Our provincial NDP government is trying to get a sense of what's important to Manitobans through budget consultations around the province.
Minister of Finance, Adrien Sala says they are a listening government, and they want to ensure all Manitobans have an opportunity to provide their insights and feedback.
Sala said the more people they can hear from - from various regions of the province, the more they can ensure the budget they build, is one that really reflects the priorities of Manitobans.
Healthcare is clearly the biggest priority for folks, whether it's wait times for tests and surgeries or their inability to find a family doctor, said Sala. "We've heard a lot of people expressed concern over the state of the provinces healthcare system and we've already begun to build capacity within the system. And I'm telling folks to to watch for our budget which will be certain to make a lot of investments into that healthcare system." And I know people are wanting that and are expecting that from our new government.
With a number of town halls already complete around the province, Sala said they will be heading to northern Manitoba as well for an in-person consultation there.
So far, telephone town halls have been conducted in the City of Winnipeg and in Northern Manitoba. A telephone town hall for rural Manitoba is happening February 21st. An in-person event was held last week in Brandon to hear from people there and the surrounding Westman region.
"Well, we know that health care is, of course, the top priority," said Sala. "But affordability is another key issue and people are really looking for us to help them with the rising cost of living they've been challenged with. We've already suspended the gas tax for six months, which we're proud to have done, and that's brought a lot of relief to the high energy prices that Manitobans have been facing. And so, we've started right out of the gate with that release, and certainly looking to ensure that we continue to to work on improving affordability for Manitobans."
To register for any upcoming NDP budget consultations, go to engagemb.ca
~ With files from Candace Derksen ~