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Details of Dougald Lamont's platform for his campaign to be the next MLA in St. Boniface

Yesterday, Dougald Lamont released his full platform for the by-election campaign in St. Boniface.  It is below:


Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party and candidate for MLA in St. Boniface, released the major policy planks of his St. Boniface platform today.
 
The commitments build on Lamont’s 2017 leadership platform - creating a Manitoba Business Development Bank, dismantling RHAs, and a study into rail relocation, as well as specific commitments to French language education and culture: restoring the Bureau de l’éducation française and making St. Boniface a creative “hub” for arts, culture, heritage and tourism, is an idea that came from the community, and it is by listening to and working with the people at the grassroots level that we will move forward.
 
“For St. Boniface voters, this by-election is your opportunity to elect a leader who shares your progressive values and will add strong new opposition to Pallister, right from the front bench in the legislature,” said Lamont. “The PCs and NDP want you to believe there is no other choice but them - and then we wonder why nothing ever seems to change. This by-election is a chance to prove that we can change Manitoba politics, right now.”
 
Lamont’s five major policy planks for St. Boniface are: 
 
- Creating Good Jobs and Strong Manitoba Businesses
 
There are many incredible entrepreneurs in Manitoba who want to build their businesses and create new jobs in Manitoba - what’s stopping them is a lack of available investment. Too many businesses have to rely on higher-interest loans, right at the time they are hiring and growing.
 
Our goal is to create a Manitoba Business Development Bank (MBDB), that will exist for one reason only - to help Manitoba businesses grow and create good Manitoba jobs.
 
The MBDB will be an entrepreneur’s bank, politically independent, that will provide Manitoba businesses with access to loans and investments of “patient money” to ensure long-term success.
 
The business could be app development, manufacturing, food processing, or tourism.
For St. Boniface, it means creating new jobs and business opportunities in French, as well as for young people and newcomers.
 
“The French language in Manitoba was suppressed for many decades. It has returned in education and government, and a Manitoba Business Development Bank will help build a French-language economy,” said Lamont
 
- Making St. Boniface a creative hub
 
For too long, governments in Manitoba have only paid lip service to an important and growing part of our economy - the creative sector, which generates billions in revenue, export and tourism for our province. Some arts and culture funding has been frozen for years and even decades.
 
As part of a larger commitment to the creative sector across Manitoba, we will commit to improving funding for tourism and creative infrastructure and programs, including designating St. Boniface as a creative hub, with the goal of making it the Western Canadian capital of French arts, culture and heritage.
 
“St. Boniface has an incredible heritage that makes it uniquely appealing for culture, arts, and heritage. Investing in the creative sector creates high-paying jobs - drives tourism - but most of all it feeds the soul,” said Lamont.
 
- French Language Education
 
At a time when the fastest growing enrolment is in French Immersion, and there is a shortage of teachers in French, the Pallister government has chosen to dismantle the Bureau de l’Éducation Française (BEF).
 
Pallister’s cuts to French education are a rollback of 50 years of progress. It is a denial of the principles on which Manitoba was founded, and of Canada’s constitutional commitment to two official languages.
 
As part of a larger commitment to renewing our education system to get better results for all of our children, from K-12 as well as post-secondary, we will work in consultation with the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine (DSFM), parents and affected communities to restore and rebuild the BEF, following DSFM’s 94 recommendations.
 
“We need to have someone in charge of French education in Manitoba who can read and write French, and politicians who realize French education is not an “extra” or “duplication” - it is an asset and a strength for our province,” said Lamont. 
 
- Improving Local Healthcare in St. Boniface and across Manitoba
 
Manitoba’s health care system needs change - but it doesn’t need the cuts we’ve seen under the Pallister PCs.
 
The fundamental problem with Manitoba’s Health care system is that no one appears to be responsible for it. In the 1990s, the PCs created a third layer of health care bureaucracy - Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) - that appear unaccountable to anyone - doctors, patients, communities and Government. Under the NDP it grew, and the PCs are adding to it with the creation of yet another layer of bureaucracy - “Shared Services.”
 
All of this has happened as Pallister has been deleting nurses’ positions by the hundreds, closed ERs, urgent cares, Access centres, while there are still huge waiting lists for many treatments.
 
We will create networks of specialists to deliver care province-wide, based on specialty, as is the case with CancerCare. This will include the creation of a Brain & Mental Health Care specialization, which will provide specialized care to Manitobans in need, and extend the service of the heart specialization centre at St. Boniface Hospital to have service across the province.
 
The result will be better local control, better local access to health care at the community level while improving accountability and restoring responsibility where it belongs: with elected officials at the top, and local community input and control.
 
One of the fundamental reasons people are turned off politics is because no matter who gets elected, nothing seems to change and that no one is ever held to account when things go wrong. This is especially true in health care. RHAs were designed to let the PCs and NDP blame someone else for waste, mismanagement, cuts and privatization when it is all coming from the top. Pallister is forcing $100-million in cuts on the health care system but blames the RHAs for firing people.
 
“We will push to dissolve the RHAs, taking the three layers of bureaucracy to two. We will restore funding, oversight, provincial standards and bulk purchases and coordination to the Manitoba Government while returning administration to the local level - hospitals, health units and communities,” said Lamont.
 
- Rail Relocation for St. Boniface & Winnipeg
 
Every day in St Boniface and Manitoba, hundreds of railcars carrying hazardous materials travel past residential neighbourhoods - and the cost of infrastructure to work around rail is in the billions of dollars. Underpasses and overpasses can cost $300-500-million apiece.
 
It is time to pay for a plan that will analyze the savings, costs and benefits of:
- Relocating rail traffic
AND
-    Using the vacated rails as the basis for a commuter rail transit system
 
“In St. Boniface and across Winnipeg, we have an opportunity to create a 21st-century transportation system for people and freight that is safer, better for the economy, and better for the environment,” said Lamont

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