Opinion Column

View from the Ledge: Midland MLA on 2017

All the best to you and yours in this new year of 2018. This past year of 2017 has flown by! I have been fortunate to travel to many parts of Manitoba – from winter roads in the North to all corners of Southern Manitoba.

We are blessed with such a beautiful province and great people who take pride in their communities.

This past year has brought changes in my job description as well. Being Minister of Infrastructure gave me great insight into the size and scope of our highway system, our flood protection protocol, and our often overlooked but vitally important drainage works.

In the August Cabinet shuffle I moved to Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade (GET). GET includes the Labour portfolio; Economic Development; Mines and Petroleum Branch; and Tourism. GET is also overseeing the Cannabis file in terms of setting up the retail distribution system in time for the federal government’s legalization in July of 2018.

Within GET there is a major re-organization of the Economic Development Program. There has been no oversight of the program in terms of return on investment, duplication, or general objectives in investment. The new Economic Development Plan will be much more focused, clear in the objectives, while reducing administration costs and red tape and fostering economic growth across the province.

The Mines and Petroleum Branch has not seen a refresh in 20 years with many systems and protocols outdated when compared with today’s technology. This work is ongoing as well.

The tourism industry continues to grow across Manitoba with the 96-4 funding model where 4% of tourism related spending is funneled back to Tourism Manitoba ensuring as the industry grows funding is assured. Check out what Manitoba has to offer when planning your next weekend outing or vacation.

On the home front, in Midland Constituency in 2017, we were once again fortunate to see the agricultural industry prosper. Good crops and strong livestock prices bode well for our region. Legislation has been introduced to streamline drainage permits. Tile drain regulations and farm building codes have been brought into line with other provinces to spur investments.

The long-awaited highway through Carman finally got started and will be completed this coming spring. There are other connecting highways within the constituency needing upgrades to ensure market access and road safety.

There will be lots happening in 2018. Don’t hesitate to call my office in Carman to make sure your voice is heard.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Blaine Pedersen, Midland MLA