Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson commits to Oct. 3 vote

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson may have ended whatever speculation still existed about the possibility of an early election.

Stefanson said definitively that she’s sticking with the scheduled provincial election date of Oct. 3 in an interview Tuesday with CBC Manitoba’s Information Radio host Marcy Markusa.

Asked if she’d rule out an early election, Stefanson chuckled.

“The election will be on Oct. 3,” she said.

“That sounds like you’ve ruled out an early election call for us this morning,” Markusa replied. 

Stefanson has previously signalled she’s leaning toward the scheduled election date, but wouldn’t be pinned down on it.

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In a March interview, she gave herself an out by saying Oct. 3 is the election date “as of now.”

She said there could be “different complicating matters,” citing the potential for a federal election in the same time period.

“Manitobans don’t want to have two elections at the same time, or overlapping elections. I think they want us to be at work getting the job done for them, and we’ll continue to do that,” she told CBC Winnipeg News at 6 on the day of the budget’s release.

Progressive Conservative House leader Kelvin Goertzen had dampened election speculation in November, when he said the government fully intends to hold the election on the scheduled date, but he too brought up the potential for exceptional circumstances prompting a visit to the polls before Oct. 3. 

On Tuesday, Stefanson’s answer was succinct, yet definitive.

The election campaign is starting to shape up, with a recent poll suggesting the popular opinion lead for the Opposition NDP over the governing Tories narrowed to six percentage points in March, down from 11 points last December.

The Progressive Conservatives are spending more than $1 million to promote the government’s budget, $10 a day child care and cheques to help with inflation, while the New Democrats went into PC territory on Monday to make the case they can fix health care in rural Manitoba.