The Official Opposition Leader for Manitoba says he will continue to hold Premier Wab Kinew to account as he leads the Progressive Conservatives for another 12 months.

The PC Party of Manitoba announced this last week that it will select its next leader on April 26, 2025. Wayne Ewasko has been Interim Leader since January. 

"To get the news of the date being near the end of April 2025 is good news," says Ewasko. "And I look forward to seeing how the whole process works out and see who we pick to be not only our next leader next April, but the next Premier of Manitoba."

Ewasko says it was an honour to be selected Interim Leader by his colleagues, noting he works with extremely talented professionals of re-elected MLAs as well as the Class of 2023. 

Meanwhile, Ewasko says some of the happenings within the Manitoba Legislature over the last couple of months point to a Premier who is either unfamiliar with the rules or is choosing to ignore them. Ewasko is referring to the Premier's announcement this month that he would like to change the prayer read by the Speaker at the opening of each legislative session. Kinew says the prayer has gone unchanged for many years and that it is time to update it to ensure it captures who we are as Manitobans. Kinew says the Manitoba government will host a roundtable to gather perspectives on changes to the legislature opening. 

"Nobody is against having conversations about the prayer in our chamber, but there is a process, we do have a process here," says Ewasko, noting there is absolutely a place for the prayer in the chamber. 

According to PC House Leader Derek Johnson, any consideration of changes in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly must be a non-partisan process that fully engages all legislators. He says the Standing Committee on the Rules of the House would bring forward a recommendation to the Legislative Assembly where the final decision would rest.

Ewasko refers to the last month as a weak one for the Premier and his government. The PC Caucus announced this month that more than 1,300 surgeries were cancelled at Winnipeg hospitals in the first three months after Kinew and his Health Minister cut Manitoba's diagnostic and surgical task force last fall. The released data does not include surgeries that were cancelled in Brandon, Dauphin, rural and northern communities, or out of province. 

"It's been a weak month and a half for the NDP, and we've seen not only the Premier but his House Leader are spending more time out of the province when they should be here governing," adds Ewasko. 

And finally, Ewasko says this new government is not taking advantage of some of the initiatives introduced by the Conservatives. For example, he says the Conservatives started the recruitment program of Filipino healthcare workers. Ewasko says the new government has either paused that program or cut it entirely. Also, Ewasko says the Conservatives increased seats at post-secondary institutions, leading to the largest graduating class of physicians in the history of Manitoba. 

"We planted the seeds for the trees to produce these professionals and they really have to just pick the fruit off of them," says Ewasko. "So far, besides mimicking a lot of things that we had put in place when we were in government, we haven't seen any new plans coming out of this NDP government."

Ewasko says he is already seeing signs that even though the next election is more than three years away, the Conservatives are a government in waiting.