Government Concludes Legislative Session, Focused on Results for Manitobans

GOVERNMENT CONCLUDES LEGISLATIVE SESSION, FOCUSED ON RESULTS FOR MANITOBANS


The second session of the 41st legislature concluded earlier today, having passed numerous government bills focused on fixing the finances, repairing the services and rebuilding the economy, Premier Brian Pallister said.

“From being a Canadian leader in safety-focused cannabis legislation, to the North American leader in comprehensive red tape reduction, our government achieved a lot in this session,” said Pallister.  “These measures are designed to make Manitoba Canada’s most improved province.”

Government house leader Cliff Cullen said significant results were achieved during this session for Manitobans.

“We were elected last year with an ambitious agenda and have accomplished a great deal in a relative short period of time,” said Cullen.  “There remains a lot to be done, but I am proud of my government colleagues as we moved ahead with meaningful legislation aimed at improving life for Manitoba families.”

Since the beginning of October, legislation was passed that secured legal protection for health professionals and others who, on the grounds of conscience, refuse to participate in medical assistance in dying.  Other legislation passed this fall includes:

  • marketing freedom for freshwater fishers;
  • a modernized approach to elections laws, including a more accurate voters’ list, to provide better service to voters;
  • reducing red tape for Manitobans,
  • raising of the minimum wage and indexing it to the rate of inflation,
  • allowing municipalities to decide how best to enable a responsible, reliable and economical taxicab industry, including provisions for ride-sharing; and
  • steps to keep Manitoba tuition the lowest in Western Canada while also providing additional support directly to post-secondary students.

In total, 38 pieces of legislation were passed in the session, including 28 bills passed prior to the June adjournment. Those bills include:

  • repealing the East Side Road Authority,
  • ratifying Manitoba’s membership in the New West Partnership,
  • protecting taxpayers and maintaining fiscal discipline, and
  • harm prevention measures related to legalized cannabis.

“We remain focused on achieving results for Manitobans,” said Cullen.  “Any measures not completed in this session will be brought back in the new session.”

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Province Announces Hybrid Model for Distribution and Retail of Cannabis

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES HYBRID MODEL FOR DISTRIBUTION AND RETAIL OF CANNABIS

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Ensuring Safety, Keeping Gangs Out, Creating Market Opportunities: Pallister


In order to meet the July 2018 timeline mandated by the federal government to permit the recreational use of cannabis, the Manitoba government unveiled a hybrid retail and distribution model that allows both the public and private sectors to do what they each do best, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

This model will see the Liquor and Gaming Authority (LGA) given an expanded mandate to regulate the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis.  The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) will secure and track supply of cannabis sold in Manitoba, while the private sector will operate all retail locations.

“Legalization of cannabis is a major shift in public policy and safety remains our top priority,” said Pallister.  “MBLL oversight of supply and distribution will ensure safety, and retail by the private sector will ensure competitiveness and accessibility which will help achieve our goal of getting gangs out of the cannabis business.”

Private-sector retail supports the decision not to co-locate cannabis retail with the sale of alcohol, eliminates the need for immediate public investment in new storefronts and provides consumer choice through different retail experiences, the premier added.

“This approach is designed to meet our objectives of eliminating the black market, keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and creating new opportunities in the marketplace,” said Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen.  “The private sector’s role in encouraging competitive pricing supports these goals.  At the same time, provincial oversight will help maintain supply chain integrity and prevent the diversion of product.”

Provincial regulation of wholesaling, distribution and retail will be through LGA, the minister noted, and a regulatory framework and licensing regime is in development.

MBLL will be responsible for central administration, supply chain management and order processing.  The Crown corporation will oversee the wholesale and distribution of product including leveraging economies of scale through bulk purchasing to undercut black-market pricing and support a diverse retail sector.

All cannabis sold in retail stores must be purchased from MBLL, which will source product from federally licensed producers.  Safe storage and shipment of product will be managed through either MBLL-owned and operated facilities and/or contracted third parties licensed through the LGA.

“This is a step-by-step process,” said Pallister.

The first step was introducing The Cannabis Harm Prevention Act to target drug-impaired driving and send a clear message that driving under the influence of cannabis is dangerous and unacceptable, he noted.

On July 27, the Manitoba government issued an expression of interest to determine market place interest and capability to provide services for the production, distribution and retail of cannabis.  The 60 responses received indicated significant private-sector interest in participating in the emerging cannabis industry, the premier added.

On Sept. 14, Manitoba Public Insurance launched a broad public awareness and education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of drug-impaired driving.

“Today’s announcement is the fourth step,” said Pallister.  “The health and safety of all Manitobans continues to be paramount and there is still plenty of work to do.”

The premier confirmed the province will be issuing a request for proposals from qualified applicants seeking the opportunity to operate one or more retail locations.  The deadline for submissions is Dec. 22, with initial locations to open July 2, 2018.

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Manitoba Unveils Climate and Green Plan

MANITOBA UNVEILS CLIMATE AND GREEN PLAN

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Made-in-Manitoba Plan to Address Climate Change will Protect the Environment, Grow the Economy: Pallister


Background Information
Background Information

The provincial government released its A Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan today, which is built on the strategic pillars of climate, jobs, water and nature, and includes 16 keystones for priority action that will support Manitoba’s economy and sustain the environment for future generations, Premier Brian Pallister and Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.

“Our vision is to make Manitoba the cleanest, greenest and most climate-resilient province in Canada,” said Pallister.  “We are charting that course with a comprehensive plan based on Manitoba needs and focused on Manitoba priorities.”

The climate and green plan was developed through the direct input of Manitobans, drawing from more than a year of consultations with environmental, business, and expert stakeholders.

“When it comes to addressing the challenges of climate change, we must understand just how unique we are as a province,” said Squires.  “This plan sets out a made-in-Manitoba solution to climate change that respects our clean energy investments, supports our economy and reduces emissions.  It will protect the environment while also building a prosperous low-carbon economy in Manitoba.”

The plan sets out a made-in-Manitoba approach to carbon pricing with a low and level price of  $25 per tonne beginning during 2018.  This is half the amount mandated by the federal government and it will give Manitoba the second-lowest carbon price in Canada by 2022, Squires noted.

Beginning during 2018, the made-in-Manitoba price will save families and businesses over $260 million compared to the federal carbon tax over the next five years.  An average Manitoba household will save $245 compared to the federal carbon tax over the same period, the minister said.

Cumulative emissions are projected to drop by more than one megatonne over the next five years – 80,000 tonnes more than with the federal carbon tax.  Additional greenhouse-gas reduction actions set out in the plan will reduce emissions by more than double the federal carbon tax alone.  The made-in-Manitoba price will not rise, Squires said, adding a full review of the carbon pricing plan will take place in 2022.

“Our Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan will cost less and reduce more than the made-in-Ottawa carbon tax,” added Pallister.  “Our lower carbon price respects the massive hydro investments Manitobans have made over decades to build one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world.”

The plan confirms exemptions for agricultural emissions.  The carbon levy will also not be applied to marked fuels used by farmers for their farming operations.  Agricultural operations will also be able to contribute to carbon sequestration and offset trading systems to be established in Manitoba and other provinces.

Large industrial emitters will be able to reduce their emissions while having their competitiveness concerns addressed through an output based pricing system of performance standards, offsets and credit trading.

Squires said an independent expert advisory commission of Manitobans will be established to help develop five-year Carbon Savings Accounts to meaningfully reduce emissions across sectors of the economy.

The Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan sets out a vast array of new initiatives to protect wetlands and watersheds, water quality, and wild species and habitats.  Low carbon economy jobs will be encouraged through green infrastructure, clean technology, innovation financing, and skills and training, the minister added.

Manitobans are invited to give their views on the climate and green plan.  An online survey is now open for Manitobans to make their choices on the made-in-Manitoba plan as well as carbon revenue recycling by investing in families, green growth, and climate adaptation.  The survey is available at www.manitobaclimategreenplan.ca.

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Province Receives Look North Report and Action Plan for Manitoba’s Northern Economy

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Local girl already making her mark.

In 2012, the United Nations declared Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl. Its purpose was to draw attention to the achievements of girls and to encourage girls to work toward their full potential on both local and international stages.

It was a distinct privilege then for me to stand in the Manitoba legislature to praise local resident, 10-year-old Mahi Arora, in whom a decade of life has already embodied much of the spirit of this celebrated day.

When she was just three years old, Mahi performed solo dances at Folklorama and Pantages Theatre. Her accomplishments soon garnered her awards as well as appearances  on national television. She performed for then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Consul General of India, and received Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman’s Appreciation Award in 2015.

Mahi is also a keen student and athlete, active in soccer, gymnastics, swimming and skating. She volunteers at her local Gurdwara and in the wider Sikh community. Mahi supports the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. She has helped the Lions Club raise funds for wheelchairs and supports the Mamta Foundation in caring for neglected girls in India.

With the help and encouragement of her parents, Amardeep and Rouble Singh, Mahi is already leaving her mark. Their actions are a timely reminder to  all of us to encourage girls and boys to develop their interests and talents to serve the greater good. In a culture of entertainment, video games and electronic devices, it is inspiring to meet a young  woman blessing  others as she develops her talents and abilities.

These are the virtues we should develop in ourselves and cultivate in our children and I look forward to praising many more such individuals from the floor of the Manitoba legislature in the future.

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Manitoba Government Announces Child Welfare System Reform

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Manitoba Marks Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls With Gathering for Families

News Release – Manitoba
October 4, 2017
MANITOBA MARKS MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS AWARENESS DAY WITH GATHERING FOR FAMILIES

The families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls will gather with Indigenous organizations at the Legislative Building today in recognition of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Honouring and Awareness Day, Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.
“We’re thankful and humbled to participate in this gathering, which was organized by the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the Indigenous organizations that are working on their behalf,” said Clarke. “We respect and support the wisdom, experiences and recommendations of these families and Indigenous community leaders who have already contributed so much to our province’s unique volume of experience on this issue.”
According to police reports, more than 1,200 Indigenous women and girls in Canada have gone missing or been murdered since 1980. For decades, their families have called for greater recognition of the crisis of violence facing Indigenous women and girls, which led to the creation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Manitoba has affirmed its participation in the national Inquiry by passing an Order in Council that provides the federally appointed commissioners the authority to examine the considerable work and analysis already completed in Manitoba. This material includes Manitoba inquest reports, reviews of the child welfare system, a 2016 report on the vulnerability of marginalized Indigenous girls, The Legacy of Phoenix Sinclair—Achieving the Best for All Our Children, and the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.
The minister noted the province is committed to working collaboratively with the new Manitoba Co-ordinating Committee that has been established to ensure the inquiry is family and survivor-centred.
“Earlier this month, we wrote to the commissioners of the inquiry to seek their support for culturally appropriate processes that include and support families, survivors and First Nation communities,” said Clarke. “We also asked for improvements to the way the inquiry communicates with those wishing to share their stories, and for them to work together with our Indigenous leaders and communities to have Manitoba representation in its leadership.”
The Manitoba Co-ordinating Committee includes leadership from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO), the Southern Chiefs Organization Inc. and the Assembly of First Nations.
“As we gather together on Oct. 4, 2017, to remember MMIWG, we need to recognize this is not an Indigenous issue, this is a Canadian issue,” said Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson, MKO. “As Indigenous women and girls, we have the right to live, the right to feel safe and together we can end this national tragedy.”
Today’s gathering, called Mamaway Kiskisitan Niwakomakinak (We Gather to Remember our Relatives) includes formal remarks starting at 5 p.m. with a feast and a candlelight vigil to follow on the stairs of the Legislative Building. Various singers, drummers and dancers will perform. All are welcome.
The minister encouraged Manitobans to show support for families of missing and murdered women and girls by taking a moment to honour them on this day of awareness.
“This is an issue that affects all of us as Manitobans and we must continue to raise awareness of this injustice,” said Clarke.

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Province Marks Official Opening of Tabor Home – Personal Care Home in Morden

PROVINCE MARKS OFFICIAL OPENING OF TABOR HOME – PERSONAL CARE HOME IN MORDEN


MORDEN—Together with Southern Health-Santé Sud, Tabor Home Governing Board and the community of Morden and extended area, Premier Brian Pallister marked the official opening here today of a new, $38.7-million personal care home.

“This new facility is going to make a wonderful home for so many people in the Morden area,” said Pallister.  “I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to complete this project, and wish all the new residents well as they begin their lives at the new Tabor Home.”

The new Tabor Home is located along PTH 3 beside a private assisted-living facility.  Having the personal care home and private-housing options on one campus will allow for an easier transition between care settings.

The new, 77,000-sq.-ft. facility replaces the older 30,500-sq.-ft. structure and includes a total of 100 single rooms with private washrooms.  The new Tabor Home was originally announced to include 80 personal care beds and 20 supportive housing beds.  The province later made the decision to designate all 100 beds as personal care beds.  The 20 extra personal care beds significantly enhance Tabor Home’s ability to meet the needs of seniors and families in the community.  The new facility is designed as a community complete with five houses, two neighbourhoods and an uptown area.

“The completion of this construction project is truly a testimony to the collaborative efforts of a very visionary community, the regional health authority and the Manitoba government,” says Jane Curtis, chief executive officer for Southern Health-Santé Sud.  “This new ‘home close to home’ will give seniors a beautiful, modern facility where they can socialize, stay active and spend time with loved ones.  We would like to express our appreciation to the province, the Tabor Home Governing Board and the community for their leadership, collaboration and dedication in seeing this project become a reality.”

Each new house is home to 20 residents and includes a living room, a dining room, a kitchenette with a fridge, stove and microwave as well as its own spa/shower room.  To assist with way-finding, the houses are named Aspen, Birch, Cedar, Dogwood and Elm.  The Crocus Lounge is at the centre of the Aspen, Birch, and Cedar neighbourhoods.  The Sunflower Lounge joins the Dogwood and Elm neighbourhoods.  A community centre for larger group activities, spiritual care, a café and a salon are located in the uptown area near the main entrance.  The new home also offers direct access to protected outdoor spaces to be enjoyed by residents and visitors.

“We are thrilled to mark the official opening of the new Tabor Home,” said Wilf Warkentin, board chair, Tabor Home Inc.  “Indeed this is a celebration to commemorate and honour all those who served faithfully in various capacities throughout the prior facility’s 65-year life span.  Today we also celebrate all the people, staff and volunteers who have contributed to its new beginning.  We extend our gratitude to the Province of Manitoba, the City of Morden, the regional health authority and everyone who donated time and resources for this great project.”

The new Tabor Home is located at 450 Loren Dr. and will replace the smaller, outdated facility originally built in 1968.

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Province Releases Public Accounts for 2016-17 Fiscal Year

PROVINCE RELEASES PUBLIC ACCOUNTS FOR 2016-17 FISCAL YEAR


Finance Minister Cameron Friesen released the public accounts for the 2016-17 fiscal year today, reflecting critical progress made towards reducing the province’s deficit.

The 2016-17 year-end financial results show a summary deficit of $764 million, $147 million lower than the 2016-17 budgeted deficit of $911 million.  The minister noted the importance of meeting budget targets, with this being the first time in five years the actual deficit is less than budgeted.  Improvement to the province’s deficit is a result of the combination of fiscal discipline, expenditure management, higher revenues and prudent budget forecasting, he added.

“Year over year, the previous government exceeded its deficit projections, putting the province further in debt,” said Friesen.  “Budget 2016 began the critical work of reversing the previous government’s pattern of reckless overspending, ever-increasing debt and higher taxes.  If we had continued on that path, our deficit would be $1.7 billion by 2019.  By meeting our financial targets and addressing the fundamental risks that threaten the security and quality of services provided to Manitobans, we have now begun to put Manitoba on a path of responsible recovery.”

The minister noted debt-servicing costs continue to be a concern in the government’s ongoing pursuit of financial recovery.  The 2016-17 results show $930 million spent to service the province’s debt, a slight increase of $19 million from the 2016-17 budgeted amount of $911 million.  Debt-servicing costs are projected to increase to $991 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year, the minister added.

“Taxpayer dollars spent servicing the province’s debt is money that cannot be invested in health care, education and social services,” said Friesen.  “Our government remains steadfast in our commitment to secure a firm financial foundation, to ensure the services Manitoba families depend on are sustainable today and into the future.”

The public accounts can be viewed at www.gov.mb.ca/finance/publications/financialreports.html.

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Be Prepared for Flu Season

Be prepared for flu season

From left to right: Health minister Kelvin Goertzen, Fort Richmond MLA Sarah Guillemard and Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield at an announcement to provide a new, high-dose flu vaccine free of charge to seniors living in personal care homes.
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From left to right: Health minister Kelvin Goertzen, Fort Richmond MLA Sarah Guillemard and Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield at an announcement to provide a new, high-dose flu vaccine free of charge to seniors living in personal care homes.

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