The Green Party of Manitoba would introduce a $50-per-tonne carbon tax, launch a guaranteed-income program to lift thousands out of poverty and target greater funding for mental-health and preventative-health initiatives.
Leader James Beddome sketched out the broad strokes of the Greens' election platform at a press conference Friday, saying, "We are not a one-issue party."
The party, which has yet to elect a seat in Manitoba, hopes to run a full slate of 57 candidates in the Sept. 10 general election.
Beddome said the party has a bold vision for the future and wouldn't wait to introduce significant changes, if elected.
"Generally speaking, with a Green government, you can expect to pay a lot more at the pump, but you can expect to save taxes elsewhere," he said, surrounded by candidates and supporters at his party's platform launch at Vimy Ridge Park.
The $50-a-tonne carbon tax would be instituted in 2020 and increased by $10 per tonne per year after that. The current federally mandated carbon tax is $20 a tonne.
Beddome said the Greens would use revenues from the tax to help fund a "fare-free" public transit system and to begin to wean Manitobans off fossil fuel use, including natural gas for home heating.
"The latest reports from the intergovernmental panel on climate change have stated in no uncertain terms that we must act immediately if we are to have any chance at mitigating the worst effects of climate change," he said.
Neither the NDP nor the Progressive Conservatives have shown that they are up to the task of addressing climate change, he added.
"Manitobans want transition from fossil fuels without delay," he said.
In the coming weeks, he said the party will announce details on implementing a guaranteed annual income, which he said would lift more than 50,000 people above the poverty line. He said a Green government would also implement a housing-first strategy to reduce homelessness.
The Greens will also announce a health-care strategy that increases focus on preventative and community-based care. Beddome said mental-health programs should make up 10 per cent of the provincial health budget instead of the current five per cent.
In 2016, the Greens fielded 30 candidates and won five per cent of the provincial vote. The closest they came to winning a seat was a second-place finish in Wolseley, where they lost by fewer than 400 votes.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Updated on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 3:40 PM CDT: Edited