Manitoba Green Party fails to gain seat in legislature, losing Wolseley riding
Winnipeg riding of Wolseley was party's best hope but candidate David Nickarz lost to NDP's Lisa Naylor
The Green Party of Manitoba has failed to capitalize on the gains of Greens across the country, ending the provincial election with no seats in the Manitoba Legislature.
The party's main hope was the Winnipeg riding of Wolseley, where candidate David Nickarz came in second place in the 2016 election, less than 400 votes behind the NDP.
But Nickarz lost to NDP rival Lisa Naylor this time, by more than 900 votes.
"We did the best we possibly could in this riding," he said. "We know it wasn't a victory but we still got out there and got things done.… This is a great stepping stone to the next election."
Nickarz walked away from election night capturing 36 per cent of the vote, with Naylor taking 46 per cent.
He said he's unsure if he'll run again, but he plans to help with the Greens' federal campaign.
"Maybe next time it will go better. Maybe I'm the candidate for next time and maybe not. I've really got to consult with my party and my family, and see if it's the right move for me," he said. "But already we have a lot of people joining the party and making it better."
The Wolseley riding was redrawn for the 2019 election, which may have made it harder for the Greens to win. Based on the new boundaries, Nickarz would have lost the 2016 election by more than 1,200 votes.
The NDP have held the riding since 1990, with NDP MLA Rob Altemeyer, who had been in the job since 2003, announcing in 2018 that he would not seek re-election.
This provincial election saw the Manitoba Greens run 43 candidates, more than ever before. Greens have won seats in provincial elections in Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick, and now form the official opposition on P.E.I.
The Green Party headed into the election day polling at seven per cent support, down from the 11 per cent support they enjoyed in August.
Green Party Leader James Beddome pitched himself and the Greens as an alternative to the status quo.
"It wasn't our night," Beddome said following the results. "We were obviously hoping to break through.
"We ran a super strong campaign, I think we impressed the public … I think we gained more credibility," he said, adding that the party spent more money on the campaign than ever before.
"I don't really see these as failures. This is just, maybe, growing pains," he said.
"It's just a matter of time. I'm tenacious and dogged and so is the party. We're going to continue on until we're successful."
Beddome finished third in his riding of Fort Rouge, a seat that was won by NDP Leader Wab Kinew.
Beddome said he will now focus his efforts on running in the federal election. In the past, he had mused about letting Nickarz take over the provincial leadership of the party if he won for Wolseley.
"I'll still be here as the head of the Manitoba Greens as long as the membership still wants me," Beddome said after polls closed Tuesday.
The Greens campaigned on a greener economy, promising to raise the carbon tax, ban single-use plastics and reduce the province's waste by funding municipal compost programs. The Greens also touted a guaranteed basic income, expanded funding for transit and more child-care spaces.