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Strong roots in Morris constituency give Mailhot hope

Glen Hallick
Janelle Mailhot - Liberal candidate for Morris.

Janelle Mailhot - Liberal candidate for Morris.

Manitoba Liberal leader Jon Gerrard is looking for great improvement in his party's electoral results come voting day on Oct. 4. In the 2007 election the Grits won a pair of Winnipeg seats and 12.4 per cent of province-wide vote.

In the Morris constituency, a long time Progressive Conservative stronghold, the Liberals' share of the ballots cast dropped from the 25 per cent mark in the 1990s to only 10.4 per cent in the 2007 election.

When Liberal candidate Janelle Mailhot was asked about her chances in the rural constituency, she said believes she can dramatically change her party's fortunes.

"I rate my chances as being quite high because of my strong family roots in the Morris riding and my innovative vision for improving our communities," Mailhot said.

However she said she's only able to campaign on a part-time basis and lacks a great deal of the funding a campaign needs. But she said there is something happening to the traditional voting patterns that have dominated Morris for for the last 60 years.

"I also get the sense that I'm not the only one who's stopped voting for the Party and began voting for the individual," Mailhot said. "I am running for the Liberals, not because I was born into a Liberal-leaning family, but because I did my research and strongly believe in their innovative and intelligent platforms, as well as the sincerity of Dr. Jon Gerrard."

And the Liberal platform is something the graduate of Red River College's Creative Communications program is very well acquainted with, as she is part of the party's policy team.

Mailhot spoke of the riding-specific issues in the campaign.

"A few examples of my focus are on providing access to quality health care for those who can no longer commute to cities, ensuring our elderly have proper supports to stay in their communities, and providing new industry so new families can choose to plant roots in rural areas," she said.

Mailhot said the provincial campaign is focussing on research, prevention and innovation, particularly when it comes to education and health care.

"We need to recognize that every child is different, and that every child learns at a different speed, and our present education system needs to better adapt to that reality. With a modernized education system, we are moving more to individual learning plans," she said. "Central to Liberals efforts is putting wellness as a top priority so that Manitobans are healthier and the demand for health care can be decreased. Effectively addressing preventable conditions like diabetes must be any government's most important priority to deliver better care and save billions of dollars."