Manitoba election: Liberals won't close hospitals, Rana Bokhari says

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari is doing damage control after her party lost five candidates this week and another suggested closing some hospitals to fix long wait times.

'What he's standing behind is preventative medicine,' Liberal leader says of candidate Billy Moore's comments

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari says the party doesn't endorse closing hospitals. (CBC)

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari is doing damage control after her party lost five candidates this week and another suggested closing some hospitals to fix long wait times.

Earlier this week, four candidates had their nomination papers rejected and Gimli candidate Joanne Levy was disqualified by Elections Manitoba because she worked as an enumerator earlier this year.

Billy Moore, the Liberal candidate for Brandon West, said at a debate on Wednesday that he believes people are more inclined to use hospitals if more are available. He also said he hadn't read the party platform but that he's running on "love and harmony."

Bokhari said she spoke to Moore on Thursday and won't ask him to drop out of the race. The party doesn't endorse closing hospitals, she added.

"Just to clarify what he was trying to say, if we focus on preventative measures so people don't have to use hospitals, we won't need that many," she said. "That's essentially what he was trying to articulate. Agreed, he didn't do a really good job of it at the time, but what he's standing behind is preventative medicine."

Billy Moore said closing some hospitals will solve long wait times at a debate on Wednesday. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)
Bokhari said at least all the incidents this week were technical, not ethical, issues.

"You have a PC candidate that is still running in, I believe it's St. Vital, even though that there was some financial issues about flower plants and whatnot, and they chose to keep that person. You still have Wab Kinew running on homophobic, sexist and racist comments," she said.

"Yes it's an issue but, at the end of the day, we still have a great slate of candidates. I'm really proud of the people we have forward."

The Liberals election promise Thursday was to remove the $5,000 cap on school taxes on farmland, meaning property owners would get back whatever rebate in school taxes they are owed, even if it's above $5,000. 

Bokhari also said they would get rid of red tape that hinders producers from selling directly to consumers.

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