The Manitoba government remains committed to correcting the course and making Manitoba the most improved province in Canada by continuing to fix the province’s finances, improve services and rebuild the economy.
This was the message delivered by Lt.-Gov. Janice C. Filmon as she outlined the government’s ambitious program in presenting the throne speech marking the third session of the 41st sitting of the legislature.
“We have made significant progress, but there is much more to do as we continue with our plan to improve life in Manitoba for all its citizens,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “We are again unveiling an ambitious agenda that will help create jobs for Manitobans and improve services for vulnerable citizens. We are in this together. We will continue to consult Manitobans, both inside and outside of the civil service, for their ideas on improving our province. This is a government that listens and we will continue to listen.”
The government has made progress on fixing the finances with better than expected results in reducing the deficit, the premier added. The speech from the throne directed work would continue including:
- planning for a public service transformation strategy to deliver better outcomes for Manitobans,
- implementing mechanisms to ensure government spends smarter, and
- reducing overlap and duplication in government services.
The speech highlighted services will be improved through initiatives such as the recently unveiled reform of the province’s children in care program including proposed legislation to remove barriers to guardianship to move children from government care to loving homes and improve outcomes for those children.
Improvement in the delivery of health services continues with governance reforms designed to reduce senior management and by trimming at the top to ensure maximum resources dedicated to front-line care. The speech noted the government will improve self- and family-managed home care and highlighted the new Priority Home program that will shorten hospital stays. The province will also work to develop a comprehensive approach to chronic disease prevention.
The speech from the throne highlighted other initiatives including:
- developing a new Early Learning and Child Care strategy,
- introducing a new provincial housing strategy for affordable and social housing,
- reforming the family law system to better protect parents and children, and
- positioning the Family Violence Prevention Program with Manitoba Status of Women and having Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, chair the Ending Gender-Based Violence cabinet committee.
“The best measurement of government is how it takes care of its most vulnerable,” said Pallister.
The speech outlined work on rebuilding the economy continues with a move to restructure economic development efforts to better attract new investments, continuing work to unlock the economic potential of northern Manitoba by building on the Look North Economic Task Force’s recommendations, re-introducing legislation this session to fully implement the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement, continuing work on reducing red tape, significant investments in agriculture and leveraging the province’s attractiveness as a destination for investments in protein processing.
The speech also highlighted the proposed introduction of legislation and the appointment an advisory commission to begin implementing the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan and continuation of work on advancing relationships with Indigenous peoples through the development of a reconciliation strategy.
“These are challenging times calling for vision, courage and action,” said Pallister. “It is not easy. The previous government lacked that courage. It requires changes and change can be unsettling. But for too long, Manitoba has been last among provinces in most social services categories. Manitobans deserve better.”