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This article was published 1/9/2019 (217 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The rainy weather turned potholes into puddles and soaked fields across Winnipeg Saturday — setting the scene for another day of mudslinging between parties on the campaign trail.
The New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives took aim at one another with press releases published mid-long-weekend in the lead-up to the Sept. 10 election. In response to each other’s claims, both pointed fingers at each other.
The PC party’s latest release claims NDP leader Wab Kinew is in favour of a "super" carbon tax.
"The NDP have again doubled down on their promise to impose a punitive $270 per tonne carbon tax on all Manitobans, which equates to an extra 60 cents per litre at the gas pumps — the highest carbon tax in Canada," a PC release states.
The NDP’s platform states the carbon tax wouldn’t increase from current levels under an orange mandate. Earlier this week, Kinew said his government would attempt to negotiate with Ottawa to limit the mandated federal carbon tax of $50 per tonne to $20 per tonne in Manitoba.
However, the PC party’s release goes on to criticize Kinew for a comment he made about his party being committed to meeting the Paris Climate Accord targets at the Aug. 28 leaders debate. It states the NDP has put out several climate policy positions.
"PCs make stuff up and it fails to distract families from the truth: Brian Pallister cut health care and closed ER then refused to answer for it in leadership debates across the province," NDP spokeswoman Emily Coutts said in a statement.
Signed by world leaders, the international emissions agreement came into effect in 2016. Countries are in charge of implementing targets set out in the accord.
When asked for clarity about how the PC party came up with the $270 per tonne figure, spokesman Blake Robert told the Free Press the party did the math on how much it would cost Manitoba to reach the Paris Accord targets on the assumption a $50 carbon tax achieves a 1 megatonne reduction over five years.
Meanwhile, the NDP fired criticism at the PCs Saturday morning during a press conference in which the NDP condemned a provincial health department release published Aug. 29 during the Pallister government’s self-imposed blackout.
The healthcare update on the Health System Transformation website offers project summaries in the sector the NDP said unfairly advertise Pallister’s cuts and closures during the election campaign. The documents list progress and plans on Shared Health Services Manitoba taking on functions of health authorities, among other things.
"Manitobans want to have their say about the future of healthcare in our province," said Matt Wiebe, the party’s candidate for Concordia who has served as its health critic, during a press conference at the NDP headquarters on Portage Avenue.
The government can do usual business but it should not be undertaking "controversial or major changes" part of an "ill-conceived plan" in the middle of a campaign, Wiebe said.
The criticism is the latest in a series surrounding confusion over Pallister’s self-imposed blackout rules, leading up to an election called 13 months ahead of schedule.
Cameron Friesen, the PC candidate for Morden-Winkler, called the announcement "nonsense."
"While no new directives are issued to the public service during a campaign, it is entirely appropriate for government departments to continue work already underway," Friesen said.
Both parties have also taken shots at one another in connection with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s latest publication of wait-time numbers — which the WRHA previously said it wouldn’t release due to the blackout period.
The campaign continues today, with a focus on cultural celebration rather than partisan politics. Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in town to attend the annual Nagar Kirtan parade, a traditional Sikh celebration scheduled to kick off at the legislature building in the afternoon. Kinew is scheduled to attend the event as well.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.