Voters brave cold in Arthur-Virden, Morris byelections

Manitobans voted in provincial byelections Tuesday in the Morris and Arthur-Virden constituencies.
Manitobans vote in provincial byelections in the Morris and Arthur-Virden constituencies. 1:53

Manitobans voted in provincial byelections Tuesday in the Morris and Arthur-Virden constituencies.

Polls in both ridings opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m.

Voters were electing a new representative in Morris, which has been vacant since Mavis Taillieu retired from provincial politics in February 2013.

Arthur-Virden has been without an MLA since Larry Maguire resigned to run for — and successfully win — a federal byelection in Brandon-Souris in November.

Both Maguire and Taillieu were Progressive Conservative MLAs.

The candidates in Arthur-Virden are Floyd Buhler (Liberal), Doyle Piwniuk (Progressive Conservative), Bob Senff (NDP) and Kate Storey (Green).

Running in the Morris byelection are Jeremy Barber (Liberal), Dean Harder (NDP), Alain Landry (Green), Shannon Martin (Progressive Conservative) and Ray Shaw (Independent).

While candidates in Arthur-Virden had to contend with extremely cold temperatures, icy roads and tall snowbanks on the campaign trail, some voters in the Morris riding are slowly getting heat back in their homes on Tuesday.

The TransCanada pipeline explosion on Saturday cut off natural gas service to about 4,000 customers in communities southeast of Winnipeg — including Ste. Agathe and Niverville, which are in the Morris riding.

Residential customers in Niverville had their natural gas service restored on Monday night and Tuesday, but some were still waiting for their homes to warm up.

Others waited for Manitoba Hydro crews to visit their homes to ensure their furnaces were working, the CBC's Caroline Barghout reported from Niverville.

One man told CBC News that seniors may not go out to vote on Tuesday because it was too cold outside.

Advance voting

The number of people who voted in advance of the byelection is almost on pace with advance polling in the 2011 provincial election, according to preliminary numbers from Elections Manitoba:

2014 byelection advance polls:

  • Morris - 372 ballots cast 
  • Arthur-Virden - 536 ballots cast

2011 general election advance polls:

  • Morris - 404 ballots cast
  • Arthur-Virden - 699 ballots cast

With files from the CBC's Caroline Barghout