Manitoba·Analysis

10 ridings to watch in the Manitoba provincial election

With new boundaries, new ridings and new leaders at the helm of the NDP and Manitoba Liberals, some of the province's 57 ridings may have surprising results in the Sept. 10 election. Here is a look at 10 ridings to watch as Manitobans prepare to vote.

Several races could be tight, especially in Winnipeg

Several ridings have new boundaries as Manitobans go to the polls in the Sept. 10 provincial election. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

With new boundaries, new ridings and new leaders at the helm of the Manitoba NDP and Liberals, some of the province's 57 ridings may have surprising results in the Sept. 10 provincial election.

Here are 10 ridings to watch as Manitobans prepare to vote in the upcoming provincial election.

St. Vital

The southeastern Winnipeg riding swung Progressive Conservative in 2016 with the election Colleen Mayer, after longtime NDP MLA Nancy Allan didn't seek re-election.

Who is running? Jeffrey Anderson (Liberal), Elizabeth Dickson (Green Party), Colleen Mayer (Progressive Conservatives), Jamie Moses (New Democratic Party), Baljeet Sharma (Independent), David Sutherland (Manitoba First).

Why is it in play? While Mayer's profile increased after being promoted to cabinet in 2018, the NDP are putting a lot of resources into the riding. It historically has swung between the two parties. It was held by NDP MLA Jim Walding for almost over 15 years starting in 1971, and was held by Allan for 17 years. Jamie Moses, running again this year for the NDP, faced off against Mayer in 2016 and lost by just 400 votes.  

How have the boundaries changed? The riding now encompasses Victoria Crescent and the riverside homes of Kingston Crescent. It has also lost Glenlawn. If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, Mayer's victory margin would have increased to 750.

Thompson

One of the biggest shocks of 2016 was when longtime NDP cabinet minister Steve Ashton lost to PC candidate Kelly Bindle by 185 votes. Ashton had served as MLA since 1981. The only other time the seat has been held by a Tory was for one term in 1977.

Who is running? Danielle Adams (NDP), Kelly Bindle (PC), Darla Contois (Liberal), Meagan Jemmett (Green).

Why it is in play? It is widely seen as an NDP stronghold. Ashton tried to seek the nomination but was blocked by the NDP. However, Danielle Adams's nomination was backed by Ashton. A longtime constituency assistant to Niki Ashton (Steve's daughter), she has inroads in the community that could benefit her.

How have the boundaries changed? It now extends further north to include Churchill, which used to be in the riding of Keewatinook. If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, the NDP would have won about 100 more votes. 

Tyndall Park

The northwest Winnipeg riding has been in the hands of the NDP and Ted Marcelino since it was created after the 2008 boundary changes. About a quarter of the riding is Filipino.

Who is running? Daljit Kainth (PC), Frank Komarniski (Communist Party), Cindy Lamoureux (Liberal), Ted Marcelino (NDP), Fleur Mann (Green).

Why is it in play? Marcelino won by just under 500 votes in 2016 against Liberal candidate Aida Champagne — a popular community member with strong ties to the Filipino community. This time he has an even stronger opponent in Lamoureux, who left her seat in Burrows to run here. Lamoureux's strong ties to the immigrant community and the so-called "Lamoureux machine" run by her father, Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamoureux, make her a formidable opponent.

How have the boundaries changed? The riding has gained Meadow West in the north from The Maples and gained a small section to the east from Burrows, near the CP railway. If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, the race would've been tighter, with the NDP lead cut in half.   

Fort Garry

The central Winnipeg riding has been held since 2011 by NDP MLA James Allum, who is not seeking re-election. Allum won by 300 votes in a tough race that included PC candidate Jeannette Montufar and Green Party Leader James Beddome.

Who is running? Nancy Cooke (PC), Casey Fennessy (Green), Craig Larkins (Liberal), Mark Wasyliw (NDP).

Why is it in play? It is an open race and both the NDP's Mark Wasyliw and Progressive Conservative Nancy Cooke have made names for themselves in the area — Wasyliw as a school trustee, Cooke as a party loyalist and community volunteer. Since Green Party Leader James Beddome moved over to run in Fort Rouge, some of the 20 per cent of the vote he garnered last election could be up for grabs. Boundary changes favour the Tories. 

How have the boundaries changed? The Riverview part of the riding is gone, as is the northern part that bled into Fort Rouge. If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, the Tories would have won by 169 votes.

St. James

The west Winnipeg riding swung Tory in 2016 with the election of Scott Johnston. Johnston has moved over to Assiniboia, leaving the race open.

Who is running? Jeff Buhse (Green), Bernd Hohne (Liberal), Michelle Richard (PC), Adrien Sala (NDP).

Why is it in play? Before 2016, the riding had been in the hands of the NDP since 1995, and before that only swung Tory in the 1970s. Johnston won by over 800 votes in 2016, but the NDP are putting a lot of resources into this riding, which is seen as one of the winnable Winnipeg seats. PC candidate Michelle Richard is an urban planner and wasn't nominated until July.  The NDP's Adrien Sala is a former political staffer for the party, and boundary changes are considered favourable to the NDP.

How have the boundaries changed? It lost some of its Silver Heights area and gained some area in the north, closer to the Winnipeg airport. If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, the PC margin of victory would tighten to only 300 votes. 

Wolseley

The central Winnipeg riding made headlines in 2016 when David Nickarz nearly made history by being the first Green Party candidate elected. He lost to incumbent NDP MLA Rob Altemeyer by just under 400 votes. Altemeyer is not seeking re-election, but Nickarz is running again for the Greens.

Manitobans head to the polls on Sept. 10. (CBC)

Who is running? Eddie Hendrickson (Ind.), Elizabeth Hildebrand (PC), Lisa Naylor (NDP), David Nickarz (Green), Shandi Strong (Liberal). 

Why is it in play? All eyes will be on Nickarz to see if he can make history this time around. Tons of Green Party resources have been thrown into the riding. School trustee Lisa Naylor, however, is putting up a tough battle to keep the seat — which has been NDP since 1990 — orange. 

How have the boundaries changed? It extends deeper into what was the now-defunct Minto riding, where the Greens finished in fifth place, behind the PCs, NDP, Liberals and independent candidate Don Woodstock. If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, the Green Party would have lost by over 1,200 votes. 

Burrows

The northwest Winnipeg riding is open after Liberal MLA Cindy Lamoureux opted to move to Tyndall Park. A rookie candidate in 2016, Lamoureux defeated NDP cabinet minister Melanie Wight by over 800 votes in Burrows. The seat had been NDP since 1981, except for two years when it swung Liberal during the 1988 Sharon Carstairs surge.

Who is running? Diljeet Brar (NDP), Jasmine Brar (PC), Sarb Gill (Liberal), Edda Pangilinan (Manitoba Forward Party).

Why is it in play? The riding is one of the most diverse in the city — over 20 per cent of the riding's population is new Canadians. With an open race, the feeling in the community is that it could swing either way. The conversion of Seven Oaks Hospital's emergency room to an urgent care centre may hurt the PC's Jasmine Brar. NDP candidate Diljeet Brar's role as the the executive director of Bulla Arts International gives him name recognition in the area. 

How have the boundaries changed? Shaughnessy Park has been largely cut out of the riding and the boundaries now extend further into the North End. If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, the margin of victory for the Liberals would have been cut in half, with big gains for the NDP. 

Brandon East 

The riding in the southwestern city was in the hands of the NDP until 2016, when MLA Drew Caldwell lost to PC Len Isleifson by over 1,100 votes

Manitobans head to the polls on Sept. 10. (CBC)

Who is running? Len Isleifson (PC), Kim Longstreet (Liberal), Lonnie Patterson (NDP).

Why is it in play? The NDP's Lonnie Patterson is a party loyalist and former city councillor who is well liked in the city. The NDP appears to have set it as a target riding they are hoping to turn back orange. The riding was held by NDP MLA Len Evans for three decades before Caldwell stepped in. 

How have the boundaries changed? Part of northern Brandon is cut off, including areas such as Hamilton Heights, Highland Park and Kirkcaldy Heights.  If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, the NDP would have a slight advantage, gaining just under 200 votes. 

McPhillips

A new north Winnipeg/West St. Paul riding made up of the now-defunct St. Paul riding plus parts of Kildonan and The Maples. 

Who is running? John Cacayuran (Liberal), Shannon Martin (PC), Greg McFarlane (NDP), Jason Smith (Green), Dave Wheeler (Manitoba First).

Why is it in play? Morris MLA Shannon Martin is seeking the seat after his riding disappeared when the boundaries were redrawn. He takes on McFarlane, a school trustee with strong labour support, and Cacayuran, a popular member of the Filipino community. Along for the race is popular former radio host Dave Wheeler. The race is anyone's to win, but historical boundary data favours a PC candidate.

If McPhillips existed in the 2016 election, it would have gone Progressive Conservative, with a margin of more than 1,000 votes over the NDP. 

Southdale

A southeast Winnipeg riding that has swung back and forth between the PCs and NDP since its creation in 1999. PC MLA Andrew Smith won in 2016 in an open race after NDP MLA Erin Selby stepped down in 2015. 

Who is running? Robert Cairns (Manitoba Forward Party), Spencer Duncanson (Liberal), Audrey Gordon (PC), Karen Myshkowsky (NDP), Katherine Quinton (Green).

Why is it in play? Smith opted to move over to Lagimodiere following the boundary redistribution, leaving the seat open. The PC's Audrey Gordon is seen as a strong candidate after running in a tough race in 2016 against the NDP's star candidate, Wab Kinew, in Fort Rouge. The longtime civil servant is now in a more winnable riding. She faces a battle against the NDP's Karen Myshkowsky, a teacher from Glenlawn Collegiate. The Tories won with a huge margin in 2016 with over 4,000 votes more than the NDP. Changes in the boundaries tilt the race a bit more in the NDP's favour.

How have the boundaries changed? The riding loses Royalwood, Island Lakes and Sage Creek — a large benefit to the NDP.  If the 2016 election had been held with these boundaries, it would have cut the PC margin of victory in half, to 1,879.


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About the Author

Kristin Annable is a member of CBC's investigative unit based in Winnipeg. She can be reached at kristin.annable@cbc.ca

With files from Jacques Marcoux

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