Liberal leader Dougald Lamont wins St. Boniface byelection
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:05PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, July 18, 2018 11:56AM CST
The leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party has won a seat in the Legislature.
Dougald Lamont was elected MLA for St. Boniface Tuesday night in a provincial byelection.
Lamont defeated NDP candidate Blandine Tona, Progressive Conservative candidate Mamadou Ka and Manitoba Green Party candidate Françoise Therrien Vrignon.
"It is humbling beyond words to be allowed to represent you," Lamont told supporters gathered at the Norwood Hotel. “St. Boniface, you have shown that change for the better is possible."
According to the unofficial results, Lamont received 2,625 votes, followed by Tona with 1,770 votes. Therrien Vrignon had 1,017 votes and Ka finished with 834 votes.
The victory gives the Liberals a fourth seat in the legislature and official party status which comes with more money and a chance for Lamont to grill Premier Brian Pallister and the governing Progressive Conservatives in Question Period.
"I really am excited about the fact that we'll be able to have a new voice and we'll be able to confront Pallister in the Legislature,” said Lamont. “I think we'll be a new voice of opposition that isn't there right now."
The seat was left vacant when former NDP Premier Greg Selinger resigned earlier this year as the area’s MLA, a seat he had held since 1999.
Some political observers have said a loss for the NDP in this byelection would be a sign the party still hasn’t recovered from the seats it lost in the 2016 general election.
NDP leader Wab Kinew doesn’t see it that way. He said he’s happy with the campaign and the candidate the party ran.
"Nobody expected rebuilding the NDP to be an overnight task and I knew that when I signed up for this,” said Kinew. “It's not something that we're gonna do today, tomorrow -- this is a multi-year process that I'm committed to."
Lamont said he has a busy summer ahead but he's ready to get down to work.
"I've got to find an office,” said Lamont. “I've got to find and rent an office and hire staff. So, we'll do what we can to hit the ground running but we also need to be deliberate about how we do it."
The Manitoba Liberal Party hasn't had official party status since 1995.