Water management and availability, Federal gun control legislation and the upcoming provincial election... all things Borderland MLA Josh Guenter will be thinking about in the coming weeks and months of 2023.
While looking back at 2022, he pointed to last year's flooding across the constituency, and other water management and availability concerns, as issues he will continue to work on in 2023.
"We certainly live in an area where we have too much water, at times, and then at other times it's really dry, and going through these cycles can be really challenging," he explained. "It would be really good to have the infrastructure in place to be able to, whether it's building retention ponds and holding some of this excess water back, so we have it for times of drought. Then also, I'm always talking about the Letellier water treatment plant, but that really is an area that needs upgrades. Water, I think, is a big subject, but it's so critical to so much that happens in our communities. Our economic development and growth is linked right to it."
Guenter notes the province's water management strategy has been released, with feedback from stakeholders now being solicited, adding local communities are not alone in the challenges related to this topic.
Meanwhile, what exactly happens with the Federal Liberals Bill C-21 firearms legislation is something Borderland MLA Josh Guenter will be keeping an eye on, too. The proposed legislation has had a number of amendments made to it since first being introduced, including several last-minute changes in December, and as it's currently written would ban certain currently legal hunting rifles and shotguns.
Guenter was happy to see Manitoba's government join Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick's in voicing opposition to the bill.
"The RCMP is a federal force, but funded largely with provincial resources," he said. "We fundamentally believe those resources should be spent fighting real crime, and not going after law abiding gun owners. There's 100,000 gun owners in Manitoba, and so that's a pretty substantial number of people. I just felt it was important to register their concerns with my colleagues, and again, was very encouraged to see that collaboration between our government and other provincial governments to push back on this."
Ultimately, Guenter is unsure what the legislation will end up looking like, but stresses law abiding citizens should not be targeted by it.
The looming provincial election this coming October is definitely on the mind of Borderland MLA Josh Guenter, and something he will be connecting with residents on in the coming weeks and months. He received the Progressive Conservative's nomination for the riding at a meeting in November. He says, without a doubt, there is a decision Manitobans will need to make when they head to the polls.
"There's a number of areas where I think our track record is very solid, and I just think Manitobans would benefit from looking at that when they're making their decision, or looking at the alternative," stated Guenter. "I just don't think we can afford, at these challenging times, to go throw caution to the wind and go with the alternative."
As part of that track record, Guenter points to successes in healthcare, presenting the province's first balanced budget in eleven years and providing tax relief at a time for many families when they needed it most.