KEITH BORKOWSKY/BRANDON SUN
Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister (left) chats with Brandon West MLA Reg Helwer and Ste. Rose MLA Stuart Briese at Helwer’s Brandon office during Pallister’s tour through southern Manitoba on Thursday.
Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister began to lay out the party’s case to be the next government during a Thursday stop in Brandon on a southern Manitoba tour.
"If you go to Gary Filmon’s time (in power), the fiscal challenges like never seen before aside from the Great Depression, if you go to objective historical observers gave to Filmon and his team for managing the social services and the financial sustainability of this province intelligently and well, he’s ranked ahead of every other premier of his era," Pallister said.
"So when the NDP tries to belittle the PC Party and its supporters, what it’s doing is trying to revise history."
Pallister said he will challenge Premier Greg Selinger when the New Democrats use tactics such as attempting to convince the public that the Progressive Conservatives will sell Manitoba Hydro if they take office.
"I will take that message to any debate Greg Selinger wants to have with me and I will put the record of a Gary Filmon or a Duff Roblin up against a Howard Pawley or Ed Schreyer any day, and I will win," Pallister said. "I don’t get painted into corners very easily because my feet are way too big. And if you stand for honest facts and truth, you stand a chance to win."
Pallister said travelling through the province during the party’s leadership race, where he was the sole candidate, has helped generate some interest in the party and created the foundation he plans to build upon in the coming months.
"The direction where we are moving is to offer a clear alternative to the NDP in the next provincial election, but to do that, we need feet on the ground and people ready to volunteer like they did in Fort Whyte, where we had 350 volunteers in that contest we just fought," Pallister said. "That’s a powerful indicator in the level of support there is for this party. The way you get support like that is to ask for it."
Speaking at Brandon West MLA Reg Helwer’s office, Pallister said politically, his strategy of going to smaller rural communities in southern Manitoba where it already holds seats may not be the smartest, given that the party will need to increase its seat count in Winnipeg and other areas of the province to form government.
"Where we need to win are Swan River, Dauphin, Gimli, the Interlake and the City of Winnipeg," Pallister said. "But I’ll get there.
"We need to hear from those people, and they don’t currently have MLAs that report to me."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 7, 2012