By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s Opposition New Democrats are calling for more money for health care and public safety, changes to labour laws and a reopened debate about whether people should still change their clocks twice a year.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew laid out his party’s priorities Thursday in what he called an alternative throne speech — a list of top issues for a legislature sitting that is to start Tuesday.
The document calls on the province to lift a freeze on municipal funding to help police services. Winnipeg is on track for a record number of homicides this year and city police say crime has been driven in part by a sharp rise in methamphetamine use.
“What we’re calling on here is for the provincial government to provide predictable increases to municipal funding, so that they will be able to maintain the current level of policing in our province as we deal with this spike in homicides and spike in violent incidents,” Kinew said.
He said he would like to see annual funding increases of between one per cent and the rate of inflation.
The NDP document also urges the province to give $500,000 annually to the Bear Clan Patrol — a grassroots street-safety organization in central Winnipeg.
The document also restates many NDP promises from this year’s election such as raising the minimum wage, hiring more front-line health-care workers, and making it easier for workers to join unions.
The plan does not spell out what most of the proposals would cost. Kinew said they could be paid for by finding savings within government operations.
The NDP also plans to push the government to adopt gender-neutral government identification documents. An independent adjudicator, following a complaint from a transgender person to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, ruled earlier this month that the province must do so.
The NDP plan also alludes to a possible change to seasonal time changes.
“We will also speak and listen to Manitobans about legislation that could modernize how time is observed in our province to make life easier for families.”
The last time Manitoba made a change was in 2007 when daylight time was extended by one week in the fall and three weeks in the spring.
Last year, an Independent member of the legislature put forward a private member’s bill to abolish daylight time and stay on standard time year-round. The bill was defeated.
Kinew said times have changed since 2007 and he will give details of his proposal in the coming days.