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This article was published 8/10/2019 (354 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A typical day of door-knocking for Billie Cross ends with an ice pack.
It was only six months ago the New Democrat candidate underwent surgery to repair three torn ligaments in her right ankle, so she has had to push herself both physically and emotionally to complete two consecutive election campaigns.
"In the beginning, it was really hard. I was exhausted," said Cross, who ran under the orange banner for the provincial seat of Lagimodière last month and is now looking to win over voters in Saint Boniface-Saint Vital in the Oct. 21 federal election.
"Some days are better than others. I’ve gone through several pairs of shoes because I need to make sure I have a supportive shoe because it’s been painful at times."
“Some days are better than others. I’ve gone through several pairs of shoes." –Billie Cross, NDP candidate
At least 10 federal MP hopefuls in Manitoba — four Green party candidates, three New Democrats, two Liberals and one independent — are running federally after coming up short provincially last month.
With less than 24 hours between the end of the provincial election on Sept. 10 and the start of the federal one Sept. 11, they've been campaigning nearly non-stop for two months. Some have been out there longer.
Cross was back on both feet for Canada Day, the day the secondary school teacher launched a provincial campaign that would end with a second-place finish. Her Progressive Conservative rival, Andrew Smith, beat her by 2,395 votes. Still, supporters and volunteers encouraged her to take another run at politics.
Cross said she’s driven by the stories she has heard at the doorstep. Residents in both her provincial constituency and federal riding want the same things, she said: a national pharmacare program and affordable child care.
With just two weeks to go before Oct. 21, a firm belief in the need for ambitious climate-change policies is what's keeping Green Party of Manitoba Leader James Beddome pounding the pavement.
Beddome finished third in Fort Rouge (provincial NDP Leader Wab Kinew won the riding) last month. Now, he is focused on running federally in Winnipeg-South Centre.
This time around, his team of volunteers is focusing on phoning constituents, while he has also been ringing doorbells in the riding, whose incumbent is Liberal Jim Carr, the only Manitoban in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet.
"Because of where I live, I tend to come up against some pretty powerful incumbents, but nonetheless, you just keep working. I don’t think any politician is ultimately safe," Beddome said.
"I don’t think any politician is ultimately safe." –James Beddome, Green candidate
He was late — very late — getting his campaign signs on lawns in the riding; he hedged his bets and held off ordering them in the summer, buoyed by optimism over his chances in Fort Rouge. His federal campaign signs didn't arrive until Monday.
Beddome said he would have preferred Premier Brian Pallister had respected the province's fixed election date, which would have sent Manitoba voters to the polls a year from now, but he doesn't regret running back-to-back.
"Win or lose, we have significant impact.… Even the Conservative party now has to have an environmental platform," he said.
His one other complaint? "It’s just been so wet, cold and awful. It’s not prime door-knocking weather, shall we say," he said, followed by a chuckle.
Up north, Liberal candidate Cathy Scofield-Singh, a nurse practitioner, is keeping at her campaign in Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa with high spirits and health care on her mind.
"It’s really not fair for our constituents to be deciding between paying their bills and buying their pills," said Scofield-Singh, who lost to PC Brad Michaleski by 773 votes in her provincial campaign in Dauphin.
No matter the outcome later this month, she said she is grateful to have had the opportunity to run. She'll be marking the occasion with a celebration dinner with her kids.
Her Liberal colleague, Terry Hayward, said he will end his two-campaign stretch in Lac du Bonnet and Brandon-Souris with a belated celebration win or lose: his birthday is on the eve of the election.
Until then, he is focused on building up name recognition until voters hit the polls, he said.
“I wouldn’t do a third back–to–back campaign this fall, but I’d certainly do it again in another year.” –Andrew Taylor, Communist candidate
Communist Party of Canada candidate Andrew Taylor has the same plan. He has a total of 18 volunteers to help spread his message during the home stretch.
A proud communist, the 63-year-old lost the Notre Dame race last month and is currently facing off against longtime Liberal Kevin Lamoureux in Winnipeg North.
It’s been a long few months of campaigning, he said.
"I wouldn’t do a third back-to-back campaign this fall, but I’d certainly do it again in another year."
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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