Aug 13 2023 – Lamont Banks on Economic Policy to Fuel Campaign Momentum

After decades in the political doldrums, the Manitoba Liberal Party is trying to parlay dissatisfaction with the two leading parties into creating a safe harbour for voters. Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface, set out an economic development plank at a press conference on Friday that he hopes will convince voters there’s a third way.

“The NDP aren’t very good socialists and the PC’s aren’t very good capitalists”, Lamont insisted, “because even with the launch of their venture capital fund, many entrepreneurs aren’t able to get any kind of financing at all.” He said that women, newcomers, minorities and First Nations aren’t qualifying for funding “because they don’t have collateral.” He cited a recent speaker from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and immigrant groups who want to start businesses but can’t access capital.

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Lamont has proposed creating a “politically-independent Manitoba Business Development Bank (MBDB) that would focus only on helping Manitoba businesses and farmers build and grow, with equity share purchases instead of loans”. The focus would be on people with little access to capital from having to mortgage their homes or rack up credit cards to float their enterprise. “It’s really going to change and grow the economy for the future of this province.”

The Manitoba Liberals claim this initiative to create jobs and wealth would help “take partisan politics out of local business development” by empowering a Board of Directors made up of “non-partisan experts and board applicants hired based on qualifications.” The plan would see the MBDB buying shares from companies – equity investments that owners can start paying back once the business is profitable.

He said the $100M fund would invest in Manitoba owned and headquartered businesses and “avoid corporate welfare as we’ve seen in Manitoba in the form of massive tax breaks or grants.”

“The NDP and PCs have often bent over backwards to subsidize some of the richest corporations in the world, while doing nothing for Manitoba businesses,” claimed Lamont. Instead of having a ‘branch plant economy’, he said that by emulating the approach of North Dakota and Alberta and “driving grassroots economic development… we’re offering real change, real growth, and a better return on investment.”

“It’s really going to change and grow the economy for the future of this province” Lamont told the media.

You’ll hear him explain: “There’s no question this is an incredibly important election, there’s a crisis in health care, a climate crisis, an inflation crisis, a debt crisis… we can’t simply go back to the way things were before the pandemic because they weren’t working then either, let’s be honest.”

As Marty Gold points out, critics wanting to derail the campaign can point the finger at the governing federal Liberals for those crisis issues and tie Lamont to the anchor of Justin Trudeau’s record.

Polling at under the 14% scored in the 2019 election, Manitoba Grits have an uphill fight to even hold their existing trio of seats, let alone capture another to achieve official Party status in the Legislature. Noting a sizeable pool of undecided voters that he said are very receptive to candidates like Robert-Falcon Ouellette at the doorstep, Lamont is optimistic:

“The PCs and NDP are attacking federal Liberals, but they aren’t talking about us at all. We want to put forward a positive vision and a plan for what we need to do, because there’s a ton of huge problems and we need to plan to deal with them and the other parties want to coast on hot air.”


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