Liberals look to hold St. Boniface-St. Vital as other parties push for votes

A traditionally Liberal seat in Winnipeg could be up for grabs this election.

The St. Boniface-St. Vital riding has been held by Liberals for the last two terms, but it's gone to Conservatives in years past.

Incumbent Dan Vandal has been knocking on doors to gain support for a third term as Liberal MP for the area. He said his party is focused on getting through the pandemic.

"Until we actually get this pandemic behind us, the economy is not going to recover the way it needs to. Schools, education, our children will not get the education they deserve."

Vandal won the seat in 2015 from Conservative Shelly Glover, and took the seat again in 2019.

In that time, Vandal was appointed the Minister of Northern Affairs in Trudeau's cabinet.

He said now is the right time for an election.

"We believe in reinvesting in health care, in $10 a day daycare, and Canadians need to weigh in on that."

Adjunct Political Professor Chris Adams said St. Boniface-St. Vital has been a Liberal seat since the start, with a few exceptions.

He said Liberals have a closer association with the Franco-Manitoban population than other parties, but the riding's population has changed over the years.

"Now it's much more of an English-speaking area of the city, and so the Liberals have less of a hold than they used to," said Adams.

"But this time around, we've got Dan Vandal, who's been holding the riding for a couple of terms now. He's really seen as a regional Cabinet Minister for Justin Trudeau."

In this election, the NDP is also trying to grab the seat for the first time.

NDP Candidate Meghan Waters lives in the riding and teaches junior high students at École Varennes.

She's been getting a lot of support from the people in her community.

"There's a lot of orange signs because of a lot of people around here know me from my science videos that I did during the pandemic, community clean-ups, doing the community compost, and various other things like carolling that I've done at Christmas time."

In March of 2020, Waters started a series of videos where she conducted science experiments in French with her son to keep kids busy while schools were closed.

She said she'll be a strong voice for the French in the area and fight for truth and reconciliation.

"There are a lot of progressives here in St. Boniface-St. Vital, and I do think it's a really good idea to show with your vote the priorities that you want for the area."

The Conservative candidate for St. Boniface-St. Vital is Shola Agboola.

There are 18 other candidates in this riding, including candidates for the Green Party, the People's Party of Canada, the Veterans Coalition, Rhinoceros Party, and 14 Independents.

Canadians go to the ballot box on September 20.