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Manitoba Throne Speech long on promises, short on details

Overshadowing the speech was an announcement that a legal challenge to the Tory party’s vote that crowned Stefanson party leader would be heard in Court of Queen’s Bench earlier than anticipated.




Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson’s first throne speech Tuesday included promises for improved rural health care and education, and placed priorities on the needs of seniors, nurses, firefighters, immigrants and the homeless.

Overshadowing the speech read by Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon was an announcement earlier in the day that a legal challenge to the Progressive Conservative party’s vote that crowned Stefanson party leader propelling her to the premier’s chair, would be heard in Court of Queen’s Bench earlier than anticipated.

The Throne Speech said the government will act within weeks to set up a task force to try to reduce what Doctors Manitoba estimates is a growing backlog of 136,000 medical procedures, including surgeries and diagnostic tests, put on hold due to COVID-19.

“This will be a priority for our government, to ensure Manitobans get the health care that they need when they need it,” Stefanson, the former health minister, told reporters.

The Throne Speech, which was often short on specifics, zeroed in on a nursing shortage in the province with an aim to train 400 nurses, all of whom would be offered a job and incentives to remain in Manitoba.

The government plans to implement a new strategy for aging seniors after consultation with Manitobans.

And it will revisit planned reforms to rural health care that caused “angst” within municipalities.

The province will also expand the list of presumptive work-related cancers afflicting firefighters who are exposed to toxic chemicals.

Funding will be increased for family violence shelters.

The speech pledged to develop a green energy policy.

It also declared that Manitoba would scrap the controversial Bill 64 calling for the dissolution of English-language school boards and centralized decision-making with government and return the original K-12 review commissioned by the province.  

The Stefanson government will work to mend the strained relationship former premier Brian Pallister had with indigenous leaders and focus on “respect, reconciliation, and repairing broken relationships.”

A promise, but no details, was made to assist the homeless this winter.

Stefanson attempted to distance herself from the unpopular Pallister, but said not all his policies were bad for the province.

“I think there have been many good things that have been done that we can build on,” she said.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but I think there’s a better way to do things and a more collaborate way with Manitobans.”

Meanwhile, lawyers for PC leadership challenger Shelly Glover will begin to present their argument in court December 10 as to why the October 30 leadership vote should be overturned and a new election held.

Initially, the court set a December 23 date for the hearing before Justice James Edmond.

Glover, who won 49% of the votes, 363 less than Stefanson, alleges there were irregularities when the ballots were counted and that unsecured ballot boxes were moved to another room.

“This application not only affects the parties and the intervener, but also affects the people of Manitoba, who have an interest in knowing whether the election of our new premier was flawed,” said Edmond when he decided the case should proceed.

Stefanson was sworn in as premier November 2.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Senior Columnist for the Western Standard. She has been an investigative columnist with the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report. lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. Left Coast

    November 23, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    136,000 procedures backloged . . . ain’t Cuba Style Healthcare great . . .

    When the numbers are all tallied up . . . the destruction of lives in Manitoba from the completely Insane Lockdowns & quarantines are added up the Numbers will be larger than those that died with/from the Wuhan Virus.

    Stephanson was Pallister’s right hand woman . . . she is as culpable as the fool that resigned . . . she should do the same!

  2. berta baby

    November 23, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Doesn’t she remind you about of the person that bitches about her food and just rages like a filthy whore on the poor waiter/ waitress? Maybe it’s me but she has a look to her that says I eat French fries by the handful while I wait at a red light….lots of cats I’m gonna say 3 cats one cat box , lots of hair.

    What a mess

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Sask Polytech ditches vax policy but burdens unvaxxed with testing costs

The Justice Centre is unsatisfied with the response of Sask Polytech and reiterated its intention to pursue legal action against the institution and against the University of Saskatchewan over its requirement for staff and students to be vaccinated for COVID-19.





The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is unsatisfied with the decision of Saskatchewan Polytech to reverse its vaccination requirement for staff and students because the institute does not recognize natural immunity and imposes testing costs on the unvaccinated.

On November 19, the Justice Centre sent Sask Polytech and the University of Saskatchewan letters demanding they reverse their requirement that all staff and students be vaccinated by January 1, 2022. 

On December 1, Sask Polytech reversed its “vaccinated only” policy but now requires unvaccinated staff and students to comply with testing three times a week at their own expense. In a press release, the Justice Centre called this “unacceptable.”

“Such testing requirements for students are even greater than the Saskatchewan government’s requirements for employees of its ministries. Sask Poly has also failed to recognize the compelling scientific evidence of natural immunity for those who have already recovered from Covid-19 and have proof of antibodies,” reads a JCCF press release on Saturday.

“Testing costs, which could exceed $200 per week, mean that only the wealthy and privileged can bear the burden,” stated Andre Memauri, the Justice Centre’s Saskatoon-based lawyer.

“Sask Poly, which has chosen to impose discriminatory testing requirements for staff and students, has the ability to acquire these tests at wholesale cost.”

The Justice Centre said it would commence legal proceedings against Sask Poly in the Court of Queen’s Bench unless Sask Poly immediately absorbs the testing costs and recognizes natural immunity. 

On October 28, the U of S and Sask Polytech announced mandatory vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty, removing the alternative of twice weekly testing which had been in place since the start of the school year. The Justice Centre will also commence legal action against the U of S for refusing unvaccinated students. 

On November 26, Global News reported a 19-year-old student was hospitalized briefly with breathing problems after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The student’s mother, Michelle Marciniuk, publicly called for the university to reconsider its policy.

The U of S’ policy includes exemptions on medical and religious grounds in accordance with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. But according to the Justice Centre, the university usually rejects exemption requests or does not respond to them for several weeks. Besides this, the university has made itself the arbiter of faith considerations for religious exemptions. Medical exemptions have become a difficult document for patients to receive in Canada, due to regulatory pressure on physicians not to provide them based on their medical judgement except in very rare circumstances.

The U of S crowns itself for academic freedom, diversity, equality, human dignity and a healthy work and learning environment, yet it has harshly terminated faculty for speaking on the hallmark principle of informed consent for Covid-19 vaccination of children,” stated Andre Memauri, a U of S alum. 

“Now, the U of S seeks to exclude and villainize those who decide for various reasons not to be vaccinated…Without question, our community has been through a great deal of difficulty and it requires these institutions to lead as vessels of science not ideology…The Justice Centre demands both schools follow the science and adopt policies that bring students together in the most safe and lawful manner.”

The letters sent to both schools from the Justice Centre on November 19 warned that the schools are seeking to deprive students from education on the basis of vaccination status, contrary to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Sections 2(a), 7, and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan

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CRA wants more tax filers to file online

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.




The taxman is angry that too many Canadians are still filing by mail, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.

“Those who submit their taxes by mail most often say they use paper rather than filing electronically because it is simply how they prefer to do it, e.g. they do it out of habit, because ‘it’s what they are comfortable with,’ they like it, etcetera,” said a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) report.

“Just 13% cite security issues.”

Data show of 30.5 million tax returns filed this year a total 2.7 million or 9% were filed on paper. Millions of taxpayers, a total 4,234,772 including Internet filers, demanded refunds be paid by mailed cheque instead of direct deposit.

The CRA complained it would be “more timely and efficient” if all taxpayers used the Internet. The Agency spends $6.9 million annually mailing T1 general tax forms alone.

“There is still a sizable proportion of taxpayers who are conducting their business with the Canada Revenue Agency through paper rather than taking advantage of digital services which are much more timely and efficient,” said the report.

Research showed typical paper filers were working age men under 55 who completed their own return without a tax preparer, had a university degree, earned more than $80,000 a year and were more likely than other Canadians to prefer in-person teller service rather than online banking.

“The most important factor influencing why respondents file by paper instead of online is disinterest,” wrote researchers, who added: “Apathy is a barrier. Fifty percent of likely switchers say they are simply not interested in switching. Therefore the agency will have to demonstrate the value of switching.”

Findings were based on questionnaires with 2,000 taxpayers who filed returns by mail. The Agency paid Earnscliffe Strategy Group $130,061 for the survey.

The research follows a failed 2012 campaign to have all Canadians use direct deposit for payment of tax refunds and benefit cheques. The attempt by the Receiver General of Canada, the federal office responsible for processing payments, was intended to save costs. Paper cheques cost 82¢ apiece to process compared to 13¢ for electronic transfers, by official estimate.

An estimated 13% of taxpayers refused to surrender bank account information to the Receiver General. “Cheque recipients have become harder to engage,” said a 2020 Department of Public Works survey.

“A few have a general distrust of the Government of Canada’s ability to protect data,” wrote researchers. A total 23 percent of Atlantic residents said they wouldn’t rely on the government to protect their privacy, followed by 22% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 21% in Ontario, 19% in Alberta, 18% in BC and 12% in Québec.

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WATCH: Alberta Oil drives Guilbeault to meeting with Nixon

Federal Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault’s tour of Alberta has already kicked off with a whiff of hypocrisy.




Attended by a sizable entourage, Guilbeault exited his black gasoline-powered SUV and hustled into the McDougall Centre in Calgary for a meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon.  

Guilbeault has dedicated most of his career to telling Canadians they need to transition from petrochemically fueled transportation. During this meeting though, Guilbeault chose not to find an utilize an electric-powered SUV in order to demonstrate his environmental virtue. With the resources of the entire federal government behind him, one would have thought that Guilbeault could have arranged appropriate transportation for his cross-Canada tour.  

It’s almost as if electric vehicles are still not ready for mainstream use yet. 

At least Guilbeault contributed to the Western economy with his conspicuous consumption of local petrochemical products.  

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