The Sept. 10 provincial election campaign is officially underway
While asking Manitobans to choose between moving "forward or backward," Premier Brian Pallister fired the starting gun of the provincial election on Monday afternoon, officially issuing the writ of the 29-day election campaign.
In his speech announcing the beginning of the campaign, Pallister said there are five commitments the Progressive Conservative party is making that Manitobans can "take to the bank." These include $2,020 in tax rollbacks over the course of a potential new mandate, funding for new schools, a Made-In-Manitoba green plan, health-care investment and a Manitoba Works job plan.
He asked Manitobans to keep going with the progress the party has made since they gained power in 2016, and said there is more work to be done.
Lonnie Patterson, the NDP candidate in Brandon East, said she is "excited and energized" to get the campaign started. She said she just put a campaign sign in the window of the NDP’s 10th Street office.
"People get to chose what kind of government they want," she said. "Do they want a government like Brian Pallister’s, that has been in it for those at the top, or do they wanta government led by (NDP Leader) Wab Kinew and a great team of candidates that are in it for everybody?"
Despite the writ drop, Patterson said she has been ready since last year, when she announced her intention not to run for re-election to Brandon City Council.
In Brandon East, health care and addictions are top of mind. Patterson said the province’s health-care system, especially in Winnipeg, is in "chaos" — a problem a prospective NDP government aims to fix.
Nick Brown, the NDP candidate in Brandon West, said he is also excited about the campaign starting what will be his first foray into provincial politics.
"It’s finally happening and we’re getting going," he said. "We’ve got an office open and we’re gearing up. We’re putting signs on the boulevards and we’re ready to get going."
Under the Manitoba Elections Act, the election campaign has to be between 34 and 28 days long. At 29 days, the provincial election is on the shorter end of what it could have been. The compressed period is something Brown said he believes will make it more difficult to both get his message out and convince voters to get to the polls.
Brown will be facing incumbent Progressive Conservative candidate Reg Helwer in Brandon West. He said his strategy is to knock on as many doors and make as many phone calls as possible.
"We’re going to be all over the place."
The election length won’t have a drastic impact on the campaign trail, Helwer said, adding that campaigns for the next election often unofficially start the day after voters head to the polls.
Helwer said his party’s campaign strategy is to listen to as many people as possible, especially in Brandon.
"We’ve been at the doors quite a bit in Brandon West and (Brandon) East and in Spruce Woods," he said. "I think what we’re hearing form people is, ‘We like what you have been doing and keep moving ahead.’ ... We want to make sure that we keep Brandon blue."
Volunteers for Progressive Conservative candidate Len Isleifson’s campaign put up election signs on Monday morning along Victoria Avenue and 18th Street, outside the Keystone Centre. Isleifson said he feels "awesome" about the start of the campaign.
"We’ve been going door-to-door since June now, and the pace doesn’t change. "We continue to do that, but it’s more the feel that the election is here now. We’ve got signs up and volunteers out."
He said he hopes to be re-elected to continue the work the Progressive Conservative Party started with its first mandate.
Kim Longstreet, Liberal candidate for Brandon East, opened her campaign office at 717 Rosser Ave. on Sunday, with party Leader Dougald Lamont at her side.
"I’m ready to go," Longstreet said at the time. "We have volunteers, we’ve been knocking on doors already. The response has been extremely positive. I am feeling very optimistic."
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