CUPE members hoping to hear much of anything were disappointed yesterday when the Conservative government Throne Speech failed to deliver on pretty well any priorities.
From education to municipalities, from heath care to Manitoba Hydro, this government was silent on its vision for Manitoba.
After a tumultuous year where this government has cut health care, laid the ground work for the privatization of hydro, demolished funding to the city of Winnipeg and other municipalities, and threatened a shakeup in education, the Throne Speech was largely silent.
“The City of Winnipeg wasn’t even mentioned in the speech,” said Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE 500, “How can you have a vision for a province without having any vision for your capital city?”
“Health care workers were looking for a sign that the health care cuts this government started two years ago are over, and we didn’t hear that,” said Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE 204, “what we heard in the silence was to expect more of the same, more cuts, more privatization and no support for front-line health care workers.”
“Members across the education sector were waiting to hear that we wouldn’t be next, that cuts to education are not around the corner,” said Abe Araya, President of CUPE 110, “instead we are left with uncertainty and a vague government promise to come after us. Not very reassuring.”
“The lack of commitment to keep Manitoba Hydro public is disturbing. It should be cause for concern for all Manitobans who understand the value a unified public energy utility brings to our province,” said Chris Mravinec, Local 998 President. “If actions like removing PowerSmart are an indicator of what is to come, there is good reason to be worried.”
“This is a speech, that when I listened to it, at the end, I couldn’t tell you any specific things that we heard,” said Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Manitoba, “what was conspicuous was what we did not hear: no new investments in municipalities, no vision for education, no vision for health care and no commitment to keep Manitoba Hydro public.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 665,000 members. In Manitoba, CUPE represents approximately 26,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.