"I am copping what's known as a woman's answer, isn't it? It's sort of a fickle kind of thing."
- Brian Pallister, December 2006
Brian Pallister made deep cuts to core services in the 1990s, and sold off the Manitoba Telephone System after promising not to. But he knows Manitobans support our front-line workers and don’t support his privatization agenda.
Despite his best efforts, Pallister’s hidden agenda of privatization is slowly being revealed.
Cuts to services families count on
Child Care: Pallister slashed child care funding when he was in government, cutting millions from child care centres and doubling child care fees for parents (Manitoba Budget, 1993).
Health: Pallister’s cuts in the 1990s put over 1,000 nurses out of work and slashed rural hospital budgets by tens of millions (Winnipeg Free Press, March 12, 1999; Manitoba Budget, Papers 1992-1997).
Education: Pallister laid off 700 teachers when he was at the cabinet table and cut or froze funding for schools every year he was in office (Manitoba Hansard, June 3, 2010; Manitoba Budget, Papers 1992-1997).
Social Services: Pallister cut millions from foster parents and group homes and slashed salaries for child care workers (Manitoba Budget, 1993). He even forced child protection workers to take 10 unpaid days off a year. His government cut payments to relatives taking care of children—hitting indigenous families the hardest—and slashed the budget for children with complex needs like FASD (Winnipeg Free Press, April 29, 1994; Winnipeg Free Press, January 6, 1998) .
Jobs: Pallister’s promise to eliminate our PST infrastructure fund will mean cancelling hundreds of projects and killing thousands of jobs. It would also mean fewer teachers, nurses, and police officers available to support Manitoba families. (Winnipeg Free Press, April 18, 2013; Conference Board of Canada – Manitoba Government Infrastructure Investment 2014-15; PC Caucus Press Release, April 18, 2013) .
Privatization, privatization and more privatization.
Health: Pallister pushed for the privatization of home care services as a senior Conservative minister in the Gary Filmon government. Now he’s calling for American-style, two-tier health care saying it’s “a system we need” (CJOB, May 28, 2013).
Child Care: Pallister cut millions of dollars from child care funding while he was in cabinet. Now he wants to privatize our day care system, slashing funding and more than doubling fees for parents (Winnipeg Free Press, June 5, 2015).
Hydro: Pallister has never liked our public utility. But he knows it pays dividends for Manitobans. He has refused to support selling hydroelectricity for export—advocating that we instead pay to import natural gas—which would put thousands of jobs at risk and send rates for Manitobans soaring as a first step towards his plan for privatization (Winnipeg Free Press, December 15, 2012; Manitoba Hansard September 15, 2015) .
Social Services: Pallister and his Conservatives floated the idea of privatizing social services in the 1990s. Now they are planning to privatize poverty reduction. Their plan will divert money from front-line services for our most vulnerable citizens to create profits for wealthy investors and companies like Goldman Sachs (Winnipeg Free Press, June 9, 2015).
Who knows what else Pallister’s PCs have planned? Whatever the question, ‘cuts’ and ‘privatization’ are the only answers he knows. It’s in his DNA.
His policies in the last provincial Conservative government did real damage to Manitoba families. We couldn’t afford his failed agenda then. Manitobans can’t afford his reckless policies again.