Premier seeks meeting with opposition leaders as election call speculation grows


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Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said he's been invited by the premier to a meeting alongside NDP Leader Wab Kinew, which he believed may be a window for the premier to discuss an early election call.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/04/2019 (1451 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said he’s been invited by the premier to a meeting alongside NDP Leader Wab Kinew, which he believed may be a window for the premier to discuss an early election call.

A provincial spokesperson confirmed the meeting was requested for Monday morning to discuss election financing.

Lamont speculated the premier may use the occasion to alert the opposition leaders about his intention to drop the election writ.

“We haven’t gotten any details,” Lamont said of the meeting’s agenda. “All I know is I’ve been invited to a meeting with the premier and the leader of the Opposition to discuss election financing. And for all I know, the premier could call an election almost immediately after.”

Lamont said he has never met with the premier and Kinew together.

In the house on Thursday, Premier Brian Pallister answered a question from Lamont about whether he may flout the next fixed election date (Oct. 6, 2020) in favour of calling an early election this year.

“I want to give the member comfort, genuinely. We won’t abuse the announcement rules,” the premier said. “We won’t give any election in this province a chance to happen without a head’s up to him and his friend in the NDP. How’s that?”

The response from the premier earned some laughter and applause from Tory caucus members.

From his seat on the front bench, Kinew called out to the premier: “Is that the head’s up right there?”

The premier pointed to Kinew and smiled, but appeared not to respond.

Lamont later told reporters that he believes calling an early election would be “completely opportunistic” on the premier’s part.

“I’m speculating, but look, the premier seems absolutely unrepentant about the fact that he’s ignoring the law. He’ll call an election when he wants and I think he’ll pay a price at the polls for it,” he said.

Kinew also condemned the possible move away from the fixed election date. He noted he didn’t “buy” Pallister’s comments to reporters last week that Manitobans were telling him they didn’t want an election that interferes with Manitoba 150 celebrations next year.

“I think the real reason has to do with the fact there’s a real chance the economy moves into recession next year and the premier also knows if he closes emergency rooms in Winnipeg, that’s going to be a disaster,” Kinew said.

“I think he’d like to go to the polls before those two things happen… I think the premier is just looking (out) for his own political fortunes.”

Twitter: @_jessbu

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