Manitoba’s opposition New Democrats will discuss politics with an election on the horizon

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WINNIPEG – Manitoba’s opposition New Democrats rally this weekend in Winnipeg with the party leading in opinion polls and an election a year away.

Leader Wab Kinew is due to lay out some of his ideas on Saturday and Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley is the guest speaker at a fundraising dinner.

But most of the weekend will deal with policies to be debated by delegates.

Among the proposals are a ban on private long-term care homes and a ban on replacement workers during labor disputes.

There are also calls to expand childcare services, protect gender expression under the human rights code and provide free public transit in Winnipeg.

Opinion polls since the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 have suggested the NDP has gained popularity while the ruling Progressive Conservatives have fallen.

The NDP has yet to release details of its plans if it wins the election.

The party called for lower electricity rates, for example, but did not respond to questions about how it would ensure Manitoba Hydro rates remained stable. Hydro has seen its debt soar in recent years and a ratings agency warned this year that rate hikes had not kept up with rising costs.

The NDP may also face questions from delegates about whether rank-and-file members are fairly involved in party business.

A resolution, supported by the Union Station riding association in Winnipeg, calls for a review of the process for selecting candidates for election. The group wants the process to be « more transparent and democratic, with the aim of including the riding association and having additional representation on the audit committee from all regions of the province. »

Another resolution asks for more notice of annual conventions.

Currently, the party is required to give 90 days notice to certain groups such as riding associations.

The Wolseley riding resolution in Winnipeg calls on all party members to receive this notice, in part because « members need sufficient notice to meaningfully participate in convention, to facilitate arrangements for travel, childcare and to develop political resolutions”.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 14, 2022.

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