Manitoba's three main political parties are pledging more doctors, nurses, police officers and prosecutors.The New Democrats, Progressive Conservatives and Liberals focus on health care as they continued wooing voters in advance of the Oct. 4 provincial election.
In recent days, the NDP and PCs have made health-care promises that sounded strikingly similar. The NDP promised a total of 2,000 new health-care workers, while the Tories promised 2,165. Usually it is the NDP that is accused of making big expensive promises but the Progressive Conservatives seem to be matching NDP promises realizing that health care is an important issue.
Both parties have also promised the same number of Crown prosecutors - 53, to be exact. Paul Thomas a political scientist at the U. of Manitoba said:"I don't recall an election where they've covered the same ground to this extent," All three parties also have promised more funding for recreation centres, in an effort to curb Manitoba's crime rates.
But Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard argued that his party stands apart from the others when it comes to crime, since it is focusing on crime reduction and addictions treatment programs.
, NDP Leader Greg Selinger accused the Conservatives of being latecomers when it comes to supporting social programs Prof. Thomas said the promises are similar in this election campaign because the parties' own polling tells them what people want. Thomas said "The politicians know what the 'top of mind' issues are, so they all gravitate to health care, to law and order, to education,""You don't hear much talk, for example, about how someone's going to lead differently if they're in charge of the province, or how they're going to change the machinery of government."
The Manitoba NDP has been relatively conservative for some time. The former leader Gary Doer was actually chosen by the Federal Conservatives underto be ambassador to the U.S. The new leader Greg Selinger saw NDP popularity drop well below the Cosnervatives last year. However the race seems to be much tighter now unlike in neighbouring Saskatchewan where the conservative Saskatchewan Party seems set to trounce the NDP in November. The Saskatchewan Party is in power at present.
NDP support is primarily in the cities and the north of the province. Rural areas in the south are strongly Conservative. The Liberals are struggling to win a few seats. At dissolution the NDP held 36 seats the Progressive Conservatives 18 the Liberals 1 and 2 were vacant.