Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

They're off... for real

Official launch this morning despite campaigning

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Premier Greg Selinger will visit Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee this morning at 10:30, officially launching a provincial election that really began last week.

The visit to Government House will be largely anticlimactic thanks to a fixed election date politicians have been eyeing for months.

All parties began campaigning last week, with daily announcements, rallies and public events. The Conservatives have already released their blueprint for the province's economy, while the NDP released its overall vision document.

But when the writ is dropped Tuesday, that triggers election spending limits. From now on, any spending on brochures, signs and television commercials counts toward that limit.

The spending caps are based on the number of voters in each riding. Most candidates can spend between $30,000 and $40,000 in their ridings; in addition, each party can spend about $1.3 million during the campaign.

The next big milestone is Sept. 13, the deadline for candidates to file their nomination papers and the day Manitobans will be able to get full lists of the candidates in their ridings.

After Selinger visits Lee, the NDP will officially launch its campaign with a rally in the riding of River East -- a riding held by Tory MLA Bonnie Mitchelson but one the New Democrats think they can steal. The premier will then decamp to Brandon for a campaign event there.

The Tories will make an afternoon campaign announcement on crime and host a forum on safer communities in Riverview, a solidly NDP riding.

Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard will spend the morning campaigning in the Burrows riding, where he will also make a crime-related announcement at a neighbourhood community centre.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 6, 2011 A4

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