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2016 Manitoba Election: Where the parties stand on issues affecting young people

Written by Think Forward Staff
Thursday, 07 April 2016

With the Manitoba General Election less than two weeks away, voters are starting to take a serious look at the three political parties attempting to form government on April 19th.

Although the incumbent New Democrats, led by Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, have recently made headlines for enacting groundbreaking legislation providing victims of domestic violence with paid workplace leave, and have received praised for fostering strong economic growth in the province during the party’s fourth term in office, they have also been criticized for breaking a promise not to raise the provincial sales tax. As well, Selinger is unpopular among both his colleagues and the electorate.  

The opposition Conservatives, meanwhile, are riding high in public opinion polls and are campaigning on a platform of tax and service cuts, privatization, and increased trade with western provinces. Rana Bokhari’s Liberals are currently running in third in terms of their projected seat count; however, compared to previous elections, the party’s message is resonating with voters.

Up to this point, very little has been written about where the three parties stand on the big issues facing students, recent graduates, and young workers in Manitoba – from paying for college and university to finding good quality jobs to raising a family in the province.

So we’ve compiled a list of the parties’ commitments on these and other issues to give you an idea of what each party is promising to young voters in Manitoba – whether you’re still in school or starting a career and family. And if you haven’t “tuned in” to the election until now, no need to worry. There’s still plenty of time to decide which party best represents your interests. Below is a summary of where the New Democrats, Progressive Conservatives, and Liberals stand on issues affecting young people.

Post-secondary education, tuition fees, and student loans/grants

New Democratic Party of Manitoba (Governing Party)

Ø  Convert students loans to non-repayable grants; double funding for scholarships and bursaries

Ø  Cover course fees and living expenses for 1,500 new apprenticeship students every year

Ø  Provide free tuition up to age 25 for students in or emerging from the child welfare system

Ø  Develop new high school credits for paid employment, co-operative placements, and internships

Ø  Provide $200,000 to help low-income students pay for college and university application fees

Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba (Official Opposition)

Ø  Increase the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative to $6.75 million, with a one-third matching component from government to encourage more private donations

Manitoba Liberal Party (Third Party)

Ø  Convert provincial student loans to non-repayable grants

Job creation, labour rights, and wages

New Democratic Party of Manitoba

Ø  Increase the minimum wage by at least 50 cents per year

Ø  Invest in front-line staff for hospitals and clinics by hiring 50 more nurse practitioners, 50 new physician assistants, and 25 new midwives

Ø  Double training for child care workers and increase wages

Ø  Invest $10 billion in infrastructure over the next six years, with a focus on active transportation

Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba

Ø  Establish business advisory council to help create jobs and boost the economy

Ø  Create an economic development plan to promote sustainable development of forestry, mining

Ø  Pursue membership in the New West Partnership upon forming government

Manitoba Liberal Party

Ø  Invest in Tourism Manitoba so it has the funding it needs to sell the province to the world

Ø  Build a year-round fresh food market in downtown Winnipeg to draw residents and other businesses to the core

Ø  Promote the “gig economy” by legalizing ride sharing services such as Uber

Buying a home / raising a family in Manitoba

New Democratic Party of Manitoba

Ø  Build 300 new affordable housing units per year

Ø  Cut Manitoba Hydro loan interest rates by one percent for homeowners

Ø  Establish $25 million capital fund for public and community-operated child care centres

Ø  Create 12,000 new child care spaces

Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba

Ø  No housing policy announced as of yet

Ø  Encourage more private delivery of child care services

Manitoba Liberal Party

Ø  Put a freeze on rent increases for two calendar years, beginning in 2017

Ø  Remove the Land Transfer Tax for first-time home buyers

Ø  Invest $30 million annually – on top of current funding – in child care services

Other issues

New Democratic Party of Manitoba

Ø  Fight climate change by creating green jobs and building a sustainable economy

Manitoba Liberal Party

Ø  Provide a rebate of up to $5,000 for purchasing a fuel-efficient vehicle   

Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba

Ø  Raise the Basic Personal Tax Exemption for low-income households

Of course, these are just some of the issues being addressed by the three main parties in this election, and more announcements are sure to follow in the coming days. To find out more about the election – such as your electoral division, local candidates, and voting locations – and how you can vote on April 19th, visit the Elections Manitoba website.



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