Two months after the Progressive Conservatives were re-elected into power, the province delivered its speech from the throne from the Legislature on Nov. 19.
Premier Brian Pallister listed the government’s plans, primarily derived from its election platform, including lowering taxes, reducing fees, introducing new programs and providing additional funding for tourism and highway construction.
“We ran on a commitment to reduce taxes … and we’re taking measures with this speech to commit to doing so,” Pallister said.
Lakeside PC MLA and newly-minted Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler told The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times he believes the proposed policies outlined by the government will have a positive effect for his constituents and elsewhere in the Interlake region.
“I’m really excited about the throne speech. It talked a lot about where we are as a province, as a new government and our tasks forward,” Eichler said. “To me, economic development is where it’s going to be … What we’re going to do is create 40,000 more jobs over the next four years and how we’re going to work with education, business and academia in order to be able to get this all done as were on the same path while still growing our economy.”
He added that with Lakeside bordering Winnipeg and both areas being part of CentrePort, his constituents will be “well-positioned” to take advantage of new jobs.
Opposition leader Wab Kinew was unhappy with the province’s plan to send mandate letters, outlining expected student outcomes, to post-secondary institutions which receives public funding, claiming that the government would set curriculum instead of the schools themselves.
Eichler, whose portfolio includes post-secondary institutions, responded to the claim, saying that the letters will benefit the institutions and their students.
“We want to make sure we educate the people for the jobs that will become available. That’s how we bring business and college together,” he said. “I can in fact tell you that the universities and colleges are excited, very excited about the opportunity to work together.”
He also implied that surpluses and shortages of certain occupations, like teachers and nurses, would be remedied if institutions and businesses collaborated.
“I’m going to do everything I can to help Manitobans get those good paying jobs,” Eichler said.
Other major points from the throne speech included:
• Asking the federal government to accelerate the Lake Manitoba flood outlet process;
• Launching a planned $3.4-million women’s health initiative with supports for those who experienced childhood sexual abuse, were sexually exploited as girls or suffer from eating disorders;
• Beginning engagement on restorative justice programs that allow young offenders to obtain job skills;
• Introducing a $25-million energy efficiency retrofit program for existing homes and buildings;
• Beginning previously announced consultations on eliminating single-use plastic bags, and;
• Working to eliminate Sunday and holiday shopping restrictions, though municipalities could still impose their own limits.
— With files from Joyanne Pursaga, Postmedia Network