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Federal party leaders visit Manitoba ahead of June double by-election

With two Federal by-elections around the corner in Manitoba, party leaders hit the campaign trail to appeal to voters in Portage-Lisgar and Winnipeg South Centre.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre made stops in both ridings Friday to support their candidates.

Poilievre is trying to win a seat away from the Liberals, and keep one in the fold. "Even in Liberal strongholds like this one, people are frustrated with and disappointed with Justin Trudeau," he said at a stop in Winnipeg South Centre.

Trudeau visited Winnipeg last week in support of Liberal candidate Ben Carr, son of former seat holder Jim Carr – who died of cancer in December. Carr is up against Conservative Damir Stipanovic.

University of Manitoba political science professor Chris Adams said there is a chance the traditionally Liberal seat could flip. "The conservatives have held that seat a couple of terms ago," Adams said. It's not a riding to ignore."

With a visit scheduled for Portage-Lisgar as well, Poilievre is trying to hold a Conservative stronghold with candidate Brandon Leslie.

Leader Maxime Bernier is the People's Party of Canada (PPC) candidate there, trying to get his party elected to parliament for the first time.

During the last federal election, the far-right PPC finished second in the riding with 22 per cent of the vote, attracting support in part from people frustrated with pandemic restrictions.

Poilievre said voting for the PPC will split the conservative vote. "We are the only common sense party with a chance to win," he said in Portage-Lisgar. "There's one more thing that Justin Trudeau and Maxime Bernier have in common, if you vote for either of them you'll end up with a Liberal government."

With pandemic restrictions gone and Poilievre taking the conservatives more to the right, Adams thinks Bernier could have an uphill battle.

"There is a feeling Maxime Bernier is not, really doesn't have much of a chance," he said.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was also in the province Friday, campaigning in both ridings.

"I'm here to meet our candidates in the by-election always here to listen to what people are saying," said Singh.

History is against the NDP in both races, but that isn't stopping its leader.

"I never shy away from a tough battle, that's just who I am," Singh said. "When there's a tough battle, I'll show up and I want people to know we have something to offer them.

The Green Party put out a news release Friday saying leader Elizabeth May will visit the city to support her candidate in Winnipeg South Centre.

Voters head to the polls in both by-elections on June 19th. Top Stories

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