Our government responds to many media requests. Many are often not printed, but we never let an opportunity pass to defend our record. Here are some recent examples of communication your NDP government has sent out.
Re: Child Welfare Unequal to the Job (Winnipeg Free Press, Sept. 10, 2015)
Your editorial asks a fair question: what is the provincial government's plan to prevent family breakdown and reduce the rate of apprehending kids?
This year, 63 per cent of children receiving support services are living with their parents in the family homes. Those not at home are in foster care, independent living, residential care or living with extended family. But we agree more must be done to reduce the number of children coming into care.
The Hughes Inquiry pointed out that many of the social and economic conditions that bring children into care are beyond the ability of the child welfare system to correct - the impact of colonization, residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, conditions on reserves, cultural dislocation, and the loss of identity.
Too many of Manitoba’s Indigenous families and communities are struggling with entrenched poverty, sub-standard housing, addictions and lack of supports. All Manitobans would agree this is unacceptable. I can assure you that we can’t and won’t accept the status quo.
Children need love. They need stability in their lives. They need to feel safe. They need good role models. Parents need jobs. Families need access to good health care and education. Families and children need hope for a better future.
We won’t apologize for protecting a child when he or she is at risk of being harmed. The first goal of CFS workers is to support families to stay together, but when the safety of a child is in jeopardy, they act quickly to protect children. Once the child is safe, the workers’ next goal is to reunite children and parents as quickly as possible.
All of this requires major investments. In CFS, for example, we have doubled the budget in the last decade, focusing on prevention first. We’re hiring and training more child welfare workers; we’re recruiting more foster families and opening more specialized foster placements; we’re creating more beds for children with complex needs; and we’re expanding supports for families so they can keep their kids at home.
Other departments are addressing the root causes that undermine families. The government is making significant investments in reducing poverty, job training, education, affordable housing, day care, health care; and core infrastructure across the province.
We’re committed to creating a level playing field for all Manitobans. We’re committed to reducing the numbers of children in care. We’re not going to give up on these families and children.
Minister of Family Services
Government of Manitoba
Over the last year, the PC Party of Manitoba has consistently made attacks on Manitoba Hydro based on assumptions and inaccurate facts. In light of these attacks, I would like to take this opportunity to provide Manitobans with a more accurate picture of the future of Manitoba Hydro, and what we stand to lose if we let Mr. Pallister get his way.
We know that Brian Pallister plans to cancel much needed Hydro projects for Manitoba’s energy reliability at home, as well as cutting the infrastructure projects necessary to generate the power for our $9 billion in firm power sales. Cancelling these generation projects would affect us all. These projects stand for Manitoba’s economic future, and our bold and necessary investments now will mean a secure power supply at home, but also a valuable export resource for many decades to come. The truth is that clean, green hydroelectricity is a resource that will come into increasing demand as governments across North America aggressively address the issue of climate change. By cutting these projects, Brian Pallister would be cutting 10,000 jobs that are directly tied to this growth.
Manitoba Hydro continuously works to keep costs and rates low. Despite recent concerns, salaries and administrative costs are modest compared to industry standards. In the 90’s, the Progressive Conservatives privatized MTS. MTS’s CEO earned $7.8 million last year, nearly 20 times the salary of Manitoba Hydro’s CEO. By keeping Manitoba Hydro public, rates continue to be the lowest in Canada, $700 lower per year than our Saskatchewan neighbours, and $500 lower than the national average.
To help keep rates low, Hydro has found cost efficiencies through office consolidation. This has resulted in a 25% reduction in customer outages, a 10% reduction in response time duration, an increase in plant maintenance and a 25% increase in work throughput. Annual savings from rural office consolidation is approximately $2 million, as well as $50 million in avoided costs to upgrade the offices affected by the consolidation.
The PC plan means cutting jobs and cancelling Manitoba Hydro’s bright future. Our plan meanwhile is to keep rates low and stable, and to build our domestic supply and increase our export sales for many years to come.
Minister Responsible for Manitoba Hydro
Government of Manitoba
Once again, Brian Pallister and his PC Party are misleading Manitobans about his dangerous plan to make deep cuts to front line services and infrastructure investments that would hurt families and throw Manitobans out of work. (Brandon Sun/Aug. 22, 2015).
Our government is focused on balancing the budget responsibly: by growing the economy and creating jobs while continuing to meet the health care, education, and child care demands of Manitoba families. The reality is that the economic recovery remains fragile, and we need to focus on investing in building our province and making sure Manitobans have good jobs here at home to support their families.
We believe in true balance: investing in the priorities of families, like roads, bridges, hospitals and schools, while being responsible with your tax dollars. That is our plan, and it is working. Private sector forecasters say that Manitoba will be a leader in economic growth over the next two years, and we have the best job creation record in the country so far this year. Since coming to government, we have reduced the province’s borrowing costs from 13.2 cents on the dollar to 5.6 cents. It makes good economic sense to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in our province to benefit Manitobans now and in the future.
Brian Pallister also has a plan, and that is to cut over half a billion dollars from the budget, put our economic growth at risk, and kill jobs. His single minded focus on balancing the budget at all costs would mean less health care, education, and other front line services for Manitobans. It would also mean putting nearly 70,000 jobs at risk by killing our government’s infrastructure plan and planned Manitoba Hydro projects. This plan is dangerous for our economy and for families who want to build their futures here at home.
Minister of Finance
Government of Manitoba