New Democrats Stand Against Pallister Cuts

November 10, 2017

Today the second session of the forty-first Legislature ended with the Pallister government ramming through measures that will damage the future of Manitoba families.

Government legislation will raise tuition for Manitoba students by 5% plus the rate of inflation annually. Families will be forced to pay hundreds of additional dollars every year to afford an education. The average student in Manitoba today pays $4,058 in tuition plus the cost of ancillary fees and books. By the end of the Pallister mandate, that same student will be paying approximately $5000 plus books and fees.

“This government is making education less affordable for families trying to make ends meet. Putting food on the table while paying tuition will become harder each and every year under Pallister’s government,” said Wab Kinew, Manitoba NDP Leader. “Raising tuition will close off opportunities for young people who want to build a brighter future in Manitoba.”

After dodging questions and refusing to call Bill 36 to committee, Manitobans finally got the chance to hear our opposition to provisions that eliminated an agreement with municipalities dating back to the 1970s to fund half the cost of public transit. With the passing of Bill 36, Pallister has cleared the way for significant cuts to public transit systems across the province, which will hurt both quality and affordability. This is yet another blow to Manitobans trying to make ends meet.

“We need a high quality network of public transportation that works for everyone,” said Kinew. “Investments in transit pay off in the long run. Instead Pallister’s transit cut will give bus riders short-term pain without any long-term gain.”

Pallister’s cuts to transit and education follow his cuts to the health care we all rely on. He closed the urgent care centre at the Misericordia Health Centre and canceled plans for clinics and EMS stations throughout Manitoba. He cut physiotherapy and occupational therapy outpatient services which will make it more likely for patients to need additional treatment and hospitalization, costing Manitobans more in the long run. Pallister also launched an attack on women’s health by starving funding for the abortion pill, shutting the Mature Women’s Clinic at the Victoria Hospital, and deleting the positions of two lactation nurses in Winnipeg. This government has demonstrated that they don’t care about who will get hurt on their way to cutting the budget.

Every day, we led off Question Period with the number one issue on the minds of Manitobans: health. We held the government to account for their careless cuts to the health care system, and pressured the government into backing off their plan to implement a health tax. Our members forced the House to pass a motion urging this government not to implement any health care taxes.

“We will continue to stand with Manitoban families and fight against the implementation of any health taxes,” said Kinew. “Our vision is of a health care system that looks upstream, working to keep people healthy at home, so they can live a higher quality of life with the people they love.”

Throughout this session, the NDP was willing to work with government to find common ground. We supported Bill 34, which established protections for medical professionals who do not want to participate in medically assisted deaths. We also passed an NDP motion with the unanimous support of the House calling on the provincial government to invest in palliative care, mental health supports, drug treatment and pain relief, and where appropriate, medical assistance in dying. We will continue to work with this government when they are serving the best interests of Manitoba.

Timeline of Bills Passing Third Reading (approximate):

Bill 34 - 7:30 PM, November 9
Bill 35 - 7:40 PM, November 9
Bill 215 - 7:50 PM, November 9
Bill 23 - 9:00 PM, November 9
Bill 24 - 10:20 PM, November 9
Bill 27 - 11:30 PM, November 9
Bill 30 - 1:00 AM, November 10
Bill 31 - 2:20 AM, November 10
Bill 36 - 3:30 AM, November 10