‘Education is becoming very expensive’: Manitoba election 2023 swing riding profile: McPhillips

By Tessa Adamski

This will be the second provincial election for the McPhillips riding since its boundaries were redrawn in 2018 to accommodate population growth in St. Paul, Kildonan and The Maples ridings, according to the Manitoba Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission Final Report in 2018.

Key here is the incumbent, Progressive Conservative Shannon Martin, is not seeking re-election, making the riding a wide-open race.

The constituency boundaries include northern city limits and on the south by Leila Avenue, Inkster Boulevard, and the CPR Winnipeg Beach rail line. On the west, it is bounded by Pipeline Road and Winnipeg city limits and on the east, it is bounded by the Red River, city limits and Main Street. The McPhillips riding includes the West Kildonan and Garden City neighbourhoods and the rural municipality of West St. Paul.

The last provincial election for the McPhillips riding saw a voter turnout of 56 per cent. Nearly half the population in this area of northern Winnipeg identifies as a visible minority, including 6,175 in the Filipino community and 4,185 in the South Asian community. While the majority of people in this area speak English as their first language, nearly one quarter speak Tagalog (Filipino), Punjabi, German, Mandarin, Spanish or Russian as their first language.

Election Candidates:

There are three candidates running:

  • Jasdeep “JD” Devgan, NDP. He is pledging to “fix healthcare and make your life more affordable,” according to his party profile.

  • Umar Hayat, Manitoba Liberal Party. He is pledging to fix the healthcare system, provide Manitobans with relief from the cost of living, commit to anti-gang measures for safer streets, act on climate change and more, according to his party profile. Hayat ran as a candidate for mayor of Winnipeg in 2018.

  • Sheilah Restall, PC Party. She is pledging to help the McPhillips riding grow and continue to become “a place her family, and areas residents, and all Manitobans are proud to call home”, according to her party profile.

Riding Facts:

  • The total population was 27,835 people with 17,955 being Canadian citizens over the age of 18. There were 8,740 male-identifying Canadian citizens over the age of 18 with a median age of 36. There were 9,210 female-identifying Canadian citizens over the age of 18 with a median age of 39. A total of 8,860 people voted in the 2019 provincial election with a turnout of 56 per cent.
  • A total of 13,425 people were married or common-law; 1,405 were divorced or separated; and 1,200 were widowed.
  • There were 18,815 people who spoke English as their first language with 6,785 people whose first language was Tagalog (Filipino), Punjabi, German, Mandarin, Spanish or Russian.
  • There were 25,340 non-Indigenous people living in the riding compared to 2,300 Indigenous people.
  • A total of 17,955 people were Canadian citizens over the age of 18 compared to 4,425 who were not recognized as Canadian citizens.
  • A total of 15,320 people reported they were not a visible minority and 12,315 were a visible minority with the largest groups of 6,175 for the Filipino community and 4,185 for the South Asian community.
  • There were 9,870 private dwellings with a median value of $380,000. A total of 6,220 of those homes were built between 1960 and 1990.
  • A total of 12,690 people out of 22,765 people over the age of 15 had a post secondary certificate, diploma or degree. Most people in the McPhillips riding studied business, management and public administration; architecture, engineering and trades; and healthcare.
  • In 2020, there were 8,155 over the age of 15 working full-time. The median employment income was $56,400. The median total household income was $94,000 and $80,000 after tax deductions.
  • There are two personal care homes and nine schools in this riding.
  • In July 2019, the PC Party closed the emergency room at Seven Oaks General Hospital, leaving three hospitals in the city with emergency departments: St. Boniface, Health Sciences Centre and Grace Hospital. The Seven Oaks General Hospital became an urgent care centre, treating health concerns such as broken bones or flu-like symptoms.

*All information is sourced from the 2023 Elections Manitoba McPhillips electoral division statistical profile.

Voter Viewpoints

Janet McNabb, 54, who works as a teacher at the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development:

“This government has to recognize that the government before them does have a legal contract to Aboriginal people, and that they have to fulfill it one way or another … I don’t see [Heather Stefanson] as a supporter at all – I see her as a self-serving politician … If people think not searching the landfill is only an Aboriginal issue, it’s not. It’s what brought it to the news, but it’s not only Aboriginal people that are in that landfill. If you look back at all the missing people, there’s a good chance that’s where they are and with this government’s attitude, there’s a lot more that’s going to be added because it’s a free-for-all now. [People will say] ‘let’s go put this person in there because it’s not going to be searched.’ That sends a very scary message, and she doesn’t even realize it and it’s awful.”

Chris Campbell, 46, who works at Palliser Furniture:

“Education, healthcare and infrastructure are three things that I would like to talk about with [candidates] given the chance … I’d like to see Leila Avenue double divided from Pipeline Road to Keewatin Street. When you drive down Leila Avenue, when you get to Pipeline Road, it shoots into a single lane when they have enough room to double lane it all the way behind Keewatin Street. That’s the kind of development I would like to see … As for Seven Oaks General Hospital, losing their emergency room was a big issue for me … I also have a child that goes to public school in the area, so it’s important that our public schools are properly funded and not understaffed.”

Marie Conner, 87, retired: “I think they should reopen some of the beds at the hospitals that closed down and a few more emergency rooms around town. There’s too long of a waiting period … They could also give us a little more on our pension. I don’t think it’s fair that we have to work 60 years with a little pension … [The cost of] everything has really gone up – like almost double something. It’s very bad. Inflation is terrible.”

Armenia Evaristo, 70, is a retired RRC Polytech instructor:

“Manitoba students generally don’t do very well on the national exams. They’re usually toward the bottom of the list. Education is becoming very expensive, and I think by doing that, you’re not allowing the people who may not be able to afford it to get an education. The kids just can’t afford it, so they either have to live with mom and dad, or they get a job at a lower paying rate … People with learning disabilities, where do they go? They could certainly open some programs for people with disabilities, and I know they try and mainstream them to the regular schools, but sometimes it doesn’t work.”

Camillo Transi, 72, retired worker for the Canadian Pacific Railway:

“The cost of living increases, but the cost of my [pension] increase doesn’t exist. My income never goes up … The doctor said I can only carry 10 lbs, so I have to go shopping two or three times a week because two or three items [weighs] 10 lbs.”

Don Charleton, 61, works as an information technology manager at Farmers Edge, which is a digital platform supporting the agricultural sector:

“Searching the landfill would be a huge thing. I have a lot of respect for the people and the families that are involved in that, but when you break it down, between $84 million and $184 million is a lot. [Searching the landfill] has me very conflicted because there’s other things about the PC party that I don’t like … I would like to see candidates talk more about 2SLGBTQ+ rights.”

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