WINNIPEG —; NDP Leader Greg Selinger is calling his Progressive Conservative opponent “homophobic” and a threat to social programs as the Manitoba election campaign enters its final eight days.
He is also demanding Brian Pallister reveal his income tax returns to ensure there are no offshore holdings that escape taxation.
Selinger called Pallister homophobic for voting against an anti-bullying law in 2013. The law requires schools to allow gay-straight student alliances and the Tories opposed it on a number of grounds, including an assertion that it might infringe on the religious rights of private schools.
The Tories also opposed the law’s definition of bullying, which includes hurting someone’s feelings.
Political analyst Paul Thomas says Selinger is ratcheting up his attacks in order to minimize any setbacks the NDP could suffer on election day.
Polls show the governing New Democrats are trailing the Tories and Thomas says Selinger is using whatever negative attacks he can in order to try to stop the bleeding.
Selinger said Monday Tory Leader Brian Pallister has to explain why he opposed the anti-bullying law.
“I think he’s homphobic. He has to answer for his views on that matter.”
Thomas, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Manitoba, said Selinger’s tone has ramped up with election day looming.
“I think it is all about a defensive strategy at this point, of trying to mobilize their base and limit the number of seats that are lost,” he said.
“Realistic people in the backroom must be telling the premier and leader of the New Democratic Party that this is not about winning any election, this is about minimizing the size of the political setback that we’re going to face on April 19.”