People’s Party makes progress in connection with Manitoba communities with low vaccination rates


OTTAWA – The People’s Party of Canada has secured one of its largest nationwide supporters in pockets of southern Manitoba grappling with the adoption of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Free press analysis.

Preliminary data from the 364 regular polls in Portage — Lisgar and Provencher shows that the right-wing party swept away small communities in those ridings, but was rejected in most cities, as well as in Winnipeg’s dormitory neighborhoods.

“It could be a flash in the pan, but it shows nonetheless that there are significant pockets within the population that are still anti-vaccine or have concerns or fears,” said Kelly Saunders, political scientist at the Brandon University.

Manitoba’s two ridings were the only ridings in Canada where the People’s Party won over 15 percent of the vote in last month’s election.

Elections Canada reports data by polling area and separately compiles data received for advance and postal polls, as well as mobile polls. The results of the polling districts provide a rough picture of voting trends at the local level, but not a complete picture since the mailed and advanced ballots are not sorted by district.

In Portage — Lisgar, the PPC received over 50 percent of the votes cast in the small towns of Hochfeld, Schanzenfeld, Blumenfeld and Gnadenthal, all of which are historically Mennonite communities.

Three of those cities are in the Rural Municipality of Stanley, which has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Manitoba, with less than 25 percent having their first vaccine, as of this week. Stanley’s seven polling stations voted 50% for the PPC, compared to 45% for conservative incumbent Candice Bergen.

In the village of Hochfeld, 59% of voters opted for the PPC, the highest of all polling stations.

“That’s almost two-thirds of everyone in this region; it’s a pretty shocking number,” Saunders said.

“It could be a flash in the pan, but nonetheless it shows that there are significant pockets within the population who are still anti-vax or have concerns or fears.” ‐ Kelly Saunders, Brandon University political scientist

“I don’t want to target an entire faith community with this, but we do know that there seems to be more support in the Mennonite community, compared to other faith communities or really any other community, for these feelings.”

PPC constituency candidate Solomon Wiebe argued that he gained support by jostling in the constituency and for a platform that spanned everything from housing policy to removing incentives and disincentives. vaccine deployment restrictions.

“From a demographic point of view, this neighborhood has Christian roots and I think they are more attached to their own choice. They will look around to see which parties represent them, and they will not vote solely on the basis of a color or what their parents voted on, “Wiebe said.

“They take their political responsibility to a higher level than most people, because they do their research and decide: this person is the best person to represent me.”

In Winkler, 54 percent of the votes were cast for the Conservatives and 28 percent for the PPC. The city’s vaccination rate was just under 42% this week.

In the city of Portage la Prairie, only nine percent of voters opted for the PPC, led by Maxime Bernier.

Overall, Bergen garnered 52.5 percent of the vote, while her constituency cast 21.6 percent of its votes for the PPC. Bergen’s decline in support almost aligns with the rise of the People’s Party. In 2019, he only got 2.6% of the vote, when Bergen won with 70.8% support.

In the neighboring constituency of Provencher, incumbent Tory Ted Falk won 48.7 percent of the total vote, while the PPC won 16.5 percent. This is compared to the 2019 vote, in which Falk got 65.9% of the vote and the PPC got just 2.2% of support.

However, in Provencher, the PPC did not obtain a majority of the votes in any polling station.

Its strongest support could be found in the pockets of the RMs of La Broquerie and Hanover, both of which have low immunization coverage, such as the small towns of Pansy, Marchand and Sarto.

At the seven polling stations in La Broquerie, 27 percent of the votes went to the PPC, compared to 42 percent for Falk. The region has just over 65% vaccination rate.

Likewise, the 23 polling stations in Hanover had 23 percent of the eligible ballots for the PPC and 59 percent for the Tories. As of last week, this area had just over 50% vaccination.

In Steinbach, only 17 percent of the vote went to the PPC, compared to 51 percent for the Conservatives.

Saunders noted that the PPC had received much weaker support in an election just two years ago, and said it was clear that the PPC was drawing its strength from the retreat of public health messages about vaccines and drugs. COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s not happening to some of these communities; we can’t logically get out of this problem, it seems, and it bothers me as we’re clearly in a fourth wave here in Manitoba. ”

For her, this suggests that the two conservative incumbents must reach out to these communities, and it shows a challenge for the current race for the provincial leadership of the CP.

“Whoever will be his new leader must really find a way to galvanize these divisions, which have always existed within the party (PC), but I think they are deeper than ever, as our politics are becoming more and more polarized. on every problem. ”

Falk, who was re-elected last month, struck the same tone, telling Steinbach Online he felt reluctance against vaccine warrants had increased support for the PPC, as well as mistrust of the pandemic in general. “They are frustrated, they are tired, they are angry,” he said.

Neither Bergen nor Falk’s office responded to interview requests on Friday.

Falk apologized during the campaign for spreading false information about vaccines and remains the only MP among Manitoba’s 14 not to say if he has been vaccinated.

The analysis is based on preliminary numbers that Elections Canada counted a week after the September 20 election, although the agency will release its official results in a few months.

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