News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 15, 2006

2006 THRONE SPEECH HIGHLIGHTS



Building Manitoba
·         $4-billion plan to modernize highways over the next 10 years, the largest commitment ever made in Manitoba.
·         New emergency room projects to start at Victoria, Concordia and Seven Oaks hospitals in Winnipeg.
·         Modernized Dauphin Community Health Centre to open within the year.
·         Construction to begin on an acquired brain injury unit in Thompson.
·         Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach to be expanded.
·         New capital projects for the University of Winnipeg.
·         Assiniboine Community College to move to the former Brandon Mental Health Centre.
·         Building and enhancing facilities at the University College of the North (UCN) in other regional centres.
 
Innovation and Competitiveness
·         New measures introduced to retain graduates. 
·         Increased resources for apprenticeship and co-op education programs, recruitment from colleges and universities, and new vocational options at the high-school level.
·         An alternative high-school diploma to be developed to recognize work experience and academic credentials.
·         A new flex fund to be created to deal with training needs in key areas.
 
Tax Cuts for 2007
·         University and college graduates to receive 60 per cent tuition rebate.
·         Manitoba seniors to save $11 million annually through pension splitting.
·         The middle, personal income tax rate to drop to 13 per cent.
·         A new $2,000 rebate on the purchase of hybrid vehicles.
·         Corporate tax rates to fall to 14 per cent and small business rates to three per cent, the second lowest in Canada.
·         A new immigration target to double the current levels.
·         Settlement services to be enhanced and Manitoba’s entry program to be expanded to areas outside of Winnipeg.
 
Healthy Families
·         Manitoba’s leading Healthy Child Strategy to be enshrined in legislation.
·         A new early-reader program to be introduced for Manitoba kids.
·         The public library system to be enhanced with added funding.
·         An Adult Literacy Act to be introduced to help improve reading skills.
 ·         $42 million in additional funding for child protection services in response to recommendations made by the provincial ombudsman and the children’s advocate.
·         Efforts to promote healthy-living habits among children and adults to be expanded.
·         The successful cadet program in Cross Lake to be extended to other northern communities.
·         The Trans-Canada Trail network to be expanded including funding for the Winnipeg leg of the trail.
·         Bicycle routes to be improved in Winnipeg with new funding.
·         Cottage lot draw to be extended and improved.
·         Legislative changes to modernize the Employment Standards Code to reflect today’s economy, labour force and the needs of families.
·         A new tyndall stone ramp to give disabled citizens access to the Manitoba Legislative Building through the front entrance.
 
Health Care
·         University of Manitoba medical school’s highest enrolment in 30 years this year.
·         200 more doctors, 1,300 more nurses, 150 more specialists and 190 more technologists practicing in Manitoba today than in 1999.
·         Nurse training opportunities to be expanded throughout Manitoba.
·         More training for emergency medicine physicians and initiatives to recruit oncologists.
·         Two additional pediatric residency positions to be added, one in Brandon and one in Thompson.
·         Continuing moves forward on additional wait-list priorities including pediatric dental, pain management and sleep therapy.
·         The removal of rural ambulance transfer fees.
·         A review of the 10-year old regional health authority model.
·         Funding to replace handi-transit vehicles in 64 communities.
 
Justice
·         New funding for police in Budget 2007, building on funding for 125 new officers.
·         Additional tools to be introduced to provide police and prosecutors with a stronger edge to fight gang crime.
·         Turnabout, the only initiative of its kind in Canada that deals with offenders under the age of 12, to be expanded.
·         Five more Lighthouses to be opened, bringing the total to 50 since 1999.
·         The police in schools program to be expanded.
·         New legislation requiring the mandatory reporting of child pornography to be introduced.
 
Green and Growing/Renewable Energy
·         Manitoba Hydro to build the Conawapa dam and grow its hydroelectric capacity.
·         A new phase of the successful Power Smart program to target specific communities including First Nations in the Island Lake area and the Centennial community in Winnipeg.
·         A new tax credit to be introduced to promote development and manufacture of clean energy technology.
·         The third phase of Manitoba’s water protection plan underway to encourage all Manitobans do their part to protect the province’s lakes and rivers.
 
Rural and Northern Manitoba
·         Manitoba to guarantee a producer vote on changes to the Canadian Wheat Board.
·         Support to be provide for the expansion of biodiesel production and marketing.
·         Commitment to continue to support producers in 2006, providing $60 million to the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program to help producers overcome income losses from previous years.
·         The Biofuels Act to be updated to ensure fuel quality for consumers.
·         Expansion of the successful SafetyAid program into more rural communities.
·         New and upgraded teaching facilities to be provided to the University College of the North.
·         Preservation of the regional supply role of the Port of Churchill to remain a priority.
·         The first leg of an all-weather road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg to begin this year.
·         New work to improve air access and the winter roads network for remote communities.
·         East side communities to be supported in mapping their traditional areas.
·         Northern Foods Project to be expanded from the initial 15 communities.
·         Increase in the northern food allowance to help families in remote communities pay for the higher costs of healthy food.
·         Manitoba to present a strategy at the upcoming national Summit on Aboriginal Health.
·         Expansion the Neighbourhoods Alive program – a program to help improve housing and communities – to other northern and rural communities.
 
Manitoba’s Major Cities
·         $50 million to revitalize Winnipeg streets and create new bicycle routes, the largest provincial contribution ever made to urban infrastructure in Manitoba.
·         New funding support for transit to help restore the 50-50 cost-sharing formula with municipal governments that was cut in the 1990s.
·         Brandon to become a new model for cancer treatment in Manitoba, building on new chemotherapy centres in Neepawa, Deloraine and Pinawa.
·         A linear accelerator, a radiation therapy unit that destroys or shrinks cancer cells, to be installed in Brandon.
·         The first stage of the Assiniboine Community College move to the North Hill site to begin in partnership with the City of Brandon.
·         Additional funding for police officers in the next provincial budget.
 Support for Seniors
·         SafetyAid – a program designed to assist seniors in upgrading home security features – to be expanded to more communities.
·         Handi-transit service to be upgraded for every community in Manitoba with new funding to replace vans. 
·         Better protections for seniors and consumers will be introduced through changes to the Payday Loans Act and new legislation to prevent identity theft, regulate pawn shops and provide RRSP creditor protection.
·         A new law to be introduced to ensure people are not misled by gift cards or certificates.
·         New legislation to ensure grandparents have predictable access to their grandchildren.
·         Manitoba seniors to save $11 million annually through pension splitting.