Manitoba move to lower ambulance fees fulfills Tory campaign promise

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks to media following the delivery of Manitoba's 2019 budget, at the Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Thursday, March 7, 2019. Pallister has dropped another strong hint that he will call an early election. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski. David Lipnowski/Canadian Press

WINNIPEG – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister touted new, lower ambulance fees Monday as a major promise fulfilled before he seeks a second mandate.

The new cap on ambulance ride costs – $250 instead of $340 – was first announced in last month’s budget and fulfills a pledge made during the 2016 election campaign.

Pallister said he has heard of some people turning down ambulance services because of the higher cost. Three years ago, the per-ride fees were running as high as $500.

“It’s progress that needed to be made. It’s progress that health-care workers and front line workers knew was adversely affecting decision-making by Manitobans,” Pallister said.

READ MORE: Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister sitting at 44 per cent approval, says new poll

The premier recently fulfilled another pocket-book campaign promise when his government announced the provincial sales tax will drop to seven per cent from eight per cent as of July 1.

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With those promises met, and with Pallister musing recently about calling an election well in advance of the scheduled Oct. 6, 2020 date, opposition parties say they are preparing for an election as early as this spring.

Pallister has yet to fulfil all his campaign promises, however. In 2016, he vowed to give the auditor-general the authority to vet all government advertising to ensure it was not partisan. Pallister would not say Monday if or when that promise might be kept.

“We do have a conflict-of-interest piece of legislation coming up which is somewhat related, though not directly related,” he said.

WATCH: Pallister government ‘not helpful’, taking shots from Liberal MP

Click to play video: 'Pallister government ‘not helpful’, taking shots from Liberal MP' Pallister government ‘not helpful’, taking shots from Liberal MP
Pallister government ‘not helpful’, taking shots from Liberal MP – Mar 25, 2019

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