Manitoba’s provincial election has been called for Oct. 3. Here’s a look at the leaders of the province’s three parties that have seats in the legislature.
Heather Stefanson, Progressive Conservative Leader
Age: 53. Born May 11, 1970.
Pre-Politics: Political science degree from the University of Western Ontario. Worked as a special assistant in the Office of the Prime Minister under Brian Mulroney before returning to Manitoba in 1993 as an assistant to then-agriculture minister Charlie Mayer. Also worked as a financial planner at Wellington West Capital.
Politics: Won a byelection in 2000 replacing former premier Gary Filmon as the member in Tuxedo. Has won her seat in every election since then. Under her predecessor, Brian Pallister, she held several roles and portfolios including deputy premier, minister of justice and attorney general, minister of families and health minister. Defeated former member of Parliament Shelly Glover in 2021 to become the first female premier of Manitoba.
Personal: Born and raised in Winnipeg, she got a taste of politics when her father, Julian Hugh McDonald, ran unsuccessfully for a legislature seat in 1977. Married to Jason Stefanson and has two children, Tommy and Victoria.
Quote: “I’m not someone that seeks attention. I like to get things done. I’ve always been … a little bit of a behind-the-scenes kind of person. So I think that spotlight is not something I’m used to.”
Wab Kinew, NDP Leader
Age: 41. Born Dec. 31, 1981.
Pre-Politics: Raised in Onigaming First Nation, outside Kenora, Ont., before he moved to Winnipeg for school. Degree in economics from the University of Manitoba. Hosted CBC’s TV documentary series “8th Fire” in 2012. Served as associate vice-president of Indigenous affairs at the University of Winnipeg.
Politics: First ran for his seat in Fort Rouge during the 2016 provincial election after then-NDP MLA Jennifer Howard announced she would not be running for re-election. He went on to defeat then-Manitoba liberal leader Rana Bokhari. Was the NDP spokesperson for reconciliation and critic for education, advanced learning and training, and housing and community development. Ran for leadership of the party in 2017 and defeated former cabinet minister Steve Ashton.
Personal: Born to a First Nations father and a non-Indigenous mother. Was a rap musician before he entered politics. Has authored several books including his 2015 memoir, “The Reason You Walk.” Married to Lisa Monkman, who is a family physician. Has three sons.
Quote: “One of my fundamental political beliefs is that the economic horse pulls the social cart, meaning yep, we’ve got great ideas on health care and education and community initiatives. But in order for any of those things to happen, the economy has to be strong.”
Dougald Lamont, Liberal Leader
Age: 54. Born April 23, 1969.
Pre-Politics: Degree in English literature from the University of Manitoba. Worked as a writer, editor and policy analyst for 25 years in the private and public sector. Taught Canadian literature at the University of Manitoba. Worked as an instructor in government-business relations at the University of Winnipeg. Was director of communications for Robert-Falcon Ouellette’s successful campaign to become member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre in 2015.
Politics: Has represented St. Boniface since a byelection in 2018. Was elected Liberal leader in 2017, defeating Cindy Lamoureux, who is the member for Tyndall Park. First ran in the 2003 provincial election, but placed second to then-NDP finance minister, Greg Selinger. Was runner-up in the Manitoba Liberal Party leadership election in 2013 to Rana Bokhari.
Personal: Is the third of four children to an architect mother and a lawyer father. Bilingual. Married to Cecilia Lamont. The couple has four children — three girls and a boy.
Quote: “I know that if it weren’t for the fact that we were there, some things would never have been talked about at all. And I think that’s part of what’s happening. There are a series of areas where both the other parties either weren’t there or aren’t covering it.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 5, 2023.
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