Manitoba Elections Heat Up: Close Contests Predicted Across Winnipeg and Beyond

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The ticking clock of the upcoming Manitoba elections is echoing in the ears of the political fraternity. The province is witnessing a spirited competition for the various electoral seats, both within Winnipeg and beyond. The current political landscape indicates numerous close contests and potential flips in several constituencies.

A case in point is the prominent constituency of Fort Richmond in south Winnipeg. This region has noticed fluctuating political waters in past elections, swinging between the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats. The forthcoming election on October 3 beckons attention to this riveting race.

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Prominent pollster Curtis Brown from Probe Research cites Fort Richmond as a prime constituency to keep an eye on. Currently, the robust bastion of the Tories may witness an upheaval. Jennifer Chen, a former school trustee, is striving to turn the Tory blue into NDP orange.

“I gather from my numerous interactions on the doorstep that Fort Richmond citizens yearn for a change,” says Chen, who has been tirelessly knocking on thousands of doors.

Interestingly, the former holder of the position, PC Cabinet Minister Sarah Guillemard, has refrained from contesting in the upcoming election. Her successor is community center executive and committed volunteer Paramjit Shahi, the current PC candidate.

Shahi believes his two-decade-long association with the community will grant him an advantage, stating: “My considerable lived experience within this constituency favors me.”

However, the Liberals also have their stake in Fort Richmond. Liberal candidate Ernie Nathaniel contends against Chen and Shahi in an electoral district where the Liberals outperformed the NDP in 2019. It is speculated that this race might set the tone for the rest of the province.

The political radar also pinpoints other Winnipeg constituencies that warrant scrutiny, where the contest may particularly be between the Tories and the NDP. These include inner-city ridings like Waverley, Seine River, Riel, Southdale, and notably Fort Richmond in the southern part of Winnipeg. To the west, the ridings of Assiniboia and Kirkfield Park hold potential, as does the northeastern McPhillips, Rossmere, and Radisson.

Moving beyond Winnipeg, the provincial constituencies demanding attention involve Brandon East, Dawson Trail, Dauphin, and Selkirk. All these districts lack a Liberal candidate, pitting the NDP against the PCs. The NDP aims to snatch these seats while the PCs fight to retain them.

Political commentator Curtis Brown highlights the defensive strategies employed by the conservatives: “Their campaign is largely centered on safeguarding their won seats, most of which have traditionally supported the NDP.”

Additional vigilance will be necessary for the St. Boniface constituency, currently held by Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont. The watchers reminisce about its historical significance as it was the erstwhile bastion of former NDP premier Greg Selinger.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.