“Manitoba has always been blessed with an abundance of natural resources and strong people with an entrepreneurial spirit. Manitoba’s citizens, whether born here or arriving from other places around the globe, share a common desire to enrich their lives and the well–being of their families. Manitobans believetheir fellow citizens should be able to benefit from the opportunities and abundance the province has to offer.” The pre-amble to Manitoba Forward’sprinciples for good public policy represents the core belief of concerned citizens across Manitoba and a call-to action to return to our past glory.
Manitoba was built on the steel shoulders of those who envisioned Manitoba to be the heartland of Canadian achievement. And for a period of time, we were. Be it bush pilots who established a hub of commerce in the north, the giants of agriculture who created Canada’s food economy, or the commodity traders who first drove its economic engine, ours is a province founded by entrepreneurial spirit.
While conditions seem very bleak for our province right now, the good news is we have strong bedrock to rebuild from. Manitoba Forward has developed a list of principles for us to get back to being a vibrant and prosperous province. I identify but an important few in this space.
“Manitoba depends on the free flow of goods, services, and people. We will work to keep our borders open with all of our neighbours, particularly those closest to us; British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We will also actively encourage free trade on the international level.” For sixteen years, the NDP provincial government has promoted highly–protectionist public sector dominated economic policies that have held Manitoba back. It is Manitoba Forward’s view that joining Canada’s New West Partnership Trade Agreement would allow Manitoba to work with ourneighbouring western provinces to grow our economy.
“Structural deficits are destructive to the long term health of the Manitoba economy. Deficits should only occur in times of real economic crisis and should be eliminated as quickly as possible if they do occur.” The NDP lives by borrowing. Manitoba currently pays approximately $800 million annually to service our debt. That’s approximately $200 million more than we spend on non-Hydro infrastructure in Manitoba. With even a one or two percentage point increase in interest rates, coupled with our growing debt and recently downgraded credit rating, that figure would sky-rocket.
“Crown corporations should operate transparently and in the best interests of the public. Their goals should be defined clearly in legislation, their performance should be regularly assessed, and there should be no behind-the-scenes political interference with them.”
Manitobans should be aware of how political interference in Crown corporations is hurting this province. For but one example, the NDP’s continuinginsistence that Manitoba Hydro build Bi-Pole III, Keeyask and Conawapa dams, while updating editing infrastructure, could double overall public debt, triple electricity rates, and potentially bankrupt Manitoba.
The reason Manitoba once prospered was because of hard work, good ideas and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, this provincial government has taken every step possible to undermine those values. The good news is Manitobans have seen enough and will soon have the chance to bring about a change.