As Manitoban voters prepare to cast their ballots in the upcoming polls, a peculiar scenario is set to play out in several constituencies. The Manitoba Liberal Party, one of the prominent players in the region’s political landscape, remains unrepresented in some key constituencies. The political pundits and pollsters are of the view that this development could potentially tip the balance in favor of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
With the candidate registration deadline now a thing of the past, the official count shows only 49 Liberal candidates vying for seats across 57 constituencies within the province. One such constituency deprived of a Liberal candidate is Selkirk. To Darall Sinclair, a resident of the area, this comes as a surprise, given the traditional presence of Liberal candidates in past elections.
Dougald Lamont, the party leader, expressed his disappointment over the inability to field candidates in all constituencies, stating his firm belief in securing options for voters to cast their ballots in favor of Liberal candidates. His sentiment reflects the gravity of this unprecedented situation the party finds itself in.
Chris Adams, an expert in political studies, propounds that this scenario could prove advantageous for Wab Kinew and the NDP. According to Adams, Liberal supporters without a preferred candidate might be more inclined to switch their allegiance to the NDP as opposed to the PCs. He further points out that of the eight constituencies bereft of Liberal representation, most are known to be PC bastions. However, there are also potential close contests in constituencies like Selkirk and Dauphin, which the NDP seeks to reclaim from the PCs.
When probed about this advantageous position, Kinew opined that he does not take the work of earning the support of people in Selkirk, Dauphin, and other communities for granted.
The dearth of candidates is not exclusive to the Liberals. The Green Party, too, has seen its roster of candidates wear thin as compared to 2019. Curtis Brown, an analyst with Probe Research, suggests that all parties face hurdles in enticing individuals to run for office given the current sociopolitical climate, where potential candidates often encounter hostility on social media and at their doorsteps.
The overall number of candidates engaging in the electoral race reflects this ongoing struggle. There’s a notable reduction in candidates this year, with only 189 in the fray as compared to the 235 registered in 2019. Attempts to reach out to the PCs for an interview on this matter currently remain unanswered.