People often ask me, what do Ministers do with their time, other than sitting in the legislature?
I often discuss my duties as MLA for Kildonan, but now I’d like to share about my duties as the Minister of Mineral Resources and specifically, as the Minister charged with overseeing the laws and regulations for Liquor and Gaming in Manitoba.
In this capacity, I spend a lot of time on policy areas to benefit families and businesses. For example, when our government made the decision to merge the Liquor Commission with Manitoba Lotteries and to modernize our liquor laws, we did it to make our Crown corporations more efficient and to provide better service to the public. I was responsible for the legislation that merged the two corporations and provided them with a modern structure going forward. My previous experience as a lawyer and in business management helped a lot. We’ve already saved over $6.1 million through this process, and those savings allow us to invest in front-line services like health care, job creation and road renewal.
As a healthy publically-owned corporation, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries also sponsors community groups and events. Families in Kildonan will be happy to hear that Folklorama has received this funding, as has the National Ukrainian Festival, the Philippine Association of Manitoba and the German Society of Winnipeg. Liquor & Lotteries also supports Heritage Grants through bingo fundraisers, and this year one of the many groups that received bingo funding was the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, to go towards an exhibit on the history of Manitoba’s synagogues.
It will be fascinating to see how our very own Beth Israel Synagogue and Chevera Mishnayes Synagogue are portrayed in the final project.
I also spend a lot of time working on things we can do to make our rules for liquor and gaming more user-friendly. For example, one of the decisions we made recently was to allow restaurants and bars to open at 5 a.m. for the 2014 Olympics gold medal hockey game. The Kildonan Hotel and the Boston Pizza on McPhillips were filled with Canadian hockey fans before most people had even started their day. And when Canada won against Sweden, Winnipeggers were gathered together to cheer them on. Because we had modernized our liquor laws, we had the flexibility to make a one-time exception for this exciting event.
Being a Minister means attending a lot of meetings and doing a lot of problem-solving, but I always make time for my constituents.
If you would ever like to talk about issues in our neighbourhood, please do not hesitate to contact my constituency office at 204-334-5060 or email us at Dave.Chomiak@yourmanitoba.ca