Missed opportunity is the theme of the NDP government’s 2014 provincial budget.

The province is missing a chance to invest in renewable energy, ignoring the province’s capacity for solar and wind power production.

It is missing the opportunity to connect government job creation programs to stable, healthy green jobs that promote the local economy and the well-being of Manitobans.

And it is missing the chance to build transportation infrastructure for the future, such as public transit and rail, and instead pouring billions of dollars into roads and bridges that fuel high-carbon emissions and will be approaching obsolescence in a few short years.<–break->

What is also glaringly absent is any funding going to the clean-up of Lake Winnipeg. This huge lake is in its death throes, and needs immediate, effective action to ensure its survival.

Even when this budget tries to go in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough. Additional funding for child care is urgently needed, yet the government is willing to invest a sum that is a mere one one-thousandth of the amount slated for infrastructure repairs.

Greens would do it differently

The Greens would embrace opportunities to develop renewable energy sources. This would create thousands of good, long-term jobs for Manitobans.

We would ensure that any public money going into job creation be tied to the green economy.

We would put more resources into public transit and rail within the province, making these more accessible and affordable.

We would also take immediate measures to re-invigorate Lake Winnipeg by preserving and re-establishing wetlands, conserving the boreal forest and controlling agricultural run-off.

And Greens would go further. We would combat poverty, especially child poverty, in real and lasting ways by establishing a provincial child care system that would provide high quality, affordable care to children of parents.