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Neepawa Holds Forum for Agassiz Provincial Electoral Candidates
The Neepawa Chamber of Commerce organized a Provincial Electoral Candidates Forum for the Agassiz Provincial District on Sept. 18, 2023. Three candidates made it to the event including the Liberal, Conservative and Keystone Parties. Two of these were local candidates, Mark Wilson from the Keystone Party and Jodie Byram from the Conservative Party, while Liberal candidate Richard Davies was unable to attend but was represented by Michelle Budiwski. The NDP also have a candidate running in the constituency but declined to attend the forum.
Different issues affecting the communities were discussed by the candidates and their existing and future platforms or plans. The key issues that were discussed were lack of housing, health care, immigration and child poverty. Most of them agreed that there is a need to reduce or cut down red tape in order to streamline services particularly in healthcare, professional accreditation, and other services.
Jodie Byram mentioned the PC Party’s existing interventions and policies such as for infrastructure - increasing the municipal operating basket funding to 28% and doubling the Building Sustainability Community funds. With regards to immigration, she shared that the Provincial PC party initiated a review of the Provincial Nominee program with some recommendations to streamline the process of accreditation of the internationally trained professionals to be immediately placed on their career path.
Michelle Budiwski emphasized the need for collaboration between the federal and provincial governments on immigration policies to ensure that the skills of immigrants match the existing industry needs in the community. She also mentioned the need to put investment into community-based policing because of the increasing crime rate. When asked what existing policy she doesn’t want to continue, she mentioned about the PC centralizing the school boards and taking away our school trustees.
Mark Wilson mentioned the need for incentivizing the doctors and nurses in order to keep them in the rural communities and that we need to develop strategies that would convince general practitioners that it is a worthwhile profession in rural areas.
Amanda Naughton-Gale, the moderator, ended the forum with a reminder to the audience and the viewers that they can search more on the websites of the candidates for their political plans or platforms and that they can call the candidates to discuss their issues before the election, and stressed the importance to cast that vote on October 3, 2023.
As Neepawa and area’s local access television station, NACTV has been serving the community since 1977. The station is a community-owned not-for-profit organisation that broadcasts 24 hours a day and reaches homes throughout Manitoba and Canada on Bell ExpressVu 592, MTS Channel 30/1030, and WCG 117 as well as streaming online at nactv.tv.
NACTV’s content is primarily filmed and produced by local volunteers and focuses on issues, activities, achievements, sports, and news by, about, and of interest to our community.
Neepawa is located in western Manitoba, about two hours west of Winnipeg and 45 minutes southeast of Riding Mountain National Park.