Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Manitoba NDP leadership campaign

There does not seem to be any huge conflict between the two leadership candidates. For years the Manitoba NDP has been very much middle of the road, a policy that seems to have paid off in that Doer was re-elected last time with little difficulty. Manitoba is one of the better off provinces as far as the recession is concerned so the NDP could be re-elected next time as well unless they make some serious missteps.

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
NDP leadership race: The policy debate
By: Larry Kusch
Steve Ashton and Greg Selinger do not appear to be far apart ideologically. But Ashton's campaign promises were often bold and provocative, with several carrying heavy price tags, while Selinger's were more modest and often extensions of current government policy.

Ashton's promises included:

"ö Redeveloping CPR's Weston Yards as a home for new housing, commercial development and green space. Province to spend $50 million over five years.
"ö $250 million over 10 years to help revitalize Winnipeg's Exchange District.
"ö A Manitoba Dignity Act targeting discriminatory, demeaning or racist acts.
"ö Personally supervising a crime-prevention strategy that targets gangs and increases support for community policing.
"ö Passing a law to prevent Winnipeg from privatizing its water supply.
"ö Immediately committing to funding one-third the cost of a $250-million second rapid-transit corridor, this one to the east side of the city.
"ö Introducing anti-poverty legislation that sets out targets and measures for combating poverty.

Selinger's promises included:

"ö Extending the fitness tax credit now offered to kids, to adults.
"ö Boosting affordable housing in Manitoba by building 300 new units per year for the next five years.
"ö Fast-tracking income tax refunds on post-secondary tuition fees to students who remain in Manitoba after graduation.
"ö Creating a fund to help more small businesses get established in Manitoba.
"ö Developing a well-trained workforce by improving high school graduation rates, encouraging more collaboration between business and post-secondary institutions and expanding the use of co-op education tax credits.
"ö Using green technology to drive economic growth, including commitments to getting more plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road and creating a centre of excellence at Red River Col--lege to convert more existing hybrid vehicles to plug-in hybrids.
"ö Improving training, economic opportunities and services for northern and aboriginal people.

Notable disagreements:


Ashton promised to bring back a freeze on university tuition fees. Selinger rejected that solution to making post-secondary education more affordable, instead pledging to fast-track tuition fee tax rebates to students who plan to remain in Manitoba after graduation.


Ashton said he is prepared to bring in legislation banning the use of replacement workers by employers in the event of a strike. But a spokesman for Selinger said the former finance minister had no such plans, preferring to continue to build a labour climate where strikes and lockouts can be avoided.

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