Officials with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities headed to the Manitoba Legislature this week to meet with the different provincial parties and the deputy ministers for their annual Lobby Days discussions.

"We started off with meeting with the NDP government, including the Premier of Manitoba, and then we met with Progressive Conservatives, and we finished off with meeting with the deputy ministers. It's an excellent opportunity for us as AMM to bring forward our four key municipal priorities that we've been discussing as well as working on building relationships with the individuals in each respective role," said AMM President Kam Blight.

Blight says it's great to get to know the ministers of the province with this form of conversation and brings forward and elevates the issues that are impacting the province's municipalities the most.

"Municipal operating funding, investing in infrastructure, investing in social infrastructure such as people, and of course, public safety. Those are our four main key priorities. Public safety definitely did get the lion's share. The conversation surrounded just that, public safety. We had some healthy discussions on that, and we look forward to collaborating and working with all parties moving forward to help build a safer Manitoba for all." 

He adds building relationships is extremely crucial, noting these officials were elected to their positions forming a newer government that has new ministers in the varying portfolios.

"It was an excellent opportunity for our entire board, ourselves, and the executive with that relationship-building process just to get to better know the individuals that we're working with, and introduce ourselves, and have some great conversations. It wasn't all just around municipal-related projects. In some cases, it was just a great general conversation getting to know each other better. And I think that will just help us that much more, moving forward, to grow Manitoba together." 

Premier Wab Kinew agreed, saying he fully supports Blight's belief that when municipalities succeed, so does government.

"When we're talking about the roads you drive on. When we're talking about the water infrastructure that powers agriculture and the broader economy, manufacturing, a lot of these services are delivered by the municipality or it's the province partnering with municipalities to deliver them, so this relationship is really really important to us," he said. 

Kinew added, it was also great to hear some positive feedback on his government's inaugural budget presented earlier this month.

"The overall tone seems to be the increase to municipal funding we brought forward, increases to infrastructure and some of the things we've been doing on public safety and bail reform, as well as the investments in healthcare all seemed to get a check mark written beside them by AMM. So, that was good to hear and, of course, more work to do but we're off to a good start."