Portage la Prairie Mayor Sharilyn Knox attended the Throne Speech this past Tuesday, noting she's always excited when a new government is put in place with all its new faces. She says she heard much discussion about municipalities, which caught her attention.

"We want to make sure that we can work with all levels of government," says Knox. "We're pretty excited so far with the response that we've gotten. There were some really important things for our province. September 30th is now going to be a statutory holiday. I know that a lot of people wanted that recognition for Truth and Reconciliation, so that was a good move on their part, I believe."

Knox explains there was plenty of talk about health care, noting the new government has a huge job ahead of them. 

"We need change in our province for that as well as across the country," continues Knox. "I'm hopeful that with their fresh eyes and new ideas, and if they do what they say they're going to do, and make sure that they're talking to front lines and the people that are working in health care, that they will try and come up with some changes. One thing that I really like that they said was that they want to change the feeling and culture in health care right now. I think there's a lot of frustrated people."

She says frustrations with the system has removed the heart that workers had for the career, and that might change as a result.

"I'm hopeful that if they see change, commitment, and investing into health care, it will again become a field that people want to work in and help people in our province for their all their health needs," says Knox. 

Knox acknowledges that a new government with new people in the various departments means that there is a large learning curve for those involved. She notes she's not offended by what many have deemed oversights in the speech. 

"We're one municipality in this province; 137 of us," adds Knox. "When they mentioned municipality, I think that they're talking about us. I've met a few of the ministers so far, and we're excited. We're heading into the Association of Manitoba Municipalities convention next week where we'll have the opportunity to sit with some of those individuals, and get to know them. They're all new in their jobs, as well, right?"

She says they'll require some breathing room to settle into their new roles. Knox says she met with the new Premier, Wab Kinew, and the first thing he said was that Portage la Prairie is due a visit from him.

"So, he knows that we're out here, and knows that we have lots of great things happening," says Knox.

Knox explains as soon as the cabinets were announced, the City sent letters to all the new ministers with outlines of all the priorities that they're working in with the province. She says this will make that information available during the transition, and enable Portage to continue to have talks with the province. 


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