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This article was published 9/8/2019 (639 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
While PC leader Brian Pallister gave his government's accomplishments a rave review Friday, critics suggested his report card should earn a failing grade.
In what was likely their last announcement before the expected dropping of the writ on Monday that will officially start the campaign, the Progressive Conservatives gathered on the southern legislative grounds to tout the commitments they've kept to Manitobans since taking office in May 2016.
"Nobody said it would be easy. If it was easy, it would have been done before by the NDP," Pallister said. "It wasn't."
According to the Progressive Conservatives, 90 per cent of their 100 commitments listed in the Keeping Our Word report released Friday are completed, while progress on the remaining 10 per cent is underway.
Pallister said that progress, paired with new issues that have arisen since the Tories took office, is reason enough to let voters go to the polls and decide whether his party deserves a second mandate. He expects the 2019 election should focus on "trust and taxes."
"I would submit to you that if you respect the intelligence of Manitobans as we do, as I do, you would trust them to make the decision about who they want to lead them," he told reporters, some of whom asked again why he was calling a provincial election more than a year early.
The next fixed election date is Oct. 6, 2020, though Pallister decided to call an election for Sept. 10 instead. His government is still in the midst of orchestrating major hospital system changes in Winnipeg, which Pallister said are necessary to shorten wait times and provide better patient care.
"I would submit to you that Manitobans want a government that will face the challenges and move forward with progress, not run away from them and go backward," Pallister said.
"And so we are willing to subject ourselves to the judgment of the people of Manitoba because we trust Manitobans. And we're willing to face the challenges of making health care, financial services (and) financial security stronger for Manitobans, because that's what they want us to do."
Some of the Pallister government's works-in-progress include increased flood protection around the Lake Manitoba outlet, more construction of personal care home beds and more education curriculum reviews. The province's K-12 review commission is ongoing and expected to report results back to the education minister by February 2020.
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said the PC's progress report was full of "weasel words" and "excuses."
"It’s unbelievable that this is a document called Keeping Our Word because it’s absolutely filled with all sorts of distortions and dishonesty," he said, accusing the government of rejigging and omitting some of its commitments in the document.
"It’s being released as the premier is ignoring a fixed date election law and one of the promises from 2016 was adhering to the current fixed election day."
The NDP also jumped on the report, producing 17 fact checks calling Pallister's record into question within a few hours Friday.