CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay offers the following response to today’s Manitoba Throne Speech:
Today’s Throne Speech was a disappointment. Not only did the government fail to introduce the concrete measures that are needed to improve health care, they are making things worse by prioritizing the privatization of Manitoba’s public services.
The government wants to convince Manitobans that by expanding private delivery of diagnostic testing and surgeries that they can speed up wait times, but this simply isn’t true. There isn’t an untapped source of health care professionals waiting to operate these private clinics. If there was, they would be hired already. Any capacity added by private clinics will come at the expense of public operations.
There was absolutely nothing in today’s throne speech about investments’ in our public education system. After years of struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, students and education workers were looking for real commitments to improve our schools. But the message from Premier Stefanson was clear – students, teachers, and education workers are on their own.
There was discussion of new jobs, but a focus on private business investments and private sector opportunities was at the core of each announcement. We need the Manitoba government to commit to, and invest in, public service workers in all public sector work – including those noted today in the Throne Speech: libraries, schools, health care, child care, and social services.
It is crucial for the Manitoba government to ensure services are publicly funded, and not through private sector contributions that have returns on their investments. There should never be corporate monetary returns on public service work.
This was a concerning Throne Speech from a tired government that’s run out of ideas and is gearing up to line the pockets of private investors. If anything, the pandemic should have taught us the value of our public services. But this government has a neoliberal agenda that looks for profits before quality health care, education, and public services.
Manitoba’s public services are not for sale, and CUPE members in our province work for Manitoba. The 2023 election cannot come soon enough.