PCs plan for growth while NDP plan for lockdown: Stefanson
SELKIRK — Manitoba PC Leader Heather Stefanson today committed to building a strong economy that works for all Manitobans by advancing Manitoba’s Critical Minerals Strategy, bringing near-term projects into production and doubling the workforce over the next decade.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow Manitoba and be a national leader in supplying the world with minerals for the green economy. What we do next decides whether Manitoba becomes a ‘have’ province under the PCs, or whether we watch the world pass us by under the NDP,” Stefanson said. “We are the only party with a plan to unlock prosperity after the election. The NDP’s plan is to lock down development, leave our natural resources in the ground, and chase billions of dollars out of our province.”
The PCs under Heather Stefanson’s leadership have made significant headway growing the minerals sector, bringing Manitoba’s first-ever potash mine into production in Russell in June, and attracting a record $170-million in exploration spending in 2022. There are currently more than 70 companies exploring for minerals in Manitoba, which jumped 18 spots in the Fraser Institute’s global mining rankings this year—putting the province back on its way to being the top province to invest in Canada.
“For 17 years, NDP tax policies and regulations became hostile to capital investment and we fell behind other provinces. Exploration dwindled, forcing mines to close, which hurt northern communities the most,” Stefanson said. “Manitoba must stay competitive, not only with other Canadian provinces, but with U.S. states also competing for investment. We can’t afford an anti-development NDP government to destroy our mining sector and kill jobs. We have made too much progress to fall backwards now.”
Several near-term minerals projects are anticipated to start production over the coming years, including the Alamos Gold project in Lynn Lake, and Canadian Premium Sand, which will process high-quality silica found at Hollow Water into solar glass to be manufactured in Selkirk—the only facility of its kind in North America. Combined, the two projects will stimulate more than $1 billion in economic activity, and create more than 9,000 direct and spin-off jobs.
“We’re ecstatic to see support for the mining sector from the Progressive Conservatives and their dedication to making Manitoba No. 1 in the mining sector,” said Glenn Leroux, President and CEO of Canadian Premium Sand. “They have listened to the industry, and are working with industry to achieve results that will benefit all Manitobans.”
Stefanson recently toured Manitoba’s north, where she met with Indigenous and municipal leaders, as well as industry, to discuss how government, business, and communities can work together to support the minerals sector and advance economic reconciliation. In Flin Flon, two copper projects and one gold project currently in the exploration stage have the potential to secure the future of the community for another generation once in production, Stefanson noted.
“We are encouraged to see policymakers’ support for the mining sector, and their enthusiasm for economic growth in this region,” said Max Porterfield, President and CEO of Callinex Mines.
Said Ian Ball, Interim President and CEO of Canadian Gold Corp, “It is great to see policymakers continue their support for the mining sector by working with companies that are making considerable investments and providing employment. We are encouraged by the exploration and development potential of our past producing Tartan Mine that we have been advancing with the government’s support. With a collaborative effort from the public sector, we are confident the future is bright for the province.”
Manitoba’s mining sector currently employs 2,300 Manitobans directly, and another 4,600 indirectly through spin-off economic activity. About one-fifth of the workforce is Indigenous, and the average wage in Manitoba mining is $120,000 per year.
Progressive Conservatives are the only party openly embracing Manitoba’s natural resources.
Under Stefanson’s leadership as Premier, $5 million was invested to re-staff natural resource departments that had declined over a generation. If re-elected, the PCs will work with industry and northern communities to increase employment by 50 per cent from today’s levels, and set a challenge to double exploration investments in the province to $310 million annually by 2030.
“We want to create opportunities for wealth and prosperity for all Manitobans, and economic reconciliation is a key plank in our strategy,” said Stefanson. “Natural resources are the first dollars of our economy. They’re job creators and income generators that feed us, power us, and build our communities. A strong, growing economy supported by the critical minerals sector will pay for the services we all rely on: healthcare, education, roads, and social services.”
NDP Leader Wab Kinew signed the LEAP Manifesto, a radical pledge to keep natural resources in the ground, while his campaign manager, Brian Topp, has called natural resources “a blight on the Canadian economy.”
This election, Kinew has promised funding for environmental groups that want to shut down mining, signed on to Justin Trudeau’s so-called “Just Transition” plan for Canada, and pledged to protect 30% of Manitoba from any development, which will destabilize economic development in northern communities.
“The NDP want to leave wealth in the ground and deny opportunities for Indigenous communities and all Manitobans. That will be devastating to our economy,” said Richard Perchotte, PC candidate for Selkirk. “We’ll get our minerals out to the world—Wab won’t.”
The provincial election will be held on October 3, 2023.