WINNIPEG - Liberal's and leader Dougald Lamont exclaim 'victoire a' St. Boniface', as NDP collapse continues.
The incumbent NDP lost 1/3rd of its support, falling to 1770 votes and 28.2%, and out of contention in the St Boniface byelection to replace former Premier Greg Selinger. Liberal leader Dougald Lamont built momentum and boosted Liberal support to a remarkable 42.07%, almost a dead heat with Selinger's 42.40% in 2016.
Insiders say that NDP candidate Blandine Tona was tainted by what was viewed as (yet another) slanted nomination process by core party supporters who turned their backs on the campaign, also citing her utter lack of political depth on the doorsteps.
Since 2011, NDP support in the riding has dropped 40 points (and about 4000 votes) in a riding that had their MLA serve as Finance Minister and then Premier.
There is no way Wab Kinew can really spin the result as a positive for his party or his leadership. The ongoing friction between labour and radical factions inside the party could lead to more heated clashes within caucus, after this slide climactic in a longtime stronghold.
There's no sunlight in the byelection result for Premier Brian Pallister, either. Tory support fell 13 points, from almost 26% to 13.3% running the same well-respected candidate, Mamadou Ka. Sources believe that his anti-NDP vote moved almost entirely to the winning Liberal column. That might worry progressives within the PC party.
Although some pundits thought that Selinger's former constituency assistant, Francoise Therrien-Vrignon could upend the NDP's chances, the 4 point Green Party increase with 1017 ballots to 16.2%, was not enough siphoned votes to have pushed Tona to victory. She was apparently a dogged campaigner who hiked Green support by almost 25% in the riding from the last campaign.
So at the top of the heap stands new MLA Dougald Lamont, whose party might now qualify for Party status and resources in the Legislature and time in Question Period. The lure of voting for a party leader on the cusp of achieving parliamentary status was a convincing lure for residents. He got out-signed by about 20% by the NDP, but was not outworked on the ground.
Lamont withstood a very dirty final weekend with vulger graffitti tagging some of his signs, and a character attack from the CBC, about what were ultimately, "scurrilous" things he did not write or edit in Frank Magazine almost 20 years ago.
PHOTO SUPPLIED BY MARTY GOLD