Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/9/2011 (3562 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Over the duration of the provincial election campaign, the Brandon Sun will ask candidates in the Brandon East and Brandon West constituencies for their thoughts and stances on what we believe are four key issues in the Wheat City. Their responses will be published in the Sun’s Saturday edition.
This week’s question to candidates was: “Moving forward, what is your position on a casino in Brandon? If you favour a casino in Brandon, would you favour a government-run casino or a casino run by First Nations?”
Jim Murray (New Democratic Party)
“Since 1999, the NDP position has been that any new casino development in Manitoba needs to be done in partnership with First Nations. In 2007, a comprehensive market study determined that the only viable and sustainable location for further casino development was in southwest Manitoba. In 2009, following a site selection process, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs announced a memorandum of understanding with Swan Lake First Nation to develop a casino near Spruce Woods Provincial Park, and are in the process of proceeding toward construction. In January 2011, Manitoba signed a formal gaming agreement to authorize the operation of Spirit Sands Casino, and our focus is on the completion of this project.”
George Buri (Liberal)
“Essentially, the casino issue is old news in Brandon; no one has brought that issue up in the campaigning so far. Since the city has twice held referendums that defeated the proposal, it might indeed be a non-issue. The people have spoken quite clearly on this issue. I respect their decision. Since the decision was made, the casino has been awarded to another group. The casino bus has left the station, so to speak. There would have to be a great change in public opinion and an initiative from city hall to revive this issue in the future.
“Brandon is already a cultural gem offering great facilities, museums, sporting events, music, theatre, dance, art, fairs and festivals, and with creativity and vision we can enhance our city even more to become a true destination city.”
Reg Helwer (Progressive Conservative)
“Brandon residents have had two votes on the casino issue. Having knocked on a majority of the doors in Brandon West, I have not had any resident raise this issue.
“What has come up are concerns about crime and personal safety. Manitoba is the violent crime capital of Canada and this would certainly be addressed by a Progressive Conservative government. Other concerns I am hearing are health-care wait times and despair over hallway medicine, which still exists after millions of dollars and broken promises. High and ever increasing education taxes and classroom size that has grown after 12 years of NDP waste and mismanagement are also common complaints. People are also bewildered about why they are wasting billions on projects like the west-side Bipole project.
“Brandon West voters have asked me to focus on issues including crime, health care, education, child care and the economy. These are the issues that people are bringing to my attention and issues that I will be focused on.”
A response from Brandon West Communist Party candidate Lisa Gallagher was not available.
Drew Caldwell (New Democratic Party)
“This is a long-standing and contentious issue in our community. Twice now people in Brandon have weighed in through plebiscites — and twice now the idea has been rejected. For this reason, I believe it is important that our attention now be focused on the ongoing development of the Brandon Regional Health Centre, Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College and other significant provincial initiatives that present opportunities for real growth in Brandon.”
Mike Waddell (Progressive Conservative)
“In 2008, I went on record, during the plebiscite, with a clear statement as to my stance on gaming. I repeat that stand now that ran as the core of a letter to the editor in March of 2008.
“‘I state now, as I did when I was asked during the election campaign, that I am not a supporter of gaming as a sustainable or as a stable form of economic development. However I am a believer in democracy. Please study carefully all of the information that has been made available from all sides of the issue and make an informed decision as you cast your ballot.’
“Brandon East has made its voice clear on this issue. Should I be elected, my role would be to serve the community as a voice in the legislature for Brandon East.”
Shaun Cameron (Liberal)
“With regards to the casino, as your MLA I would respect the plebiscite held by the City of Brandon in 2008. Brandonites gave a clear direction on the casino through the public consultation process. We as stewards of the public’s wishes need to be sure we are respecting their wishes and viewpoint in a democratic fashion.
“A casino is not a magic bullet answer for downtown revitalization. There needs to be a movement of the people first and a vibrant mindset to start any trend or change in the downtown. I believe there are some unique opportunities and exciting concepts coming along for our downtown and we as residents hold the ultimate fate in making sure it a destination hub for all generations.”
Vanda Fleury (Green)
“Brandon shares the obligations and benefits of Treaty No. 1, with neighbouring First Nations communities not signatory to that process. The Green party recognizes aboriginal rights and the will toward self-determination amid jurisdictional complexities.
“GPM values local-driven economies and our government would not want to prohibit such initiatives. Brandon is a diverse community and we would be more inclined to promote less socially destructive forms of economic development than gambling. Through consultation with First Nations, with support from community corporations, we would build capacities and offer incentives toward less addictive forms of recreational development. For example, Brandon’s unique history and geographical location lends itself well to eco-tourism, to cultural exchange, to urban reserves.”
» Brandon Sun