Pallister is playing a Dangerous Political Game with Manitoba’s Economy

March 7, 2019

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, Dougald Lamont says the Pallister government's decision to cut the PST is reckless and will blow a $300-million hole in the province's budget.

"Pallister is playing a dangerous financial game to score votes with Manitobans. Out of all the cards in the PC deck that he could have played, Pallister played the one card that could put Manitoba's finances at risk," said Lamont.

Manitoba is still running a deficit of $340-million. The PCs have been relentlessly dishonest with their budgeting practices. They promise hundreds of millions of dollars, only to cut it or claw it back.

The PCs are using federal funding increases to balance their budget and not increasing any investments of their own.

Lamont said Pallister continues to mislead Manitobans with false statements regarding federal health care funding.

"The premier is like a kid with a cookie jar. He'll take all the federal funding cookies, but deny that he ate any of them - even though he's got crumbs all over his face," said Lamont.

The federal government has increased health care funding for Manitoba by over $100-million this year alone. The PCs only increased their share of health care funding by $27-million, despite the budget speech stating it was $48-million.

This budget does not promote growth in our province and it does not create good paying jobs. What it does do, is choke off growth in communities and industries across Manitoba.

"Manitoba's roads, highways and bridges are crumbling - yet the PCs cut $39-million from the infrastructure budget," said Lamont. "And there is zero mention of investing in Manitoba's mining industry. Pallister is deliberately choking off growth in that industry."

Lamont said while the PCs have consistently said they would cut from the top and protect front line services, they are doing just the opposite of that with this budget.

Executive support for ministers has increased by 2.18% and government communications services have increased by 34%.

Pallister claims that cutting the PST will put $300-million back on the kitchen tables of Manitobans - when the reality is this government will snatch that money back up by forcing Manitobans to pay more for programs and services.

"The single greatest increase in revenue for this government has been federal transfer payments. It's not revenue from growth, because we are not growing," said Lamont. "When the federal government hands you $1-billion more a year, it helps pay our bills."

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