Wab's reflection on the end of session
When I look back on the last few months in the Legislature I’m struck by how the pandemic has brought us back to our roots as a Party. The NDP was founded to fight for working people and stand up for democracy – and that fight has never been more important in Manitoba then it is today.
In the early days of the pandemic we focused on keeping workers safe and protected. We pushed for increased PPE, paid sick leave, and freezes on evictions and utility bills. And we called the government out for their mishandling of childcare. As the economy shut down, we stood up for Manitobans who were struggling to make ends meet, from local business owners to workers in all sectors. And when Brian Pallister made the biggest budget cut in Manitoba history, laying off thousands of educators, frontline workers at Hydro, cutting supports for environmental organizations and attacking universities and colleges, we fought back in the House, in the media and in our campaign to Protect Manitoba Jobs.
And we have proposed an alternative vision for our province that would provide paid sick leave to all workers, improved standards for seniors in long term care, a living wage and other supports for families and regular people.
As the Official Opposition we have a responsibility to defend Democracy as an essential service. Manitobans deserve the chance to consider the legislative decisions that will impact their lives. That’s why we stopped the Government from ramming through harmful legislation on schools, workers and public services. And that’s why we called for the government to include the Legislature in Phase 2 of reopening to make up for the days we missed because of Covid. But they refused.
It’s no surprise that after cutting jobs and slashing budgets, the Conservatives are avoiding accountability, shutting down democratic process and hiding from the public . But we are continuing to fight for more sitting days and pushing for the Legislature to open as soon as possible so we can hold the government accountable for its decisions.
Manitobans deserve better than a return to “normal.” This pandemic has exposed the deep cracks in our economic system that leaves so many families struggling. And the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers laid bare the ongoing tragic consequences of racial injustice. But if we have seen anything these past few weeks it is that real, societal change is possible. We need to make a critical push for justice and equality, and dismantle the structures of oppression, including the systemic racism, that exists. We have an opportunity now to build a just future for everyone in this province. I hope you’ll continue to stand with us.
Miigwech, Merci, Thank You,
Leader of the Official Opposition