WINNIPEG — Some polling stations in the hotly contested riding of Winnipeg Centre opened up to an hour late Monday because “a bunch” of Elections Canada workers cancelled at the last minute.
Spokeswoman Marie-France Kenny wouldn’t say exactly how many people didn’t show up as promised, but she added it was more than a dozen.
“A dozen people we’re prepared for,” said Kenny, who added that each polling station has a list of people on standby in case some workers aren’t able to make it.
Lineups formed outside some polling stations as workers were brought in from other electoral districts. Kenny said some polls could stay open past the official closing time of 8:30 p.m. depending on demand.
NDP incumbent Pat Martin was in a battle with Liberal challenger Robert-Falcon Ouellette for the seat. Ouellette’s spokesman Dougald Lamont said the delays were caused by a “staffing issue” which should be re-examined before the next election.
“Elections Canada in Winnipeg Centre faced challenges because they were expected to staff polls from people strictly within Winnipeg Centre, before allowing people who live in other ridings to work there,” he said in an email. “So it is a staffing issue related to some rules that should certainly be changed in future elections.”
The delays shouldn’t discourage anyone from voting in the riding, he added.
“Everyone should get out and vote.”
The Canadian Press