NDP leader Wab Kinew said his party’s election platform has a number of new spending promises that can be funded from the unallocated funds in the 2023 provincial budget.
Kinew told a Manitoba Chambers of Commerce breakfast September 19 that there is $500 million of unallocated funds in Budget 2023, which he reminded the largely business crowd his party supported when introduced in the legislature last spring.
That cash will cover funding for all promises made to date, including:
- hiring more nurses and teachers
- opening new beds
- re-opening the ER at Victoria Hospital
- ending chronic homelessness
- taking the provincial tax off gas at the pump
Kinew said that his party will ensure that the budget is balanced “because if we don’t balance the books, we’ll always be coming back to you to ask for more and that’s just not right.”
While he spoke at length to the NDP’s health care and education promises – including appointing an ADM for Indigenous excellence and for Francais education – he also repeated his commitment to hire former premier and former Canadian ambassador to the US Gary Doer to be the Manitoba adviser on US trade.
“We are a trading province” and if Manitoba wants to grow its economy, it has to increase the volume of trade with its largest trading partner, he said.
The NDP leader also discussed his intent to invest in green energy, for the transportation industry, through provincial assistance for private sector development of hydrogen fuel, and for export.
“Hydrogen will be an important source of energy and fuel.” The private sector will kick start the hydro industry, with capital financing and debt guarantee from the provincial government.
Manitoba will show other provinces and the US how to fight climate change, he said. This while being the “sales force for Manitoba,” putting our natural resources and commodities out to the global market.
However, Kinew stressed that building homes and sheltering the homeless must be fundamental to our economic growth plan, calling homelessness a “humanitarian crisis.”
“Until we solve chronic homelessness” it will be a drag on the economy.