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Tories looking for new ideas to cure poverty at weekend convention

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PC leader Brian Pallister has promised to raise the welfare housing rate to 75 per cent of median market rents and  increase the basic personal tax exemption to match the Canadian average.

BORIS MINKEVICH / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

PC leader Brian Pallister has promised to raise the welfare housing rate to 75 per cent of median market rents and increase the basic personal tax exemption to match the Canadian average.

A Tory government would hike the basic personal exemption and the welfare housing rate to combat what leader Brian Pallister says is a too-high poverty rate in Manitoba.

The policy announcements, mostly a reiteration of previously announced ideas, would cost roughly $120 million.

And, Pallister said today he is open to more ideas to cure poverty, saying he hopes new policies will emerge from this weekend's party convention in Brandon.

The Tories have promised to raise the welfare housing rate to 75 per cent of median market rents within the first year of forming government. They would also increase the basic personal tax exemption to match the Canadian average, currently $10,700. That's the rate at which people begin to pay income taxes and it represents a 20 per cent increase over Manitoba's current basic personal exemption.

Poverty activists have long called for welfare reforms, especially a boost to the rental rate, which now stands at $285 for an individual. It is almost impossible to rent a safe and sanitary rooming house room in Winnipeg for under $325.

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