Manitoba Liberals believe that our provincial parks should be open to all and with free entry at this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to celebrate our 150th anniversary. Being outside in our parks, with good physical distancing we should have the opportunity to celebrate our 150 years and all the traditions we have built up over the years. Our heritage - from Indigenous People to new immigrants and everyone who has helped make our province what it is today. - should be celebrated. We can not do it with gatherings. We can do it by physical distancing outdoors in our parks. Let us enable as many Manitobans as possible to do it. Our press release, sent out May 8 is below:
Manitoba Liberals: Make Provincial Parks Free in 2020
WINNIPEG – Manitoba Liberals are calling on the Pallister Government to waive all admission fees for provincial parks for the remainder of 2020.
The Liberals say they have been inundated with complaints from Manitobans ever since the PCs moved park passes online and hiked fees across the board.
Manitoba Liberals say charging more for entrance to parks is the opposite of what the provincial government should be doing and that provincial parks should be free for the rest of 2020 - especially since it is Manitoba’s 150th anniversary.
“While many Manitobans are feeling pressed financially and cooped up inside, this is the right time to give Manitobans a break and let them get outside with their families and enjoy what our province has to offer,” said Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Tyndall Park.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface, said the PCs have bungled opening up permits to online sales.
Instead of maintaining some offline sales and making sure Manitoba companies were involved, the PCs have granted a monopoly on Manitoba’s fishing, hunting and park permits to a Texas company - which is charging an extra $4.50 “convenience fee” on every transaction.
Eventually, Manitobans will only be able to buy permits online through the Texas company, instead of at local Manitoba businesses. The site is also in English only and hasn’t been translated into French.
On top of the dismal state of Manitoba’s rural and northern Internet, the Pallister Government is charging a “convenience fee” that is only convenient for the government and their Texas contractors - not for Manitobans and Manitoba businesses.
“These parks belong to all Manitobans and we shouldn’t be paying a toll to a Texas company because the Pallister Government wanted to give them an online monopoly for sales,” said Lamont. “Provincial Parks should be free for 2020 and Manitobans should be able to get permits locally.”