Last week I had the incredible honour of taking the oath of office to serve as the 23rd Premier of Manitoba. It was not an opportunity that I was not expecting just a short time ago. As Deputy Premier for the past several months I have been assisting in many of the day-to-day operational issues of the government, but the unexpected resignation of Brian Pallister from the Premier’s office effective last Wednesday resulted in the need for a new Premier to be chosen, if only for a short period of time.
When Mr. Pallister announced in Brandon last month that he would not be seeking re-election as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party it began a process to select a new leader that would automatically become Premier. The Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party made the decision to hold a leadership convention on October 30th. However, when Mr. Pallister announced his resignation effective September 1, there was a need for an individual to be selected to serve as Premier until the leadership election.
I was truly honoured to be selected by the elected members of the Progressive Conservative Caucus to fulfill this role as Premier during this interim period. Having served with so many of my colleagues for many years, it is particularly rewarding to have earned their trust in this way.
The swearing in ceremony took place on the morning of September 1 at the official residence of the provincial Lieutenant Governor, Her Honour Janice Filmon. In a small ceremony attended by family, the oath of office was administered. To say that it was both an honour and humbling experience would be a significant understatement. I especially am grateful for the support of my wife Kim and son Malachi who not only attended the ceremony but also have offered their unwavering support both now and throughout my time in public life.
My first days in the office of the Premier were busy with meetings, briefings, and phone calls. I have committed to reaching out to as many people as possible during my time in the office to hear about the concerns and suggestions that people have. Each of these will be helpful in preparing the incoming Premier on October 30th for the work ahead. In addition, we have begun preparing for the fall Legislative session and the need to conclude a number of budgetary matters that have to be finished as part of the 2021-2022 provincial budget.
I would like to thank each of you who have sent messages of congratulations or have offered them to me personally over the last several days. My family and I truly appreciate the encouragement and are committed to serving, in even this brief time as Premier, to the best of our abilities.