In May 2016 Brian Pallister issued “mandate letters” to his cabinet ministers. The letter to Finance Minister Cameron Friesen tells him to take the lead on the Premier’s election promise to make Manitoba the “most improved province.” He notes in particular that “family tax relief” and “job creation performance” will be key indicators of this promised progress.

Those are pretty narrow criteria. We believe that there are any number of ways to measure progress in Manitoba, and many of them reflect important values like equity, justice, and opportunity as well as overall prosperity.

Value Manitoba will be grading the progress Premier Pallister and Minister Friesen make towards improving life for Manitobans. We’ll assess them using a wide range of economic factors. Our indicators include economic growth; taxes; labour performance and income; household debt; provincial deficits and debt; public and private investment; and others.

And in addition to looking at these important economic indicators, we’ll take into account the social, everyday, lived experience of the economy. Will Brian Pallister count the number of Manitobans that gain access to affordable housing, child care, and food security? Will he measure the number of Manitobans that are lifted out of poverty? Maybe not. But we will.

These economic and social factors taken together will help us keep an eye on how Manitoba’s economy measures up as we move forward.

And of course in order to measure improvement, you need to know where you started. We have identified important data on Manitoba’s economy gathered prior to the April 2016 election. This will be the baseline of how we assess “improvement”.

So, next: stay tuned for some posts about how Manitoba was doingsocially and economicallybefore the new government took over!