Pallister government's Budget 2018 a disappointment for working families

Monday, March 12, 2018

MFL News

At a time when Manitoba’s economy is slowing down, the Pallister government’s budget is a missed opportunity to protect services and create jobs for families in our province.

Budget 2018 includes no jobs plan. In fact, it cuts jobs by slashing funding for highways and other infrastructure projects. Pallister's new budget also cuts post-secondary education and training, making it more difficult for young people to prepare for good jobs and find opportunities here at home.

And while it is bringing in a new carbon tax, not a single dollar will go towards helping to create green jobs or helping Manitobans adapt to climate change.

At the same time, the 16,000 parents on the wait list who are in desperate need of child care to help them get back to work or back to school are receiving next to no help from the Pallister government. Despite admitting that Manitoba families are facing a child care crisis in our province, Budget 2018 will only see 250 new child care spaces built. That’s shameful.

While the cuts continue, the Pallister government is playing games with their revenue projections. They aren’t budgeting any revenue from cannabis sales for this year, even though we know that sales will start in 2018. Manitoba is receiving a windfall of over $200 million in equalization from the federal government, yet almost all of this extra revenue - $156 million - is going toward raising the basic personal exemption, which provides little benefit to low income and working Manitobans. We know that the best way to support low income workers is by raising the minimum wage to a living wage at $15-an-hour, like Alberta, BC, and Ontario.

Not only does Budget 2018 miss the boat on a jobs strategy to see Manitoba workers through the slowdown in our economy, the Pallister government isn’t even placing a priority on keeping workers safe on the job. Budget 2018 cuts funding for workplace safety and health by close to $800,000, meaning less focus on enforcing rules that keep workers safe on the job. This is a deeply concerning cut, especially at a time when the Pallister government is reviewing possible changes it will make to the Workplace Safety and Health Act

Finally, there was one bright light in today’s budget. The Pallister government has finally backed down and admitted what the labour movement has been telling them for years: that building schools through public-private partnerships is a more expensive option. After doing the math themselves, the Pallister government has realized that the traditional public procurement model is the most sensible and economic approach. In fact, they have determined that government will save enough money through the traitional public model that it can build five new schools, instead of the four they wanted to build through P3 financing.  

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