The Saskatchewan-Alberta border is tense right now, but on the other side of the Red River the NDP government of Manitoba is still celebrating.
Herbert F. Peckham, clerk of the Manitoba Legislature, said Premier-designate, Manitoba NDP’s Heather Stefanson, is the first woman to take the reins of leadership in Manitoba.
“The last time a female premier was chosen in Manitoba was 1973,” Peckham said.
“Now Manitoba has appointed another female premier,” he continued. “What that signifies is women just keep coming through and running the province, they keep running government.”
The start of a new era in Manitoba politics was marked Dec. 14, 2018, when Manitoba’s legislature unanimously voted to elect a new premier.
“Listening to Manitobans,” said New Democrat MLA, Greg Selinger. “This election came down to who is the most leader by the people, who does the best job of listening to Manitobans and keeping their best interests in mind.”
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Stefanson replaces Selinger, who served for 14 years as the province’s first leader of the NDP party, and for 11 years as Manitoba’s premier.
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“As I go around the province, and talking to people, they’re working hard, putting food on the table, keeping their families together and trying to keep their place in society,” said Stefanson. “That’s the best I can do with government.”
Later this year, Manitoba will welcome 1,400 new students to our children’s largest public school.
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“It’s really amazing to be a part of a group of students,” said Dr. Shawn McKenna, Public Sector Human Resources chief. “I saw 12 kids come and I was like ‘yes, that’s the future of the population.’”
The province under Selinger has struggled to balance its budget.
“She is the most fiscally responsible Premier in this province since 1990,” said former NDP M.P. Selinger. “She’s done more to get the deficit under control than anyone else.”
Selinger said that was a promise that was made to Manitobans.
“We said we were going to balance the budget, we did balance the budget,” he said. “We said we were going to invest in health care and it has certainly done so.”
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In 2011, after three elections in a row that went against the NDP, NDP voters will have a new choice.
As the election rolls towards the end of 2018, the province of Manitoba is facing a $153 million deficit and the spectre of painful consequences in public services for citizens.
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Despite a rocky path with the current government, under public pressure, Manitoba is one of the best performing provinces in Canada.
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The NDP caucus in Manitoba is small, made up of eight members, six of whom will be new to the Manitoba legislature.
It remains to be seen whether and how the new leader will confront the continuing challenges the province faces.
-With files from The Canadian Press