Manitoba election to officially start Wednesday, NDP sources say

The Manitoba election will launch Wednesday according to NDP sources.

Greg Selinger to ask for writ to be dropped Wednesday after cabinet meeting: sources

The Manitoba election will launch Wednesday according to NDP sources. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

The Manitoba election will launch Wednesday according to NDP sources.

Premier Greg Selinger will ask the Lieutenant Governor to drop the writ tomorrow morning, officially starting the provincial election campaign.

A cabinet meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m., after which Selinger is expected to formally request writs be issued.

In addition, while answering questions from reporters after Question Period on Tuesday, Selinger seemed to let slip the writ would be dropped tomorrow.

He was discussing NDP candidates going into the election when he said, "A good team usually has a balance of skills and experience, and we're presenting that tomorrow—ah, or any day we decide to call the election."

"We're really excited to get the campaign ready," Manitoba PC leader Brian Pallister said Tuesday. "We're hoping to run a full campaign."

Meanwhile, Rana Bokhari, the Liberal leader, said her party is ready to go.

"Our candidates will be done within the week," she said. "We will definitely be utilizing all vehicles to get our message out there."

The NDP have scheduled a rally with Selinger at the Sturgeon Heights Community Centre for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, while Pallister will make "announcements on the economy" in Winnipeg at 10 a.m., Brandon at 2:30 p.m. and Portage la Prairie at 5:30 p.m.

Bokhari will make an announcement Wednesday at the Legislature at 11:30 a.m. on education.

NDP in 'deep political trouble,' professor says

Paul Thomas, a professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Manitoba, said the NDP will be going into the election in "deep political trouble."

"This could be a very severe setback for the NDP. It's not just the most recent poll but polls going back a year and a half at least when they've been tracking very low in the polls," he said. "[Selinger] is the most unpopular premier in the country and he's running third amongst the party leaders so it's not a good prospect for the NDP."

Thomas said the big fight will be in Winnipeg, as he expects only a few swing seats in rural Manitoba.

Also at play is the recent Liberal win federally.

"The relationship between the provincial side of political life in Canada and the national is a bit of a complicated relationship," said Thomas. "It's not a one-way causation where the Liberals do well nationally [and] they have to do well provincially. Provincial elections are fought on different issues with different leaders."

But when it comes to the federal Conservaties, Thomas said Manitoba's PCs will be trying to differentiate themselves from their federal counterpart.

"They don't want to look too much like the Harper Conservatives. They don't want to be seen as that kind of mean-spirited, controlling party that's all about eliminating deficits and debt," he said. "They want to try to present a message that involves selective cuts to government spending."

He said if Pallister can "avoid a big mistake, he's likely to be the next premier."

Manitobans head to the polls on April 19.

For CBC's full coverage of the provincial election, see Manitoba Votes 2016.