Midland constituency report
Blaine Pedersen is the PC MLA for Midland.
Recent articles of Blaine Pedersen
On June 1, the spring session of the 42nd Legislature concluded and featured some of the most robust changes in our provinces history. Our government passed a record 65 bills that focus on protecting Manitobans while sustaining economic growth and recovery during this pandemic. As your MLA for Midland and Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, I am proud to share a few initiatives and programs from this year so far. We recently mailed out the education tax rebate cheques, which provides $250 million in rebates and tax relief to owners of more than 600,000 properties. In 2021, home and farm owners will receive a 25 per cent rebate, which will increase to 50 per cent in 2022. Other property owners will see a 10 per cent rebate this year. The 4-H program has a 107-year history of successfully providing opportunities for Manitoba youth to increase skills ranging from leadership, communication and confidence to agriculture, science and environmental sustainability. This year our government has continued its long term commitment to supporting youth skills development and the importance of post-secondary education through a $1 million endowment to the Brandon and Area Community Foundation to establish the Manitoba 4-H Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship Program. These scholarships will be offered through and administered by the Manitoba 4-H council. This year, the Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship program will offer one scholarship of $12,500 and three scholarships of $10,000 for a total of $42,500. I encourage those who are eligible to apply by visiting www.4h.mb.caOur government successfully passed Bill 62: The Animal Diseases Amendment Act, and Bill 63: The Petty Trespasses Amendment and Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act. These two pieces of legislation are critical for agricultural producers across the province when it comes to dealing with trespassing and maintaining biosecurity and the integrity of our food system. Considering the dry conditions our province has endured this spring, our government issued a bulletin in May, outlining the programs, tools and resources available for crop and livestock producers affected by dry conditions. We will continue to provide updated tools and resources on our website on managing dry conditions. Forage coverage has been enhanced in 2021 with the introduction of individual productivity indexing for silage corn and an increase to the transportation allowance included in forage insurance and the hay disaster benefit. The deadline to enroll for AgriStability has also been extended to June 30.Our government recently launched online public engagement to seek input for changes to Manitoba’s angling regulations, which are outlined in Manitoba’s recreational angling strategy. Please check www.engagemb.ca/angling to give your input on these changes.
On June 1, the spring session of the 42nd Legislature concluded and featured some of the most robust changes in our provinces history.
Our government passed a record 65 bills that focus on protecting Manitobans while sustaining economic growth and recovery during this pandemic. As your MLA for Midland and Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, I am proud to share a few initiatives and programs from this year so far.
January each year kicks off with farm shows and farm meetings, including St. Jean Farm Days and Brandon Ag Days. Of course, this year everything is different with “virtual” meetings, colourful brochures and websites. The agricultural sector of our economy has remained strong despite the pandemic. Grain prices are strong; grain movement is unprecedented; and livestock movement and prices have improved. Agriculture is the backbone of our Manitoba economy and this strength will help Manitoba recover from the economic effects of the pandemic. Thank a farmer for the food on your plate. The Department of Agriculture and Resource Development (ARD) is modernizing its service delivery. We have restructured the department to streamline service delivery and provide better co-ordination between all facets of our natural resources. A one-stop shop for permits and licenses, a climate change division to monitor impacts on our natural resources, and an Indigenous relations division, are some highlights of the changes. Service delivery to our rural clients across Manitoba will be modernized to better reflect both today’s and future requirements for technology, research and innovation needs, with an emphasis on timely client service. Food processing, agricultural technology and research and expansion of our mining and forestry industries continues to be of major focus. Our fish and wildlife division will also see changes with conservation officers being moved into ARD from the Department of Conservation and Climate. Enforcement of illegal night hunting and surveillance in conservation areas has been stepped up. Moving COs into the department will allow for a more co-ordinated effort between the fish and wildlife division and our COs. A big thank you to our COs for the enhanced enforcement which can be dangerous work at times. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all aspects of our lives. Code red restrictions through November, December and January have been hard on everyone but we can see the positive difference it has made in Manitoba’s case numbers. The impact on mental health is real. Do not hesitate to reach out for help at www.gov.mb.ca/health/mh/crisis.htmlA gradual, phased-in return of services is the goal. In this new environment, many people have taken up outdoor exercise, phoning or FaceTiming loved ones, or being designated visitors to friends or family members. Manitobans are resilient and together we will get through this.The legislative session resumes on March 3.
January each year kicks off with farm shows and farm meetings, including St. Jean Farm Days and Brandon Ag Days.
Of course, this year everything is different with “virtual” meetings, colourful brochures and websites. The agricultural sector of our economy has remained strong despite the pandemic. Grain prices are strong; grain movement is unprecedented; and livestock movement and prices have improved.
Agriculture is the backbone of our Manitoba economy and this strength will help Manitoba recover from the economic effects of the pandemic. Thank a farmer for the food on your plate.
In October of last year, the provincial government announced the creation of the Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) Trust. This made-in-Manitoba initiative provides annual incentive payments to eligible farmers who retain, restore or enhance natural areas that provide ecological benefits. Over $5.6 million has been allocated this year to GROW and Conservation Trust projects throughout the province. The next round of funding is now available, with up to $8.6 million available for successful applicants. To date, 20 projects have been approved for funding across all 14 watershed districts of Manitoba.The GROW initiative supports Manitoba’s ambitious climate and green plan. These projects fall in line with the government’s mission to improve water management and support conservation and restoration activities. GROW is delivered through Manitoba’s watershed districts, and focuses on improving watershed resilience. Its programs are proposed by watershed districts throughout Manitoba, and are reviewed by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation’s technical advisory team. Final approval for projects is then given by the MHHC’s board of directors. Our government values the work of the MHHC board and, under the leadership of executive officer Tim Sopuck, these important projects are moving forward to mitigate the impacts of droughts and flooding, as well as improve overall water quality.Each local GROW program is tailored to local watershed priorities and will therefore vary across Manitoba. Projects may include small water retention structures, wetland and grassland restoration, shoreline area management along lakes and rivers, soil health improvements, and shelterbelt development. The projects celebrate the co-operative decision-making between landowners, municipalities and watershed districts. Premier Brian Pallister and I had the opportunity to see GROW’s potential on the ground over the summer, when we viewed projects in the Pembina Valley watershed district and the Souris River watershed district. These GROW projects will result in over 900 acres of protected wetlands, new water retention structures, several kilometres of new riparian fencing and over 1,500 acres of a protected riparian area. In total, $500,000 in GROW Trust funding has been allocated to the Pembina Valley district and $440,000 has been allocated for the Souris River watershed district. Other examples, just to name a few, of GROW projects within the province include GROWing EG&S in the Seine Rat and Roseau watershed district, the advancing landscape resiliency project within the Inter-Mountain watershed district, the Whitemud watershed 2020-21 GROW Program and the Farming the Best - Conserving the Rest program within the Central Assiniboine watershed district. Each of these mentioned projects is receiving $500,000 in GROW Trust funding.The GROW initiative continues to demonstrate your government’s commitment in preserving and restoring Manitoba’s unique and precious natural areas. Check with your local watershed district to develop a project specific to your landscape. Congratulations and thank you to all 14 watershed districts for their expertise in enhancing Manitoba’s natural advantages. The next intake for projects is now open. To apply, visit the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation website at www.mhhc.mb.ca
In October of last year, the provincial government announced the creation of the Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) Trust.
This made-in-Manitoba initiative provides annual incentive payments to eligible farmers who retain, restore or enhance natural areas that provide ecological benefits. Over $5.6 million has been allocated this year to GROW and Conservation Trust projects throughout the province.
Thank you to all Manitobans for their guidance and vigilance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To date we have been truly fortunate to keep our numbers low and avoid outbreaks in our vulnerable populations, as seen in other jurisdictions.
While there is pressure to further lessen health restrictions, we must prepare in the same way for the inevitable second wave of infections. Let us all do our part.
Our spring legislative session was curtailed due to COVID-19 and the fall session is planned to begin in October. My legislative office continues to operate with meetings by conference call and many department staff continue to work from home. The pandemic has caused government and businesses to explore new ways of providing services. The emphasis remains on providing timely responses to enquiries.
High school and university graduations are looking a lot different this year. Graduation ceremonies are happening in our communities in one form or another. Congratulations to all grads and all the best in your future endeavours.
The fall session of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly began with the Throne Speech on Nov. 19. The fall session wrapped up on Dec. 5, with the spring session to begin in March 2020.
Prior to the fall session the Premier made some changes to cabinet. I now have the honour of being named Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development. The Department has been expanded to include- besides Agriculture- Mines and Petroleum, Forestry, Wildlife, Fisheries, Crown Lands, Water Management. These are all natural resources with a major economic impact on Manitoba. It has been an intensive six weeks learning the various divisions of the new department and with great staff I look forward to helping guide new initiatives to assist Manitoba to move forward.
My constituency office is located at Unit 2 - 195 Main St. S in Carman. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. Contact info 204-745-2203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
From our family to yours wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year. Manitoba and indeed all of Canada have so much to offer. Peace and Good Will to everyone as we celebrate our diversity and our strengths together.