Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/1/2009 (3090 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Two ridings will disappear, three more will be added, and at least two more will be radically redrawn. A lot of the shuffling will happen in the city's southern suburbs -- which will be critical battlegrounds for the NDP and Tories in October 2011, when the next provincial election is scheduled.
After a year of study and consultation by a non-partisan commission, the new riding boundary maps were released just before Christmas.
Minnedosa Conservative MLA Leanne Rowat is the obvious victim -- she will lose her Western Manitoba riding completely.
The Winnipeg riding of Lord Roberts -- long an NDP stronghold -- will also be gone. It's currently held by Advanced Education Minister Diane McGifford, who is away on holiday and couldn't be reached for comment. There was speculation leading up to the last provincial election that she might retire, and that speculation still abounds, but party officials say the decision is entirely up to her.
Much of McGifford's riding will be absorbed south into the Fort Garry riding now represented by Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, another one of the female NDP politicians from south Winnipeg known as the "southern belles." The riding will be called Fort Garry-Riverview, and come 2011 it will have two incumbent NDP cabinet ministers representing it.
Irvin-Ross could run in a new riding just to the south called Fort Richmond, but she said no decisions have been made on who might run where.
"The focus now is to represent the people who elected me," she said.
There will also be changes to several other ridings in south Winnipeg that the Tories will target in the next election. If the opposition is to form even a minority government in 2011, the Tories need to essentially sweep the city's suburbs.
The Tories say they plan to start nominating candidates later this year, and all parties are spending the next few months scrutinizing the poll-by-poll results in each riding to determine how each new neighbourhood swings.
The new boundaries don't take effect until the next election, so they won't factor into looming byelections in Elmwood or The Pas.
That leaves MLAs with more than two years to woo new regions that have been added to their ridings and do some internal party jockeying in ridings with two potential incumbents.
Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux, whose riding of Inkster will be imploded, told supporters at a fundraising social Friday night that he'll run in Tyndall Park. But, he's studied the last election results and concedes it might a tougher race for him in 2011.
Much of Lamoureux's riding will fold into the Maples constituency, with the rest forming part of a new riding called Tyndall Park. Rather than try to unseat the NDP incumbent in The Maples, Lamoureux said he'll try his luck in Tyndall Park, where he lives and has his riding office.
Tyndall Park will include the neighbourhoods of Weston and Brooklands, which have traditionally voted NDP. Lamoureux said his review of the 2007 election results suggests he can still win, but his 1,500-vote margin of victory might shrink.
Lamoureux said he respects the neutrality of the boundary commission, but found the changes to his riding "discouraging."
"It's almost like the premier was given the pen to redraw the boundaries," he said.
The overhaul in Lamoureux's neck of the woods also leaves rookie NDP MLA Flor Marcelino with a decision to make. She was elected nearly two years ago in Wellington, but that riding has since been sliced and diced. Part of it is now Tyndall Park and the rest is called Logan and includes the downtown.
Marcelino said both Tyndall and Logan share similar characteristics, and she hasn't decided where she'll run.
"Either would be fine," she said. "Both are appealing."
Rowat, one of her party's most talented new faces, will see her riding disappear, part of a population shift to the province's eastern side. It's possible another Tory MLA nearby might retire in 2011, but there's also talk Rowat might run elsewhere, even in Winnipeg.
Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux also has a decision to make. The heavily francophone chunk of his riding of La Verendrye will be hived off to form part of the new riding of Dawson Trail.
Lemieux, who didn't return a call for comment, has traditionally been strongest in the riding's francophone towns, such as St. Anne, suggesting he might run in Dawson Trail. That would leave the rest of the riding, still known as La Verendrye, easy pickings for the Tories, who dominate in rural Manitoba.