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Oct 03, 2023
Manitobans are to make history today as they cast final ballots in an election that has followed four weeks of promises, debates and controversial advertisements.
If Heather Stefanson leads the incumbent Progressive Conservatives to a third consecutive majority, she would become the first woman to be elected premier in a Manitoba general election. Stefanson took over the top spot midterm in a party leadership race after former premier Brian Pallister retired in 2021.
If the New Democrats win after seven years in Opposition, leader Wab Kinew would become the first First Nations premier of a province in Canada. His late father was not allowed to vote as a young man under Canadian law at the time.
Opinion polls have suggested the New Democrats have a lead, especially in Winnipeg, where 32 of the 57 legislature seats are. Tory support dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, as hospitals struggled to deal with rising case numbers and dozens of intensive-care patients were flown to other provinces.
The NDP, which won 18 seats in the last election, has made health care the central issue of their campaign. Kinew has promised to reopen three hospital emergency departments that were downgraded by the Tory government. He has been on offence throughout the campaign, holding press conferences in Tory-held areas and highlighting the local candidate.