Poll shows Manitobans’ top budget priority is protecting services

"Manitobans have sent a very clear message that acting to protect the services families depend on is at the top of the list by a significant margin." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President

Winnipeg (13 April 2015) — Manitobans prefer protecting public services above things like balancing the budget by a fixed date or reducing taxes, according to a new Probe Research public opinion poll. Manitobans also indicated that they oppose privatization schemes and job cuts as a means to balance the budget, and support asking corporations and those who have done well in our economy to contribute a bit more in taxes to help meet budgetary goals.

Cuts to public services are not the way to balance the budget

“Manitobans understand that this government could take a number of different paths in addressing our province’s fiscal priorities,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE).

“They’ve sent a very clear message that acting to protect the services families depend on is at the top of the list by a significant margin. Rushing to balance a budget by a fixed, arbitrary date by making deep cuts to services or cutting jobs may have been the way other provinces have gone, but clearly Manitobans want a different path forward."

Manitobans support increasing taxes for corporations and the wealthy

Each year, MGEU/NUPGE proposes a series of budget recommendations to the provincial government based on discussions with its members. In the recent past, this has been accompanied by public opinion research that underlines the degree to which Manitobans support the union’s recommendations. Probe Research, on behalf of MGEU/NUPGE, conducted a survey of 1,005 Manitobans in both rural Manitoba and Winnipeg between March 17th and April 1st, 2015. It is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage point with 95 per cent certainty.

Among the poll’s findings

  • 45 per cent of Manitobans identified protecting public services as their top budget priority, compared to stimulating the economy (22 per cent), balancing the budget (16 per cent), or reducing taxes (15 per cent).
  • 79 per cent of Manitobans agreed that it is more important to protect public services than balance the budget by a fixed, arbitrary date.
  • 77 per cent of respondents believe that the Manitoba government should not eliminate jobs because this would harm important services that families and communities depend on.
  • 72 per cent of Manitobans support increasing income taxes on large corporations and on households with before-tax annual incomes of $200,000.
  • 62 per cent of Manitobans opposed the privatization of public services.

MGEU/NUPGE provides government with recommendations to support valuable public services

Based on the public polling and the advice of its membership, MGEU/NUPGE offered the following recommendations to the government as Budget 2015 deliberations continue

  • Commit to protecting public services even if it means taking longer to balance the budget.
  • To reduce the deficit, increase taxes on large corporations and on households with before tax annual incomes of $200,000.
  • Resist further privatization of public services.
  • Address staff and funding shortages in home care, long-term care, and rural emergency services.
  • Provide multi-year funding to social service agencies to ensure good, quality community services.
  • Delay the implementation of the Seniors Property Tax Rebate until the budget is balanced.

The MGEU/NUPGE has prepared a report, Protecting Public Services, which outlines Manitobans' public service priorities and includes a complete list of the union's recommendations for the upcoming 2015 provincial budget.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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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