Government Takes Next Step in Privatizing Air Services with Request for Proposals
“Our public air services are safe, efficient, and they deliver tremendous value. It’s simple – the public model works. It’s not clear what problem the government is trying to solve with its privatization push," says MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky.
Mar 13, 2018
Almost a year ago, a confidential document leaked in the media confirmed that the Pallister government was looking at privatizing the province's air services branch, the agency responsible for maintaining and coordinating the public fleet of air ambulances and water bombers.
The government then issued an expression of interest to assess the willingness and ability for the private sector to provide these services.
Today the government took their privatization effort to the next level by announcing a request for proposals to hire a consultant who will be responsible for assessing what benchmarks private companies will have to meet to provide these essential services.
“Our skilled members at Manitoba Government Air Services are dedicated to providing an essential, life-saving public service to Manitobans – getting critically ill patients to hospital and protecting communities from forest fires,” says MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “These essential services should not be auctioned off as profit opportunities for private airline corporations.”
Currently, the province owns, maintains and operates a fleet of 22 aircraft throughout the province, which collectively provide air ambulance services, inter-hospital transportation, wildfire suppression, and transportation for government officials.
Gawronsky notes that the services provided by the agency are vital to many Manitobans, particularly those in Northern and remote communities, and these communities deserve services based on the needs of Manitobans, not the bottom line of a private airline.
“Our public air services are safe, efficient, and they deliver tremendous value. It’s simple – the public model works. It’s not clear what problem the government is trying to solve with its privatization push.”
Gawronsky reminded the government that Manitobans are overwhelmingly opposed to the privatization of Manitoba Government Air Services. Just last summer, a Probe Research poll found that 72% of Manitobans oppose privatizing these essential public services.