Manitoba premier focused on fresh start, repairing relationships

Heather Stefanson speaks to the media after being sworn in as Manitoba's 24th premier at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

Manitoba’s new premier says she wants a fresh start for her party heading into the new year, and that the Progressive Conservatives are hitting the reset button on a number of policies espoused by her predecessor, Brian Pallister.

Heather Stefanson told 680 CJOB that after scrapping the controversial Bill 64 and lifting the wage freeze, there are still more changes to come.

“It’s just a new process, a fresh start, and maybe sending a message out there that we’re going to do things differently,” she said.

Among those changes: a better relationship with the municipal government. Stefanson said it’s crucial she and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman build a strong working relationship and stay in regular communication — a far cry from the notoriously prickly partnership between Bowman and Pallister.

“We don’t even need to have specified meetings,” she said.

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“The mayor and I can text each other. We’ll get together whenever we need to. There’s lots of exciting things we’re doing.

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“We’re setting up a meeting 10 days down the road. I just texted him, ‘Are you free for a coffee this weekend? Can we just get together?'”

Stefanson said she’s prioritizing health care, education and the rising inflation rate as planning takes place for the province’s spring budget, and she’s not focused on the legal battle lurking in the background with Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Shelly Glover.

Glover — who is alleging the ballot process wasn’t carried out properly and that a number of party members didn’t have their say — is contesting the results of the leadership race in the courts, and suggesting she — not Stefanson — should be premier.

Stefanson said she’ll let the courts decide that issue while she focuses on her job.

“We’ll continue to work and listen to and hear from Manitobans to what they expect,” said Stefanson.

“Obviously the court case is disappointing, but this is not a time for pause. There’s lots of work to be done and we’ll continue to do that.”

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Manitoba P.C. party files affidavits to counter accusation of flawed leadership vote



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