Manitoba

Premier says he won't call election while Manitobans are sandbagging

The premier told reporters he has no intention of calling an election during a "flood watch," which would likely rule out an election campaign during several weeks this spring.

Timing of an election during flood season doesn't make sense, Brian Pallister says

After dropping hints in recent weeks about an early election call, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday he would not drop the writ while Manitobans are worried about flooding. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

Manitobans would be better off filling sandbags than thinking about a provincial election, Brian Pallister argued Tuesday.

The premier told reporters he has no intention of calling an election during a "flood watch," which would likely rule out an election campaign during several weeks this spring.

Forecasters are predicting widespread flooding on the scale of the 2011 flood could be forthcoming along the Red River this year. 

That could mean farmland in southern Manitoba inundated with water, some communities along the Red River preparing or using their ring dikes, and the shutdown of Highway 75 south of Morris for several weeks.

Pallister, who has been questioned for weeks about an early election ahead of the next scheduled one in 2020, said he wouldn't call an election in the midst of a flooding event.

Flurry of 'speculection'

"I don't want to create undue concern, but I think we have real reasons to be concerned about the security of many of the people in our province right now, and that is absolutely going to be my focus," he said.

When asked if he'd call the election early if a flood doesn't materialize, Pallister said that was nothing more than "speculection," before walking away. 

The premier has hinted at dropping the writ early. He recently suggested the scheduled Oct. 6, 2020, date for the election isn't fixed but rather a "drop-dead date." 

His decision to commit to reducing the provincial sales tax by one percentage point in last week's budget has also fuelled speculation that an election is imminent.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said Monday the government's decision to introduce six bills that day was designed to publicize their agenda before an early election. 

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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