WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister worked to fire up some 800 Progressive Conservative supporters at a party fundraiser but offered no new hints as to when he might call an election.
Pallister told the crowd Tuesday that his government has fulfilled a campaign promise to cut ambulance fees and will cut the provincial sales tax as of July 1.
He highlighted his 38-member caucus as well as six other Tories who plan to carry the party banner in the upcoming election.
That vote is scheduled for Oct. 6, 2020, but Pallister has repeatedly hinted at calling a vote this year in order to avoid clashing with celebrations marking Manitoba's 150th anniversary.
Pallister's Tories have built up a war chest of more than $1 million — more than five times what the Opposition New Democrats have raised.
The Tories also have 36 of 57 candidates in place.
The premier told the audience a story about his grandfather having a thermos stolen by a hitchhiker, and compared it to the previous NDP government's decision to raise the sales tax in 2013.
"Grandpa pulled up and dropped him off and ... pulled his car in the garage," Pallister told the crowd, who paid $200 each for a ticket.
His grandfather noticed the thermos was gone, drove back to the hotel pub where he had dropped off the hitchhiker and found him at a table with other men, Pallister said.
"Grandpa saw a bulge in his jacket and reached down inside and there was the thermos," Pallister said, adding his grandfather took the thermos and went home.
"Ladies and gentlemen, on July 1, we get our thermos back," Pallister said to applause.