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Premier says health care changes coming to rural Manitoba
WINNIPEG -- Premier Brian Pallister is making a pledge as he looks ahead to 2020, and he’s describing it as bold.
“Manitobans asked for bold, they got bold, and then they elected us again so now they're going to get bolder,” said Pallister.
The premier made the comment during a year-end interview with media in his office, where he touched on a variety of topics.
During his first mandate, health care was overhauled in Winnipeg -- rural Manitoba is next.
Pallister said more health services need to be brought to patients via paramedics and technology.
"Much more effectively than just shipping them into Winnipeg on a highway and getting them into Winnipeg two, three hours later may be the difference," he said.
The potential for spring flooding is a concern as the province had to operate the floodway late in the year due to high river levels and the fall storm. Pallister said he's continuing to push Ottawa to change environmental approvals to speed up construction of the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin outlets.
"We are at a high water mark historically in Manitoba right now you all know this and we've tried to communicate the urgency of this," Pallister said.
To weather the storm financially in case of big flooding costs, Pallister pointed out the province has beefed up the rainy day fund. He said this will allow them to do promised tax cuts like removing PST from haircuts, tax returns and wills, and probate fees.
"We're on track to balance in two years with the tax reductions that we have committed to we'll be presenting our budget in due course probably in March," Pallister said.
Last month the province announced a review of the controversial photo radar program in Winnipeg as it's coming up for renewal. The premier said a key question hanging over the program must be answered.
"Just using these mechanisms as a revenue generator as some have said. If it isn't resulting in safer streets is a question that needs to be evaluated," Pallister said.
The premier talked about opportunities and challenges for the year ahead. He raised the theft problem plaguing liquor stores, singling out the recent assault against an employee.
"Let's take the awful things that have happened this year and make them less awful by reducing the incidents of them," Pallister said.