Premier Brian Pallister and Finance Minister Cameron Friesen today announced the launch of Budget 2018’s pre-budget consultations that will give Manitoba families the opportunity to share their views on three key issues for Manitoba’s future: sustaining health care, controlling marijuana use and balancing the budget.
“Each of these issues directly affect Manitoba families,” said Pallister. “These consultations give Manitobans a real voice in the choices their government makes on their behalf and we want to hear from everyone as we plan ahead.”
The premier was joined by Finance Minister Cameron Friesen and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen who, along with Justice Minister Heather Stefanson, will be leading the consultations.
To ensure every Manitoban has the chance to give their input, the province has launched a survey at www.manitobansmakingchoices.ca. Manitobans are encouraged to take the survey and have their say on a number of issues including:
- controlling marijuana use, with questions about the legal age of consumption, price, availability and public safety;
- balancing the budget including questions about the path government should take to balance the budget and ways to reduce government spending; and
- sustaining health care including questions about how to sustain services and the possibility of introducing health-care premiums.
“We want Manitobans to look at a range of options and tell us what they think should be done to improve the government’s finances,” said Friesen. “By taking this survey, people can make their views known as we work to balance the budget within a reasonable amount of time and in ways Manitobans support.”
“Sustaining health care is the top priority of Manitobans. Here is a chance to say directly what your suggestions are to secure health-care services for patients and families,” said Goertzen. “A health-care premium is one option we want Manitobans to give their views on.”
“With the federal government legalizing marijuana in Canada, it’s up to the provinces to make this work in a safe, accessible way,” said Stefanson. “That begins with setting price and the right legal age of consumption that prevents underage use and gets the gangs out of the business.”
In addition to the survey, Friesen will be holding Budget 2018 public consultation meetings in Winnipeg, Brandon, The Pas, Dauphin, Winkler and in the Dawson Trail and Interlake regions. The town halls will start in Winnipeg on Oct. 11. Telephone town halls will also be held in October to give Manitobans from across the province an opportunity to call in and join a conversation with the ministers of justice, health and finance on these issues.
To encourage as broad an engagement as possible, stakeholders will have access to an online Town Hall Tool Kit to assist in holding their own public meetings, Friesen noted.
“We must make choices about how we spend Manitobans’ tax dollars and we want to give as many people as possible the chance to have their say,” said Pallister. “I want to encourage all Manitobans to take the survey, attend a meeting or participate in a call to share their views on how we can balance the budget, sustain health care and properly control marijuana use.”
For more information on the dates of the town hall meetings or to take the survey, visit www.manitobansmakingchoices.ca.