election[edit]

2000 Canadian federal election: 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.

1997 Canadian federal election[edit]

1997 Canadian federal election: 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.

1995 Manitoba general election[edit]

1995 Manitoba general election: 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

1992 by-election[edit]

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. ^ "Meet our Leader!!!!!!!". Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba - New. Retrieved Feb 14, 2020.
  2. ^ Home, Omega Funeral. "Obituary for Anne Ethel (Poyser) Pallister". Obituary for Anne Ethel (Poyser) Pallister. Retrieved Feb 14, 2020.
  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. "Curling". Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
  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. ^ Graham Fraser and Brian Laghi, "Pallister embraces right-wing platform", The Globe and Mail, 16 September 1998, A4.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Brian Pallister, "Dear Joe: An open letter to: The Rt. Hon. Joe Clark", Globe and Mail, 26 July 2000, A15.
  16. ^ Jean-Denis Bellavance, "Manitoba Tory challenges Clark on coalition ban", National Post, 4 May 2000, A06.
  17. ^ "Canadian Conservatives hit by another defection", Reuters News, 17 August 2000, 13:06 report.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Manitoba Alliance MP Brian Pallister says he won't lead merged party", Canadian Press, 6 January 2004, 20:25 report.
  20. ^ Paul Samyn, "Mint manager's spending questioned by Tory MP", Vancouver Sun, 28 September 2005, A6.
  21. ^ Bruce Cheadle, "Dingwall denies breaking Mint rules, says he quit to save controversy", Canadian Press, 19 October 2005, 18:44 report.
  22. ^ Paul Samyn, "Mint audit clears me: Dingwall", Montreal Gazette, 27 October 2005, A13.
  23. ^ "Tory MP tunes up on Dingwall", Edmonton Journal, 4 October 2005, B6.
  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",, 9 January 2008; Mary Agnes Welch, "Party organizer seeks Conservative nomination in Portage-Lisgar", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 2008, A5.
  31. ^ "Brian Pallister unopposed for Tory leadership in Manitoba," CBC News, July 28, 2012.
  32. ^ "Brian Pallister takes over Tory leadership in Manitoba". CBC News. July 30, 2012.
  33. ^ "Manitoba Opposition leader has a holiday message for 'all you infidel atheists' ", The Globe and Mail, 2 December 2013
  34. ^ "Brian Pallister says Halloween threatens the integrity of children",, 1 November 2015
  35. ^ "Pallister spends nearly 1 in 5 days of his time in Costa Rica, logs show". Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  36. ^ "In Manitoba, Brian Pallister wins an ugly election of bad choices -". Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  37. ^ "Brian Pallister's PCs win majority government in Manitoba". CBC News. 2016-04-19.
  38. ^ "Manitoba Election: Incumbent premier Brian Pallister's full victory speech after PCs re-elected | Watch News Videos Online". Global News. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  39. ^ "Manitoba Election: Brian Pallister wins re-election in Fort Whyte | Watch News Videos Online". Global News. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  40. ^ "Province of Manitoba | COVID Updates". Province of Manitoba. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  41. ^ Froese, Ian (December 4, 2020). "Pallister's emotional plea to stay apart during the holidays resonates — but less so in Manitoba". CBC News. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  42. ^ "Manitoba PCs defend COVID-19 response, ask for priority rapid test supply amid rising numbers". Global News. November 22, 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  43. ^ "Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister Asks CBC Journalist Why She Didn't Help Him Protect Manitobans From COVID-19". PressProgress. November 23, 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  44. ^ "41ST GENERAL ELECTION, APRIL 19, 2016 - OFFICIAL RESULTS". Elections Manitoba. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  45. ^ "Candidates: 41st General Election". Elections Manitoba. 29 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  46. ^ "41ST GENERAL ELECTION, APRIL 19, 2016 - OFFICIAL RESULTS". Elections Manitoba. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.

External links[edit]