Will this be an election year in Manitoba, or will the Feds cause it to be moved to next spring?

Dorothy Dobbie

Rumours are growing that Trudeau will pull the plug this summer and call an election by fall. If things go well with the budget, it could even be as early as this spring.

Think about it: he has just had a big fling with Joe Biden following the visit of the president of the European Parliament on March 7. Still to come are visits from Germany and one from his pal, France’s Emmanuel Macron. Only the Good News is the modus operandi.

Mr. Trudeau attempted to set aside the Chinese influence question by shunting it off his “special raconteur”, family friend former Governor General David Johnston. According to the Toronto Sun, “Johnston’s kids did spend a lot of time skiing with Justin and his brothers, and the former GG was friends with the former PM.”

“His three boys were the same age as our five daughters so we were kind of a ski party from time to time at Mont Tremblant,” Johnston told CTV in 2016.” Their wives became even closer when Johnston was still GG and Trudeau and family moved into the “cottage” on the grounds of Rideau Hall.

Unfortunately, for Justin, the Johnson appointment didn’t quell the criticism over the Chinese infiltration of our electoral system, especially with the allegations that his caucus member Han Dong had advised the Chinese to delay the release of the two Michaels because that might favour the Tories. Still, time heals all wounds and news cycles change. Trudeau hopes to get this question of why he does not want to talk about Chinese political influence off the table by May. Does that signal a likely date? This week’s budget may hold further clues.

Six weeks ago, a fall election would have delighted me. That’s because I felt the Tories in Manitoba needed more time to feel the positive influence of our current premier. A federal election in the fall would delay ours at least until spring and for as long as a year. However, since the budget, also on March 7, I have a different perspective. I listened from the gallery and could not help uttering Wow! again and again as she and Cliff Cullen skillfully cut the NDP right off at the knees. They dealt with the pressing social issues including measures to cure health care, raising the Provincial income tax threshold to 15% (an immediate relief for lower income earners), followed by increased spending on more than a dozen social issues. Then they moved on to the best news of all: further cuts to the job killing payroll tax, investment in post-secondary institutions, doubling the venture capital funding to help small business develop, speeding up the critical permitting process for mineral extraction, more investment to capitalize on Manitoba’s agricultural base, a modernized highway transportation network, new opportunities to help indigenous communities build their own economies . . . the good news just kept coming.

Hope and opportunity are on the table again.

This was an historic budget, The best budget, said one wise, long-term MLA, that they had heard in 30 years.

That gave an already rejuvenated Tory caucus new impetus. The premier’s housecleaning of her transition team had already invigorated the government members. This, coupled with her collaborative approach to governance and two important by-election wins in Fort Whyte with Obbie Khan and Kirkfield Park with Kevin Klein, have sent a bolt of energy into the continuing MLAs, fully supported by those who are retiring. They feel a win in the air and Manitobans are beginning to feel it too. Unpublished polls in mid-March had the Tories up 5 points, and that seems to be the continuing trend.

I cannot help but think of what President Biden said in his speech this past week and which you will read elsewhere in the paper:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re living in an age of possibilities. Xi Jinping asked me, in the Tibetan Plateau, could I define America. And I could’ve said the same thing if he asked about Canada. I said, ‘Yes. One word – and I mean it. One word: possibilities.’ Nothing is beyond our capacity. We can do anything. We have to never forget. We must never doubt our capacity.”

That is the attitude that Premier Heather Stefanson brings to Manitoba, a message of hope and possibility. We have sat in the shadows for too long. It is time to once again take the lead, to allow the especial creative energy that resides in Manitoba to take hold, to embrace each other as one, to help those who need it, but to spread our wings and soar into the future on the winds of that one word: possibility.