PCs Must Release Economic Update

March 16, 2020

WINNIPEG - The Pallister Government needs to bring in an economic update to deal with the massive short-term disruption to Manitoba's economy because of the Covid-19 pandemic response.

The economic update with immediate measures to help people and business deal with the consequences of quarantine, self-isolation and cancellations.

The PC budget was supposed to be introduced last week, but has yet to be presented due to the obstruction in the legislature by the NDP.

"The reality is that the PCs budget is already obsolete because so much has changed in the last two weeks - oil shocks, stock market crashes and Covid-19," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "People and businesses alike can't bear the economic cost of this alone, because it will break them."

Surveys show that 50% of Canadians and more than 53% of Manitobans are living paycheque-to-paycheque. Even prior to the recent crisis, January 2020 data from Statistics Canada showed that insolvencies have hit a ten-year high, including in Manitoba.

Governments around the world are recognizing that Covid-19, combined with the plunging price of oil and stock markets could be signalling a recession.

In Italy, mortgage payments have been suspended to protect homeowners from default.

Among the suggestions, Manitoba Liberals would like to see:

- Enhanced temporary support for precarious workers and people who are self-employed without access to EI

- A moratorium on evictions for renters

- Allowing businesses to stretch their payments or suspend tax payments

- Emergency financial support for people who are quarantined or self-isolated and cannot work from home

"If government is going to ask Manitobans to do what it takes to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we need to do what we can to spare people and businesses who are affected from being driven into bankruptcy," said Lamont.

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