DAUPHIN -- Premier Greg Selinger sprinkled some health and recreation goodies Saturday in a riding that the NDP may have a tough time winning Oct. 4.
At an announcement in Dauphin, Selinger, accompanied by longtime local MLA Stan Struthers, vowed to invest $4 million to install an MRI machine at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre.
Later in the day, in the same constituency, he promised $250,000 worth of improvements to a park in Gilbert Plains and $100,000 for a new wading pool in Grandview.
Selinger has become a regular visitor to Dauphin in recent months. Before Saturday's visit, he was last there on Aug. 31.
Struthers' chief rival in Dauphin is Progressive Conservative candidate Lloyd McKinney, a school superintendent and owner of a hotel in Roblin.
Interviewed in Dauphin's rec centre while he watched his son try out for the local triple A midget hockey team on Saturday, McKinney said the big time attention the constituency is getting from the premier shows that the New Democrats are running scared.
"I think that we've got Mr. Struthers worried. Obviously when Mr. Selinger comes out here as much as he has, and makes as many promises as he has, they know they're in trouble in this riding," the PC candidate said.
Struthers prevailed by 957 votes over McKinney in 2007, but the Tory candidate said he got a late start in the last election. He said he's been working since that defeat to win in 2011.
Struthers, who has increased his profile among the area's farmers as the province's agriculture minister the past two years, said Saturday he knows he has a fight on his hands. His task wasn't helped when he lost several NDP-friendly polls to neighbouring Swan River constituency due to boundary redistribution. He also picked up a chunk of the old Ste. Rose riding (now called Agassiz) that is held by the Conservatives.
"We know that the Conservatives are trying hard to unseat us here. We're ready for them and I don't intend to lose this seat to the Tories," he said. He thinks the fact that the federal Tories are intent on ending the Canadian Wheat Board's sales monopoly may ruffle many local farmers' feathers.The NDP steadfastly supports the CWB single desk.
Today, Selinger will participate at a 9/11 commemorative ceremony with U.S. officials at the International Peace Garden near Boissevain.