(Bloomberg) -- Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who has cut taxes and plans to balance the budget in three years, won a second straight majority government in the Canadian province.
Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives took 36 of 57 districts, according to unofficial results from Elections Manitoba Wednesday. The opposition New Democratic Party took 18 seats.
“We face our challenges together, Manitobans do that and today and tonight they said they appreciated the fact that we fixed the finances and we’re repairing the services and we’re rebuilding the economy of our province,” Pallister said from the Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg Tuesday night.
A second term for Pallister, 65, will help solidify Conservative administrations in key provinces of Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba, increasing opposition to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s push for a national carbon tax and increased spending on social programs.
The former insurance company executive became premier in 2016 after toppling the NDP, which had ruled the central province for almost 17 years. Since then, Pallister has lowered the pace of spending and reduced taxes, and pledged to balance the budget by 2022, two years earlier than previously planned.
Pallister’s main opponent was NDP leader Wab Kinew, a former CBC journalist, who took over as party leader following the 2016 election. The NDP were able to add to their 14 seats won in the last election, while the Conservatives were down from their historic high of 40 seats.
“Humble in victory, humble in defeat, that’s my goal,” Kinew said from The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre in Winnipeg Tuesday night. “I think Manitobans sent a very, very strong message and the seats that we took back made it very clear that Manitobans want us New Democrats to not only be the conscious of Manitoba, not only to be the opposition of Manitoba but to be the progressive voice for Manitoba.”
Pallister moved the election up a year from the fixed date, pushing Manitobans to the polls a month before the federal election on Oct. 21. Trudeau is expected to officially kick off the federal campaign Wednesday morning.
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