I think the Filmon government's record was admirable and I think historians will say that was one of the finest governments that Manitoba has been blessed with
Some background on the Filmon government:
"Six weeks ago, the Filmon government slashed $4.5 million from services for abused children, including CFS agencies, foster care, Children's Home of Winnipeg and several group homes."
The Winnipeg Sun, May 5, 1993
"Funding to inner-city schools has dropped to the level where divisions are considering cutting nursery schools and lunch programs for students from low income families. Meanwhile funds granted to private school have increased. The “Filmon Fridays” – 10 days of unpaid holidays imposed on the province’s 18,000 civil servants last year – angered workers."
Western Producer, April 21, 1994
"But beginning in 1993, when the Conservatives began a determined effort to reduce the provincial deficit by cutting spending, provincial funding for schools was frozen or reduced for five years in a row. The overall decrease amounted to some $50 million, or 6 per cent of total support, not including the effects of inflation. [...] Some 600 teaching positions were eliminated across the province."
Benjamin Levin. Governing Education. University of Toronto Press, 2005. p. 127
One problem with the current ad campaigns for and against Pallister is that he hasn't actually been in charge of much since the 90s, when he was a cabinet minister in the Filmon government. The NDP do kind of ham-handed job of hanging all the evils of the Filmon years on him. But Pallister just makes it so easy!
Let's review. The Filmon government was famous for cutting public services left and right. The "Filmon years" have become shorthand for a time of austerity and economic shrinkage. Historian J.F. Conway summarizes the Filmon conservatives as pursuing "first, a process of ransacking the social and health security systems, and, second, a program of privatization of public assets".
Their heavy hand at cutting services — and an attempt to rig the election, no less! — led them to resounding defeat.
And what does Pallister say about those years? Does he downplay his involvement? No sir! He's actively proud of the Filmon years, and during his term in provincial opposition has reiterated his opinion that they were an excellent government.
So keep that in mind when the NDP ads come across as merely scare tactics, or when Pallister goes on about how he's not actually going to cut anything, no way no how.
Keep in mind that Pallister considers the Filmon years, the Filmon cuts, the Filmon austerity, to have been the finest government Manitoba has ever had.