Throne speech to look north

The Progressive Conservative government hopes to capitalise on its recent victory stick-handling the Tolko Mill sale with a throne speech that focuses on Manitoba's north.

Throne speech to set table for budget in the spring

Throne Speech will look north. (CBC News )

The Progressive Conservative government hopes to capitalize on its recent victory stick-handling of the Tolko Mill sale with a throne speech that focuses on Manitoba's north. 

The PC government avoided an economic crisis in northern Manitoba after the paper mill was sold to an American company, saving hundreds of jobs; today's throne speech will set out its strategy for further development in the region.

Premier Brian Pallister says the speech will focus on familiar themes he's repeated often since the Tories took office in April: fixing Manitoba's finances, repairing services and rebuilding the economic structure of the province.

According to a senior government official, the second throne speech from Premier Pallister's administration hopes to unleash untapped potential in Manitoba's north and in rural areas. Earlier this month the government announced a northern task force on economic development led by Chief Christian Sinclair of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Chuck Davidson, the president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

Premier Brian Pallister says the throne speech won't be about 'short term quick fixes.' (Sean Kavanagh)

Opioid crisis response

Expect to hear some details of Manitoba's response to the growing opioid crisis and how the province will mesh its strategy with Ottawa and the other provincial governments.

There should also be an outline of how Manitoba will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and provincial support for the Canada Summer Games next year.

This throne speech could give some glimpses of where the Tories intend to take the province. Their first effort last May was mostly a reiteration of promises they made in the election campaign.

Opposition looking for answers 

NDP interim leader Flor Marcelino says after more than half a year in office, it's time for the government to start being specific about some key social policies and strategies for economic growth.

NDP leader Flor Marcelino says the PC government is overdue for giving some answers. (CBC News)
​"Every day during Question Period we have asked this government; how many daycare spaces will be built? How many affordable housing units will be built? And of course, increase the minimum wage, and that hasn't happened," Marcelino said. 

The  Liberal caucus released a comprehensive plea for a strategy on improved brain health in Manitoba. The detailed policy recommendations call for an action plan that goes from learning disabilities and mental health issues to addictions treatment and brain injuries.

Interim Liberal leader Judy Klassen says Manitobans support a brain health strategy and the Tories should get on board. (CBC News)

Recently installed Liberal Leader Judy Klassen says the government should take a serious look at the brain health strategy. She says the PCs got on board with a Liberal motion on revamping Child and Family Service practices and they should do the same on brain health.

"We have a lot of hope for the Pallister government. They adopted unanimously my resolution on the NCN model and the Brandon Wellness Centre ... there are certain things I'm sure won't get approved but this one is based on what Manitobans have said [they want]," Klassen told reporters.