Federal Conservatives retain rural Manitoba stronghold, gain in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — The Conservatives retained their strongholds in rural Manitoba on Monday night and picked up a few seats in Winnipeg.

But they failed to knock off some of the urban Liberals, including International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr and Dan Vandal, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indigenous services.

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The fact the Conservatives came up short of many people's expectations just one month after Manitobans gave Premier Brian Pallister's provincial Tories a second majority mandate is telling, said one political analyst.

"I don't think there was much overlap and benefit from the Pallister victory in September," said Paul Thomas, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Manitoba.

"I didn't see the Conservatives getting a huge boost from Pallister's success (at winning) a second term."

Conservative Racquel Dancho defeated Liberal incumbent MaryAnn Mihychuk in Kildonan-St. Paul. Her colleague Marty Morantz unseated Liberal Doug Eyolfson in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley. But Vandal, Carr and Winnipeg North's Kevin Lamoureux held off challengers. Liberal Terry Duguid beat his Conservative challenger in Winnipeg South.

The NDP's Daniel Blaikie was re-elected in Elmwood-Transcona, and New Democrat Leah Gazan unseated Liberal Robert-Falcon Ouellette in Winnipeg Centre — a seat the NDP had held for almost two decades before Ouellette won it in 2015.

In northern Manitoba, New Democrat Niki Ashton cruised to re-election.

The results return Manitoba to traditional outcomes following the Trudeau wave of 2015 — Conservatives dominating rural areas in the south, the NDP holding the one northern seat, and the three parties splitting seats in Winnipeg.

Thomas said the Winnipeg results point to a problem the Conservatives have in urban areas.

"They seemed to be determined to pull out their base, but they didn't seem that interested in growing the core supporters they have in the province of Manitoba," Thomas said.

"They've got to make inroads into cities ... and they didn't do a lot of that this time."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2019.

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