- The premier’s speech was delivered to 1,200 business leaders at a VIP luncheon hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.
- Stefanson told reporters that she wanted to hear from nurses about what would motivate them to stay in Manitoba.
With the province’s economy and the healthcare system in shambles, Premier Heather Stefanson used her first state of the province address on Thursday to reassure Manitobans that her administration has several measures to get the province back on its feet.
The premier’s speech, delivered to a crowd of 1,200 business leaders at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce VIP luncheon, was mostly focused on economic plans to rebuild the province, touching on many of the same topics as her maiden speech from the throne just over a week earlier.
“To help fill the skill shortage, we’ll invest more in a skills-based economy and partner with businesses to deliver demand-led skills training that will address labor market needs in areas like hospitality, trucking, manufacturing, and nursing,” Stefanson said, describing the pandemic as “the most significant economic event in our lifetime.”
“We recognize that access to finance is a critical challenge for all firms, which is why we are moving forward with a venture capital framework to aid growing companies and increase access to financing in Manitoba.”
Stefanson didn’t make any major new announcements. Still, she did stress the importance of increasing immigration to strengthen the labor force by expanding the Provincial Nominee Program and reaffirming her government’s commitment to reconciliation.
“Improving reconciliation with Indigenous Manitobans and creating a new relationship based on respect, cooperation, and partnership is critical to Manitoba’s economic future,” the premier stated.
“We will listen to Indigenous neighbors, First Nations leaders, elders, knowledge-keepers, families, and community members, and we will learn from them.”
Stefanson also spoke on the country’s stressed healthcare system and how her administration intends to address it.
“We’re forming a task group with doctors, nurses, and other experts to chart a course for clearing surgical and diagnostic backlogs, as well as expanding our ICU capacity,” Stefanson added.
“We’ve established a goal for ourselves to add 400 more nursing seats in our post-secondary schools, and the Thompson practical nursing program will train 20 students.”
Following her address, Stefanson told reporters that she wanted to hear from nurses about what would motivate them to stay in Manitoba.
According to University of Winnipeg political science professor Malcolm Bird, the speech struck a more “cooperative, collaborative” tone than her predecessor, Brian Pallister.
“I believe this has huge potential ramifications for her electability as well as the Conservative Party’s overall set of beliefs,” Bird added.
Stefanson, on the other hand, may want to walk a careful line between putting her stamp on the party while staying true to some of Pallister’s strengths, according to Bird.
“Mr. Pallister accomplished some fairly extraordinary things,” Bird recalled, “the most notable of which was, of course, balancing the budget.”
“However, he also made some important organizational reforms at several public organizations that required it.”
Stefanson was sworn in as premier exactly one month before his address.
Source: Global News
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