After the first seven-week sitting of our first legislative session, our new government is well on its way to making Manitoba the most improved province in Canada.
Our Throne Speech on May 16 made clear our Progressive Conservative government’s vision for the initial steps we would take to deliver a stronger economy, better services and a brighter future for all Manitobans. The speech laid out initiatives for, in part, improving education and health care, rediscovering economic innovation and restoring responsible fiscal management.
Our Budget 2016, introduced on May 31, takes strong steps to correct the course of the previous NDP administration and its reckless waste, debt and broken trust. Moving our province back toward fiscal balance, our new government has reduced the core deficit by $122 million while avoiding tax increases and relieving the burden on families by indexing income tax brackets to the rate of inflation. The budget has also maintained the school tax rebate for seniors, reduced ambulance fees and boosted infrastructure spending and funding in several departments, including Families and Education and Training.
With the aim of strengthening Manitoba’s economy, our government, under Premier Brian Pallister’s leadership, is joining the New West Partnership to increase trade with Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The agreement will help create jobs in Manitoba while helping businesses expand and reach more customers across Western Canada. As well, we are pushing for greater international trade for Manitoba by calling on the federal government to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
For businesses and their employees, our PC government has introduced important legislation that would ensure democracy in union certification decisions. The proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act would make secret-ballot votes among workers mandatory before unions could be certified to represent them.
Other important bills we’ve introduced are designed to better protect vulnerable Manitobans. The proposed Protecting Children Act calls for Child and Family Services, police agencies and schools to improve their sharing of critical information when it’s in the best interests of a child at risk. As well, changes to the Mental Health Act will allow qualified people other than police officers to remain with individuals waiting for involuntary medical examinations or psychiatric assessments, allowing police resources to be used more effectively.
Our government is, in addition, guaranteeing services to francophones with legislation that makes the French language a larger part of the province’s governance. The Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act better respects the French-speaking roots of many Manitobans.
We’re taking on these initiatives in partnership with Manitobans, and with inclusion, caring, integrity, common sense and teamwork. We’re making Manitoba better together.