Throne Speech sets tone for November sitting

The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba delivered the Speech from the Throne to the Manitoba Legislature today, outlining the government’s objectives and recent successes.

The speech touted several positive steps for the environment, including hydroelectric development, and banning the use of coal for heating alone.  Also announced were additional protected areas for polar bears.

Cross-border issues were on display at several points.  Watershed issues were alluded to in the government’s plans to protect Lake Winnipeg; Manitoba opposes US country-of-origin requirements for Canadian meat products; and upgrades to Highways 10 and 75, key links with North Dakota, were highlighted.

The speech comes at a critical time for Manitoba’s NDP government, which recently raised the provincial sales tax without a required referendum.  The NDP intends to spend that money primarily on infrastructure.  The government reported progress in reducing the cost of government by amalgamating rural municipalities, and decreasing overhead in the civil service and health authorities.

The response so far is neutral to mixed, with municipal leaders in particular raising concerns about rural water and sewer needs, unaddressed in the speech.

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