Right in the centre - Some election questions


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Next week, Manitobans go to the polls for a provincial election. Here’s a few things I have observed about the quick fall election.

•The PCs have run some very annoying ads about NDP leader Wab Kinew that I  don’t think should have been aired. Wab Kinew may well have done some nasty things in his past, but, as far as I know, he has apologized, changed and moved on. Perhaps the man deserves some forgiveness. Nevertheless, it is unwise of  the PCs to keep hammering this issue. People are weary of it and the PCs, as well as other political parties, don’t seem to get the fact that opponent bashing is not appreciated by voters. Voters want to know what parties and leaders stand for.

•I rather  like Wab  Kinew, but that isn’t why I raised the above point. Liking, or not liking, doesn’t really matter, the NDP policies, for the most part are not to my liking. The NDP nearly bankrupted Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro with ill-founded policies and to get my vote, Kinew would have to do a lot of talking to disentangle himself from that mess.

•The PCs announced this week that they will gradually eliminate the school taxes on property. It’s high time. I put that out  there in 2006, when I ran for the leadership of the PC Party of Manitoba. It is something property owners have been pleading for for decades. Property taxes should fund services to land, such as water, sewer, roads, bridges and such. They should not be used to fund education. The whole idea of school taxes on property came about before income tax was a thing. Back in pioneer days, and into the early part of the 1900s, school taxes on property made some sense. Just about every quarter or half section farm had kids attending school. So did most of the town and village homes. In fact, many business establishments had families living in back or upstairs. It made sense to tax property. But that all changed with larger farms, less homes having school kids and fewer people living in their business building. With the establishment of income tax (was it 1917 or so?) the province had a more uniform and fair source of school tax revenue. Education is  a service to people, all people, be they students or recipients and beneficiaries of education. We all benefit from an educated population.

•The age of some candidates is amazing. There are some young ones, but of particular note, there are some very old ones, even older than me!

•Long ago, there should have been a major shake-up in politics in Manitoba. The conservative view is fairly well represented by the PCs. The Liberals should have dissolved a few years back. They have not formed government in 60 years and I think have only been official opposition once in that time. The NDP need to kick out their screwy, mandated union involvement. The unions should free their people to vote as they see fit, rather than bullying them all the time to vote NDP. The NDP are faltering in a lot of places across Canada. Quite frankly, in Manitoba, the sooner we get to a Conservative party and a Green party, the better off we will be. The current NDP, Liberal and Green parties can’t really be taken seriously as they now stand, but a re-alignment as a young, modernized, union-free party, Green might bring some good policies to the public debate. I have always been impressed with Green Party leader, James Beddome. It would be nice if he had a stronger place to stand.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.