The current provincial election campaign hasn’t had a lot of pop and sizzle despite its importance to the future of our province. With so much at stake why has there been so little to capture the imagination and passion of the Manitoba electorate? It may well be that voters have come to realize that no matter who winds up on the winning side of the Legislature on April 19th, the fiscal challenges facing Manitoba cannot be fixed in short order. With this province facing deficits in excess of six hundred million dollars a year and a record overall debt, it can’t have escaped the attention of even the most casual observer that balancing the books, lowering taxes and keeping up with public demand for services will not be possible for many years. The fix we’re facing after nearly seventeen years of NDP government will be no less than a decade, perhaps even more. Attracting new investment and business to Manitoba can’t be achieved without changing our tax structure to make palatable enough to actually locate here. But how does a new government lower taxes when it is virtually broke?
Manitobans may well want a change in government but they know full well that little will change in a hurry. Perhaps a certain weariness has replaced the passion that usually accompanies a desire for change. Change we may get but it will be slow, and will be accompanied by some pain as well. It’s not a message any of the parties have been delivering but it’s true nevertheless.