Nailed it – almost!
I expected the Progressive Conservative wave in west and south Winnipeg. Two weeks ago I was told Transcona and other northeastern ridings would fall, including Kildonan and Selkirk.
I did not predict the Brian Pallister victory would extend into Thompson. Steve Ashton held it for the NDP since 1981. He lost by 210 votes. Rural and suburban NDP Cabinet ministers who supported leader Greg Selinger or sat on the sidelines during the leadership challenge lost.
It was a tidal wave in some areas of Manitoba. The margins of victory are colossal. In Brandon East, where the NDP owned that riding, Drew Caldwell lost by 1,138 votes. It was similar in other parts of rural Manitoba…
- Dauphin: 2,679
- Swan River: 1,673
- Gimli: 3,061
- Selkirk: 2,363
- Interlake: 1,638
Ridings that were close in 2011 fell by similar margins in Winnipeg.
- St. Norbert: 1,619
- Kirkfield Park: 2,371
- Seine River: 3,005
- Southdale: 4,194
- Transcona: 1,671
The margins were tighter as you get closer to city centre but it’s apparent voters abandoned the NDP.
Political strategist David McLaughlin ran the Progressive Conservative campaign. To continue the tidal wave metaphor, it was the perfect storm.
The former Brian Mulroney chief of staff says Selinger’s move to raise the provincial sales tax was the key issue in the campaign. It was a symbol the Tories were able to connect to all the frustrations voters had with the NDP. Ambulance fees, emergency room waits and higher taxes – it was a noose around Selinger’s neck.
The Liberals and specifically their leader, Rana Bohkari allowed Pallister to go surfing. The Trudeau brand polled well in the city and the Liberals were riding high going into the election. But her performance told voters they couldn’t trust Selinger and couldn’t trust Bohkari. The last minute smear tactics to tarnish Pallister backfired. Team Selinger was doomed.
“This election was about trust,” McLaughlin told 680 CJOB in an exclusive interview. Selinger broke trust while Pallister made modest promises. His parting advice for Pallister: “Keep your word, tell people what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”