Finally. After many cases of blatant theft, and a serious attack at a Liquor Mart in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries has announced a new security initiative to be put in place at their stores.

Locked, secure entrances will be constructed, and anyone wishing to go in must show valid photo I.D. Otherwise, they won't be let in.

The Tyndall Park location in Winnipeg will be the first to have a secure entrance constructed, following a serious incident in which one employee was sent to hospital after an unprovoked attack, and 2 others were injured. 

The new security initiative will be rolled out to liquor marts across the province. In the meantime, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries reminds you to not get involved if you witness a theft.

Read the full statement from MBLL President Manny Atwal here.

The Government of Manitoba gave its throne speech on Tuesday, and two major agriculture groups in the province are satisfied with the government’s plan.

Keystone Ag Producers President Bill Campbell said that KAP is pleased with what the government brought forward in the speech.

“We look forward to working together on the issues that matter most to Manitoba farmers,” said Campbell. “We want to thank Minister Pedersen for debriefing with us on the contents of the speech.”

KAP and Manitoba Beef Producers were both happy to hear that the province will be exploring the elimination of the education portion on property taxes. As it stands right now, producers in the province pay up to 10 times the amount that other Manitobans pay.

They both welcomed the increased funding towards the GROW program, while they add they are waiting for more details on how it will be beneficial to producers.

While there were some positive steps being taken in the province’s approach on agriculture, Carson Callum, the General Manager of Manitoba Beef Producers says the omission of how the changes to the Crown Lands Leasing Program will be carried out was concerning to producers.

“The Crown Lands piece is a really big issue, especially for many of our members,” said Callum. “It would have been helpful to see some of the areas that they are going to address in the short term, but we continue to push our position in relation to Crown Lands with the province.”

Other things the government has promised are the completion of the Lake Manitoba Outlet Channel, the introduction of new bio-fuel standards, and an increased focus on rural crime.

The province also announced a new “Partners for Economic Growth” program, which acknowledges the importance of agriculture to the province's economy.

The Manitoba Government is introducing a new income support program for those with disabilities.

An online survey has been launched to receive feedback so Manitobans can decide how the new program should operate and what kinds of assistance should be provided.

The online consultation will focus on fundamental questions to help with the parameters of the program.

Those with disabilities are currently eligible for Employment and Income Assistance if they have a mental or physical illness or disability that prevents them from supporting themselves.

This is different from other provinces that have multiple income programs tailored to certain kinds of disabilities.

Families Minister Heather Stefanson says through the Disability Matters Vote campaign, Manitobans called for those kinds of alternative income programs.

You can take part in the consultation until January 31, 2020, by clicking here.

The CN Rail strike will affect a lot of things in Canada, but it’ll take a toll specifically on grain producers who rely on the train to bring their grain to market.

Pam Derocquigny, the General Manager of the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, says that while a strike is never ideal, the timing of this one is particularly concerning.

“It’s been a challenging harvest for many of our producers in the province, and it’s been a struggle to get the crop off and into the bin,” said Derocquigny. “It’s just unfortunate that at this point, for those producers who are looking to market their crop, and move it obviously, that if CN is their only access or delivery point to get the grain moving into market, that obviously can impact producers’ ability to market, and therefore the cash flow of their crop.”

Derocquigny added that this isn’t the first time that a rail company has been on strike, noting that the previous strike only lasted 5 days. While this strike is only on day 2, the uncertainty of how long the strike will last is adding to producer stress.

“It’s one of those situations when there’s uncertainty it’s never a good thing,” said Derocquigny. “We’ve been through an extremely challenging harvest, and many producers are still trying to harvest. Those challenges, and of course, those higher stress levels related trying to get the crop off, and now we have another factor like this where there’s uncertainty as to, you’ve got the crop in the bin, how do we get it to market?”

The CN Teamsters and the federal government are talking to try and end the dispute as soon as possible, which Derocquigny says is promising.

Advance Voting for the Gilbert Plains by-election is on today until 8 pm at the Gilbert Plains Municipal Boardroom.

Election day is November 27th.

 

With clear skies in the forecast for tonight, you have the perfect opportunity to witness an incredible and rare celestial event.

At approximately 10:50 p.m., and lasting for only 15 minutes, the Alpha Monocerotid Meteor Shower will spray meteors at us at a rate of 400 meteors per hour.

The last time such an unforgettable burst of meteors occurred from this shower, was in 1995.

The stream moves in and out of the Earth's orbit, which is why large outbursts such as tomorrow night's, are only occasional.

Astronomers recommend heading to a dark location, with a clear field of view, looking east.

The Government of Manitoba gave its throne speech on Monday to set out the government’s priorities for their next term.

In the speech, the PC's guaranteed tax relief, job growth, health care investments, education reform, and climate action.

They outlined an ambitious agenda with over 100 initiatives and at least 20 bills planned for introduction.

The government’s speech reaffirmed their 100-day plan and the five-point Moving Manitoba Forward Guarantee, which promises lower taxes for families, 40,000 new private-sector jobs, improved health care, new schools, and the progression of the Made-in- Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.

One of the first things the Government promises to tackle is tax reform, which includes, the implementation of the 2020 Tax Rollback Guarantee that promises to put $2,020 back into Manitoban’s pockets. They also want to eliminate the education portion of property taxes within 10 years.

In the area of job growth, the province wants to continue leading the country in removing inter-provincial trade barriers, speed up the permitting process in municipalities across the province, introducing legislation to remove Sunday and holiday shopping restrictions, increase tourism funding by 25%, launch the Partners in Economic Growth (PEG) initiative with regional and sector partners with a focus on the province’s areas of economic strength including agriculture, aerospace and technology; and increase the highway construction budget to $400 million over the next 4 years.

The government also laid plans for health-care investments. The province wants to provide better health care sooner through the $2-billion Health Care Guarantee, create 200 new nursing positions by 2023, and establish the $40-million Front-Line Idea Fund for health-care workers to support innovative solutions to improve patient care.

The PC government’s education reform plans are to: build 13 new schools over the next 10 years, complete the K-12 Education Review, and launch the $25-million Teacher’s Idea Fund to support innovative solutions to improve educational outcomes across the province.

The government’s climate plan is rather extensive. They plan on exploring how to electrify their transportation infrastructure to reduce Manitoba’s carbon footprint, introducing new bio-fuel standards requirements, doubling the investment in the GROW trust, and exploring the elimination of plastic bags.

In addition to all the plans, the province wants to finalize Operation Return Home to bring the people of the Lake St. Martin First Nation home, and to work with the feds to complete the Lake Manitoba Outlet Channel.

Premier Pallister also invited people across the country to come and join in Manitoba’s 150th anniversary next year.

To read the government's full throne speech, click here.

Internet speeds in Swan River got a big boost last week. Westman Communications Group invested more than $300,000 in network and plant enhancements in the community.

That means the company can now provide faster, more reliable internet speeds to residents of Swan River and the surrounding area. 

"We're finding that there is a growing demand for bandwidth in Swan River and we wanted to be proactive and make sure we meet that demand," said Dave Baxter, President, and CEO of Westman Communications Group. "We want to offer the highest speeds available and highest reliability as well for the future."

Swan River didn't approach WCG asking for the upgrade. The upgrades are still quite fresh. They were completed late last week. 

"We expect that we'll hear some positive comments about the internet experience," continued Baxter. 

Swan River is one of 34 communities that Westman Communications Group offers its services to. These types of upgrades are made to assure their customers have the best possible service.

"We're always on watch and making sure we make the investments in our network so that we remain the leader in offering high-speed, reliable speed to our customers," concluded Baxter. "We want to make sure our customers never feel let down with the quality of our services."

In 2015, WCG brought its services to Swan River and the internet speeds were at least 50% faster than those offered by other providers in the area.

Hoteliers in Dauphin brought their concerns about the City’s proposed accommodation tax to City Council on Monday night.

Dean Cooley served as the spokesman for the group, and he said that where the funds from the proposed 5% tax on hotel stays would go, is unfair to the hoteliers.

“It’s not the tax itself that scares us too much, it’s really the use of the money,” said Cooley. “We feel fairly strongly that capital cost expenditure for the city, we don’t believe that’s the right use for the money.”

As it stands right now, the funds would be directed to help fund maintenance and improvements to the City’s recreation areas.

The group would rather see the money go towards helping the city in other ways.

“We would rather see that money put into tourism, and economic development, and things that would drive our city forward, bring more people to town,” said Cooley. “We would like to see more events; it was wonderful to have Hometown Hockey in Dauphin that was fantastic. We’re excited to have the junior curling early in the New Year, but there are not enough of those events that make an impact on the hotel industry.”

Cooley said that while events like Dauphin’s Countryfest and Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival result in fully booked hotels, they only account for 6 days out of 365.

The hoteliers are disappointed that the City didn’t consult them before proposing the accommodation tax, and are hoping to have further discussions with the City in the weeks to come.

As of 12:01 this morning, around 3,200 Canadian National Railway workers, including conductors and yard workers, are on strike.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference represents the workers, and gave a 72-hour strike notice last Friday. At issue are long hours, fatigue, and dangerous working conditions. 

This dispute also comes in the wake of CN announcing an unspecified amount of job cuts as a weakened North American economy has slowed demand.

The workers have been without a contract since July 23rd of this year, and both sides are still at the bargaining table to try and work out a deal.

As the weather gets colder, lakes and rivers are starting to freeze over. Going on the ice too soon may be the difference between life and death.

Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, aka Professor Popsicle, is an expert in human reactions in extreme environments. He has performed hundreds of cold water immersions to demonstrate what to do if you fall through the ice.

Gord Giesbrecht
“Consider all ice unsafe, stay off the ice, or prepare to go through,” says Giesbrecht. “Anytime you’re out on the ice, you never know, you could have really thick ice and happen to be in one weak spot because some water current is going and makes the ice not as thick.”

Giesbrecht says the worst thing people can do when they fall through the ice is panic, adding that by doing so, you will drown before hypothermia sets in.

“Most people think that if you fall in the ice water, you’re going to become hypothermic in minutes and you die of hypothermia, they think I’m going to die right away,” said Giesbrecht. “If you think that, you’re going to panic, and not make good decisions, and become exhausted, and drown right there.”

If you end up in the ice, Giesbrecht says to stay calm and control your breathing. Once that’s done, he says to try and get out the way you fell in because that was the ice that was holding you up before you fell in.

Many people would then try and pull themselves as they would out of a pool, Giesbrecht says that won’t work when the clothes you’re wearing are waterlogged. The method he suggests is the “kick and pull” method where you put your arms on the ice and kick your feet. Doing this will make your body horizontal to the ice, then by kicking like crazy and pulling yourself along the surface of the ice, you will get out of the water.

The next step is to roll away from the hole, instead of standing up right away, to make sure you’re on thicker ice, before getting up and getting off the ice.

If you’re with someone who falls in the ice, Giesbrecht says to ensure your safety before trying to rescue them. He says the steps in rescuing someone are “Talk, Throw, and Reach.

Talking to the person and walking the person through the steps of getting out will hopefully help them get out.

If that doesn’t work, Giesbrecht says to throw them something they can grab on to, like a rope. Then have them wrap their arms around the rope, and then pull them out.

Giesbrecht says the last resort is to try and get close enough to them to try and reach something, like a tree branch, to them. He says if you need to do this, try and get on your stomach to decrease the weight on the weak ice.

Dr. Giesbrecht says that the best thing to do, if possible, is to call 911.

Giesbrecht urges making sure the ice is at least 2 inches thick before walking on it, and 4 inches thick before driving a snowmobile on it.

Be sure to listen today and tomorrow at 12:40, where Josh Sigurdson will have a 2 part interview with Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht.