Quote of the day
- "Experience counts." -- NDP leader Greg Selinger responding to questions about how he plans to lead his party to reelection as the writ is dropped this morning.
The race is on
- PCs opening salvo: The podium sign said it all this morning at Brian Pallister's first campaign announcement. "Lower Taxes," it read. "Better Plan. Better Manitoba." Pallister opened up the first official day of the election campaign with a renewed pledge to roll back the provincial sales tax to seven per cent, from eight per cent, in his first term in office.
- Kindergarten: Meanwhile, the Liberals are promising funding for full day kindergarten if elected. Leader Rana Bokhari made that announcement today.
- Approval: Mayor Brian Bowman's inner circle has approved Winnipeg's spending plans for 2016 with only a handful of minor tweaks. City council's executive policy committee voted unanimously Wednesday morning to approve the city's $1.05-billion operating budget, a blueprint for spending on city services, as well as the $1.18-billion capital budget, which dictates which construction projects and equipment purchases the city will make this year.
- Editorial: The Winnipeg police board says the police service may have to lay off constables if city council doesn’t increase its budget allocation. In the past, such a threat would have sparked a major political row. City council, however, is not intimidated, which is a good first step toward getting soaring police costs under control.
- Off the hook: The five Manitoba senators identified by the auditor general for having questionable expense claims last year have been cleared of criminal wrong doing by the RCMP. Former Liberals Sharon Carstairs and Rod Zimmer, former Conservative Terry Stratton and current Conservatives Don Plett and Janis Johnson, were all told by the RCMP recently there was no evidence to lay charges against them.
- Waiting on legislation: Assisted death is very much in the news, as a court gives the green light to a Manitoban requesting help to die. Manitoba’s own palliative care expert, Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, wonders if Canada knows what it is getting into, now that a parliamentary committee has said people should be allowed to write advance directives, determining a future date for physician-assisted suicide. The federal government is about to table legislation on physician-assisted suicide.
In case you missed it
- No endorsement: Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton refused Tuesday to throw her support behind her leader, Tom Mulcair, but said that shouldn’t be taken as a sign she doesn’t support him. Ashton, who is in her third term representing the northern riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, held a press conference Tuesday morning at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa to discuss the precarious work situations of many young people in Canada. But her event was held the same morning a letter was made public from 37 Quebec-based NDP members, including three MPs defeated last fall, calling for party renewal.
- Daycare: The Manitoba Liberals will eliminate the wait for daycare spaces if elected, but don't have a timeline or specific cost for the plan. Rana Bokhari announced yesterday, if elected, her party would take money from the province's infrastructure budget and put it towards creating new daycare facilities and upgrades.
- Decision: A terminally ill Manitoban has won legal authorization to have an immediate doctor-assisted suicide in the province’s first case of its kind. Lawyers for the patient appeared in Court of Queen’s Bench Tuesday for an emergency application based on a recent Supreme Court ruling. They were seeking a constitutional exemption to allow for the procedure, which is still considered illegal in Canada.
On the calendar
- Election: Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari is out door knocking today. PCs Brian Pallister heads out to Brandon and there’s a big rally tonight for the NDP as party leader Greg Selinger kicks off the campaign
Today in history
- In 1918: The founding of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), at a large rally held in Montreal. 209 delegates from across Canada meet over three days.
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