Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders

Legislature reporter

A Free Press reporter since 2000, Carol carved out a niche in Winnipeg media getting to know immigrants and refugees, the people helping them resettle and how the system works – or doesn’t, and sharing stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

In 2014, she was a finalist for the Canadian Association of Journalists human rights reporting award for her coverage of the usually closed-door Immigration and Refugee Board process. In 2015, she won Amnesty International Canada’s media award for her coverage of the world’s largest refugee camp and the people there waiting to come to Winnipeg.

She’s broken news to the world about the perilous journeys of asylum seekers – from the Somali man who nearly drowned in the Red River trying to swim into Canada in 2015 to the Ghanaians who nearly froze to death walking over the border on Christmas Eve, 2016.

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020. She arrived just in time to report on how the provincial government handles the biggest health and financial crisis it has ever faced: the global pandemic.

The province is facing challenges similar to the many resettled refugees she’s interviewed over the years, but on a massive scale: In a life or death crisis, how do you respond? What risks are you willing to take? The plans and choices the government makes will have lasting consequences – possibly for generations.

Recent articles of Carol Sanders

Lifted nursing rule gives little reprieve

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Lifted nursing rule gives little reprieve

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

An order from the health minister instructing the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba to lift a restriction for internationally educated nurses will result in a very small number being licensed, its registrar says.

The compliance order issued by Health Minister Audrey Gordon will impact “possibly up to 10 nurses,” said Katherine Stansfield, the college’s registrar and chief executive officer.

“It’s not one that will have the kind of impact that the public is looking for and the ministry is looking for,” she said Friday as the Progressive Conservative party touted the order on social media.

“Our gov has issued a compliance order to immediately get more nurses in the system,” the post on Twitter said.

Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press files

Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon issued a directive July 26 to the College of Registered Nurses to speed up accreditation of foreign-trained nurses.

Manitoba tabs additional $5.4M for fight against homelessness

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Manitoba tabs additional $5.4M for fight against homelessness

Carol Sanders 5 minute read Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022

The province has announced increased funding for its strategy to end homelessness, but those on the front lines say much more is needed.

“The lack of affordable housing in the city is bringing people to rely on shelters, such as this one,” said Ed Bird, who lives and now works at N’Dinawemak, the 24-hour Winnipeg facility for up to 150 people that opened last year next to the noisy Disraeli Freeway.

Families Minister Rochelle Squires was there Thursday, trumpeting more than $5.4 million in funding for community programs, including an additional $1.8 million to operate N’Dinawemak (“Our Relatives’ Place”).

Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022

ETHAN CAIRNS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Ed Bird, a previous resident and now staff of N’Dinawemak speaks about his experience at an announcement for support homeless in Winnipeg on Thursday, August 11, 2022

New funding boost ‘essential’ for Klinic crisis hotline

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Preview

New funding boost ‘essential’ for Klinic crisis hotline

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

A first-of-its-kind federal-provincial funding deal announced Wednesday will help Manitoba’s 24-7 crisis hotline hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that crisis hotlines are a lifeline for women fleeing domestic violence,” said Marci Ien, federal minister for women, gender equality and youth.

Ien and Rochelle Squires, provincial minister for families and the status of women, held a news conference at the Manitoba legislature announcing a bilateral deal to provide $1 million over four years to Klinic Community Health’s crisis hotline.

“Timely connection to support and services can and often is the difference between life and death,” said Ien, who hailed Manitoba for being the first province to sign the bilateral funding agreement to support gender-based violence crisis hotlines across Canada.

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

ETHAN CAIRNS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Ministers Marci Ien and Rochelle Squires shake hands in the legislative building after the announcement for crisis hotline funding in Manitoba.

Business, labour groups divided on new minimum wage

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Business, labour groups divided on new minimum wage

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Business and labour groups in Manitoba can’t agree on what the new provincial minimum wage should be, with a government announcement expected within the next two weeks.

After passing legislation June 1 to hike the minimum wage to keep pace with the high rate of inflation, the province tasked its labour management review committee with forming a recommendation. However, members couldn’t reach a consensus.

The side representing business recommended a new minimum wage of between $13 and $14 an hour, while labour called for $16.15/hr, saying it is required for a living wage in Manitoba.

If the Progressive Conservative government intends to raise the minimum wage above the legislated 40 cent increase to $12.35 due to take effect Oct. 1, it has to announce it by Sept. 1.

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

MIKE SUDOMA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Kevin Rebeck, President of Manitoba Federation of Labour: ‘Workers are feeling the pinch of the price increases we’re dealing with at the grocery store and gas pumps — especially those making minimum wage.’

Rising milk production costs force Manitobans to swallow year’s second price hike

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Rising milk production costs force Manitobans to swallow year’s second price hike

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022

The price of milk is set to rise when new provincial government regulations kick in next month.

The Manitoba Farm Products Marketing Council approved the increase that takes effect Sept. 1. The retail maximum price of one-litre containers of homogenized milk will increase by four cents to $2.04. For skim milk, it’s $1.87.

The hike was recommended by the Canadian Dairy Commission to mitigate the cost of milk production that has increased significantly because of inflation, the provincial government said in a statement.

That’s led to the “exceptional circumstance” of a mid-year price adjustment after an increase in February.

Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022

JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

The hike was recommended by the Canadian Dairy Commission to mitigate the the cost of milk production that has increased significantly because of inflation, the provincial government said in a statement.

Businessman, philanthropist turned down offer to become Manitoba’s first Muslim vice-regal

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Businessman, philanthropist turned down offer to become Manitoba’s first Muslim vice-regal

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

A prominent Winnipeg businessman spent nearly a month wrestling with an offer to become Manitoba’s first Muslim lieutenant-governor, but after myriad family discussions and many sleepless nights, ultimately turned down the prestigious appointment.

“It would’ve been a great honour,” Abdo (Albert) El Tassi said Monday. “I was very sorry to decline.”

The owner of Peerless Garments Inc., and founder of Manitoba’s first Muslim school confirmed that he was approached by the Privy Council Office in Ottawa about becoming the Queen’s next representative in Manitoba last winter. The position has been held by Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon for more than seven years, well beyond the traditional four-year term.

Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Albert El Tassi, owner of Peerless Garments Inc., and founder of Manitoba’s first Muslim school, confirmed that he was approached by the Privy Council Office in Ottawa about becoming the Queen’s next representative in Manitoba last winter.

Healthy dose of blame for nursing shortage

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Healthy dose of blame for nursing shortage

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

Speedier licensing of internationally educated nurses would help Manitoba’s health-care staff shortage, Premier Heather Stefanson says.

Asked this week if the province should be offering cash incentives (as Ontario has to retain nurses), the premier replied the Tory government will “look at all the options out there,” including the need for “better, more expeditious ways” to license internationally educated nurses.

Stefanson said she discussed how to address the need for nurses with Manitoba Nurses Union president Darlene Jackson last month.

“The College of Registered Nurses (of Manitoba) has been a bit of a challenge around this,” the premier said Wednesday, at an unrelated event at The Forks.

Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

Heather Stefanson

Province pivots, offers monkeypox vax to high-risk population

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Province pivots, offers monkeypox vax to high-risk population

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Friday, Aug. 5, 2022

Manitobans most at risk of being infected with monkeypox will be able to book online immunization appointments starting Monday.

After health experts called on the province to act proactively and offer preventative doses of the vaccine it has had since June rather than wait for the virus to appear here, the Progressive Conservative government issued a press release Friday saying it will expand eligibility criteria and offer it at three Winnipeg sites.

“It should not have taken this long,” said NDP health critic Uzoma Asagwara, noting the government didn’t act until it was pressed.

“I feel very strongly that the government putting out any information is a direct result of the pressure being put on them by the public and by public-health expertise,” said Asagwara. The health critic called Friday’s press release “the bare minimum” and questioned why high-profile health-care leaders such as Health Minister Audrey Gordon or chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin did not present the news and answer questions.

Friday, Aug. 5, 2022

A health care worker prepares a monkeypox vaccine in Montreal, Saturday, July 23, 2022. Manitobans most at risk of being infected with monkeypox will be able to book online immunization appointments starting Monday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press files)

Manitoba making monkeypox mistake: experts

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Manitoba making monkeypox mistake: experts

Carol Sanders 5 minute read Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022

Manitoba has decided it won’t immunize those most at risk to contract monkeypox until more vaccine is available, but medical experts warn the growing global health threat should be addressed now before cases are identified here.

“We have an opportunity here in Manitoba to use prevention measures immediately to offer maximum protection to our own citizens,” University of Manitoba infectious diseases professor Dr. Pam Orr said Thursday.

With cases on the rise across the United States, the White House on Thursday followed the World Health Organization announcement last month declaring monkeypox a public health emergency.

But until more of the vaccine called Imvamune is available, Manitoba is limiting it to those who’ve been exposed to the rapidly spreading virus, according to a medical officer of health.

Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022

This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (red) found within an infected cell (blue), cultured in the laboratory that was captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Md. The World Health Organization recently declared the expanding monkeypox outbreak a global emergency. It is WHO’s highest level of alert, but the designation does not necessarily mean a disease is particularly transmissible or lethal. (NIAID via AP)

Northern Manitoba railway investment ‘great opportunity for Canada’

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Northern Manitoba railway investment ‘great opportunity for Canada’

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

After decades of “rape and pillage” of the vital link to northern Manitoba, the longtime mayor of Churchill is hailing a $147.6-million investment to turn the belaboured Hudson Bay Railway into a modern trade corridor to Canada’s lone Arctic port.

“Investment is critical so you can open your gateway,” Mayor Mike Spence said Wednesday at The Forks in Winnipeg, where Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson and federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal officially announced the joint investment. (Manitoba itself committed $73.8 million to the railway owned and operated by Arctic Gateway Group LP, a partnership of 41 First Nations and rail line communities.)

“You have a gateway here that’s underutilized, that’s been neglected,” Spence said, when asked if the investments are enough to prevent washouts such as in 2017 that shut the rail line down a year, prior to the consortium taking over operations.

“The previous owners didn’t put in a lot in terms of maintenance,” said the Churchill mayor. “The culverts were plugged up, (there was) a lack of reinvestments into proper maintenance and the ongoing investment required to make sure your line is secured.

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

DANTON UNGER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

“The previous owners didn’t put in a lot in terms of maintenance,” said Churchill Mayor Mark Spence. “The difference this time around is that, as northerners, the reinvestment is going to go back in.”

Debt alert: Manitoba’s economy headed for trouble, report says

Carol Sanders 6 minute read Preview

Debt alert: Manitoba’s economy headed for trouble, report says

Carol Sanders 6 minute read Friday, Jul. 29, 2022

Manitoba’s long-term fiscal picture isn’t pretty.

The parliamentary budget officer says current fiscal policy in Manitoba — which has the highest ratio of debt to GDP in Canada — is not sustainable.

The non-partisan office estimates Manitoba’s 40.6 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio reported in 2021 could increase to 79 per cent in 2046, 157 per cent in 2071 and 270 per cent in 2096.

Debt-to-GDP ratios above 77 per cent can hinder economic growth and potentially put a government at risk of defaulting on its debts, economists suggest.

Friday, Jul. 29, 2022

ALEX LUPUL / FREE PRESS FILES

The Golden Boy stands atop the Manitoba Legislative Building’ in Winnipeg on Monday, July 5, 2021. It embodies the spirit of enterprise and eternal youth, and is poised atop the dome of the building. Reporter: Ben Waldman

‘Ground-breaking’ contract for rural health-care workers

Carol Sanders 2 minute read Preview

‘Ground-breaking’ contract for rural health-care workers

Carol Sanders 2 minute read Friday, Jul. 29, 2022

The union for 6,000 health-care workers in Prairie Mountain and Interlake-Eastern health regions has reached a “ground-breaking” tentative agreement with their employers.

On Thursday, the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union bargaining units reached a deal for its members, who’ve been working in personal care homes, hospitals, and in the community, under expired contracts for years.

“In addition to a number of monetary improvements, the agreements contain groundbreaking provisions for home care workers including paid rest periods, evening and night premiums, maternity leave top-up, and a commitment to further negotiations in the very near future on the expansion of sick leave, health care benefits and pensions,” MGEU president Kyle Ross said in a news release Friday.

Employees, including health care aides, activity workers, dietary workers, laundry staff, maintenance workers, and clerical staff, have been without a contract since 2017.

Friday, Jul. 29, 2022

The union for 6,000 health-care workers in Prairie Mountain and Interlake-Eastern health regions has reached a “ground-breaking” tentative agreement with their employers.

On Thursday, the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union bargaining units reached a deal for its members, who’ve been working in personal care homes, hospitals, and in the community, under expired contracts for years.

“In addition to a number of monetary improvements, the agreements contain groundbreaking provisions for home care workers including paid rest periods, evening and night premiums, maternity leave top-up, and a commitment to further negotiations in the very near future on the expansion of sick leave, health care benefits and pensions,” MGEU president Kyle Ross said in a news release Friday.

Employees, including health care aides, activity workers, dietary workers, laundry staff, maintenance workers, and clerical staff, have been without a contract since 2017.

Hospital staffing levels among questions in wake of teen death

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Hospital staffing levels among questions in wake of teen death

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Thursday, Jul. 28, 2022

The death of an otherwise healthy 14-year-old girl, days after being admitted to hospital, may have been avoided if the Manitoba health-care system was operating at full capacity, according to a source with knowledge of Talina Rampersad-Husack’s case.

“Definitely it would have helped if there were more staff, for sure,” said the source who contacted the Free Press. They agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from their employer.

“There’s more bodies; there’s more eyes. You have more help. You’re not kind of being pulled in so many different directions.”

Talina died in the downtown Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital intensive care unit July 17. Her funeral was Sunday.

Thursday, Jul. 28, 2022

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Talina Rampersad Husock died in the downtown Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital intensive care unit July 17.

Ottawa to allow provinces to boost immigration

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Ottawa to allow provinces to boost immigration

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Thursday, Jul. 28, 2022

Manitoba and other provinces can expect an increase in the number of immigrants they can accept, and advance notice of what their annual provincial nominee program allocations will be in the years ahead.

Thursday’s announcement follows a meeting of provincial and federal immigration ministers in St. John, N.B., to discuss increasing immigration to address labour shortages across Canada and to make the system more agile and efficient.

By the end of March 2023, the provinces will have their allocation of nominees increase, and be given multi-year allocations, so they can plan ahead, said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Minister Sean Fraser. During a Zoom call with reporters Thursday, he couldn’t say how many more nominees the provinces can expect.

“I don’t have a preordained outcome on how many spots each province should have,” Fraser said.

Thursday, Jul. 28, 2022

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press files)

Canadian Blood Services drops mask requirement

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Canadian Blood Services drops mask requirement

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

Without fanfare or publicity, the agency in charge of Canada’s blood supply has quietly dropped the mask requirement at its donation sites.

On Monday, it lifted some of its COVID-19 pandemic-related rules.

“We’ve determined it’s the right time to suspend some of our mandatory measures, such as masks and physical distancing,” Canadian Blood Services said in an undated post on its website.

At the Winnipeg donation site on William Avenue, a sign on the front door notifies visitors: “This is a mask-friendly environment. Masks are available for those who choose to wear one.”

Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

GRAHAM HUGHES / CANADIAN PRESS FILLES

Canadian Blood Services has quietly dropped the mask requirement at its donation sites.

Family faces painful year-long wait for teen’s autopsy report

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Family faces painful year-long wait for teen’s autopsy report

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2022

The family of a 14-year-old girl who died unexpectedly says they’ve been told it will take up to a year for her autopsy report.

Talina Rampersad Husack died July 17 at Children’s Hospital intensive care unit with what’s believed to be viral pneumonia. The chief medical examiner’s office told the family that the report on the cause of her death isn’t expected to be available until well into 2023, a family spokesperson said.

“No parent should have to wait one year to find out how their healthy, vibrant 14-year-old daughter died,” said the spokesperson, who asked not to be identified.

Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2022

SUPPLIED

Talina Rampersad Husock, 14, at her Grade 8 graduation on June 29, 2022.

Manitoba nurses send out SOS messages about gaps in care

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Preview

Manitoba nurses send out SOS messages about gaps in care

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Monday, Jul. 25, 2022

The Manitoba Nurses Union posted an SOS message alerting patients about gaps in health care, including at Boundary Trails Health Centre, which has the largest obstetrical site in the Southern Health region.

A spokesperson for the union said Friday there was to be another weekend in which non-emergency obstetrics patients were to be diverted to other hospitals. On July 16-17, patients were sent to other hospitals because of a staffing shortage.

Southern Health, however, said it was business as usual; it insisted no obstetrics patients needed to be diverted Saturday and Sunday.

“Our units were fully operational,” a statement issued Monday said.

Monday, Jul. 25, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The Manitoba Nurses Union posted an SOS message alerting patients about gaps in health care at Boundary Trails Health Centre this past weekend.

Workplace injuries increased during pandemic

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Workplace injuries increased during pandemic

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Saturday, Jul. 23, 2022

THERE were fewer workers, but more injury claims in Manitoba last year.

Injury rates increased during COVID-19 because of a significant drop in the number of full-time workers employed during the pandemic, the Workers Compensation Board said in its annual report.

“We saw a proportional increase in claims volumes in 2021 despite having fewer workers in the system than the pre-pandemic years,” WCB spokeswoman Radean Carter said Friday.

In 2021, the time-loss injury rate increased to 2.7 per 100 full-time workers, from 2.5 in 2020.

Saturday, Jul. 23, 2022

THERE were fewer workers, but more injury claims in Manitoba last year.

Injury rates increased during COVID-19 because of a significant drop in the number of full-time workers employed during the pandemic, the Workers Compensation Board said in its annual report.

“We saw a proportional increase in claims volumes in 2021 despite having fewer workers in the system than the pre-pandemic years,” WCB spokeswoman Radean Carter said Friday.

In 2021, the time-loss injury rate increased to 2.7 per 100 full-time workers, from 2.5 in 2020.

Opposition seeks all-party look into Manitoba inflation drivers

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Opposition seeks all-party look into Manitoba inflation drivers

Carol Sanders 5 minute read Thursday, Jul. 21, 2022

Manitoba had the second-highest inflation rate in Canada last month, and critics say they want to know why.

The Consumer Price Index rose 9.4 per cent in June, second only to Prince Edward Island (10.9 per cent), Statistics Canada reported this week.

Transportation prices increased nearly 25 per cent in Manitoba versus 17 per cent for all of Canada — including gasoline that’s up 61 per cent in Manitoba year over year.

On Thursday, the provincial government said Manitoba’s gas prices started at a lower base value relative to other provinces, so the percentage growth appears larger during inflationary periods.

Thursday, Jul. 21, 2022

JESSE BOILY / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILESGas is the main driver of Manitoba’s high inflation rate last month, said Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer Loren Remillard.

New training for Manitoba health aides ‘lip service’

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Preview

New training for Manitoba health aides ‘lip service’

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2022

The Manitoba government has tailored a tuition program to train uncertified health-care aides, but critics say few are eligible for it and there’s little incentive to stay in the pandemic-stressed field.

“The last time I spoke with Shared Health, we only had 70 that meet the criteria out of 585” uncertified aides, said CUPE 204 president Debbie Boissonneault.

To be eligible for the 24-week certification training program announced Tuesday, aides need to have logged 1,200 hours at work in the last two years. Only a fraction of them have enough hours, she said.

The province says 850 uncertified aides were hired to fill the desperate need for help in long-term care homes starting in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The aides received just one week of training.

Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2022

ETHAN CAIRNS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSHeatlh Minister Audrey Gordon is flanked Tuesday by Minister of Economic Development, Investment and Trade Cliff Cullen (left) and Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care Scott Johnston (centre).

Manitoba urged to stop playing politics with power rates

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Manitoba urged to stop playing politics with power rates

Carol Sanders 5 minute read Monday, Jul. 18, 2022

The Consumers Coalition of Manitoba is demanding the provincial government kill a proposed law that gives politicians more say in setting electricity rates, arguing it will undermine the public utilities watchdog and hurt customers.

Under Bill 36, which is set to pass this fall, the Public Utilities Board would no longer be an independent overseer of fair Manitoba Hydro rates; instead it would take direction from the government starting in March 2025, and rates would be set every three years.

“All the evidence presented to date says the Public Utilities Board is doing its job at a reasonable cost,” said coalition member Damon Johnston, president of the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg. “What is the urgency to change it? We do not see a public rationale that makes any sense to us,” said Johnston, a member of the coalition that includes Harvest Manitoba and the Consumers’ Association of Canada.

Monday, Jul. 18, 2022

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES
Manitoba Hydro power lines just outside Winnipeg. One year was well above average — $15.1 million — when Manitoba Hydro in 2017-18 asked for a rate increase of 7.9 per cent and “many expert testimonies” were needed, the coalition said.

Manitobans more likely than Saskatchewan neighbours to punish lousy government, survey reveals

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Preview

Manitobans more likely than Saskatchewan neighbours to punish lousy government, survey reveals

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Friday, Jul. 8, 2022

People living in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a lot in common, including the view that their governments have mishandled the issues they’re most concerned about: health care and inflation, a poll released Friday shows.

When it comes to support for the governing party, however, the Prairie neighbours are polar opposites, the Angus Reid Institute survey said.

In Manitoba, successive polls have shown the PC government led by Premier Heather Stefanson would be voted out of office in an imminent election. Next door, however, the Saskatchewan Party led by Premier Scott Moe has a 23-point lead over its nearest rival when it comes to voter intent, the poll found.

Manitobans may be more inclined to blame the party in power and the premier when things go wrong because they’re quick to take credit when there’s success, said University of Manitoba political studies professor Christopher Adams.

Friday, Jul. 8, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES
In Manitoba, successive polls have shown the PC government led by Premier Heather Stefanson would be voted out of office in an imminent election.

Tories boost construction minimum wage after wanting to dump it

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Tories boost construction minimum wage after wanting to dump it

Carol Sanders 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 8, 2022

Construction industry minimum wages will rise by 14 per cent over the next three years, a major about-face from a Tory government that considered repealing minimum wage legislation for building trades less than two years ago.

The Progressive Conservative government amended regulations in the Construction Industry Wages Act on Thursday, to increase the minimum wage for construction workers.

“The construction sector provides critical services that are a key component of economic growth in our province,” Reg Helwer, the minister responsible, said in a news release. “Adequate and appropriate compensation ensures we are able to recruit and retain the skilled professionals needed to support ongoing development.”

In December 2020, a confidential meeting request was sent by the government to industry members about how to repeal the legislation with minimal disruption.

Friday, Jul. 8, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES
The Progressive Conservative government amended regulations in the Construction Industry Wages Act on Thursday, to increase the minimum wage for construction workers.

‘Not a penny’ to get more Winnipeggers to take the bus

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‘Not a penny’ to get more Winnipeggers to take the bus

Carol Sanders 4 minute read Thursday, Jul. 7, 2022

One might expect loud cheers from mass transit advocates after the three levels of government announced $539 million for Winnipeg Transit on Thursday.

Their responses, however, were low key because there’s nothing in the announcement to make more Winnipeggers gung-ho about taking the bus.

“Half-a-billion dollars and not a penny is being spent to improve service,” said Brent Bellamy, a Winnipeg architect and columnist who advocates for improved transportation.

“We are in a climate crisis and an affordability crisis,” he said. “Improving transit frequency and service to attract more riders is a response to both.”

Thursday, Jul. 7, 2022

JESSE BOILY / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
The response from transit advocates regarding the Winnipeg Transit funding was low key because there’s nothing in the announcement to make more Winnipeggers gung-ho about taking the bus.