Winnipeg mayor blasts hints at early provincial election

Premier Brian Pallister’s assertion Manitobans don’t want an election during the province’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2020 is just a weak excuse for the Tories to hold an early election for political purposes, Winnipeg’s mayor says.

Brian Bowman says 'old school politics' behind early election chatter

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says an early provincial election would be politically motivated. (John Einarson/CBC)

Brian Pallister's assertion Manitobans don't want to head to the polls during the province's 150th birthday celebrations in 2020 is just a weak excuse for the Tories to hold an early election for political purposes, Winnipeg's mayor says.

Mayor Brian Bowman blasted the provincial government for hinting it will call an early election in his speech to the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association Thursday morning.

"Provincial legislation requires municipalities to hold elections on fixed election dates. I don't think it should be any different for other levels of government," Bowman told reporters after his speech.

"I think more people are focused on the services that they need from governments and the work of government.

"There's a lot of work to do and the work isn't done."

Manitoba has a fixed election date of Oct. 6, 2020, but Pallister previously has described the 2020 legislated deadline to drop the writ as nothing more than a "drop-dead date."

'Province ahead of politics'

Pallister hinted last week that he will call an election a year earlier than he has to, suggesting Manitobans would rather celebrate Manitoba's 150th birthday next year than go to the polls.

"I've actually had a lot of Manitobans tell me they don't want us to combine political stuff with our party, so I've heard from Manitobans already that they would prefer that 2020 was the year we celebrate something other than politics, that we celebrate something that unites us, doesn't necessarily divide us," he said March 29 at a brand launch event ahead of the province's 150th birthday.

"I think it's a great idea to put our province ahead of politics."

Premier Brian Pallister hinted during the Manitoba 150 announcement that he might call the next provincial election ahead of the fixed date. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Bowman said voters in Manitoba gave Pallister and his party a strong mandate, and the government should focus on fulfilling that work instead of worrying about heading to the polls.

"This is old-school politics," he said. "I would urge them to focus on the work of government and the business of government [rather] than on the political operations of a political party.

"Let's get the job done."

When contacted by CBC News a spokesperson for Pallister did not respond directly to Bowman's comments.

More from CBC Manitoba:

With files from Ian Froese


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