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WINNIPEG – On November 20th the Manitoba NDP government presented their annual speech from the throne, a blueprint for the province over the next year.

“The government of Manitoba made it very clear to Manitobans that our province is building towards the future” said Kelly Moist, President of CUPE Manitoba. “We are proud that our government is committed to responsible, pragmatic initiatives that will build on over a decade of success without resorting to service and job cuts.”

The speech highlighted numerous initiatives that affect CUPE members, notably the elimination of interest on Manitoba student loans. “CUPE represents thousands of students, including student and academic support staff at the University of Manitoba, and the elimination of interest on student loans will help workers pursuing higher education complete their studies without massive student debt” said Moist.

Additionally, the government will strengthen workplace safety laws and introduce new legislation for firefighters, paramedics, and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. “As a national union, CUPE represents over 8,000 EMS workers across Canada” said Moist. “Our national EMS sector has been pushing for legislation across the country that seeks to protect workers from the impacts of PTSD, and we’re proud that Manitoba has stepped up to the challenge.”

Premier Greg Selinger also committed to working towards a universally accessible child care system, and the creation of a new Child Care Commission, and recommitted to creating 210 new permanent positions to replace contract workers at Child and Family Services emergency placement shelters, a move applauded by CUPE.

Premier Selinger also reiterated Manitoba’s support for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls – a position fully supported by CUPE members nation-wide. “Manitoba is clearly a national leader on issues that matter to working people” said Moist. “CUPE will continue to work with the Manitoba government to offer ideas and suggestions that will help make Manitoba a better place to work and raise a family.”