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Liberal party focused on the future - Gerrard

Greg Vandermeulen

Provincial Liberal supporters are getting over the disappointment of an election that saw only their leader get elected, and are focusing on the future according to Jon Gerrard.

"At this point it's about looking forward," he said.

The provincial Liberal leader was in Altona on Nov. 15 to meet with supporters, and he said the party isn't going away.

"In spite of what happened in the election the Liberal party is very much alive," he said.

Because it's difficult for Gerrard to get outside the perimeter during an election campaign, this post-election tour is important to him.

"I felt it was pretty important to be around the province," he said.

The trip is to discuss issues unique to each area, but it's also to urge people to be ready for the leadership convention scheduled for 2013.

"People are ready to get involved," Gerrard said.

Although the votes may not have shown it as much as Gerrard would have liked, he said the Liberal party is still very important to Manitobans, explaining the NDP is largely funded by unions while the PC party is traditionally supported by big business.

"The Liberal party is there for many people for whom the NDP and the Conservatives are not necessarily there for," he said. "There's a lot of people looking for an alternative."

"I believe the Liberal party is reaching out across the province," he added.

Gerrard said there are people out there who have not embraced either of the two bigger parties.

"Half the people in Manitoba are not voting in provincial elections," he said.

Gerrard had been discussing issues along the way as well.

He said health care is something that needs to be addressed, explaining we need a system that offers a high quality of health but also is a sustainable system.

Education is an ongoing issue as well, and Gerrard pointed out that Manitoba's high school drop-out rate is the highest in Canada.

After the intense election campaign, Gerrard said his rural tour is a great part of his job.

"I love going around the province to communities like Altona," he said.

Although he wouldn't speak of his long term future in the Manitoba Liberal party, Gerrard said he is committed to his constituency.

"I'm certainly committed to being the MLA in River Heights for the next four years," he said.