Progressive Conservatives hold ground in rural Manitoba, NDP keep northern seats

While the NDP will form the next government, the Progressive Conservatives are holding their ground in southern and central Manitoba, according to CBC’s projections.

Historically, most southern Manitoba ridings have voted Tory in provincial elections, and as results from Tuesday’s election continue to roll in, CBC projects that trend will largely continue.

CBC projects the PCs will hold seats in 13 of the 16 southern Manitoba ridings and four out of five seats in central Manitoba.

In his victory speech, NDP Leader Wab Kinew, whose party won a majority on Tuesday, reached out to rural Manitobans — including those who voted for other parties.

“To people in rural Manitoba, to people in northern Manitoba, I want to say thank you for sending people from your communities to sit with our team at the Manitoba Legislature,” he said Tuesday night, during his speech to supporters at NDP headquarters.

“To people in rural Manitoba who haven’t voted for us yet, I would ask you to keep an open mind,” Kinew said.

“If our team delivers — if after a few years we have improved your health care and we have made your life a bit more affordable — I would humbly ask that in four years time, you send more people from your communities to sit with our team in the Manitoba Legislature.”

While the party lost power, the Progressive Conservatives did hold on to several strongholds, including Steinbach, which incumbent Kelvin Goertzen won again. 

The southeastern Manitoba riding has only ever elected Tory MLAs. Goertzen won the seat with more than 80 per cent of ballots cast in the last three elections.

Progressive Conservative Kelvin Goertzen speaks at a Sept. 25 campaign announcement. He held on to his Steinbach seat in Tuesday’s election. (Fernand Detillieux/Radio-Canada)

The Borderland riding, another PC stronghold, was won by Josh Guenter — one of seven PC incumbents projected to keep their seats in southern Manitoba as of late Tuesday night, along with Turtle Mountain’s Doyle Piwniuk.

There will also be six new Tory MLAs in southern Manitoba, CBC projects. 

The NDP’s Glen Simard is projected to beat PC incumbent Len Isleifson in Brandon East — a riding the NDP hasn’t won since the 2011 election.

Meanwhile in the Brandon West riding, with 16 of 17 polls reporting as of 2 a.m. Wednesday, PC candidate Wayne Balcaen — the city’s former police chief — held a margin of just 98 votes over the NDP’s Quentin Robinson.

Rounding out the Brandon-area ridings, CBC projects that Grant Jackson will hold the Spruce Woods riding for the PCs. The southwest Manitoba riding had been held by the PCs’ Cliff Cullen, who didn’t seek re-election, since it was created in 2008.

The NDP also led in a tight race in Dauphin as of 2 a.m. Wednesday. NDP candidate Ron Kostyshyn had a 343-vote margin over PC candidate Gord Wood, with 46 of 48 polls reporting. 

The NDP also once again swept the north, as the party did in the 2019 election, keeping the Flin Flon, Thompson, Keewatinook and The Pas-Kameesak ridings.

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