Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces funding for second phase clean up of Lake Winnipeg at a press conference in Gimli.
GIMLI —Water issues dominated a caucus meeting of Manitoba Conservative MPs that was chaired by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday.
Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette Conservative MP Bob Sopuck is chairman of the Manitoba Conservative caucus.
"Water seems to be the hottest topic of all and we have the real issue around the Lake of the Prairies and Shellmouth Dam and we are following that issue closely," said Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette Conservative MP Bob Sopuck, the chairman of the Manitoba Conservative caucus.
"We will be meeting with affected producers very soon and of course there is a Lake Manitoba issue as well."
Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Merv Tweed said water issues were raised at the caucus meeting because of a Brandon Sun question raised at a media event earlier in the day, but agriculture was also a key issue in light of the new Canadian Wheat Board structure that was implemented officially on Wednesday.
Sopuck said high commodity prices give farmers in his area plenty of optimism.
"Cattle prices are high, the hay prices were good and by and large they were able to get it off in good shape," Sopuck said.
The new federal infrastructure plan, currently being developed after a series of meetings across the country had a key spot on the agenda.
"Because of my role as the chairman of the Transport committee, we get more involved in those details as they come forward," Tweed said.
Sopuck said he is also working on issues related to Riding Mountain National Park, such as winter activities and the cross-country ski trails.
While the chairman’s duties normally rest with Sopuck for provincial caucus meetings, he didn’t mind passing the gavel to the leader of his party this time.
"It was great to have some face time with the prime minister," Sopuck said. "We do communicate on a regular basis but to have him all to ourselves as a Manitoba caucus, it was a very special time for all of us."
Tweed said the discussions behind closed doors are typically frank and the meeting with the prime minister was no different.
"I think it’s good that (Harper) chair some of those meetings because it’s a chance for us to be open and frank with him and he expects that," Tweed said.
"I don’t think he looks for anything different and obviously there are issues that are impacting constituencies and people across Manitoba. We heard about them all today."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 3, 2012