Former backroom guy: Manitoba Liberal leader in spotlight ahead of election

Liberal leader in spotlight ahead of election

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s Liberal leader has gone from political backrooms to elected office after winning a seat in the legislature.

Dougald Lamont had spent years writing speeches and platforms for others, but now the 50-year-old has a voice of his own.

“These are a lot of my ideas that I would like to be able to present myself, rather than just being a ghostwriter for somebody,” Lamont said.

He admits he can come across a bit stiff and serious. Often dressed in a vest and jacket, Lamont said people may not know he has a humorous side.

“I look way more serious — and I’ll sometimes sound more serious — than I actually am,” he said. “I like deadpan humour, so I will say something that sounds completely serious and it’s not at all. It’s a joke.”

His recent political wins are no joke. His party still faces major challenges in fundraising and organizing, but he has been underestimated more than once in his career, only to prove his critics wrong and exceed expectations.

After spending years in communications jobs, with freelance writing and his own digital ad agency on the side, Lamont co-chaired a 2014 mayoral campaign by Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who was then mostly unknown to the public.

Ouellette finished a strong third in the seven-candidate field. A year later, Lamont was communications director for Ouellette when he ran for the federal Liberals in Winnipeg Centre and took the longtime NDP stronghold from incumbent Pat Martin.

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