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No issues with Mulcair, Selinger says

Suggests federal NDP should take economic notes from Manitoba

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger in 2013.  The leaders did not appear together at a recent rally in Winnipeg.

ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger in 2013. The leaders did not appear together at a recent rally in Winnipeg.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/8/2015 (1686 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Premier Greg Selinger has dismissed criticism federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair is avoiding him because of the provincial government's unpopularity.

Selinger also suggested the federal party may want to take a closer look at Manitoba and its robust economy, which several banks and think-tanks have said will out perform other parts of the country in economic growth this year.

"The reality is that we have a very strong economy in Manitoba," the premier said Thursday. "The economy is the No. 1 issue on the minds of not only Manitobans, but Canadians.

"It's something that's starting to resonate across the whole country when you see the federal leaders... focusing on the economy now, which we think should be the priority."

RBC and Toronto Dominion have recently said Manitoba will have the second-lowest unemployment rates among the provinces after Saskatchewan, and the Manitoba government says in the first seven months of the year, full-time employment increased three per cent or by 14,800 jobs, and part-time employment decreased 1.8 per cent or 2,200 jobs.

Selinger said given the recent events in China and on the world's jittery stock markets, now is not the time to take attention away from the economy.

"It really requires us to focus on ensuring that we're growing the economy," he said. "We think if everybody follows that objective we're all going to be better off."

Questions have been raised about why the premier and Mulcair did not share the stage together at a recent federal NDP rally in the city. The NDP is riding high in national polls but running third in Manitoba, likely dragged down by the unpopularity of the Selinger government

The federal NDP is also not spending much political capital in Manitoba, where it holds two seats and is only targeting Elmwood-Transcona, where Daniel Blaikie hopes to unseat Conservative Lawrence Toet.

Selinger added on Wednesday night, he logged about seven kilometres knocking on doors in his St. Boniface constituency.

"It's a non-election time for us, but you have to get out and spend a couple of hours talking to people," he said. "It just helps you feel rooted and connected to the people you serve."

Selinger said his canvassing did not conflict with campaigning by federal candidates in the riding.

He also said he has taken little time off this summer, instead spending long hours working in his office at the legislative building and in meetings. "I have taken some time off, but I've also had other responsibilities," he said. "It's no different that any other summer."

Selinger is coming off a tumultuous year which saw five of his senior cabinet ministers resign in frustration over his leadership, and his apparent unwillingness to step down so a new leader could reinvigorate the NDP to fight off Opposition leader Brian Pallister and his Progressive Conservatives in next April's provincial election.

Those resignations forced an NDP leadership battle that saw Selinger reaffirmed as leader by a margin of 33 votes ahead of challenger Seine River MLA Theresa Oswald.

The most recent polling in July from a Free Press-Probe Research survey showed the NDP firmly stuck in second place, 17 points down from the front-running PCs.

The Tories have so far nominated 42 candidates in the 57 constituencies to run in the next election in April, almost double the number of NDP candidate nominations.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Friday, August 28, 2015 at 7:33 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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