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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Manitoba Throne Speech Promises Raise Doubts: Can They Deliver on Vague Commitments?


Anita Neville Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba  delivers the NDP Governments first speech from the throne.
Anita Neville Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba in the legislative assembly.

GUEST COLUMNIST - Winnipeg, November 22, 2023 - In a spectacle framed by indigenous drumming and grand declarations, Premier Wab Kinew's throne speech caught the attention of many with a flurry of promises yesterday. Yet, as the echoes of the ceremony faded, skepticism loomed large over the feasibility of turning these pledges into tangible realities.


The speech, hailed by some for its aspirational tone, failed to provide concrete plans or funding details, leaving a trail of uncertainties in its wake. Premier Kinew's attribution of a worse financial state left by the previous administration contradicts earlier claims of a $200 million surplus announced by the Government prior to election. Such inconsistencies beg the question: what's the real state of Manitoba's finances?


Many commitments in the throne speech appear to be mere echoes of prior announcements by the NDP Government. Promises in healthcare—more surgical capacity, a mobile MRI, and the reopening of the Victoria Hospital ER—lack crucial details on staffing and funding sources. How will these objectives be achieved? Where will resources come from?


Moreover, several assurances ride on the Trudeau Liberals' directives, such as funds for geothermal heat pumps and the mammoth investment in replacing aging infrastructure at Manitoba Hydro. Despite promises against privatization, the plan lacks depth, relying heavily on federal financial support. But at what cost?


The speech overlooked critical issues like violent crime, gang-related activities, and drug trafficking. While vowing to end homelessness in eight years, the plan lacks strategies to tackle the issues or how they will be addressed. There's no mention of addressing the pressing concerns of gang violence or drug trafficking —major challenges plaguing the province.


The pledge to make prescription birth control free and to increase access to abortions, was vague, how will these services be funded and sustained? Similarly, the pledge to eliminate the gasoline tax lacks clarity—how long will it be a temporary relief be in place and how will the government replace the millions in funding?


Furthermore, promises to freeze Hydro rates lacked any details. For how long? How will this impact the operations? Can the government bypass the Public Utilities Board in controlling rates?


While commitments to acknowledge Louis Riel as the first premier of Manitoba and make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday commendably recognize historical significance, they beg the question: are these symbolic gestures overshadowing the need to address the affordability issue that all Manitobans face.


As the dust settles on this ambitious throne speech, Manitobans are left wondering whether these promises are attainable or merely lofty rhetoric. With a lack of detailed plans, unanswered funding queries, and uncertain fiscal footing, the skepticism surrounding the NDP's vows continues to grow. Time will tell if this vision translates into tangible progress or fades into the realm of political promises unfulfilled.


— Kevin Klein is a Conservative cabinet minister, a former city councillor and a former Chair of the Winnipeg Police Board





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