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MLA Report: PC cuts continue to hurt Manitobans

Expecting the former health minister to reduce the surgical backlog now that she is premier requires confidence she hasn't earned with her past actions.
daneille adams column headshot
Thompson MLA Danielle Adams

The past year-and-a-half has been tough on Manitobans. During these tough times the government should be doing everything it can to make life easier for Manitobans, not make things worse. But the new premier, Heather Stefanson, stood by when times were tough as the health minister and as deputy premier. She wasn’t there for Manitobans, and when she was she cut the programs and services you rely on. Nothing will change under her leadership.  

When it comes to healthcare, the PCs in the north have closed hospitals, cut healthcare staff positions, and failed to meaningfully invest in resolving the procedural and surgical backlog. In August, we found out that the PCs had only spent $2.4 million, or less than five per cent, of the $50 million they announced would be used to clear the surgical backlog. Since our Premier Heather Stefanson was the health minister during that time, I don’t have much confidence that she will be able to meaningfully help the 130,000 Manitobans waiting for surgeries and diagnostics. 

Another major issue in Manitoba is the lack of affordable housing for low-income individuals or families. The PC government has privatized public housing units and cut the maintenance budget for the ones that they kept, which is putting vulnerable people at risk and exacerbating other issues such as homelessness, child poverty, and substance use. The PCs under Premier Stefanson need to reverse their cuts and make meaningful investments in long-term housing solutions.

When it comes to childcare, the PCs froze provincial grants as soon as they were elected back in 2016. While life has been getting more expensive for families, childcare costs have remained so high that some parents have to put their careers on hold or work overtime to make sure their children are looked after. Many families have seen the costs of nursery school spots double because of a grant cut earlier this year. While families are trying to get back on their feet as the economy is opening up again, these childcare cuts and freezes will hurt both parents in the workforce and their children who will have less opportunities for early-years development.

When it comes to education, at the post-secondary level, students are currently unable to attend classes at the University of Manitoba because the PC government won’t let the U of M administration engage in free and fair negotiations with staff. And at the K-12 level, the PCs cut $5 million from the education system this year and will be cutting almost a quarter-billion from revenues for our schools in the coming months. 

These are just some of the cuts that have been hurting Manitobans since the PCs came to power in 2016. Rest assured, my NDP colleagues and I will challenge the government and point out how they are hurting Manitobans when the legislative session begins again next week.  

As always, contact my office anytime at Danielle.adams@yourmanitoba.ca or 204-677-2744.