Manitoba Liberal Statement on the Top 5 Deceptions in the Pallister PCs Fiscal and Economic Update

December 17, 2020

Manitobans are tired of the pandemic and are equally tired with the Pallister PCs denial of reality when it comes to the pandemic, public finances, and their record.

Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, says the top five biggest deceptions in the fiscal update are:

1) Brian Pallister is now claiming that Manitoba had no first wave in the Spring. In the press release the Premier states, "Manitoba was hit with the first and second wave of Covid-19 in the fall and early winter." As a statement, this defies reality. If there was no first wave, why did we shut down schools in the spring?

2) Manitoba has NOT committed $3.2-billion to the pandemic. The PCs keep claiming items that were budgeted for pre-pandemic as Covid expenses, when they are not.

- $48-million for education, which is not new - it is from savings by School Divisions.
- $106 funding for municipalities, which is funded entirely by the Federal Government.
- $500-million for the Manitoba Capital Restart Program which is an infrastructure program that is not new and is over 2 years.
- $25.6-million for the Post Secondary Transition Support, which was cut from the 2020 budget, then put back in.

That is an exaggeration of $679.6-million.

3) The PCs keep changing their story about Manitoba's supports for businesses and individuals in Canada. The claim they are 3rd is based on figures from the Parliamentary budget office in June that the government admitted then were overstated.

Many Manitoba businesses have still not been able to access any help at all and the PC government's Gap Protection program was massively undersubscribed. Statistics clearly show that Manitoba is an outlier, with the August and September showing Manitoba had the highest increase in businesses facing insolvency in Canada.

Many vulnerable and low-income Manitobans are being evicted and rendered homeless right now by the Pallister PCs, who directed as many Manitobans as possible to go on CERB, and are now clawing it back from EIA, which has remained the same under the NDP and PCs alike since 1992.

4) Of Manitoba's investments in PPE, nearly 10% - over $50-million - was unusable. The PCs are currently being sued over $50-million in masks that could not be used, and they bought $1.2-million in recalled hand sanitizer made from fuel-grade ethanol.

5) Manitoba is not able to borrow at better rates because of the Rainy Day Fund.

It is because the Bank of Canada bought billions of dollars in provincial bonds and successfully drove down interest rates. The likelihood of Manitoba being unable to borrow is very low. In the worst crisis in a century, the Pallister government is sitting on an $800-million fund while thousands of businesses and individuals are being driven into bankruptcy as the PCs refuse to help.

"We have said this many times, but the truth matters in a pandemic. The fact that Pallister is now denying there was even a first wave in the spring as an excuse for their total failure to prepare for the second wave is a new low, even for the PCs," said Lamont.

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