The reporters in the Winnipeg media were so excited they almost peed their pants on Tuesday as the results trickled in from the Kirkfield Park by-election.
This was IT. The NDP were going to take this safe Conservative riding and ignite the long-predicted sweep of city seats, foreshadowing the removal of the PC's from office in the general election next year.
Poll after poll had the super-woke transexual NDP candidate in the lead. (He was a female---okay, a lesbian---before he became a man, starting his trek to masculinity, beard an all, in 2014.)
With only the advance polls to be counted, the reporters were on the edges of their seats preparing their personal celebrations. But...then...the horror. Conservative candidate Kevin Klein was declared the winner! By 160 votes.
Time for the pundits and reporters to pick themselves off the ground, wipe away their tears, and dust off Plan B, which is getting a big frayed from constant use.
CBC's Barley Kives went to the usual well. Nobody won. Everybody lost. No, Bartley, Kevin Klein will be sworn in as the new MLA for Kirkfield Park. That's called winning.
University of Manitoba political scientist Royce Koop told Global News the "strong" Liberal vote ate into the NDP's vote. Wrong, as you'll see shortly.
"Close win in Kirkfield Park byelection may not bode well for PCs in long run: expert" read the CTV headline. Who was the "expert"? Mary Agnes Welch from polling firm Probe Research, whose poll a week before the byelection showed the NDP unbeatable in Winnipeg.
"It shows the PCs are weak and vulnerable," said Chris Adams, an adjunct professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba.
The Kirkfield Park byelection shows just the exact opposite, Chris. Not that we would expect political science professors to know what they're talking about.
There were 4442 fewer votes cast in this election than in the 2019 general election. The Conservative vote count was down 3089. Aha, you might say, this proves the PC's are doomed.
But the Conservative vote did not bleed to the other political parties. In fact, the NDP tally was 581 below their vote in 2019. And the Liberals only gained 46 more votes than in the general election.
That means that the upside for the Conservatives is that they have potentially 3000 more votes to collect in the 2023 election. The NDP and Liberals are topped up. They're not winning Conservative voters. The NDP can only hope to get about 600 votes more in Kirkfield Park, and the Liberals are stalled dead.
So much for the Liberals stealing votes from the NDP, Royce.
Oh, note we didn't mention the Green Party. That's because its ceased to exist for all intents and purposes. The Greens in Kirkfield Park and Fort Whyte lost 92 percent of their respective votes from 2019. That's over 800 votes in Kirkfield Park which did not go to the NDP or the Liberals.
You know what that means. WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE-E-E-E FROM GLOBAL WARMING!!
The other major takeaway from the Kirkfield Park byelection is that health care is NOT an issue in this or any future elections. The NDP made this a referendum on health care---and they still got almost 600 fewer votes than in the previous election. Voters don't believe the NDP or the Liberals have the answer to health care woes. Why should they? They muttered the magic words "health care abracadabra" repeatedly without offering any solutions of their own.
And that's extremely bad news for the NDP. Without health care as an issue, what do they have? The current NDP is essentially a one-trick pony with endless harangues about aboriginal this and aboriginal that. So far all that's done is chase away NDP base voters. The pundits won't touch this.
And while Heather Stefanson has proved to be a terrible leader for the PC's, they kept their powder dry in Kirkfield Park and did not go after NDP leader Wab Kinew. That will change in 2023 when Kinew will be running with the albatross of unresolved sexual assault charges from 2003 around his neck, charges that senior members of his own caucus believe he's guilty of.
People don't care? Tell that to Major General Dany Fortin who was forced to defend himself on a charge dating back 34 years to 1988. Or better yet, ask losing mayoral candidate Glen Murray who thought he was, as the pollsters designated front runner, untouchable from accounts of sexual assault in 2017.