AMBM President and Reeve of the Rural Municipality of La Broquerie, Mr. Ivan Normandeau, issued the following statement following the historic victory of Manitoba’s New Democratic Party (NDP) in the 2023 provincial election, which will form a majority government:

On behalf of the Association of Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities (AMBM), I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Premier-elect Wab Kinew and his team from the New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP) on their historic victory in the 2023 provincial election. Not only will the NDP form a majority government at the opening of the 43rd Legislature, but for the first time in its history, the province of Manitoba will be led by a First Nations Premier of Anishinaabe heritage.

Congratulations also to all elected or re-elected MLAs, from all political parties, across the province.

I would like to recognize Madam Heather Stefanson, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and former Premier of Manitoba, and Mr. Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba and former MLA for the constituency of St. Boniface, for their tireless election campaigning. I sincerely thank them for their unwavering political commitment and dedication to our province over the years, and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge all Manitobans who ran in this election. I congratulate them on their courage and their desire to move our province forward, regardless of their party or allegiance.

In Manitoba, the AMBM is recognized as the voice of bilingual municipal leadership. It represents 15 local governments committed to providing services in both official languages to their citizens, including the City of Winnipeg and 14 rural municipalities. Together, these municipalities represent the majority of Manitoba’s population.

Manitoba’s bilingual municipal leadership is also at the helm of the AMBM Group, a consortium of three complementary organizations: the AMBM, the Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities (Conseil de développement économique des municipalités bilingues du Manitoba, or CDEM) and Eco-West Canada (EWC). These three complementary organizations actively contribute to the development, vitality and sustainability of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) located in Manitoba’s bilingual municipalities.

The CDEM is responsible for recruiting French-speaking and bilingual economic immigrants through a formal partnership with the Province under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), as well as coordinating community economic development, entrepreneurship and tourism in the AMBM territory.

EWC specializes in the green economy. Since 2008, this pan-Canadian organization has become the partner of choice for supporting local governments in implementing concrete measures to reduce their GHG emissions, adapt to climate change and increase their use of clean energy. Thanks to its expertise and pragmatic approach, EWC assures public decision-makers of the achievement of measurable results, in addition to creating multiple leverage effects with the federal government for the financing of key infrastructure. In particular, EWC is now recognized as a preferred partner of the Province of Manitoba for the execution of large-scale projects supporting the energy transition.

Over the years, the AMBM and its subsidiaries have built a strong partnership with the Manitoba government. But much remains to be done, especially to support the challenges of our rural communities.

During the provincial election campaign, our association produced and shared with the various political parties in the running its Notice on the 16 strategic priorities of Manitoba’s bilingual municipal leadership, under the theme Towards a strengthened municipal-provincial partnership. The NDP’s feedback on our document, their election platform and their various public statements enabled us to see that we were on the same page on several issues of importance to our members:

  • Recognition of the bilingual character and the economic and social added value of the French fact in our province, as well as the importance of adequately supporting Manitoba’s Francophone community;
  • The importance of setting ambitious targets for Francophone and bilingual economic immigration to support the sustainability of French-language services in Manitoba and address the growing shortage of Francophone and bilingual workers;
  • The shared vision that the Manitoba government will concretely support the anchoring and continuous improvement of municipal service delivery in both official languages, notably by building on our new Municipal Maturity Model (3M), which has the potential to create partnerships between all three orders of government to support official languages locally, and to fully recognize municipal investment in official languages;
  • The NDP’s commitment to work with the AMBM and its subsidiaries to support economic development in Manitoba’s bilingual municipalities, including investments in health care, infrastructure creation and renewal, broadband Internet access in rural communities, the development of new social and affordable housing, and support for the growth of Francophone tourism in Manitoba, while creating new economic opportunities for all;
  • On the environment: a guarantee to work towards net zero commitments, to offer rebates for new and used electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and to build more electric vehicle charging stations, as well as to work with municipalities to improve surface water protection and ensure adequate funding for wastewater management so that communities can develop; and
  • The establishment of a flexible and reliable multi-year funding model for Manitoba municipalities’ operations, infrastructure and maintenance costs.

Ultimately, the AMBM, its members and subsidiaries are enthusiastic about continuing and strengthening the partnership with the Province of Manitoba to build strong and prosperous bilingual communities together.

We agree with Mr. Kinew’s vision that in Manitoba, the economic horse must pull the social cart. In our bilingual municipalities, this economic horse is particularly complex and contains many benefits, starting with a diversified economic fabric, an enviable entrepreneurial sector, not to mention our bilingual asset.

Information: Office of the Chief Executive Officer (O-CEO), 204-289-4077, [email protected].

The AMBM ready to work with Wab Kinew’s new government