General

General

Message from Opposition Leader Brian Pallister for Remembrance Day

November 10, 2015 – Remembrance Day ceremonies offer Canadians a chance to pay our respects to our soldiers for the sacrifices they made in the past and continue to make today.

I encourage all Manitobans to take the time tomorrow to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony, and to pause and reflect in gratitude to Canada’s war dead for the freedoms we enjoy.

It’s important, as well, for Manitobans to teach the next generation about the importance of the ultimate sacrifices made by the tens of thousands of Canadians who lost their lives in service to their country since the First World War.

Our awareness of these sacrifices during the First World War, Second World War, Korean War and other more recent conflicts must not be diminished or forgotten from one generation to the next.

As Manitobans and Canadians, we have so much to be thankful for. On Remembrance Day, please take the time to honour our veterans: lest we forget.

Lymphedema Awareness Day

March 6 is a day to recognize affected people as we continue working to find a cure: Ewasko

March 5, 2015 – Each year, on March 6th, Manitobans have the opportunity to honour and participate in Lymphedema Awareness Day.

Our lymphatic system is responsible for fighting disease and infections. Lymphedema occurs when lymphatic fluid cannot drain properly, causing swelling of the arms, legs and other parts of the body.  It can lead to severe infection and loss of use of the affected limbs.

There is no cure yet for Lymphedema. Therefore Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko introduced legislation in 2013 that designates March 6 to be annually recognized as Lymphedema Awareness Day, in hopes of bringing public attention to this debilitating condition and to support those people living daily with its effects.

“As we work towards finding a cure we must start with raising awareness,” said MLA Ewasko. “Creating awareness about this condition, who is at risk, and what treatments are available will make it easier to access information and ensure that help is available for those who need it.”

The PC Caucus encourages all Manitobans to learn more about Lymphedema by participating in various events put on by the Lymphedema Association of Manitoba (LAM) and others community members to highlight the day.

Oswald’s Pension Idea Poorly Thought Out

NDP leadership candidate Theresa Oswald’s pension idea is poorly thought out. But the question is – will her party’s delegates realize it?

January 21, 2015 – The NDP is reeling in public opinion polls largely due to the unpopular decision to break an election promise and raise the provincial sales tax without voter approval. Despite that reality, Ms. Oswald recently proposed an even larger tax increase.

If elected leader, Theresa Oswald has said she would like to follow Ontario’s lead and implement a new provincial pension plan for those who don’t have a workplace plan. The Ontario government has proposed requiring people to fork over approximately “1.9 per cent” of their income each year to the government to pay for the plan (note: the calculation isn’t quite that straightforward).

So if you make $45,000 per year, the government would end up taking an extra $788 from your pocket. If you have a spouse that makes the same, you’ll be looking at an extra $1,576 per year as a family. Clearly we’re not talking about pocket change.
But it’s not just individuals who will be hit hard. Businesses will have to match each employee’s contribution. If you’re required to pay $788, your employer will also have to kick in $788. You can see why Ontario businesses are concerned about some of the huge costs they’ll face. For many, the added cost will make it harder to compete with competitors located in jurisdictions that don’t have such a financial headache.

Now comes the scary point.
Think about the provincial government and its most basic responsibilities – health care, education, helping people through social assistance and child welfare agencies to name a few.

Despite all the extra money the NDP has poured into the system over the years, our students still tend to do poorly on international tests, our health care waiting times are too long and many rural hospitals are on skeleton staffing levels too frequently. Our social welfare system had no idea high income earners were living in government-subsidized units (incredibly the government has yet to kick them out) and too many foster kids die while under the government’s care.

The results… well, they aren’t too pretty. With so many basic services in disarray can you really trust the provincial government to take on another major project? Something it has no experience with – a complicated pension fund.

If you’re optimistic about the government’s chances, recall the last time the NDP government was involved with an investment scheme – the Crocus Investment Fund. Just prior to the $150 million fund’s collapse, bureaucrats were busy warning senior officials behind the scenes that the fund was about to go under. Incredibly, the politicians kept on encouraging the public to keep investing. Many families lost small fortunes in the debacle.

Given the enormous cost of Ms. Oswald’s plan, and her party’s failure to deliver the services it currently provides in an adequate manner, it’s clear her plan wasn’t thought out too well. Time will tell what her party’s delegates think of the idea.

Colin Craig is the Prairie Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Bezan Disappointed with Manitoba Throne Speech

November 24, 2014 Ottawa, Ontario– Following the Speech from the Throne in the Manitoban Legislature, James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake, is criticizing the flood protection proposed by the Manitoba NDP.

“The Manitoba NDP Government’s proposed outlet on Lake Manitoba in the Throne Speech, will not remove water fast enough and will still subject communities and properties around Lake Manitoba to ongoing flooding.  Our constituents have called for more robust permanent flood mitigation infrastructure, and this will not be a sufficient solution,” stated MP Bezan.  “A new outlet must match the inflow from the Portage Diversion”

The Government of Canada announced in Economic Action Plan 2014 that the Conservative government was committed to working with provinces, territories and municipalities to build safer and more resilient communities. Economic Action Plan 2014 proposed $200 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to better protect Canadians and their homes through a National Disaster Mitigation Program. This program will support investments in structural mitigation measures, such as infrastructure to control floods that can reduce the impact of severe natural disasters.

“I call upon the Government of Manitoba to build an outlet what will match the peak outflow from the Portage Diversion,” expressed MP Bezan. “Our constituents continue to call for permanent flood mitigation infrastructure, and they know that this outlet will be inadequate.”

Province Clueless about Colossal Problem

Colin Craig is the Prairie Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

It’s arguably one of the driest subjects in Canada, but left unchecked it could have a catastrophic impact on your wallet.
Too bad the provincial government isn’t planning for it.

We’re talking about the nation’s aging population. It doesn’t take a PHD student or Nobel-prize winning economist to see that as our nation’s percentage of retired people increases, while the percentage of working-aged people decreases, a momentous impact could be had on our society.

It’s well known that governments tend to collect more in taxes from people who are working than those who are retired. A person working and making $50,000 per year pays far more in income taxes and sales taxes than a retired person with an annual income of, say, $25,000. Thus, our governments will face a significant cash crunch as waves of people retire.
At the same time, governments are going to face a big bill as older people tend to require more expensive health care services like hip replacements and 24-hour nursing home care. Younger people tend to require less expensive services like an annual check-up or a cast for a broken bone.

To be clear, this column is not a slight at older Canadians. They worked for decades and paid a fortune to the government in taxes. The problem is our politicians misspent the money and didn’t put aside any savings for when the baby boomers aged. But not only is there no savings, all three levels of government have racked up over $1 trillion in debt.

The federal government has been studying how demographic shifts will impact government bodies in Canada for quite some time. Their findings are released each year in their “Fiscal Sustainability Report.”

The 2014 report estimates that while the federal government is in decent shape, provincial and municipal governments in Canada will face an annual shortfall in revenues of approximately $34 billion in the years ahead. To put that into perspective, the GST brought in $31 billion this year. Clearly, we’re talking about municipal and provincial governments having to raise taxes significantly if they don’t get wasteful and non-essential spending under control.

We asked the Selinger government what analysis they’ve done on the matter and discovered there wasn’t much of anything. In short, the government is aware of the problem, but only calculates budgetary numbers five years out. There doesn’t appear to be any long-term planning and don’t bother asking if they’ve put aside savings to address these challenges. Our province’s debt is currently racing towards $32 billion.

If these demographic challenges sound far off in the future, they’re not. The first of the baby boom generation (born 1946-1965) hit 65 years old in 2011 and every day more and more people retire and start to require more costly health services.

So how will the system cope? Will the health care system be there when you need it? Will enough young people stay in Manitoba to foot the bill for these challenges or will people continue to flee to provinces that are in better financial shape?
Don’t ask the Selinger government, they don’t have a clue.

CEO SLEEPOUT – Change for the Better

Asking for Your Support – Ewasko

For over 3,000 people, a night out on the street is an unfortunate reality. On September 18, 2014, I will be joining Winnipeg CEOs, community leaders, and members of the media to help raise public awareness about homelessness, and to deepen my own understanding and tolerance.

We all have a stake and responsibility to put an end to homelessness. When we work together with government and the private sector, we can start to form realistic and tangible targets to make a difference.

Strategic investments in housing and employment can give hope for the homeless. We’ve seen this happen. Over the past several years, monies raised from the CEO Sleepout has helped to stabilize housing for those at risk and provided over 40,000 hours of employment for 40 individuals experiencing homelessness.

I’m excited to participate in this year’s event as a sleepout participant. I’m thrilled to champion this cause and to work with organizations and other participants to build strong communities, through housing and employment. I would love your support.

Learn more about the CEO Sleepout here: www.changeforthebetter.org<http://www.changeforthebetter.org>

You can sponsor my sleepout or donate directly to this program here: http://www.changeforthebetter.org/index.php/archives/person_type/ceo

Want to know where funds raised go? Check out the funded agencies here: http://downtownwinnipegbiz.com/173773-of-downtown-biz-funding-to-provide-38-of-citys-homeless-with-24070-hours-of-employment/

Want to help? Help spread the word!
Website: www.changeforthebetter.org<http://www.changeforthebetter.org/>
Twitter: @changewinnipeg

Kind regards,

Wayne Ewasko

WAYNE’S WORLDly View from the Legislature

September 8, 2014 – Well it’s the beginning of September and I believe that we’ve all had a very successful and fun filled summer of community events here in the Lac du Bonnet constituency and within the province of Manitoba. Many of the students have completed a week of school already and  I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the students, teachers, bus drivers, support staff, administration and of course all of the parents and guardians a smooth start and a very successful 2014/15 school year!

As the Education and Advanced Learning Critic for the Progressive Conservative party I am deeply concerned by reports from the C.D. Howe Institute and Conference Board of Canada on the results of the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which shows Manitoba’s student achievement scores are declining rapidly under the NDP. These drastic declines show that NDP education policies are not working!

Manitoba’s scores are declining faster than any other Canadian Province.  The C.D. Howe Institute reports Manitoba’s scores declined by 21 points in science, 34 points in reading, and 36 points in mathematics. The Conference Board of Canada notes Manitoba received a D grade in PHD programs and overall in math, science, computer science, and engineering.  In the K-12 category, the Conference Board reports that Manitoba received a D grade in reading and math skills, as well as a D grade in the number of high-level science scores.

Now the “critic” portion to my portfolio is just that, I am there as your MLA and the Education and Advanced Learning Critic and I am responsible for holding the government to account on their decisions and policies. For example, the number of special needs students who have received funding has decreased over the last four to five years. Does this mean that there are fewer students that require special needs funding? I think not!

On another point, The Manitoba teacher society announced at their AGM the dissatisfaction the Manitoba teachers have had with the new report cards, they also published a report which can be found at the following link.
www.mbteach.org/library/Archives/MBTeacher/June14_MBT.pdf

With my years of experience in the education field prior to being elected as your MLA I am aware that there are many great things happening in our education system due to the dedication of our teachers, support staff and administration. It is obvious to me that this present NDP government is not willing to listen to the grassroots people who are charged with educating our kids.  Premier Selinger has not shown any evidence of actually wanting to make amendments or changes.

This is why I am asking as your MLA and the Education and Advanced Learning Critic for you all, regardless of your political stripe, to get involved in our policy making procedure. Tell us; what’s working well and what needs to be left alone; what’s pretty good but needs to be re-evaluated and of course what we need to get rid of completely or amend!

WAYNE’S WORLDly View from the Legislature

July 21, 2014 – I had the great pleasure of spending this past weekend with my family in Dauphin watching my son Brayden play in the Bantam AA Baseball Provincials. His team the Springfield Braves finished with a record of 2 and 2 and tied for 2nd in their pool. Due to a count back their team didn’t make the playoffs. If I could speak for the rest of the parents, we all were very proud and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the weekend watching some great ball.

Although I was away from home this weekend there was no shortage of events taking place in the Lac du Bonnet Constituency. Pinawa celebrated their 51st Birthday with a host of activities including the parade, fireworks and the Lund Mania Fishing Tournament. The Summer Winds Family Music Festival in Victoria Beach also took place this past weekend with an incredible line-up of performers such as recording artists Trooper and Luciano. They also showcased local young talent Dylan & Jesse Thomas and Emily Green. Hopefully you had the opportunity to attend either or both of these community events and I sincerely hope that they were a huge success.

The Lac du Bonnet Constituency comes alive in the summer months with so many wonderful events. It is a great opportunity for local residents to travel throughout the Eastman area and visit our neighboring communities. We can take pride in all that we have to offer which is why thousands of Manitobans and tourists make us their summer destination. From Tyndall Family Fun Days in June to the Double B Ag Fest & Rodeo in September there are so many great community events to take in. Still coming up is the return of the Fire & Water Festival in Lac du Bonnet August 1-3 which will also include the famous Canada Day Fireworks that were postponed due to poor weather conditions; Bissett Annual Fishing Derby August 2-4th; Sagkeeng Treaty Days & Traditional Powwow August 1-3; Great Woods Music Festival August 7-9th in the beautiful Great Woods Park outside of Beausejour; Heritage Day August 10th at the Pioneer Village Museum in Beausejour; Shades of the Past Car Show on August 24th in Beausejour; 4P Festival August 28 – September 1st in Powerview-Pine Falls which includes a family fishing derby on Labour Day;  the newly named Double B Agricultural Festival September 5-7 at the CPTC Raceplex in Brokenhead and a great way to end the summer holidays before the kids head back to school. There are probably a few that I missed not to mention all the farmers markets, art shows, community garage sales, picnics, BBQ’s and many other local fundraisers that take place. They are all important events and they all rely on our support.

None of our community events big or small could exist without the dedication, commitment and hard work of our community volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of every community who give selflessly of themselves so that we can enjoy many of the local events and recreational programs that we have come to expect. I encourage you all to contribute to the growth and prosperity of our communities by attending and/or participating in their events and take the time to thank a volunteer – they will appreciate it.

Ending Bracket Creep Not a Tax Cut

June 11, 2014 – WINNIPEG, MB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) corrected Premier Selinger today on his claim that ending a secretive form of tax hikes – known as  “bracket creep” – is a “tax cut.” This morning on CJOB News, Premier Selinger lumped bracket creep in with other tax cuts as part of a fearmongering campaign to suggest that if his government didn’t raise taxes then there would be no money for roads and schools.
Ending bracket creep means a halt to tax increases by protecting taxpayers for inflation in the tax system, something seven out of ten provinces (and all three territories) have already done.
“Ending bracket creep isn’t a tax cut, it’s just an end to secret annual tax increases,” said CTF Prairie Director Colin Craig. “How much more money does the premier need from taxpayers? He hiked the PST, raised fuel taxes, started taxing home insurance and women’s haircuts and even raised death certificate fees. Every time you hear that Beatles song Taxman, think about our premier.”

Building Together

The PC Caucus needs your ideas to make Manitoba a better province for all: Pallister

June 2, 2014 – PC Caucus has now received close to 150 submissions at PolicyBlueprint.ca and we encourage all Manitobans to have their voices heard.  The document offers some direction on specific topics, but is only a starting point.

“We encourage Manitobans to present ideas and our caucus will be reaching out to organizations and individuals over the coming months.  We have a shared stake in our future and need ideas in all area, including arts and culture, conservation and social services.”

We will be hosting seminars and symposiums in September and look forward to involvement from Manitobans from all walks of life. We have had a number of people submit their ideas on everything from the structure of the education system to a need for a greater focus on making small business more attractive and a priority of government.

PC Caucus is listening, but if you want to be heard you need to participate.  Democracy works best when we take ownership and get involved.  Please do so at PolicyBlueprint.ca.