Three big lies

Citizens should be able to depend on two things.
1. Honesty from their politicians.
2. The news media keeping politicians honest.
Manitoba’s two leading politicians, Premier Gary Doer and Finance Minister Greg Sellinger should know better than to be dishonest and the media should have the courage to call them on it when they don’t tell the truth. Manitobans have every right to be disappointed as there’s three big lies that have been told. Those lies have been used to prop up the Manitoba NDP party for many years and few media outlets have called Doer and Sellinger to task on those issues.

Big lie number 1.
The 1990s were tough times in Manitoba because the PC Manitoba party headed by Gary Filmon made huge cuts in spending.

The truth: The Gary Filmon Conservatives inherited a double whammy situation. The previous NDP Pawley government had spent themselves silly and the PCs had to rein in spending. The second part of the problem, and the bigger part, was that the federal Liberals under Prime Minister Chretien and Finance Minister Paul Martin decided the time had come to balance the federal budget and they implemented major cuts in transfer payments to the provinces.
We have to remember that Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau ( 1970s and early 80s) had taken the country into massive debt with nearly 15 years of deficit spending. That was followed up by the Brian Mulroney government ( mid-80s and early 90s) who tried to rein in spending and in desperation set up the hated GST to try to overcome the deficit.
More background information shows that deficit spending was finally accepted as a bad thing because of the relentless efforts of Reform party leader Preston Manning. Remember Manning’s speech line, “Get your fiscal house in order.” Manning’s efforts were matched and paralleled by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and by the now retired Deputy Minister of Finance who convinced Paul Martin that federal government deficits had to go.
Conclusion: Times were tough in Manitoba in the 1990s but it had little to do with the PC Manitoba party lead by Gary Filmon.

Big Lie number 2:
The Manitoba Tories fired a 1000 nurses. Actually, Gary Doer has been known to stretch that lie to 1500 nurses when he’s in full verbal flight in the Manitoba legislature.

The truth: In the 1990s, the PC Filmon government set up the Regional Health Authority system. Until then the nurses and the Manitoba Nurses Union had their collective agreements with the local hospitals and care homes. When most of the hospitals and care homes were brought under the RHA system, the agreements couldn’t be transferred so the nurses contracts had to be ended at the end of a shift and re-established under collective agreements with the appropriate RHA at the beginning of the next shift. That process was carried out over and over again as successive facilities were absorbed by the RHAs
Conclusion: No nurses were fired, few if any positions were eliminated.

Big Lie number 3
The Province of Manitoba’s debt is only $12 billion.

The truth:
Manitoba’s debt is actually $20 billion but by using a convoluted and nonsensical explanation Finance Minister Greg Sellinger says government owned assets somehow offset the province’s debt and so we really only have net debt of $12 billion.
Sellinger even has had the audacity to publicly suggest by way of explanation that if a homeowner owns a $100,000 house and has a $110,000 mortgage that the homeowner only has a net debt of $10,000. Try telling that to your banker!

Conclusion: Sellinger has mislead Manitobans about the provincial debt.

Overall conclusion: Many media people need to hang their heads in shame when they don’t hold politicians to the truth.

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