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Economy, Health Care Continue to Draw Focus of Manitoba Election Campaign

September 15, 2023 6:32 AM | The Canadian Press

By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Manitoba Legislative Building

The Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — The economy and health care continued to dominate the Manitoba election campaign Thursday, with the Progressive Conservatives promising another tax break and the New Democrats promising to reopen a closed health facility.

Progressive Conservative Leader Heather Stefanson promised aid for the entertainment industry if her party is re-elected Oct. 3 — a 10 per cent bonus tax credit for film and television productions that use Manitoba music for at least 50 per cent of their project’s soundtrack.

“In today’s world, with things like Netflix and Disney Plus being a primary way that people discover new music artists, encouraging our film and TV sector to use Manitoba music will help Manitoba talent grow new audiences,” Stefanson said.

The tax credit bonus would be on top of existing credits. People who produce film or television projects in Manitoba can get back either 45 per cent of a project’s labour costs or 30 per cent of all production costs, and there are other bonuses for shooting in rural or northern locations.

Stefanson also promised $4.5 million to improve sound stage facilities and other services connected to the industry.

The provincial government has been working to attract more film and TV productions, and last year offered money to help WestJet launch direct flights between Winnipeg and Los Angeles.

The New Democrats focused on health care for the second day in a row Thursday. Leader Wab Kinew said a NDP government would spend $5 million to build a new Mature Women’s Centre at the Victoria General Hospital in south Winnipeg and would provide $2 million in annual funding.

The previous centre, which offered one-stop services for menopause transition, hysterectomy alternatives and other gynecological care, was closed in 2017 under the Progressive Conservatives. Two years later, the Tories opened a new women’s hospital in downtown Winnipeg for obstetric, surgical and medical services.

Kinew also promised to expand pharmacare coverage for medications that are used to prevent osteoporosis and improve the lives of mature women.

“These are going to be significant investments into women’s health here in Manitoba, and that will start right away to improve the quality of life (for patients),” Kinew said.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont promised more help for people on social assistance.

A Liberal government would ease the current clawback on Employment and Income Assistance, which starts when recipients earn $200 a month in wages, and increase the money recipients can make by volunteering, to $500 a month from $100.

“We’ll remove barriers to work and volunteering,” Lamont said.

The Liberals would also set up a program to give money to non-profits and other groups to provide jobs to people in need, Lamont said. He also repeated an earlier promise to enact a minimum guaranteed income for people living with severe disabilities and people older than 60.

— with files from Brittany Hobson

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