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Selinger earns fourth term for NDP; McFadyen steps down as Tory leader

MANITOBA VOTES:

Selinger has backing of 'Tobans

WINNIPEG SUN

The man who has been Manitoba's premier for two years now has the official backing of its people.

Premier Greg Selinger originally inherited his post from Gary Doer, who was the people's choice for premier last time around, but was at the helm on his own Tuesday as he led his New Democratic troops to victory over their rival Tories and won the party a fourth consecutive term in office.

The NDP swept to victory with key wins in nearly every key riding.

"Tonight we made history in Manitoba. I've never been more proud of our party," Selinger said. "This achievement tonight makes us extremely humble and full of gratitude for the opportunity we've been given."

In a breach of political decorum, Selinger started his victory address to NDP supporters at the Winnipeg Convention Centre almost immediately after McFadyen began his concession speech.

Throughout a particularly negative campaign, the New Democrats targeted Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen's past work for former premier Gary Filmon. NDP ads made claims the Tories would privatize Manitoba Hydro, based on McFadyen's role as Gary Filmon's "right hand man" when the Tories privatized MTS in the 1990s.

New Democrat TV spots also made the claim that Manitoba's previous Conservative government, which McFadyen had been a part of, "fired 1,000 nurses" during the 1990s.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement Tuesday night regarding the NDP victory.

"The people of Manitoba gave Premier Greg Selinger a mandate to continue to serve as the head of Manitoba's provincial government. I congratulate the premier and his team on their victory," the release states.

"I look forward to continuing to work with him on promoting prosperity in the province and country and on addressing issues of importance to Manitobans and all Canadians."

While the NDP revelled Tuesday night in the knowledge they will be in charge of Manitoba until at least 2015, the result was a particularly difficult pill to swallow for the Progressive Conservatives and McFadyen, who truly felt this election was their best shot in years at gaining power.

McFadyen, who was Tory leader when the PCs lost to Doer and the NDP in 2007, said he was disappointed with the results.

"Under any other circumstance I'd be happy with 46% of the vote," he said. "It's far short of what we expected."

The NDP has held power in Manitoba since Doer won his first majority on Sept. 21, 1999. While the Tories focused much of their campaign on trying to convince voters 12 years was long enough, the NDP aimed to get voters to reach even further back into history, linking McFadyen to the Filmon regime of the '90s at every opportunity.

Given Tuesday's results, Selinger's strategy appears to have paid off, rewarding him with four more years as the province's top dog.

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McFadyen steps down as Tory leader

WINNIPEG SUN

If there was any time for the Tories to take power, this was it.

Popular, charismatic NDP Premier Gary Doer is gone. It's rare for any government to be elected four times in a row.

But Hugh McFadyen's Progressive Conservatives couldn't pull it off Tuesday and the New Democrats were catapulted to a fourth consecutive majority.

Early poll results suggested the Tories failed to pick up any additional seats.

Party faithful gathered at Canad-Inns Polo Park in a room decked out in Tory blue - complete with matching cowbells as noisemakers - for what they hoped would be a victory party.

Instead, McFadyen's concession speech became an announcement that he's inviting others to step up and lead the party. He will stay on until a new leader is selected, he said.

The TV broadcast of McFadyen's speech was interrupted as all the TV networks switched to Greg Selinger's victory speech, which started about a minute after McFadyen's. Traditionally the winner waits for the concession speech to end before speaking.

McFadyen, who was first elected as a PC MLA in the Fort Whyte riding in a 2005 byelection, became Tory leader in April 2006, succeeding Stuart Murray.

This was McFadyen's second provincial campaign at the helm of the party. He lost out to Premier Gary Doer in 2007, when the NDP won their third-straight majority government.

McFadyen had previously served as an advisor to former Tory Premier Gary Filmon in the 1990s and served as campaign manager for Mayor Sam Katz's successful mayoral campaign in 2004.

McFadyen's campaign largely focussed on law-and-order issues and arguing that the Tories offered more viable long-term fiscal management than the NDP.

Throughout the campaign, the NDP targetted McFadyen's past work for Premier Gary Filmon. NDP ads made claims the Tories would privatize Hydro, based on McFadyen's role as Gary Filmon's "right hand man" when the Tories of the 1990s privatized MTS.

New Democrat TV spots also made the claim that Manitoba's previous Conservative government, which McFadyen had been a part of, "fired 1,000 nurses" during the 1990s. The TV ad also poked fun at the quality of McFadyen's suits.


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