As part of our coverage leading up to the Portage-Lisgar by-election June 19th, we have provided an opportunity to each of the five candidates on the ballot to answer five questions related to issues impacting residents across the riding. Over the course of this week, we will be publishing the answers provided by the candidates, as sent to us.

Below are the answers from Conservative Party of Canada candidate Branden Leslie.

1. If you were to win the election, what would you do to ensure the development of sustainable, additional, water supply and treatment for the region in order to allow for further growth, both from a business/industrial and population perspective?

There’s nothing more important than how we move our water around.  Whether we are controlling it to prevent flooding, or ensuring access for farmers to irrigate their land, or cleaning it for consumption and bringing it to our homes, to investing to ensure our businesses can thrive and grow, long-term water infrastructure planning and investment is critical.  Now, while most of the decisions around this are set by municipalities, the federal government has a very important role to play in funding these projects.  And the reality is that Manitoba is not getting our fair share. 

The federal government needs to be a partner, and not just fund its political pet projects to help win votes in urban areas. 

We need an MP that will listen to the priorities of local government leaders, and go fight for them.  Not someone who has parachuted in from another province to use our community to help fundraise for his vanity project.

2. If you were to win the election, what would you do to address the current skilled and unskilled labour shortage across the region, which seems most pronounced in the manufacturing, agricultural and health care sectors?

The immigration system is broken.  We have over two million people in the backlog waiting for their immigration applications to be processed. We have a million job vacancies, many of which could be filled by newcomers; but, the skilled immigrants we need are stuck on waiting lists to get here, so that they could fill those jobs.  Here we are with a massive shortage of doctors and nurses and yet we have thousands of internationally trained medical graduates that could be filling those positions, but they can’t get a license and are driving taxis instead.  I will advocate for a partnership with the provinces to fix this.  We need a nationwide deal with all the provinces to give immigrants the answer, within 60 days of their applications, to work in their field. That application should be judged based on their testing ability, not where they come from.  We need an immigration system that meets our economic needs and makes sense.

3. Agriculture is a significant part of the riding’s economy. If you were to win the election, how do you propose to address concerns/impacts related to the Carbon Tax and the proposed fertilizer emissions reduction target of 30% by 2030?

Scrap it.  Scrap it.  Scrap it.

Conservatives will axe the carbon tax.  We will axe the second carbon tax that Trudeau wants to bring in.  And we will stop the ridiculous Liberal fertilizer mandates.

I grew up on a farm just south of Portage.  I know what rural life is like.  Driving to work or the store isn’t a luxury.  And neither is heating your house in a Manitoba winter.  I will stand up for our way of life and axe the tax.

4. Affordable housing is a topic that is front and center around the country and in Portage Lisgar. Many are saying they cannot find a reasonable place to live. If you were to win this election, how would address this issue when in Ottawa?

Government delays, permits and red tape add over $200,000 to every new housing unit.  Canada has the lowest number of homes in the G7.  A record number of Canadians have given up on ever owning a home. 

This isn’t acceptable.

We need to build new homes for Canadians.  We need to hold municipalities accountable.  Places that refuse to build homes for our people will lose government funding.

We will make sure that building homes goes forward. 

We will sell off unused, big, ugly government buildings and convert them to affordable rental housing.  It will bring a smile to my face to see the first family roll up with a U-Haul to move into their new home at the former headquarters of the CBC.

We will bring home homes that people can actually afford.

5. Crime is considered a major issue in the Portage area. How does your party plan to address this growing concern that nothing is being done about it?

Too many people in our community know the helpless feeling of being a victim of crime.  Justin Trudeau’s catch-and-release bail policies have unleashed a wave of violent crime across the country.  Canadians no longer feel safe in their communities.

The Trudeau government needs to fix the problem that they created by loosening Canada’s bail laws.

A common-sense Conservative government will ensure that repeat violent offenders remain behind bars while awaiting trial and we will bring back mandatory jail time for serious violent crimes that were repealed by the Liberals. We will also repeal Justin Trudeau’s catch-and-release parole policy.


Conservatives believe in jail, not bail for repeat violent offenders.  A Conservative government will bring home safety to our streets.