Tories maintain hold on Morris, Arthur-Virden in Manitoba byelection

Shannon Martin, Progressive Conservative candidate in the Morris byelection, is seen in his...

Shannon Martin, Progressive Conservative candidate in the Morris byelection, is seen in his constituency in La Salle, Man., on January 23, 2014. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)

Kristin Annable, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The Tories held on to their seat in Morris and Arthur-Virden with landslide victories in a provincial byelection Monday.

But the vote will go down in history as the lowest voter turnout in Manitoba byelection history in Morris.

“It’s not surprising at all,” said Shannon Martin, the victor for the Tories in Morris of the low turnout. “It’s always a challenge with byelections, but this year you’re looking at a backdrop of almost a year without representation, called during the holiday, held in one of the coldest months ever in the province.”

Martin swept the Morris election with more than 69% of the votes, filling the seat left vacant for the past 350 days.

Morris resident Ernie Siemens, 73, came out to vote, but he believed calling an election in winter was too late and done in the wrong season.

“I think it should have been done sooner,” he said. “There’s no excuse, I don’t know the reasoning. I think it’s wrong.”

Doyle Piwniuk won the Arthur-Virden riding with 68% of the votes.

Both ridings have historically been Conservative strongholds.

NDP candidates struggled in one of the first elections since they hiked the PST from 7% to 8% last year without a previously required referendum. NDP candidate Bob Senff received a little over 10% of the votes in Arthur-Virden. In Morris, the party also faltered, receiving a little over 12% of the votes.

“It is a reflection of what the average voter is thinking,” said Piwniuk of the NDP’s poor showing. “It is the referendum that we never got to have.”

- With files from Daniella Ponticelli and Joyanne Pursaga


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