The AMM met with several Cabinet Ministers recently. Position papers from these meetings can be found on our website. (Pictured L to R: Vice-President Chris Goertzen, President Doug Dobrowolski, Minister Gord Mackintosh, Vice President Ralph Groening)
The AMM met with the Honourable Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship on March 2, and began by underscoring the need for sufficient funding to achieve the goals outlined in the Surface Water Management Strategy. The Minister expressed interest in reconvening a consultative working group to discuss water management and drainage issues within the province.
The AMM then asked the Minister to ensure his department consults with municipalities about new and expanded recycling programs and with the AMM on new initiatives from Recycling and Waste Reduction: A Discussion Paper, including any changes to the WRARS levy. The Minister committed to not enacting any new regulations without AMM’s support, and instructed his staff to consult with the AMM and its members.
The AMM also reiterated its opposition to the cosmetic pesticide ban and asked the Minster to consider exempting hard-surface and non-pedestrian areas (e.g., boulevards, ditches) from the ban. Lack of funding for Conservation Districts, the need for long-term funding for Dutch elm disease management, and mosquito control buffer zones were also discussed.
During its March 3 meeting with the Honourable Kevin Chief, Minister of Jobs and the Economy, the AMM urged the Province of Manitoba to develop partnerships with other orders of government and the private sector to improve communication networks in rural, remote and northern communities. Minister Chief reassured the AMM that this issue remains a top priority for the Premier.
The AMM also raised the need for an economic development strategy for rural Manitoba, a streamlined process for administering provincial economic grants, and a streamlined certification process for water and wastewater technicians. The Minister indicated AMM’s recommendations would be taken into consideration. CentrePort Canada, the Port of Churchill, the Canada-EU free trade agreement (CETA) and the inter-provincial trade agreement with western provinces were also discussed with Minister Chief.
During the March 23 meeting with the Honourable James Allum, Minister of Justice, the AMM focused on three key issues: police staffing and funding, police escorts under the mental health act, and municipal by-law enforcement.
The AMM began by asking the Minister to continue working with municipalities wishing to establish Community Safety Officer programs; consult with the AMM in regard to the Strategic Operational Review of the RCMP; and address rapidly increasing unsustainable policing costs. Minister Allum reassured the AMM that he would share the findings of the strategic operating review with the AMM.
The Minister’s staff also assured the AMM amalgamation would result in no changes to the current with municipalities.
On the issue of police escorts under the Mental Health Act, the Minister indicated he is open to suggestions on how to address this issue, and the AMM requested a meeting be set up with the AMM Cities Caucus.
The AMM also met with the Honourable Dave Chomiak, Minister of Mineral Resources on March 23. The AMM reiterated its appreciation to the Minister for including the AMM in the provincial working group to discuss oil production related issues in Manitoba, and called for additional resources to be provided to ensure the completion of the group’s report. Both sides agreed to reconvene meeting in the near future.
The Mining Community Reserve Fund was also discussed, and the Minister promised to inform the AMM this fund is distributed across affected communities.
Finally, the AMM asked about the Energy East pipeline project. The Province of Manitoba is kept up to date and is registered as interveners in the project to ensure environmental and safety concerns are addressed.
Posted on: April 20, 2015