Under The Dome

In my column last week, I mentioned that our Progressive Conservative team passed 28 government bills and two private member’s bills in three months of hard work at the Manitoba legislature during the recently completed spring session.

Continuing on our path to make Manitoba the most improved province in Canada, we have new laws that will help fix the province’s finances by reducing the deficit, sustain our public services, improve the child welfare system, bring predictability to the minimum wage and save Manitobans money on their power bills, among many other important measures.

After our entire 40-member PC Caucus decided in early March to take a freeze on our MLA salaries until the next general election, we began to work even harder in the House to fix Manitoba’s finances. Our government’s new Fiscal Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act ensures financial sustainability for our province with a commitment to smart fiscal management, after the previous NDP administration doubled the provincial debt in just eight years. This new law requires real progress toward balanced budgets through progressively smaller deficits, and includes pay cuts for cabinet ministers who fail to achieve legislated deficit-reduction targets.

With other legislation, we are protecting and repairing the services Manitoba families depend on. The Public Services Sustainability Act brings more certainty to public-sector compensation costs by establishing a rolling four-year period to set a framework for future pay increases. At the same time, we are encouraging our provincial government employers and unions to work together to find savings that can be returned to Manitobans. This balanced and measured approach does not involve wage rollbacks and does not affect workers’ pensions.

Our government is also taking strong steps to better meet the needs of children in care by giving the Children’s Advocate increased powers and responsibilities. The new Advocate for Children and Youth Act expands the mandate of the Advocate’s office beyond Child and Family Services in order to help other vulnerable kids and young adults.

For workers and their families looking for wage predictability, as well as for businesses, we have passed the Minimum Wage Indexation Act that adjusts the minimum rate on Oct. 1 of each year to reflect inflation. We are raising the minimum hourly wage to $11.15 this fall and ensuring regular, predictable increases with a sensible approach that will keep the wage steady in years of negative or no inflation.

As well, we are assisting families and businesses with their power bills through Efficiency Manitoba, a new Crown agency that will develop energy-saving programs. This agency, created with new legislation, will reduce energy bills for consumers and companies after proposed rate increases resulting from the NDP’s mismanagement of Manitoba Hydro.

We completed a lot of important work this past spring. We look forward to returning to the House in the fall, as our government and PC team continue to work for Manitobans by fixing our finances, repairing our services and rebuilding our economy.

Greg Nesbitt is the MLA for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 204-759-3313, 1-844-877-7767 or by email at gregnesbittmla@mymts.net

Under The Dome

Legislature recessed for summer after busy spring session


The Second Session of the 41st Manitoba Legislature ended in the early morning hours of Friday, June 2.

Over 20 pieces of government legislation were passed during the session, with the majority receiving third reading on the final day of the session. Three private member’s bills also made their way through the Legislature.

The final day of session began at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 1 and didn’t finish until 3:30 a.m. on Friday, June 2. The NDP requested recorded votes on nine of the bills, and the maximum amount of time of one hour between votes was also taken.

Her Honour, Lieutenant-Governor Janice Filmon made her way from Government House to arrive in the Chamber just before 3:30 to give Royal Assent to all the legislation. Following the singing of O’Canada and God Save The Queen, the Legislature adjourned to sit again beginning Wednesday, October 4th.


Full-time job

Many people aren’t aware that the role of an MLA in Manitoba is full-time.

The Legislature is in session for a set number of days in the spring and fall. A rural  MLA spends weekdays in the city and normally travels home every weekend, many times to attend constituency events.

When not sitting, an MLA spends time on constituency concerns, representing the government at various events, and attending caucus and committee meetings in Winnipeg.

For a rural MLA, not being in session in the summer means they have the opportunity to attend graduations, ribbon cuttings, parades and other community events where he or she has the chance to connect with the citizens he or she represents.

MLAs are entitled to holiday time similar to any other employee in any field of work.


Constituency events

I was honoured to represent the Province of Manitoba at a ceremony to unveil a plaque that recognized the 100th anniversary of the Rivers Train Station on Friday, June 9.

Her Honour, Lieutenant-Governor Janice Filmon and His Honour Gary Filmon were on hand to unveil the plaque, and also to plant a unique Manitoba red maple tree to officially open the Rivers Wetland Centre of Excellence.

The new tree variety, named Regal Celebration, was crossbred by Jeffries Nurseries in Portage la Prairie over two decades, combining the hardiness of western maple trees with the bright red fall foliage of maples in eastern Canada.

The Lieutenant-Governor plants trees to recognize in a sustainable way the efforts of outstanding individuals and occasions in the province.

I attended the Mid-Western meeting of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities in Shoal Lake on Wednesday, June 14 where I had a chance to listen to concerns of municipal officials from across the constituency. It was a great opportunity to talk with municipal leaders from across the constituency.

It was a busy afternoon in Rossburn on Thursday, June 15 with the official opening of the Net-Set Communications tower, the handi-van storage shed and new equipment at the Fitness Centre. As well a Biz-Pal initiative was launched in the community. I am pleased our provincial government was able to assist the community with funding for the handi-van facility.

I was in Russell on Friday, June 16 to bring greetings on behalf of the Minister of Families, Scott Fielding, at the official opening of the Park Manor Seniors Housing life lease project. This 24-unit project received $1.15 million in federal-provincial funding.

The events continued on Saturday, June 17 with the unveiling of a sign in Newdale recognizing Manitoba’s official soil – Newdale Clay Loam.

While the soil, which covers approximately 1.3 million acres in Manitoba, has been Manitoba’s official soil since 2010, the signage recognizes the proclamation and will give visitors an idea about how it differs from soil found elsewhere.

Greg Nesbitt is the MLA for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 204-759-3313, toll-free at 1-844-877-7767 or by email at gregnesbittmla@mymts.net