Liberal candidates in Brandon last week for town hall meeting

Both the provincial and federal Liberal candidates were on hand in Brandon last week to listen to what constituents had to say.

Federal Liberal candidate for Brandon-Souris, Jodi Wyman, was joined at her campaign office in the city last week by Manitoba Liberal leader Rana Bokhari for a town hall meeting.

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Approximately 35 people were in attendance to be part of the discussion which centred around the Liberal party’s plan for infrastructure investment and how the federal and provincial governments should be working together.

“The federal government and the provinces have been working bilaterally and the federal Liberal platform includes a commitment to meet with the provinces on a regular basis,” she said.

In her opinion, the current system creates a number of barriers, which she says, need to be removed.

“We need to let municipalities decide where to spend grant money and not let things get bogged down in red tape.”

According to Wyman, the way things stand today, federal funds are only given to municipalities if strict criteria is met. The current federal government doles out grant money in specific areas that may not meet the needs of the local governments, she says. Wyman says she would like to see municipalities have more control as to how and where the funds are spent.

In addition, the traditional division of responsibility, including each of the municipal, provincial and federal governments paying one third the cost of a specific project, isn’t always feasible, says Wyman.

“We have to be aware that sometimes the RMs can’t pay their share. It could be that the federal government needs to pay more than one third,” she said, citing projects such as safe drinking water and waste water management as examples of critical infrastructure that needs to be provided but that municipalities may not be able to afford.

She says infrastructure throughout the province was also a key part of the discussion.

“I’ve had a number of meetings with mayors and reeves that have helped me realise the infrastructure crisis we are in,” said Wyman.

She spoke of the need for long term water management and the fact that the local area is still recovering from flooding. She would like to see a strategic plan in place to deal with flooding and climate change.

Other topics throughout the evening included the Liberal government’s commitment to veteran affairs. The party will restore a veteran’s option to choose a lifetime pension, increase funding for families of disabled veterans and increase funding for education and training following service as well as create two additional treatment facilities for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Education for First Nations people was another topic of interest and Wyman confirmed the Liberal’s commitment to increase federal funding for first nations people on reserve.

The federal election is scheduled for Oct. 19.

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