Manitoba Legislature Rises for Summer: Pallister’s Agenda of Austerity Hurts Seniors and Families

Assembly Passes Two Important NDP Bills Honouring Manitoba’s Indigenous Peoples

May 31, 2017

The spring sitting of the Manitoba legislature is ending with a string of broken promises from the Pallister government whose austerity program will undermine health care, weaken education and make life more expensive for families, NDP Interim Leader Flor Marcelino said today.

“The Pallister government has broken its promise to families by cutting frontline health and education services while increasing the cost of many of the services people rely on,” Marcelino said.

“Emergency rooms are being shuttered or suspended across the province. Schools have been told to make do with less. And municipalities will have to scale back on building and repairing roads.”

Marcelino noted the Pallister government shut three ERs and an urgent care centre in Winnipeg; froze the wages of more than 100,000 frontline workers; hiked tuition fees and raised taxes on students; did nothing while Manitoba’s North experienced severe job losses; and undermined environmental regulations for Lake Winnipeg.

“The Premier imposed his agenda of austerity while defending his right to take a 20 per cent pay raise and spend up to eight weeks a year in Costa Rica,” Marcelino said. “Furthermore, this premier imposed his agenda while curtailing debate on contentious bills.”

Among the regressive bills and polices the government pushed through were:

  • Shuttering three Winnipeg emergency rooms and one urgent care centre;

  • Contracting out home care services, which will cost more and deliver worse service for seniors;

  • Cancelling construction of personal care homes while imposing new financial restrictions that will make it almost impossible for communities to build new care homes;

  • Cutting funding for post-secondary institutions and allowing tuition fees to skyrocket;

  • Increasing the risk to the health of Lake Winnipeg and the province’s waterways by relaxing environmental standards for hog producers;

  • Refusing to develop a viable and sustainable plan for the Northern economy; and

  • Violating the constitutional rights of public sector workers to freely negotiate their contracts.

“The NDP will continue to fight for improvements in health care and education. We will fight to maintain affordability for families,” Marcelino said. “All families should be concerned about the Pallister government’s cuts to frontline services and the damage it’s doing to the economy.” During the session, two important pieces of NDP legislation honouring Manitoba’s Indigenous Peoples were passed with all-party support: The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Honouring and Awareness Day Act; and the Orange Shirt Day Act.
  • The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Honouring and Awareness Day Act sets aside Oct. 4 each year as an official day to honour and bring attention to Manitoba’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and raise awareness of the systemic levels of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

  • The Orange Shirt Day Act will provide a way for Manitobans to publicly commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools and the resilience of residential school survivors, commemoration being a vital component of the reconciliation process.