Dougald Lamont says he plans to stay on as the Manitoba Liberal Leader even after it lost official party status, retaining only three seats in Tuesday’s provincial election.
Mr. Lamont says the outcome was disappointing but the future of the party is secure.
Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives won a second consecutive majority when they captured 36 seats in the 57-seat legislature.
The New Democrats improved their seat total to 18.
Mr. Lamont will now face a mandatory leadership review, but says he expects to be supported by the party.
Former Manitoba Liberal leader Rana Bokhari resigned following the 2016 election, which garnered similar results for the party.
“I’m not concerned. I’ll take whatever judgment people have,” Mr. Lamont said Thursday.
The Manitoba Liberals attained official party status when Mr. Lamont won in St. Boniface, gaining a fourth seat for the party, in a by-election last year.
A party needs four members in the Manitoba Legislature to receive more funds, research staff and a guaranteed presence in Question Period and on committees.
Judy Klassen, elected as a Manitoba Liberal in 2016, announced earlier this year that she is running in the federal election. Her northern Manitoba district of Keewatinook was won by New Democrat Ian Bushie on Tuesday.
Mr. Lamont said he plans to introduce a bill reducing the number of seats required for official party status but acknowledged it could be difficult to get passed. He said the Liberals will come out of the election without debt, but couldn’t elaborate on the party’s financial future.
The party’s campaign, specifically focused on Lake Winnipeg and the methamphetamine crisis, was successfully received, Mr. Lamont said, adding that he thinks the party “got caught in the squeeze,” because potential Liberal voters may have cast their ballots for the NDP in hopes of keeping the Tories out, or vice versa.
“People will tell you, ‘Look, if you work really hard, if you do these things, if you persist, it will pay off.’ But that’s not always the case.”
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.