Wes Penner

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Wes Penner (born February 23, 1939) is a businessman, religious organizer, and politician in the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Penner was raised on a farm in Landmark, Manitoba. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John's College and a Bachelor of Education degree and Teaching Certificate from the University of Manitoba. He worked as a teacher for ten years before becoming a full-time entrepreneur.[1]

After starting his business career in agricultural machinery sales, Penner founded Powerland Computers in 1985 with his son Kevin and nephew Mark Penner. The Winnipeg-based business grew into a success, and had generated sales of $8 million by 1993.[2] In 2008, it was the largest computer service company in Manitoba.[3] In 1999, Penner and his partners purchased the Pinawa Resort and Conference Centre (later renamed as the Wilderness Edge Retreat and Conference Centre).[4]

As of 2008, Penner was the president of David Penner Development, a partner in the construction firm Woodmaster, an active member of the Historica Foundation of Canada and the Professional Development and Education Committee, and a founding director of The Technology Consortium.[5]

Penner is a member of the Mennonite Central Committee and has been involved in refugee assistance and anti-war causes through its Peace and Social Concerns Committee.[1] In 2003, he tried to mobilize international support for an initiative to prevent the American-led invasion of Iraq. Under this plan, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would have turned over his weapons in return for protection by Russia, France, and Germany. The international contacts never materialized, however, and the plan ultimately came to nothing.[6]

During the 2006 election, Penner opposed Conservative leader Stephen Harper's plans to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage (which is legal in Canada). He was quoted as saying, "Gay Canadians have suffered a lot. All they want is some respect and (Harper) has to make a big deal out of it."[7]

Penner has been a Liberal candidate in three elections and was a candidate for Mel Hurtig's National Party of Canada in 1993.

Electoral record[edit]

Electoral record
Election Division Party Votes  % Place Winner
1988 federal Provencher Liberal 11,121 32.50 2/5 Jake Epp, Progressive Conservative
1993 federal Provencher National 1,212 3.31 5/7 David Iftody, Liberal
2006 federal Provencher Liberal 6,077 15.84 2/4 Vic Toews, Conservative
2008 federal Elmwood—Transcona Liberal 2,079 6.63 3/5 Jim Maloway, New Democratic Party


  1. ^ a b Election 2006: Riding by Riding: Penner, Wes, CTV, accessed 3 June 2009; Wes Penner: About, Elmwood-Transcona Federal Liberal Association, accessed 3 June 2009.
  2. ^ Myron Love, "Powerland rises from humble beginnings", Computer Dealer News, 9 March 1994.
  3. ^ Wes Penner: About, Elmwood-Transcona Federal Liberal Association, accessed 3 June 2009.
  4. ^ Martin Cash, "Powerland partners buy Pinawa resort", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 October 1999, B5. The centre's website may be found here.
  5. ^ Wes Penner: About, Elmwood-Transcona Federal Liberal Association, accessed 3 June 2009.
  6. ^ Lindor Reynolds, "Cloak-and-dagger plan makes great story", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 March 2003, A7.
  7. ^ Marc Zienkiewicz, Beausejour Review, online edition, 15 December 2005.