The Manitoba government has released its mid-year financial report and economic outlook, Premier Brian Pallister and Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced Dec. 17.
According to a government press release Manitoba has committed $3.2 billion in response to the health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic. This funding includes the following items:
• Manitoba Bridge Grant – $200 million;
• Safe Schools Fund and Safe Restart Contingency Fund – $185 million;
• Safe Restart Agreement funding to municipalities – $106 million;
• Long-term Recovery Fund – $50 million;
• Caregiver Wage Support Program – $35 million; and
• Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit – $10 million.
The Liberal opposition claims that much of the funding for these programs was budgeted prior to the pandemic or is just a distribution of previously received Federal money, and should not be referred to as COVID-19 expenses.
They also take exception to the premier’s comment that Manitoba did not experience a first wave of the virus. Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, says; “Brian Pallister is now claiming that Manitoba had no first wave in the springas an excuse for their total failure to prepare for the second wave. As a statement, this defies reality. If there was no first wave, why did we shut down schools in the spring?”
Premier Pallister noted that, “The Fiscal Stabilization Account, or rainy day fund, remains at $800 million, providing certainty of additional liquidity reserves.”
Lamont stated, “In the worst crisis in a century, the Pallister government is sitting on an $800-million fund while thousands of businesses and individuals are being driven into bankruptcy as the PCs refuse to help.”
Read the full mid-year financial report at www.manitoba.ca/governmentfinances.