WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberals say the Pallister Government's decision to suggest municipalities lay people off is beyond irresponsible. After public health, the single greatest priority for governments must be saving the economy and doing everything they can to make sure that people keep their jobs.
Not only is Manitoba the only province to provide no direct financial assistance to people or businesses, but they are choosing to make unemployment and pay cuts worse while urging others to do the same.
The PCs plans to layoff or reduce work for public service will do terrible harm to Manitoba's economy. It means Manitoba customers will have less money to spend at Manitoba businesses. Even more critically, less money to pay their rent and mortgages.
"This is like having an arsonist in charge of the fire department," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "Just two days ago, the legislature voted to give the government $1-billion in new spending and $5-billion in new borrowing powers, and that very day they were asking for more cuts."
Even as Manitoba is facing record unemployment and business losses, the Pallister government is choosing to go out of its way to make the situation worse. Cuts and layoffs means adding to the ranks of the unemployed and the people who cannot pay their bills.
There is no need for austerity. Manitoba Liberals recognize that municipalities in particular cannot borrow, and have called on the Federal Government and Bank of Canada to step up with funding for provincial and municipal governments.
"While some federal participation is essential, we have to say that it is disgraceful that we have to call on the Federal Government for help because the Pallister government won't lift a finger," said Lamont.