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Manitoba MP Merv Tweed resigns for private sector

Manitoba MP Merv Tweed, left, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May 11, 2010.

JOHN WOODS/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Manitoba MP Merv Tweed has resigned to lead a railway company.

Mr. Tweed, first elected to represent Brandon-Souris in 2004, made the announcement in a note published on his website Monday.

"I have had the honour to serve the public for many years at the municipal, provincial and federal level and my decision to leave politics was not made lightly," the Conservative MP said in a statement. His resignation will take effect Aug. 31.

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Hours later, railway company Omnitrax Canada announced that Mr. Tweed would be their new president.

Denver-based Omnitrax operates the Port of Churchill in northern Manitoba, a stop for Arctic trade, from which subsidiaries ship oil by rail.

"Merv brings a terrific combination of business experience and government regulation knowledge," Omnitrax CEO Kevin Shuba said in a statement.

Mr. Tweed is familiar with the industry. He was chair of the House transport committee from April 2006 until September 2012, when he was elected to head the agriculture committee.

Lobbying records show a consultant, working on behalf of Omnitrax, met with Mr. Tweed, and separately with three bureaucrats, on Nov. 21, 2012. The consultant, a former Progressive Conservative MP from Manitoba, sought federal funding for infrastructure projects related to the Port of Churchill.

Mr. Tweed's parliamentary biography say he was previously an automobile dealer. He was also an MLA in the provincial legislature for nine years before jumping to federal politics. He briefly served as Manitoba's minister of industry, trade and tourism.

Mr. Tweed's resignation means there will likely be at least four federal by-elections this fall. Fellow Manitoba Conservative Vic Toews, as well as former Liberal MPs Denis Coderre and Bob Rae, have resigned in recent months. If all the by-elections are held at the same time, the earliest voting date would be in late October.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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