MFL Responds to Budget 2023

March 7, 2023

Statement by MFL President Kevin Rebeck in response to the Stefanson government’s 2023/24 Budget:

After years of cuts and understaffing by Brian Pallister and Heather Stefanson, the public services that working families count on are facing a staffing crisis.

The dedicated Manitobans who deliver public services like health care, education and social services are being stretched to their limit. Wait times are up, and Manitobans are feeling the weight of six years of cuts. 

We know that this is an election year, and Premier Stefanson wants to change the channel from her government’s record. But we need our government to fund health care and other public services based on the needs and priorities of Manitobans, not based on the latest polling numbers.

While the funding increases in this budget are a welcome change, one-time increases from a desperate government will not make up for years and years of cuts and understaffing. 

It is also concerning that this government is making nearly $1 billion in tax cuts that will disproportionately benefit wealthier Manitobans and big corporations. This is money that could be going toward strengthening our public services.

We are glad to see this government finally move to reduce child care fees to $10/day under its child care agreement with the federal government, but more needs to be done to build an affordable, high-quality child care system that works for working families. Parents know how difficult it is to find child care spaces, and staff turnover remains a major issue for child care centres.

Child care workers are predominantly women, and are among the lowest-paid in our economy. This government needs to do much more than just reduce child care fees. It needs to build more affordable spaces to bring the waitlist numbers down and fund real wage increases that will recruit and retain staff.