Manitoba premiere-elect will address rural/urban split

Brian Pallister, Manitoba’s new premier, has been busily creating new words, such as “rurban” and “urbal.”

He hopes those help create a stark new reality for the province: urban MLAs that care about rural areas and rural MLAs that care about Winnipeg.

“We need rurban people and urbal people too, because we’re going to represent the whole province,” said Pallister in a conference call with rural reporters the morning after his historic Progressive Conservative victory April 19.

“You do not get into a silo. You do not just think about yourself. You start to think about your team.”

Pallister said he has worked hard to make his rural MLAs, which dominated his caucus before the election, care about urban issues, such as inner city poverty.

He wants his new urban MLAs, which now make up a far larger portion of his 40 member caucus, to understand touchy rural issues such as the Bipole III power line.

“There are rural situations that many people in the city of Winnipeg don’t fully appreciate . . . It’s deeply emotional issue to the people who own land and depend upon that land, (including Metis and farmers.) I want our urban representatives to understand how emotional that is.”

Pallister said the NDP government “never seemed to grab” the importance of making country and city MLAs care about each others’ realities.

Contact ed.white@producer.com

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