It was fitting — the red and white label of the Budweiser that incumbent MP Jim Carr used to toast his renewed mandate matched the Liberal dressings of the Centro Caboto Centre.
"It’s time now to celebrate," said Carr, who held onto his seat in Winnipeg South Centre, during a victory speech that acknowledged some of the losses federal Liberals suffered across the country, while celebrating the minority government mandate. "Let’s enjoy each other’s company, we have more work to do, but tonight let’s party."
Carr was re-elected in his home riding on Monday night with 20,272 votes cast in his favour, with 190 out of 197 polls reporting at publication.
"Our work has just begun, and there’s so much more work for us to do," Carr told supporters from behind a podium. "And we will do it with that same sense of shared values, our role in the world."
Carr was first elected MP in Winnipeg South Centre in 2015, defeating Conservative incumbent Joyce Bateman. In the 2015 race, Carr was buoyed by so-called Trudeaumania and earned 59.7 per cent of the vote — doubling Bateman’s 28.2 per cent.
The swing riding has been represented by both Conservatives and Liberals historically, and was considered a must-win riding for the Liberals. Carr was the lone Manitoba cabinet minister at the dissolution of the previous Parliament.
Carr, 68, managed to hold off Bateman’s campaign, the closest competitor in the six-way race.
"I never take an election for granted," the Crescentwood resident said. "I’m in the school that always says you’re a couple of votes behind. What you do is make sure that no one works harder than you.
"You behave with integrity and the chips will fall."
Ahead of election day, Winnipeg South Centre was considered by poll aggregators to be a toss-up between Bateman and Car, but that prediction didn’t hold up as Carr gained an early lead, ultimately taking 44.7 per cent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
Conservative supporters and volunteers in Winnipeg South Centre were watching the results nearby at the Hilton Garden Inn in Tuxedo.
Bateman, who previously served as MP for a single term, had hoped to earn back her seat in the House of Commons, and ran a campaign championing the Conservative Party of Canada’s plans for tax breaks for the middle class as well as her own political efforts in getting the new Waverley underpass built.
"We had an incredible team of volunteers and we celebrate the team of volunteers that we had," Bateman said. "We were blown away that so many young people became a part of this movement, during the campaign and we learned from them.
"We really hope Jim steals some of our great ideas and we wish him well," she said.
Bateman earned 13,555 votes, or 29.9 per cent. According to Elections Canada, voter turnout in the riding was 63.67 per cent.
In his first term as MP, Carr, served as Minister of Natural Resources, a position he held until 2018 when a cabinet shuffle moved him into the International Trade Diversification portfolio.
While Carr was Minister of Natural Resources, the Liberal government approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, ultimately purchasing the pipeline project from the Texas-based energy company, and as Minister of International Trade Diversification, Carr was challenged to navigate Brexit, the canola dispute with China, as well as relations with counterparts in the United States.
Carr said the Liberal minority mandate was not necessarily surprising and that it’s very difficult for any party to earn two consecutive majority governments.
"The very nature of governing is making tough choices," Carr said. "Inevitably over the course of a four-year mandate, people are going to turn and find other parties that are more to their liking when it comes to pacing."
Rookie New Democratic Party candidate Elizabeth Shearer came in third, with 8,098 votes, followed by Green Party of Canada candidate James Beddome (2,771), People's Party of Canada candidate Jane MacDiarmid (513), and Christian Heritage Party candidate Linda Marynuk (94).
Danielle Da Silva