Liberal leader wants to 'paint Winnipeg red'
Liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff was in Winnipeg Friday enjoying success his party had here in the recent byelection. It's a sign that Winnipeg might be a key battleground in the next election, a local expert said.
"We have to work hard, we have to shake every single hand, knock on every single door—that's what we're here to do today," Ignatieff said. "We want to paint Winnipeg red."
In November, Liberal Kevin Lamoureux took the riding of Winnipeg North from NDP control.
On Friday, Ignatieff greeted over 100 Winnipeg supporters at meet and greets alongside Liberal candidates Terry Duguid in Winnipeg South and Ray Simard in St. Boniface.
A local political expert says the city will be a key battleground in the next election, because a changing political landscape means five seats that aren't usually up for grabs are in play this year.
"One or two seats can make a difference and in Winnipeg, when you have 4 or 5 up for grabs, it means we'll be seeing a lot of party leaders," said Jared Wesley, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba who specializes in party politics.
On Thursday, Ignatieff was in British Columbia hosting similar events in the Vancouver area. After he leaves Winnipeg, he will be continuing the 11-day tour in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
On the tour, Ignatieff has been asking voters to ask themselves if they're better off after five years of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's rule.
The Liberals also released a 12-page, full-colour booklet detailing what it calls "five years of misguided priorities" under Harper.
It poses the question "Is Canada better off?" and answers it with a litany of dismal numbers such as a record $56-billion deficit last year.
Ignatieff is slated to visit 20 ridings, all of which are held by rival parties.
While no election has been called, many people speculate there will be a spring vote, which would happen if the next budget is voted down.
Harper's press secretary, Andrew MacDougall, said with an economic recovery in sight, "the last thing we need" is a needless election.
He said the government will keep its focus on jobs and growth as it tries to keep the fragile economic recovery on track.
NDP Leader Jack Layton is also touring the country and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe is travelling in Quebec.
-with files from the Canadian Press