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Chris Adams on CBC Radio on election night in Winnipeg.

Christopher Adams on CBC Radio on election day in Winnipeg.

New government, new era

Weighing in on what new government means for Manitoba

April 20, 2016 — 

Following the victory last night by the Progressive Conservatives led by Brian Pallister, Manitoba has entered a new era, according to University of Manitoba political analysts.

“There are many significant implications of last night’s results,” says Karine Levasseur, associate professor and chair of the Master of Public Administration Program in political studies. “The ideological differences between the NDP and Conservatives mean we will see a government focusing more on financial management and a determination to reign in fiscal spending. Some existing programs could be scaled back or eliminated entirely.”

“The public sector might see some difficult times ahead,” says Professor Emeritus Paul Thomas. “Historically, under the Conservatives, there has been downsizing in government, health care and education. But Brian Pallister served in the Filmon government and saw firsthand how some cuts went too far, too quickly. I suspect Pallister wants more than one term so he will hold off on major cuts for some time.”

Most of the U of M politicos predict a Conservative government will merge cabinet posts to save some money and engage in some other cost-cutting measures. Thomas says one result of merging ministers’ portfolios would be that someone trying to gain access to a minister for funding or support could be facing a long wait.

It’s likely that Crown corporations such as Manitoba Hydro would be left alone, but spending would be reduced in other areas.

“We might see pockets of privatization in health care,” according to Christopher Adams, Rector of St. Paul’s College and author of Politics in Manitoba. “One goal of the Conservatives is to reduce waiting times, and this might be accomplished by allowing more private clinics to emerge.”

Royce Koop, head of political studies, says that although cutbacks are likely, it’s difficult to predict their extent.

“There’s only so much you can cut back,” he notes. “A centre-right government will be deeply constrained in what it can do in a province with low revenue and an enormous financial commitment.”

“We’re definitely in for a directional change in political history,” says Levasseur. “We’ve had sixteen and a half years of an NDP government, so a lot of things are up in the air now. We’ve heard big ideas and big words from the Conservatives, but they have been short on specifics. What will they decide to do?”

Several MLAs are also U of M alumni, including:

Steven Fletcher [BSc(GE)/1995, MBA/2002] PC-Assiniboia

Matt Wiebe [BA/2003, MPAdm/2013] NDP-Concordia 

Wab Kinew [BA/2003] NDP-Fort Rouge 

Jim Maloway [BA/1978] NDP-Elmwood 

Judy Klassen [BComm(Hons)/2013] Liberal-Kewatinook

Nic Curry [BA(Hons)/2011, MA/2014] PC-Kildonan

Scott Fielding [BA(Adv)/1995]  PC-Kirkfield Park

Wayne Ewasko [BEd/1994, PB CertEd/2002] PC-Lac du Bonnet

Andrew Swan [LLB/1990] NDP-Minto

Cameron Friesen [BEd/1995] PC-Morden-Winkler

Ian Wishart [BSA/1976] PC-Portage la Prairie

James Teitsma [BCSc(Hons)/1994] PC-Radisson

Janice Morley-Lecomte [BA/1988] PC-Seine River

Alan Lagimodiere [BSA/1979] PC-Selkirk

Andrew Smith [BA/2005] PC-Southdale

Cliff Cullen [DipAgric/1984] PC-Spruce Woods

Greg Selinger [BSW/1973] NDP-St. Boniface

Nahanni Fontaine [MA/2001] NDP-St. Johns

Ron Schuler [BA/1985] PC-St. Paul

Kelvin Goertzen [BA/1992, BComm(Hons)/1995, LLB/2003] PC-Steinbach

Rick Wowchuk [BSc/1977, Cert Ed/1978] PC-Swan River

Amanda Lathlin [BA/2003] NDP-The Pas

Rob Altemeyer [BA(Adv)/1992, MNRM/1997] NDP-Wolseley



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