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Elmwood-Transcona by-election - A test of conservative momentum

Elmwood-Transcona by-election - A test of conservative momentum
Pierre Poilievre (Photo credit - X formerly Twitter)

By: Guest Columnist, Kevin Klein

If there were ever a sure bet in Canadian politics, it would be the likelihood of Pierre Poilievre's Conservative Party clinching a majority government if an election were held today. Under Pierre's decisive leadership, the party's popularity has surged. With a leader as decisive as Pierre at the helm, the party's path to a majority government appears paved in gold. Yet, despite this seemingly unstoppable rise in popularity, the Conservatives have hit a plateau in their electoral seat count since 2021. But there's a glimmer of hope on the horizon, one that could tilt the scales in their favour - the pending Elmwood-Transcona by-election.

Transcona, a bastion of NDP support, stands as a formidable challenge for any opposing party. Its political landscape is painted orange, with rare moments of deviation from its allegiance to the NDP. For generations, the Blaikie family has held sway over this territory, with Bill Blaikie serving as the MP for Elmwood-Transcona for nearly three decades. His successor, Jim Malloway, continued the tradition until Bill's foray into provincial politics, leaving the federal seat vacant. Daniel Blaikie, following in his father's footsteps, took up the mantle in 2015 until his recent resignation to advise Premier Wab Kinew, triggering the by-election.

Yet, there is one outlier in Transcona's sea of orange - Lawrence Toet. A prominent figure in the local business community and a staunch Tory supporter, Toet achieved the unthinkable in 2011 by wresting the federal riding from the NDP's grasp for Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Now, rumors swirl of Toet's return to the political fray, potentially wielding the formidable Toet family electoral machine to amplify Pierre Poilievre's message to the citizens of Elmwood-Transcona.

The implications of this by-election stretch far beyond the boundaries of Elmwood-Transcona. It serves as a microcosm of the broader political landscape, where entrenched allegiances may face upheaval amidst shifting conservative ideologies and Pierre's magnetic leadership.

Later this month, Pierre Poilievre will descend upon Winnipeg with his Spike the Hike, Axe the Tax Rally, promising to draw a crowd larger and more diverse than any Conservative opposition leader before him. The CPC's outreach to unionized workers, skilled trades, blue-collar workers, and young Canadians reflects a concerted effort to broaden their appeal.

Toet's potential candidacy, bolstered by his ties to influential Manitoba figures like Ted Falk and Shelley Glover, hints at an impending sea change in Canadian politics. As the countdown to the by-election commences, the residents of Elmwood-Transcona find themselves at a crossroads, torn between historical allegiances and the allure of change. The outcome of this electoral battle holds the potential not only to reshape the riding's representation but also to signal broader political shifts in Canadian support. The stage is set, and all eyes are on Elmwood-Transcona.


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