A few thoughts on the MB Election

I’ll do this Elliotte Friedman-style…

  • Looks like it’s destined to be Brian Pallister. He sure hasn’t come out of campaign looking very likeable. However, criticizing him for vacationing in Costa Rica seems unfair as at least 50% of all Manitobans I know say they would spend most of their time in a warm climate if they had the money.
  • The PC’s proposal to increase the basic personal exemption and index tax brackets to inflation is something I’ve been asking for for years. It truly is a stealth tax increase and most provinces have done away with this already. It always seemed disingenuous to me to call for increases to the minimum wage when minimum wage workers in Manitoba pay the second most tax in Canada. Without changes to the tax brackets, minimum wage increases are an indirect tax increase on business.
  • That said, Manitoba does need the revenue and indexing does benefit higher earning individuals. So I think a new bracket should be added to make indexing revenue-neutral. Maybe at $140K or $200K as it is at the federal level.
  • There are a few issues I care about that don’t fit into a particular ideology, so they rarely get discussed. One is amending the highway traffic act to force motorists to give cyclists 1 metre of space when passing. The NDP voiced support for it, but set Dave Gaudreau’s bill up to fail by making a private member’s bill. The PC’s purposely sandbagged it with two MLAs in particular making ignorant arguments against it. I get squeezed on ride every day and no one really cares.
  • Another non-ideological issue: are we ever going to update our food regulations to allow farmers to offer more products directly to consumers? Manitobans can’t get grassfed dairy anywhere but I guarantee you there’s a demand for it. And don’t forget that MAFRI confiscated and destroyed thousands of dollars of charcuterie from a Manitoba farmer. There’s a growing number of people who want their food produced in new ways and the government should be enabling that.
  • For all the criticism of America’s long campaign cycles, it feels like our was too short. I never found the time to engage with my candidates in any way, and all of sudden it’s election day. That said, some candidates seemed to make it hard to engage with them. If you’re running for office, get a twitter account. That makes it easy for me to fire off a quick question to you.