Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/7/2012 (3288 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
On his first day as the newly acclaimed Progressive Conservative leader, Brian Pallister said he would not necessarily guarantee Brandon a cabinet minister if elected premier.
"Given the quality of representation that Brandon has received from Brandon East, I would suggest that it does not make that much of a difference," Pallister said. "There are intricacies involved in cabinet making and obviously regional interests are a part of that, but I will say that although I recognize the vital importance of Westman to the province and the province’s economy, I am a merit person. I believe very strongly on merit and I believe people have to earn their way whether it’s a cabinet appointment or any other walk of life."
While not pledging a Westman cabinet position, Pallister said he would continue to connect with the region as he had during his campaign.
"I know our caucus team has every intention of reaching out around the province to be present in a real way on the issues that matter to Westman," said Pallister, a Brandon University graduate.
Pallister took over the reins of the party on Monday from outgoing leader Hugh McFadyen, who has also resigned as the MLA for Fort Whyte.
Premier Greg Selinger now has a year to hold the byelection in that southwest Winnipeg constituency, and while it is expected Pallister will be a candidate in that race, he said he plans to get to work right away to solidify his position.
"I believe that many in the Conservative party wanted us to be doing different work after the last election," Pallister said. "They wanted us to be the government and that isn’t what Manitobans hired us to do. They hired us to do honourable work as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. That is an honourable task and one we will undertake to the best of our abilities."
The new Progressive Conservative leader has served in the Manitoba legislature before, replacing Ed Connery as Portage la Prairie MLA in 1992.
He then served in Winnipeg until 1997, including a few years as a Cabinet minister in the Gary Filmon-led government, when he moved on to Parliament Hill as the elected Portage-Lisgar MP until 2008.
Pallister said that in spite of the one-candidate leadership race, the party he now leads is rejuvenated.
"I am a competitor and I enjoy competition," Pallister said. "I would have enjoyed the contest and I know that offers benefits to the party more so than I could have on my own. But I assure you I ran my campaign as though there were 10 others in the race. Many successful premiers have been acclaimed as I have been, such as Brad Wall in Saskatchewan and Danny Williams in Newfoundland."
Throughout his campaign, Pallister used the slogan ‘aim higher’ to make the case that he should be the leader. He continued on with that strategy on Monday.
"You can’t go for the gold if you’re not willing to strive or to aspire and work hard," Pallister said. "You can’t go for the gold if you aim low, and I think we have a political party in charge of this province that does that. They set mediocre goals and fail to achieve even those, and that’s not good enough."
Pallister was not yet ready to comment on specific policy initiatives he wanted to implement as leader, reiterating a desire to present a "shared vision" built after consulting his caucus.
"I don’t come in with a top-down mentality on these things," Pallister said.
Pallister added that the intent of his overall approach is to prove to Manitobans that the party is capable of governing the province.
"The most successful premiers in Manitoba history have been Conservative premiers," Pallister said.
"Those premiers were people like Duff Roblin, Gary Filmon and Sterling Lyon. Those gentlemen led great governments that understood that Manitoba has to depend on both the success of the city of Winnipeg and the success of areas outside of the Perimeter Highway."