Manitoba braces for fall provincial election

On October 3, Manitobans will be going to the polls for the province’s forty-third general election. The official campaign period is expected to kick off on September 5, with Premier Heather Stefanson requesting the issuance of a writ of election from Lieutenant-Governor Anita Neville.

But if you’ve been following the news in recent weeks, the unofficial election cycle is already well underway.

The leaders in the Legislative Assembly, in the running to become premier, are Heath Stefanson of the Progressive Conservatives (PC), Wab Kinew of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Dougald Lamont of the Manitoba Liberal Party (MLP), and Janine Gibson of Green Party of Manitoba (GPM).

It is so far expected to be a tight race between the incumbent PCs and opposition NDP. Should the PCs come out on top this fall, it will be their third consecutive term in office, having won both the 2016 and 2019 elections. However, the NDP currently enjoy a slight polling advantage.

The NDP were in power for four consecutive terms prior to 2016, when the Greg Selinger’s government was defeated by Brian Pallister. At that time, the NDP had increased the PST by one percent after having promised not to do so during the previous election cycle.

The 2016 election was a historic win by the PCs, in which the party took 40 out of the 57 seats in the Legislative Assembly. A total of 29 seats are needed to form a majority government.

In 2019, Pallister’s PC won by only a slightly smaller margin, winning 36 seats. However, Pallister resigned in 2021 and Stefanson was chosen to succeed him in the premiership.

Just days from the official start of the 2023 election campaign, there are still a few gaps in terms of announced candidates around the province.

So far, only the PCs and NDP have officially nominated candidates in the Springfield-Ritchot riding. Ron Schuler holds the seat and is running for re-election. Representing the NDP is newcomer Tammy Ivanco.

Ivanco works as an associate professor at the University of Manitoba and lives on a farm in the Springfield area. She won the nomination back in May.

Schuler was first elected in the Springfield riding back in 1999 and has been re-elected in each of the five elections since then.

Just prior to 2019, the provincial riding boundaries were redrawn, producing a local shakeup when the Niverville and Ritchot areas were amalgamated into Schuler’s Springfield riding.

Stay tuned to The Citizen over the course of the next few weeks for extensive election coverage, including interviews with each of the Springfield-Ritchot candidates.

Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen