Statement by Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont:
"The decision to layoff 700 highly qualified, difficult-to-replace Hydro workers is a disastrous and damaging decision with no upside. It is wrong for Manitoba Hydro to lay these workers off, and it is much worse that the Pallister government forced them to do it.
Just as the NDP did, the PCs are erasing the line between government and independent Crown corporations using their budgets as slush funds.
Manitoba Hydro is an essential business. It is profitable. The layoffs are targeting workers who are highly-trained and hard to replace.
Hydro has already undergone massive cuts, and significant parts of its operation are already understaffed. Work that used to be done full-time by Manitoba Hydro workers is being contracted out to private companies from outside of Manitoba and Canada.
Manitoba Hydro is not a burden for government. It is a massive source of revenue because the NDP and PCs alike have been bleeding it for hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Manitoba Hydro would easily be able to service its own debt if it weren't for PC-NDP policy of taking $400-million+ a year in water rentals, debt fees and capital taxes.
These cuts are being done for one reason, and one reason only: so that the PCs can continue to plunder Hydro's revenues to make up for their mismanagement of government finances, just as the NDP did.
For Pallister to force Manitoba Hydro to layoff essential workers in the middle of a pandemic will do nothing but hurt families, hurt the economy, and ultimately, hurt Hydro's bottom line. These cuts should not happen."