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Three Manitoba ridings will set tone for federal election outcome: expert

The Federal Riding of Winnipeg South. Elections Manitoba

As election day looms, the Liberals need to win Winnipeg South in this federal election or they’ll be sitting on the other side of the House of Commons.

That’s according to Malcolm Bird, a political scientist with the University of Manitoba, who says there are three battleground ridings in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg South, Charleswood–St. James-Assiniboia–Headingley and Elmwood–Transcona are all critical in deciding who forms the next federal government, he says.

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According to Bird, Elmwood–Transcona is going to be a showdown between incumbent Daniel Blaikie of the NDP and Rejeanne Caron of the Conservatives.

“Caron is an Indigenous woman who’s been a police officer for 27 years. She appears to be quite a reasonable contender. The riding has gone Tory once in the past 10 years and the numbers show it’s going to be close. She’s going to provide some real strong competition to Mr. Blaikie”

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The historically Liberal stronghold, Winnipeg South, is essentially a rematch between Liberal Terry Duguid and Conservative Melanie Maher.

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Bird says younger voters, who tend to throw their support behind the Liberal or NDP parties, are heading back to work or to school, which might work out nicely for the Conservatives as a whole.

“The question is who is going to show up to the polls. My sense is it’s going to be a lacklustre turnout and that’s going to favour the Conservatives because their voters tend to be older and more consistent so that’s a big worry for the NDP and the Liberals.”

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According to Bird, if millennials don’t turn out to vote, the NDP and Liberals are going to lose a lot of ground not just in Manitoba but across the country.

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“In terms of Winnipeg South and Charleswood–St. James, those are outer suburbs with a little rural and those are key battlegrounds between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Whoever wins those outer suburbs will form the government.”

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