A provincial election is officially underway in Manitoba. Election day is September 10, 2019, only five weeks before the federal election. The election was called one year earlier than expected, which had previously been scheduled for October 6, 2020.

The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba (PC) government is three years into its mandate from the 2016 provincial election where they defeated the previous New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP) government that had been in power in Manitoba for 17 years. At the time of the election call, the PCs had a very comfortable majority of 38 seats over the NDP opposition of 12 seats. Manitoba Liberal Party (Liberals) had 4 seats, while the Manitoba First (Manitoba Party) had 1 seat and two MLAs sat as Independents.

Premier Brian Pallister announced in June that he would be calling a fall provincial election. While the exact reasons for the change of date are unclear, the Premier has provided two different reasons. Originally, Premier Pallister had said he is moving up the election by a year as to not interfere with the province’s 150th anniversary, but now is saying that his government needs a new mandate. This election call has left the NDP and the Liberals scrambling to fundraise, develop platforms, and attract staff and volunteers.

In a speech on Monday, August 12, Pallister said his party seeks “a new mandate to keep moving Manitoba forward.” In a press release from the same day, the PC’s announced their Moving Manitoba Forward Guarantee, setting out “five key commitments in a renewed PC mandate that will make life more affordable, more secure and more prosperous for all Manitobans.” Each of these points has been previously announced by his government:

  1. $2,020 Tax Rollback
  2. Health Care Funding Guarantee
  3. New Schools Sooner
  4. Manitoba Works Job Plan
  5. Yes, to Made-In-Manitoba Green

Visit the PC Party of Manitoba Website for more information: www.pcmanitoba.com

This is the NDP’s first election with their new leader Wab Kinew, who was first elected to the house in 2016 and elected party leader in 2017. The NDP have touted to be the only party to have a full slate of candidates in place when the election was called on August 12. Their platform titled A Plan For All of Us focuses on three commitments:

  1. Fix Pallister’s Health Care Crisis
  2. Good Jobs and Sustainable Growth
  3. An Affordable Quality of Life

To view their full platform, visit: www.mbndp.ca/forallofus

The Manitoba Liberals are led by Dougald Lamont who became party leader in 2017. He was elected to the legislature in a 2018 by-election in the riding that was held by former NDP leader and Premier Greg Selinger.

The Liberals are pitching themselves as an alternative to the PCs and NDP. Their campaign titled A New Way Forward for ALL Manitobans is focusing on:

  1. Climate Action
  2. Justice
  3. Quality Jobs
  4. Education
  5. Health Care

Visit the Manitoba Liberal Party’s website for more information: www.manitobaliberals.ca

The Manitoba Green Party is led by James Beddome. His party released a platform and are vying to gain their first seat in the provincial legislature. Their platform focuses on:

  1. Addressing the Climate Crisis
  2. Restoring our Health Care System
  3. Ending Poverty

To view the complete list, visit: www.greenparty.mb.ca/platform/

You can follow the election activity of each party on their social channels:

In a June 2019 poll from Probe Research Inc, respondents were asked: “If a provincial election were held tomorrow, which party’s candidate would you be most likely to support?” The among decided and leaning voters the responses were:

  •  42% PC
  •  26% NDP
  •  16% Liberal
  •  14% Green
  •  2% Other
  •  15% Undecided

Overall the poll found that the PC’s hold a firm lead over the other parties leading into the election. To view, the complete poll results click here.

Current messaging from each party is heavy with criticism of other parties. The PCs accuse the previous NDP government of an endless legacy of tax grabs. The NDP say that Pallister’s PC government has made life harder for Manitobans through major cuts to healthcare and public services. The Liberals says that the PC’s health care cuts are creating chaos in the health care system, with only more cuts to come. We can expect this type of language to increase as election day nears and it will be a taste of the type of messaging we can expect in the federal election.

New electoral boundaries will be in place for this year’s vote. The boundaries have been adjusted to reflect population changes from the 2016 census, in an effort to have approximate 22,000 residents in each riding. Interactive maps showing the boundary changes in riding can be found in this CBC article from December 2018.

Potential voters have until August 22, 2019, to register or update their voter information. For more information on voter registration, visit: www.electionsmanitoba.ca/en/Voting/Register_Of_Voters

For more information: 

Faye Anderson, H+K Saskatchewan Public Affairs, faye.anderson@hkstrategies.ca 

Elizabeth Roscoe, H+K Public Affairs, elizabeth.roscoe@hkstrategies.ca