The message has been received and delivered by Manitoba voters as they elected an NDP majority government to replace the flailing Progressive Conservatives.
According to recent polling, Manitoba voters wanted their next government to prioritize public safety, healthcare and counter poverty — all of which the NDP had a discernible advantage over their Tory counterparts.
A Probe Research poll commissioned by CTV last month suggested PC support gravitated towards the NDP, citing a greater degree of belief in its ability to deliver on key electoral issues.
It suggests that NDP leader Wab Kinew has the trust of the public on most issues except for job and investment attraction.
For the rising opposition party, they banked on healthcare and their vision to counter poverty and homelessness to form the government. Both parties had a near tie on public safety and crime.
On the former, the NDP more than doubled the PCs in voter trust concerning healthcare at 46% compared to a measily 18%, respectively.
Among Winnipeggers, poverty and homelessness, public safety and healthcare became the ballot questions.
Two weeks ago, political analyst Royce Koop told CTV to expect an NDP surge in suburban Winnipeg citing momentum on healthcare.
"The NDP has been very disciplined since the campaign started, sticking with health care," he said. "They've effectively kept healthcare on the front page."
According to an Angus Reid survey from mid-September, the NDP commanded a six-point lead over the Tories, leading among decided and leaning voters at 47% to 41%.
While the Tories hold a healthy lead in rural Manitoba over the NDP at 53% to 38%, the NDP nearly double the Tories in Winnipeg at 53% to 31%.
Despite voters applauding the PC’s fiscal record, their $270 million surplus to conclude fiscal year 2022/23 did not stop the bleeding as they struggled to resonate with voters on other issues.
According to newly-released public accounts, the surplus increased government revenues by $1.9 billion more than expected in Budget 2022, while adding $1.1 billion more in expenses.
Provincial government debt now sits at $30.3 billion, a decrease of $281 million compared to the budget, and interest charges cost taxpayers $1.9 billion last year.
Despite marking Manitoba’s first surplus since 2019, when they posted a $5 million surplus, Kinew said the numbers tell a different story.
"I think it's very telling that the PCs had a huge amount of money at their disposal and they did not use it to help you and your family with additional inflation-relief measures," he told reporters on September 29.
"The PCs could have cut the gas tax. They could have cut Hydro rates. And they chose not to,” added Kinew. “What does that tell you about the priorities of Heather Stefanson and her team?"