Pallister Government’s Budget Hits North Hard, Ignores Needs of Northern Families

Families and communities in the North were hit hard by the latest budget from the Pallister Government, NDP MLAs Amanda Lathlin and Tom Lindsey said today.

“At a time when the North needs investments in health care, education and jobs, the Pallister government has turned its back on families,” said Lindsey, the MLA for Flin Flon. “The North needs a jobs and training strategy that will ensure long-term economic growth and provide families hope for a brighter future for their children.”

Lindsey noted the Pallister government’s second budget again failed to provide a plan for jobs and training in northern communities. The Pallister government is hurting families and communities in many ways, Lathlin added, including by:

  • Cutting investments in roads and infrastructure, including closing the Grace Lake Airport in The Pas at a time when the government is also cutting funding for the Northern Patient Transfer Program;
  • Refusing to even acknowledge the closure of the Port of Churchill and doing nothing to help the economy in that town;
  • Failing to ensure a future for the Bayline, which serves major northern communities, such as The Pas and Churchill as well as isolated communities such as Pikitonewi and War Lake that have no other access for goods;
  • Failing to continue the construction of the East Side Road;
  • Making no new investments in mining or resource industries in the North at a time when workers are facing job insecurity;
  • Cutting funding for arts programs, libraries and cultural programs for northern communities;
  • Hiking post-secondary tuition even higher for northern students and axing their tuition credits;
  • Cutting funding for social and affordable housing in northern communities that already face a housing shortage;
  • Leaving municipalities in limbo by refusing to tell them what funding would be available for local roads and bridges; and
  • Failing to develop a duty-to-consult framework with Indigenous communities on economic and social concerns.

“The Pallister government has still not provided any details on their plan for the duty to consult with Indigenous communities – a year into their mandate,” Lathlin said. “When will this government live up to its responsibilities, listen to people in the North and stop pretending that tourism and whale watching will replace jobs in mining, fishing and forestry.”