WINNIPEG — Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives stormed to power Tuesday with a majority that ends 16 years of NDP government in the province.
PC Leader Brian Pallister rode to victory on a promise to build infrastructure, increase trade and reverse a sales tax hike that many believe doomed Premier Greg Selinger and his NDP when they broke a promise and introduced it in 2013.
The decision prompted a number of Selinger's cabinet ministers to revolt and forced a leadership contest last year that he barely survived.
Pallister joins Brad Wall of Saskatchewan as another voice of conservatism on the Prairies.
His victory also means the NDP's orange wave continues to recede in Canada. The federal NDP were reduced to third-party status in the last federal election and Selinger's defeat means Premier Rachel Notley is the last NDP premier in the country.
Tory leader Brian Pallister is set to become Manitoba's next premier. (Photo: CP)
The PCs and then-premier Gary Filmon lost power to Gary Doer and the NDP in 1999 and had been the official Opposition ever since.
Pallister won his seat in the Winnipeg riding of Fort Whyte.
The election capped a five-week campaign that often seemed nasty and personal.
Last week, Selinger called Pallister "homophobic" for voting against a law in 2013 that requires schools to allow gay-straight alliances set up by students.
Pallister was also on the defensive over a vacation home in Costa Rica and the amount of time he has spent there.
At the final leaders debate, Pallister suggested the province was being run by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and assured people that would change if his party took power.
Brian Pallister speaks to media at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg, April 30, 2015. (Photo: The Canadian Press)
Selinger has promised to make big investments in infrastructure, add care home beds and expand service at clinics to reduce pressure on emergency rooms. He's also offered help to students with loans and tuition. The cost would be continued deficits until at least 2021.
Pallister has also promised to invest in infrastructure, but also reduce the provincial sales tax to seven per cent from eight. He has also said the PCs will raise income tax brackets with inflation and join the New West Partnership trade agreement with other western provinces.
Liberal campaign plagued with controversies
The Liberals ran on a platform on converting student loans into grants, implementing full-day kindergarten, putting mental-health care under medicare and arranging free ambulance rides for low-income seniors.
There was also controversy.
Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari was recorded telling a man seeking attention for his concerns about mental-health services that the media wouldn't touch his story because they survive on government ads.
There were candidates who were called out for past indiscretions.
The Liberals dumped one who had pleaded guilty to assaulting a girlfriend in 2002 after Bokhari received information about new accusations in the matter.
The Tories, however, stood by candidate Dr. Naseer Warraich after it was revealed his medical licence had been suspended for two years after he co-signed prescriptions for U.S. patients he had never seen.