An Associate Professor at Brandon University says Premier Heather Stefanson’s first priority should be showing she brings a new tone and content to the job.

After a tight leadership race the new Premier is down to work and the legislature will resume later this month before rising in early December.

“Premier Heather Stefanson has to convince Manitobans that although she was part of the Pallister government cabinet and inner circle that she is a different kind of leader. She has to convince Manitobans that not only is she going to engage in politics differently and she’s going to try and listen more and work more cooperatively with different sectors within the province.”

The Manitoba government will unveil its new vision for economic and social recovery focused on the health and well-being of all Manitobans in a speech from the throne expected to be delivered on November 23.

A top priority is to establish a task force to clear the surgical and diagnostic backlogs and to enhance Manitoba’s intensive care unit (ICU) capacity will be established in the coming weeks.

“She has to deal with the pandemic, education reform and issues related to indigenous peoples and reconciliation and that she’s going to take a different approach to those files. It’s a big job because it’s only two years until the next election.”

Saunders says Premier Heather Stefanson has a lot of work to do if the party hopes to climb in the polls. “It’s really about convincing Manitobans, especially Winnipegers, that she’s going to take a different approach on those important files.”

The leadership vote was a close one and that has left a divide in the party that needs to be addressed.

“The Progressive Conservative party has long had an urban-rural split and that’s nothing new. You have all types of voters and there’s always going to be ideological divides. The closeness of this race perhaps shows those divides are larger and go deeper than we’ve seen before. There’s a significant cohort that wanted a new leader in the form of Shelly Glover. So Heather Stefanson has to try and bring those various factions together within the party.”