Current MP: Niki Ashton, NDP
Population eligible to vote (Canadian citizens over age 18): 46,245
Major centres: Churchill, Thompson, The Pas, Norway House, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Flin Flon
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One of the oldest ridings in Manitoba Churchill has been a riding since 1935. It encompasses all of Manitoba's north. It is one the largest ridings geographically in Canada and one of the most difficult to get around with dozens of communities accessible only by air most of the year. It has largely been represented by the NDP for the last 40 years, save two terms served by Liberal MPs - Elijah Harper from 1993 until 1997 and Tina Keeper from 2006 until 2008. Niki Ashton won the riding in 2006 for the NDP and is one of the youngest MPs in the House of Commons.
The riding has the largest aboriginal population of any in the country with nearly seven in every 10 residents First Nations, Inuit or Metis. It is also the second youngest population of any riding in Canada with more than one third of the population under 18. It has the second lowest median income. Faced with rampant poverty, deplorable housing conditions and serious chronic health issues, the riding is one of the most troubled in Canada. It also typically has one of the lowest turnouts. In 2008 just two in every five voters went to the polls, the third worst turnout in Canada.
Previous election results
|Niki Ashton||NDP||8,734 votes||47.5 per cent|
|Tina Keeper||LIB||5,289 votes||28.7 per cent|
|Wally Daudrich||CON||3,773 votes||20.5 per cent|
|Saara Harvie||GRN||606 votes||1.3 per cent|
|Turnout||40 per cent|
Median age: 26.4
Percentage of population under 18: 38 per cent
Percentage of population over 65: 5.5 per cent
Marital status: (people over age 15)
Single/never married: 46.4 per cent
Legally married: 40.9 per cent
Separated/divorced: 8.2 per cent
Widowed: 4.4 per cent
Single parents: 28.5 per cent
Median household income pre-tax: $43,782
Percentage of people living in poverty: 10.1 per cent
Percentage of kids under 18 living in poverty: 14.7 per cent
Single detached homes: 72.4 per cent
Semi-detached/row houses: 7.3 per cent
Low-rise apartment units: 10.9 per cent
High-rise apartment units: 0.9 per cent
Other: 8.4 per cent
Owned homes: 43 per cent
Average value of owned home: $112,210
Average number of rooms in home: 6
Percentage of homes built pre-1986: 64.5 per cent
Percentage of homes needing major repairs: 28.6 per cent
Speaks English: 73.7 per cent
Speaks French: 0.13 per cent
Can speak both English and French: 2.9 per cent
Canadian citizens: 99.3 per cent
Total immigrants (who ever immigrated to Canada): 2.4 per cent
Immigrated within previous five years: 0.3 per cent
First Nations: 61.1 per cent
Métis: 7.7 per cent
Visible minorities: 1.5 per cent
Major ethnic identities (as a percentage of total population): South Asian (0.67 per cent), Black (0.26 per cent), Chinese (0.16 per cent)
Education: (highest level obtained, population 25-64 years old)
Less than high school: 42 per cent
High school diploma: 18 per cent
Apprenticeship/trade certificate: 11.3 per cent
College: 14.8 per cent
University with or without degree: 13.9 per cent
unemployment rate: 15.6 per cent
Top 5 industries (as a percentage of total labour force over 15 years old): health care/social services, agriculture, education, retail, business services.
Drives self to work or was a passenger in car/truck: 75.8 per cent
Bikes or walks to work: 19.5 per cent
Takes public transit: 0.84 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:
Career: Operations manager at the Lazy Bear Lodge.
Education: Graduated from Keewatin Community College and also attended International Baptist College in Phoenix AZ.
Where did you grow up? Winnipeg's West End.
Where do you live now? Churchill, but spent the winter in Thompson living, working and campaigning.
Hobbies/volunteer work: Wally is on the board of the Churchill Economic Development Association, and through his company a member of the Churchill Chamber of Commerce as well as the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association. Wally has also been involved with Big Brothers/Big sisters organization. Hobbies include kayaking, boating, fishing, and hunting. He's also been involved in food bank ministries as well as a board member for local tourism initiative organizations.
Top issue in the riding (and your position on it): Mining industry jobs. My position is to work and vote for mining jobs instead of voting the NDP/Liberal/Bloc positions of Bill C-311, a radical green house gas bill as well as Bill C-300, which would force our multi-billion dollar mining industry out of Canada. Another top issue is the long gun registry issue as only a Conservative government will get rid of this costly and ineffective program.
Favourite book and why: A Journey To a Northern Ocean by Samuel Hearne with forward by Ken McGoogen. An interesting window into the life and times of the 1700's from a prolific writer and naturalist Samuel Hearne.
Career: Former Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (the political organization serving First Nations communities in Northern Manitoba) for 6 years. Served as vice chief of MKO for the previous six years. Currently operates the Mistasineek Gas Bar in Cross Lake.
Education: Attended Dauphin High School from grades 9 to 12, took courses at U of M on economic development and administrative courses, took accredited courses from various institutions that complemented duties at work, received Honourary Doctorate of Law Degree in 1997 from University of Victoria for recognizing the advocacy and work on child welfare.
Where did you grow up? Born in Norway House but grew up in Cross Lake.
Where do you live now? Cross Lake since Sept 2009, having moved back from Winnipeg.
Hobbies/Volunteer: Playing hockey, swimming, running and dog sledding. Volunteered on the Cross Lake School Committee 1981-1989 (member and Chair), Cross Lake Arena Committee 1979-1988 (member and President), coached hockey and basketball.
Top issue in the riding (and your position on it): Education. The dropout rate among Aboriginal students is twice the national average. And those who do reach post-secondary education face long odds against finishing. One of the drivers of these tragic statistics is the underfunding of aboriginal education in Canada. The Liberal Platform promises to lift the cap on post-secondary education and increase funding to K-12 schools, as well as introduce the Learning Passport, and the promise of 100% coverage of broadband in rural and northern areas should make a difference as well.
Favourite book and why: Navigating the River by Ovide Mercredi, about politics and matters that are important to our first people.
Career: Community Addictions Specialist, National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program. My career is based on helping others. I want to contribute to the well-being of Indigenous Peoples, and will continue to do so until my last breath.
Education: Honors degree in social work, from the University of Manitoba. I am also a couple of credits short of a graduate diploma from the University of Concordia in Community Economic Development.
Where did you grow up? Born at Fort Churchill, then moved to Lynn Lake in 1972. We frequently visited Churchill &anp; Tataskweyak, and then I moved to Winnipeg in 1980, to live with my paternal grandmother.
Where do you live now? I reside at Tataskweyak Cree Nation, which is approx. 900 km north of Winnipeg, along the Nelson River. We are in the heart of the Boreal Forest, where the air quality is superb.
Hobbies/Volunteer Work: Lately I've been holding Ribbon Shirt Classes. I am also learning to work on art therapeutic classes, with a clinical psychologist. We look at alternatives to addictive behaviors.
Top Issue in the riding (and your position on it): The economy has been everyone's issue and having sustainable jobs. There are many First Nation communities in the Churchill riding and rural municipalities. Bridging the gaps is a critical issue.
Favorite Book and why: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. The author provides amazing details with a good conspiracy story. I loved the way he made me I feel as though I was there, watching.