If the way to win voters is through their stomachs, Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister found common cause with many residents of Thompson when he stopped in at Popeye’s for lunch during a northern tour Sept. 6 that began in the Island Lake region and ended up in The Pas before his entourage headed back down south.
“Alice [Lavoie] is a pretty impressive woman,” said Pallister before enjoying his first meal from the Thompson summer institution. “She was telling me she lost her husband 17 years ago and she’s continued on. The restaurant business is tough. Good for her for being the legend she is and I’m really excited to have some of her love and care and food in me.”
The PCs continued to attack the NDP and their leader Wab Kinew on the topic of the carbon tax with the Sept. 10 provincial election only days away, saying in a press release that the NDP election platform committed Manitoba to meeting targets outline in the Paris Accord, which PCs say would require a $300 per tonne carbon tax that would add 60 cents to the cost of every litre of gas.
“The carbon tax is coming up. A lot people are concerned and should be,” said Pallister. “The potential for additional costs of transport of good of transport for people is real.”
The PC leader met a chief and councillors from the region while in Island Lake as well as members of the public, who told him some of the issues that they are concerned about.
“Road access, always. Every time I come to a northern community there are infrastructure issues that are raised without exception. I would say clearly health care access. Air transport issues are always on the minds of people in Northern Manitoba.”
Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook, deputy mayor Kathy Valentino, Coun. Les Ellsworth and city manager Anthony McInnis were all at Popeye’s around 11:30 a.m. when Pallister arrived, but he said he didn’t have a chance to have any formal discussions with them during his whirlwind trip through Thompson. He did have time to say that election promises made by the NDP would add up to $2 billion in extra spending, which would require additional taxes equal to a two per cent hike in the provincial sales tax, which went down from eight per cent to seven per cent July 1.
“They missed [including the cost of] a bunch of things like $70 million they’re going to hand [Manitoba Metis Federation president] Mr. [David] Chartrand so he won’t complain about a hydro line, which Mr. Kinew promised last week, or this rebate they’re promising so they can sugar-coat their carbon tax so that it will be easier for you. They’re going to give you a rebate on your hydro. Most of us know that there’s no money tree growing behind the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. You’re going to pay higher taxes to make these promises happen.”
Chartrand reacted Sept. 3 to an earlier reference by Pallister to the agreement between Manitoba Hydro and the MMF that the PC government cancelled.
"The original agreement was falsely described and wrongly dismissed by Pallister as nothing more than hush money and calling the Métis nation a special interest group," said Chartrand in a press release. "I cannot believe he would have the audacity to keep using this insulting talking point as part of his campaign. Mr. Kinew is simply the first leader to do the right thing, by promising to honour legally binding agreements with the Métis People."
Pallister said his party, if re-elected, would lower taxes while reducing the provincial deficit.
“We put our platform together very carefully, meticulously, and we costed out every aspect of it and we know that we can lower taxes while we’re moving towards balancing the books,” he said.