Province Presents ‘Protecting Manitobans Agenda’ In Speech From The Throne

October 7, 2020 – During This Unprecedented Time, Nothing Matters More Than Protecting Manitobans: Premier

As outlined in today’s speech from the throne, the Manitoba government unveiled its ‘Protecting Manitobans Agenda’, with five guaranteed commitments to protect Manitobans, their personal health and their financial health, during this time of need.

Delivered by the Lt.-Gov. Janice C. Filmon at the opening of the third session of the 42nd legislature, the speech from the throne is a focused agenda with the goal of creating a more secure Manitoba during the pandemic and a more prosperous Manitoba after the pandemic.

“During this time of uncertainty, nothing matters more than protecting Manitobans,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “Our government has been taking thoughtful and deliberate action from the very beginning of this pandemic, and we will keep doing so to protect the services Manitobans need, the jobs they have or want back, and their incomes for themselves and their families, now and well into the future.”

The ‘Protecting Manitobans Agenda’ outlines five guaranteed commitments to protect Manitobans in the fight against COVID-19 and to continue the government’s efforts to fix the finances, repair the services, and rebuild Manitoba’s economy.

Initiatives from those five guaranteed commitments include:

•    Protecting Health Care

    – ensuring funding and resources from across government are dedicated first and foremost to health-care needs;

    – investing in personal protective equipment for front-line health workers and securing more testing sites and capacity for COVID-19;

    – reducing wait times further for cataract surgery and joint replacements, and providing additional renal dialysis services where they are needed;

    – calling for the federal government to protect health care by increasing the Canada Health Transfer and becoming a full funding partner in providing health care to Canadians;

    – ensuring that more Manitoba seniors are better able to ‘age in place, with the supports they need to live well in their homes and communities;

    – investing in Manitoba’s personal care homes, with significant capital upgrades to enhance resident health and safety;

    – protecting vulnerable Manitobans with disabilities through a new income support program;

    – partnering with the federal government to create a portable housing benefit for vulnerable Manitobans;

•    Protecting Jobs

    – supporting workers, students and businesses through the Restart Manitoba Initiative;

    – creating an independent, private sector-led economic development agency to attract investment and promote international trade for all of Manitoba;

    – examining the need and role for a provincial venture capital investment fund to give Manitoba businesses better access to innovative financing to bridge established private investment capital sources;

    – preparing Manitobans for the jobs of the future, and ensuring workers get the education and labour market training they need to be job-ready;

    – transforming and modernizing apprenticeship training, enabling more Manitobans to become skilled journeypersons, particularly in rural and northern Manitoba;

    – welcoming new immigrants to Manitoba through a special immigration credential recognition program;

    – investing and expediting priority infrastructure projects that create jobs and a more secure Manitoba including the St. Mary’s Road interchange on the South Perimeter Highway and a new roundabout at the Trans-Canada Highway intersection with PTH 16;

    – pursuing and insisting on the federal government’s approval of the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin channel, which will help mitigate climate change and give Manitobans in the region their lives back;

    – prioritizing and investing in the North End Winnipeg Sewage Treatment Plant project to help clean up Lake Winnipeg;

    – updating the provincial tourism strategy to build back this important sector, and protect jobs and incomes for thousands of Manitobans;

    – continuing to streamline planning and approval processes for future development by reintroducing changes to The Planning Act and the City of Winnipeg Charter;

    Protecting Incomes

    – keeping its word to Manitobans to lower taxes and leave more money on the kitchen tables of Manitoba families and businesses;

    – continuing the $2020 Tax Rollback Guarantee with new tax relief;

    – beginning the phased elimination of the education property tax paid by individual Manitobans;

    – introducing an amendment to the Employment Standards Code to update leave provisions and ensure Manitobans are able to access paid federal sick leave promptly while protecting themselves and others;

    – instructing Manitoba Hydro to keep this year’s rate increase to below three per cent, ensuring MPI continues to lower rates, and allowing less expensive and more convenient private retailing of liquor in the province;

•    Protecting Education and Child Care

    – keeping schools open, and children and students safe during this pandemic;

    – establishing a provincial blended learning strategy, consisting of remote and in-class learning options through the Restoring Safe Schools plan;

    – keeping the government’s commitment to build 20 new schools;

    – transforming Manitoba’s education system into a modern, responsive and ambitious system that is classroom focused, student centred and parent friendly;

    – providing a guaranteed increase of over $1.6 billion more in education funding over the next four years;

    – providing affordable and accessible child care that reflects the needs and challenges today’s parents face;

•    Protecting Manitoba’s Future

    – continuing to plan and take steps to protect Manitoba’s financial future, Manitoba’s climate future and Manitoba’s energy future;

    – pursuing a careful two-term, balanced budget plan to eliminate the COVID deficit while investing in the services Manitobans depend on;

    – continuing to implement the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan with new initiatives to reduce carbon emissions across all sectors of the economy building on Manitoba’s clean energy advantage;

    – ensuring the sustainability of Manitoba’s fish and wildlife populations, while protecting natural resource jobs and conservation traditions;

    – releasing the independent economic review of Manitoba Hydro’s Bipole III project and the Keeyask dam; and  

    – protecting Manitoba’s clean energy advantage with a strong and secure Manitoba Hydro.

The Manitoba government will continue to use EngageMB to consult with Manitobans on new policies, programs and actions to protect Manitobans from COVID-19 and safely restart the economy, the premier added.

“This year has been like no other, yet we have weathered it better than most,” said Pallister. “The resilience of Manitoba’s economy, finances, public services, and most of all, our people, have stood out strong. I am confident that if we keep working together, guided by Manitoba values, we will come out of this pandemic stronger and more prosperous.”

To read the speech from the throne, visit www.manitoba.ca/thronespeech.

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