On Tuesday April 11th our Progressive Conservative government introduced Budget 2017, which charts a moderate and responsible course for Manitoba, based on reducing taxes and restraining government spending while investing appropriately in front-line services. One of the most common things I heard at the door during last year’s election was that government must stop passing on deficits and accumulated debt to the next generations. It’s important to the overall objectives of government to ensure that we are moving back on track in terms of balance and fixing our services and rebuilding our economy. Budget 2017 was built for and by Manitobans, and sets out a strong plan for our province as we work to correct our course and steadily pursue improvements year over year.
Manitobans deserve a better plan, one that focuses on increased investments in the areas that matter most to Manitoba, while being open, transparent and accountable. Making necessary adjustments now will allow us to ensure that Manitoba remains a wonderful place to live and invest. I am pleased to announce that record levels of investment occurred in Health, Seniors and Active Living including $107.5 million in new investments targeted in primary health-care services including an increase of $1.7 million for universal newborn hearing screening, and an additional $8.8 million for expanded dialysis treatment. The budget also includes a further $9.4 million for new cancer drugs and $6.5 million to further reduce ambulance fees for Manitobans. Another budget highlight was the strategic infrastructure investment forecast to reach more than $1.7 billion in 2017-18, one of the highest total infrastructure expenditures in Manitoba history. This includes $747 million for roads, highways, bridges and flood protection, $641 million for health, education and housing infrastructure, and up to $370 million for municipal, local and other provincial infrastructure.
While there are many important investments, Budget 2017 constrains spending in a responsible way. In healthcare, spending growth is budgeted to be less than 2% which will result in some difficult decisions being made as we ensure that core healthcare services are protected for the future.
Manitobans are not afraid of hard work and neither is their new government. We will work together over time to shape the future with a clear, responsible vision and a balanced, stable approach that will allow our province to prosper. This is an approach that is well known and practiced by the residents of the Steinbach Constituency.
Budget 2017 avoids drastic measures, choosing instead to responsibly move Manitoba along the road to recovery while maintaining our government’s commitment to making Manitoba the most improved province in all of Canada. Responsible steps will enable us to put Manitoba back on track so that we are able to protect the services used by all Manitobans today and needed in the future.
For more information on Budget 2017, visit www.gov.mb.ca/budget2017.