01/29/2014 02:37 EST | Updated 03/31/2014 05:59 EDT

Manitoba Tories welcome two new politicians following byelection wins

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's opposition party have welcomed two new members to the legislature.

Shannon Martin and Doyle Piwniuk (pih-NEWK') met their Progressive Conservative caucus colleagues after winning decisive byelection victories Tuesday in the constituencies of Morris and Arthur-Virden.

The Tories took more than two-thirds of the vote in both ridings, while the NDP struggled to get more than 10 per cent.

Premier Greg Selinger says the outcome was expected, as the two seats are longtime Tory constituencies.

Selinger says the message he is taking from the results is that the government must show how it is spending money raised from the recent sales tax increase.

He says the extra money is being directed to roads and bridges.

"We'll be accountable for ensuring that revenue goes into key infrastructure that will create good jobs, and those good jobs will lead to a more prosperous Manitoba," Selinger said.

Selinger made the comments as he announced 50 new projects for the 2014 construction season, totalling more than $100 million worth of work.

The government angered many voters when it raised the sales tax to eight per cent from seven per cent last July, and sidestepped a referendum on the issue that is required under the province's balanced budget law.