«At the Opening of the Fifth Session of the 40th Legislature November 16, 2015 Delivered by: The Honourable Janice C. Filmon, C.M., O.M. Lieutenant ...»
At the Opening of the
Fifth Session of the
November 16, 2015
The Honourable Janice C. Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of the
Province of Manitoba
2015 Speech from the Throne
Mr. Speaker, Members of the Manitoba Legislature, and all
Welcome to this Fifth Session of the 40th Legislative Assembly of
Manitoba. We acknowledge our presence on Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Red River Métis.
On behalf of our government, all Members of the Legislative Assembly, and all Manitobans, I wish to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the survivors and the friends and families of the victims of Fridayʼs horrific and senseless acts of violence in Paris, France.
Out of respect for the victims of these attacks, I would ask that all gathered here today rise to observe a moment of silence.
Thank you. As we begin a new legislative session today, we are ushering in a forward-looking vision for Manitoba.
During the recent federal election, Manitobans and Canadians rejected the politics of pessimism and division, and instead chose optimism.
This should come as no surprise. Inclusiveness, diversity, a focus on families, and a respect for environmental and indigenous rights—these are our shared values, and the values that represent who we are in Manitoba today.
This call for progress—and a willing federal partner at the table— means that our government is being presented with a greater opportunity to serve Manitobans and make more of a difference in their lives.
We are ready to work with the new federal government to realize its plan to bring refugees to Canada, and we will work with our partners in settlement services to ensure refugees get supports when they arrive.
We are looking forward to working with the federal government to lift the cap on immigrants and refugees, which has been imposed on Manitoba for too long. We all understand that building a stronger province involves reuniting families.
We also look forward to discussions with our federal partner on the issue of national pension reform to provide a more secure future for seniors.
We are pleased that the new government in Ottawa has committed to a federal inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and we support the participation of the victimsʼ family members in the inquiry.
Our government is committed to broadening the mandate of the East Side Road Authority, which already creates good local jobs, training and business opportunities for indigenous communities, to now include the building of Shoal Lakeʼs “Freedom Road.” But we cannot stop there.
1 We asked Manitobans what their priorities were for the future and we are listening.
Almost 150 years ago, Manitobaʼs founder, Louis Riel, had a vision to build a strong and inclusive province.
In this yearʼs Speech from the Throne, our government is building on this vision with a dynamic and forward-looking plan for Manitoba.
Next April, families will stand at a crossroads and choose between very different futures for Manitoba.
Our plan today is not for naysayers or skeptics who still believe in the failed policies of deep cuts and privatization—especially when it hurts families.
This is a smart and strategic plan, grounded in the values and priorities of Manitoba families, that re-imagines Manitoba as we build towards 2020.
Investing in a Modern Manitoba The time to build our future is now.
We will build and lock in strategic investments at historically low interest rates and keep our borrowing costs, which today stand at 5.6 cents on the dollar, affordable for the long term.
As we invest, we will steadily grow our economy for the benefit of everyone and create good jobs for our young people.
Today, we are well positioned to take on the challenge of transforming Manitoba because of our strong economic foundation. In fact, the Conference Board of Canada forecasts that our economy will be the strongest in Canada in 2016.
Manitoba is now the leading job creator in the country with the lowest unemployment rate. More Manitobans have good jobs than ever before.
We are very proud of this record and we are not done yet. We have come a long way and now is not the time to turn back. It is time to build on our momentum with smart, strategic investments that move Manitoba forward.
To advance this vision, we are pleased to announce that, in 2016, CentrePort Canada will break ground on a new Rail Park, which will include a major new business.
For far too long, rail lines have divided our capital city. It is time to move the tracks and open up opportunities for urban renewal.
This initiative will create opportunities to build stronger and safer neighbourhoods and communities with less rail traffic.
The creation of the CentrePort Canada Rail Park will help us achieve that.
2 With rail companies, the City of Winnipeg and partners, we are now taking on this task.
We recognize that our growing cities and towns require more and better infrastructure.
We are committed to providing stable, predictable and long-term funding to municipalities.
Two years ago, we introduced our five-year, $5.5 billion infrastructure plan for roads, bridges, highways and flood protection. These investments will create close to 60,000 jobs for Manitobans, and hundreds of projects, big and small, that are changing the face of Manitoba.
Today, we are pleased to announce that we will ramp up our infrastructure plan by extending it beyond 2020, for a total investment of more than $10 billion.
This is a record-breaking commitment for infrastructure, unprecedented in our province. It will create good jobs and grow our economy.
As we ramp up our plan, we will forge a New Partnership with the City of Winnipeg. This will be an enhanced and flexible partnership totaling $1 billion over five years for critical infrastructure, including roads, public transit, wastewater treatment plants and recreation centres.
The New Partnership will renew roads in every neighbourhood in Winnipeg.
Our government has committed to building the Waverley Underpass and working with the City to eliminate traffic jams and delays on Marion Street.
The New Partnership will move on priority projects such as replacing the Louise Bridge, extending the Chief Peguis Trail westward, and upgrading Kenaston Boulevard.
Together, we will invest in recreation and wellness centres that are important to families and make our communities stronger.
The New Partnership will modernize public transit that many families rely on while keeping it affordable. Winnipeggers are best served when we work together on innovative ways to improve services.
Together, we will complete the southwest leg of Rapid Transit connecting the University of Manitoba to downtown, and commit to partner in future phases of Rapid Transit.
And we are not stopping there.
Our government is providing new money to add electric buses to the fleet. This creates good jobs right here in Manitoba and will make Manitoba a leader in green innovation.
Not only will we reinvent our capital city, we will undertake a major plan to build our great province.
3 We are a government that builds strong communities across Manitoba.
For rural and northern families, we will launch a new Growing Communities Fund to build and renew roads, bridges, water and sewer infrastructure, and recreation centres.
Our Wheat City is a growing and diverse community. We will move forward on priority projects in Brandon, such as a new south-end school, the redevelopment of the North Hill Assiniboine Community College campus, and the expansion of the Daly Overpass.
Our government will partner with local communities to expand cell service and broadband across Manitoba to better connect families and entrepreneurs.
Highways connect our rural and northern communities, and are crucial corridors for business and trade.
Our government will continue to make significant upgrades to highways in every part of the province, including new roads connecting First Nations communities along the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
We will also upgrade single-access roads into communities such as Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation.
When we invest in highways and bridges, we are investing in stronger communities and good jobs for all Manitobans.
Exciting New Jobs Here in Manitoba We have come a long way since the days when building cranes all but disappeared in Manitoba. Together, we have changed Winnipegʼs skyline.
Downtown Winnipeg is now home to major attractions such as the MTS Centre, an expanded Convention Centre and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights because our government, businesses and communities worked together towards a common goal: to make Winnipeg an attractive and affordable place to raise our families.
Winnipeg is approaching a population of 1 million and we are committed to a series of forward-looking investments in the heart of our capital city to attract more investment and enhance our quality of life.
This year, Winnipeg was named the most business-friendly city by Canadian Business magazine.
Thanks to our incentives and affordability, Winnipegʼs business community is growing like never before. We will work with our partners to develop a Strategic Innovation Plan to grow clusters like Innovation Alley.
Manitoba has much to offer: spectacular scenery, natural wonders, outstanding culture, and world-class exhibits like the Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park. We will support the Conservancy in its next redevelopment of Assiniboine Park.
4 We have an exciting plan to attract more visitors and spur new businesses to continue growing our province.
As called for by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce to support Travel Manitoba, we will ramp up our investments in tourism to grow the industry.
We will increase our annual tourism expenditures to achieve the level of investment, as called for, while creating a sustainable funding model to boost tourism and market Manitoba to the world.
This strategy will create exciting new jobs and welcome visitors to our great province.
In partnership with Nunavut, Manitoba will showcase Inuit art to the world, and our government will support the building of the Winnipeg Art Galleryʼs new Inuit Art Centre, which will house the worldʼs largest collection of Inuit art.
In the North, we will continue to promote Churchill as a tourism destination and a gateway to the North with world-class research facilities in arctic science.
We are already known across Canada as a creative hub for the arts.
Our vision is to build on that strength, modernize and increase our investments in arts and culture, and expand Manitobaʼs talent pool of creative innovators.
Business owners, and anyone who has ever planned a social, praise our modernization of Manitobaʼs liquor laws for cutting red tape and spurring new business opportunities.
Our local craft beer industry is hopping and we want Manitoba to become a craft beer destination. Manitobans can expect to see as many as ten new craft breweries in the coming years.
Our government believes in a strong, socially responsible and publiclyowned Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, which is consolidating its operations into a new headquarters and bringing 400 jobs to downtown Winnipeg.
The federal government has signalled that it will be legalizing marijuana. The Liquor and Gaming Authority and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will be well positioned to regulate the sale and distribution of marijuana in a safe and socially responsible manner.
Investing in a Healthy Environment Manitoba is leading the country as the first province to support David Suzukiʼs Blue Dot Declaration. We will protect our lakes and parks for generations to come and introduce legislation that guarantees every Manitoban the right to enjoy a healthy environment.
We will contribute to the restoration of Lake Winnipeg by making sure Winnipegʼs wastewater treatment plants comply with the highest quality standards.
5 We are committing a full one-third of the current cost to upgrade Winnipegʼs wastewater treatment plants. Our share will increase by nearly $100 million.
We will work with all partners to reduce nutrient loading and continue to fight the spread of zebra mussels.
Here in Manitoba, we know the effects severe weather and flooding can have on our communities.
That is why we are partnering with communities to rebuild around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin, and we are protecting our communities by investing in critical flood protection now.
We also recognize the important role surface water management must play in flood control and protecting water quality.
Our boreal forest is one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. Indigenous communities have been stewards of the boreal forest for thousands of years.
We will work with indigenous communities on sustainable development, including new support for indigenous land-use planning.
We will engage with northern communities through Opportunities North to support our shared vision of a strong and sustainable northern economy.
Together with East Side communities, we continue to advance Pimachiowin Aki as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest intact boreal forest in North America which supplies Lake Winnipeg with clean water every day.
Our government will take new actions to protect wetlands and wildlife with our partners such as Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and the Lake Winnipeg Foundation.
We will continue to invest in the parks that make Manitoba unique, and expand our network of protected areas.
We will support, with new funding, our municipalities and our partners such as the Association of Manitoba Municipalities and Conseil de développement économique des municipalités bilingues du Manitoba who, through innovation, green our communities and create good jobs.
We will help the City of Winnipeg implement its own curb-side composting program.
We will continue to reject calls to privatize Manitoba Hydro, calls to cancel all export sales contracts, and calls to cancel development projects, which would put thousands of Manitobans out of work.