Politics in the Wheat City

Political observers will often tell you that provincial elections are almost exclusively contested in Winnipeg. But the province’s second-largest city, Brandon, plays a critical role in elections that mirrors its importance as southwestern Manitoba’s social, economic and cultural hub.

Photo credit: James O'Connor

Politicos in the Wheat City – as well as many other family members, friends, colleagues and well-wishers – came together a few weeks ago to celebrate the official Brandon launch of Manitoba Politics and Government: Issues, Institutions and Traditions edited by Dr. Paul G. Thomas and myself. The turnout was inspiring, given that it was a bitterly cold January night and that the first launch was postponed due to a blizzard (Mother Nature always has the final say over whether something happens in Manitoba, it seems).

Despite the chill in the air, about 60 people came to the Brandon Public Library to discuss the book and to hear Brandon University political studies professor Kelly Saunders discuss her chapter in the book. With an election on the horizon, Dr. Saunders’ chat piqued a lot of interest, as her contribution on the provincial Progressive Conservative party explores its recent history and assesses its near-term prospects. With the PCs and governing NDP neck-and-neck in the polls – including one specifically of Brandon residents taken in late 2010 – there is a great deal of interest in the Wheat City in the impact local races there might have on the province as a whole.

A great big thank you is in order to Kathy Thornborough and her staff at the Brandon Public Library for letting us put on this great event there! It was a pleasure to celebrate the release of this book among so many old friends and colleagues. To those of you who came to talk politics and purchase a signed copy of the book, thank you for your interest and support.