Candidates running in Winnipeg's inner city nearly all riding outsiders, CBC News analysis finds
Twenty-five out of 31 candidates running in the city’s core don’t live where they’re running
More than 80 per cent of candidates vying to become MLAs for Winnipeg's inner-city communities don't live within the boundaries of the ridings where they're running, CBC News has found, with some living deep in suburbia, bedroom communities outside city limits and even in Brandon.
CBC News analyzed the declared home addresses of all 235 official candidates and compared those locations to the riding boundaries in which they are actively soliciting votes for the upcoming election on Sept. 10.
Manitoba's Election Act requires the chief electoral officer to publish the name, home address, political affiliation and official agent for each candidate.
Inner city: Many riding outsiders
Twenty-five out of 31 candidates running in the city's core don't live where they're running.
Ridings like Burrows and Tyndall Park don't have a single local candidate, while St. Johns, Point Douglas and Notre Dame have only one each. Excluding extreme outliers, candidates running in these ridings live an average of more than seven kilometres away as the crow flies, or about the same distance from The Forks to Transcona.
Having outside candidates is not unique to these ridings, but given their large slate of nominees and at time far-flung distances from ridings, they are among the most extreme cases in the province.
Notably, there are three incumbent candidates who live outside the riding where they're running: NDP candidate Nahanni Fontaine who lives in South Winnipeg but is running St. John's, NDP candidate Ted Marcelino, who lives in Union Station but is running in Tyndall Park and Liberal candidate Cindy Lamoureux, who lives in and previously represented Burrows but is now running in Tyndall Park.
The analysis also provides a window into the challenges for parties to recruit candidates in what are likely unwinnable seats. These inner-city neighbourhoods that haven't elected a conservative-leaning politician since at least 1981 were also among the very last confirmed nominations from the Progressive Conservative Party. In fact, at the time of publication, PC nominees for the ridings still didn't have complete profiles on the party's website.
In the Notre Dame riding, the PC candidate lives in Brandon, while the party's candidate for Burrows live in the south end of the Waverley West neighbourhood.
Mary Agnes Welch, a principal at Probe Research, says it can be easier to recruit local candidates in more affluent ridings like in Tuxedo, where all current candidates live in the neighbourhood.
Welch says while for most voters having a local candidate is likely not in and of itself a make or break factor in their voting choice, but for areas with more vulnerable populations having a local voice can carry more weight. She does make the distinction between so-called "parachute candidates" who have no connection to the riding's community and riding outsiders who may have grown up or worked their whole life in the area.
"Can you represent an area that you don't live in? I think in many ways you can, if you go out of your way to make those deep connections and maintain those connections," she said. "But I think you could argue with some merit that poorer inner-city neighbourhoods....need a very strong on the ground, vocal, connected MLA who really knows the issues on the ground."
Two thirds of Liberal candidates are outsiders
Province-wide, just over half of all candidates (51 per cent) live outside their race ridings.
In the 2016 general election, 44 per cent of Liberals on the ballot were non-resident candidates. In 2019, that number has jumped to 65 per cent.
The NDP has 54 per cent and the PCs 44 per cent outsider candidates. While this represents an improvement for the NDP relative to 2016, the PCs had for more local candidates last election, when over 75 per cent of their candidates were local to the ridings where they ran.
Leaders: Only Green lives in riding
This election, three of the four main party leaders live outside of their ridings. Only Manitoba Green Party Leader James Beddome is running in his home riding of Fort Rouge.
"Given that official boundaries are always changing, it is more important that our candidates are connected to the community they are running in, even if they don't live within the official boundaries," said Green candidate for Wolseley David Nickarz.
Indeed, boundary changes for this upcoming election have caused some candidates to suddenly find themselves outside of their old electoral division. NDP Leader Wab Kinew, who lived in Fort Rouge under the former boundaries, now finds himself living about 200 metres over the line in the River Heights riding due to an eastward shift in that riding. However, he is running in the Fort Rouge constituency.
NDP spokesperson Emily Coutts said the best candidate is a person committed to working with residents to improve their community, and believes running a full slate is critical.
"New Democrats believe all Manitobans should have the choice to vote for Wab Kinew and his plan to end Brian Pallister's health care cuts. We run a full slate of strong candidates across the province, including those who don't necessarily live in their constituency, so that every family has the options they deserve," she said.
PC Leader Brian Pallister, who lives on Wellington Crescent in the northernmost part of River Heights, is running for a third time in Fort Whyte — a conservative stronghold that he first won during a 2012 byelection that was triggered by the resignation of former Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen.
Asked why Pallister doesn't run in his home riding, Keith Stewart, CEO of the PC Party of Manitoba, simply responded: "Brian Pallister has twice earned the trust of his constituents in Fort Whyte because they can count on him to be a strong voice for the community."
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, who lives in Fort Garry but is running St. Boniface, says he's actively searching for homes in that community. Lamont said he expected to be moved before the general election, but the early election call disrupted that plan.
"My wife and I have four kids, so part of it is minimizing the disruption," he said. "Being in politics, you ask a lot of your family....and so it's really important to me to minimize the disruption for them as much as I can."
Do your local candidates live in your riding?
Data source for this project: Elections Manitoba
Analysis and calculation performed by CBC data journalist Jacques Marcoux using PostGIS