Manitoba

Early election coming? Manitobans don't want campaign during province's 150th birthday party, Pallister says

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister hinted once again he would call an election a year earlier than he has to. 

Premier says Manitobans 'don't want us to combine political stuff with our party' celebrating province's 150th

Premier Brian Pallister smiles after speaking during Friday's Manitoba 150 announcement. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister hinted once again on Friday he will call an election a year earlier than he has to — and he suggested Manitobans would rather celebrate next year than go to the polls.

At a brand launch event ahead of the province's 150th birthday next year, Pallister was asked about campaigning in the midst of 2020 celebrations.

"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 told reporters during the launch at The Met in downtown Winnipeg Friday afternoon.

Pallister didn't explicitly say that means the election will be called this year, but noted that he's heard the feedback.

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

The premier added that he expects to hear from Manitobans against the idea of an early election, too.

'United in celebration' for Manitoba's 150th

Manitoba has a fixed election date of Oct. 6, 2020, but Pallister hasn't ruled out an election earlier than that. He's previously described the 2020 legislated deadline to drop the writ as nothing more than a "drop-dead date."

Pallister said Friday that discussing whether an election might happen in 2019 is simply "spec-election," a term he's floated often when media has questioned him about the next election date.

He said his energies are focused on the threat of flooding in the Red River Valley and passing his party's legislative agenda.

The premier was at the event where the logo, theme and website were unveiled by the Manitoba 150 host committee, led by former Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party leader Stuart Murray.

The theme for the 150th birthday events will be "united in celebration," Murray said. 

Manitoba 150 chair Stuart Murray invites Manitobans to join in the celebration. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Events will focus on "commemorating Manitoba's past, celebrating the present, and looking forward to Manitoba's future, while also honouring the thousands of years that First Nations have called this land their traditional territories and the hundreds of years that the Métis have called Manitoba home," he said in a release. 

Celebrations will include a community foundation legacy program, a concert and a community caravan that will range across the province, with up to $5 million in funding from the Manitoba government. 

The province was created by the Manitoba Act, which received royal assent on May 12, 1870. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

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