Pallister Seniors Bonus Would be Much Better if he did not Qualify for it Himself

May 5, 2020

WINNIPEG - Brian Pallister's promise to send a cheque to every senior in Manitoba sounds too good to be true, and Manitoba Liberals say the fact that the Premier himself qualifies shows the program isn't sending money to the seniors who need it the most.

There are no conditions on the money, which means that Pallister and other PC MLAs will all get a $200 cheque in the coming weeks - as long as they file their taxes.

"There is no doubt, this is not going to be enough for huge numbers of seniors in Manitoba who are living in poverty," said Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Tyndall Park and Seniors' Critic for the Liberals. "For many seniors, it won't even cover the extra costs of dispensary fees this government has imposed."

Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, said the program is designed to give Manitobans the false impression of generosity, to divert attention from $860-million in cuts for thousands of Manitobans who are facing brutal wage cuts and layoffs.

"It is really unfortunate that the programs the Premier keeps announcing are ones he is eligible for," said Lamont.

Manitoba has some of the weakest support programs for people and business, but the Premier has made exceptions for programs from which he or his business will benefit.

Aside from the $200 tax-free cheque, Pallister also passed a $75-million bill to cut the PST on residential and commercial property insurance. That means Pallister's house insurance will drop in price and customers at Pallister's insurance agency will get a break.

Even Pallister's vaunted cut to his own salary, has benefits. Pallister initially said he would take a 25% pay cut - but only on a portion of his salary. The real cut was more like 8%. Because the Premier bumped himself into a lower tax bracket, he is eligible to save $4,500 in income taxes.

Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights, and his wife Naomi are both eligible for the $200 cheque and will donate it to charity.



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