Under The Dome
Premier Brian Pallister and Finance Minister Cameron Friesen announced earlier this month that on-line and in-person pre-budget consultations would be held this fall to allow Manitoba families to share their views on three key issues for Manitoba’s future – sustaining health care, controlling marijuana use and balancing the budget.
“I believe in deliberative democracy. I believe in a government that listens to the people because it trusts the people,”said Premier Pallister. “This pre-budget consultation is an exercise in listening. Your Manitoba government needs to hear from you.”
To that end I will be hosting a pre-budget consultation in the form of a town hall meeting for residents of the Riding Mountain constituency at the Shoal Lake Community Hall on Monday, Oct. 2 beginning at 7:00 p.m.
To ensure every Manitoban has the chance to give their input, the province has launched an on-line survey at www.manitobansmakingchoices.ca. Manitobans are encouraged to take the survey and have their say on a number of issues including:
- â€¢Controlling marijuana use, with questions about the legal age of consumption, price, availability and public safety;
- â€¢Balancing the budget, including questions about the path government should take to balance the budget and ways to reduce government spending; and
- â€¢Sustaining health care, with questions about how to sustain services and the possibility of introducing health-care premiums.
These are the same issues we will talk about at the in-person consultation.
As your government we have to make choices about how we spend your tax money to best benefit all Manitobans. Our government inherited a serious negative fiscal situation from the previous government.
Health care is the largest spending item by the provincial government, and record spending levels have not meant better results for patients, seniors, and families.
Now, the federal government is reducing the growth rate in health care transfers to provinces from what was planned starting next year. That creates a $2 billion gap in what we expected to receive and what we will receive over the next 10 years.
I want to emphasize that this is truly a consultation process. No decisions have been made.
I know Manitobans are already heavily taxed. That is why the Trudeau government’s backing off from their obligation to fund health care is frustrating and a serious abandonment of their responsibilities.
Balancing the budget is essential to live within our means, keep taxes low, and provide an inviting business environment for new investment.
“Balancing the budget too quickly by deep spending cuts risks services people rely on, and balancing the budget more slowly by reducing spending growth leads to higher debt and taxes on future generations” said Finance Minister Cameron Friesen. “We want Manitobans to look at each of these options and have their say on what should be done to improve the government’s finances.”
On marijuana, the federal government intends to make consumption legal on July 1, 2018. We have concerns about that arbitrary deadline. Nevertheless, we need to be ready.
There are important questions to answer about distribution, public safety and health that we want your input on.
The Minister of Finance will be holding open town halls to get input from Manitobans in several locations across the province, including Brandon and Dauphin.
The ministers of Finance, Health and Justice will be holding telephone town halls with thousands of Manitobans.
And as your MLA, I am holding a public town hall to get your feedback on these important issues.
Our government was elected to serve the people. To do that, we want your input, your ideas, your suggestions for a stronger Manitoba.
I encourage you to make your views known by going on-line to www.manitobansmakingchoices.ca and completing the short survey. If you don’t have access to a computer and the internet, please stop by my office at 515 – 7th Avenue in Shoal Lake and my assistant will load the survey for you to complete.
I look forward to seeing many of you in person on Monday, Oct. 2.
In order that we have some idea of how many people to expect, we are asking citizens to pre-register if they can (not mandatory) by calling 204-759-3313 or stopping in at our office.
Greg Nesbitt is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 204-759-3313, toll free at 1-844-877-7767, or by email at email@example.com.