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The new face challenging River Heights Liberal stronghold

A political expert says a new NDP candidate could change things in the Liberal stronghold of River Heights.

Since 1999, the Liberal party's Jon Gerrard has held the provincial legislative seat for River Heights.

But Gerrard isn’t the only one wanting to represent the area this provincial election.

Three others will have their name on the ballot: Tim Burt for the Progressive Conservatives, Nathan Zhan for the Green Party, and Mike Moroz for the New Democrats.

Moroz put his teaching job on hold this fall in favour of running.

“The school year really on the exactly same day officially. I didn’t think it was fair to the kids so I didn’t take a contract for the fall,” Moroz said.

It’s a big bet for an area that's never had an NDP MLA, but Christopher Adams, an adjunct political studies professor at the University of Manitoba, says it could signal a shift.

“When there have been challenges in River Heights in the past it's usually been for the Progressive Conservatives then from the NDP,” Adams said. “I think we'll see Progressive Conservative voters drifting over to the Liberals, over to Jon Gerrard. I suspect they’ll be some strategic voting.”

Adams says while incumbent Gerrard is well known and respected in the area, it is interesting to see an NDP candidate really challenging him for the seat.

For Gerrard, the campaign trail is giving him a chance to speak with constituents at their own doorsteps.

“The four major areas where I’m hearing about are health, education, crime, and climate change,” Gerrard said.

Meantime competitor Moroz is reconnecting with people he spoke with while fighting against education Bill 64.

“It’s a tremendous constituency,” Moroz said. "They’re engaged, they’re enthusiastic, knowledgeable about the issues.”

Election Day in Manitoba is October 3. Top Stories

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