Monday, 16 May 2016

Brian Pallister's Efficiency Fairies

Spending be gone painlessly,
no cuts to services, no
job losses, everyone wins
with the efficiency
fairies!

Image Source:


Disney
(Obtained from Wikipedia)
People like public services but also like low taxes. Conservative parties and right of centre politicians tend to campaign on the later. Given self-styled "fiscal conservatives" tend to make much of deficits and the accumulated stock of debt it stands to reason that something has got to give. Taxes (and other public revenue sources) have to equal spending or else debt financing measures have to be used. Since debt is often (and not always with warrant) regarded as bad, that means service cuts, right?

While people may loath "big government" or "government interference" in the abstract, actual public programs (especially the ones soaking up the largest share of spending) are usually quite popular. This is where one of the cheapest, most effective tricks of rightwing populists comes into play: blaming "waste" for large program spending.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Half of this is true already

Painting of Cassandra in front
of Troy by Evelyn De Morgan

Obtained from Wikipedia.
Throughout the election members of Manitoba's pundit class have denounced concerns over cuts and comparisons to the Filmon administrations of the 1990s. A lot of this shade on Filmon comparisons did the admirable job, for the Pallister CONs at least, of obscuring the likely differences in governing approach between the two parties and giving the (without consideration of past governments) track record free Tories a clear advantage. Manitobans let Brian Pallister off the hook mostly on ambiguous promises of a "better Manitoba" and finding efficiencies, though in the latter days of the campaign Pallister announced plans to change labour relations in our province.

Making the last time Manitoba's had a Tory government not up for legitimate consideration was particularly strange. The man from yesterday the Conservatives chose as leader and who is now Premier of this province was a member of the Filmon cabinet. He has said "I think the Filmon government's record was admirable and I think historians will say that was one of the finest governments that Manitoba has been blessed with". There hasn't been a sharp lurch, ideologically, in the Manitoba Conservative Party away from the Right since the 1990s. Given the prominence of very rightwing figures from southern rural Manitoba in the Tory caucus and even hard right members representing Winnipeg ridings the party may even be more conservative than it was in the 1990s.

Left-progressives have been doing some preemptive organizing. Geoff Bergen, a spokesperson for the grassroots movement Solidarity Winnipeg, told The Winnipeg RAG Review the following:

Its extremely likely that if they win they will look at the books and announce that they have less money then they thought (true or not) and will institute austerity measures that will effect social services and workers livelihoods in Manitoba.- Geoff Bergen, Solidarity Winnipeg spokesperson

From the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday

"It’s worse than we thought. It’s definitely worse than we thought," he [Pallister] told reporters after his 40-member caucus was sworn in on Wednesday in a ceremony at the Legislative Building.

("Budget coming in just over two weeks: Pallister". Kusch, Larry. Winnipeg Free Press (May 11, 2016)) 

It is clear, regardless of whatever spin assuaged people that there wouldn't be a fundamentally distinct direction taken by the Pallister Government, things are playing out as skeptics predicted. This leaves us with the question of how long will it take Manitobans to recognize that the Cassandras were right? 

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Scott Price on what the Pallister Gov't means for the Manitoba Labour Movement

Scott Price on what the Pallister CON Government means for the Manitoba Labour Movement. Labour organizing capacity, the new government's stated intent to move away from card check certification, and the new group Solidarity Winnipeg are discussed.

Fast Forward Newsline - Unions from Green Planet Monitor on Vimeo.


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