Working Together, was a key theme in this week's Manitoba Speech from the Throne and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) is committed to working with the Kinew government for all Manitobans.
Brad Saluk, the Vice President of AMM, and Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Brokenhead was in the Chambers when Lt. Gov Anita Neville presented the Speech from the Throne said that the speech outlined some of the key priorities that the association laid out during the last election in their "Let's Grow Manitoba, Together" Campaign, "They covered on all four of the pillar priorities."
The four pillars of the "Let's Grow Manitoba, Together" were Funding Fairness and predictability, Invest in Core Infrastructure, Invest in People and Public Safety.
During the last provincial election, AMM asked for all Parties to support Municipalities to establish a simplified, predictable funding model with an annual escalator, in the speech the government stated, they "will provide predictability and help (council's) planning with multi-year funding for municipalities."
Saluk was pleased with the announcement, adding, "I think this government has listened to us."
The government has pledged to provide predictability and help municipalities planning with multi-year funding.
Urban and Rural Divide in the Province
While the Speech from the Throne outlines where the government will head, Saluk was cautious when asked if Rural Municipalities like the one he represents heard anything in the speech for rural communities.
The Government plans to revitalize the downtowns of urban centres including Winnipeg, Brandon, Dauphin, Selkirk, the Pembina Valley and the north.
"We just need to address that issue with the government and tell them that, you know, there are other municipalities outside of these areas," Saluk stated. "I think we need to revitalize some of the smaller communities because we have to make them grow as well."
The Vice President stated that AMM will have a role in bridging the Urban-Rural divide and working with the government for all municipalities no matter where they are situated, "We are one association that works for urban and rural members."
Optimistic about the Government Public Safety Approach
According to the speech, the government plans to work with law enforcement, community safety patrols and community organizations - including municipalities - to make streets and communities safer for everyone.
"We will help law enforcement focus on violent crime by hiring more mental health professionals to respond to non-violent calls," Neville stated in the speech.
Saluk said that he has seen a steady decline in RCMP officers in his detachment and the speech gives him hope and optimism about the government's priority, " When I was growing up we had 15 and 16 RCMP members in our detachment, today we have six, and we get too caught up on having to do a transfer for a mental health issue which could take up to 24-48 hours."
The government is pledging to help law enforcement focus on violent crime by hiring more mental health professionals to respond to non-violent calls.
Saluk says that this direction the government is taking will put more members back on the road doing what they're supposed to be doing, "I know that there are other municipalities that sometimes (their wait times are) three to four hours for an RCMP officer to arrive. We're hoping that this can minimize some of that call time."
Kinew Confirmed for AMM Fall Convention
Fresh off the Throne Speech and the Opening of the Legislature, Premier Wab Kinew and Cabinet ministers will be heading West to Brandon next week to meet with Municipal leaders from across the province.
Earlier this week, AMM confirmed that the Premier will be in attendance at the convention on the first day, Saluk said that the Premier will be speaking and will be there for the new government's first Bear Pit, "The Premier is committed to speaking at our events. And he's also committed to hosting their Bear Pit session, which is always quite entertaining.
The "Bear Pit" is when Ministers sit on stage and get asked pointed questions from Municipal Leaders on a range of topics. Saluk said that this year might be more entertaining than in past conventions, "It's not the same old same old that questions, It might be a little more entertaining.
"You're going to see how the new ministers deal with things firsthand, only after being elected into the position for three months," Saluk added.
Our entire interview with Reeve Saluk will air next Monday on The Municipal Affairs With Chris Brown.