Please count the casualties?

Much of the affairs conducted by the Government of Manitoba on behalf of our people are conducted and controlled by four crown corporations: Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, Manitoba Lotteries Corporation and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission.

Hyrdo has a monopoly on the production, control, distribution and sale of electrical power. Manitoba Lotteries more or less controls gambling in the province. MLCC has complete iron clad control of the sale of legal booze and MPIC has an utter monopoly on vehicle insurance.

The role of crown corporations is to conduct business in areas where it is deemed that private business isn’t capable of doing so. Of course, in Manitoba in the past 30-40 years, that has been an ever expanding circle. The ever expanding circle began to really enlarge in the early 70s with the Schreyer NDP swallowing the auto insurance business. Each and every year the government and the crowns swallow up more of the economic activity of the province.

Now Manitoba Hyrdo is rushing to the rescue of the provincial social assistance agencies. It has been announced that 45,000 low income households may get a cut on their hydro. At even $100 per household that would mean hit of $4.5 million to Manitoba Hydro. That means everybody else helps shoulder $4.5 million more in hydro rates or Manitoba Hydro will sink another $4.5 million into debt each and every year. In the bluntest of terms, it means that social assistance agencies just got a $4.5 million boost in budget through the back door.

Now, if the logic of Manitoba Hydro subsidizing hydro rates carries forward, we can assume that low income households will get a cut on their alcohol purchases. That would be a good deal wouldn’t it? And low income households could get a cut on lottery tickets. They could simply step up to the lottery ticket counter ( the ones that seem to inhabit every sales counter in the province) and show a low income card and get their tickets at half price. Some groups might even get them for free.

Autopac should then subsidize the auto insurance rates. Low income earners could get a cut on Autopac.

Does that line of thought seem ridiculous. No not at all, not with this government anyway.
Remember, it was the NDP who wanted to re-direct Autopac dollars to the universities. It was this government that ordered the crown corporations to fork over a million bucks each to the Manitoba Human Rights Museum.

Manitoba has become so government dependent and so socialist that it makes one’s head spin.
As a counter argument, it’s absolutely ridiculous that Manitoba Hydro manipulates rates and their monopoly so that alternative forms of electrical power production will never fly in Manitoba. Wind farms are a farce; the only one that exists does so at the grace of Manitoba Hydro and it wouldn’t be there if Hydro hadn’t been ordered to accommodate it.

MLCC controls the wine and spirits industry. In some jurisdictions, the liquor industry isn’t nearly as restrictive, more choices of stock and availability are in place and the alcoholism rates are lower. With that in mind, tell me again what is the advantage of MLCC. Oh sorry, I forgot, it’s all the union jobs and the unions donating staff to the NDP election teams. How forgetful of me.

Similarly with Manitoba Lotteries. The only advantage of having a crown corp run gambling instead of controlling gambling is so that government can have a bigger pot of money to play with. Oh yes, then there’s all those union jobs and the seconding of staff to to the election team. Then there’s Autopac, dearly beloved Autopac. There’s no reason whatsoever that the government owns, rather than regulates, auto insurance.

If we had a lesser role for crown corporations we would have far more innovation and investment in all four areas of business now controlled by the heavy hand of government. Private companies would pay taxes, be more innovative, conduct more research and development. They, of course, might not contribute quite so much to the huge money pit at The Forks, known as the Museum of Human Rights.
However, private companies might, just might, be innovative enough to figure out how to get some real human rights into the lives of Manitobans. Perhaps, unfettered by government greed for gold and absolute control through ownership, regulation and unions, we might see companies figure out how to actually get Hydro to the Manitoba First Nation communities. They might figure out how to get water and sewer services in those communities. They might actually figure out how to get sanitary hand wipes, or God forbid, nurses and doctors into northern and remote communities.

But no, that would be too far fetched. The government wouldn’t be able to control the whole deal, skim off the profits, kill off the innovation and initiative, control the union forces if we let businesses into the actual process of supplying real needs.

No, it’s much easier to conduct and then ignore an annual body count from disease, alcoholism, malnutrition, bad water, suicide, gas sniffing and down right neglect than to actually encourage anybody to change anything.

Better to lower the hydro rates, sell some more booze, control auto insurance and lotteries and hope that a few more casinos will raise our standard of living.

What’s a few more dead aboriginal people anyway? It worked in the old western movies so why won’t it work here.

What do you say Mr. Doer, how’s the current “count the bodies” system working out for you?

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