As the final Sunday of the Manitoba provincial election campaign drew to a close, NDP Leader Wab Kinew drove home a strong rallying call, while Progressive Conservative Leader Heather Stefanson maintained an austere media presence.
Addressing his NDP affiliates, Kinew warned against complacency arising from their lead in opinion polls and urged them to focus on the upcoming Tuesday’s election. The party, in opposition for seven years, has shown promising runs in the polls against Tories, especially in Winnipeg, where 32 out of the 57 legislature seats lie.
Kinew also voiced keen criticism over the campaign ads published by the governing Progressive Conservatives. These advertisements imply their refusal to search the Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of two Indigenous women, Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, who were presumed to have been murdered and dumped last year. Kinew called out this approach as distasteful.
“Could you have ever surmised that such a controversy involving murder victims would be exploited as political pawns in campaign advertising by a sitting government?” asked an outraged Kinew.
In their defense, the Tories justified the advertisement’s message arguing potential risk of exposure to asbestos and other toxic materials during the search, based on a federally funded feasibility study. Stefanson, albeit having a tough time rejecting a proposed landfill search, maintained her stance prioritizing the safety of the searchers.
In a bid to reinforce their stand, the Tories placed ads displaying “Stand Firm” and “for health and safety reasons, the answer on the landfill dig just has to be no”.
While Stefanson remained relatively silent, attending public events but refraining from media interactions, Kinew garnered media spotlight almost daily. An expert analysis suggested Stefanson’s focus on securing rural seats, like Brandon East and Dauphin that were possibly at stake, instead of facing daily questions from reporters in Winnipeg.
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont extends a helping hand to immigrants by promising to reduce application fees and offer greater financial support for new Canadians. He stressed the need to overcome the hurdles that stop highly qualified immigrants from using their foreign credentials in Canada.
Is the next step guiding them into the workforce? Will the other leaders address this equal rights issue? Only time will reveal, as the provinces eagerly await the election results.