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Regrets? Pallister's got no regrets

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Opposition Leader Brian Pallister said today he’s got no regrets in taking the NDP to court over last year’s increase of the provincial sales tax.

Pallister lost the case in a written decision released Friday.

"Was it the right move? I think keeping your word is the right move," Pallister said in the decision to use the courts to essentially reverse a political decision.

"Did we know we’d lose? No, we did not know we’d lose. We tried and I think that Manitobans, whether you’re a Jets fan or a Bombers fan or not, I think we admire hard-working teams, and if you’re successful, that’s great, but at least you’ve got to go out and do your best. We went out and did our best."

Pallister also said he had not made a decision yet about appealing the decision as he has yet to fully read the 15-page decision and discuss it with his lawyer Robert Tapper.

He hinted going to the appeal court will be unlikely.

"There is a court, and we can appeal to that court, and that court would be the greatest court Manitoba has in my estimation, and that is the court of public opinion," he said.

Finance Minister Jennifer Howard said today the court ruling only confirms the Tory challenge was a publicity stunt.

"I think that was echoed even more by the seriousness of which the leader of the opposition takes this," Howard said. "I understand he hasn’t bothered to read the decision himself yet."

She added the province is considering going back to court to address the cost of the one-day hearing. The province has said taxpayers were forced to spend more than $150,000 in legal costs in response to the PC party’s challenge.

Howard said those costs should be borne by the PCs.

"I think if a political party decides to use the courts to engage in political discussion when they should use the legislature, I think they should have to pay for some of that time," she said.

Pallister also said during the 2011 election campaign the NDP promised not to raise taxes, but did so on two occasions.

The first was in 2012 when it extended the PST to personal services and insurance products.

The second was last year when it hiked the PST by one point to eight per cent.

Pallister said if the Progressive Conservatives win the election in about two years it will lower the PST in its first term in office.

History

Updated on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM CDT: write thru with Jennifer Howard comments

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