By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – Parties looking to unseat the Manitoba NDP in next month’s provincial election have focused on justice costs and northern development during weekend campaigning.
Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari promised on Sunday to double funding for the Winnipeg Drug Treatment Court, which currently gets $400,000 from the federal government.
Bokhari says the investment will cut justice costs because more people will be returned to the community and the vast majority are unlikely to re-offend.
The Liberals say supporting the Winnipeg program will pave the way for it to expand outside the city.
The Progressive Conservatives, meanwhile, promised an economic development plan on Saturday to promote sustainable development of forestry and mining in Manitoba’s north, as well as tourism in the region.
The party says the tourism opportunities would include Beluga whale watching, polar bear and aurora borealis tours, fishing and hunting.
“We’ve listened and heard the significant challenges we face in the north,” Pallister said in a news release. “If you care, you care about results. I want a better life for all Manitobans. Working together as partners we can achieve that.”
The NDP responded that the Conservatives have spent years saying no to northern development, and that the party leader’s promised cuts will hurt the region.
“Brian Pallister and his Conservatives have no real plan for the North. They’re focusing on tourism because they are just visiting,” a statement on the NDP website said Sunday.
The NDP also said on its website that it agrees with the importance of addressing addictions issues, stating that’s why it created the Winnipeg Drug Treatment Court together with the federal government.
It said the Liberals’ plan to privatize liquor sales will take millions of dollars every year away from organizations that help addicts.
The vote will be held April 19.