Manitoba PC Leader Brian Pallister forced to defend his $2 million home

Brian Pallister is set to become the next leader of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative party.

'A rich politician is a bad politician.'

'If he's rich, he can't connect to the average voter.'

These are the types of ridiculous comments being made in response to a glib Winnipeg Free Press story published on Friday.

According to the story, Manitoba's Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister "plunked down" $2 million for a 9,000-square-foot Winnipeg mansion which includes a basketball court, a seven-car garage and a loft.

"Pallister said the purchase of the house -- built in 1935 on 1.7 acres of riverfront property -- for his wife and two daughters should be seen as a success story and a lesson of what hard work can accomplish.

'I'm not apologetic for the way I invest my and my family's capital,' Pallister said.

'I have nothing to apologize for there. I've worked and my wife Esther has worked for over 30 years, honestly and hard, building up a company from nothing, starting out of my car, and we're selling [the business]. This is our investment. We knew we would have this capital and I'm sure not putting it into GICs.'"

The newspaper goes on to quote an associate professor who says that it's 'disingenuous' for the PC leader to say success is a result of only hard work.

"For anybody who doesn't own a $2-million home, does that mean they just didn't work hard enough?" Shannon Sampert, a poli-sci professor at the University of Winnipeg said.

"It all comes down to who you know, who you hob-nob with, that's how you get ahead in the world. It's kind of insulting to everyone else who works hard, but lives in west Winnipeg in a $150,000 house."

Does the reporter, the professor or anybody else really want Pallister to apologize for working hard and being successful? Really?

Some of the readers who commented on the newspaper's online message board seemed to support Sampert's stance.

"This is the guy who pretended to be the champion of low-income families two weeks ago. Why am I not surprised by his arrogance?" one reader wrote.

Another reader said that buying the house was "not a wise political move" at all.

"When will this party learn that things like this do nothing but alienate you from the electorate?" he wrote.

In 2004, former prime minister Paul Martin was worth $225 million. Did that make him a bad prime minister? Pierre Elliot Trudeau, John Turner, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper were no slouches either when it came to their finances.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is worth $18.1 billion and has been re-elected three times.

Pallister should not have to apologize for working hard, making the right business moves and earning financial freedom.

Aren't those the types of people we want in politics?