While the confetti and balloons might still be settling at the feet of Brian Pallister (he’s really tall), the Progressive Conservative leader and his 39 elected colleagues will quickly find themselves no longer dreaming about holding the reigns for the province.
Most Manitoba farmers will have a local MLA in the governing party for the first time since 1999, as the Tories swept farm country and made major in-roads in Winnipeg and Brandon in the provincial election on Tuesday.
It’s still early, but now that the campaigning is over and the PCs have the power to put their words into action, what does the change in government mean for Manitoba farmers accustomed to the NDP way?
Blaine Pedersen was the Tories’ ag critic prior to the election. The long-time cattle and grain farmer was re-elected on Tuesday in the south-central riding of Midland, and is a possible candidate for the ag minister post in Pallister’s cabinet (see here for a list).
He took some time on Tuesday morning to talk about the transition process, the timeline for naming cabinet ministers, and some of the PC’s priorities for agriculture, mentioning reduced red tape, innovation, preserving ag’s social license, and the New West Partnership with other western provinces. We also discussed some specific files, including the implementation of an ALUS program to recognize farmers’ ecological contributions, the NDP hog barn moratorium, and Manitoba Hydro’s Bipole III project.