The leader of Manitoba's New Democrats and official Opposition spent the day Friday touring a part of the Pembina Valley, meeting with business leaders in the region. Stops on Wab Kinew's tour included Friesens Corporation and Golden West in Altona, Decor Cabinets in Morden and Triple E in Winkler. 

"I was lucky to get a generous offer from some business leaders in the area to come down and see firsthand their operation and to hear their priorities - what they need to see happen in order for jobs to continue to be created. Let's be fully cognizant of the fact that this part of the province is driving so much of the economy these days," said Kinew. 

While business, economic conditions and immigration were up for discussion, the Opposition leader also spent some time answering questions about healthcare, including the retention of staff and local emergency facilities. 

"It is really good for me to come because first and foremost, we get to hear about local concerns and some of those local concerns are those province-wide issues like healthcare," he explained. "But part of its also tapping me on the shoulder and saying this local project, whether its on water or wastewater or fixing Highway 75, these are really important priorities, not just for the folks who live here but for the provincial economy. If these investments are made, we're going to be able to keep driving job creation around Manitoba."

Wab KinewFriesens CEO, Chad Friesen, shows Kinew around during Friday's visit. (Suppled/Office of Wab Kinew)

With a provincial election scheduled to take place in 2023, Kinew says he also has a plan to have more local NDP candidates on the ballots, particularly in rural Manitoba. The strategy includes nominating candidates earlier, which he noted, means having more people step forward. Additionally, the party plans to nominate more candidates who are known in the rural Manitoba constituencies.

"People can say, 'I know who that is', then they can go from there and now, 'do I think that's the right person to represent me at the Legislature?" said Kinew. "So, I really want to spend the time to cultivate a strong relationship with folks across the province."

Meantime, Kinew says the Manitoba NDP will be placing a strong focus on healthcare and affordability in the upcoming election. 

Wab KinewKinew stopped by Triple E in Winkler. (Supplied/Office of Wab Kinew)