The Pallister Government’s first provincial budget offers minor improvements to many important areas of the public sector, says CUPE Manitoba. “We are pleased to see this government’s continuation of funding to health care, education, post-secondary education, and social services,” says Kelly Moist, president of CUPE Manitoba. “In an environment where cuts would have been the ‘easy way out’, we are pleased that this government listened to Manitobans, and has instead maintained or increased funding to many key public services”.
CUPE Manitoba applauds funding commitments to the Aboriginal Academic Achievement Fund, which will help ensure Community Liaison Workers in the Winnipeg School Division have the tools they need to perform their important work. These workers were under threat of significant job losses and funding cuts in early 2015.
CUPE also hopes the new Premier’s Enterprise Team will include representatives from labour, which were included in the former government’s Premier’s Economic Advisory Council. However, the government’s ongoing pursuit of Social Impact Bonds causes serious concern. “While we are pleased that the Manitoba Government has not implemented major cuts, we are very concerned with this government’s ongoing promotion of Social Impact Bonds,” says Moist.
“Social Impact Bonds are an abdication of government responsibility for marginalized or vulnerable people, and we must reject these profit-making schemes”. Additionally, while many mandate letters to the newly appointed Ministers call for increased involvement from the private sector, including in childcare, there is no mention of increased private involvement in the budget documents. “We still need to see how exactly this funding is rolled out,” says Moist.
“We need a strong commitment from this government that they will not privatize or contract out any public services”. CUPE Manitoba represents over 25,000 members in Manitoba, including municipalities, school divisions, health care, social services, crown corporations, and post-secondary education.
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