Vaccination a major election issue in Provencher riding: political scientist
Candidates in the Provencher riding are making a final effort to flip undecided voters just two days as the federal election nears.
The Provencher riding covers the province's southeast corner and includes several communities including Steinbach.
Kelly Saunders, a political scientist at Brandon University, said the riding's main election issue boils down to the COVID-19 vaccine.
"We know it straddles a number of communities that are hotspot when it comes to vaccine hesitancy, and some of the rates of vaccination are the lowest not only in the province but the country," said Saunders.
Incumbent Conservative Ted Falk was first elected in 2013 and has won every election since by a fairly wide margin.
Recently, however, Falk had to walk back some claims he made on the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
His campaign did not respond to CTV News.
Falk's position is something Liberal candidate Trevor Kirczenow is looking to capitalize on.
"It's very frustrating, his position on vaccines," said Kirczenow, "His position on vaccination has been unclear. He won't say if he's been vaccinated."
Kirczenow lives on a farm near Dugald and previously ran in 2019. He said this time around, he's talked to a lot of people who aren't sure who they're voting for.
"I think a lot of voters are looking for clarity," he said. “I've met a lot of undecided voters.”
This election also has another difference -- the People's Party of Canada.
PPC candidate Nöel Gautron has lived in the area his entire life and, according to his bio, is against vaccine passports.
He's a candidate that Saunders believes could steal some Conservative voters.
"And we know that the PPC has been making some inroads into Conservative territory, particularly in a place with vaccine hesitancy. So that candidate has been picking up some steam," noted Saunders.
Also on the Provencher ballot are the NDP Party's Serina Pottinger, the Green Party's Janine Gibson and independent Rick Loewen.
As candidates make a push to swing undecided voters, they'll have to wait until election day on September 20 to see the fruits of their labour.