Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mulcair trumpets taxes and debt

  • Print

BRANDON -- Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair says if his party wins the next federal general election, his government will manage Canada's finances in the same manner as Greg Selinger has managed Manitoba's finances.

That's the message Mulcair delivered to assembled media while campaigning in Brandon on Monday.

It echoes comments he made earlier this year, when he convened a meeting of provincial NDP leaders, including Selinger, to talk strategy and reassure Canadians a Mulcair government could be trusted to steer the nation's economy in a reasonable, competent manner.

He said at the time "The NDP's very proud of its track record of prudent public administration in the five provinces and in the territories where it has been in power," and that "Greg Selinger's got a lot to show to other provinces and to the federal government about creating jobs and putting fiscal effort where it can produce the best results."

He went further in his praise for Selinger on Monday, telling radio station CKLQ Manitoba's recent PST hike was the right choice and having the lowest unemployment rate in Canada is an indication of how well the province is doing.

Mulcair is either oblivious to the economic gong show that has been playing out in Manitoba for the past several years, or he sees a silver lining that is eluding the consciousness of a large majority of Manitobans.

For starters, Manitoba doesn't have the lowest unemployment rate in the country. The latest Statistics Canada report indicates that the honour goes to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

While Mulcair lauds Manitoba's balanced budgets, Gary Doer's NDP government only managed to balance its books thanks to massive annual federal transfers, and the province's finances have been dripping red ink since 2008.

The Selinger government overspent by $580 million last year and is projecting a deficit of $518 million for the current year. Though it claims the budget will be balanced by 2017, the current rate of spending versus revenues will make that objective very difficult to achieve.

Even if the books are balanced by then, Manitoba's net summary debt will have almost doubled from the $10.6 billion that was owed in 2008 -- a record high for the province.

While Mulcair seeks to convince Canadians a federal government under his leadership would not impose unreasonable tax hikes, Manitoba is probably the worst example he could cite as a tax-friendly jurisdiction.

Indeed, the province has among the highest income tax rates for families in the entire nation. Last year, the Selinger government imposed the largest tax increase in more than two decades. It followed that up this year with a PST increase, breaking a 2011 election campaign promise and ignoring a provincial law requiring a provincewide referendum before such a hike.

On Monday, Mulcair said he was "willing to work to make sure Canadians get the government they deserve," but do they deserve a federal version of the Selinger government?

If the past 12 months of opinion polls in Manitoba are a guide, he should not be surprised by the answer.

Mulcair's comments could not come at a worse time for Cory Szczepanski, the NDP candidate in the Brandon-Souris byelection, nor for Natalie Courcelles Beaudry, who is running for the NDP in Provencher. Polls show the Selinger government is extremely unpopular in both ridings, and anti-NDP sentiment at the provincial level could harm both NDP candidates' results in the two byelections.

Probe Research's Curtis Brown says it is already having an impact. "There is definitely a link between support for the federal and provincial parties," he says. "Our recent polling shows the federal NDP third in Manitoba behind the Conservatives and the Liberals and we have to expect that is tied to the fact the provincial NDP is at a low ebb in support."

This is an important time for Mulcair and for his party, as he tries to persuade Canadians he leads a team that is ready to be Canada's next government. Pointing to Canada's last remaining NDP provincial government as an example of prudent leadership does not help his case.


Deveryn Ross is a political commentator living in Brandon.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 31, 2013 0

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Four Little Games

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google