Progressive Conservatives Propose Entertainment Industry Boost, New Democrats Pledge Healthcare Revival in Manitoba Politics

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The overriding issues of economic strategies and healthcare took center stage recently in the Manitoba political scene. The Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats threw their cards on the table, with the former detailing plans for tax relief and the latter pledging to resurrect a previously shut down healthcare center.

The Progressive Conservatives’ leader, Heather Stefanson, unveiled an initiative designed to bolster the entertainment industry, should her party be successful in the Oct. 3 elections. A proposed 10% tax credit is on the table for film and television productions, provided they employ Manitoba music in at least half of their project’s soundtrack.

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Stefanson cited today’s media consumption behavior, particularly focusing on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney+. Through incentivizing local music usage in film and television projects, she suggested that it would give Manitoba artists increased visibility and potential broader audience reach.

This proposed tax credit would not serve as a replacement but rather an addition to the already existing ones. Currently, film or television ventures in Manitoba can recoup either 45% of total labor costs or 30% of full production costs, along with additional perks for rural or northern shoots. Furthermore, Stefanson advocated for a $4.5 million investment in enhancing sound stage facilities and related industry services.

As part of ongoing efforts to lure more film and television productions into the region, the provincial government had previously subsidised WestJet in creating a direct flight route from Winnipeg to Los Angeles.

In contrast, the New Democrats continued their focus on healthcare, with leader Wab Kinew promising a $5 million investment in a new Mature Women’s Centre at Victoria General Hospital in south Winnipeg, along with an annual funding initiative of $2 million.

The centre, originally dedicated to menopause transition services, hysterectomy alternatives, and gynecological care, was shuttered under the Progressive Conservatives reign in 2017. In its place, a focus was shifted to a new women’s hospital in downtown Winnipeg, catering to obstetric, surgical, and medical needs. Kinew iterated plans to expand pharmacare coverage for osteoporosis prevention medications, intending to escalate the quality of life for mature women.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont unveiled his party’s plans to further support individuals receiving social assistance. The strategized relief of the existing clawback on Employment and Income Assistance, and an increase in the permissible wages from volunteering work, from a present $100 to $500 a month.

Furthering his party’s commitment, Lamont stated plans for a scheme that would finance non-profit organizations and similar groups to provide job opportunities to those in need. He echoed a previous pledge of implementing a minimum guaranteed income for people living with severe disabilities and those aged above 60.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.