Bills to privatize liquor sales and strip worker rights withdrawn
Sep 01, 2021
Newly sworn-in Manitoba Premier Kelvin Goertzen announced today the Manitoba Government Cabinet and PC Caucus have agreed to withdraw five bills that had triggered massive opposition from MGEU and large numbers of Manitobans. This means that Bills 16, 35, 40, 57, and 64, will not become law when the current session of the Manitoba legislature ends this fall.
Two of these bills are of particular significance for MGEU members: Bill 40 would have opened the door to large-scale privatization of liquor sales in Manitoba; and Bill 16 would have stripped away workers’ right to have their contract settled by an independent arbitrator after 60 days of a strike or lock-out.
“The historic withdrawal of these anti-worker bills leaves me hopeful that the current government sees its leadership change as an opportunity to reset its relationship with public workers and their unions,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “I also fully believe that many Manitobans, including many MGEU members, who stood up, signed petitions, registered to speak at legislative committees, and wrote, called, or met with their MLAs can take pride that their activism made a real difference.”
The other three Bills to be withdrawn would have interfered with Manitobans right to peaceful protest, would have allowed the Provincial Cabinet instead of the non-partisan PUB to determine hydro rates, and would have abolished elected school boards.
“While today’s news is welcome, we will need to continue working with Manitobans to show this government that cuts and privatization are not the way forward,” said Gawronsky. “That is the best way to prevent similar legislation from being reintroduced by whichever leader the PC Party elects in October.”
“MGEU members, and indeed all Manitobans, are tired of the politics of division and distrust. We’re ready to work with this new Premier to turn a page and begin building a better Manitoba, and there’s a lot of work to do,” Gawronsky added.