Progressive Conservative management candidate Heather Stefanson, who might change into the subsequent premier in two months, mentioned she intends to earn the belief of Manitobans after serving as well being minister in the course of the troublesome third wave of the pandemic.
The 21-year Tuxedo MLA was chargeable for the province’s public well being response this spring, when the variety of extreme COVID-19 circumstances within the province overwhelmed Manitoba hospitals mere weeks after health-care professionals warned pandemic restrictions weren’t adequate to stave off the third wave.
In the midst of Might, Stefanson insisted ICU capability might nonetheless be expanded days earlier than the province started transferring the primary of 57 critically unwell COVID sufferers to intensive care wards in different provinces.
Trying again, she mentioned she was working with one of the best data she had.
“You already know what? Coulda, shoulda, woulda. That is what what we are able to consider after the very fact, however if you’re thrown in the course of this, there is no such thing as a playbook for this, and also you simply make your choices primarily based on the recommendation that you simply get from the professionals,” Stefanson mentioned Wednesday throughout a wide-ranging interview about her report in authorities and what she would do as premier if she is chosen as Brian Pallister’s successor on Oct. 30.
“I do not know what I do not know. So all I do know is the knowledge that’s being given and I believe, frankly, we’re not at all times all geared up with all the knowledge that we might be [getting],” Stefanson mentioned.
“Issues had been occurring so shortly … Daily, hour by hour, choices have to be made in a short time. What is the data that you’ve got on the time? You do not essentially have it throughout you.”
Stefanson, who stepped down as well being minister in August, is amongst three candidates who’ve declared their intention to compete within the PC management race. Former Conservative MP Shelly Glover and McPhillips MLA Shannon Martin have additionally mentioned they intend to run.
On the primary day of her management marketing campaign, Stefanson had already secured the help of greater than two-thirds of the PC caucus. She additionally impressed NDP Chief Wab Kinew to spotlight her efficiency as well being minister in the course of the pandemic’s third wave.
“The clearest signal to this point the PCs will not change after Mr. Pallister — his well being minister, who oversaw dozens of ICU sufferers flown out of our province due to PC cuts, desires to exchange him,” Kinew tweeted on Aug. 18.
Ought to Stefanson change into premier, Kinew is predicted to proceed drawing consideration to her time as well being minister. Stefanson mentioned she is aware of what she has to do for the remaining two years earlier than the subsequent election.
“Belief comes by the use of getting out and talking with Manitobans and listening to Manitobans — and that will probably be my focus. I can not management what Wab Kinew does or says, however I can management what I do,” she mentioned.
WATCH | Heather Stefanson on Part 3:
The Tuxedo MLA additionally provided some indication of what insurance policies she would pursue as premier, a minimum of in a really broad phrases.
She promised motion on “reality and reconciliation, in an actual, very possible way,” however didn’t state what that will imply in particular phrases for Manitoba’s Indigenous group.
She pledged to extend intensive care capability in Manitoba hospitals, and acknowledged salaries for nurses and different health-care professionals should be extra aggressive with these in different provinces.
She additionally pledged some type of schooling reform, despite the fact that her authorities is not shifting ahead with Invoice 64 and the specter of dissolving elected faculty boards.
“That was by no means a part of the preliminary Okay-to-12 evaluation,” she mentioned. “It kind of got here out of nowhere and have become this lightning rod.”
WATCH | Heather Stefanson on being the ‘institution candidate’:
Extra particularly, Stefanson promised to proceed to require vaccinations or frequent COVID-19 testing of provincial staff who work with susceptible folks — and vaccination playing cards for patrons of eating places, bars, theatres and casinos.
“We’ll proceed to to maneuver ahead with it the way in which it’s,” she mentioned of the prevailing vaccination regime.
Stefanson wouldn’t, nevertheless, decide to shaving one other level off the provincial gross sales tax or bringing in a made-in-Manitoba carbon tax to exchange the one imposed by Ottawa.
“I am not a fan of taxes in any respect, however I additionally do not stick my head within the sand. I acknowledge that local weather change is a problem,” she mentioned. “I believe we have seen it this summer season and we have had severe conditions with the drought state of affairs in our rural communities that has had devastating impacts on farmers.”
Stefanson mentioned one pledge she hinted at as well being minister in January was quietly fulfilled: Reproductive well being has been returned to the well being portfolio and is a accountability of the brand new provincial well being minister, Audrey Gordon.
“It’s really again within the well being portfolio now. It simply wasn’t introduced,” she mentioned.
She additionally addressed a blemish on her skilled report that has been making the rounds on social media as soon as extra: A $3,000 nice she acquired in 2002 from the Funding Sellers Affiliation for a pair of trades she made whereas suspended in 1999.
Stefanson mentioned she had failed to finish some persevering with schooling whereas she was caring for her mom, who had ovarian most cancers on the time.
“It is principally the equal of getting a ticket at an expired meter,” Stefanson mentioned. “I selected to try this as a result of it was extra essential to assist take care of my mother.”
WATCH | Heather Stefanson about a blemish on her report:
Stefanson mentioned she has no different skeletons in her closet and is ready for the scrutiny of a management marketing campaign.
“I’ve spent the final virtually 21 years of my life being elected and giving again to the group. I had a few alternatives to probably do that management function earlier than, however I selected to not as a result of my children had been simply too younger. My husband was touring. It simply wasn’t the fitting time,” she mentioned.
“Now, they’ve mentioned, mother, that is your time. They usually’re very excited to get out on the marketing campaign path.”