Left to right: Kerry Irvin-Ross, minister of Child and Family Services (NDP), Kyra Wilson (Liberal) and Ian Wishart (PC) at a provincial election forum on child care.
I didn’t really expect Manitoba Progressive leader Brian Pallister to answer the questions. Pallister hopes to run a campaign focused on key messages without giving specific answers to pointed questions, especially when it comes to where you find savings in government.
- Do you favour school board amalgamation to reduce waste and inefficiency?
- How about chopping jobs or eliminating the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority altogether?
- Would you eliminate tax credits to film, television and the digital industry?
- Where do you stand on returning property tax money in downtown Winnipeg and Brandon which has helped pay for street and public amenities?
“It’s a fair question Richard,” says Pallister. “The performance review that I think we have to undertake in Manitoba is a comprehensive one and it will take a look at these types of things.”
Essentially, Pallister is promising to go through all government spending and recommend savings based on that review. He will not commit to a program without a thorough review. It’s a wise answer for a candidate who is being accused by his opponents of running with scissors.
Pallister announced today he will bring in legislation in the first session of the Legislature to restore Manitoban’s right to vote on major tax increases. The NDP are promising more quick care clinics to reduce healthcare wait times while the Liberals promise to reduce and eventually eliminate ambulance fees for seniors.
The battle lines are established.
I saw a hint Wednesday evening of where the Progressive Conservatives are going. Ian Wishart, the MLA from Portage la Praire told an audience of 150 people – mainly child care providers – that a PC government would continue to fund public and not-for-profit child care. They also want to provide incentives for mom and pop home-based child care as part of a plan to be announced next week.
It’s different from the NDP plan to fund another 12,000 spaces and the Liberal plan to expand childcare while spending $50 million on all-day kindergarten. But Wishart acknowledged the need for publicly funding childcare. All three parties are hoping that Ottawa will address the need in next Tuesday’s federal budget.