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Pallister mounts attack on Ashton

NDP leadership candidate thanks him

NDP Leadership candidate Steve Ashton works the crowd before Fort Richmond NDP delegate-selection committee speeches Thursday.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

NDP Leadership candidate Steve Ashton works the crowd before Fort Richmond NDP delegate-selection committee speeches Thursday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/2/2015 (1501 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THANKS for the thumbs-up, Brian.

That was NDP leadership candidate Steve Ashton's response to comments made by Opposition Leader Brian Pallister on Thursday that slammed Ashton, the man many consider to be the front-runner in the NDP leadership race.

Pallister painted Ashton as a politician who has a long record of dithering, tax grabs and flip-flopping on important issues, and if elected could damage the province.

"I think it's important that Manitobans have a chance to understand more about his record," Pallister said. "Mr. Ashton is all ribbon and no road."

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/2/2015 (1501 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THANKS for the thumbs-up, Brian.

That was NDP leadership candidate Steve Ashton's response to comments made by Opposition Leader Brian Pallister on Thursday that slammed Ashton, the man many consider to be the front-runner in the NDP leadership race.

Pallister painted Ashton as a politician who has a long record of dithering, tax grabs and flip-flopping on important issues, and if elected could damage the province.

"I think it's important that Manitobans have a chance to understand more about his record," Pallister said. "Mr. Ashton is all ribbon and no road."

In response, Ashton thanked Pallister for what he considered an endorsement.

"Quite frankly, I think Brian Pallister is worried and he should be worried," Ashton said. "He should be worried that as of March 8 we as New Democrats are going to come out of this united. So Brian, you can take all the shots you want. I know you're worried. We're going to be ready to take you on."

Pallister said Ashton was in cabinet when the government expanded the type of goods and services to be covered by the provincial sales tax in 2012 and then raised it by one point to eight per cent the following year.

He also said Ashton was the lead minister on fighting the spring flood in 2011 and last summer's flooding in western Manitoba. There are still 1,900 unresolved flood claims.

"He lacks the compassion necessary to lead the province," Pallister said.

The Progressive Conservative leader also said Ashton, the MLA from Thompson since 1981, criticized the Tories for going to court to fight the government's decisions to do away with the need for a referendum before it raised the PST, but now Ashton is saying if he's elected NDP leader he would hold a referendum on continuing the tax increase.

"He is a flip-flopper," Pallister said.

Pallister said since the NDP leadership campaign was launched more than a month ago, not one of the three candidates — Ashton, Premier Greg Selinger and Theresa Oswald — have said how they would become more fiscally responsible.

"The major failure in this credit-card campaign they are running is this: Not one single idea has been put forward by any of the three candidates as to how they would get their spending under control," Pallister said. "Not one.

"Instead what they've done, whether priced out or not, is that they've put an array of items on the menu to try to vote-by-popularity for NDP delegates at the expense of a million Manitobans who have no say in this embarrassing process."

Pallister has previously targeted Oswald for criticism, but Thursday was the first time he took specific aim at Ashton.

"It's very important that Manitobans have the ability to compare what we offer and what the government, under new leadership or not, offers Manitobans," he said. "I think my real concern is that Manitobans are being damaged."

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

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