Conservative incumbent Candice Bergen hosted a grand opening at her Winkler campaign office Sept. 17. She spoke to supporters about the need to elect a Conservative government and remove the Trudeau Liberals before cutting the ribbon to make the office opening official.
It’s that need for a change in government that Bergen said seems to be on everyone’s mind. “It’s only been a few days in but I think in Manitoba people are very frustrated with Trudeau,” she said. “They really are looking at who can they trust to help them get ahead.”
Bergen said she’s hearing concerns around the riding.
“Everything’s costing more… and they’ve seen Trudeau raise taxes and really not pay attention to how difficult life is for every day Canadians,” she said. “They want to see what our message is and we’ve been delivering a positive message. Andrew Scheer’s been announcing some substantial common sense policies that will help parents, help families get ahead.”
Bergen has been the Conservative MP for Portage-Lisgar since 2008. She was elected three times, getting 68.3 per cent of the vote in 2008, 76 per cent in 2011 and 60.8 in 2015.
Despite that strong record she isn’t taking anything for granted. “We’re feeling very positive, we’re working hard and I know I’m working hard to earn every single vote here in Portage-Lisgar,” she said.
Bergen said the region of Portage-Lisgar is a leader in the province. “When you look at the economic activity, you look at the manufacturing, the innovation that has come out of this area, as a representative in Ottawa I see that and hear that all the time and I know that has an impact in the province and all across the country.”
Bergen said this region has suffered under the Liberals.
“We have really over the last four years seen such a drop for example in infrastructure money coming to areas like Portage-Lisgar and rural Manitoba,” she said. “What the Liberals typically do is they give money to their areas of support. That is not how Conservatives did it.”
Bergen said Manitoba received funding for 335 projects under the Conservatives and only 195 under the Liberals.
“Manitoba has really gotten the short end of the stick under the Liberals and Portage-Lisgar needs to be able to get their fair share as well,” she said.
Bergen said people in this riding are also embarrassed by Trudeau.
“They’re ashamed with what they’ve heard on the SNC Lavalin, that we have a prime minister who has done something that’s never been done before and that’s breaking those ethics laws and trying to influence a criminal case,” she said. Other concerns revolve around the ban on canola exports to China.
Bergen said the question they are asking is whether there’s hope.
“They want to see where is the solution for that,” she said. “Is there hope in sight, so they want to know that there’s a chance that there’s going to be a change in government. That’s really what I’m hearing.”
Bergen said voters should know she’s a hard worker.
“I think it’s just being raised in Morden, you grow up with that kind of work ethic that once you make a commitment you stick to it and you give it all you’ve got,” she said. “It’s my home. This is where I grew up and raised my family.”
Bergen said those values have helped her represent this region.
“I’m a home grown girl with home grown values but I’ve also been a very strong voice in Ottawa,” she said. “I think the people in this riding can be proud of what I’ve done. They may not always agree with me, but they know I’m not one to shirk away.”
“I stand up for what I believe, I stand up for what the people in the riding believe,” she added. “I am not afraid to speak truth to power.”
Bergen said she will continue to listen to her constituents.
“The people of this riding can know that in me they have a strong, tenacious voice,” she said.
As of press time there are six candidates running in Portage-Lisgar. They include: Cindy Friesen – NDP, Aaron Archer – PPC (People’s Party of Canada), Candice Bergen – Conservative, Beverley Eert – Green, Ken Werbiski – Liberal and Jerome Dondo – CHP (Christian Heritage Party).
The election will take place Oct. 21.