Manitobans will go to the polls on Tuesday, October 3rd, and we are nearing the halfway point of the election. CHG has been following the announcements made by the major parties. Since our last update, here are the various announcements by party.
The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives have made the following announcements:
Committing to removing the PST from restaurant meals to make the cost of dining more
Affordable and give a much-needed boost in support to the ongoing recovery of the restaurant industry;
Growing aquaculture fish farming, with the goal of increasing international exports and strengthening Manitoba’s agri-foods and fisheries industries;
A bonus to productions that use local artists in their soundtracks, as well as invest in facilities to attract more Hollywood productions to Manitoba;
To address Manitoba’s labour shortages and put the province on the path to filling 100,000 jobs over the next five years, a re-elected PC government will kick-start a new skills training and recruitment fund with a $16-million initial investment targeted to support the most in-demand industries;
To put more ‘green’ back into Manitoba streets and gardens, a re-elected PC government will remove the PST from the sale of trees and flowers;
A permanent 50-per-cent reduction on agricultural Crown lands rent and increased funding for veterinary services in rural communities;
Advancing Manitoba’s Critical Minerals Strategy, bringing near-term projects into production and doubling the workforce over the next decade;
A phase-out of the anti-competitive Payroll Tax on Manitoba businesses over eight years, with a 50-per-cent reduction in four years;
$10 million to support the Flin Flon Aqua Centre;
To nearly double the charitable donation tax credit; and
Helping seniors make ends meet by allowing them to defer some or all of their yearly property taxes, and introducing new supports to cover the cost of mobility aids.
The Manitoba NDP have pledged the following:
A five-step plan to streamline credentialing and registration for internationally educated health professionals:
Former Premier Gary Doer will work with the next Manitoba NDP government as an Advisor on Canada/US trade should the NDP win the election;
A new emergency room at the Victoria Hospital in Winnipeg;
A promise of 10,000 new jobs via the Jobs for Manitobans Strategy;
100 additional homecare workers to improve homecare and end the cancelled visits and reduced hours that make it harder for seniors to live independently at home;
Expanding team-based health care and opening five new family medical centres across the province. Expanding team-based care will help address the family doctor shortage, improve retention and ease the strain on our ERs by relying not only on doctors to deliver primary care but also utilizing a full team of professionals with diverse skills; and
Improved working conditions and offer better work-life balance for all Manitoba nurses.
The Manitoba Liberal Party released its full platform early on in the campaign, and have made various announcements including:
Investing in Manitoba’s colleges and universities, with multi-year stable funding aimed at increasing research capacity and expanding departments in order to increase graduates and help address Manitoba’s labour shortages;
Implementing a guaranteed dignified income (mincome) for people over 60 and those living with severe mental or physical disabilities;
Reforming the Employment Income Assistance system by ending penalties for work and ensuring people who want to work will have access to the resources they need through a ‘Manitoba Works for Good’ jobs program;
Returning an estimated $338-million in federal child benefits that the Manitoba Government seized from Indigenous children they were supposed to care for;
Cracking down on illicit drug sales and freeing up police resources by creating mental health and addictions crisis teams who are trained to de-escalate situations, assist in wellness checks, and deal with people in crisis; and
A new mental health system in Manitoba covering psychotherapy under Medicare, investing in training to boost the numbers of qualified and registered therapists to address shortages, and ensuring better access to addiction services.
Advance voting will be open from September 23rd through September 30th. The election remains a dead heat between the NDP and the PCs. According to 338canada.com, the PCs are polling at 45%, the NDP at 43%, and the Liberals at 10%. Their current seat projection is 28 for the NDP, 27 for the PCs and two for the Liberals. 29 seats are required for a majority.
Wes McLean is a Senior Consultant with the Capital Hill Group, who spent 18 years advising conservative governments in Ottawa, New Brunswick and Manitoba. He most recently served as deputy chief of staff to Premier Blaine Higgs.