Manitoba PCs Deserve Another Mandate

I have good news for commentators who say Manitobans will be sick, stupid, and broke if this tax-cutting PC government is re-elected: they’re wrong. The unadjusted StatsCan numbers for August […]
Published on September 29, 2023

I have good news for commentators who say Manitobans will be sick, stupid, and broke if this tax-cutting PC government is re-elected: they’re wrong.

The unadjusted StatsCan numbers for August 2023 prove it. As a total percentage of wages and salaries, Manitoba pays out more in education, health care and social assistance, and even provincial government administration than the Canadian average.

Health care and social services account for 15% of pay in Manitoba vs. 10.8% in Canada as a whole. That makes the proportional share of total wages 39% higher in Manitoba.

The same goes for schools. Total educator pay takes less of the pie in Canada than it did in 2015, but more in Manitoba. Educational services account for 10% of all wages and salaries in the province, again much higher than the national average of 7%. This means education gets 42% more of the pay in Manitoba than elsewhere.

Manitoba’s civil service has been laudably restrained by the provincial PCs following four terms of the union-friendly NDP. In August 2015, civil servants received $69.6 million, and August of this year, they received $73.7 million. This 5.8% increase is lowest among provinces and much less than the 41.7% increase in the national average.

Even so, provincial government administration still accounts for 2.3% of Manitoba’s total wages compared to 2.0% for the average Canadian province. This means 14.2% bloat remains.

What would happen if total pay were reduced proportionately in these areas? It would leave health care workers paid $138.7 million less every month, educational workers $100.8 million less, and provincial bureaucrats $10 million less. That makes a total of $3 billion over 12 months. And none of this accounts for the employer’s pension contributions.

These numbers dwarf the $1.8 billion of tax reductions in the PC platform, some of which will be recouped by the private sector economic growth they stimulate. Such growth would rebalance the percentages above without any cuts to health care or education.

Moreover, tax reductions apply to everyone, including public sector employees. A PC government can tell unions at the negotiating table they already have more take-home pay thanks to lower taxes. This would allow lower taxpayer expenditures without any loss of services or take-home pay for unions.

Those worried about the provincial debt and public services should realize this: a vibrant private sector is the only thing that will provide the revenues the province needs to service its debts and provide services.

Often the electorate wants change after two terms in power, but Manitobans have good cause to disregard the seven-year itch. The province had the third-best GDP growth in Canada last year, despite a government in Ottawa not endeared to the prairies. The biggest failure, the lockdown debacles, were a former circumstance by a former leader. Thankfully, both the NDP and PCs say, “Never again.”

Then there’s social issues. Like the Saskatchewan and New Brunswick governments, the Manitoba PCs want to reinforce the role of parents regarding creeping gender ideology in schools. Many Manitobans and Canadians want to put the brake on wokeness, but unfortunately the NDP is more likely to  put its foot on this gas pedal.

Imagine what that could mean. More Bishop Grandin style cancel culture? More vandalized Queen Victoria statues? More pronoun nonsense? Even woker universities?   Diversity quotas instead of meritocratic hiring? Economy-killing climate policies?

Change for change’s sake is never reason enough, especially when it’s a change for the worse.

 

Lee Harding is a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Featured News

MORE NEWS

Groupthink on School Boards is Not Inclusive

Groupthink on School Boards is Not Inclusive

The recent by-election in the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) attracted a lot of media attention, much more than usual. That’s because this was the seat vacated last November by former Ward 1 trustee Francine Champagne. To say that her short tenure was controversial...

Why the Irish Fenians Tried to ‘Capture Canada’ in 1866

Why the Irish Fenians Tried to ‘Capture Canada’ in 1866

It was 1866 and in the aftermath of the American Civil War, thousands of Irish immigrants who had fought in both the Union and Confederate armies were of a mind to invade Canada. They were followers of the Fenian Brotherhood, a group formed in the United States in...

Letter From Europe

Letter From Europe

Never before in world history has a single policy, rooted in nothing but preposterous antics and cruel dystopias imposed by force, so quickly taken over the entire planet Earth. This happened in 2020 with the futile attempt to contain a coronavirus that leaked from a...