Candidates settle in around University of Manitoba

The 2017-18 University of Manitoba budget breaks from a recent trend of cuts and will see funding increases to all academic units. Photo by Megan Colwell

Tuesday’s provincial election saw several new MLAs elected to the constituencies surrounding the University of Manitoba.

Manitobans elected a majority Progressive Conservative (PC) government in a landslide victory that saw the New Democratic Party (NDP) reduced to 14 seats from a previous 35. The Liberal Party made slight inroads with three seats, while the Green, Communist, and Manitoba parties and independent candidates were totally shut out.

University of Manitoba students who are Canadian citizens and have lived on campus for six months or longer voted in the Fort Richmond district, which includes the entire Fort Garry campus and the surrounding community.

The U of M’s Bannatyne campus is contained within the Logan district.

The St. Norbert district is immediately southwest of the university. Fort Garry-Riverview is immediately north of the university’s electoral district, and just north of that is the closely watched Fort Rouge district, where NDP candidate Wab Kinew defeated Liberal leader Rana Bokhari and PC challenger Audrey Gordon.

Fort Richmond

Sarah Guillemard won the seat for Fort Richmond with 2,874 votes.

In her campaign video, Guillemard addressed several issues she has been working on in the Fort Richmond community. In particular, she brought up student housing shortages and illegal rooming houses. The Manitoban asked her how she would address illegal rooming houses as an MLA.

“I think the key to any issue or crisis is to start the communication,” she said. “And that is to talk to not only the students who are living in these homes, but the renters and the homeowners, we all need to have a very good conversation about moving forward and the best way to address the issues.”

To students concerned about the possibility of a PC government, Guillemard said, “I know how hard it is as a student.”

“I know one of the major concerns is the tuition fees and how to afford that,” she told the Manitoban. “We’re going to definitely speak with every group and we’re going to come up with solutions that everyone can settle and not feel unsettled about.”

The incumbent for Fort Richmond was NDP candidate and outgoing Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, who earned 2,269 votes.

Liberal candidate Kyra Wilson, a recent U of M social work graduate, garnered 805 votes. For Green Party candidate Cameron Proulx, the tally was 537 votes.

Logan

The Logan district includes most of downtown Winnipeg, including the Health Sciences Centre and the U of M’s Bannatyne campus. Incumbent Flor Marcelino, who served as the NDP minister of multiculturalism and literacy, won the district by 1,505.

PC candidate Allie Szarkiewicz had 720 votes. Szarkiewicz, a U of M graduate and retired teacher, ran for the Winnipeg Centre riding in last fall’s federal election but lost to Liberal candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette.

Liberal candidate Peter Koroma, also a U of M alumnus in economics and political studies, earned 1,029 votes.

Green Party candidate Jitendradas Loves-Life had 297 votes. Manitoba Party candidate Joe Chan had a final tally of 135. Communist candidate Cheryl-Anne Carr had 40 votes.

St. Norbert

The St. Norbert district includes most of the area south of Bishop Grandin Blvd. and Pembina Highway. PC candidate Jon Reyes, a small businessman and Canadian Armed Forces veteran, won with 4,666 votes.

NDP incumbent Dave Gaudreau, who won by just 31 votes in the 2011 provincial election, racked up a total of 3,047, leaving a generous margin of 1,619 between first and second place. Gaudreau made headlines during the campaign for his criticism of NDP leader Greg Selinger during an NDP caucus meeting. Gaudreau said he was usually well-received during door-knocking, but most constituents “hate” the NDP leader.

Following the election, Gaudreau told CBC News he blames Selinger for the NDP loss, saying Selinger should not have been featured so prominently in campaign materials since his personal popularity was low.

“It’s clearly the Greg Selinger factor that destroyed everything,” he told CBC.

Liberal candidate James Bloomfield had 1,240 votes. Independent candidate Narinder Kaur Johar had 173 votes.

Fort Garry-Riverview

NDP incumbent James Allum won in the riding immediately north of the university, with a total of 3,442. Allum, who holds a PhD in Canadian and environmental history from Queen’s University and taught at the University of Winnipeg, served as the minister of education and advanced learning at various times under Selinger’s tenure.

U of M civil engineering professor Jeannette Montufar earned 3,144 votes. Montufar, who completed all three levels of education at the U of M, founded the Hummingbird Education Fund to support underprivileged women in pursuing post-secondary education.

Green Party leader James Beddome, a lawyer and U of M alumnus, garnered 1,709 votes.

Liberal candidate Johanna Wood, an Armed Forces veteran who served in municipal government before running provincially, gained 793 votes.

Fort Rouge

Fort Rouge, which covers the area bounded by Guelph St., Carter Ave., and the Red and Assiniboine rivers, was a hotly contested district. NDP candidate Wab Kinew, a popular broadcaster, musician, and University of Winnipeg employee, won with 2,275 votes.

Kinew drew fire from Liberals early in the campaign for tweets and song lyrics that some considered offensive. This was in response to the Liberals being forced to drop controversial candidate Jamie Hall.

Liberal leader Rana Bokhari fell to third place at 1,290 votes. Bokhari was a strong contender before campaigning kicked off, but she lost key staffers and a number of candidates and had difficulty recovering from some gaffes on the campaign trail.

PC candidate Audrey Gordon garnered 1,649 votes. Gordon, a master of business administration alumnus from U of M, has worked in both government and industry as a business operator and health care manager.

Green Party candidate Grant Sharp finished with 790 votes. Manitoba Party candidate Matthew Ostrove gained 136. Communist candidate Paula Ducharme received 37 votes.