02/05/2015 07:14 EST | Updated 04/07/2015 05:59 EDT

Manitoba New Democrats reveal delegate numbers, unions have big part

WINNIPEG - As many as 2,217 Manitoba New Democrats could decide whether Premier Greg Selinger keeps his job at the party's convention in March.

The party headquarters has released its delegate allotments for constituencies, labour groups and other organizations.

The numbers are based on memberships and run as low as five delegates for Tory stronghold areas such as Emerson, Steinbach, and Morden-Winkler.

The Pas, a northern riding where membership numbers have spiked due to a looming byelection, has been awarded 145 delegates.

Unions and other labour groups are entitled to 691 delegates — 31 per cent of the total — although that number could change.

Theresa Oswald, who launched the leadership challenge against Selinger, has appealed a decision that granted 288 delegates to the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Oswald said this week the party's constitution required each union local to be formally affiliated with the party, and CUPE locals are not.

Another hurdle for unions is a rule that says each of their delegate slots can only be filled with a current member of the New Democratic Party.

NDP officials also warn some of the other numbers could change, as they are being double-checked.

Meetings to elect delegates for the leadership vote start Friday and are spread out over three weeks for the 57 constituencies.

The leadership vote is set for March 8, and will see Selinger face off against Oswald, a former health minister, and Steve Ashton, a former infrastructure and transportation minister.