The month of November flew by! There’s only one week left in the fall session. It was a jam-packed week at the Manitoba Legislature. On Monday, I was very excited to introduce my first ever bill as the MLA for St. Boniface - Bill 204 – The Elections Financing Amendment Act. This bill will raise the level of debate by requiring that leaders and candidates take responsibility for the messages that go out under their own banner. Click here to watch me introduce Bill 204 in the legislature. ASSOCIATION OF MANITOBA MUNICIPALITIES I was invited to speak at the annual Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) conference on Tuesday. I spoke about the need for a strategy to grow the economy. Growth comes first. If you want to cut taxes, start by growing revenues. What we need is to create NEW Manitoba businesses and NEW jobs. That takes investment. We have people with great ideas in Manitoba. We have people with the skills and know-how to make them a reality. What they are missing is capital. How do we achieve this? Instead of spending public money buying jobs from chains and multinationals, a Manitoba Liberal Government will create a publicly-owned Manitoba business Development Bank (MBDB). It would provide capital to Manitoba businesses and would exist for one reason: to grow Manitoba Businesses and create Manitoba jobs. It could be tourism, manufacturing, app development, or a dairy. It is up to the entrepreneur. MBDB would have to be insulated from political interference and run by professionals. It would provide not just loans, but equity, by buying shares of companies that would allow businesses to grow without worrying about paying back interest while they are getting off the ground. We know public banks can be effective. Alberta and North Dakota each have their own banks. Alberta’s ATB has over $45-billion in assets and North Dakota’s bank makes a 10% return on equity. We see the MBDB as a form of grassroots economic development. It is about stronger Manitoba businesses, better Manitoba jobs, and creating an economy that works for everyone.
THE GRINCH WHO KEPT CANNABIS REVENUE
A major topic of discussion at the AMM conference was Brian Pallister’s decision to not share any cannabis revenue with municipalities. The Premier is quoted as saying “there’s no profit in cannabis”. We don’t know what the PC government is smoking, but here’s what they are charging:
The province will make an estimated $12.8-million incannabis revenue in the first year and that number could grow to $94.8-million in the fifth year. That number does not include revenue collected from the social responsibility fee or the province's share of the Federal excise tax. The Federal government offered all of the provinces 75% of the excise tax, with 1/3 of that revenue meant to go to municipalities to help cover their costs. As Manitoba Liberals, we have no problem saying that municipalities should receive their fare share of cannabis revenue.
HIGH LEAD LEVELS We continue to hammer the Manitoba Government on its lack of action to deal with high lead levels in multiple Winnipeg neighbourhoods including St. Boniface, Weston and North Point Douglas. Simply sharing old reports and new test results doesn’t go far enough. In Question Period, Minister Squires chose to pat herself on the back for ordering soil samples for communities we already know are contaminated. What is needed is better communication with residents and a plan to clean up contaminated sites. Click here to watch the full video. CBC MANITOBA: Tests commissioned by CBC show lead contamination persists in North Point Douglas https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/soil-lead-point-samples-1.4921442 CBC MANITOBA: Release of new soil tests will show lead contamination still a problem inWinnipeg, Squires confirms https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/soil-tests-squires-released-1.4923249 FLIN FLON MINE CLOSURE “Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said the current government, and the previous NDP government, should have discovered more minerals years ago, and now they're scrambling.” "Even if you were to find something, a good strike, tomorrow it would take years for all the licensing to actually make it happen and get it up and running." CBC MANITOBA: Flin Flon's only mine slated to close by 2021, future of 800 jobs uncertain https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/800-jobs-flin-flon-mine-shutters-1.4924774 WILD-FIRE FIGHTING SERVICE
The Pallister Government has officially privatized Manitoba's wild-fire fighting service. Under the deal, the Manitoba government will still own seven active water bombers and lease them to Babcock Canada, which will operate the bombers. Click here to watch me challenge Premier Pallister on his decision to privatize this frontline service.
UNEMPLOYMENT SPIKING AMONG SKILLED TRADES
I received an alarming email earlier this week that showed unemployment is spiking among skilled trades in Manitoba between September and October. The Pallister government is operating under the bizarre idea that they can make Manitobans better off by paying them less and cutting their benefits - especially if they are in unions. It’s not 1975, or 1995 - and part of the defining problem with Manitoba politics has been that one side thinks the other needs to make less for them to earn more. We need to focus on Community Return on Investment and growth, not cuts.
THE HOLIDAY SEASON The holidays can be one of the busiest times of the year. Thursday was one of those days for me. It was a very productive 14-hour day. I learned a lot! Thank you to my awesome staff and colleagues. From breakfast with the Winnipeg Chamber to voting for our amendments to the throne speech, then voting against the government’s throne speech. Remember to take a moment to relax and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE Join me on Sunday, December 9th from 2:00 - 4:00 at the Notre Dame Rec Centre for a Holiday celebration!
There will be light refreshments, activities for kids, and photos with Santa!