09/01/2011 12:19 EDT | Updated 11/01/2011 05:12 EDT

Manitoba Premier Selinger Promises $24 Million For Health-Care Training


WINNIPEG - Premier Greg Selinger focused on health care Thursday while Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen tried to woo voters with more on his $100-a-month child-care tax credit, as their election campaigns picked up steam.

The one-seat Liberals, meanwhile, got a glamour injection thanks to a visit from Montreal MP Justin Trudeau.

Selinger promised an additional $24 million over four years to train more doctors, nurses and other health-care workers.

He appeared at the University of Manitoba's medical school flanked by Health Minister Theresa Oswald. He told a friendly audience of health-care officials and workers, many wearing NDP buttons, that his government has ideas but wants to hear from them about where they think the money should go.

"We've made great progress in the health-care system, but to make further progress we have to work very closely with the people who are delivering the front-line services," he said.

As he campaigned to get his party re-elected Oct. 4, Selinger repeated the NDP record on health care, which includes doubling the number of training spaces in schools for nurses and doctors.

And he said McFadyen isn't being realistic when he talks of cutting health-care bureaucracy and capping health-care spending to save money.

He says his government has capped administration at just under four per cent of spending, about $110 million, and Tory promises to cut double that make no sense.

"It's just not a credible promise there is not that much administration that can be cut."

Some of the new money will go to advanced and special training, but Selinger also said his government will ensure its core budget has the money it needs to support any new positions that are created.

The election campaign is expected to officially begin next week when the writ is dropped. But with the date already set, no one is waiting for that to start rolling out the promises.

McFadyen has said before that there are 52 vice-presidents in the various regional health authorities throughout the province, and that's too many.

His campaign picked the home of the Howell family in south Winnipeg to promote his $100-a-month child-care tax credit, aimed at children aged six to 12. It's modelled on the similar federal program, which ends when children turn six.

Alison and Mike Howell have three children ranging in age from six months to five years, the last year the federal program applies. They said they're pleased at the idea it could continue until age 12.

Manitoba New Democrats were quick to note the Conservative plan fails to create any new daycare spaces.

Trudeau dropped in on the Manitoba Liberal campaign Wednesday night and stuck around Thursday to help raise the profile of Tyndall Park candidate Roldan Sevillano.

Another Liberal MP, Winnipeg-North's Kevin Lamoureux, was also on hand. Lamoureux held the north Winnipeg provincial riding of Inkster for many years in the Manitoba legislature before it was dissolved for this election to form Tyndall Park and The Maples.

When Lamoureux decided to run federally, Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard was left as the only elected Liberal member of the provincial legislature. Manitobans will vote Oct. 4.