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Pallister returns prominent critics to familiar roles in shadow cabinet shuffle

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister announced a shuffling of his shadow cabinet this morning, with some prominent critics returning to familiar roles.

Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen will again become a thorn in the side of the provincial justice minister, a role he held when Hugh McFadyen was the Tory leader.

Charleswood MLA Myrna Driedger, a former nurse, returns to health after serving as finance critic for the past year.

PHIL HOSSACK / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Charleswood MLA Myrna Driedger, a former nurse, returns to health after serving as finance critic for the past year.

Meanwhile, Charleswood MLA Myrna Driedger, a former nurse, will switch back to health after serving as finance critic for the past year.

Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen becomes the new finance critic, while Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko, a school teacher, takes over from Goertzen as education critic.

Pallister announced the shuffle this morning, a day after the fall sitting of the legislature wound up on Thursday.

He said he was returning Goertzen and Driedger back to their old roles after more than a year "because they’re great at them." He also said the experiences they gained as critics in other portfolios will serve them well in their new jobs.

"It’s about time we had a health minister who understood the nature of creating a sustainable health strategy for our province. So a finance background for a health minister is very important," Pallister said of Driedger.

Goertzen’s time spent as education critic will serve him well in advocating for preventative measures in dealing with crime, the Tory leader said.

Meanwhile, Pallister released the results of a Conservative poll that showed, to no one’s surprise, that Manitobans do not support this year’s increase in the provincial sales tax.

According to the PC poll, 77 per cent of Manitobans oppose the one-point increase in the PST — to eight per cent — with 63 per cent saying they are strongly opposed. Only 19 per cent said they supported the tax hike.

The poll, conducted by NRG Research Group, sampled the opinions of 805 Manitobans on Dec. 3-4. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.

History

Updated on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:26 PM CST: Adds details on poll.

10:51 PM: Corrects typo.

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