Liberals look to flip Winnipeg Centre from NDP

There could be a battle for votes over a core Winnipeg seat. Though Winnipeg Centre has been an NDP stronghold in the past, the Liberals want to flip the riding red with a candidate who is no stranger to the limelight.

Winnipeg Centre's NDP Incumbent Leah Gazan doesn’t mince words about the issues facing residents in her federal riding.

“We’ll look, we’re the third poorest riding in the country, there’s no secret about that," said Gazan, the NDP candidate for Winnipeg Centre.

The Indigenous activist won in 2019, defeating the Liberal MP at the time—former Winnipeg mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette.

Gazan said housing is one of the big needs in the riding.

"I look forward to working with the community to continue to advocate for greater investments in affordable, accessible, social housing," she said. "This is a human right."

Adjunct political professor Chris Adams said Winnipeg Centre is a traditional NDP seat.

"It’s one of the historically strongest ridings for the NDP, leaving aside the 2015 election, so I think most people are predicting that will probably stay with the NDP in this election.”

But the Liberals are trying to take it back with a candidate who has a profile of his own. Paul Ong is a teacher who has seen the impacts of addictions, violence, and trauma on children.

He said working with them has inspired him to put his name on the ballot to better their lives.

"I do have some several students who I’ve personally dealt with whom unfortunately has gone too soon," he said.

Ong has also used a special skill to give back. The Canadian-Filipino singer appeared on Canada’s Got Talent in 2012, and organized a concert to raise money for children's music education in 2019.

“I’ve used my music as a platform, over the years it’s been a platform to contribute and to give back to the community and to empower youth to pursue their talents," he said.

There are five other candidates in the riding, including Sabrina Brenot for the Conservative Party of Canada, Andrew Brown for the Green Party of Canada, Bhavni Bhakoo for the People's Party of Canada, Jamie Buhler for the Libertarian Party of Canada, and Debra Wall with the Animal Protection Party of Canada.