January 16, 2018

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We’ve made some mistakes: Selinger on Manitoba NDP's dropping support

Premier Greg Selinger

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Premier Greg Selinger

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/9/2015 (840 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger has adopted apologetic messaging in the wake of a poll suggesting his New Democrats enjoy the support of only 25 per cent of decided voters.

A Probe Research poll conducted on behalf of the Winnipeg Free Press has the NDP trailing the Progressive Conservatives by 20 points seven months before the next provincial election.

Selinger, who seldom comments on polls, used contrite language on Monday to assert his party must regain the support of Manitobans prior to the April 2016 vote.

“We have to earn the right to represent Manitobans. Every election, you have to regain that license,” Selinger said in an interview in his Manitoba Legislature office.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/9/2015 (840 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger has adopted apologetic messaging in the wake of a poll suggesting his New Democrats enjoy the support of only 25 per cent of decided voters.

A Probe Research poll conducted on behalf of the Winnipeg Free Press has the NDP trailing the Progressive Conservatives by 20 points seven months before the next provincial election.

Selinger, who seldom comments on polls, used contrite language on Monday to assert his party must regain the support of Manitobans prior to the April 2016 vote.

"We have to earn the right to represent Manitobans. Every election, you have to regain that license," Selinger said in an interview in his Manitoba Legislature office.

"We know we’ve made some mistakes. We know we’ve disappointed some people on some things," he said, referring to his government’s handling of the provincial sales tax hike and provincial finances in general.

The premier’s unusually plain language is part of the NDP strategy in advance of an election which will see the party attempt to win their fifth straight mandate. Former premier Gary Doer first led this government to power in 1999.

The prospect of surviving more than 17 years in power is daunting for a party at any level of government, let alone the Manitoba NDP, which remains reeling from the 2014-2015 internal revolt that nearly cost Selinger his job and led to the departure or resignation of high-profile party staff and elected officials.

Selinger said he recognizes some Manitobans are in the mood for change next year.

"That happens and that’s understandable. For some people, change will be the most important priority," he said. "We believe we can be the change that people want. It’s not change for change’s sake. It’s change to what?"

Selinger said Manitobans will become less enamoured with the Progressive Conservatives once they learn more about Brian Pallister’s health-care and social-services policies as well as the Tory leader’s attitudes about diversity.

The premier said the party will mount a well-organized campaign in 2016 and insisted it has attracted enough experienced volunteers to hold on to key ridings.

Pallister said the Progressive Conservatives will be organized as well next year and is already doing the legwork to win voter support.

"It’s not about talking and buying ads with taxpayer money, saying how good you are," Pallister told reporters outside his office, insisting his Tories are taking a grassroots approach to the next election. "I’m more of a blue-collar conservative than a blue-blood conservative, so I believe in the front door or the back door — whichever way that gets you in to see the people."

Pallister said the NDP has lost support because the party no longer has voters’ trust.

"Part of it, as well acknowledged, is the credibility issue – making promises that were not kept," he said, also referring to the PST hike and rising deficits.

The NDP are now in a statistical tie for second place among voters with the Manitoba Liberals, whose leader, Rana Bokhari, does not have a seat in the legislature.

Bokhari said Monday she believes the Liberals are not merely the beneficiary of so-called vote-parking by people traditionally inclined to vote NDP. The party has room to grow its support, she said.

"It’s just about putting forward something other than bickering, something other than just two guys battling it out amongst each other," she said outside the Manitoba Legislature.

She also dismissed the notion the Manitoba Liberals got a bump in the polls thanks to popularity of Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals during the ongoing Canadian election campaign.

"But let’s be frank — the NDP are struggling federally in Manitoba," she said.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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