Today’s report by the Pallister government is disappointing but not surprising. It’s more evidence of an austerity agenda that is shedding good jobs and making life harder for Manitoba families.
Since May, Manitoba has lost nearly 14,000 full-time jobs. This government has the worst record on creating full-time jobs west of New Brunswick and today’s update confirms that Manitoba’s projected employment forecast is negative for the year. This is combined with a minimum-wage freeze, a concerted government attack on front-line workers and a significant cut in infrastructure spending.
We also learned today that the Pallister government is forecasting a nearly $150-million drop in infrastructure investments for health and education compared with their own budget pledge from May. This means fewer supports for teachers and students in schools; fewer training opportunities for young workers; and less access to supplies for nurses and doctors in community clinics.
After freezing the Neighbourhoods Alive and Community Places programs, the finance minister stated today that as part of its assessment of government spending the Pallister government is also taking a look at the Rent Assist Program, which provides housing supports at 75 per cent of median market rates. We’re concerned that means the Pallister government is considering cuts to this important program. These shortsighted moves will hurt everyday Manitoba families.
The Pallister government needs to take responsibility for its actions. It should not shift its failures onto the backs of Manitoba families and front-line workers.
Today’s financial report is more evidence that the government needs to let go of its ideological commitment to austerity. It needs to make smart, strategic investments that will create good jobs for Manitoba families.