Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister launched verbal jabs at the NDP and its leader Wab Kinew during an Aug. 22 speech to supporters in Thompson, saying his main opponents have difficulty getting along with each other and that Thompson NDP candidate Danielle Adams doesn’t support her party’s leader.
“That makes it hard to get the job done for the people of the area,” he said. “I think it makes it almost impossible to get the job done.”
PC candidate Kelly Bindle has represented the Thompson electoral district in the Manitoba legislature since 2016, when he defeated 35-year NDP MLA Steve Ashton, and is seeking to become the first PC MLA for Thompson to get re-elected in the Sept. 10 provincial election.
Pallister says the NDP accused his government of cutting health care even though it spent $414 million more this year than the highest budget the NDP put into the medical system.
“Don’t you believe this stuff about health care cuts because that’s nto what happened,” he said. “That‘s an NDP and a little bit of a public sector union boss, nurses’ union myth,” Pallister said. “No matter how many times you say something that’s a lie, it remains a lie.”
The PC leader also said that he knew what it was like to grow up in a household where there wasn’t enough money, which is why he’s big on tax cuts, but that the NDP leader did not.
“The house he grew up in was triple the size of the one I was raised in and mine didn’t have indoor plumbing,” said Pallister. "We might have had spoons in or house but they were not silver. Mr Kinew didn’t go to public school, he went to a private school. He was handed more benefits than any premier in the last 60 years in this province. That’s the truth.”
He also accused Kinew of being anti-resource development as a signatory to the Leap Manifesto.
“He did say he didn’t want to see mineral development. He doesn’t want to see transport of ore or petroleum or gas products and he doesn’t want to see trade deals. If he’s still of that mind he’s a real risk to the people of Northern Manitoba who want to see jobs created through those mechanisms, resource development, exploration, prospecting and so on.”
Pallister also pointed out that Kinew and the NDP were in favour of a carbon tax.
“It’s an onerous tax that disproportionately hurts rural and northern people and it’s danger to Manitoba’s economy. We’re standing up against Mr. Trudeau’s proposal with respect to the carbon tax. Mr Kinew is supporting it and actually has said that he wants it to go even higher. This will hurt the people of the north. It will hurt jobs here and it will hurt right at the kitchen table when they’re trying to pay their bills and I wouldn’t want to be an NDP candidate going around and telling everybody that they should be paying a rising and higher carbon tax every month.”
Adams, who has already responded to an earlier PC accusation of friction with Kinew by saying that she fully supports her party leader, said in a press release that Pallister has made life harder for people in the north by cutting the Northern Patient Transportation Program, privatizing Lifeflight air ambulance services and cancelling planned consultation clinic renovations at the hospital in Thompson. She also said he had ignored the City of Thompson’s requests for money from the Mining Community Reserve Fund, dismissed Vale Manitoba Operations cutting more than 400 jobs in 2018 as “business as usual” and cut 30 per cent – $19 million – over three years in northern road and highway projects.
“Pallister has ignored Northern Manitoba for three years while jobs have been lost and services cut,” Adams said. “Pallister’s record is clear – he doesn’t care about the north. Wab Kinew and the NDP have a plan to rebuild the northern economy after three years of Pallister’s cuts. We will invest in infrastructure, use the Mining Community Reserve Fund to help communities experiencing job losses and mine closures and invest in health care for communities across the north. If Pallister spent as much time in the north as he did in Costa Rica, he would know northerners are tired of being ignored and are ready for change.”
A Mainstreet Research poll released Aug. 22 said the PCs have the support of 42.5 per cent of decided and leaning voters, with the NDP at 34.7 per cent, the Manitoba Liberals at 11.9 per cent and the Green party a 9.6 per cent. In terms of personal popularity, about 31 per cent of voters have favourable opinions of both Kinew and Pallister but Pallister’s unfavourable rating of 46.2 per cent is higher than Kinew’s, which is 37.8 per cent.
“The level of support for both the NDP and the Conservatives is roughly the same as it was since the last time we polled in March, although the NDP is doing somewhat better,” said Mainstreet Research CEO Quito Maggi. “That said, Brian Pallister has the advantage at this stage in the election and would likely win if the vote were held today.”