He doesn’t dazzle with sizzling rhetoric or brilliant smiles, but the quiet confidence of Brian Pallister is like balm to a troubled economy.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, there are only bad choices for Manitoba in the coming election. That is half of what is wrong with the Free Press. It is stuck in an old mode of journalism where only Man Bites Dog grabs the headlines.
This negativity makes it depressingly hard for citizens to make a choice at a time that should be filled with hope and optimism about a better future for our province. We need a new approach, a different set of eyes viewing the challenges. I believe it should be Brian Pallister, not just because, as you know, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Tory, but also because of who he is and what he stands for.
Here’s a guy who is not going to dazzle you with sizzling rhetoric or brilliant smiles; he is simply going to buckle down and get the job done. In fact, when I went to interview him about his vision for Manitoba for the story you will see on page 1, I expected a brightly coloured word painting of the kind of place this would be after his careful guidance of four years.
Instead, I got the line quoted: “We will be the most improved province in Canada.”
Thinking about this comment makes me chuckle. That is who the Brian Pallister of today is – steady as she goes, no wild promises, just confident progression toward a better province. His financial analyst mind has studied the fiscal problems we face and is carefully putting together a strategy for fixing them without slashing and burning or creating economic chaos.
He is not perfect; no man is, but he is real. If he has uttered the odd political gaffe, it is because he speaks like a person, not an automaton. He adores his wife and loves his kids. He believes in hard work. He has a knack for making money (that would be great for us citizens), he likes to play the piano, read and do sports.
He is passionate about education (he is a former school teacher) and the lost opportunities of the kids who have been through the inadequate system here in this province for the past decade and a half.
Brian Pallister is open about his emotional past, the bullying tortures he went through as a grade sixer who was six feet tall, the issues with crooked teeth making it hard to smile naturally (they are fixed now), the “nerd” label affixed to a guy who studied piano, was good in math and literature. He doesn’t brag about being a basketball star or about being a damn good fastball player, although he will tell you about being union shop steward early in his career, about his respect for aboriginal people, what he has learned from the women in his life from his grandmother on down.
He has been attacked by the NDP accusing him of all sorts of nefarious cutting (when he was in government before – – 20 years ago, as a junior minister under Garry Filmon). Deveryn Ross set the record straight on this bit of slander in a Winnipeg Free Press editorial back in 2014 (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/attack-ad-is-baseless-245138511.html). Read it for yourself.
The person I have come to know over the past two years is a fellow with a sense of self-deprecating humour, who loves to tell stories from real life to illustrate current issues and their practical fixes.
We are lucky, in my opinion, to have such an excellent candidate willing to put his life on the line for us and to lead the way forward for Manitoba.