Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg - Manitoba Liberals say that if Brian Pallister is looking for a reason why Manitobans are having difficulties going back to work, he should look in the mirror.
In April and May, Pallister demanded thousands of layoffs across Manitoba, ordering organizations and employees to apply for CERB instead. The latest round of job numbers from Statistics Canada showed that while some private businesses are rehiring, unemployment is sharply up in Winnipeg and public sector jobs have reduced by more than 3,000.
Among the programs that ended up on the PCs chopping block was Manitoba Hydro's Summer Jobs program, which provides job opportunities for students. That's on top of multiple rounds of cuts and freezes across government - with the notable exception of the Premiers' own staff. Even before the crisis, Pallister was boasting about the number of public sector jobs he had eliminated, saying he had reduced total payroll by 8%.
"Pallister went out of his way to destroy thousands of jobs and drive up unemployment, then complains when people can't work," said Dougald Lamont, MLA for St Boniface. "In April, the PCs set out to eliminate more than $800-million worth of public and private sector jobs. CERB is not the reason people can't go back to work. It's because Brian Pallister eliminated thousands of jobs."
Lamont says the Pallister PC's latest "wage subsidy" program announced today once again misses the mark because it ignores the problems that businesses and workers have been asking for help with for months.
"Manitoba Liberals have been telling the PCs that businesses need help with debt, overhead, and PPE costs and that employees need affordable child care. For four months, Manitobans have been begging for a life preserver, but the PCs keep handing out anchors," says Lamont.