Manitoba’s Speech from the Throne
Calling it “a new day in Manitoba,” the government presented its inaugural Throne Speech focused on a number of the NDP’s election promises, while warning about a “financial challenge” left behind by the Tories.
Here’s what you need to know:
Going big on health care: It’s one of the top issues on the minds of Manitobans and a promise to fix it was one of the keys to putting Wab Kinew in the Premier’s office. The Throne Speech recommits to key pieces of the NDP’s platform, from increasing surgical capacity to streamlining credentialing and expanding primary care teams. A new Seniors Advocate position will be created, while the province works to increase home care supports and the number of hours of direct care in personal care homes. The government will also launch a health care listening tour as part of a plan to mend the frayed relationships with workers throughout the health system.
Belt tightening: Following whispers that the province’s books were not in as great of shape as the previous government had claimed, Premier Kinew warned of “a number of initiatives the (PCs) committed to publicly where there’s no plan to pay for them.” Despite this, the government says it will not be deterred from the promise to balance the budget by the end of its first term, but there will be many eyes on projects that may be delayed or stopped altogether.
Economic vision: Premier Kinew has been fond of saying “the economic horse pulls the social cart” when noting that the government has to help grow the economy and foster the conditions for private sector success in order to deliver on the mandate to fix health care and lower people’s costs. To that end, a Premier’s Business and Jobs team will be established, aiming to have representation across regions and sectors, bringing both employers and workers to the table. The team will be tasked with “articulating a clear provincial economic strategy.”
It will be a busy three weeks in the Legislature, with the first bill introductions to include removing the provincial gas tax, recognizing Louis Riel as the honorary first Premier of Manitoba, and establishing Orange Shirt Day as a provincial statutory holiday. Expect a new policy in the coming days to lower costs in the agriculture sector as well.
Whether it’s been the olive branches extended to health workers and the public service, or resetting the province’s relationship with Indigenous governments, Premier Kinew’s team is taking every opportunity to point to ways they seek to work together with stakeholders. It presents an opportunity for businesses and organizations to present their priorities to the government and help deliver on the vision for “a new day in Manitoba.”