WINNIPEG — A high-profile backbench member of the Manitoba legislature who recently spoke out against some of his own government's policy has been dumped from caucus.
The Progressive Conservatives confirmed Steven Fletcher had been dropped in a news release Friday afternoon.
"Teamwork is a core value of our caucus," spokeswoman Sarah Guillemard said in a statement that noted the decision was unanimous.
"We were elected by Manitobans to serve as a team. We are proud to work with, learn from, and support each other as a team. Moreover, we believe in the importance of respecting each other as a team."
Fletcher, a former Conservative MP who won a provincial seat when the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives swept to power last year, said he first learned of the decision from the Winnipeg Free Press.
He said he wasn't given any specific reason for the move.
Fletcher has been in hot water with the party in recent weeks after speaking out against a proposed law that would create a new Crown agency to promote energy efficiency. He recently tied up two legislature committee meetings by asking questions for hours, late into the night.
He's also tabled a number of private members bills, including one to reduce the 57 seats in the provincial legislature by eight.
"I have made sure that — as a public servant and a gentleman — that I act for Queen and country first, for my constituents second and everything else is after that, including party," he said in a interview.
"That is the way it is supposed to be in a democracy.
"I'm doing my job."
Fletcher, 44, was a member of Parliament between 2004 and 2015 and was Canada's first quadriplegic MP. He served for a few years as minister of state for democratic reform and minister of state for transport. He lost his seat to Liberal Doug Eyolfson in the 2015 election.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, also a former federal MP, said he abstained from the caucus expulsion vote.
He said he's got a lot of time for Fletcher, but says being part of caucus is not a right.
"I like and respect Steven Fletcher, worked with him federally, worked with him provincially, but every caucus, every community organization, every sports team, every business, has rules of conduct for its members and being in a caucus and being in an organization requires those rules to be followed," Pallister said.
"Principles of behaviour have to be established. They have to be maintained."
Without Fletcher, the Tories still hold 39 of the 57 seats in the legislature.