Yesterday Manitoba’s Chief Justice Richard J.F. Chartier opened the second session of Manitoba’s 42nd legislature with a speech from the throne. Coming off September’s election that returned them with another majority mandate, the throne speech re-iterated many commitments Premier Brian Pallister made during the campaign.
The speech focused on their five guarantees:
Better healthcare sooner;
New schools; and,
The Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.
Their 2020 tax rollback plan is aimed to save Manitoba families $2,020 annually, and the next steps of that plan were revealed in the throne speech. This includes eliminating professional fees related to the preparation of wills and estates on January 1, 2020. Starting in the new year the sales tax will also be eliminated from personal services over $50, such as those provided by salons. Probate fees will be eliminated on July 1, 2020, and vehicle registration fees will be reduced by 10% on that same day.
Spending initiatives included a new $20 million Manitoba Mineral Development Fund, and an increase in the annual highways construction budget to $400 million from the current $350 million. Twenty new schools are promised over the next decade, and they will also look to expand private sector investment in order to create more child-care spaces.
As part of the climate and green plan, a long-term energy strategy will be developed. The Climate and Green Plan Expert Advisory Committee has also been tasked with investigating and providing recommendations on electrifying Manitoba’s transportation infrastructure. Ethanol and biodiesel requirements in fuel will be increased in 2020 as well.
In total, the throne speech outlined over 100 initiatives, and at least 20 new bills are slated for introduction this fall sitting. Among them will be one to eliminate the existing Sunday and holiday shopping restrictions in Manitoba.
With Manitoba celebrating it’s 150th anniversary in 2020, Premier Pallister also used the throne speech as an opportunity to invite all Canadians to celebrate Manitoba’s past, present and future next year under the theme “United in Celebration”.