The COVID-19 pandemic, the economic impacts of the war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, inflation and high-interest rates have caused unprecedented challenges over the last three years, and have put an immense strain on hard working Manitobans. The affordability challenges we face are most intense for lower income households, and I support initiatives aimed at increasing the amount of disposable income residents have to spend on food, housing and enjoying life.
In early March, the PC government introduced Budget 2023 which will increase the income level at which people will begin paying taxes to $15,000. The government will also be increasing income tax bracket thresholds, further reducing the tax burden on all Manitobans. In 2022, our PC government began raising the minimum wage and by October 2023, Manitoba’s minimum wage is projected to be among the highest in Canada.
Residents of Fort Garry deserve safe neighbourhoods where they can feel comfortable to live peacefully, raise families and walk freely without fear of crime. Increases in property theft, vandalism and violent crime affects our every day lives in many ways. Effectively supporting our Police services ($51.86M to Violent Crime Strategy) and safety community patrols (DCSP Budget of $3.6M and annual support of $100k to the Bear Clan) are ways that we will work to ensure that our streets are safer.
We must consider initiatives that target the root causes of crime in order to effect long term change but at the same time, those who commit criminal acts must be held accountable today and be appropriately disciplined for their actions. As your MLA for Fort Garry, I will lead with compassion looking for new ways to offer rehabilitation and opportunity while ensuring the most violent, repeat offenders cannot continue to harm others.
As your MLA, I will work to ensure that Fort Garry is a strong and vibrant community by collaborating with federal and municipal partners on important initiatives that improve the everyday lives of residents. Community centers, greenspace, transportation, infrastructure, recreation, and arts and culture all provide a neighbourhood with its distinct feel while connecting the people living here I will champion Fort Garry and make sure that Fort Garry gets what it needs to keep improving.
I will work to connect, engage and build bridges with groups in Fort Garry and across of all Manitoba to ensure they feel heard, empowered and involved.
Healing Health Care
The Manitoba health care system is not alone as systems across the country and the world face significant challenges upon emerging from the pandemic. Now is the time to focus on healing health care and the PC government will invest a record $7.9 billion in health care services to ensure that Manitoba returns to the high levels of health care we expect.
Recruiting, training and retaining health-care professionals from around the world is a key priority and $200 m will be invested to address the labour shortages brought on the by the pandemic. Additionally, $130m will be invested in order to increase capacity and address the back logs in diagnostic and surgical procedures.
Developing highly educated Manitobans is essential in our competitive economic environment. To maintain and improve our standards of living, we must invest in our youth and those who seek to improve their skillsets. Investing in the education system leads to improved socialization, fosters tolerance, teaches critical thinking and improves overall economic productivity.
An increase of $100 m will be invested in K to 12 education in Manitoba for the '23/24 school year. Along with a commitment to build 23 new schools, many existing schools will be provided funds for necessary renovations. As your MLA, I will fight to ensure that schools in Fort Garry receive their fair share. Keeping university affordable is essential in building a skilled workforce and Budget '23 invests more than $65 m in funding to post-secondary institutions and implements reasonable limits on future tuition increases.
As your MLA for Fort Garry, I will be committed to creating the conditions that foster a strong, resilient and growing the economy. The cornerstone of a successful long-term growth strategy is to produce employment opportunities for all Manitobans and newcomers. As a long time business owner, Rick has employed many Manitoban's and understands first-hand the value of business in creating jobs and improving skills.
Manitoba is rich in natural resources yet not dependent on any single industry. Our diversity is our greatest strength and I support programs that encourage education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Manitoba is blessed with a rich natural environment and it is our greatest asset. It affords us with abundant green energy, jobs to grow our economy and a place for recreation and enjoyment. As a long time advocate for our natural environment, I understand the complexities in balancing the need to protect the environment while creating sustainable conditions for economic growth and prosperity.
Manitoba must support innovative projects that help protect our environment and seek to create a greener province. I support grant funding to encourage businesses, industries and institutions to identify pathways to de-carbonization and am committed to improving our parks and advancing critical environmental goals, such as protecting the health of Lake Winnipeg