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The new leader replaces Andrew Scheer after he announced he was stepping down following an election lost to the Liberals last fall despite Trudeau being embroiled in several controversies and scandals.
In particular, Bergen said they have the ability to gain even more seats in Manitoba after picking up a few from the Liberals in October.
“What we want is we would like to give the ethics commissioner a little bit of a break and not be investigating a prime minister constantly,” she said. “We want to tell Canadians that we’re going to be a government that wants to support them when there is a crisis and there is a need, but also wants to unleash the power of our entrepreneurs and unleash the power of our workers, unleash the power of people who are creative and want to contribute.”
She said to expect to hear this messaging a lot in the coming months as the country continues its economic recovery from the pandemic.
In their two days of meetings in Gimli they are looking at several different topics including reconciliation, infrastructure, watershed management, Manitoba Fisheries and the COVID-19 recovery. Specifically on Monday they had in-depth talks about reconciliation with Grand Chief Arlen Dumas as well as a number of local mayors about the health of Lake Winnipeg.
Reconciliation has been a troubled issue the last several months going back to the railway blockades in February and March and more recently in demonstrations and rallies regarding systemic racism.
Bergen said they also had talks with former Winnipeg Police Service Chief Devon Clunis, who was the first Black police chief in Canada.
“What we learn more and more is we have to talk to each other and we have to talk about what unites us but also talk about our differences in a respectful way,” she said. “I think sometimes it’s easier to be polarizing and to hurl insults at each other and not find ways to understand.”
Talks will continue throughout Tuesday, including with the fishery industry which has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.