Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Selinger goes north to rally NDP troops

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THE PAS -- Premier Greg Selinger used a one-day northern swing Saturday to exhort NDP campaign workers to work even harder to ensure an NDP victory Oct. 4.

The four northern ridings belong to the NDP and it's unlikely challenges by the Progressive Conservatives, Liberals and Greens will change that, but Selinger still warned complacency could be the biggest threat to the NDP's hold on power.

"The trick is to get to the polls," Selinger told campaign volunteers working for The Pas NDP incumbent Frank Whitehead.

"We want to make sure people who volunteer feel welcome to be involved, and that includes all ages and backrounds," Selinger added.

The other common refrain Saturday was that Hugh McFadyen's Progressive Conservatives don't care about the north -- they've promised to pave gravel back lanes in Winnipeg instead of roads and highways that are the backbone of the north, the NDP say.

"It's kind of like we don't matter," Flin Flon NDP candidate Clarence Pettersen said.

Selinger also touched down in Thompson during a day that also featured a laundry list of promises of new roads and better health care, and the repeated pledge the NDP will keep Manitoba Hydro public.

Selinger also made a surprise stop at the Thompson YWCA for the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise awareness on violence against women.

Gasps of "It's the premier" peppered the crowd.

"I left my high-heeled sneakers at home," Selinger told walkers. "Next year I'll do it with you."

He and Thompson MLA Steve Ashton also toured the site of the new University College of the North campus under construction. The $82-million facility will be open in about two years and will see 200 students take various courses closer to their homes instead of having to travel to Winnipeg, Ashton said.

Ashton also took a shot at the NDP's Tory opponents for ignoring the north this campaign.

"I think there's been more sightings of Elvis than the Conservative leader in northern Manitoba," Ashton said. "And the sasquatch."

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Northern promises

THE PAS:

-- Repave Highway 10 north to Provincial Road 287 as part of an $80-million highway and road construction plan in the north over the next four years.

-- Spend $100,000 to spruce up The Pas's riverfront park on the North Saskatchewan River as part of the town's centennial next year.

FLIN FLON

-- A new $10-million emergency room for the Flin Flon General Hospital.

-- Rebuild Hwy. 10 between Bakers Narrows and Flin Flon.

THOMPSON

-- Spend $2 million to upgrade the mining town's Northern Consultation Clinic.

-- Build or upgrade roads in advance of the construction of the already-announced Keeyask dam and the planned mega Conawapa dam projects over the next 20 years.

The work includes paving Highway 6 south of Ponton and near Sasagiu Rapids, grading PR 391 and the Split Lake access road and with Manitoba Hydro upgrading PR 280.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2011 A6

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