The Fort Whyte Byelection

I had a great time at NDP’s Brandy Schmidt’s headquarters during the Fort Whyte byelection. As a young journalist the experience is quite invaluable and it’s great to have the chance to interview the politicians there.

The Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy Erin Selby was there and was very quick to greet our group. She had a keen interest in getting to know us (perhaps it was because she knew she might deal with some of us in the future?). I spotted other familiar faces like Minister of Justice Andrew Swan and Premier Greg Selinger came to our table to speak to us for a bit.

I feel like some people would find it easy to blow us off because we’re just “students” and don’t really matter. That wasn’t the case at the NDP headquarters. Everyone was open, willing and even suggested to talk to us.

CreComm is synonymous with many great terms. As students we hold a lot of reputation just by saying that we are from Red River and that’s a huge honour. Not only do people in the industry, but those who deal with it, like politicians understand what our program is about.

The results went as I believe most people predicted. Since its inception in 1999 Fort Whyte has been blue and this election was no different especially because new Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister was running.

Unofficial numbers from Elections Manitoba state that Pallister had 3626 votes. Liberal Bob Axworthy finished with 2074, Schmidt had 739, Donnie Benham of the Greens had 113 and independent Darrell Ackman had 19.

Former PC leader Hugh McFadyen stepped down from his seat after relinquishing leadership of his party. He stepped down the night of their disappointing results in last year’s provincial election.

McFadyen and the PC’s weren’t able to gain more seats in last year’s election. They finished with 19, the same total they had in the 2007 election. The NDP’s finished with 37 seats for a majority government and the Liberals had only one.

The win for Pallister wasn’t much of a surprise. In last year’s election McFadyen had 5588 votes for the PC’s, NDP’s Sunny Dhaliwal had 2649 votes and the Liberal’s Chae Tsai had 708 votes.

There was no disappointment in Schmidt’s campaign. Selby and Selinger spoke very highly of her and both states that they see a very bright future for her in politics.

She fared well for running in blue territory. The young woman came across as a very friendly person and someone who could probably gather a lot of votes. Perhaps after getting her name a little more known in the area, or trying out a more orange friendly riding, Scmidt will be able to call herself and MLA.

On a more personal note, live tweeting was part of our assignment that night. I have to thank my fellow student Ryan Kessler. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have done so well.

But I think the use of live tweeting will make for a great blog topic next week.

Until then.

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