With a provincial election set to be called soon in anticipation of an October 3rd election day, this will be my last legislative update prior to the election campaign. I would like to thank local residents for their support, comments and engagement over the past four years as I have served as your member of the legislative assembly as well as in a number of government roles.
Since the last election, I have been honoured to serve at various times in the capacity of Minister of Education, Deputy Premier, Premier and Minister of Justice and Attorney General. But the role I most value, and the only one that I have ever sought, has been that of the MLA for Steinbach.
The past four years have brought with it its fair share of both challenge and opportunity. Today in the region, we see growth in population, industry, and infrastructure. There is a great deal to be optimistic about both in the southeast and in Manitoba more generally.
As a province there continues to be incredible opportunity, much of which is now being realized. Recent statistics have shown that Manitoba is among the leaders in economic growth in the country. But there are, as always, also challenges. Affordability and community safety are two of the key issues that are often expressed as concerns and more needs to be done to ensure life is affordable and communities are safe.
In our region, we have seen significant developments in healthcare with the opening of new PCH beds, a new dialysis unit and the expansion of the Bethesda Regional Health Centre. Across Canada, healthcare staffing continues to be a challenge but one that is being tackled head on in Manitoba with an aggressive training, recruitment, and retention strategy. We are also seeing the construction of new and expanded schools as well as the building of a new southeast event centre.
When the election is officially called, the Manitoba Legislative Assembly is dissolved and by law, MLA constituency offices must be closed and not staffed. This means that local inquiries are directed to the main government of Manitoba inquiry line for assistance. I am grateful for my local constituency office staff and for their support in trying to address the various issues that have been brought to our attention through the Steinbach office during this past term.
A free and democratic country is not something to be taken for granted. While there are often many concerns expressed about the state of our democracy, the most important way in which to protect it is to become engaged in the process. For most citizens, this involves, at the very least, exercising your right to vote on election day. As always, I encourage residents to participate in our democracy and to vote. Over the years, many Canadians have sacrificed in a variety of ways to ensure we have this right.
Together with my family, I would like to again thank you for the opportunity to serve as your MLA over the past four years and for the support and advice you have offered.