With Candice Bergen moving on after this term, the Portage-Lisgar will be in search of a new Conservative candidate to represent the region. 

Today, Branden Leslie stepped forward to take on the potential challenge. The Member of Parliament hopeful entered the running at an announcement event in Portage. His slogan for this campaign is 'The Right Conservative.'

"I was born and raised on a farm just south of Portage la Prairie. I have spent quite a bit of time working in Ottawa but Portage has always been my home. I'm a frequent returnee to Portage, so I've never lost sight of where I'm from," Leslie explains. "I've spent a lot of time in the last three years working to defend the needs of farmers. I think that's one of the things I'm going to focus on as, hopefully, the next Member of Parliament is making sure that rural communities like Portage have the tools and policies needed to make sure we can feed Canada and the world."

Leslie adds he will be a big advocate for the rural communities and the rural lifestyle if elected.

"There's a lot of division in our country right now, and I think that its time that we have a party that unites Canadians around things that we all agree on," Leslie continues. "From my view, that means creating jobs for Canadians, creating wealth for Canadians, getting the government out of your way, lowering taxes, and allowing for freedom to really prevail."

If he gets enough support, Leslie would be running to replace Candice Bergen as the region's MP. The local candidate says he worked under her for a period of time, and while he doesn't necessarily believe that gives him an edge, he is familiar with everything the position entails.

"Candice has been an incredibly strong advocate for Portage-Lisgar for many years. I was proud to be her campaign manager in 2019. She's been a friend and a mentor of mine," says Leslie. "They're very big shoes to fill but I think I have the right experience, and I'm the right Conservative for this job."

Branden Leslie giving a handshake.

He and his team held their announcement at the fairgrounds office in Portage. Leslie was shocked by the number of supporters who came out.

"To look into this room and see it absolutely packed, there had to be close to 100 people. I couldn't believe it. To see my friends, family, and some new faces out supporting me and, I think, liking what they heard in my announcement speech, means the world to me. I think it shows we have momentum in this campaign."