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Anglers hook higher fees

THE province made it official Friday -- fishing licences are going up by $5 effective immediately for the coming angling season.

It means the regular licence will now cost $25.10, the lowest price west of Quebec, the province says. The hike was announced in Tuesday's budget.

The government says the increased revenue will be directed to the hatchery system.

The goal is to more than triple the walleye fry the Whiteshell hatchery raises to 10 million a year and double the number of trout fingerlings to 500,000 a year, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said in a release. The additional money will also see the Swan Creek hatchery continue raising walleye fry, about 40 million a year.

Angling licences for seniors remain free.

Generic drugs added

THE province has introduced 81 more generic drugs to the pharmacare program.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald said Friday the lower drug prices will save Manitoba families $3.7 million a year.

The addition includes: a new pediatric-strength Tamiflu, used to treat influenza; new strengths of the drug Prezista, used in the treatment of HIV; and new formulations of Saizen and Nutropin AQ NuSpin, used to help children who are growth-hormone-deficient.

Oswald said the province has added 234 new drugs to the formulary since January.

Pharmacare is a universal prescription-drug program for Manitobans, with benefits based on family income. It covers 100 per cent of eligible drug costs once the income-based deductible is reached, regardless of medical condition or age.

NDP flaunt housing credit

THE Selinger government, taking heat from critics on boosting the PST to eight per cent, on Friday released more details about a new tax credit to support private-sector rental-housing construction.

Housing and Community Development Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross said the tax credit is aimed at building 1,000 new rental-housing units.

The Residential Rental Housing Investment Tax Credit, announced in Tuesday's budget, provides an eight per cent credit on construction costs for private developers to build new rental housing with affordable units.

The province plans to build 1,000 new rental-housing units over the next three years, including 500 affordable-housing units and 500 social-housing units, Irvin-Ross said. These new units will add to the Manitoba government's HOMEWorks! program, which is already underway to develop 3,000 new affordable- and social-housing units by 2014.

Irvin-Ross said over the next three years, the province will also spend $100 million annually to restore and redevelop housing units in its portfolio. An additional $34 million will be dedicated annually to repair existing stock and provide quality home environments for tenants.

The NDP said it will raise the PST one percentage point to eight per cent, effective July 1. It's caught heavy flak this week for doing away with a requirement in a 1995 Tory bill that called for a referendum when the government plans a major tax increase.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2013 A10

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