Fixing the Province's finances, repairing services and rebuilding the economy were the main topics of the throne speech as Lt. Gov. Janice Filmon outlined the governments ambitious plan in the 41st sitting of the legislative assembly.
“We have embarked on an ambitious plan to make Manitoba the most improved province in Canada,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “Though we have made good progress over the past two years, much work remains to be done. We will continue to confront our challenges and face them together, united by the unshakeable belief that better days are ahead – that a brighter, more prosperous future awaits our beautiful province.”
The premier noted the province continues to make progress toward returning to balanced budgets, while also providing tax relief for Manitoba families and small businesses. The province is committed to making communities safer, protecting vulnerable Manitobans, and continuing to improve health care, education and social services, he said.
The speech from the throne highlighted key government priorities:
bringing forward a new Referendum Act to restore the rights of Manitobans to vote on major tax increases, and provide a framework for calling and conducting a referendum;
implementing a plan to reduce wait times for procedures such as joint replacement, cataracts and diagnostic imaging;
developing Manitoba’s first ever provincial Clinical and Preventive Services Plan;
implementing a comprehensive plan to address the Virgo report’s key recommendations and guide improvements to mental health and addictions services across government;
enhancing supports for victims of domestic violence with two new pilot programs and introducing legislation to pilot a first-in-Canada family resolution service;
releasing an action plan for economic growth, informed by the review conducted by Dave Angus and Barb Gamey, in the coming weeks;
establishing a lead entity to support economic growth and development in the north;
delivering a renewed Travel Manitoba tourism strategy;
supporting seniors by constructing 1,200 additional personal care home beds by 2025;
helping keep children and families together and bringing forward legislative changes to The Child and Family Services Act and The Child and Family Services Authorities Act;
improving accountability for results in the justice system and beginning in 2019, reporting annually on key measures such as recidivism rates, time to disposition of offences and custody counts;
introducing an Immediate Roadside Prohibition Program to allow police to address lower-level alcohol-related cases more quickly using administrative penalties;
bringing forward legislative amendments to allow the safe testing of autonomous vehicles on provincial roads;
modernizing the Consumer Protection Office to improve client service;
suspending further expansion of gaming pending a review of the province’s gaming strategy;
launching the Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education and conducting the first in-depth review of Manitoba’s child education system in decades;
preparing for Manitoba’s upcoming sesquicentennial and launching one of the first Manitoba 150 projects in partnership with the Hudson’s Bay Company History Foundation;
making new investments in capital modernization and training to assist the agri-food sector in capitalizing on global market opportunities in protein extraction;
enhancing resiliency of the province’s natural infrastructure to climate-change challenges such as flooding, storms and wildfires;
bringing forward regulations to better plan the use of water resources and enhance drainage, conserve wetlands and store water within local watershed districts;
advancing construction of the Lake Manitoba Outlet without delay; and
implementing a new governance and funding framework for the continued success of Brandon’s Keystone Centre.
“Manitoba’s road to recovery is a long one, requiring both courage and care,” said Pallister. “We will continue the work we’ve begun. We remain committed to improving Manitoba and the lives of all Manitobans.”
To read the speech from the throne visit http://gov.mb.ca/thronespeech.