The Manitoba Liberal Party has selected their candidate for next month’s provincial election - former Lynn Lake mayor James Lindsay.
Lindsay was acclaimed as the Manitoba Liberal Party’s candidate for Flin Flon at an Aug. 2 meeting in his hometown of Lynn Lake. Raised in Flin Flon and currently a teacher and the town’s current fire chief, Lindsay was first alerted to the open post through a former collegiate he had worked with through the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM).
“He called me up and said, ‘Hey Lindsay, what are you doing this fall?’” said Lindsay.
“I said I was planning on starting a new school year, but why, what's on your mind? And we got talking, and he said, ‘The Liberals haven't got a candidate in your region yet and I think you’d be pretty ideal.’”
A self-described socialist, Lindsay was attracted to the Liberal party after becoming disillusioned with the Manitoba NDP.
“I've been a socialist my entire life. In the past five or six years, I found Manitoba’s socialist party has strayed from the original fundamentals of socialism. Prior to the last election, I kind of started walking away from the New Democrats,” Lindsay said.
“I've never been a conservative. I've never been on politically on the right and I never will be, politically. That just doesn't fit with my worldview. That leaves me the Liberal Party as the option.”
Lindsay has already filed for a temporary leave of absence from his teaching position and his post as fire chief for the campaign.
Originally from Flin Flon, Lindsay worked at several northern Manitoba schools before moving to Lynn Lake 15 years ago.
“I've been living the dream at the end of the road ever since,” he joked.
Lindsay has already listed planks of his personal platform, along with the platform of the provincial party. If elected, Lindsay plans to prioritize some of the North’s most pressing issues, particularly for isolated communities.
“I'm going to be heavily focused on education, health care and more specifically, the social supports that health care provides. We're seeing that to be an ever increasing problem in northwest Manitoba and throughout the province,” he said.
“The problem’s been there for years, of course, and it hasn't gotten any better. From my perspective, the provincial governments and our health care system could have taken a much more active role in addressing these issues.”
Lindsay’s nomination leads to a peculiar issue for next month’s election: it will mean both the incumbent MLA and a challenger will be listed on the same ballot with nearly identical surnames – the NDP’s Tom Lindsey, who currently represents Flin Flon in provincial legislature, and Lindsay himself. Only one letter separates their last names - the incumbent uses an “e”, while Lindsay, the Liberal challenger, uses an “a” - meaning that the Liberal Lindsay will be featured first on provincial ballots, which list candidates by surname in alphabetical order in all caps.
While it may sound trivial, Lindsay acknowledges the situation is unusual.
“I've been thinking about that,” he said.
“I know Tom has his face fairly well known around Flin Flon and the entire constituency.
My face isn't as well known. We're just going to have to trust that everybody can read a ballot.”