10/09/2013 11:56 EDT | Updated 12/09/2013 05:12 EST

Tory Member Ditches Party In Bizarre Brandon Byelection

The Brandon-Sourisbyelection took another strange turn this week after a politician abruptly crossed party lines to run on the Liberal ballot.

Killarney Mayor Rick Pauls threw his hat in the ring to represent the Liberals in the upcoming byelection, but until two weeks ago, Pauls was a card-carrying Conservative.

The byelection is being held to replace former Conservative MP Merv Tweed after he resigned to take a top job at rail company OmniTrax in August.

Pauls said he has decided to run on the Liberal ticket rather than the Conservative ticket because the Tory candidate he supported, Chris Kennedy, was tossed out of the competition over issues with his nomination papers.

Now, he said he wants voters to consider him a middle-ground candidate.

“I don’t want to convince them that necessarily I am the strongest liberal in the room because plain and simply I’m a right-leaning Liberal and the Conservatives would say I’m a left-leaning Conservative,” he said.

He said the advantage to the Liberals electing him is he can bring Tory votes over to the Liberals.

“If they want to bring those people over, I’m the candidate that they’re going to have to put in there because I believe I can get other people to cross those party lines as well,” said Pauls.

The Liberal nomination meeting is set for Wednesday night at 7 p.m., and Pauls’ only other competition is the punk-rocking Rolf Dinsdale, who landed in hot water last month over claims he was a senior executive at Facebook.

Byelection drama

Pauls’ perplexing move comes after a series of confusing and strange events in the byelection, including the addition of Dinsdale.

Dinsdale was the only candidate in the race late last month, when he announced in an online biography that he had experience as a senior executive at Facebook.

Dinsdale later clarified he worked for a communications company that handled sales for Facebook between 2007 and 2009.

He was also in a band S—t From Hell, with songs titled Horny Single Mom and Jesus Got Wood. Dinsdale said he thinks the songs show he has a sense of humour.

The Conservative ticket in the byelection has also seen some controversy, with a previous front-runner, Chris Kennedy being excluded from the byelection over confusion about when his nomination papers were sent and if they were complete.

The New Democrat ticket will be occupied by Cory Szczepanski, a welder and former president of the Brandon District Labour Council.

The byelection will be held later this fall. 

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