Manitoba

PCs will create 40,000 new jobs in 4 years, Pallister says

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says adding 40,000 private sector jobs in Manitoba over the next four years is an ambitious but achievable target.

Promises re-elected Tory government will improve permitting process, spend more on highways, mining, tourism

Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister announces a commitment on Friday morning to create 40,000 private sector jobs over the next four years. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says adding 40,000 private sector jobs in Manitoba over the next four years is an ambitious but achievable target.

The PCs unveiled details Friday of one of the party's five guarantees it is making to voters should they be re-elected on Sept. 10.

As part of his Manitoba Works Jobs Growth plan, Pallister said he'd act on the recommendations of a provincial review of planning, zoning and permitting, which found a sluggish permitting process in Winnipeg is crippling growth in the economy.

Pallister also said his party would add jobs by fast-tracking Manitoba's skills, talent and knowledge strategy, creating green jobs and spending more money on highways, the mining sector, tourism and the film industry.

'Why not aim higher?'

He also promised to help local distillers and brewers expand, and to develop a broadband internet strategy for rural and remote communities.

"We're setting realistic goals," Pallister said about the 40,000 jobs. "They're ambitious goals, granted, but I think we're an ambitious people and I think we live in an ambitious province. I believe they're achievable goals. Why not aim higher?" 

Pallister did not elaborate on how his strategy would be implemented, or how it would spur job growth. The price tag and breakdown of job creation will be released at a later date, he said.

His government would also focus on creating jobs in the food processing, advanced manufacturing and aerospace sectors, a news release said.

The Progressive Conservatives say they will create 40,000 new private sector jobs by speeding up the permitting process, creating new clean technology jobs and stimulate the mineral sector, among other measures. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

An improved permitting process and appeal process would be a signal to business owners and entrepreneurs that Manitoba is worthy of investment, Pallister said.

"This isn't Tammany Hall," he said, referring to a New York benevolent society that became known for political corruption in the 19th century. "This is a professional province that respects professional investors and professional job creators deserve that kind of a process in our province." 

In a statement, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he supports efforts to improve the city's permitting process but doesn't appreciate the province's unilateral approach. 

He estimated the province has created 30,000 private sector jobs since he was elected in 2016.

NDP St. James candidate Adrian Sala said the province has bled jobs when counting layoffs and downsizing in northern Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro and the civil service.

"Pallister's cuts to education, training, infrastructure and economic development are putting Manitoba families and the economy at risk," Sala said in a news release.

Statistics Canada figures show the number of full-time jobs in Manitoba has grown steadily but fluctuated in the last decade, which coincides with a growth in population.

The unemployment rate in Manitoba has averaged 5.7 per cent during the PCs' tenure in government, but was 5.5 per cent under the NDP in the same number of months leading up to the last election.

Voters will go to the polls on Sept. 10.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

With files from Jacques Marcoux

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