Manitoba’s official opposition will be meeting with stakeholders far and wide this weekend, as the Manitoba NDP kicks off a virtual version of its annual convention.
While the event would get leader Wab Kinew excited in any year, the feelings are even stronger in 2021 after an encouraging year of support for his party.
“We’re in a very solid position. I think the fundraising we put up in 2020 and at the end of the year really shows the progress we’ve made towards rebuilding the NDP — and just reconnecting with people in Manitoba.”
It’s a strong start to what will be an uphill climb for the party in the years ahead.
The NDP currently hold 18 seats in the legislative assembly, but that’s doubled by the governing Progressive Conservatives’ 36.
It’s a challenge Kinew says he’s looking forward to, and he believes his supporters are too.
“We were able to put away a quarter of a million dollars into our election fund for the next provincial election, which means we are already in a stronger position for the next election than we were for the last one.”
The party also stashed away $100,000 for any contingency scenarios, like a by-election.
Kinew says those figures are in part thanks to a large influx of first-time donors that helped make up a unique donor base that was three times the size of what the party has seen in recent years.
“I think that’s because the pandemic has weighed on people,” Kinew muses. “While I don’t believe anyone thinks the pandemic was preventable, I think there are a lot of Manitobans who feel like the government failed to prepare, and as a result, this thing was more damaging to the province than it might have been.”
Kinew hopes to woo potential voters who may be dissatisfied with the way the Progressive Conservative government has handled itself over the past year.
“It shows Manitobans that we’re on their side, and they’re now willing to not just answer a poll question saying they might support us — but also donate to help us prepare for that next election.”
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