By Cameron and Janet Merrill
The need to “tighten our belts” is heard so often in the public sector, it is pretty much accepted without question. This is certainly the case for Canadian universities: actions such as raising tuition fees, cutting programs, increasing class sizes and workloads, closing defined benefit pension plans, cutting salaries, discontinuing library subscriptions, and replacing tenure track positions with casual academic staff are seen as regrettable but necessary when claims of challenging fiscal times are repeated over and over. Continue reading
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. I hold the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. On behalf of the Chair, I wish to speak in opposition to Bill 7, The Labour Relations Amendment Act.
I will first explain why unions are beneficial for all workers and for Canadian society, and so should be afforded a strong legislative and regulatory framework. I will also offer evidence that lower union density in Canada and across the developed world has led to greater inequality and contributed to slow economic growth. Continue reading
This is the presentation Lynne Fernandez, Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues made in person for the Provincial Budget Consultation on October 26th, 2016.
Minister Friesen and Panel Members, thank you for inviting me to present this evening.
Recent developments in Churchill and The Pas have focused public attention more on the North. Part of the reason for the growing crisis there is that economic activity has been driven by people and companies that do not have a lasting connection to the places they are doing business, nor have they worked to reduce inequities or respected local cultures. Continue reading
By Lynne Fernandez
It will take more than one budget – hastily prepared – to fully appreciate the Conservatives’ master plan, but the Throne Speech, a fiscal update and Ministerial mandate letters tell us what we should be keeping our eye on.
Finance Minister Friesen’s dire warnings about the size of the deficit (at just over $1 billion) cause him to blame the NDP for overspending. But the $366 million difference between the Conservatives’ estimate and the NDP’s relate to expenditures that appear unavoidable, including flood disaster assistance and environmental liability costs. There’s also $143 million in federal compensation for the 2011 flood that the province has yet to receive, but is forthcoming. Continue reading
By Jim Silver
An issue that needs to be addressed in the forthcoming Throne Speech on November 20th, is the persistence in Manitoba of a deep, complex and damaging poverty.
Important gains have been made in recent years in the fight against poverty, especially in Winnipeg’s inner city. They often emerge in the following way: people in an inner-city community identify a means of responding to a poverty-related problem, and put together a strategy based on their hands-on, “close-to-the-ground” experiential knowledge; and once a plan is in place and is determined to be viable, the provincial government invests in that community-driven initiative. This kind of partnership has produced some significant gains of late. Examples—there are many more—include: the remarkable transformation in Lord Selkirk Park, a North End public housing complex where the community mobilized and the provincial government invested, leading to big gains in a neighbourhood once thought by many to be a lost cause; the many productive investments by Neighbourhoods Alive!, including core funding for Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations that do important anti-poverty work in low-income communities; the pioneering efforts of organizations like Building Urban Industries for Local Development (BUILD) and Manitoba Green Retrofit (MGR) in moving into useful paid employment significant numbers of inner-city residents who would otherwise have difficulty finding jobs; the highly successful adult educational initiatives on Selkirk Avenue, soon to be added to by the redevelopment of the old Merchants Hotel into Merchants Corner; the significant numbers of social and affordable housing units that have been and are being built by the Province; and the introduction of the Rent Assist program, which when fully rolled out will produce results that will place Manitoba at the cutting edge of the fight against poverty. Continue reading
By Lynne Fernandez
There has been a greater tendency for governments to outsource, and the City of Winnipeg is no exception. Outsourcing can be complex and lack transparency, particularly when public-private partnerships (P3s) are used. Under a P3, a for-profit company does any combination of: designing, building, financing, operating and even owning public infrastructure. Contracts range from years to decades. Continue reading
By Lynne Fernandez
Photo: Green Action Centre
Much of Winnipeg’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair or replacement. The City’s 2009 administrative report found that just to maintain our existing infrastructure in its current state required $2.1 billion be spent over the next 10 years. Bringing the existing infrastructure to an adequate level of repair required a further $1.7 billion and the amount needed to invest on new infrastructure was around $3.6 billion. Accordingly, our total infrastructure deficit was $7.4 billion (2009 dollars). Continue reading