President Rebeck’s response to 2021 Throne Speech

November 23, 2021

We have been calling on Premier Stefanson to reset the provincial government’s relationship with unions and workers, and while this throne speech certainly takes a different tone than Brian Pallister, what will matter are this government’s actions in the coming months.

While we are glad to see some of the commitments on health care, we know that much more will need to be done to rebuild the system after years of cuts and chaos under Brian Pallister. Thousands of health care workers are still without a contract because of the mess that the Pallister government made in public sector bargaining and we know that Manitoba is facing chronic staffing shortages in health care.

We also encourage this government to stop interfering in contract negotiations between the University of Manitoba Faculty Association and the University of Manitoba, so that both sides can reach a fair deal that ensures high quality education for U of M students.

Manitoba needs a real economic recovery plan focused on good jobs that allow families to pay the bills. COVID-19 continues to impact our communities and our economy, including low-income workers. These workers are falling behind as our minimum wage continues to sit near the bottom of the country, but this government has no plan to lift minimum wage workers out of poverty by making the minimum wage a living wage.

This government also continues to refuse to ensure that all workers have access to paid sick days on the job, meaning many Manitobans are forced to choose between going to work sick to put food on the table and staying home to protect public health. That’s not a sensible approach to protecting public health.

Finally, we are concerned about this government’s continued attempts to force the City of Winnipeg into accepting a risky public-private partnership to upgrade the North End sewage treatment plant. This plan will put local jobs and services at risk, and the city has recommended against it.