‘A pivotal moment’: Manitoba government to lay out agenda in first throne speech

Manitoba’s newly elected NDP government is set to lay out its legislative agenda Tuesday in its first throne speech.

Premier Wab Kinew is expected to repeat many of the promises he made during the election campaign, including a temporary suspension of the provincial fuel tax, and making the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday.

Health care promises are also likely, after an election campaign that focused heavily on that issue, such as the creation of neighbourhood illness and injury clinics and an end to mandatory overtime for nurses.

At a ceremony commemorating the 138th anniversary of Louis Riel’s death last week, Kinew said he intends to formally recognize Manitoba’s founder in Tuesday’s speech.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba premier honours Métis community, legacy of Louis Riel'

Manitoba premier honours Métis community, legacy of Louis Riel

University of Winnipeg political scientist Malcolm Bird told 680 CJOB’s The Start that while there’s typically a grace period with a new government, it will be important for Manitobans to see early steps being taken toward accomplishing campaign goals.

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“(They need to be) getting some concrete things accomplished, so that in two, two-and-a-half years, as we’re ramping up to the next election, they can point to things and say, ‘Look, we said we were going to fix health care,’… and while it might not be fixed, but they definitely need to show tangible movements — whether that’s hiring people or opening up new facilities, or reduced wait times or something,” he said.

Bird said that in addition to health care announcements, he’s expecting an emphasis on cost-of-living issues, and while there will be some pomp and circumstance surrounding the speech, it’s also a key moment for Kinew and the NDP.

“Overall, our system of government works really well. This government has been elected by the people and I think all of us wish this government the best.

“This throne speech is really a pivotal moment for all new governments.”

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The legislature is scheduled to sit for a short period — only 12 days — before the winter break.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Premier gearing up for legislature to resume sitting'

Manitoba Premier gearing up for legislature to resume sitting

— with files from The Canadian Press

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