Poll shows Manitobans' top budget priority is protecting public services

“The new government has made a public commitment to keep public services public and to protect them and that’s what our members will be watching for in the budget.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President

Winnipeg (31 May 2016) — Manitobans voted for change in the recent provincial election, but their strong support for public services has not changed, according to a new poll done by Viewpoints Research. When asked what the government’s top priority should be ahead of next week’s budget, by a healthy margin, Manitobans identified protecting public services.

High expectations for maintaining and improving public services

“Manitobans believe strongly in the value of public services and they have indicated a path forward for the new government as it finalizes plans for next week’s provincial budget: protect services,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “The new government has made a public commitment to keep public services public and to protect them and that’s what our members will be watching for in the budget.”

Other notable themes identified in the poll are Manitobans' desire to keep public services public, and to forge ahead with progressive taxation measures to help fund the public services Manitobans depend on.

Among the poll findings

  • 81% want health care kept as a public service, not privatized.
  • 79% support increasing income taxes on large corporations to help protect public services.
  • 74% support tax increases for people living in households with before-tax incomes of over $200,000 to protect or improve public services.
  • 74% oppose cutting public services to reduce the deficit.
  • 72% want child protection and other social services to be kept as public services, not privatized.
  • 64% want home care to remain public, not privatized.
  • 44% believe protecting health care, roads, justice, and other public services is government’s most important budget priority, compared to 28% who feel stimulating the economy and helping to create jobs is ,while 11% want to balance the budget even if it means cutting services and laying off people.

“Our members have consistently brought forward concerns about being stretched thin with fewer resources and increased workloads because of positions going unfilled as part of vacancy management programs. Our hope is that this budget will address some of those concerns, too,” Gawronsky added in advance of the Manitoba budget on May 31.

MGEU/NUPGE puts forward recommendations for Manitoba budget

Based on the public polling and the advice of its membership, the MGEU/NUPGE is offering the following general recommendations to the government in advance of Budget 2016:

  • Hold the government to their commitment to protect public services
  • Ensure no privatization of services takes place, including using social impact bonds or other privatization schemes to fund and deliver public services
  • To reduce the deficit, increase taxes on large corporations and on households with before tax annual incomes of $200,000.

“MGEU members are proud to work in communities across Manitoba and in many sectors. This public poll mirrors the priorities of our diverse membership who will want to see their priorities reflected in the budget. The government should consider these findings when deliberating over their upcoming budget decisions.”

The poll of 803 adults was conducted by Viewpoints Research May 9–14, 2016, and is considered accurate to within 3.4% 19 times out of 20.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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