The popular vote was neck-in-neck. The NDP was running at close to 46 percent, less than two percentage points ahead of the Conservatives. In 2007, the New Democrats beat the Tories by 10 points. In the end, Premier Greg Selinger’s party took 37 of the legislature’s 57 seats compared with 19 for the Conservatives and one for the Liberals. The makeup of the legislature will be mostly unchanged from the 2007 election when the NDP won 36 seats.
Running a tight race wasn’t enough to keep Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen at the helm of his party. He told supporters that he takes personal responsibility for failing to gain on the NDP’s seat count and will step down when his replacement is selected.
Selinger was exuberant in victory. “Today Manitobans went to the ballot box and they voted for optimism!” Selinger told a crowd of cheering supporters. “Tonight we have made history in Manitoba. Life is never better than when we work together for a purpose greater than ourselves, and that’s what we’ve done tonight.”
Many observers credit the robust Manitoban economy for the election result, which has been largely unaffected by the recession that affected other parts of North America. Low unemployment, a strong housing market, and the recent return of the Winnipeg Jets to the NHL may have counteracted anti-incumbency in the electorate.
“I felt on the doorstep … that there was no great mood for change,” Attorney General Andrew Swan said. “People were satisfied with the work that the NDP has done over the past 12 years and they want us to get back in and keep working hard.”
What the Election Result Means to Older Manitobans
In a letter to CARP members written one week before the election, Premier Selinger wrote that older citizens “deserve to know that the services they count on will be there for them, when they need them. That’s why your NDP have been working hard to make Manitoba an even better place for every senior to live.”
With a majority in place and a sizable portion of the population voting for the opposition PCs, the newly re-elected government must work hard to fulfill the range of their promises. From “creating housing that supports independence and a high quality of life for seniors” to “creating a new tax credit for caregivers providing care to seniors at home”, CARP will work to ensure that the new government is held to their commitments.