Today, Manitoba’s Lieutenant Governor Janice Filmon opened the third session of Manitoba’s 42nd legislature with the Speech from the Throne. Due to COVID-19, only half the MLA’s were in the chamber to ensure social distancing. The Throne Speech outlined a ‘Protecting Manitobans Agenda’ with five commitments:
Protecting Health Care
Protecting Education and Child Care
Protecting Manitoba’s Future
The health response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains priority number one. Following the joint Premiers call for more healthcare funding, MLA’s will be asked to unanimously support a resolution that will call on the federal government to increase the Canada Health Transfer.
On the jobs front, the Premier’s Economic Opportunities Board will be tasked with recommending “a new, independent private sector-led economic development agency to attract investment and promote international trade for our province. They will also be asked to examine 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.”
To protect incomes, the government reiterated their commitment to reduce taxes. A big step in that regard is the phased elimination of education property taxes which will start next year.
For education, the government will set out a Better Education Strategy Today (BEST) which looks to make the K-12 system more “classroom-focused, student-centered and parent-friendly.” Education funding will also be increased by $1.6 billion over the next four years.
The commitment to protecting Manitoba’s future focused on the financial, climate, and energy future of the province. With the provincial deficit forecast to be close to $3 billion this fiscal year, the next provincial budget will set a path to return to balance over two terms. There will be “new initiatives to reduce carbon emissions” and a provincial water strategy will also be released.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please contact:
Michael Juce - Associate, Manitoba