Brian Pallister has offered some thoughts on caucus unity as he enters his final days as Manitoba premier.
Pallister was asked Monday about two Progressive Conservative backbenchers who have criticized the government’s vaccine passports.
He said Monday people who start acting like the opposition should prepare to be in opposition because they are not helping their own team.
The premier’s comments come after Tory members of the legislature James Teitsma and Josh Guenter both posted on social media that the government’s recent public health measures — which limit some activities to the fully vaccinated and include a return to an indoor mask mandate — go too far.
In comments about the health orders, Teitsma referenced human rights violations, including residential schools, forced sterilizations and internment camps.
“One thing these human rights violations have in common: they were popular and favoured by the public.”
Guenter, in a letter to Premier Brian Pallister, wrote that the vaccine mandate “sledgehammer” won’t work in his southeastern Manitoba constituency and that it is creating two classes of people.
Pallister is stepping down as premier on Wednesday and is making a few last announcements before he leaves.
Monday morning in Brandon, he revealed plans for two new scholarships at Brandon University, his alma mater.
Pallister is to make a funding announcement later in the day at the International Peace Gardens in southwestern Manitoba.
The Progressive Conservative party is to select a new leader on Oct. 30, and the legislature is expected to reconvene in the fall.
Political analyst Paul Thomas says Pallister will be remembered for reducing the deficit and lowering taxes in his first term between 2016 and 2019.
But, Thomas says, Pallister’s belief in smaller government and lower spending made it hard for him to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact.
“His basic belief system made it hard for him to respond in an appropriate manner to the magnitude of the crises he was facing,” said Thomas, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Manitoba.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
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