Do As Pallister Says, Not as He Does: PC’s “Wage Freeze Directive” is Pure Hypocrisy

January 30, 2020

WINNIPEG - The PCs "wage freeze directive" is a hypocritical and dangerous interference in the operation of institutions that should be independent, says Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, Dougald Lamont.

In 2016, during labour negotiations at the University of Manitoba, the Premier's office threatened administrators that if they allowed workers to have a raise, the government would freeze funding.

That meddling ended up costing the University of Manitoba $2.4-million for breaking labour laws.

"The PCs think they should be able to issue directives and order people what to do, while spending more on themselves," said Lamont. "This is blatant political interference because in a democracy, issuing directives doesn't make you accountable, checks and balances do, and that is being undermined."

Lamont also said the PCs demands for wage freezes and reduced administration was "sheer hypocrisy" when the Premier and his cabinet forced wage freezes and firings while they voted for raises themselves.

Manitoba's so-called "balanced budget" law was originally supposed to dock Minister's pay by 20% whenever they ran a deficit. It has been amended ten times, seven times by the NDP and three times by the PCs.

By changing the law, Brian Pallister and his Ministers got a 20% raise compared to their NDP predecessors.

As for administration, the 2019-2020 budget for the Executive Council, which directly serves the Premier, increased salaries by 4.8%.

While the PCs have frozen funding for health, education, and municipalities with actual spending increases near zero since 2016, federal transfers to the provincial government have increased by 17%. The PCs have now received nearly $900-million in new funding in 2019-2020.

"We could have a balanced budget right now and be investing in growth, but the PCs are choosing to increase Manitoba's debt by borrowing to finance tax cuts," said Lamont. "Ironically, with $900-million in new federal funding for the province in this fiscal year alone, Justin Trudeau has done far more to balance Manitoba's budget than the PCs have."



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