Sterling Lyon's Progressive Conservative government ran on a promise to continue investing in the province's "mega-projects" (including as a $500 million Alcan aluminum smelter, a $600 million potash mine and a "Western power grid"), and suggested that an NDP government would jeopardize these plans. The NDP campaign, which was largely co-ordinated by Wilson Parasiuk, questioned the Lyon government's fiscal accountability in such matters, noting that it had sold 50% of Trout Lake Copper Mine stock, possibly at a major loss. Jacques Bougie, the Alcan administrator for Manitoba, was also described as holding undue influence over the government.
The NDP campaign generally focused on the economy, and drew attention to the issue of Manitobans emigrating from the province because of job losses. Progressive Party leader Sidney Green described Lyon's initiaves as "bega-projects", a reference to the government's controversial fundraising with foreign corporations.
The election was considered too close to call until the final week, when the NDP campaign gained momentum.
1 "Before" refers to standings in the Legislature at dissolution, and not to the results of the previous election. These numbers therefore reflect changes in party standings as a result of by-elections and members crossing the floor.