Manitoba’s government is setting the course for an ambitious plan that will make the province the most improved in Canada – a careful approach that will ensure the protection of front-line services and the people who provide them, as well as targeted initiatives aimed at eliminating wasteful government spending and the development of strategic partnerships that will put Manitoba back on a responsible fiscal track, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“Just 100 days ago, our government was sworn into office and began the challenging work of fulfilling our vision for a better Manitoba,” said Pallister. “We have started work to find savings, increase accountability and transparency, and create new possibilities for a brighter future for all Manitobans. The accomplishments we have made since coming into office just a few months ago reflect the important first steps of the careful approach we will pursue over the coming years.”
The premier noted progress made to date on identified priorities includes:
- launching the Open Government Initiative including the release of ministerial mandate letters, Crown services framework letters, ministerial transition documents and introducing legislation setting out fixed dates for the beginning of the writ in a general election and a six-month time limit to call byelections;
- introducing a single-window application intake for cost-shared infrastructure funding;
- initiating a value-for-money review of government projects to be completed by KPMG and identifying savings for Budget 2017;
- reducing the size of government cabinet by one-third;
- incorporating an initial reduction of ambulance fees in Budget 2016 and committing to further reductions being made in future budgets;
- creating the foundation for a relationship based on trust with Indigenous leaders, which will lead to an engagement strategy implementing government’s duty to consult;
- conducting regular meetings with municipalities and industry stakeholders to develop mutually beneficial plans for strategic infrastructure investment;
- having productive dialogue with premiers from across Canada on trade opportunities including significant progress on joining the New West Partnership with Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and the agreement in principle on a new Canada Free Trade Agreement;
- initiating consultation with tourism industry representatives to develop the framework for a 96/4 tourism strategy;
- introducing the proposed protecting children (information sharing) act, which would allow information to be shared about children in need of supportive services; and
- abolishing the ‘vote tax’ subsidy for political parties and committing to a path forward that will restore Manitobans’ right to vote on major tax increases.
“Coming into government, we knew that we were inheriting a significant fiscal challenge that would require a new focus and a commitment to getting Manitoba back on track. We have made good progress so far in building the base for a better Manitoba and identifying the targets that we must meet in order to achieve success, but much work lies ahead,” said Pallister. “As we move forward, we will look to the north for untapped opportunities and strategic investments, we will build upon our relationships and partnerships both within Manitoba and outside our borders, we will continue to reduce red tape and waste, and we will consult with Manitobans on their priorities as we move toward Budget 2017.”
The premier noted the frameworks for a Health Care Sustainability and Innovation Review, Red Tape Reduction Task Force and Premier’s Enterprise Team have been completed and work is underway to identify innovative Manitobans to serve on each panel.
The province has also taken steps to improve transparency and more clearly define the respective roles of government and the boards of directors of Manitoba’s major Crown corporations. In order to ensure performance and results while respecting the operational independence of the Crowns, Manitoba Hydro has been asked to evaluate the Bipole III project and make recommendations for future review, the premier said.
“Now 100 days into our mandate, we have established targets and started the work necessary to achieve better results for Manitoba,” Pallister said. “We are proud of our success to date and are inspired by the opportunity to collaborate with Manitobans to improve services and build a stronger foundation for our economy.”