Our provincial NDP government has established the Northern Development Strategy (NDS). It puts forward a vision of Northern Development that seeks to improve housing, transportation, health, economic development and education & training in the North.
Not only has the NDP put forward the NDS, it has made a real difference for Northerners. Building on the legacy of the Schreyer and Pawley governments, the Doer government has made a real difference to the North.
What is notably lacking is a Federal government commitment to the North. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Federal governments worked in partnership with Manitoba’s provincial NDP governments by signing Northern Development Agreements. These agreements funded economic development initiatives, health and social initiatives, education programs such as the Access programs, transportation and major infrastructure improvements.
We need a Northern Development Agreement for the year 2008 that will ensure a real commitment to Northern Manitoba. Its priorities should mirror the NDP Northern Development Strategy. The agreement should also reflect the need to work with First Nations, the Métis and non-Aboriginal people in the North.
We need to recognize that something has to be done about the high unemployment, poor housing, inadequate transportation, poor health conditions and underdeveloped educational infrastructure in the North. Northerners deserve better.
Fairness for Aboriginal People
Federal Liberal and Conservative governments have ignored Aboriginal concerns. This is particularly true here in Northern Manitoba.
The Liberals ignored the health, education, housing and social needs of Aboriginal people when they were in power. They never brought in an apology for residential school survivors.
Economic security for working families
Federal Liberal and Conservative governments have ignored working families.
Unfortunately, Conservative and Liberal governments keep putting the well-connected first in line, leaving working families with less security and less opportunity.
Confronting Poverty in Northern Manitoba
One in six Canadians live in poverty—and some of the highest rates of poverty are right here in Northern Manitoba. Nearly 1.2 million are children. Some are adults on shrinking social assistance, facing tough barriers to employment. Others work for rock-bottom wages.