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Ewasko says it’s been a weak start for the new Prime Minister –

Vaseline 4 weeks ago

The official opposition leader for Manitoba says he will continue to hold Prime Minister Wab Kinew to account as he leads the Progressive Conservatives for another 12 months.

The PC Party of Manitoba announced last week that it will select its next leader on April 26, 2025. Wayne Ewasko has been interim leader since January.

“The news that the date will be at the end of April 2025 is good news,” says Ewasko. “And I look forward to seeing how the whole process will play out and to seeing who we will pick to be not only our next leader in April, but also the next premier of Manitoba.”

Ewasko said it was an honor to be selected as interim leader by his colleagues, noting that he works with extremely talented professionals from re-elected MLAs and the Class of 2023.

Meanwhile, Ewasko says some events within the Manitoba legislature in recent months point to a premier who is either unfamiliar with the rules or choosing to ignore them. Ewasko is referring to the Prime Minister’s announcement this month that he wants to change the prayer that the Speaker reads at the opening of each parliamentary term. Kinew says the prayer has remained unchanged for many years and it’s time to update it to ensure it reflects who we are as Manitobans. Kinew says the Manitoba government will host a roundtable to gather perspectives on changes to the opening of the legislature.

“No one is against having conversations about prayer in our room, but there is a process, we do have a process here,” Ewasko said, noting that there is absolutely a place for prayer in the room.

According to PC House Leader Derek Johnson, any consideration of changes in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly must be a non-partisan process with all lawmakers fully involved. He said the Standing Committee on the Rules of the House of Representatives would submit a recommendation to the Legislative Assembly, where the final decision would rest.

Ewasko calls the past month a weak month for the prime minister and his government. The PC Caucus announced this month that more than 1,300 surgeries were canceled at Winnipeg hospitals in the first three months after Kinew and his health minister shut down Manitoba’s diagnostic and surgical task force last fall. The data released does not include operations canceled in Brandon, Dauphin, rural and northern communities, or outside the province.

“It’s been a weak month and a half for the NDP, and we’ve seen not only the premier but also his House leader spend more time out of the province when they should be governing here,” Ewasko added.

And finally, Ewasko says that this new government is not abusing some of the Conservatives’ initiatives. For example, he says the Conservatives have started the recruitment program of Filipino health workers. Ewasko says the new administration has halted that program or cut it altogether. Ewasko also says the Conservatives have increased the number of seats in post-secondary institutions, leading to the largest graduating class of physicians in Manitoba history.

“We planted the seeds for the trees to produce these professionals and all they really have to do is pick the fruit off,” says Ewasko. “So far, other than replicating many of the things we had put in place when we were in government, we have not seen any new plans come out of this NDP government.”

Ewasko says he already sees signs that even though the next election is more than three years away, the Conservatives have a government in waiting.