Yesterday Manitobans went to the polls. To no one’s surprise, they elected another majority government for Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative Party. The election was called one year early and at the end of summer; which caught opposition parties off guard. By calling the election one year earlier than expected Pallister ensured his party would have another majority government for four years.
Since the election period came at the end of summer, many Manitobans did not pay close attention. Only 55.1 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, down from 57.4 per cent in the 2016 election. The lowest voter turnout on record was in 1941 when only 50.5 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.
Pallister’s PCs won a total of 36 seats, losing two seats. The PCs ran a safe campaign that focused on fiscal responsibility and continuing their mandate; promising to do more of the same for the next four years. They have committed to increasing health care funding and reorganizing the education system. In re-electing the PCs, Manitobans have shown that they value balanced budgets. Pressing issues that the PC government will have to address over the next four years include:
- Meth crisis in Winnipeg;
- Challenging relationships with Indigenous communities; and
- Troubles in the child welfare system.
Pallister will return to government with most of his cabinet ministers. Deputy premier Cliff Cullen, Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Minister of Education Kelvin Goertzen won their seats by large margins and are all expected to return in their key roles. Only one minister lost their seat, Crown services minister Colleen Mayer.
Wab Kinew’s New Democratic Party (NDP) gained six seats in Winnipeg, winning a total of 18 seats and will once again form the official opposition. In the lead up to the 2016 election, the former NDP government was marred by deficits, unpopular policies and infighting. Since becoming party leader in 2017, Kinew had to reunite the party to effectively challenge the PC government. The new NDP MLAs joining the house have strong reputations and are expected to strengthen the NDP’s front bench.
The Manitoba Liberals led by Dougald Lamont won only three seats and lost official party status. The Liberals have struggled to differentiate themselves from the NDP and lost star candidates to the federal election.
The Greens were hoping for a breakthrough in this election but failed to win the one seat they were vying for.
Unofficial Election Results from Elections Manitoba
For all unofficial results, visit: www.electionsmanitoba.ca/en/Results/ENR