Manitoba·Video

Fake tree vs. real, resolutions and a Christmas song debate: 11 quick questions with Manitoba's party leaders

As part of year-end interviews with the leaders of Manitoba's three main political parties, CBC News asked a few lighter questions about the holiday traditions of Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister, NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont.

As part of year-end interviews, CBC asked Manitoba's political leaders about some of their holiday traditions

We asked Manitoba's party leaders about some of their holiday traditions. 2:31

As part of year-end interviews with the leaders of Manitoba's three main political parties, CBC News asked some slightly probing questions about the holiday traditions of Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister, NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont.

We've edited their responses for length.

What was your best Christmas moment?

Brian Pallister :

Oh gosh. It was usually one of jealousy cause my brother got the good gifts, you know?

But I think my Christmas moments weren't so much the gifts as it was the family coming together in our home.… I was raised from the age of six on in the home that our great-grandparents built together. And so my grandparents, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins — you get the picture.

And like a lot of Manitoba families, those memories, I think, are the ones that stand out. Tobogganing on the hill behind our farm, skating on the ice. Those things.

Bing vs Bublé? Ham or turkey? We put a few less-than-serious questions to Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister, NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont. (CBC)

Wab Kinew:

Best Christmas moment is being a dad and giving presents to the boys. Usually two, but now three [Kinew and his wife had a baby boy earlier this year].

Dougald Lamont:

Actually, it was when my wife bought me an electric guitar … almost 20 years ago. I still have it and I played it today. 

What was the best gift you ever gave to someone?

Brian Pallister:

I thought it was really good — I'm not sure Mom thought it was really good.… Anyway, it is personal.

It was a thing I gave my mom. I couldn't have got through university without my mom. Not just the example that she set, that she inspired us to follow,  but the fact that she saved all the family allowance cheques for years. And so the year after I gave her something special because of that.

Wab Kinew:

Tough to rank them, but we have taken a few trips together as a family. And so I think those would probably be some of the cooler things that we've given the family.

Premier Pallister says his new year's resolution is about physical rehabilitation, following his hiking accident in New Mexico last year. (John Einarson/CBC)

Dougald Lamont :

I think actually it was another musical gift. I bought a keyboard for my daughter. My second daughter. She plays and writes music and she loves it.

Fake tree or live tree?

Brian Pallister:

Always live.

Wab Kinew:

Real tree. Pine needles on the floor to prove it. We had a fake tree, always, and in last year just because we moved into a bigger place and we have more room, we got a real tree.

Dougald Lamont:

Live tree.

Do you like a little rum in your eggnog?

Brian Pallister:

Absolutely.

Wab Kinew:

[Kinew doesn't drink alcohol so we didn't ask the question.]

Wab Kinew aims to focus on work-life balance in the new year. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Dougald Lamont:

I don't like eggnog.

Turkey or ham?

Brian Pallister:

Turkey. The white meat.

Wab Kinew:

Turkey. I brine my turkey now, so all the complaints about dried turkey, they don't exist when you brine it. And the gravy's really good too!

Dougald Lamont:

Turkey.

What's your favourite Christmas dish after the main course?

Brian Pallister:

You don't get to be six foot eight without liking it all! It's funny, because the things that you didn't like as a kid, often, as you evolve, you'll like better. I never, as a kid, liked mincemeat pies.…  Oh my God, with the ice cream just melting on them — so good! I mean, I'm salivating right now.

Wab Kinew:

I really like wild rice. That's a staple of our diet traditionally, but I really like it. It's a comfort food.

Dougald Lamont:

It's actually a cooked red cabbage. The key is enormous amounts of butter.

Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or the Grinch who stole Christmas?

Brian Pallister:

Well, [Frosty] the Snowman, because we made them at the farm in the yard.

Wab Kinew:

Rudolph! Just because, you know, with a bright red nose, you can't go wrong.

'My new year's resolutions are terrible, because I decided to set the bar incredibly low,' says Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC )

Dougald Lamont:

The Grinch. He's the funniest.

Would you have banned the song Baby It's Cold Outside

Brian Pallister:

Never. I think we can be serious about advancing women's rights in this world without going overboard.… Old habits die hard and they need to die sooner. And there are old songs that people wrote that we can sing together and laugh about. 

Frosty, Rudolph or the Grinch? Each of the three party leaders picked a different favourite Christmas character. (Warner Bros. Home Video)

Wab Kinew:

Yeah, I would have. My wife and I were talking about it last night and some of the lyrics — "What's in this drink?" Not cool … when you have a woman singing "what's in this drink?" and then there's a guy pressuring her not to go home. I don't think that's part of a consent culture.

Dougald Lamont:

No. It's the Streisand effect [where the attempt to suppress or censor something has the unintended effect of publicizing it more widely].… I think barely anyone would have listened to it. Now what's happened is that everyone is listening to it and making a point of listening to it, because somebody tried to have it banned. It could have just been left to wither on the vine as it deserved to.

Michael Bublé or Bing Crosby?

Brian Pallister:

Oh, Bing! C'mon! Beautiful!

Should the song Baby, It's Cold Outside be banned? The three party leaders have differing opinions. (MGM/YouTube)

Wab Kinew:

Bublé! Plus he owns a hockey team so that's pretty cool.

Dougald Lamont:

Bing Crosby.

Is there mistletoe in your house?

Brian Pallister"

No. Just because we're so busy.… This time of year is particularly busy for us, so I'll remember to fake some mistletoe till when I get home.

Wab Kinew:

No. Not recently. Not for any particular reason, though.

Dougald Lamont:

Not currently, but there has been.

Have you made a new year's resolution yet?

Brian Pallister:

This year it's about rehab, because of the accident I had a year ago [Pallister broke his arm in a fall while hiking in New Mexico]. I've got some physical challenges ahead. And you've got to stay at it.… We all have that challenge, I think — making time for for your body and to make sure that you maintain and strengthen it. It's important.

Wab Kinew:

I was thinking today that more of a work-life balance would be good. I definitely make time for the boys and family, but there hasn't been a ton of time for going to the gym during the recent political activities. So more time for that.

Dougald Lamont:

No [but he said he will]. My new year's resolutions are terrible, because I decided to set the bar incredibly low.

So one year I just said, "I'm going to use more conditioner." And the other is to eat more fried food. So I did both! Extremely low bar.

Look, I can get more satisfaction out of [setting] goals that I can achieve, like eating more fried foods. My doctor didn't like it, though, so I didn't keep that for the next year.

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