THE NDP will pick candidates for the Oct. 4 election in two high-profile races this week, including one in which a former MLA is going up against the daughter of a current cabinet minister.

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THE NDP will pick candidates for the Oct. 4 election in two high-profile races this week, including one in which a former MLA is going up against the daughter of a current cabinet minister.

The NDP's Elmwood nomination meeting is Wednesday, with former MP Jim Maloway trying to jump back into provincial politics. His only competition is former broadcaster Shaneen Robinson, who lost her city council run to Thomas Steen in last October's municipal election. To add some drama to this race, Robinson is the daughter of provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson, who used to sit with Maloway in the provincial NDP caucus.

Maloway said Monday he's confident he'll win the nomination and win the northeast Winnipeg seat for the New Democrats, despite slight boundary changes, in the fall election.

"I've represented this areas under various boundary changes over the years," he said.

Robinson said Monday it's her goal to make sure Maloway doesn't win the candidacy, and party members take the NDP in Elmwood in a new direction.

"It's not going to be easy," she said, "but I hope the membership is ready for a change and to be progressive. I'm up for that battle."

Maloway, 58, was the MLA for Elmwood from 1986 to 2008 before he resigned to run for the vacant federal seat in Elmwood-Transcona, a seat held by a retiring Bill Blaikie. Maloway lost that seat in the federal election this past May.

Blaikie came out of retirement to run in and win a March 2009 provincial byelection in Elmwood. He announced his retirement from political life July 11.

Maloway said he's spent the past three months actively campaigning and believes voters in Elmwood are in no mood to switch party allegiances.

"There's always an uneasiness for voters to have the same power federally and provincially," he said. "They don't like the same party at both levels."

The Liberal candidate in Elmwood is health-care aide Anthony Dratowany. The Progressive Conservatives have yet to nominate a candidate.

The second NDP nomination meeting is Thursday in St. Norbert, a constituency that's critical to Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen's plans to form the next government.

PC candidate Karen Velthuys, a former school trustee, and Liberal candidate Marcel Laurendeau, a former MLA, were both nominated by their parties more than a year ago.

Candidates for the NDP nomination are Gurmail Mangat, president of Unicity Taxi, and Dave Gaudreau, who was the NDP candidate in Winnipeg South in the last federal election.

Mangat said Monday the NDP executive should have held a nomination meeting months ago, as Velthuys and Laurendeau have had a year's head-start.

The seat is vacant because NDP MLA Marilyn Brick announced in February she would not run again. Brick held the constituency since 2003, winning it from Laurendeau.

With the electoral boundary changes this election, St. Norbert is expected by some to be more PC-friendly as it takes in a wider swath of affluent Fort Whyte in south Winnipeg, potentially giving Velthuys the edge.

Gaudreau said Monday he does not see an appetite for change when he talks to folks in St. Norbert.

"We've had a really great stretch of good times," he said. "Why would the strongest province in the recent recession want a change?"

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca