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Pallister's cushion?

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Brian Pallister

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Brian Pallister

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister will reverse the NDP's increase to the PST during his first term in office if he becomes premier in the next election.

He's said this more than a few times over the past year since the PST went up by one point to eight per cent a year ago July 1.

But Pallister recently hinted there could be a ‘but' to that.

And it has to do with how deep in the glue the province could be, under more than a decade of NDP rule.

"In the first term we'll table a budget that will reverse the PST hike," Pallister told reporters outside the Law Courts, as he and his party took on the government over the process used to increase the sales tax without a referendum. The judge reserved his decision.

"But more importantly than that, we'll get to the bottom of how big the hole is the NDP has dug for our province," Pallister continued. "We'll find the ways to make the necessary measures work to save Manitobans money and leave more money in the hands of Manitobans to spend.

"That's how our economy will grow. This is the worst performing economy in Canada since the PST was introduced. Overall, we have the lowest wage growth. We have the fewest jobs created and we have the highest inflation. That's a trifecta for misery and that's not what we need in Manitoba and not what we deserve." 

"How big the hole is. . .''

Is Pallister giving himself a little bit of wiggle room to the timing of his reversal of the PST?

Or is he already cushioning the bad news for Manitobans, should his Tories decide that supposed hole is actually an abyss, that the eight per cent PST is going to hang around a while longer?

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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