Friday, February 10, 2006


He’s Entitled To His Entitlements

Manitoba Conservative MP Brian Pallister, fresh off an election win in Portage-Lisgar, is said to be considering a job swap. Pallister is barnstorming small town Manitoba to see if there is any support for his bid to lead the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party.

Brian Pallister, re-elected on Jan. 23, expects to make a decision by the end of the week about whether he'll run for the provincial spot being vacated by Stuart Murray. The vote is in April.

While being repeatedly questioned during the recent election campaign about his plans for the future, Pallister refused to rule out a run at the provincial job.

"I am copping what's known as a woman's answer, isn't it? It's a sort of fickle kind of thing," he said. "I can do that, and I'm doing it now. There are always people on the sidelines that are going to be critical. I'm not worried about them. I'm not concerned about the critics."

Pallister also defended his right to tour the province - completely outside his riding - to gauge fellow provincial Conservative thoughts and issues. Pallister says he's doing constituency work, which means he can use his federal office resources, such as his aide, and he's collecting federal pay.

"My assistant is taking calls from the media on a regular basis, so that I can be here and listen to people and get their input on what I should do. It's totally defensible," he said.

Criticized already for waiting until after the Jan. 23 federal election to make a decision on the provincial leadership, Pallister is now taking more heat over his use of taxpayer-funded staff. He will visit Brandon and Neepawa next week and said having an assistant is a necessity to doing double-duty as MP and leadership hopeful:

"I'm not going to apologize for having my assistant with me," Pallister told the Brandon Sun. "People can take issue with it all they want, but it's not the truth. The truth is this (running for the leadership) is an issue that impacts my ability to work as a member of parliament."

Source: February 3rd edition of the Winnipeg Free Press

Not everyone is satisfied with this answer.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation Manitoba Director Adrienne Batra (a fellow U of S alum??) said taxpayers should be upset Pallister will continue to draw a $144,000 salary and rely on taxpayer-funded staff while he's out campaigning for the provincial leadership.

Pallister called Batra's attack unfair and unjustified, saying he would be giving up eligibility for an MP's pension if he leaves before November and will earn less money as a provincial politician.
One of Pallister's potential leadership rivals is none to happy either:

"I don't think the voters in Portage-Lisgar intended to give him a six-figure insurance policy when they elected him," Hugh McFadyen, the MLA for Fort Whyte said. "It's something he's going to have to be able to justify and explain to party members."

Flashback - way, way back to January 24, 2006:

Portage-Lisgar Tory incumbent Brian Pallister says after spending a decade trying to unite Canada’s right, he has no designs on the leadership of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party:

"I can’t even begin to consider a provincial option right now,” a jubilant Pallister said from his election headquarters in Portage last night. “Tonight I’m just celebrating 10 years of hard work.”

On that warm January night Pallister said it was all about the federal campaign and the drive for a Tory government:

“I left a provincial cabinet to fight for what I believe would happen, namely what happened tonight — a Conservative government. “… The Conservative party has a great agenda … and we believe the best is yet to come.”

Finally, Pallister sums up his new mission and frustration with this:

"My assistant is taking calls from the media on a regular basis, so that I can be here, and listen to people and get their input on what I should do. It's totally defensible," he said. "I assure you, if I decide to run, not one penny of taxpayers' money will be used."

I am pretty sure the media are only calling to see what city he will next visit on his taxpayer fishing expedition. In the mean time Pallister will keep touring around with an entourage on the public dime waiting for a sign that he should answer the call.

Batra is no alum of the U of S. You actually have to graduate for that to happen.
I was doing a little fishing expedition of my own. Thank you.
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