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PST increase a 'major concern' for low-income people: Pallister

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Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister visited the Winnipeg Harvest foodbank on Wednesday, where he slammed the Selinger government’s decision to increase the PST.

Pallister vowed to continue his party’s fight against Bill 20, which would allow the province to raise the retail sales tax without a referendum of Manitobans.

He said the decision to increase the PST by one point to eight per cent is a "major, major concern" for low-income people.

"This is potentially meals missed," the Tory leader said.

Pallister spoke to reporters then sat down for a meeting with Winnipeg Harvest staff and volunteers as well as community anti-poverty activists.

He was applauded at the conclusion of the meeting.

Last week, he called media to a women’s clothing store in Whyte Ridge to discuss the negative impact of the PST hike on small business.

"The government is used to dealing in millions of dollars and billions of dollars, in fact. But they need to come down from 35,000 feet and get on the ground where people live," Pallister told reporters. "The real people in this province who are living and working here are being asked to pay a considerable amount more tax. That has a real impact on families and real people are suffering as a result of that."

David Northcott, Winnipeg Harvest’s executive director, said his organization could live with an increase in the PST if the added revenue was plowed back into assisting low-income Manitobans.

The organization said it has an open invitation to all political parties to visit and discuss food and poverty issues. This is the second time in recent months that Pallister has taken up Winnipeg Harvest on that offer.

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