Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 05/25/2013 12:33 PM | Comments: 0
BRANDON — The Selinger government’s decision to increase the provincial sales tax by one percentage point is a defining measure that marks the start of the next provincial election campaign, the premier’s chief of staff says.
Liam Martin said the move has also "smoked out" Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister as a reckless cost-cutter that the New Democrats can exploit in the next general election.
"We know that winning an unprecedented fifth term will be a challenge, but I’m confident that we have the right team and the right set of ideas to make this happen," Martin told more than 400 delegates at the NDP’s annual convention in Brandon today.
Like the premier did the evening before, Martin said increasing the PST was a "difficult decision" but necessary.
And the New Democrats will also use the tax increase — and the Opposition Conservatives’ reaction to it — to underscore the differences between the two parties in the next provincial election.
"For me and my colleagues we knew that deciding to raise the PST by one point on the dollar meant that the next election campaign had officially begun," said Martin, who will be a senior NDP strategist in the next campaign..
He made the comments during a morning session in which strategists discussed what went right in the 2011 election campaign and what the party will need to do to win the next vote. Manitobans will next go to the polls in October 2015 or the spring of 2016, depending on the timing of the next federal election.
It appears that the NDP will position itself as the party that will "build Manitoba" while painting the Tories as ruthless cost-cutters who will slash frontline services.
A few days after the NDP government released its spring budget, revealing the controversial PST increase to eight per cent effective July 1, Pallister recommended several ways of avoiding the tax hike, which included a one per cent across-the-board cut in government expenses and a civil service "hiring chill."
Martin said the Tory plan would mean firing "at least 1,000 frontline workers."
"To us these are workers who care for our vulnerable loved ones. These are workers who educate our children and keep them safe at school. These are workers who protect our communities from flooding and keep our roads safe," he said.
Strategists also said the party will need to win the ground war by knocking on more doors and getting its message out. St. Norbert MLA Dave Gaudreau said he won a constituency few expected the party to win by going door to door in an effort that saw him wear out two pairs of shoes.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Shoppers Drug Mart becomes drive-thru
Teen hockey players facing assault charges
Winnipeg's crime rate continues to drop
Child's death being treated as homicide
Florida man fined $13,000 for trying to smuggle gun into Canada
Blue Bombers prepare lineup for Friday match against BC Lions
History is not on their side
US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages
Repurpose pay phones for truly public Wi-Fi
Setback for Nygård in Bahamas
Crime rate down, so is severity; StatsCan
Holmes lawyers question firearms analysis
More out-of-province fire crews sent to B.C.
Tyrannosaur a team player? B.C. fossils say yes
Meat supplier in China scandal has global reach
Harper gov't proposes easing gun law
Broncos owner giving up control due to Alzheimer's
Report recommends ways to improve STARS
When in Rome...
Man charged after human trafficking investigation
6 indicted in U.S. in StubHub accounts case
Jets sign Chiarot to new two-way contract
Trump: DC hotel will be among world's best
European carriers suspend more Tel Aviv flights
PepsiCo raises outlook, looks to new Lay's flavours
US military base on lockdown for suspicious person
Thousands of accused people being needlessly detained: civil rights advocates
Death sentence given in AP photographer's killing
Winnipeg's decline in crime rate well ahead of national average
Pallister says the province can build Lake Manitoba outlets much faster
Another arrest made in Omand's Creek robbery
Nazi war suspect, 89, dies as extradition OK'd
Plane crashes while landing in Taiwan, killing 47
Province pushes potash
Toronto firms fined over do-not-call list
Firefighter hurt battling blaze in N.K. garage
Museum for Human Rights to announce opening weekend plans
Retail sales in Manitoba up in May
Opposition questions PMO motives on Duffy