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City vs. province spat will affect Manitoba voters, says politics prof

Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman and Manitoba premier Brian Pallister.
Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman and Manitoba premier Brian Pallister. Global News / file

With an ongoing squabble between Brian Bowman and Brian Pallister in full swing, it is the voters who will ultimately be left paying the price, says a political science professor.

Kelly Saunders of Brandon University told 680 CJOB Friday that friction between municipal and provincial governments isn’t anything new, but Winnipeg’s mayor and Manitoba’s premier seem to be taking it to the next level.

READ MORE: Manitoba premier and Winnipeg mayor spar over budget delay

“There’s always going to be a source of friction, regardless of what political party is in office, between the city and the provincial government,” she said.

“I don’t recall the problem being quite this bad before.

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“I think it has to do with the governing style of this particular premier and certainly the governing style, then, that the entire provincial government has taken on.”

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Bowman has said that getting a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is easier than connecting with Pallister, and has been in a public war of words with his provincial counterpart on issues like transit, budgets and more.

WATCH: ‘We can do better’: Brian Bowman challenges Pallister

‘We can do better’: Brian Bowman challenges Pallister

Pallister, on the other hand, has suggested positive relationships are a two-way street and that that citizens can make up their own minds about the situation.

In a tweet Friday, Pallister said “we trust Manitobans can separate fact from fiction … I call upon all parties to rise above it and work together constructively.”

Saunders said the potential fallout from their beef is that important infrastructure projects, for example, could be slowed down or delayed.

“If you’ve got the two heads of government in the province not sitting down and working through their issues, at the end of the day, projects aren’t going to be completed on time,” she said. “They’re not going to be completed as effectively and efficiently.

“It’s going to be the voters at the end of the day who are really going to suffer if these two leaders can’t find a way to work out their problems.”

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Saunders said because the province ‘holds the cards’ in the debate, it’s incumbent upon Pallister to take on a leadership role and initiate dialogue with the mayor to resolve their disputes.

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