Two of the four MLA candidates for Portage la Prairie attended the Coffee with Candidates meet-and-greet on Monday. The Green Party and the Progressive Conservative Party were represented by Arishya Aggarwal and Jeff Bereza, respectively, and they each outlined the importance for candidates to have that sort of opportunity.

Bereza shares his thoughts.

"I truly believe that in Portage la Prairie here, we really are on the cusp of some great things. I know in talking to the City of Portage and talking to the business people, that there's a tremendous amount of interest here," notes Bereza. "We only have to look west of town to see major employers out there. As well, Azure, the soybean canola crushing plant, is looking here."

BerezaJeff Bereza

He explains Portage does a great job with customer service, and its Chamber is great at looking after its members. Bereza says if he's lucky enough to be voted in as MLA, he looks forward to working with all of these people. 

He notes one question asked of him, which he feels is extremely important, concerned the Payroll Tax.

"They like the Progressive Conservatives' approach to that because it is going to offer our businesses the opportunity to hire more people," adds Bereza. "They're going to be saving that money."

Arishya Aggarwal says she was asked about the Payroll Tax, as well, and has some strong opinions on that issue."I think we should support getting rid of the Payroll Tax," says Aggarwal. "It'll help a lot, but how does the PC government plan to compensate or replace the loss of revenue that the government loses? Right now, the Payroll Tax funds things like health care, education, and infrastructure; all three industries that are already functioning at below-inflation-rate funding. They're already struggling. So, the loss of the Payroll Tax revenue is just going to put more strain on the provincial budget, meaning health care and education infrastructure get less."

aryArishya Aggarwal

Aggarwal says she feels the chance to meet with people at events like the Coffee with Candidates is great, but there needs to be more slices of the community given the chance to do so.

"For example, we'll have one debate, which is for this specific group only, or we'll have one event, which is for this specific membership group only," continues Aggarwal. "These are great events, but I would like to see more of the common people come in for free. They don't have to pay, they don't have to sign up for anything, and they can just walk in and meet me because, again, at the end of the day, I'm a public servant."

Election day is next Tuesday, October 3.


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