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Gauntlet down. Nominations on.

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Michael Ignatieff threw down the gauntlet Monday.

Which means we’re heading to the polls, unless Stephen Harper is so dead set against going back to the polls that he’s willing to deal with the NDP a la Paul Martin in 2005.

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Layton apparently wants credit card interest rates to be regulated or some sort of reform on insurance to protect pensions.

Both are retail political issues with voters. Who wouldn’t want to see the interest they pay on their Visa or Mastercard cut? Or know that if their company goes belly up their retirement fund doesn’t evaporate with it?

Plus not having an election, to boot. If that happens, every reporter I know might just think Christmas came early.

But last fall the Conservatives were pretty clear that the Liberals should be blasted to smithereens for joining forces with the "socialists" (NDP) and the "separatists" (Bloc Quebecois).

Of course it wouldn’t exactly be a shocker for politicians to be hypocritical...

That all said, so far the Conservatives are definitely the most organized federal party in Manitoba. They have nominated candidates in 12 of the 14 ridings.

Eight of their current incumbents have been nominated:

Inky Mark, the ninth Tory MP, is not seeking re-election. Bob Sopuck has been nominated to run in Inky’s place in Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette.

The Conservatives also have Wally Daudrich running in Churchill, Raymond Hall running in Winnipeg South Centre, and Bev Pitura in Winnipeg Centre, leaving only Winnipeg North and Elmwood-Transcona to go.

The Liberals have got candidates in their target ridings:

Anita Neville, the only incumbent Liberal, doesn’t have to go through a formal nomination process because she met Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s membership requirements: minimum of 400 members in her riding association and at least 40 $10/month donors to the Victory Fund. Neville is in the midst of finalizing her nomination papers in Winnipeg South Centre this week.

The NDP, as far as I can tell, have only got Jim Maloway in Elmwood-Transcona so far. They’ve got some work to do. At least three nominations are scheduled in September:

Note: NDP MP Pat Martin's nomination meeting scheduled for Sept. 25 has been cancelled due to the ongoing provincial leadership race. Martin says if there is a "snap election" he will have a "snap" nomination meeting. Once the writ is dropped all the timing and notification requirements for a nomination meeting go out the window.

It will be an interesting time for the NDP. The federal wing of the party has long benefitted from close ties to the well-organized bunch in the provincial government. But the provincial folk are focused on finding a replacement for Doer, and the federal folk may find themselves with a few less people to draw on come election call.

The Green Party has nominated Kathy Storey in Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette and Jacqueline Romanow in Winnipeg Centre.
 

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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