Nearly a year after Manitobans began paying more in provincial sales tax, provincial Tory leader Brian Pallister is remaining staunch in his opposition to the hike – saying he’d reverse it if elected.
“Anniversaries and birthdays are times to reflect,” said the Progressive Conservative Party leader. “We don’t believe it was necessary to do it.”
So unnecessary, the party believes, they’ve taken the NDP government to court over it.
So far, $276 million has been collected from the hike, and according to Premier Greg Selinger, that money has been committed to fixing roads, improving flood protection and water systems.
“His decision to roll back the one point increase on the PST would immediately mean reducing spending on roads, bridges, flood protection and clean water infrastructure,” said a spokesperson for the provincial government.
But the move has cost the NDP in the polls.
“It made it harder for people to trust the government, given the way it was introduced – breaking a campaign promise,” said Royce Koop, a political studies professor at the University of Manitoba. “It’s been a disaster for the government.”
But Koop said a lot can change before the next provincial election, which is still more than a year away.
“Governments always have the ability to come back. The NDP should be able to make up this if it runs a good campaign,” said Koop.