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
8-year sentence sought for Winnipeg man who set up bathroom spy-cams
New York fire, building collapse injure 19; gas blast blamed
Lawyers ask judge to overturn murder verdict in Hornbrook trial
Pavs' redemption continues
Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels
CFL rules committee recommends changes for 2015 season
'Kitty, kitty' video shows lynx encounter
Co-pilot deliberately slams plane in Alps; families ask why
U of W approves indigenous course requirement
Quebec judge calls Toews to task over ignoring letter from former landlord
Friends wanted: Program matches locals with immigrant families
Kelvin High School gets extra month to raise $1 million for track and wellness centre
Wanted: info on trains blocking traffic
Peguis First Nation elects a new chief, Cindy Spence, who replaces Glenn Hudson
Barn fire kills 1,500 hogs; arson not suspected
Alberta increases taxes and fees
Parole officials impressed with progress made by Winnipeg killer
Hard to meet Rob Ford pal, drug trial hears
Co-pilot was 'very happy' with Germanwings job
Prospect Copp to join Jets right away
CBC News slashing 144 jobs, Radio-Canada cuts 100
Maternity home to offer shelter to homeless pregnant women
Airlines to have two in cockpit at all times
Ricki's, Bootlegger, Cleo in court protection
Aboriginal activists working to rock the vote
WAG's Inuit Art Centre receives $500-K donation
Firms shortlisted for $590 million transitway and Pembina underpass project
Over 96 per cent of Jets season ticket holders have renewed their terms
Verdict after Gladue's death sends painful message about whose lives are valued
Getting a charge out of research
Lawless in the Morning: Former NHLer Jeff O'Neill, Montreal Canadiens and help for the Jets
Report of suspicious man unfounded: police
U.S. must withhold aid from Egypt
Full support for roadwork list
Optimism running low among Manitoba's small business owners: survey
The deadly, human factor
Toews' lobbying to be probed
Wildlife federation pushes for ban on spot-light hunting
High hopes for low-cost grocers
Cold today and tonight, but weekend to be warmer