Excerpts from an interview with Manitoba premier as he prepares to leave office

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WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has said that he plans to step down Wednesday. Here are some quotes from an interview with The Canadian Press:

On low polling numbers: "If you govern with a view that you wish to be popular every day for four years so you can win the next election, you will not get much done ... and what we have done is a lot."

On personal likability and whether it is tied to electoral victory: "Who are the most unpopular Conservatives in the last 25 years? It'd be me and (former prime minister Stephen) Harper. Who was more likable? Well, I guess (former Manitoba Tory leader) Stu Murray was, (former federal Conservative leader) Andrew Scheer was a likable, cuddly guy. Look, it's not about likability. It's about integrity and competence."

On his government's reforms: "We went after every portfolio without exception. Child and family ... education, health care, revamping the whole (emergency room) system ... our Crown (corporations), (Manitoba) Hydro, changing the subsidy culture. That's not easy. I was very unpopular — I am very unpopular — because a lot of the loud people like to be subsidized."

On the COVID-19 pandemic and easing restrictions when vaccination targets were met: "We kept our word and, in hindsight, probably should have explained that we can't do that now because 80 per cent (vaccinated) isn't enough. It's got to be 90 (per cent) and the Delta variant changed things."

On being front and centre for COVID-19 news conferences: "I did take on the face of the pandemic ... and you know why? Because I probably was going to leave. And when I leave, the face of the pandemic leaves. And so the opportunity for the PC party to renew and to grow ... is real."

On economic recovery coming out of the pandemic: "We're on the rebound. I see it. Most people don't see it yet. You'll see it in six months."

On returning to financial planning after leaving office: "I'll get back and do succession planning. I love that. I love helping families. That's how I started my business out of my car in 1980 and that's how I built it. I like working with small business families, keeping the business in the family if they want."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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