The MLA for Steinbach says the Progressive Conservatives are still finalizing plans for a leadership race.

Heather Stefanson announced shortly after October's defeat to the NDP, that she would be stepping down as the party's Leader. Here we are, three months later, and Stefanson remains Leader of the Official Opposition as the Conservatives make plans to elect her successor. 

Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen says right now it is looking as though the convention will likely happen in October or November. 

"That will be exciting for the party for transformation," shares Goertzen.

He notes right now there are a lot of young MLAs on both sides of the House in the Legislature. For someone like himself who has spent two decades in provincial politics, Goertzen says this is exciting to see because it gives the sense that the future is strong for Manitoba. 

When looking at the young Conservative MLAs who were elected in October, Goertzen says he knows that one day they will make up the Conservative Cabinet. 

"Someday the new MLAs that we have who have been elected this last year are going to form a new Conservative government," adds Goertzen. "I find that very exciting to be able to help them along in the early stages of their career and then see where it blossoms."

Meanwhile, Goertzen says he also expects people will keep a close watch on the financial situation in 2024, particularly with interest rates and inflation. The Steinbach MLA says there is a sense and a hope that both interest rates and inflation have already peaked. 

"The Bank of Canada, and to some extent the Federal Reserve in the U.S. is signalling that there is a pause in place and maybe even a ratcheting down in the new year," suggests Goertzen.

He notes this is important because it sets the framework for nearly everything that happens both in government and in peoples' personal lives. Goertzen says he hears from people who are concerned that their children will not be able to enjoy the same lives they had. He notes for a lot of people, owning a home is critically important as it is a measure of success. 

And finally, Goertzen says 2024 should see significant progress on a pair of construction projects in downtown Steinbach. Goertzen says there is $150 million worth of construction happening within a three-block radius. He is referring to construction at the hospital and construction of the Southeast Event Centre. 

Goertzen refers to both projects as transformational, not only because they will add hospital beds and operating rooms to Steinbach, but also because of the way the Event Centre will transform recreation in the city. For all those questioning whether or not the Event Centre is necessary, Goertzen says he thinks people will realize its importance when they step foot inside for a hockey game or banquet.

"They are going to go, "Wow, I could see how this brings a community together.'" says Goertzen. "So, I'm really excited for the community that way."


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