For Kim Catcheway, crime in the riding of Winnipeg North is top of mind.
“The crime, the guns, there’s guns everywhere,” she said. “I’m scared to go out at night.”
The riding is a tough neighbourhood.
Crime, poverty and homelessness are major issues.
“Most of the violence is abandoned kids, I guess. Like young teens, homeless teens,” said Stephanie Demerais, a voter.
“That was the issues – the kids and some violent kids.”
Jobs and housing
Mary Burton, another voter, believes jobs and housing are key to improving life in the riding.
“We need more employment for our residents here in the North End,” she said.
“People who are given a hand up rather than a hand out feel empowered, and they’re able to make things better for themselves and their families.”
Michael Redhead Champagne, an anti-poverty advocate, has a short to-do list for the next Member of Parliament.
“The most important topics for us to be focusing on in this election is how do we address homelessness, how do we actually move towards real reconciliation, and what are we going to do about child welfare?” he said.
“Those are the most important topics that I hope our future representative is able to give us some answers on.”
The riding has a high proportion of immigrants and Indigenous peoples.
A report from the 2016 census found 51 per cent of the population is comprised of visible minorities.
Burton said she wants an MP who lives in the riding and knows the issues.
“Somebody who lives here who understands the unique challenges that residents in the North End face,” she said.
“Somebody who knows how to navigate the systems for those residents in our little community.”
There are three candidates confirmed so far.
Liberal Kevin Lamoureux has been the MP for more than a decade after unseating long-time NDP-MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis.
Champagne agrees the MP needs to live in the riding.
“I’m not interested in voting for anybody who does not live here,” he said.
“I’m looking for people that are able to understand jurisdictions and propose solutions that are within the federal jurisdiction.”
While they said they will be voting, both Champagne and Burton questioned why the election was called at all.
“I personally think it’s irresponsible to be calling this election right now amidst the coming fourth wave [of the coronavirus pandemic], but at the same time I appreciate the opportunity for citizens in Winnipeg North to exercise their voices,” he said.
“Well I think it’s pretty weird that we’re having such an election in the middle of a pandemic, but I look forward to being able to talk to the candidates and see where they’re at,” added Burton.
Election day is September 20.