Pallister Government’s Refusal to Keep MPI Rates Affordable An Abdication of Responsibility to Families, Businesses

The Pallister government has again abandoned Manitobans by sitting back and allowing MPI rates to rise by more than a projected six per cent over two years, said NDP MLA Andrew Swan.

“Once again, the premier and his cabinet are sitting on their hands while their Crown corporation seeks to impose rate hikes,” Swan said. “The government has a duty to keep vehicle insurance rates affordable for families and businesses and it’s failing to uphold that duty.”

MPI today said it will apply to the Public Utilities Board for an average rate hike of 2.7 per cent in 2018. This follows a rate hike of 3.7 per cent that took effect March 1 of this year.

“The Pallister government has ripped up the legislation that guaranteed Manitobans would have the lowest-cost bundle of vehicle insurance, home heating and electricity rates in Canada,” Swan said. “When Pallister was in opposition, he resisted our work to keep rates affordable. Now, he can’t wait to jack up costs for families and businesses.”

It’s not clear whether the latest MPI rate hike would be to cover the cost of insuring motorists or to boost its reserve fund, Swan pointed out.
“That reserve fund is already higher than the PUB says is necessary to shield MPI from fluctuations in costs or changes in its investments,” Swan said. “Motorists should not have to shoulder the burden of paying for an unnecessary increase in the reserve fund.”

In February of this year, the Pallister government’s hand-picked board at Manitoba Hydro indicated it would be seeking rate increases of 7.9 per cent for each of the next five years. Hydro is seeking these massive hikes despite multiple independent reviews that showed the Crown corporation’s long-term financial and construction plans were sustainable, Swan noted.

“Pallister has broken his promise to keep life affordable for families,” Swan said. “Massive rate hikes on utilities will hurt families, hurt businesses and hurt the economy.”