Winnipeg Centre will be won by Liberal candidate Paul Ong or NDP candidate Leah Gazan on election night.
Winnipeg Centre, currently represented by Leah Gazan, the NDP incumbent, seeking her second term in a riding that is the second poorest in the country next to Prime Minister Trudeau’s Papineau. Gazan won her seat in 2019, un-seating popular Liberal Member of Parliament Dr Robert Falcon Ouellette. Gazan serves on the Standing Committee on; Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. She continues to be an advocate for the rights and freedom of the Indigenous community.
Gazan faces off against a formidable Liberal candidate Paul Ong who won the nomination by acclamation. Ong is a well-known community activist that gained notoriety after appearing on Canada’s got talent. The classically trained opera singer devotes a lot of time fundraising for various charities such as CancerCare Manitoba through his music series and performance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Ong also was appointed Vice-Principal of Garden Grove Jr High after spending many years as a teacher at General Wolfe Jr. High and up north at Red Sucker Lake First Nation School. Ong originated from the Philippines has strong ties to Winnipeg Centre with a large Filipino community that has thrown their support behind their fellow countryman.
Winnipeg Centre is a riding of the haves and have nots. The rich, the upper-middle class and the very poor, separated by neighbourhoods lined with green grass and blooming flowers, to ones with boarded-up houses and streets littered with meth needles and drug Paraphernalia.
The key to winning this riding is resources. The more financial resources that go into the community to help fight addictions, provide affordable housing and social programs; will help reduce the rate of crime which is the highest in Winnipeg Centre.
The majority of crimes committed are within the areas that face the most social-economic issues. Whereas such as Wolesley, St. James and Assiniboia, tend to be more affluent and do not face the same challenges.
Although residing in a more affluent part of the riding may act as a shield from crime, it does not make you immune to seeing your property value decrease. In a riding that has a high crime rate, everyone is affected in some capacity.
An elected Member of Parliament within the governing party is better able to provide the resources needed for the community. According to public records, Winnipeg Centre received the most financial support between 2015 to 2019, which correlates to having an MP serving in the governing party.
Consistent polling throughout the riding shows a strong approval for how the federal government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. This riding will likely field a few more candidates before the closing of registration. However, Winnipeg Centre will be won by Ong or Gazan come September, therefore making this riding a toss-up.