Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB –
Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberals announced their plan to invest in Manitoba’s colleges and universities, with multi-year stable funding aimed at increasing research capacity and expanding departments in order to increase graduates and help address Manitoba’s labour shortages.
“It’s said that if you want a guaranteed return on investment, put it into education,” said Lamont. “Investing in quality education – and making sure it’s affordable for students and their families is the key to securing a better future for all Manitobans. That’s why we’re committing to improved funding so that we can have quality and affordability all in one.”
Liberals say high tuition fees and the worry of taking on unmanageable debt are major barriers to why many young people choose not to pursue higher education. For international students, inadequate health care coverage can lead to out-of-pocket spending on major medical bills.
Manitoba Liberals commit to:
Provide graduates with debt relief when they stay in Manitoba by reinstating the tuition rebate program. The program, first conceived by the Manitoba Liberals in 2003, provides a rebate of up to 60% on all eligible tuition fees when students begin working.
Reinstate health coverage for international students. They should be entitled to Medicare, especially since they are the largest pool of future permanent residents to Manitoba.
To ensure that post-secondary institutions can keep tuition affordable while maintaining investments in research and faculty, Manitoba Liberals commit to stable, multi-year funding.
Respect the freedom of inquiry and the autonomy of public post-secondary institutions so they can fulfill their mandates free from political interference.
Lamont said a major problem under the PCs has been political interfering in wage mandates, as seen most recently at the University of Manitoba. During a faculty strike in 2016, the University of Manitoba was found guilty of engaging in unfair labour practices after the PC Government ordered them to impose a wage freeze. However, the NDP was no different. It also imposed multi-year wage freezes. In 2010-11 & 2011-12, the NDP imposed an across- the board “wage pause” on University of Manitoba faculty and staff.
Lamont, who sat on the Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba in the 1990s, said institutions have endured decades of underfunding under the PCs and NDP alike, and that it was clear from their fiscal commitments in their promises that those parties have no intention of making the much-needed investments that post-secondary education requires.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said, “The NDP’s pledge to keep the fiscal framework laid out by PC government in its budget and the associated tax breaks and rebates will also increase income inequality… an NDP government would have “little fiscal room to increase spending on core services without cuts to other budget items.”
“The PCs and NDP are both promising hundreds of millions of dollars of tax cuts, instead of making sure Manitoba’s health care and workforce needs are met,” said Lamont. “The NDP and PCs entire campaigns are based entirely on how bad the other party and leader are.
Vote Manitoba Liberal and stop both.”