What’s next for the PCs and Liberals after both party leaders stepped down?
Posted October 4, 2023 4:40 pm.
Last Updated October 4, 2023 7:25 pm.
Two of Manitoba’s main political parties lost their leaders following election day in the province.
Heather Stefanson is no longer the leader of the PC Party and Dougald Lamont not only stepping down as leader of the Liberals but failing to get re-elected in his riding of St. Boniface.
Curtis Brown with Probe Research says due to the NDP targeting Liberal voters during the election and similar ideological stances between the two parties, the Liberals saw a lot of their supporters vote for the NDP.
“They frankly, they very explicitly ate the Liberals lunch,” said Brown. “The Liberals have had to deal with this problem for the past 50 years, figuring out kind of where they fit on the landscape between the NDP and the PCs, that hasn’t changed. We see in our polling all the time with lots of issues that the people who vote—provincial Liberals who vote NDP provincially, often are pretty closely aligned on a lot of different things.”
- Heather Stefanson steps down as Progressive Conservative leader
- Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont loses seat, steps down
The PCs not only failed to form government but also their leader Heather Stefanson, fighting an unexpectedly close race in her riding of Tuxedo against the NDP candidate.
After an election that saw Stefanson and the PCs run on controversial topics such as “parental rights” and a refusal to search the Prairie Green landfill for the remains of two Indigenous women, Brown says the PCs will have to decide whether they would want to move more to the centre or appease Conservative supporters more towards the right.
“People who are voting in the leadership campaign usually tend to be the more strident, have some of these stronger views, and are a little bit less compromising than some of the more urban moderates. Whoever ends up winning the leadership, it is a very good chance it could be someone who kind of still stays in that very sort of right-wing populist.”
While both Stefanson and Lamont are stepping aside as leaders, both the PCs and Liberals say they are proud of the campaigns they have run.
“I think we all ran a really great campaign. We kept our heads down, we were well-disciplined. I have no complaints,” said Marni Larkin, PC Party campaign manager.