News / Winnipeg

Manitoba Liberals would invest in "social" and "cultural" infrastructure

Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari said reinvesting in the arts is needed, but can't say how big that investment will be.

Rana Bokhari said Maniotba has

Braeden Jones/ Metro

Rana Bokhari said Maniotba has "a vibrant arts and cultural scene," adding her Liberal party "is committing, if elected in 2016, to maintain it, but also find ways to enhance it."

The Manitoba Liberal party is promising to “enhance” the provincial arts scene if given the chance to form government, but can’t say what that would cost.

Leader Rana Bokhari said she’d find the extra money to improve cultural facilities, whatever the amount might be, in the existing infrastructure budget.

“Infrastructure is more than just bridges, and highways, and roads, and pipes,” Bokhari said. “It is social infrastructure, it is cultural infrastructure, and we need to take a much more broader approach to that.”

She explained tourism and the arts have the “potential to grow our economy.”

But when it comes to putting a dollar amount to the investment she’d hope to see a return on, she says it would be determined with help from arts stakeholders, "because they know.”

“I have been in conversations with them… they have said their current infrastructure hasn’t really kept up with inflation,” she said. “Maybe it’s just bumping (funding) up to inflation, but I know that tourism Manitoba... will require some investment.”

To firm up where money should go, the Liberals would hold consultations, and would also set up a new “Premier’s advisory council on the arts” to “advise on developing new cultural policy for the province.”

“It’s also to enhance the cultural work force and have a work force strategy,” Bokhari said.

During Thursday’s announcement, she also reaffirmed her commitment to divert one full percentage point of provincial sales tax to municipalities for infrastructure projects.

“I’ve committed (that) to municipalities… on a permanent basis,” she said. “That’s the new funding model if we are moving forward with a Liberal government.”

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