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Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
March 8, 2017

Community Places Program

Happy International Women's Day, everyone.

Manitobans are not at all impressed with this government giving a 20 per cent raise to all Cabinet ministers and to the Premier (Mr. Pallister). Each minister will get an extra $14,000 this year, and the Premier feels he is entitled to an extra $22,000. These raises were awarded right after the election before any merit had been established, and the government has now locked in these higher salaries to stay in place for four years in a row. How many other Manitobans are getting a 20 per cent pay raise?

While the Premier and his ministers are lining their own pockets, they are also cutting funding to important programs like Community Places. This excellent program has existed for decades, it has survived multiple provincial governments of different political stripes and it provided capital grants for projects in communities across the province.

In the West Broadway neighbourhood alone, many successful and worthwhile projects were completed in recent years, thanks to this program. For example, All Saints' church, where Agape Table is located right across the street, got a grant for roof repairs, better windows and a proper fire escape. At Crossways in Common–it's home to over a dozen different community organizations–they got support for crucial building repairs. Historic Ralph Connor House was able to do masonry repairs. At Taking Charge! a Community Places grant helped convert their daycare's concrete outdoor area into a natural green play space for children. The playground at Day Nursery Centre was similarly improved and the kitchen was upgraded. Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation used a small grant to build gardens on site for their tenants. Elim Chapel repaired the step to their front entrance. And at Tamarack rehabilitation centre, they completed important electrical safety upgrades and built a new washroom for their staff and their residents.

The Community Places Program is clearly more important than salary increases for the Premier and for Cabinet ministers. I call on this government to recognize their mistake, rescind their decision and reinstate full funding for the Community Places Program in this budget coming up next month.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.