The 2018 addition of Churchill, Fox Lake Cree Nation, Gillam and Nelson House to the Thompson provincial electoral division, as well as the removal of Oxford House, could make the Sept. 10 election considerably closer than it was in 2016, when Kelly Bindle of the Progressive Conservatives ended NDP candidate Steve Ashton’s 35-year run as Thompson MLA by receiving 185 more votes.
Assuming that turnout remains the same and that everyone votes for the same party they did in 2016, adding those new communities to Thompson’s tallies and subtracting the votes from Oxford House would have meant a total of 1,823 votes for the PCs and 1,791 for the NDP, compared to the 2016 results of 1,712 for Bindle and 1,527 for Ashton.
In 2016, Gillam voted overwhelmingly in favour of the NDP candidate, who captured 100 ballots there, compared to 54 for the PC candidate.
In Nelson House, the NDP got the second-most votes, with 62, while the PCs were third with 10 votes.
Churchill also voted overwhelmingly for the NDP over the PCs, by a total of 204 to 45, while Fox Lake voters cast 15 ballots for the NDP and 4 for the PCs.
The loss of Oxford House isn’t good news for the NDP however, since voters there favoured them over the PCs by a count of 101 to five.
The 2016 election marked the first time since Progressive Conservative candidate Ken McMaster’s win in 1977 that the Thompson riding wasn’t won by the NDP.