In the only have-not province in Western Canada, in a province that's going in the hole to the tune of almost half a billion dollars a year in deficit spending, in the highest taxed province west of Quebec, two politicians running for election were trying to outdo each other with new multi-million dollar spending promises.
Its hard to say who the winner was. The loser was easy to identify---you and us.
Hugh McFadyen, leader of the NDP (Added) Party (formerly known as the Progressive Conservative Party before McFadyen abandoned all conservative principles), rolled out the most expensive proposal du jour.
He promised to extend the $100 a month child allowance per kid past the federal cut-off age of 12. At 90,000 eligible children in Manitoba, that would cost $9 million a month, $108 million a year.
At a time when every other political jurisdiction in the world is looking at ways to cut costs and reduce entitlements, McFadyen is adding entitlements that he can pay for only by borrowing another hundred million dollars a year.
But at least you can tell what he's spending the money on----bribing voters.
You can't say the same with the promise by NDP leader Greg Selinger to spend $24 million over four years on....what?
It appears he's spending the money on --wait for it -- a headline.
"Selinger promises $24 million for healthcare/for training/ for health care training/ for advance training/ for advanced training of health care professionals." Pick one. We've seen or heard each of them.
But none of the news stories actually say how the money will be spent. In fact, the Global News story showed Selinger sitting down with a room full of health care professionals and the description: Selinger met with doctors; nurses; and paramedics Thursday to find out how to best spend the $6-million a year.
Say what? Selinger announced $24 million in spending over four years and doesn't know how to spend the money? He's only now asking what the money can go towards? Is this how the NDP runs its health care system?
We had to read and re-read the NDP press release to finally hone in on what the NDP's plans for the money are. As best we can determine, it is to increase the training of paramedics and nurse practioners to take on more of a role in treating patients.
The other party, call them the Original NDP, wants to borrow millions of dollars although they're not sure how they will spend the money, to fund a vague idea that they can use non-doctors to do the job of doctors, to convince the public that the shortage of doctors is not a real problem in the NDP health care system.
Now why would voters be cynical?