New Manitoba NDP government set to reveal first budget Tuesday

From bolstering healthcare to making life more affordable, the Manitoba NDP made a range of promises on the campaign trail just a few months ago. Now heading into their first budget, they are now expected to show how they’ll pay for some of those promises.

Among the key items the NDP ran on during the campaign was increasing healthcare staffing, including hiring 400 doctors, 300 nurses, and 100 homecare workers.

The party also ran on reopening three emergency rooms in Winnipeg.

“We are losing nurses on a daily basis that we can’t afford to lose. I think retention and retention for sure is something that we must address,” said Darlene Jackson, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union.

The government already providing some Easter Eggs ahead of budget day revealing that they are allocating funds to finally transition Manitoba from paper to plastic health cards.

RELATED: Manitoba budget, set for Tuesday, to include several tax breaks and hits

The NDP also revealed earlier in March that they would provide $20 million for a search of the Prairie Green landfill for the remains of two Indigenous women.

“I see the budget as a window into the priorities of a government,” Adams said. “The big issue for many Manitobans is healthcare. This budget has to have something on healthcare,” said Christopher Adams, an adjunct professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba.

The party also promising to make life more affordable, including freezing hydro rates for a year, bringing in a temporary gas tax at the start of 2024 providing rebates on the purchase of electrical vehicles, and ending chronic homelessness.

“We know we have a need for 1,000 new units in this fiscal year. We want to see investments to protect the existing stock that we have. That means investing in capital repairs and subsidies to keep our social housing in good condition,” said Kirsten Bernas, Chair of the Provincial Working Group of the Right to Housing Coalition.

But while the NDP try to implement all their promises, they also face a ballooning deficit that is heading towards $2 billion, making it the largest hole in the province’s finances outside of the pandemic.

This after the party promised on the campaign trail a balenced budget at the end of its first term.

“Hydro has been having some difficult years, that is a drag on the provincial coffers when hydro is not a major contributor to provincial revenues,” said Adams.

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