Taxes, jobs and party ground game key fac­tors in Man­i­toba elec­tion cam­paign

Asian Journal - - Nation -

Win­nipeg: The Man­i­toba elec­tion cam­paign of­fi­cially be­gan Wed­nes­day. Here is a look at some of the fac­tors at play lead­ing up to the April 19 vote:

Taxes: The NDP govern­ment plum­meted in opin­ion polls af­ter it raised the pro­vin­cial sales tax to eight per cent from seven in 2013, break­ing a pre­vi­ous elec­tion prom­ise. The Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives have promised to re­duce the tax back to seven per cent. The NDP says that would re­sult in cuts to govern­ment ser­vices.

The Econ­omy: Man­i­toba’s slow­but-steady econ­omy has, for the most part, weath­ered the global fi­nan­cial slow­down. But prob­lems re­main: a slug­gish growth rate of 1.1 per cent in 2014, low wages com­pared with other western provinces and con­tin­ued out-mi­gra­tion. The NDP con­tin­ues to run deficits and has pushed back its orig­i­nal bal­anced-bud­get tar­get date three times.

The NDP and Lib­er­als have promised to cre­ate thou­sands of ad­di­tional child-care spa­ces in reg­u­lated, not-for-profit cen­tres. The Tories have talked about al­low­ing greater in­volve­ment by pri­vate day­care cen­tres to ad­dress cur­rent wait­ing lists.

Lead­er­ship: Opin­ion polls sug­gest NDP Leader Greg Selinger has a low ap­proval rat­ing, but Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Leader Brian Pal­lis­ter’s is not very pos­i­tive ei­ther. Lib­eral Leader Rana Bokhari is new and rel­a­tively un­known. All three have five weeks to win over vot­ers.

The ground game: Many NDP cam­paign veter­ans left af­ter the lead­er­ship cri­sis that Selinger sur­vived. The Tories have brought in fed­eral Con­ser­va­tives, have raised much more money and were the only party with all 57 can­di­dates in place be­fore the elec­tion was called. The Lib­er­als have strug­gled fi­nan­cially and, as a small party, have his­tor­i­cally had a more dif­fi­cult time get­ting sup­port­ers to the polls on elec­tion day.

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