Provincial Election Questionnaire 2023
MGEU members deliver a wide variety of vital public services to Manitobans. Many work directly for the Province of Manitoba, while others work in Crown corporations, health care, universities and colleges, social service agencies, and arts and cultural organizations.
Because the union represents such a wide variety of Manitobans, party platforms and election issues have a direct impact on MGEU members. That is why, before each provincial general election, the union develops a questionnaire which allows each of the three elected political parties to respond to important issues concerning the union’s members. All parties were asked to limit their responses to 150 words.
Below you will find the questions asked of each party and their responses. To view the responses, expand each question topic using the "+" icon.
Please remember to ask your local candidates questions about these issues, or others that are important to you, in the coming election – and remember to cast your ballot.
Progressive Conservative Party
Leader - Heather Stefanson
New Democratic Party
Leader - Wab Kinew
Leader - Dougald Lamont
Civil Service Staffing
Manitoba's Civil Service has been reduced by over 2,300 positions since 2016 and provincial services are suffering. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that 27% of the remaining Civil Service positions have been left unfilled, leaving provincial employees working short in too many areas. Would your government work to repair this damage by investing more in the people providing public services, improving employee engagement, and providing more stability and adequate funding for the Civil Service?
Concerns around adequate staffing have existed within Manitoba’s civil service for a prolonged period of time. We are committed to giving Manitobans the opportunity to fill vacancies and our efforts earlier this year to address concerns within Vital Statistics show that our staffing plan will work. Manitobans rely on the services provided by dedicated Civil Servants day in and day and we will ensure that positions are filled to provide that service.
The deep cuts to the civil service by the Stefanson government have hurt families and left civil servants facing burn out. The Manitoba NDP will rebuild our public services. We will restore respect for civil servants, the roles they play, and the services they deliver so Manitobans can access important services when they need them.
Absolutely. After seven years of cuts, freezes, and losses to attrition, Manitoba’s public service must be shored up and rebuilt. After working in government for five years, we know firsthand that many departments were cut to the point that they could no longer service the public.
We are committed to rebuilding Manitoba’s public service as professional, non-partisan and effective. We are also focused on security of employment as well as stable wages, employment and funding.
We have also committed to modernized benefits for public sector workers. For example, we have committed to making mental health part of medicare.
Public Pension Plans
There are examples in Canada where governments have made changes to public pension plans that have harmed families and put the retirements of thousands of working people in jeopardy. If elected, would your government make changes to any of Manitoba's public pension plans, and if so, in what ways?
At this time there are no plans to make changes to any public pension plans.
Workers spend their whole lives saving for retirement and deserve to know their pensions are safe.
We will protect and strengthen Manitoba’s public pension plans to ensure people can count on receiving the pensions they deserve and have earned after many years of hard work.
Manitoba Liberals have been extremely concerned about some of the trends in the way public pensions are managed.
We do not currently plan any changes and if any needed changes were to arise, we would consult with MGEU and other stakeholders before doing so.
Manitoba Liberals record on protecting the rights of workers and protecting pensions is solid.
We were the only opposition party to support MGEU when it called for the passage of a bill that would secure the future stability of the pension fund.
We also successfully passed a bill that finally won the Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba a seat on their own pension board, a change they have been seeking for more than a decade that was rejected by previous NDP governments.
Child Protection Worker Caseloads
Child protection workers have been saddled with dangerously high caseloads and fewer resources. The Child Advocate recently reported that the recommendation from the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry to cap child welfare workers caseloads at 20, has not been fulfilled. If elected, what would your government do to help alleviate this serious issue and bring caseloads to a more manageable level?
The caseloads of child protection workers is a concern, and one that we are committed to addressing in a meaningful way. We have begun a substantial transformation of our child welfare system, including transitioning care to recognized Indigenous service providers. This important change is an opportunity for us to address longstanding issues in the system such as caseloads.
The Manitoba NDP are committed to reducing caseloads for child welfare workers. Competitive compensation to recruit and retain the necessary staff, while also investing in community resources to help support vulnerable families, is necessary to achieve this important goal.
The issue of children in care is the most important political and moral issue we face. We want to ensure that workers have safe workloads, for the sake of the children and the workers.
Our long-term goal is to work to markedly reduce the number of the children in the child welfare system, by supporting families and communities and finding ways to keep them together.
We want to make it clear, this is not for the purpose of cutting costs or reducing employment: we want to address the societal issues that are driving apprehension and reduce them. We would like to see a shift towards more family support workers.
We are also aware that at the Link, many workers face challenges and made complaints. Manitoba Liberals were the only party to speak up for those workers, whose reports were largely confirmed by Deloitte Investigators.
Community Agency Funding
Community agencies deliver invaluable services to support Manitoba's most vulnerable - caring for people living with disabilities; meeting the needs of families and youth in crisis; helping those without stable housing; and providing mental health and addictions supports. Will your party commit to predictable, multi-year funding at levels that improve recruitment and retention and provide better services to vulnerable Manitobans?
There was recently a comprehensive review of the services that are provided by agencies and we are fully committed to maintaining the level of service that has been identified. These agreements allow organizations to plan longer term and give Manitobans relying on the services relief.
The Manitoba NDP respects and values frontline workers in community agencies, including those who provide disability, housing, addictions and mental health services.
We know too many have not been treated with respect or received a fair deal under Heather Stefanson and the PCs.
Absolutely. This is one of the most shameful areas of neglect in Manitoba, where workers who care for the most vulnerable receive low pay and little training for the incredible responsibilities they have.
We have committed to improved pay and benefits for recruitment and retention, as well as multi-year budget guidance and realistic funding so agencies can plan service delivery.
Privatization of Crown Agencies
Privatization of Crown agencies is an issue that directly affects all Manitobans. In some cases, it puts safety at risk and funnels profits out of public hands resulting in public service cuts. In others, it results in higher costs for rate payers without increasing service. If elected, would your government privatize, restructure, or contract out services at Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries or Manitoba Public Insurance? Please be specific about the changes you are planning.
We are committed to the plan that we have presented to Manitobans already, where we will modernize service delivery by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. MBLL will remain the wholesaler for all product, just as is already done for the sale of liquor by authorized private partners in rural areas not served by an MLCC retail location. This will expand Manitobans choice and ownership over their decisions, while maintaining the supply chain and ensuring that liquor tax collection and fees are consistent.
Manitobans are best served by strong, reliable, public crown corporations that can provide excellent service while keeping costs low.
The Stefanson PCs have a long history of privatization, not only in healthcare, but also as they have started to break up and sell off subsidiaries of Manitoba Hydro.
As Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, I ran on a platform of no privatizations. It was in our 2019 platform, and it is in our 2023 platform as well.
This is not just an ideological position – it is a centrist, progressive, economic idea. Manitoba Liberals want an effective, responsive public sector, and an innovative, growing private sector, so that we are growing the economy as a whole.
Some – conservatives especially – have argued that Manitoba’s public sector is too large compared to the private sector. This is exactly the same thing as saying the private sector is too small compared to the public sector.
There is no benefit in just taking jobs and business that already exist in the public sector and shifting to the private sector.
Healthcare funding has not kept pace with the rising rate of inflation over several years, leading to service cuts and chronic recruitment and retention issues. Will your party commit to increased, stable and predictable funding for health care, including multi-year commitments to hospitals and regional health authorities?
Our track record on Health funding is our guarantee to Manitobans. Over the last 7 years the Health budget had increased by $1 billion dollars, plus dedicated funding for Seniors and Longterm Care as well as Mental Health and Community Wellness. We have broken ground on needed hospital projects in communities throughout Manitoba, are in the process of tripling the St. Boniface Emergency Room’s capacity, and will retrofit Health Sciences Centre as part of a $1.5 Billion project.
After years of Stefanson’s health care cuts, the Manitoba NDP will rebuild healthcare for families in this province.
An NDP government will increase investments in healthcare overall while establishing stable, predictable long-term funding for the front lines. We will start by hiring more nurses, doctors and allied health professionals, to allow us to open new Emergency Rooms: starting with the Victoria ER. We will also establish more family doctor clinics, neighbourhood illness and injury clinics.
Manitoba Liberals want to rebuild and reform our public health care system, with a new emphasis on prevention, community care so that we are keeping people out of hospitals and emergency, by ensuring they have a family doctor or nurse practitioner to see them.
We have committed to attraction and retention bonuses across the health care system. A “thank you” bonus to encourage people to stay of up to $10,000 for nurses and health care professionals and up to $5,000 for all other members of health care teams, so long as they were dealing with patients.
We do commmit to higher and stable funding for RHAs. We will also require them to report annually and publicly to the legislature, along with Shared Health and Public Health, which has never occurred since these organizations were created.
Our goal is to reduce crisis costs in the system by supporting prevention. Family physicians and nurse practitioners in local clinics are a major part of that.
The failure to fully staff Home Care and Long-Term Care services has resulted in an escalation in the use of private, for-profit agency workers. These replacement workers have been shown to be more expensive and do not have the site-specific or client-specific knowledge that a permanent employee has, which affects the quality of care. If elected, will your party shift away from the use of temporary private agency workers and instead invest in an adequately staffed, permanent, health care team?
The preferred healthcare solution is to fully staff all facilities in Manitoba. To that end, we have budgeted positions in every health authority, and are actively recruiting as well as training Manitobans. We have increased the training seats at institutions throughout the province to assist in this endeavor, and we are committed to continuing these efforts – giving Manitobans an opportunity to enter a rewarding field while also addressing staffing shortages.
Manitoba used to have the most comprehensive homecare service in Canada, but over the past seven years, the PCs have underfunded and cut services to seniors.
The Manitoba NDP will give seniors the care they need to stay healthy at home by increasing the availability of homecare, paying homecare workers fair wages and increasing their mileage reimbursement. By attracting and retaining more homecare workers, we will be able to reduce the use of temporary private agencies.
We will also invest in training more workers to ensure families can rely on high-quality home care and long-term care services when they need them.
Home-care workers and long-term care workers have faced extraordinary challenges. Home-care worker have never had sick leave since 1974.
Our focus always has to be on the quality of care, and permanent employees are important because they help ensure continuity of care for seniors and patients. They can tell if there has been a drastic change and react appropriately. It also requires a supportive environment for the worker – proper pay, proper compensation for travel and benefits.
We have committed to modernized benefits for workers. We believe that security and stability are important in health care, government and society, and we will invest to make it happen.
College and University Funding
Manitoba Colleges and Universities are essential in producing the skilled and qualified workers Manitoba needs to succeed in the global economy. Will your party commit to predictable, multi-year funding for colleges and universities at levels that ensure quality post-secondary education?
We have a strong record of working with Colleges and Universities to provide Manitoba students the opportunities that they need and that they deserve. Not just through operating grants, but by recognizing opportunities where workforce demands in specific fields would be addressed with expanded training seats. We will continue to work with the entire post-secondary sector to ensure that Manitobans needs and Manitoba’s needs are met.
The Manitoba NDP will ensure the province’s universities and colleges receive good, predictable, long-term funding that will permit them to offer the high-quality education and training Manitoba students, faculty, and families expect.
Yes. During the pandemic, it was mentioned that our health care system could not function, at all, without the University of Manitoba. Doctors, nurses, research, training for all other positions that are needed and that are opening up. Our post-secondary institutions are generally excellent, but have been underappreciated and underfunded for decades.
We will commit to predictable multi-year funding for colleges and universities, and work with them to expand their capacity while respecting their autonomy.
Taxation and Government Revenue
Government revenues generated through taxation fund critical public services that all Manitobans depend on. If elected, would your party increase taxes on large corporations and the wealthy or make other tax adjustments? If you are proposing tax cuts, how would lost revenue be made up to ensure public services are maintained for Manitobans?
Over the last year, Manitoba has outpaced forecasts for pandemic recovery, showing that Manitoba is a province with a desire to produce. We will fund our efforts by growing the tax base, not the tax rate. When Manitobans succeed, and are given the opportunities to succeed, we all win. Our policies have dramatically increased the desire for enterprises to locate within our province and bring Manitobans opportunities, we are a competitive destination for world class enterprises. We are committed to continuing what is already working, and grow the tax base, not the tax rate.
The Manitoba NDP will ensure that taxes are fairly applied to lower costs for families while supporting the public services people depend on.
We will end the Stefanson PCs’ practice of sending cheques to out-of-province billionaires while they cut healthcare and education. Instead, we commit to investing and strengthening the public services Manitobans rely on.
We are rejecting the PCs property tax rebates. In three years, they have increased Manitoba’s debt by over $1-billion - $453-million just this year - for rebate cheques, many of which were sent out of province.
We will repeal 80% of the rebates as it is fiscally reckless to do what the PCs have done. Manitoba Liberals are the only party in the legislature proposing this change, which we see as the fiscally responsible thing to do.
We are also committed to progressive income tax cuts that provide relief to the people who need it most. We will do this by providing people who make less money a higher Basic Personal exemption, and then gradually reducing the amount that people can claim as tax-free, the more money they make. At an income of $300,000 and up, for example, the exemption would be zero.
We are proving a tax break to lower and middle income earners, and an increase on the top.
To our knowledge, Manitoba Liberals are the only party who are shunning austerity.
Manitoba Corrections has experienced a severe recruitment challenge, which impacts upon the safety of Correctional Officers as well as the inmates they are dedicated to keeping safe. What would your government do to ensure Manitoba Correctional Officers are not working short and are staffed appropriately?
Staffing levels in Manitoba Corrections is important and that is why we are committed to continuing efforts to train staff, and those that graduate through the training program are guaranteed work within a corrections facility.
Our corrections officers are on the frontlines, and they understand the importance of public safety.
We will work with correctional services, workers, and their representatives to hire and retain correctional officers.
We will certainly do every thing we can to ensure that correctional officers and inmates are safe. That has to be everyone’s first priority. We will work with Corrections and MGEU to develop recruitment programs.
We are also aware that many inmates are in the system on remand. Our goal is to work to drive down crime and incarceration rates. Specifically, we will create provincial halfway houses, which do not currently exist, so that when people are discharged they are not immediately made homeless, or arrested and reincarcerated. We want to break that cycle with half-way houses for men and women.
Our goal is to reduce the burden with programs that reduce recidivism. This is not about cost-cutting or job reduction. If people in corrections can find ways to reduce costs, our goal is to keep people employed, and find them new work.
Privatization of Public Services
Services formerly provided by public employees have been privatized and contracted out in departments like Infrastructure and Transportation where air services, highway maintenance and vehicle and equipment maintenance have been contracted out. Would your party commit to investing in public services, or continue privatizing and contracting out key public services? Which services would you privatize or contract out?
Service delivery has the ultimate goal of providing the best situation for Manitobans, and sometime that includes partnerships with private organizations, such as the amazing work done by STARS Air ambulance. We are committed to working with experts to ensure that Manitobans needs are met in the best way possible.
The Manitoba NDP stood up for public services when the PCs privatized Lifeflight, as well as other services that used to be delivered by government. The PCs’ privatization approach has increased costs for Manitobans while eliminating good jobs. As government, we will invest in public services to deliver the services families need.
We have opposed privatization and contracting out. In an emergency, temporary contracting out of services may be necessary, but only in an emergency.
The privatizations by the PCs of MTS and air ambulances were all mistakes, and so was the NDP’s privatization of Land Titles.
Again, this is more than just an ideological position. As Manitoba Liberals, we recognize there is a role for the private sector and a role for the public sector. It is critical that public services are robust and that we have the capacity to serve and protect anyone in the public, especially in an emergency.
Workplace Injury/Illness Prevention
Workplace injury and illness rates continue to rise in health care and the public sector while they have fallen in the private sector. Certified workplace injury and illness prevention programs have proven effective in reducing injury rates in the private sector. If elected, would your government establish certified workplace injury and illness prevention programs covering public sector and health care workplaces?
Programs related to workplace safety are continually monitored and updated, and we are committed to following best practice to provide civil servants and healthcare workers the best opportunities to maintain safe workplaces.
We want to make sure that the frontline workers who take care of Manitobans know they are safe at work.
We will work towards the goal of certifying workplace injury and illness prevention programs to help workers in public services stay healthy in their jobs.
Absolutely. All employers need to meet their obligations to keep workers safe. We have also committed to ensuring that burnout is covered by Workers Compensation.