The tides have turned in Winnipeg South, a Conservative stronghold since 2006, to support a new Liberal MP in Terry Duguid.
Duguid was elected on Oct. 19 to represent Winnipeg South with a commanding 28,096 votes (58.3 per cent).
"I’m feeling good, catching up on a little sleep, and reintroducing myself to my family," Duguid told The Sou’wester. "And I’m looking forward to serving the people of Winnipeg South."
After running unsuccessfully in previous elections, always being trounced by the Conservative candidate, Duguid said this election victory is special.
"I’ve lost three elections and I just won one," he said. "The election victory has a lot of ingredients. You need a good local campaign and a good national campaign. In this case we had both."
"My team has always run good campaigns in all of the elections I’ve run in," he added. "But if you’re facing stiff headwinds it’s difficult to prevail.
"We just don’t take this victory for granted. It’s very special to me and I look forward to getting to know the people of Winnipeg South even better."
As he prepares to head to Ottawa, Duguid has a long list of priorities he is taking with him. On the top of the list, which includes advocating for Lake Winnipeg, science and innovation support within post-secondary institutions, and a regional recreation campus for seniors and youth, is infrastructure.
"The southwest transit corridor is certainly a very specific initiative that I will be paying a lot of attention to," Duguid said.
Duguid said connecting the University of Manitoba to downtown through a transit corridor is needed and the general infrastructure of the area has not kept up with growth.
"Our massive infrastructure program will be implemented soon and I will be fighting to make sure we get our fair share," he said.
Duguid beat Conservative candidate Gordon Giesbrecht, a University of Manitoba professor, to take the seat in Winnipeg South. Giesbrecht stepped in as the Conservative candidate after former area MP Rod Bruinooge announced he would not seek re-election. Voters cast 16,709 votes (34.7 per cent) for the Conservatives, but he was swept away by a crimson tide, Giesbrecht said.
"It’s really an indication of the importance of what happens in a national campaign," he said of the national result. "It greatly overshadows the local campaign and if you get caught up in it, it’s very frustrating."
Giesbrecht said he ran an excellent local campaign with dedicated volunteers but forces were against him.
"It was a great group of people who all worked extremely hard especially in the last number of weeks. But as it turns out, no amount of work was going to stop the crimson tide.
"It was really sad to be a part of that, and be run over by that," he said with a laugh. "Despite all of that it was a very valuable inspiring experience because of all the volunteers that we had."
Giesbrecht is back at work at the University of Manitoba researching thermophysiology and will likely be active in the upcoming provincial election.
"I had reached out to folks in all four of the provincial ridings, that are within (Winnipeg South) and I told them that I’d be working hard with all of them in the April election because… if there was mood for change in the federal government after nine years, there’s certainly a mood for change having this provincial NDP government for 17 years," Giesbrecht said.
Other candidates in Winnipeg South included Brianne Goertzen (NDP) who garnered 2,404 votes (5 per cent) and Adam Smith (Green) received 990 votes (2.1 per cent). Overall voter turnout in the riding was at 75.8 per cent.