Manitoba political party leaders face-off during televised debate
Manitoba's four political party leaders went head-to-head in a televised debate 6 p.m. Friday.
First the leaders took questions from the public. The first one was for NDP Leader Greg Selinger.
The voter wanted to know what he and the NDP plan on doing to reduce wait times in Manitoba if they're re-elected.
Selinger said he would increase the number of doctors and nurses and increase funding.
Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen said Manitobans have heard that promise before.
"You failed on your fundamental promise to health care," he said.
Green Party Leader James Beddome would like to see the government take a preventative approach to helping people before they get sick.
The next question was posed to McFadyen.
The voter wanted to know what he and the Conservatives plan on doing about Manitoba's growing debt.
He responded by saying because of the NDP, Manitobans have the highest taxes west of Quebec. McFadyen later said the Tories method would involve measures for tax relief and targeted spending.
Selinger defended his party.
"The best way to ensure we have a low debt for every Manitoban is to grow the economy," he said
Selinger also said the Conservatives planned to run a deficit for years if elected. Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard said a vote for the Liberals is a vote for fiscal responsibility.
Manitoba Hydro was the next issue debated. Beddome and the Green party would like to see Manitoba Hydro change its mandate to widen its scope, including more considering for aspects such as wind projects.
McFadyen brought up the Bipole III project.
"Our priority is to listen to the experts, go with a shorter route."
Selinger said McFadyen's method for bipole would tie up the process with roadblocks.
Crime was the next subject. While Beddome would like to see more officers dedicated to certain communities, he feels prevention is key along with having specific officers designated to cover specific communities for continuity.
Selinger said education is key to keeping crime down and noted the NDP plan is the only one to include more officers.
Gerrard said he would like to see more recreation centre programming and funding for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder prevention.
McFadyen said he wants to see Manitoba shed its reputation as a violent place to live.
Next, Gerrard wanted to know why Selinger thinks Manitobans should trust him after 12 years of NDP rule. Gerrard cited NDP's promises to end hallway medicine and balance the budget.
Selinger accused Gerrard of not getting his facts straight and said the NDP have reduced hallway medicine significantly, while acknowledging more work remains to be done.
McFadyen attacked the province's crime rates, drop out numbers in school and economic status under the NDP government. "If you haven't got the job done in 12 years, what makes you think you can get it done in 16?" asked McFadyen.
Selinger, meanwhile, defended the NDP record and said the party would hire more officers if elected.
In closing statements McFadyen stated he enjoys living in Manitoba but is concerned about the path the province is going down under the NDP leadership.
Beddome encouraged Manitobans to vote Green, noting the party's plan for free public transit, and saying "a Green vote is a strategic vote."
Gerrard said the Conservatives and Liberals have failed Manitoba and the province needs new leadership.
Selinger said he is optimistic about Manitoba's future, but added a change in leadership could prove risky.
Manitobans will cast their ballots on Oct. 4.