Arborg election forum asks critical questions of candidates

Moderator Gary Wasylowski introduces the candidates at the podium during the Arborg Election Forum at the Arborg-Bifrost Community Centre on Aug. 28.

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An election forum was held for all candidates in the Interlake-Gimli riding at the Arborg Bifrost Community Centre on Aug. 28.

The Progressive Conservative candidate, Derek Johnson, and the NDP candidate, Sarah Pinsent attended and answered questions. The other party candidates were not in attendance.

Moderator Gary Wasylowski gave them time for opening and closing remarks plus 20 questions provided by residents of the community.

The questions covered healthcare including nursing and doctor retention, infrastructure, farming, personal care homes, Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro, youth, high school diversity, government debt, eliminating single-use plastics and green sector jobs.

When asked about the health of Lake Winnipeg, Pinsent, noted the NDP leader, Wab Kinew, announced $500 million in his budget to fix this issue by upgrading the North End Water Treatment Centre and stopping sewage flow into the lake. The NDP would also commit to wetlands preservation.

Johnson stated that seven percent of pollution comes from the Winnipeg North End Water Treatment plant. Federal grants would need to be applied in a ratio of one-third federal to one-third provincial to one-third municipal. Thirty-four million would be applied as the province’s share towards the city’s share.

When asked their top priorities for the Interlake, Johnson pointed out doctor recruitment and retention, noting that 154 more doctors were employed than historically when they took government as well as 80 more EMF’s.

Pinsent pointed out the health care crisis and keeping hospitals open with the health of Lake Winnipeg a priority as well. She noted that cattle farmers were at risk and poverty was an issue.

Johnson focused on moving forward to “Make Manitoba a better place,” relying on his 3 ½ years as MLA and his financial background to make that happen. “We are the government that keeps our promises.”

He added that creating more jobs and less debt with lower taxes and a balanced budget was important to him. Also, private sector jobs, schools, community growth and better healthcare were significant.

Pinsent focused on “Improving the lives of those around you,” by building meaningful relationships and trust as a community advocate. She relied on being a good listener, being invested, asking constituents how she could make a difference. “We can do better than this.”

She added that affordable quality of life, good jobs and healthcare were important to her. Also, education, inclusion, solar and wind power and roads were significant.

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