As the Manitoba government prepares to deliver their throne speech this afternoon, the Manitoba Liberals say the government should address the province’s poverty issue.
“The NDP must invest in ways that will actually save taxpayer money in the future — such as reducing this year’s soaring Justice and CFS department costs that correspond with Manitoba’s high rates of poverty,” said Liberal leader Jon Gerrard.
The speech will open the second session of the 40th Manitoba legislature at approximately 1:10 p.m.
Gerrard also says the throne speech must further show practical ways of reducing poverty by an NDP commitment to regulate the price of milk in Northern Manitoba and to bring running water to thousands of Manitobans living without it.
The Liberal Party of Manitoba says the province cannot balance the budget by 2014 as planned.
Leader Jon Gerrard was quick to criticize the 2012 budget on Tuesday, saying Manitobans are losing trust in the NDP after a crippling deficit and a failure to fulfill election promises.
Gerrard says the plan to eliminate six of Manitoba’s 11 regional health authorities within three years could worsen local issues. Gerrard points out the shaky merger of Marquette and South Westman RHAs in 2002 to become Assiniboine.
“The province should reimburse hospitals based on what they actually do, rather than simply providing them with huge dollops of dollars through their global budgets, no matter what,” Gerrard said. “In BC, patient-based funding is already breathing new life into hospitals. The number of procedures is up, waiting lists are down, and hospital emergency departments covered by the program are processing patients as never before.”
The Manitoba Liberal Party has shuffled around its staff prior to the start of the abbreviated legislative session on Thursday.
Former communications director Dave Shorr has been replaced by Nancy Chippendale. Party leader Jon Gerrard thanked Shorr for his service in a Twitter message late Tuesday afternoon.
“Dave and I parted on excellent terms. I am grateful for his many contributions,” Gerrard said.
Also joining the team is Brian Peel, who will take on the role as chief of staff, while legislative staff person Mie Larsen becomes administrative director.
Brian Peel has a management background in the not-for-profit sector in both public health and in the arts. Nancy Chippendale previously worked in the field of advocacy, raising awareness of palliative care, homelessness and inner-city recreation.
The Liberals still only hold one seat in the province.
Liberal leader Jon Gerrard spoke to supporters in his River Heights riding Tuesday, shortly after being re-elected to the Manitoba legislature.
Gerrard, who holds the only Liberal seat, thanked voters for supporting him to his fourth win.
“There is a very strong future for Liberals in Manitoba,” Gerrard said. “We demonstrated we have the platforms, the ideas, and we have a lot of young candidates who will be the future of the Manitoba Liberal party.”
Gerrard said he was committed to representing his constituents.
The party had hoped to send at least a couple candidates to the legislature, but it wasn’t in the cards for the party who seems to have trouble resonating with voters.
The Manitoba Liberals would work to create a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) registry if elected.
Leader Jon Gerrard announced Wednesday that his government would push to dedicate more resources to improve diagnosis, treatment and counselling of the disease.
“The NDP and Tories talk a big game about crime, but they don’t even know where to start,” Gerrard said. “The best tough on crime policy you can talk about is one that seriously deals with the affects of FASD.”
The $3.9 million investment into the FASD registry would work to protect the health of children, and ensure they are treated. The Liberals say if left untreated, many children often turn to a life of crime.