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In celebration of “I Love to Read” Month this February, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and reading to many different classes in a number of schools throughout Dawson Trail. I always look forward to this month because I get to engage with students and their imaginations, answer their unique questions, and share with them the value and joy of reading. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to do so again this year, and I want to thank all of the teachers, staff, and students for welcoming me for their wonderful “I Love to Read” festivities.

I’m looking forward to having the first “Coffee with Bob” of the new year, which will be happening later this month. I always really enjoy these events because I get to just be out in the community, chatting with constituents.

In political news this month, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the NDP government have no actual plan for healthcare. They’ve so far relied on reannouncing accomplishments by our previous PC government, despite running their election campaign almost entirely on healthcare and having seven years to come up with solutions. Even the Prime Minister’s $1-billion healthcare funding announcement in Winnipeg this month was a deal struck by PCs in early 2023.

The only concrete action the NDP have taken so far in healthcare is cuts and reducing transparency. One of the NDP’s first moves in government was to cut the task force that funded more than 80,000 surgeries and procedures for Manitobans. They then deleted the online wait time tracker to hide the impacts of that move, until they were caught by PCs and put the tracker back up. Even though the tracker was put back up, it had not been updated since August… until the NDP government was called out again in early February. The lack of transparency should be concerning for all Manitobans.

Over the last four months, Manitoba has been welcoming internationally-educated nurses to rural and northern communities across the province thanks to our previous PC government’s recruitment mission. Despite dozens of nurses arriving or on the way, the NDP cut the funding meant to help these healthcare workers settle into communities, as well as hinting at possibly abandoning the recruitment effort altogether.

Another program being abandoned by the NDP is the Building Sustainable Communities (BSC) fund, which PCs created in 2019 to help fund capital infrastructure and community projects led by local governments and non-profits. The grants are crucial to local community development: just these past two years, BSC grants have supported upgrades to the Ste. Anne Arena, Landmark Arena, Musée Dawson Trail Museum, the Richer Community Club outdoor rink, and various other projects in the constituency. Our PC team called on the NDP to open application intake by February 9th, but since they’ve remained silent, Manitobans can assume that BSC grants are cut.

The NDP have also effectively abandoned nine schools, including one in Ste. Anne, which were set by our previous PC government to open by September 2027 with new daycare facilities in each as well. Not only have they delayed construction on these projects indefinitely, the NDP’s silence on the status of any of these schools is being heard loud and clear by community members.

Lastly, the recent, politically-motivated firing of the Manitoba Hydro CEO has opened another concern: this NDP government is directly interfering with the operations of the province’s largest Crown corporation. Last month, the former CEO spoke honestly about the solutions Manitoba needs to consider to overcome significant challenges that Hydro currently faces—solutions that were immediately shut down by the NDP for conflicting with their ideology. A few weeks later, she was fired.

This is deeply concerning because, when the last NDP government interfered with Hydro, it tripled the utility’s debt to more than $23 billion. Nearly 20 years later, Manitobans are still paying 33 cents of every dollar on their Hydro bills to service interest payments on that crushing debt.

MLAs will be back in the Legislature in early March, and our PC Team are ready to hold the NDP government accountable for all of these concerns, and many more, that Manitobans have brought to us.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my constituency office.

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