Thirty-nine heads pointed at Premier-Designate Brian Pallister as he addressed his caucus for the first time this morning.
Pallister congratulated the group, including 24 new MLAs, for their hard work and victories in last Tuesday’s election.
“We all got into public life to make a difference. Each and every one of us got into public life to make things better, not for us, but for others. I’m dedicated for that and I know you are,” he said.
He acknowledged there are challenges ahead for his new government.
“Challenges that mean that we must replace dysfunction with unity, we must replace ideology with innovation and we must replace waste with real results,” Pallister said.
But he said they have a chance to leave a legacy.
“In the first term, the most improved province in Canada, and over the next two terms, a Manitoba miracle.”
When asked if he could define a “Manitoba miracle”, Pallister says it’s defined in part by how it’s achieved.
“I want to and I do commit to Manitobans that we’re going to build a stronger province with their help. So the key part of this is to understand that only with the support and encouragement and ideas and suggestions of Manitobans are we going to get where we need to go as a province,” he said.
Pallister also announced the new session of the Manitoba Legislature will being May 16, with a budget to follow a couple of weeks later.
This morning in his first public speech since election night, he compared his position now taking the reins of the province to a race he took part in as an eight-year-old at the MacGregor fair.
He told the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters group he was told he couldn’t run with the other eight-year-olds because he was too old. His height deceived race organizers.
Finally his mother convinced them he was eight and they told him he could run the race, but he would have to start three big steps behind the other kids.
“I was happy to be in the race. I didn’t mind starting three steps behind. I don’t mind starting three steps behind now. I knew the hole would be big and I knew the challenges would be large. And I’m ready to accept the challenge and I expect Manitobans are, too,” he said.
He told the group he will work to reduce red tape and taxation, move back towards a balanced budget and make social programs work better for Manitobans.