The Headliner posed the following questions to all registered candidates running for election in Portage la Prairie.
Note: Progressive Conservative Party candidate Ian Wishart did not respond by press time.
How are the health care needs of Portage la Prairie residents being addressed?
Charles Huband (Manitoba Liberal Party): The Manitoba Liberal Party has called for the transfer of what is now done in health care on a regional basis, through the regional health authorities, to local health care providers and facilities. This gives the local community greater authority.
Andrew Podolecki (Manitoba New Democratic Party): We’ve heard from people all across the province and we know that health care is in crisis. We will end the cuts imposed by the current Pallister government and repair our health care system by listening to our front-line workers. We’ll listen to the people providing care to find out what they need to deliver the best quality care while improving wait-times and treatment. We will also team up with Main Street Project in Winnipeg to take real action in our first 100 days on the opioid and meth crisis that is hitting our communities.
How can the provincial government address some of the social issues facing the City of Portage such as poverty, homelessness and food insecurity?
Huband: I have served on the board of Westminster Housing in Winnipeg for 25 years and have seen how Manitoba Housing’s budget has been reduced by the Pallister government. That’s a problem in every community. The provincial government isn’t spending the money needed to help those in poverty and won’t move to offering people a guaranteed income.
Podolecki: To help with these issues, we will work towards increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour because nobody working full-time should live in poverty. We will invest in affordable, public child care, more affordable and social housing, reverse the cuts to the Rent Assist and EIA programs, and keep tuition fees frozen to the rate of inflation to keep post-secondary education affordable to all.
How can the provincial government help to stimulate economic development in Portage la Prairie?
Huband: The Pallister government’s removal of the former Red River College president show that this post-secondary facility could be in danger. Red River College’s Portage la Prairie campus plays an important role in providing training for Portage and area residents.
Podolecki: By making critical investments in infrastructure like roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, we’ll ensure that our community has the tools and resources it needs to meet the demands of an ever-changing economy. Along with raising the minimum wage, we will help small business owners by raising the exemption level of the small business tax, so they can keep more of their profits to reinvest in their businesses and into the local economy.