Manitoba is being cheated big time

It’s tempting to use a stronger word than cheated but that word would be deemed offensive. So, as a word choice, cheated will have to do.
It’s no secret that our Manitoba government is largely controlled by unions. Be it public sector unions like the Manitoba Government Employees or the Canadian Union of Public Employees or industry based unions, the government is pretty much dependent on the support of Manitoba’s unions. Many people are too young to remember that the NDP party was an amalgamation (in 1961) of the CCF (Canadian Commonwealth Federation) and the lobbying efforts of the Canadian Labour Congress. The old CCF was born out of frustration during the Great Depression of the 1930s and can trace its roots to Regina and, in fact, to the Communist Manifesto. That’s a little tidbit that the NDP don’t like to bring up in polite company. That, and the fact their most successful provincial and federal leader, Tommy Douglas, believed that poverty was hereditary and that “poor people” and “mentally defective” people should be sterilized so they didn’t reproduce more of the same. They also don’t mention that Douglas didn’t invent medicare, he simply adopted it some 20 years after it was in place at the municipal level in Saskatchewan.
With that bit of history in mind, we fast forward to the current era and we see that all that nastiness has been “cleansed” from the NDP record and everything is done in a nice democratic fashion. The unions elect delegates, control federal, provincial, municipal and school board elections in Winnipeg as well as Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver. In Manitoba, the unions provide the cash through their members, the bulk of the election workers, and just about everything else, to the NDP party. It’s a great arrangement. So what do the unions get in return? They get an iron clad agreement that no change in government policy will ever reduce the number of union jobs
The problem with unions is that while they start out championing the cause of the little guy, protecting the worker and all those admirable things, the union quickly becomes a self-serving entity. Almost inevitably the union loses sight of the original purpose. It has to have more union members and more union dues in order to grow or sustain itself.  The newly acquired purpose becomes keeping union jobs, not so much for the sake of the workers but for the sake of the collection of revenue, namely union dues.
Thus in Manitoba, we were recently faced with yet another situation where a non-union private company could have brought help to the health care stress in which we find ourselves. A company in Saskatchewan has contracted with that government to provide diagnostic services. Cheaper than the government, faster than the government and apparently at the same or better quality, this company has signed a contract with the government. Not allowed in Manitoba. Never mind we are way behind, that we have wait lists, that we have people desperate for diagnosis. Not going to happen. And this isn’t even diagnostics paid by a private individual, the Saskatchewan contract is still paid by the government.
The NDP have not only turned down this public pay model, they have always turned down a private pay model. It doesn’t matter how bad you want or need a CT scan or MRI in Manitoba, you can’t buy one out of your own pocket. You can in Alberta, you can in Minnesota or North Dakota, but not in Manitoba. Why? Because the unions won’t let the government do it, as to do so might mean less union jobs which in turn means fewer union dues. Fewer union dues means less people actually working for the union and that will never do. If the unions were smart and if they actually cared for the health and well being of Manitobans, they would embrace every good initiative that came along. That would require some change and God knows, change isn’t a big part of the union thought process.
Am I hard on unions? You bet I am. I would be the biggest promoter of unions this province had ever known, if they would truly help their members and all Manitobans. If they were innovative, if they were realistic, if they kept up with the needs of Manitobans, then I would be supportive. I feel sorry for the innovators and the progressive people in the union movement, they must be almost as frustrated as I am. They have many reasons to be frustrated because Manitobans are being cheated. Cheated of progress, cheated of the best services, cheated of innovation. Cheated, that’s the most polite word that I can print but there are others that better describe the situation.

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