September 3, 2015

Heat warning in effect

Brandon - Souris


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Current MP: Merv Tweed, Conservative
Population: 84,600
Population eligible to vote (Canadian citizens over age 18): 62,225
Major centres: Brandon, Killarney, Virden

Nominated candidates:

Dave Barnes, Green
John Bouché, NDP
Wes Penner, Liberal
Merv Tweed, Conservative (

Click on name to jump to candidate's profile

Electoral history:

In existence since 1953, Brandon Souris has elected Conservatives to Parliament all except once. In 1993, the riding sent Liberal Glen McKinnon to Ottawa in an election which saw Liberals win 12 of Manitoba's 14 ridings. It is considered one of the safest Conservative seats in Manitoba. Incumbent MP Merv Tweed has cruised to victory in each of the last four elections with nearly double and some times triple the number of votes of his nearest competitor.

It is a largely rural riding with the city of Brandon as its only urban centre. Agriculture, retail and government jobs in health care and social services dominate the economy. More than nine in 10 residents are Canadian citizens and there are few immigrants or visible minorities.

Previous election results

Merv Tweed CON 19,558 votes 57.1 per cent
Jean Luc Bouché NDP 6,055 votes 17.7 per cent
Dave Barnes GRN 5,410 votes 15.8 per cent
Martha Jo Willard LIB 2,836 votes 8.3 per cent
Jerome Dondo CHP 292 votes 0.9 per cent
Lisa Gallagher CPC 124 votes 0.2 per cent
Turnout 56 per cent


Median age: 39.5
Percentage under 18: 22.6 per cent
Percentage over 65: 16.6 per cent

Marital status:
Single/never married: 30 per cent
Legally married: 53 per cent
Separated/divorced: 9 per cent
Widowed: 8 per cent

Single parents: 12.3 per cent

Median household income pre-tax: $43,908
Percentage living in poverty: 9.4 per cent
Percentage of kids under 18 living in poverty: 11.5 per cent

Single detached homes: 71.2 per cent
Low-rise apartment units: 13.7 per cent
High-rise apartment units: 2.3 per cent
Semi-detached/row houses: 6.5 per cent
Other: 6.4 per cent

Owned homes: 71.3 per cent
Average value of owned home: $126,083
Average number of rooms per home: 7

Speaks English: 94 per cent
Speaks French: 0.5 per cent
Can speak both English and French: 5 per cent

Canadian citizens: 97 per cent
Total immigrants (who ever immigrated to Canada): 5.7 per cent
Immigrated within previous five years: 1.3 per cent

Aboriginal identity:
First Nations: 4.7 per cent
Métis: 3.5 per cent

Visible minorities: 2.5 per cent
Major ethnic identities (as a percentage of total population): Latin American (0.56 per cent), Chinese (0.51 per cent), South Asian (0.49 per cent), Black (0.43 per cent)

Education: (highest level obtained, population 25-64 years old)
Less than high school: 20.5 per cent
High school diploma: 27 per cent
Apprenticeship or trade diploma: 12.4 per cent
College: 20 per cent
University with or without a degree: 20 percent

Unemployment rate: 4.6 per cent
Top 5 industries (as a percentage of total labour force over 15 years old):
agriculture, health care/social services, business services, retail, manufacturing

Drives self to work or was a passenger in car/truck: 71 per cent
Bikes or walks to work: 9.4 per cent
Takes public transit: 2.3 per cent



All candidates were contacted and asked to provide short answers to a standard list of questions and a photograph. The responses we have received are below:

Dave Barnes, Green Party of Canada

Dave Barnes photo

Career: High School teacher, retired last year after 30 years' experience, taught the Prime Minister's Award-winning EcoOdyssey Outdoor School program in Brandon School Division.

Education: B.Sc. (Zoology) 1974 - U. of Manitoba, B.Ed. 1981 - Brandon University

Where did you grow up? Winnipeg

Where do you live now? Brandon since 1979

Hobbies/Volunteer Work: Hobby farming (Treesblood Farm) - maple syrup, honey, garden vegetables & herbs. Volunteer for Westman Immigrant Services

Top issue in the riding (and your position on it): Erosion of democracy in Canadian Life. My position on it: Get Greens in parliament.

Favourite book and why: Walden (Henry David Thoreau), the book that first introduced me to philosophical thought.


Wes Penner, Liberal Party of Canada

Wes Penner photo

Career: Former school teacher, co-founder of Powerland Computers, owner and operator of Wilderness Edge Retreat and Conference Centre in Pinawa

Education: B.A. (St. John's College, U of M); B.Ed (U of Manitoba)

Where did you grow up? I grew up in a farming family in Landmark where my father also operated a puffed wheat factory. My winters were spent in National Mills, a lumber camp in Northern Manitoba.

Where do you live now? Currently, I reside in Winnipeg, but I would be eager to move to the Brandon-Souris area if elected.

Hobbies/volunteer work: My philanthropic interests are broad, and include extensive volunteer work with the Mennonite Central Committee. Through my church, I have sponsored over 100 political refugees over the last thirty years, providing these individuals and families with gainful employment and cultural stabilization.

Top issue in the riding (and your position on it): Farming futures. In an era of great prosperity coming for farmers because of population increase, I intend to ensure continued and enhanced services for farming communities, such as irrigation, drain tiles and promotion of speciality crops. If elected, I would call a meeting within one week to sit down with concerned community members for discussions on this and other local issues.

Favourite book and why: The Bible, which offers a long history of the Judeo-Christian struggle, remains my favourite book, even though I do not consider myself a traditional religious person.


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