Manitoba could be a 'showcase' for net-zero economy: Wap Kiniv

Manitoba Premier Wap Kiniv says his province should be an example of what a net-zero economy looks like.

In an interview with BNN Bloomberg's Amanda Long that airs Friday, Kinew outlines Manitoba's path to a low-carbon future. Through investment, he said, the project will grow the province's economy while adding middle-class jobs.

If the scheme is successful, it can serve as a model for other parts of the country, he said.

“We now need the right mix of economic policymaking at the provincial and federal levels, along with private investment decisions, to make Manitoba a showcase for what a net zero economy looks like. Improved production to benefit Manitoba and Canada,” he said.

Important minerals

Kiniv, who leads an NDP majority government, was elected premier of Manitoba in October 2023, making history as the first elected First Nations premier in Canada.

Part of his plan to grow Manitoba's low-carbon economy includes mining critical minerals, which he called „a very important priority for our administration.”

„I think our government can make a really positive contribution to helping the industry understand the best way to engage with indigenous countries so they can get projects online,” Kiniv said.

The best way to move forward with mining project discussions with an indigenous nation is to obtain that nation's „enthusiastic consent.”

„The best way to express that consent is through a business relationship,” Kiniv said.

In addition to expanding mining of critical minerals, he said his government is also looking at secondary processing of critical minerals in Manitoba.

Campaign promises

One of the Manitoba NDP's biggest campaign promises was to improve health care by investing in the workforce, which Kinew said is „fundamental” to the overall health of the economy.

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In that interview, he also pointed to his government's affordable measures, such as lowering the provincial fuel tax.

Balancing budget and economic growth

The economy is the government's main focus, Kinew said.

„We really need to grow the economy here in Manitoba and I think there are some good opportunities to do so,” he said. „We spend a lot of time on that.”

of Manitoba 2023-24 Second Quarter Report, published in December 2023Real gross domestic product (GDP) in the province is expected to decline from 1.4 percent in 2023 to 0.8 percent in 2024.

He said the government was prioritizing moving towards a balanced budget, which would include creating the right economic environment.

„If we don't have a balanced budget here in Manitoba in the future, we're always asking for more,” Kiniv said.

„That's not right given the current affordability challenge that people are living in. So we have to be fiscally responsible, but we also have to be balanced.

In December 2023, the Manitoba government outlined Actions taken to address the $1.6 billion deficit inherited from the previous governmentIncluding cutting spending on projects it classifies as wasteful.

Kiniv said his long-term goal is to transform Manitoba „from a province that didn't exist to a province that has.”

Immigration

Kiniv says he has heard from small and medium-sized businesses about the challenges posed by labor shortages and that immigration is part of the solution.

“Immigration is critical to the continued growth of our economy. At the same time, we know housing,” he said.

Kinew said immigration policies need to be carefully considered to ensure economic growth and adequate housing.

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The full Taking Stock interview with Kinew will air Friday, February 2 at 6pm on BNN Bloomberg, 9pm on CP24 and 10:30pm on CTV News Channel.

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