Rookie Liberal Leader is 'confident' she can be premier
Rana Bokhari says it'd be 'irresponsible' to commit to balanced budget timeline with only part of a plan
Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari said she's confident premier of Manitoba can be her first elected office, but in a year-end interview with CBC News she said her full election platform is not ready and she can't yet commit to a timeline to balance the budget.
"We're just not there yet and I could lie about it, but I'm not going to," Bokhari said from the Liberal Party of Manitoba office on Broadway. "I'm telling everyone very honestly that we are just working on it."
It's time for new blood and now it's time for new people to come in- Rana Bokhari Liberal Leader
This fall, the Liberals have presented numerous policy announcements, including funding for in vitro fertilization and turning post-secondary loans into grants.
Bokhari said while each individual announcement is costed-out, the full plan is not.
"We still have a few more announcements to make, so it would be a little bit irresponsible to give out a plan that's costed-out only 50 per cent or 20 per cent," she said. "I'm not in a position today and I'm not going to do it today and I'm probably not going to do it until we're closer to the election. But it's coming and I think Manitobans will feel it's a responsible, creative, good, stable plan."
- VIDEO: Bokhari says she's 'not uncomfortable' running deficit, and won't commit to a balanced budget timeline yet
At 38 years old she's two decades younger than her NDP and PC counterparts, but she said that's an advantage and shows a generational shift in politics.
"It's time for new blood and now it's time for new people to come in," said the rookie politician.
The daughter of immigrants, Bokhari grew up on a farm in Anola and went on to become a lawyer living in the south end of Winnipeg.
As the elected leader of the Liberals without a seat in the legislature, Bokhari watches debate from the public gallery.
River Heights MLA Jon Gerrard currently holds the only Liberal seat in the Manitoba Legislature. If Bokhari wins her Fort Rouge constituency in April she said she will relocate there.
With three degrees and experience as a lawyer, she said even though she doesn't have legislative experience, she is prepared.
"So when it comes to [political] knowledge and it comes to experience that's not something that I'm even worried about, or not concerned about, because I've never claimed to know everything," she said. "I'm working 10 times harder than them to keep myself as briefed and as aware of everything that's going on."
- VIDEO: Bokhari says despite inexperience there's "no doubt" she can go toe-to-toe with Pallister and Selinger
In recent interviews, journalists have pressed Bokhari for answers on if she'll balance the budget and when.
- VIDEO: Bokhari says she's learning the 'dance' with media, but she doesn't have a mistrust for journalists
Bokhari said her team has a lot of work to do to come from one seat in the Manitoba Legislature to government, but a win is her only measure of success.
"We are going to do everything in our power, and I have done everything in my power, to completely rebuild a party in less than two years and get us in a position that we could run an election and I feel like I've done that very well."
- Watch the full year-end interview here: