The Manitoba 2023 Speech from the Throne

Manitoba’s New Democratic government, which won the general election in October, unveiled its first Speech from the Throne earlier today, outlining the new government’s priorities, with a theme entitled, “A New Day in Manitoba.”

In a press release noting the address, Premier Wab Kinew noted:

“Together, we can build the future we want for this province, where every family can afford to build a good life, where you have quality health care close to home and a government that works for you,”

Priorities for the new government include:

  • make Manitoba a leader in the low-carbon economy with an agreement from the federal government to deliver funding for a geothermal heat pump program that will connect homes across Manitoba with low-carbon, affordable energy and offer new opportunities to train the next generation of energy workers;
  • reduce wait times for surgeries and MRIs by bringing high-quality surgical care back to Manitoba’s public health-care system with new surgical slates and new diagnostic services;
  • reduce the backlog in hospitals by expanding services at Grace Hospital, Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg, Concordia Hospital and Brandon Regional Health Centre;
  • provide immediate relief to families by freezing hydro rate increases for one year and cutting the gas tax;
  • grow Manitoba’s economy and create good jobs by encouraging investments in Manitoba industries like value-added manufacturing, trade and natural resources;
  • take action to bring needed relief to beef producers on Crown land leases;
  • work with front-line organizations, the business community and all levels of government to help Manitobans struggling with homelessness; and
  • reset the relationship with Indigenous governments by working together on priorities in health care, education and economic reconciliation.

Speech from the throne

While the speech from the throne is not a partisan exercise per se, the government referred to what it viewed as flaws during the previous two terms of the Progressive Conservative government.

A focal point of the address was the government’s desire to reset the relationship with Metis, Inuit and First Nations Peoples across Manitoba. This was also reflected in the Premier assuming additional duties as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation. The speech pointed to the specific acts of once again allowing Manitoba Hydro to deal directly with First Nations governments; the commitment to conduct a landfill search for the remains of the late Marcedes Myran, Morgan Harris and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe was also referenced.

In referencing the geothermal heat pump program noted above, the government also pledged to train additional Manitobans to install such devices and highlighted its partnership with the federal government. 

The NDP government has also pledged to balance the budget by the end of this term, which would be 2027, and criticized the former government as having overspent. 

Health was a focal point during the election campaign, and ranks consistently as a top-of-mind concerns for voters in Manitoba and across the country. The current government recognized that and made various commitments.  In addition to the service expansions listed earlier, the throne speech also pledged to expand surgical access, increase home care services to seniors, recruitment and retention of health care personnel, and the creation of a Seniors Advocate.

Affordability measures were also noted, and in addition to a Manitoba Hydro rate free, the government will suspend the provincial gas tax starting in the new year, which will save Manitobans 14 cents per litre. 

Under the heading of “Safer Communities” the speech noted the goal of ending chronice homelessness in the next years, and how the new Department of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness was created to break down barriers, to ensure results.

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