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Budget bill introduced

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The Selinger government introduced its omnibus budget implementation bill Tuesday, to put its spending plan for the year into law.

The move came just a day before Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives go to court fight the NDP's increase of the provincial sales tax a year ago.

Finance Minister Jennifer Howard said there was no connection to her tabling the budget implementation and tax statutes amendment act (BITSA) and today's Tory court action.

Rather, she said the introduction of the 81-page bill had more to do with the normal business of government as the legislative assembly winds down its spring sitting. The house is scheduled to break for the summer as early as next Thursday. By agreement, the house cannot sit beyond June 19.

Much of what's in the bill has already been announced by government, but Howard said one item has received little attention -- new tax credits for Manitoba businesses. Howard said the proposed Employee Share Purchase Tax Credit would offer new business owners, including current employees, support to own a portion of a business.

"We want to make it more attractive for the employees to buy in," she said, adding the 45 per cent tax credit would help to avoid business closures and maintain jobs.


Derailment halts service

A freight-train derailment just south of Churchill has halted rail service to the northern Manitoba community, likely for the rest of the week.

The incident occurred Monday afternoon on the Hudson Bay Railway Company line, 35 kilometres south of Churchill near Goose Creek. The train was hauling 50 cars of grain when the derailment occurred, with 13 cars coming off the tracks.

According to a source familiar with the situation, four of the cars tipped onto their sides, spilling their cargo.

The train was headed to the grain storage facility at the Port of Churchill.

There were no injuries.

As a result of the derailment, Via Rail service between Winnipeg and Churchill has been cancelled for the foreseeable future, said a Via spokeswoman.


Defibrillators heading north

Thirty northern First Nations now have automated external defibrillators.

The medical devices are to be installed in public places by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Health Minister Erin Selby and Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson annnounced Tuesday.

Defibrillators deliver an electric shock to restart a stopped heart and are programmed to detect whether a person is having an irregular heart rhythm that indicates potential cardiac arrest.

The kits have step-by-step instructions, so training is not needed.

Manitoba was the first province requiring public places to have AEDs available on-site, including gyms, arenas, community centres, golf courses, schools and airports. There are currently 2,875 AEDs registered in public places across Manitoba.

Last year, the province provided $1.3 million to purchase and distribute 1,000 AEDs to non-profit and community-owned facilities through the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, including the 73 provided to MKO.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 4, 2014 A6

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