On Tuesday November 20th, 2018 the Pallister Government made its Speech from the Throne. The Speech from the Throne highlights the ruling governments plans for the upcoming legislative session, in this instance the current government is entering its fourth session. The Speech was delivered by Lt. Gov. Janice Filmon.
A wide range of goals and directions for the government in the upcoming sessions were discussed. Among them were familiar declarations of balanced budgets, tax relief for families and small business. There was mention of a new Referendum Act to allow “Manitobans to vote on major tax increases”.
A brief list of some of the issues:
-A goal of strengthening the current healthcare system by reducing wait times in the St. Boniface Hospital and Health Science Centre. Specifically, they want to direct their attention to wait times for “procedures such as joint replacement, cataracts, and diagnostic imaging”. They explained how ambulance fees have been reduced by 35% and will be cut in half by 2020. They declared that the healthcare system they inherited was top heavy and that they would continue to remove administrative layers.
- In order to respond to recommendations for changing to the child protections programs they plan on bringing forward legislative amendments in both The Child and Family Services Act as well as The Child and Family Services Authority Act.
-A renewed framework for the provision and finer aspects of sustainable housing was mentioned. They acknowledged that some feedback they have heard is the implementation of access to skills training in order to aid people in becoming economically secure and independent.
-A new approach to transitioning individuals from welfare into the workforce promises “more timely and holistic assessments, based on more accurate data to individual need”, with a goal of getting people back into the workforce sooner.
-Investments in new school and child care spaces, and the new Child Care Centre Development Tax Credit is targeted to increasing “access to affordable, licensed early learning and child care spaces”.
-The government declared that they were committed to making communities safer. Previously in 2016 they explained that a review revealed the areas requiring the most amount of adjustment to the criminal justice system. The ‘Criminal Justice System Modernisation Strategy’ has four key components such as “crime prevention, targeted resources for serious criminal cases, more effective use of restorative justice and responsible reintegration of offenders”, these changes have been seeing a positive response. Starting in 2019 Manitoba Justice will receive reforms in order to further improve the current justice system.
- Future testing of autonomous vehicles is predicted for the future, and as a result they plan on introducing legislative amendments to allow safer testing of such vehicles.
-Two new pilot programs are planned in order to support victims of domestic violence.
-Improvements to the system for those who are separating, divorcing, dealing with child custody issues, and spousal/child support were purposed for the upcoming session.
-Improvements to the elementary and secondary schools are a focus, as well as providing “higher quality vocational and professional education” in regards to colleges in Manitoba.
These are only a few summaries of the topics address in the Throne Speech. The full PDF copy of the speech can be read on the Manitoba Government website at www.gov.mb.ca/thronespeech/ along with the full video of the speech along with the following press conference that Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister spoke at.