Kelvin Goertzen is back as MLA for Steinbach.
Goertzen won for the sixth time, dating back to the 2003 election. Elections Manitoba is reporting that Goertzen received 5,857 votes, compared to NDP candidate Gord Meneer with 1,218 votes and Liberal candidate Cyndy Friesen with 799 votes. Green Party candidate Gabrielle Simard-Nadeau withdrew just prior to the election, but still received 62 votes. Goertzen received 72.58 per cent of the votes with voter turnout at 48 per cent.
Goertzen says Tuesday's results are bittersweet.
"Obviously, we would have liked to have been able to maintain government," says Goertzen. "But I've always said, I've only ever run for one position in my life and that is to be the MLA for Steinbach."
Goertzen adds he is very excited to be re-elected to that position. In fact, he says other than his very first victory, this one is probably the most personally satisfying.
"Not for the overall result of course in the province, but just in Steinbach because it's been a difficult few years," he says. "And people still gave overwhelming support."
Goertzen says he does not take that support for granted and would like to thank the voters in the Steinbach constituency for once again placing their trust in him.
After two terms in government, the Progressive Conservatives lost Tuesday to the New Democratic Party and Leader Wab Kinew. Goertzen says congratulations to Premier-elect Kinew.
"Obviously it's a historic win, he is the first First Nations Premier in Canada's history and that's not to be under-estimated," says Goertzen. "He will, I think be an inspiration for many Indigenous and First Nations people and beyond that and so I want to echo that and I want to congratulate Mr. Kinew on a very historic victory."
As for the provincial results, Goertzen says he is clearly disappointed not to win, but notes he is encouraged by the number of new, young, elected MLAs for the Progressive Conservatives who will be joining their caucus.
"So obviously disappointed that we didn't win government, but I'm a big believer in democracy and the democratic system," adds Goertzen. "It was a free and fair election and Mr. Kinew won a historic election; I congratulate him for that."
Goertzen says he does not think it was anything in particular that tipped favour towards the NDP. He notes the reality is that in Manitoba it is very difficult for a government to win a third term. And he refers to this as a very close election, suggesting that if several hundred votes had gone the other way, it could have changed the overall outcome.
Being in opposition is nothing new to Goertzen; having been there with the Conservatives prior to 2016. And, he says while in opposition, he was very aggressive and worked hard for Steinbach, achieving a lot of things. Goertzen says he has built relationships on all sides of the house and will be a strong advocate for the Steinbach constituency. He adds it is not because of him that things happen in Steinbach, Blumenort and Mitchell.
"It's not because of government, it's because people make it happen," he notes. "And that won't change, and the communities will continue to be successful because the people in those communities are successful and I'll be an advocate and a conduit in the best way that I can."
Meanwhile, Heather Stefanson announced Tuesday evening that she is stepping down as Leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Goertzen was asked whether he would be interested in that role.
"I've been Interim Leader before, I've been Deputy Leader, I think I've held most positions in the party," says Goertzen. "I think the only thing that interests me right now is going home, spending a couple of days at home."
Goertzen says the reality is that he has not been home a lot since the Conservatives formed government back in 2016.
"And I want to spend a bit of time at home," he adds. "Maybe the dog will recognize me again if I'm home for a week or two."
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