Premier renews government benches, preparers for an activist agenda for 2023

New recruits

By Dorothy Dobbie

As we entered the new year, Premier Heather Stefanson, brought with her a fresh new look to the government, saying goodbye to several MLAs who have served for many, many years and welcoming recently elected MLA for Kirkfiled, Kevin Klein, a well-known Winnipeg City Councillor and former publisher of the Sun newspaper.

“I want to personally thank each and every retiring MLA for their many contributions and their friendship and loyalty,” said Premier Heather Stefanson. “I know that they will be there with their wisdom and experience to advise us as we move ahead.

“But we are also excited about what the future will bring as we move forward with renewed energy and ideas. I see a tremendously bright future for our province. I am determined to unleash its energy, its creativity, and its opportunity for the people of Manitoba.”

Since becoming leader, the Premier has been letting investors and the world know that Manitoba is open and enthusiastic about attracting new business. New investment and developers are knocking on our doors, eager to take part in a rejuvenated Manitoba.

“My goal is to enable this province to forge ahead in every field, taking care of the less able and helping them succeed, while we open the doors to the return of business. We will work with our First Nations to help them create vibrant economies of their own. We will encourage good jobs and career opportunities, so our kids don’t have to leave our province.”

She has already moved the needle forward on a wide range of files, although local, traditional media, dominated by a very biased Winnipeg Free Press, has had little to say about her achievements.

Since taking over as Premier in 2021, Heather Stefanson has initiated meaningful health care reforms that will see more 2,000 doctors, nurses, and other health care workers added to the system. She is rebuilding the aged emergency rooms at the St. Boniface Hospital. She has cleared the backlog of more than 13,000 delayed operations and is still working on this. She dealt with the city-side development delay for CentrePort, moved forward with repair of the Arctic Gateway Railroad, and signed MOUs with Snow Lake Lithium and LG which will see a renewal of the mining industry and the addition of a lithium battery factory in CentrePort. The first Manitoba state-of-the-art potash mine is underway.  The agriculture sector is booming with Manitoba becoming the center for pea processing. Freight-ready roads are being rebuilt to secure the transportation network necessary to meet the new industrial and production needs of the exciting economy being built. And that includes, finally, the twinning of the remaining 17 km of the TransCanada Highway. She appointed Dr. Lloyd Axworthy to modernize our provincial immigration nominee program. The important arts and tourism industries have been given much needed boosts.

There is no sector that has not been invigorated under her leadership and that includes multiple improvements and innovations to the social system, including support for the revolutionary (to Manitoba) Toba Centre where abused children will have an expedited, one-stop shop to care for their needs and provide the critical follow up that has been lacking under the old system.

To add momentum to these and additional planned advances and critically needed changes to how this province works, the Premier has relieved her one-year transition team, providing most of them with new assignments while she renews the energy within her own office. “These were all good people and they did a wonderful job through a stressful year,” she said. “But it is time to turn the page on a new chapter and to do that requires a new kind of expertise.” She also shuffled her cabinet on January 30, bringing in several new ministers, including Kevin Klein, Obby Kahn, Janice LeCompte and James Teitsma. Josh Guenter was made Legislative Assistant to the new minister of Finance, Cliff Cullen.

With a year of experience behind her, and armed with a refreshed and invigorated team, the government of Heather Stefanson looks ready to take on anything the tired and listless Opposition can toss its way. It will start with her leadership as Chair of the Council of the Federation in talks with the Prime Minister, finally, over how to re-finance the health care system across Canada.

Returning her attention to her main priority, Manitoba, The Premier says, “This is just the beginning. There is still so much more we can do to bring prosperity back to Manitoba. And we will!

“I believe we can lose the title of being a “have-not” province and change our reputation to being the Province of Opportunity,” she added.

“I know we can do this because Manitobans are the most intelligent and creative people in the country!”

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