Dawson Trail Dispatch reporter Marianne Curtis sits down one-on-one with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.
By Marianne Curtis
On July 18, the Dawson Trail Dispatch was honored to be able to sit down with Premier Greg Selinger for a one-on-one interview.
In preparation for this event, we asked readers in different communities “if you could ask the Premier one question, what would it be?”
Dawson Trail Dispatch: The fact that we are sitting here today, does this mean that you are preparing for the next provincial election?
Premier: “Not really – when I was finance minister I was in the community all the time so this is nothing new. Getting out into the community and meeting the people is how I like to work.”
Murray Machej former RM of Piney reeve: Shouldn’t the province fix the roads and maintain the ditches at the entrances of the province in an effort to both improve safety and tourism – why has the province stopped cutting the sides of the ditches?
Premier: “This is a very important issue especially when we have a wet year like this year and the ditches are growing like crazy. We’ve already spent a record investment for road improvements and now we are going pay attention to maintaining the roads we have. Part of the stimulus money will be used to build and refresh our roads.”
Colin Mcguire from Giroux: What is your government’s plan for combating people drawing similarities between the NDPs current fiscal mismanagement during the economic downturn by comparison with the CCF party during the depression?
Premier: “I don’t see the comparison. We have worked hard to keep Manitoba affordable and for the past five years we have the shallowest deficit in the country. We have the flexibility to stimulate the economy and we have great ratings across the country while we have worked hard to maintain low unemployment levels.”
Sian Barrows, a farmer from Vassar: What do you think the future holds for the family farm when there is so much support for packers and big business farms? Would you be happy to see agriculture slide into a mass production industry and family farms disappear?
Premier: “Not at all! I am a very strong supporter of the family farm. We believe in diversifying. We think that the family farm and value added crops are the key to the future. That is why we are dedicated to help local farmers develop value added products to ensure their survival.”
Robert Friesen, RM of La Broquerie resident: Do you think that it is fair to put the onus on residents to ensure that their elected officials are being transparent of the plans and actions, and following the framework set out by the Province? If yes, then can you justify to me how residents are going to know when their elected officials are following the rules and the Acts when the general public does not know, have access to or understand the municipal act?
Premier: “The former government loosened the rules within the Municipal Act and we are trying to strengthen them again. It is essential for good democracy and we will follow whatever the Auditor General recommends us to do. This includes strengthening the municipal act and making it easier for ratepayers to access the information.”
Dawson Trail Dispatch: If you could tell voters one thing about this government, what would it be?
Premier: “We are a government that works hard every single day and makes sure it is one of the best in the country. We are dedicated to improve the quality of life for everyone. The more we stay in touch with the people the more we can serve people.”