If the sign battle is any indicator Ron Lemieux is in good shape at least along the Trans Canada! I drove through by Greyhound (now stopped!) last week and saw lots of Lemieux signs and very few for Stefaniuk. I saw no Liberal signs at all. Maybe they have no candidate there! Maybe Lemieux just has a better sign crew.
Tories try to take rural seat back
Sun May 20 2007
By Mary Agnes Welch
SOUTHERN Manitoba's rural ridings could be blue all over if the Tories win La Verendrye Tuesday.
Along with Brandon West, it's a top Tory target. Party leader Hugh McFadyen has campaigned there no fewer than four times since the electon was called, and he popped in Saturday night for another community BBQ with candidate Bob Stefaniuk.
The mayor of Ritchot is battling NDP Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux, who won handily in 2003 but has had to wage a much tougher fight for the riding southeast of Winnipeg.
"It's looking positive," Lemieux said as he knocked on some doors in Richer Friday afternoon.
Roland Chaput is running for the Liberals, and young Grande Pointe resident Jay Murray is running as an independent on a platform promising more aggressive representation for the riding.
For a rural constituency, La Verendrye's population is surprisingly young. It's grown in the last several years and many towns, such as Lorette, have become booming bedroom communities for Winnipeg.
The NDP tends to be stronger in the riding's Franco-Manitoban towns, while the Tories tend to take towns closer to Steinbach such as Landmark.
The seat has traditionally been a Tory stronghold, held for more than 25 years before Lemieux won in 1999. Winning it back would give the Tories total control over rural southern Manitoba.
To do that, they've enlisted the straight-talking Stefaniuk, the longtime reeve of the RM of Ritchot and the area's go-to guy during the 1997 flood.
He was ubiquitous then, and won the respect of many. He's been ubiquitous again in the last few months as the 10th anniversary of the flood passed, and he said he's been received warmly at the door and senses people are ready to switch their votes.
"There's an undertow there of people looking for change," Stefaniuk said.