The provincial election might be the annoying earworm distracting us from the Jets, the Blue Bombers and the waning days of our perfect summer.
We claim not to care, to be too busy keeping up with the Banjo Bowl and Dustin Byfuglien, but we can still rattle off the names of our local candidates and a couple of hot election issues.
And, among the Winnipeggers interviewed by the Free Press Sunday afternoon at the MTS Iceplex, every one of them planned to vote on Oct. 4.
Here's a taste of what people said:
Are you focused on the election at all at this point?
I know it's coming up, but my focus is more on hockey at this point.
Have you considered for whom you might vote?
It will probably be NDP.
Any issues that have captured you imagination so far?
I would probably say health care, I guess...
Have you been watching any of the negative ads on TV or the billboards?
Nope, nope, not interested in paying attention to that stuff.
If you have to characterize this election, how would you describe it?
I would say "overshadowed by the Jets."
-- Glen Land, who works in health care and lives in the Charleswood riding.
Have you given the election much thought? What are your impressions of it so far?
Carol Fraser: (laughs) I haven't really given it much thought.
Dennis Fraser: [Riel NDP MLA Christine Melnick] has been at our door.
Carol: Yes, and she's called us twice.
Do you tend to vote NDP normally or are you undecided?
Dennis: We vote every election and it's usually undecided until the end.
Do you have the impression you're in a fairly tight tiding, that there's a real race there?
Carol: No, I think Christine Melnick's done her work.
Any issues burning in your mind that you've been asking candidates about?
Carol: I mentioned crime to her and education and health care... Crime doesn't seem to be too bad in our neighbourhood but there are the usual break-ins and car thefts. Car theft is down, though, so...
-- Dennis and Carol Fraser, retired and living in the Riel riding
Have you had any visits from candidates yet?
I've had phone calls, like where they leave the recorded messages... I had one from [Conservative Leader Hugh] McFadyen.
Any issues on your mind?
Crime has always been a issue for me, but other than that, nothing specific that bugs me every day.
Anything specific about crime? Do you want to see more cops, more prevention...?
I think it's more a case of people not being punished enough. The cops are doing what they can but beyond them...
Have you decided how you're going to vote?
I'm a PC... We've always been a PC household.
Do you think the PCs will win, the NDP will get defeated this time?
I think with the death of Jack Layton, that might have increased the popularity of the NDP a little bit. He was a good guy, so I don't know if that will make a difference or not. Maybe the PCs will still take it because in Canada, I find, people can separate their emotions when they're voting.
Do you think, especially with Jets, the Bombers, the weather, is this election really grabbing people at all?
Not at all. There's just too much else going on. Politics has never been exciting, in my world, so when there's any thing else to talk about -- the Jets just came back, the Bombers are doing so well, the weather has been insanely good. Those things just trump everything else. Maybe next week when it cools off a little bit...?
-- Lori Garet, an engineer who lives in the Southdale riding
The provincial election? On your radar?
Not really. More interested in the Jets than the provincial election.
Do you know which way you're going to vote?
No, not yet.
Is there something that will help you decide, an issue?
So far, I'm lukewarm toward McFadyen. He's just not done anything yet to impress me. And everything is going so well in the province right now, so you're kind of, status quo, even though I traditionally wouldn't go with the NDP.
-- Stuart Blake, lawyer and Riel riding resident
Have you had any visits from any candidates yet?
Yes. Scott Gillingham and Deanne Crothers.
Do you feel engaged? Are you following the election?
Yeah, a little bit. I certainly do care.
Any issues that pop up that are on your mind?
For us, daycare has always been a bit of a challenge. More daycares would be great.
Among your friends, are people talking about the provincial election? Are you seeing signs? Is it on the radar?
A lot of signs, but not a lot of friends talking...
Do you think anything's going to change in the provincial government after Oct. 4?
Right now it looks about 50-50, so that's a good question.
-- Cameron Neufeld, a parking services manager who lives in the St. James riding