On Saturday, PC party members elected a new leader and premier. Heather Stefanson may claim that she is turning the page on the Pallister chapter, but in reality, she has not distinguished herself from his legacy at all. As Pallister’s former health minister, she has continually defended their terrible pandemic response and a host of other unpopular policies. Stefanson has publicly stated that she is open to revisiting the harmful bills, including Bill 64, and bringing back parts of these bills which have been opposed by so many. This is a strong indication for what the next two years will look like under our new premier.
Another concern is that Stefanson has stated she would refuse to kick out an MLA from her caucus who was not fully vaccinated or didn't submit to frequent testing, which would be an unacceptable double-standard considering the government has implemented widespread vaccine mandates or testing requirements to keep Manitobans safe. In a recent interview, Stefanson also said she would not pledge to remove any ministers or MLAs in her caucus who made racist statements and she did not call out Pallister over his divisive and harmful statements about Indigenous people this summer.
In my last article, I mentioned the election scandal the PC party is currently involved in where someone offered to pay the membership fees for potentially hundreds of people. This issue is being investigated by Manitoba’s Elections Commissioner, but there are even more controversies that seriously undermine public confidence in the accuracy of the results. Thousands of party members did not receive their ballot in time to cast their vote. The chaotic leadership race did not instill confidence in the democratic process. If the PCs can’t even organize a fair leadership race, how can they be expected to effectively run our province?
While our new premier is not off to a great start and there are many challenges ahead, I will always listen to the concerns of Thompson residents and people living in the North, and continue to make sure their voices are heard in the legislature. Just like with our last premier, my NDP colleagues and I will continue to challenge the government, hold them to account, and make sure that our constituents are taken seriously by this government.
As always, contact my office anytime at Danielle.email@example.com or 204-677-2744.