2019-08-14_thumb
2019-08-14_thumb This article is more than 2 years old
Analysis

In 2016, Brian Pallister Said Poverty Is His ‘Number One Issue’. In 2019, He Didn’t Show Up to a Debate on Poverty.

Here’s a quick rundown of the Pallister government’s cuts to programs that fight poverty

Manitoba PC leader Brian Pallister failed to show up to a leaders’ debate on poverty last week organized by anti-poverty groups.

That’s quite the turn of events from 2016 when Pallister declared during a leaders’ debate that “poverty” is “the number one issue for us in this province.”

“We’d given them every opportunity to send a representative, the other parties were able to, debate organizer Josh Brandon told PressProgress.

“It certainly was disappointing that they didn’t,” Brandon added, noting that after declaring that “ending poverty would be a top priority, Pallister has demonstrated “it’s such a low priority, he doesn’t even attend a debate or send a representative.

Since 2016 there have been cuts each year,” he said. No new social housing units were authorized for construction. And at the same time we’ve lost social housing units. We’ve seen a net decline over the past several years and the need increased.

Brandon also noted that for three years straight, the Pallister government has cut social assistance programs and food bank use has risen.

For example, according to Food Banks Canada’s hunger report, Manitoba food bank visits totaled 61,915 in 2016. By 2018, they increased by more than 10% to 68,920.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and revisit the Pallister government’s cuts to Manitoba’s social safety net:

2017

An estimated 150 households cut off from receiving Rent Assist.

Deductible for non Employment Income Assistance (EIA) Rent Assist jumped from 25% to 28% of income.

$150 million slashed from the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation (MHRC), the government body responsible for building affordable housing and maintaining the existing stock.

2018

The deductible further increased to 30% of income, costing some families using the program nearly $200/month. Single full time minimum wage workers lost an estimated $112.92/ month, while a family of two parents and 3 children at the poverty line lost an estimated $190.30/month.

Another 150 Manitobans cut from the program.

$11 million slashed from the MHRC.

Rental Housing Construction Tax Credit eliminated, which was brought in to incentivize construction of affordable units.

2019

Rent Assist Benefits frozen indefinitely for singles under 55. Increases indexed to inflation were halted, and individuals in this category lost a scheduled increase of $27/month.

Job Seeker’s Allowance cancelled, costing a further $25/ month for welfare recipients.

During the 2016 campaign, however, Pallister insisted he can “appreciate the reality that many Manitobans face” because “I grew up poor” ⁠— although he later admitted “we weren’t poor.”

In fact, he now spends a good deal of his time at his Costa Rican luxury villa.

 

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2022-06-015 Analysis

Manitoba Government Gave $50 Million to Companies Linked to Secretive Religious Sect

Related Stories

Analysis

Pierre Poilievre is Under Fire After Leading a Far-Right March Through Ottawa Residential Neighbourhood

View the post
Analysis

Pierre Poilievre is Proposing a ‘Massive Government Intrusion’ into Academic Freedom, Academics Warn

View the post
Analysis

Meet the 8 UCP Leadership Candidates Trying to Steer Jason Kenney’s Party Even Further to the Right

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get All Your Canadian Labour News in One Place
Why do newspapers always have a business section but not a labour section? Good news! We’ve launched a newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.