The first session of the 43rd Manitoba legislature began today with the reading of the Speech from the Throne by the province’s Lieutenant-Governor, the Honourable Anita R. Neville, along with all the uplifting ceremony we have come to expect from the province’s new government under Premier Wab Kinew.
Speeches from the Throne are often used to set the tone for a government as well as outline its main priorities for the upcoming legislative session; in keeping with the themes seen throughout the election campaign, today’s throne speech was entitled, “A New Day for Manitoba.”
Many of the previously announced commitments were reiterated within the continued focus on fixing health care, lowering costs, growing the economy, and working together for a better future for all Manitobans.
No details were provided for a new “Premier’s Business and Jobs team,” except that it will articulate “a clear provincial economic strategy to strengthen our diversified economy and lean into new low-carbon opportunities,” and will include various sectors and areas of the province.
Other promises of additional announcements to come included the “significant new policy” to lower costs for agricultural producers and ranchers, and the introduction of an “Unexplained Wealth Act” related to profits gained through criminal activity, building on similar initiatives in other jurisdictions, including British Columbia.
The speech also referenced the Premier’s accomplishment from the recent First Ministers’ meeting in Halifax- a commitment from Premiers to, “work together to fix the staffing shortage and ensure they do not poach Manitoba’s health care workers.”
Other priorities highlighted by the government include:
- Securing federal government 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;
- Reducing 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;
- Expanding services at Grace Hospital, Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg, Concordia Hospital and Brandon Regional Health Centre;
- Freezing hydro rate increases for one year and suspending the gas tax; and,
- Resetting the relationship with Indigenous governments by working together on priorities in health care, education and economic reconciliation.
Recently elected Speaker of the Manitoba Legislature, Tom Lindsey, presided over the initial speeches from Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in reply to the Throne Speech, which will continue throughout the week. Premier Wab Kinew has also stated his intention to prioritize three pieces of legislation in the coming weeks: suspending the provincial fuel tax as of January 1, 2024; acknowledging Louis Riel as the rightful First Premier of Manitoba; and declaring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation or “Orange Shirt Day” an annual provincial statutory holiday beginning September 30, 2024.
The legislature is scheduled to sit until December 7, when it will pause for the winter break until March 6, 2024.
Prairie Sky will continue to monitor for upcoming announcements and further details regarding the government’s legislative agenda and will share timely related updates.
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For information and insights about what these developments mean for Manitoba’s political landscape, please contact:
Tara Bingham – Senior Strategy Advisor
To learn more about Prairie Sky Strategy, please visit our website.