May 31, 2020

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'Turn the other cheek' when dealing with city, Pallister tells ministers

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/2/2019 (464 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

STEINBACH -- Brian Pallister says he's instructed his ministers "to turn the other cheek" when it comes to contentious dealings with the City of Winnipeg.

Following an announcement of a new personal care home here Thursday, the premier was asked to comment on his government's relationship with the City of Winnipeg, including a recent tweet by Finance Minister Scott Fielding who criticized Mayor Brian Bowman for raising taxes.

"Disappointed all decisions seem to start and end with raising or creating new taxes on residents of Winnipeg," Fielding tweeted last Wednesday, a day before the mayor and Pallister both withdrew from scheduled appearances at the opening of the Festival du Voyageur.

Bowman responded by accusing Fielding of trolling him on Twitter.

Pallister said Thursday that while he thought Fielding's tweet was "accurate," he said it's "also important for us to realize that building stronger relationships with other levels of government is something we're dedicated to doing."

The premier said he's had "good, productive discussions" with the mayor in the past, as have his ministers.

"But I think it's important to understand that some things like the relationships between cities and provinces are best built together with mutual trust, and that's not best done by accusations through the media. So I implored our team to turn the other cheek, and that's going to be our approach going forward," he said.

Asked whether he was urging better decorum, Pallister responded: "Not so much just among ministers. I think that would be unfair to my ministers. I would urge that among municipal officials as well."

Bowman has repeatedly called for a meeting with Pallister to discuss what the city perceives to be a funding shortfall from the provincial government.

Mayor Brian Bowman has said he cannot get a meeting with the premier.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Mayor Brian Bowman has said he cannot get a meeting with the premier.

Asked Thursday if he planned to meet with the mayor in the near future, the premier said, "I don't do my scheduling through the media."

Asked what he would say to critics who feel he should cultivate a better working relationship with other levels of government, Pallister said, "I'd say measure the results. Those are the key things."

He said he ran for office on a commitment to fix the finances of the province. "We're working very hard to do that, and I would encourage all municipalities to focus on the same (thing)."

Pallister said the city was informed about funding levels for the coming year in December by officials, by cabinet ministers as well as by himself. He repeated assurances that Winnipeg would continue to receive levels of provincial funding that are "among the highest in Canada."

Premier Brian Pallister: 'I implored our team to turn the other cheek, and that's going to be our approach going forward'

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Premier Brian Pallister: 'I implored our team to turn the other cheek, and that's going to be our approach going forward'

Meanwhile, Pallister said it was wise for former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell to step down from his role as commissioner of an independent review of Manitoba Hydro projects in the wake of a British newspaper report alleging he is the subject of a sexual assault investigation by London police.

"They are old allegations but they have to be addressed," Pallister said.

He said the work by the commission will proceed without Campbell, pending "resolution of the accusations through the appropriate channels."

Pallister said calls by the Opposition NDP to stop the probe into the construction of the Keeyask Generating Station and Bipole III transmission line were "nothing short of a cover-up."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

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