Winnipeg South MP Terry Duguid has held onto his seat for the Liberals in a riding that remained true to its history as a reliable indicator of Canadians’ political leanings.
The former city councillor and environmental activist — who has been tasked with leading federal efforts to clean up Lake Winnipeg — was re-elected by a close margin over runner-up Conservative candidate Melanie Maher. Duguid claimed victory by roughly 1,000 votes, with 73 per cent of polls reporting Monday night. His campaign team pre-emptively declared it was holding a "victory party" to watch the results roll in.
Duguid, who recently served as parliamentary secretary for the Status of Women, spoke to his supporters nearly an hour after his Conservative opponent conceded.
"Through rain, through sleet, through snow, we did it," he said in a ballroom at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel on Pembina Highway. "We are a little microcosm, a little snapshot of Canada right here in Winnipeg South."
Some of Duguid’s supporters who gathered Monday said they were heartened by the work he’s done for immigrants and business.
"Climate change is important for me, but also my business," said Mohamad Jumaily, owner of Mr. Calzone on Pembina.
"And from what I’ve seen from the Liberals' business, I think they are doing a good job."
Duguid's riding has long been a harbinger of Canadians’ changing political views, toggling back and forth between Liberal and Conservative. For at least the past nine federal elections, voters in Winnipeg South have matched national political trends by electing their representative from the party that forms government. This 43rd general election was no exception.
Duguid held on along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the Liberals claimed a minority government, even as some other former Liberal ridings turned from red to blue across the country.
Duguid had 42 per cent of the votes, while Conservative runner-up Maher had 39 per cent with 73 per cent of polls reporting. NDP candidate Jean-Paul Lapointe came in third, with Green candidate Paul Bettess in fourth and People’s Party of Canada candidate Mirwais Nasiri bringing in the fewest votes.
Maher, a first-time political candidate who recently worked as the executive assistant to Manitoba’s finance minister and served in the office of former Conservative Winnipeg South MP Rod Bruinooge, conceded Monday night around 10:20 p.m., when about half the poll results had come in.
"Our results may not have been what we wanted but we’ll get it next time," she said to rousing applause from Conservative supporters at her campaign office within St. Vital mall.
"We were coming close and we did pick up some seats across Canada, so we have to be proud," she said.
Even before the riding’s first results rolled in, Maher said she was happy with how she and her team campaigned. They appealed to concerns among seniors, families trying to make ends meet, and small business owners, she said, and promised to lower taxes and scrap the federal carbon tax.
"We did what we set out to do," she said. "Whatever the outcome is, of course, you know, you want it to be successful, but I wouldn’t change anything. I think that we did everything right, and I just had a tremendous team behind me and I’m so appreciative of the hours and hours that the volunteers give."
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.