We are indebted to Canada’s and Manitoba’s veterans, and our government is showing its gratitude and commitment to them with a tax exemption and increased VLT revenue for their organizations, as well as with an endowment fund for military memorials.
To improve the sustainability of Royal Canadian Legion and Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS) branches in the face of declining memberships, we will introduce legislation this fall to exempt all of them in Manitoba from municipal property taxes.
Legion branches and ANAVETS halls are places for veterans to find solace and to meet people with similar experiences, and our assistance will relieve some of the financial burden on these facilities.
Our government, as well, has directed Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries to immediately give veterans’ organizations an additional five per cent of the revenue from video lottery terminals on their premises.
With the growth in the VLT share for Legion branches to 30 per cent from 25 per cent until the completion of an upcoming provincial gaming review, these facilities across Manitoba will receive an increase of approximately $600,000.
In addition, we are providing much-needed financial support for efforts to ensure the dedication and sacrifice of Manitoba’s military personnel are never forgotten.
Our new $2-million Military Memorial Conservation Fund and grant program will significantly assist the important work of preserving and maintaining veterans’ memorial sites across the province.
The fund and grant program are expected to generate about $100,000 per year to support memorial restoration projects that ensure these sites remain for future generations, creating opportunities to learn about Manitoba’s history.
We are accepting proposals from community groups, veterans’ organizations and municipalities for the fund as we look ahead to next year’s 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
It’s important for our government to honour Canada’s and especially Manitoba’s veterans. They loved this country so much that they were willing to die for it, and far too many did. We owe them our gratitude for their service and sacrifice in the pursuit of peace and defence of democracy.
Submitted by Greg Nesbitt, MLA for Riding Mountain constituency.