WINNIPEG - Key issues in Manitoba election:
Health care: Voters identified health care as a key issue and parties sparred over how to improve it. The NDP promised every Manitoban would have a family doctor by 2015 and will have the best cancer care in the country, while the Tories promised to give more power to paramedics and expand community clinic hours. The Liberals vowed to improve emergency room care.
Crime: Winnipeg is the violent crime capital of Canada and all party leaders promised to change that. The NDP said it would add more police officers and fund more recreation programs to keep kids from getting involved in gangs. The Tories, who were endorsed at the last minute by the Manitoba Police Association, would use ankle bracelets more to protect domestic abuse victims and track sex offenders. The Liberals promised to attack crime by lowering dropout rates and boosting recreation programs.
Privatization: Although no party is proposing privatizing services currently offered through public Crown corporations, this became an issue in the campaign because of NDP attack ads targeting Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen. While the NDP repeatedly said McFadyen had a hidden agenda to privatize Manitoba Hydro and force people to pay market rates, McFadyen said he had no such plans.
Deficit: The NDP changed its own balanced budget legislation in response to the economic downturn. Now, the NDP are promising to bring the books back into the black by 2014. The Liberals are promising the same thing. The Conservatives say it can't be done and say they will balance the books three years later.