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In a fight against a familiar opponent in Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba’s lone Liberal cabinet minister has again secured the seat, although by a slimmer margin this time.

Jim Carr won his seat with more than 95 per cent of polls reporting at deadline. Conservative Joyce Bateman, who held the seat from 2011 to 2015, trailed behind. Elections Canada's initial results showed Carr leading with 44 per cent of the vote.

"We didn’t have the same kind of tailwind in this campaign that we had last time and this is normal. You don’t have back-to-back majorities simply in Canada. They’re very rare — especially when you have an opposition that’s really ... designed to bring out, in so many ways, the worst in us," Carr said in his victory speech at the Caboto Centre.

In a speech more than 10 minutes long, the re-elected MP talked about the campaign filled with "rough edges" and "hyper-partisanship" and his disappointment for his former colleague Ralph Goodale, a long-time Liberal who lost the party's only seat in Saskatchewan.

Carr also thanked his supporters for sticking it out in the early winter storm and, afterwards, climbing over boulevards littered with tree limbs.

Carr, 68, was appointed natural resources minister when he was sworn in. After Trudeau’s 2017 cabinet shuffle, he took over the international trade diversification portfolio.

"As trade minister, when I travel, people talk about Canada as if we are a shining light — that we are a beacon," he said.

"When other countries are closing their borders, we are including the world. When other countries are saying no to diversity, we are embracing diversity. When some countries are cutting and following austerity, we're investing in our people, we're investing in our infrastructure, we're investing in each other."

During his first four years in power, Carr led the Trudeau government’s controversial approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. He also oversaw the restoration of the Churchill rail line and worked on trade agreements with countries including Israel, Europe and the Pacific nations.

Bateman’s brief stint aside, Winnipeg South Centre has been a Liberal stronghold for the last three decades.

Carr unseated Bateman during the unexpected red sweep of 2015, in which the party picked up all but one Winnipeg seat. Carr won Winnipeg South Centre handily, with 60 per cent of the vote to Bateman’s 28 per cent.

"There were so many young people involved in our campaign that really believed in what we were doing and there were clearly a lot of people on the streets who agreed with us to — clearly though, not quite enough," Bateman said from her campaign's election night headquarters at the Hilton Garden Inn on Sterling Lyon Parkway.

Bateman said she wished Carr well, and added "we really hope he steals some of our great ideas," such as widening Kenaston Boulevard and planting more trees in the riding.

New Democratic Party candidate Elizabeth Shearer was headed for third place and in fourth was James Beddome with the Green Party of Canada.


Twitter: @macintoshmaggie

Maggie Macintosh

Maggie Macintosh

Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.

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