Pallister promises plastic bag ban, liquor delivery and more in second term

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the government will consult with the private sector on how plastic bags can be eliminated, although he would not give a time frame for when that might happen.

Re-elected Progressive Conservative government plans to consult with private industry on how to proceed

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the newly re-elected government will begin consultations on banning plastic bags within 100 days of starting its new mandate. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba may become the next province to ban single-use plastic bags to help the environment, following Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Eight days after winning a second term, Premier Brian Pallister said his Progressive Conservative government will begin consultations with the private sector on ways to eliminate the use of plastic bags.

"We think that many Manitobans understand that this is an item that could be dealt with, needs to be dealt with and hasn't been dealt with for a long time," Pallister said Wednesday.

"I think it's a smart move."

The consultations are among 100 issues that Pallister has said he wants to tackle in the first 100 days. Most were promised during the election campaign that saw the Tories win 36 of 57 legislature seats. But the plastic ban is new.

While many municipalities across the country have banned single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retail outlets -- including Thompson and The Pas in northern Manitoba -- province-wide bans are new. One took effect in July in Prince Edward Island. Another is looming in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June the federal government was starting regulatory work to ban toxic single-use plastics. Retailers such as Sobeys have already promised to move toward a nation-wide ban.

Holiday hours, liquor delivery being considered

Among other items on Pallister's 100-day list is a change to provincial rules so that restaurants can deliver liquor to customers' doors.

The province also plans to restructure a complex financing arrangement for Investors Group Field, a stadium that is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that has run over budget and faced costly repairs. Pallister said the aim is to make the deal more transparent and fair to taxpayers.

The government will also identify land and other property it no longer needs so that it can be sold, as well as lift many restrictions on Sunday and holiday retail shopping hours.

Pallister was re-elected after fulfilling a promise to reduce the provincial sales tax and bring down the deficit. One of the main promises for his second term is to balance the budget and start to eliminate, over a 10-year period, education taxes on property.

More immediately, Pallister plans to reconvene the legislature at the end of the month, pass the spring budget and make at least a minor change to his cabinet.

Former Crown Services minister Colleen Mayer was the only inner-circle member defeated in last week's election. Pallister would not say whether he will simply replace her with a backbencher or change up other portfolios, but hinted any change is several weeks away.

"First we have to pass a budget, then we'll talk," Pallister said.


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