September 21, 2017

Winnipeg
22° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Pallister's Costa Rica trips don't hinder government business, staff insist

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Premier Brian Pallister in his office for a year-end interview with the Free Press.</p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Premier Brian Pallister in his office for a year-end interview with the Free Press.

Brian Pallister's staff say extended trips to his holiday home in Costa Rica do not prevent him from leading the province, but the Opposition NDP argues a premier who refused to raise the minimum wage shouldn't feel entitled to a two-month vacation.

In a year-end interview with the Free Press last week, Manitoba's premier revealed he will be spending Christmas at his vacation home in the Central American country and plans to continue to spend six to eight weeks there over the course of a year.

"I hope we can continue to do that because I work about 60 hours a week when I am here and I work when I am there, too," Pallister said. "The time I don’t get with my family when I am here is lost forever and I need some time with my kids."

Pallister and his wife Esther have two adult daughters.

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Add a payment method

To read the remaining 455 words of this article.

Pay only 27¢ for others you wish to read.

Hope you enjoyed your trial.

Add a payment method

To read the remaining 455 words of this article.

Pay only 27¢ for others you wish to read.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/12/2016 (275 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brian Pallister's staff say extended trips to his holiday home in Costa Rica do not prevent him from leading the province, but the Opposition NDP argues a premier who refused to raise the minimum wage shouldn't feel entitled to a two-month vacation.

In a year-end interview with the Free Press last week, Manitoba's premier revealed he will be spending Christmas at his vacation home in the Central American country and plans to continue to spend six to eight weeks there over the course of a year.

"I hope we can continue to do that because I work about 60 hours a week when I am here and I work when I am there, too," Pallister said. "The time I don’t get with my family when I am here is lost forever and I need some time with my kids."

Pallister and his wife Esther have two adult daughters.

The NDP attacked Pallister's travel plans, arguing his extended time away from the province suggests his priorities are not with Manitobans. New Democrat caucus chair Rob Altemeyer pointed to the Progressive Conservative's decision in the recent budget not to raise the minimum wage.

"There is nothing wrong with taking a vacation, even in far-flung locations — but spending months at a time out of the country suggests that Manitoba families are not Pallister’s top priorities," Altemeyer said in a prepared statement.

"Families need to know that the premier is here at home, working for Manitobans. Important events require the premier’s attention every day – whether it’s negotiating a national climate change accord or fighting a flood or forest fire, the priorities of Manitoba families must come first."

The NDP also pointed out that from 2012 to the 2016 election, former premier Greg Selinger only took about 50 days vacation at his cottage in total.

In contrast, a media report during the 2016 provincial election campaign revealed Pallister spent roughly one in five days during his time as Opposition Leader in Costa Rica. It also revealed, citing travel records released by the Costa Rican General Migrations and Foreign Citizens Bureau, he was in Costa Rica during the height of the flood along the Assiniboine River in 2014.

A report by the Costa Rica Star later showed Pallister owns several parcels of land, through a holding company, in a "highly sought-after" coastal area of Costa Rica. The parcels, totalling 13.26 acres, have a taxable value of US$134,000, although the newspaper notes that is likely a fraction of its commercial value.

Olivia Baldwin-Valainis, the premier's director of communications, said there are measures in place to ensure Pallister can be reached while out of the country and there are ministers who can help govern the province.

"When the Premier is away, there is in place a ministerial rotation to ensure continuous oversight on the business of governing. Measures are in place to ensure regular communication with the Premier, including necessary briefings on urgent or emergent topics," she said in a prepared statement.

The Free Press asked if Pallister was in the country Monday, but Baldwin-Valainis did not answer. She did, however, point to Monday's meeting with the health and finance ministers in Ottawa as proof government business can continue in his absence.

"Today provides an example of these arrangements, while Manitoba's health and finance Ministers are in Ottawa fighting for a fair health funding partnership with the federal government," she said.

"Premier Pallister has been in regular contact with Ministers and senior government staff throughout the day and has participated in dialogue with his counterparts from across the country on this important topic."

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @kristinannable

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 7:35 PM CST: tweak headline

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.