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Premier Brian Pallister spoke to PC Party faithful during his stop in Altona on Thursday.

Pallister along with Health Minister Cameron Friesen and Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen took the opportunity to bring local members up to speed on some of the issues the Tory government is working on, now into the third year of its mandate.

Jordan Siemens, vice-president of the Emerson PC Constituency Association, says it was also a chance for local members to talk about some of their concerns.

"Education taxes is certainly one that came up for discussion and the premier is very aware of the issue. It's not one that is easily solved and we're not likely going to see an announcement on it in the near future, but it is something the government is aware of and is working on."

Meanwhile, the future of police services in Plum Coulee was also raised at the meeting by local members.

The contract between the Municipality of Rhineland and Altona Police Service is into its final year, and both municipalities want to extend the service.

However, provincial legislation only allows a municipality to be serviced by one police agency. While Plum Coulee is covered by Altona Police, the RCMP patrol the rest of Rhineland municipality.

The province has indicated that once the contract runs out at the end of this year, it will no longer provide a grant to help fund the arrangement.

Siemens says the issue was fairly new to Pallister, but he appeared open to having government explore the situation further.

"Without putting words in the premier's mouth, I would say he was certainly sympathetic to the problem. I think the solution is somewhat reasonable and he saw that as well. So, it's a matter of looking for unintended consequences and getting things done in the time frame that would need to happen."

In other matters, the Emerson Constituency Association is busy dealing with the final recommendations submitted by the Manitoba Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission last month.

The shape of the Emerson electoral district will change for the next provincial election with some significant adjustments to the riding's borders. 

Also changing is the name of the constituency from Emerson, which has been in place since 1879, to Borderland.

The local PC Association has not set a specific date for its inaugural meeting to mark the adjustments, but Siemens says they are targeting mid to late February.

The Tories no longer have a representative from Emerson in the legislature after Cliff Graydon was ousted from caucus last fall. They will have to wait until the next provincial election to try and change that situation.

However, a number of potential candidates have indicated a keen interest in becoming the next Conservative MLA for the district, according to Siemens.

"There are several people who have gone through the selection process and there are quite a number who are considering it. The official call for nominations is open only once we have had that founding meeting and there is a new Borderland constituency. At that point, we'll see who is actually planning to run."

The next provincial election is scheduled to take place in October 2020.

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