The 42nd provincial general election campaign came to a close on Sept. 10 with few surprises for voters in southwest Winnipeg.
Called early, and in the dog days of summer, the provincial election ended as many pundits and polls predicted: with a Progressive Conservative majority, most incumbents heading back to Broadway, and a disengaged voter pool.
Across the province, voter turnout was lower than in 2016 at 55.5 per cent, according to Elections Manitoba. Of the 853,378 Manitobans registered to vote, 472,249 votes were cast, 2,153 votes rejected, and 1,106 votes declined.
That trend carried over into electoral divisions in the southwest where new boundaries, wide-open races, and party leaders failed to entice the majority of voters to a polling station.
Waverley, Fort Richmond go to the PCs
Jon Reyes was successful in his bid to become MLA for the new electoral division of Waverley. The constituency was created following the 2018 Electoral Boundaries Commission when St. Norbert was wiped off the map.
Reyes, 47, previously represented St. Norbert at the Legislature and is a member of the Progressive Conservatives.
He managed to earn over half of the voters in Waverley with 3,265 ballots cast in his favour, or 50.03 per cent, according to unofficial results from Elections Manitoba.
The NDP’s Dashi Zargani was a distant second with 1,865 votes, Liberal candidate Fiona Haftani came in third with 1,070, and the Green Party of Manitoba’s candidate James Ducas finished with 325 votes.
When reached on Sept. 12, Reyes was already at his constituency office handling requests from the community.
"I’m right at it," Reyes said. "I’m excited to get things going on the ground in my constituency. I’ve already communicated with the local city councillor and whoever will be the local MP in that area.
"It’s all about being on the ground and listening to people, and making sure that I am communicating with my colleagues," he said.
The Waverley riding is one of the fastest growing in terms of population with the brand-new neighbourhoods of Bridgwater and South Pointe falling in its boundaries. Just 54 per cent of eligible voters turned out at the polls.
"I was not surprised," Reyes said, adding that a number of variables including a summer campaign could have contributed to the voter turnout. "We worked really hard getting as many people as we can, just being at the doorsteps."
Nearby in the newly drawn constituency of Fort Richmond, incumbent PC MLA Sarah Guillemard held onto her seat, despite a strong challenge from Liberal candidate Tanjit Nagra.
Guillemard, 41, was first elected in 2016 unseating former NDP cabinet minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, who represented the area for 13 years.
This time around, Guillemard won with 42.2 per cent of the vote and 3,241 votes cast in her favour.
"I think it was very consistent to what we were tracking ourselves through our office, and door-knocking and finding that support," Guillemard said.
She said her campaign was a grassroots effort and relied on family and friends to get out the vote, and admitted the summer made volunteer recruitment a challenge.
Reflecting on the results from across the province, Guillemard said she’s looking forward to being on the inside of a new PC government.
"There’s a sense of determination to fulfil some of those projects we started, and a recognition that it’s a huge responsibility."
Nagra, 23, proved to be a tough competitor earning 2,361 votes, or 30.7 per cent of the vote, a difference of 880.
"I’m proud of what my team and I were able to accomplish," Nagra said, thanking her volunteers. "In 2016, the Liberals in Fort Richmond had about just over 800 votes, and we tripled that, so I’m very pleased with the results. Obviously it’s unfortunate we couldn’t get the win, but I think we had some great conversations at the doors.
"It’s clear people wanted change, I just don’t think they could agree on which change they wanted," she said.
NDP candidate George Wong came in third with 1,701 votes, and the Green Party’s Cameron Proulx received 379. Overall voter turnout in the neighbourhood was 57.2 per cent.
In total, the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba earned 36 seats in the Legislature to form a solid majority. At dissolution, the PCs held 38 seats. The NDP will form the official opposition with 18 seats. The Liberals were elected to three seats.
Incumbents hold on tight
In Fort Whyte, incumbent MLA and PC leader Brian Pallister easily held on to his seat with 57 per cent of the vote and 5,609 votes. NDP candidate Beatrice Bruske was the runner-up with 1,755 votes; Liberal candidate Darrel Morin was third with 1,729 votes; the Green Party’s Sara Campbell had 665 votes and Manitoba First candidate Jason Holenski had 54 votes.
Turnout in Fort Whyte was 62. 9 per cent.
North in Tuxedo, longtime PC MLA Heather Stefanson was re-elected with 47 per cent of the vote (4,587). Liberal candidate Marc Brandson was the runner-up with 2,225 votes, followed by Carla Compton (NDP - 1,919), Kristin Lauhn-Jensen (GPM - 822), and Abby Al-Sahi (MF - 60).
Voter turnout was 59.4 per cent.
Voters in St. Norbert also opted for new representation in PC MLA-elect Janice Morley-Lecomte. Morley-Lecomte was re-elected in the newly aligned riding of Seine River, which includes the neighbourhood of St. Norbert. Morley-Lecomte won with 45 per cent of the vote (4,363), followed by Durdana Islam (NDP - 2,513), James Bloomfield (Lib. - 2,147), and Bryanne Lamoureux (GPM - 658).
In Seine River 63.4 per cent of the electorate made it to the ballot box.
Fort Rouge incumbent MLA Wab Kinew held onto the realigned riding, beating out five other contenders.
Kinew, leader of the Manitoba NDP, earned 5,031 votes or 51.1 per cent. The PC’s Edna Nabess was runner up with 1,854 votes, followed by Green Party leader James Beddome (1,579), Cyndy Friesen (Lib. - 1,285), Michael McCracken (MF - 54) and Bradley Hebert (MBFWD - 29).
Voter turnout in Fort Rouge was 60.6 per cent.
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at email@example.com