Cheers and jeers for Manitoba budget


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Premier Heather Stefanson’s first budget earned mixed reviews Tuesday. Some groups wanted fiscal restraint while others had hoped the Tory government would spend more money on huge budgetary items such as health care and education. Here’s a roundup of reaction:

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/04/2022 (354 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Premier Heather Stefanson’s first budget earned mixed reviews Tuesday. Some groups wanted fiscal restraint while others had hoped the Tory government would spend more money on huge budgetary items such as health care and education. Here’s a roundup of reaction:

“I will say we were expecting more, given prior to the budget there was so much talk about ‘Yes, we need to invest in health care but we also need to invest significantly in economic development’ – especially coming out of the pandemic.

“It feels as though the budget walked slowly when it needs to be running as it relates to economic development.”

— Loren Remillard, president and CEO of Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce

“This government’s not listening to Manitobans. We’ve seen cuts from the Pallister government, we’ve been dealing with the stresses of the pandemic and there’s staff shortages and burnout happening in our health-care system that this government is frankly too little, too late to invest in, just to repair the damage that they’ve done.”

— Kevin Rebeck, Manitoba Federation of Labour president

“I was hopeful that we’d hear a much more aggressive plan and one day we’d see a balanced budget at the provincial government, like we do each and every year at the City of Winnipeg… For me as a taxpayer, I would really like to see a provincial government balance the budget… but that being said, I know there are many competing priorities at the legislature right now.”

— Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman

“We have a health human resources crisis. We have a huge nursing shortage and I get that they’re going to pour money into the backlog of surgeries, but where are they going to get the staff to do this? The question for me is what are we going to do short term? How are we going to deal with these issues in the short term?”

— Darlene Jackson, Manitoba Nurses Union president

“When I hear this budget and I hear the language in the speech today, it tells me that there is an understanding of how massive and important dealing with this surgical and diagnostic backlog is to government. I think they get it.”

— Dr. Kristjan Thompson, Doctors Manitoba president

“They cut the emergency departments, they cut the ICUs, now you’re talking about putting ICU beds back in. If you didn’t cut you wouldn’t have to do it, you’d just have to improve it.”

Debbie Boissonneault, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 204 president

“There is no mention of any allied health professions, the staffing crisis we’re facing, or a strategy to train more allied health professionals like respiratory therapists, train more paramedics, train more laboratory technologists. There was none of that in there and that was deeply disappointing.”

— Bob Moroz, Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals president

“We do have some unresolved issues that we need to sit down and still continue dialogue with the provincial government on, such as the COVID relief funding… We also have asked for a PST rebate which would result in $25 million going back to our members as we firmly believe one level of government shouldn’t be taxing another, and also our municipal operating basket fund has been frozen since 2016. That’s seven years that we’ve been doing more with less.”

— Kam Blight, Association of Manitoba Municipalities president

“It’s nice to see some tax relief for tax payers… that said, we would have liked to see the government control spending a little bit more. We still have a half-a-billion-dollar deficit even though revenues are way up. The government has to do more work to save money. Everybody else in the last couple of years has found ways to save money, the government needs to do that, too.

— Todd MacKay, Canadian Taxpayers Federation prairie director

“They have not provided any kind of support for small business in the short term. Long-term workforce and skills development strategy are great, but what we were looking for is what is going to help business in the short term.”

– Chuck Davidson, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce CEO

“We heard a lot about affordability and accessibility in today’s budget. This is certainly supportive for families, and will, ideally help more women re-enter the workforce. However, what we didn’t hear in Budget 2022 was the early learning and workforce being prioritized. If we are truly talking about building a high quality child care system in Manitoba, then we need to plan for and invest in a comprehensive workforce strategy.

— Jodie Kehl, Manitoba Child Care Association executive director

“The announcement of increasing the education property tax rebate to 37.5 per cent for 2022 and 50 per cent for 2023 is welcome news for Manitoba farmers. (Keystone Agricultural Producers) will continue to lobby for the complete removal of the education property tax from all farm property.”

— Bill Campbell, Keystone Agricultural Producers president

“We were hoping that we’d have something that talks about international student health care, reinstating the Manitoba health care for international students, hoping to see seeds being planted here or there, but nothing has happened and that was a sad moment for us.”

— Marie Paule Ehoussou, Canadian Federation of Students-Manitoba incoming chairperson

“I think if you are a small business and you were looking to this budget for help with economic recovery or cost relief, I think you are going to be disappointed.”

— Kathleen Cook, Manitoba vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business


Updated on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 9:38 PM CDT: Adds photo

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