Manitoba election: Green candidate David Nickarz optimistic about his chances in Wolseley

Manitoba Green Party candidate David Nickarz said he is "optimistic" about winning over Wolseley voters in next Tuesday's election, as the provincial party received a boost on Friday from federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

Federal Green Leader Elizabeth May visited Winnipeg to show support for Manitoba candidates

Green Party of Manitoba candidate David Nickarz said he is "optimistic" about winning over Wolseley voters on April 19 and the party is getting help from Elizabeth May, the party leader. 1:57

Manitoba Green Party candidate David Nickarz said he is "optimistic" about winning over Wolseley voters in next week's election, as the provincial party received a boost from federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

Nickarz, who is running in the Wolseley constituency in Winnipeg, says he believes he'll win on Tuesday. (CBC)
May visited Winnipeg on Friday, making her the only federal party leader to come to Manitoba during the campaign leading up to Tuesday's provincial election.

"David Nickarz has a great chance to be the first Green MLA in Manitoba and I'll do everything I can to make that happen," she said to applause.

Rob Altemeyer of the NDP has held the Wolseley constituency since 2003, but Nickarz says he believes this year's election is about change, and that will help shift undecided voters his way.

"I've hit 3,000 doors myself, and there are arguably as many Green signs up in Wolseley as the incumbent," said Nickarz.

"We're confident that those undecideds will come our way, and we're optimistic because the whole election is about change."​

Altemeyer did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. Also running in Wolseley are Raquel Dancho of the Progressive Conservatives, Shandi Strong for the Liberals and Wayne Sturby of the Manitoba Party.

Nickarz said the Green brand is gaining credibility in Canada, helped in part because May successfully passed a private member's bill, the Federal Framework on Lyme Disease Act, and led an amendment to Bill C-46, the Pipeline Safety Act.

Green Party candidate David Nickarz, centre, is joined by provincial Green Leader James Beddome, left, and federal Green Leader Elizabeth May, right, and other party members at a news conference Friday in Winnipeg. (CBC)

Beddome says he's seeing more support

May was joined by Manitoba Green Party Leader James Beddome as she made several appearances around the city on Friday, including one at an anti-poverty rally at the University of Winnipeg.

"She's a very inspirational woman and very knowledgeable woman and I do look up to her," Beddome said.

"I think having her here is important, I think that fact she's the only federal party leader that saw fit to come in and visit Manitoba during the general election shows the Greens do care about Manitoba," Beddome said.

Beddome, who's running in Fort Garry-Riverview, said he's been getting a lot more recognition and support from people at the door since the televised leaders' debate on Tuesday night.

Beddome also took part in a CBC Manitoba candidates' debate and online forum on health care, while Nickarz participated in a forum on environmental issues.

Green Party of Manitoba Leader James Beddome says he's been getting a lot more recognition and support from people at the door since the televised leaders' debate on Tuesday night. (CBC)
"The reaction especially after the debate is really strong, a lot of people are recognizing me and confirming that they already voted for me in advance polls and really anything is possible, so I can see us putting several greens into the legislature," said Beddome.

He said having the federal Green leader visiting Winnipeg during a provincial election campaign helps.

"I've been hearing left, right and centre at the door from people that were voting NDP, people that were voting PC and people that were voting Liberal and people that were not going to vote at all that are coming our way at the very last little bit here and I think we can make this final push," Beddome said.

The Manitoba Green Party has a total of 30 candidates running in this election.

'They should have a chance,' says voter

Among those in Wolseley who plan to vote Green is Leni Morrison, who said she voted NDP in the last election.

Morrison, who came to Canada from the Netherlands, said she does not trust the other parties this time around.

"I think they should have a chance," she said.

"It's all about money, money, money, and they [Greens] care a little bit more — our country, our lakes, our water."

Chris Beauvilain said he previously voted for the NDP but is thinking of voting Green in this election as well.

"I'd just like to see a new direction in the province, and I don't like the Conservatives and I think the Liberals are a bit of a mess, so why not give the Greens a vote?" he said.

"I quite like Elizabeth May," he added. "I like the idea of having more than a two-party system — it's nice to have a little bit more in terms of democracy, [and] they've got a strong environmental stance."

Beauvilain said he's seen Nickarz out and about "more than anyone else."

"He seems to really be going door to door and he's been great," he said of Nickarz. "I'm definitely leaning towards voting for him."

Winnipeg-based political analyst Christopher Adams said if the Greens ever win a seat in Manitoba, it would likely be in Wolseley.

"We've never seen a Green Party elected in Manitoba, the polls don't show support for the Greens in a particular area. But if people did decide to take a flyer, it would happen in Wolseley," he said.

When asked why Wolseley, Adams said, "People are more environmentally conscious, there are more activists, and historically the Greens have done better in Wolseley."

Despite having a reputation for being more eco-aware, and hence Green-voting, citizens, lawns in Wolseley in fact have a vibrant array of orange, blue, red and green political party signs on them.

Adams added that the other possibility for the Green Party would be Fort Garry-Riverview, where Beddome is running.

With files from the CBC's Erin Brohman