PCs Deceitful Fiscal Update Overstates COVID-19 Spending by $1.2-billion

June 30, 2020

After waiting months for a fiscal update on Manitoba's finances, the Pallister government has released a document that rebrands $1.24-billion in spending that was going to happen anyway as "COVID-19" measures. The actual amount of spending is less than $1-billion - $939,397 - over a third of which is on PPE.

The PCs number-fudging presents hundreds of millions of dollars that had already been announced and was going to happen anyway as "new spending," while padding their books with more than $100-million in Crown Corporation rebates that are supposed to be independent of government.

"The PCs latest fiscal update is so dishonest that it verges on accounting fraud. The Pallister Government is padding their books with $1.2-billion claims of spending that have nothing to do with COVID-19," said Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, Dougald Lamont. "The PCs went to war with the Auditor General claiming they had no control over the WCB or MPI, but here they are basically confessing to political interference."

Here is a summary of the "overstatements" of spending that was going to take place anyway, and Crown Corporation rebates that are supposed to fall outside of government control. The figures are taken from Page 27 and 28 of the Economic and Fiscal Update.

Safety Upgrades in Personal Care Homes


Equipment and Infrastructure Upgrades in Health-Care Facilities


Research Manitoba


Home Nutrition, Learning Program and Food Insecurity support


Disability Economic Support Program


Digital Health Initiatives


Homeless Shelter Response Plan


Homeless Shelter Response Plan - additional funding


MPI COVID-19 Rebates


Elimination of PST on property insurance


WCB Financial Relief


Manitoba Restart Capital


Transition Support for Post-Secondary Institutions


Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative


Building Sustainable Communities Program


Manitoba Bursary Program




The report even disagrees with the authorities it cites.

Pallister's claim that the Parliamentary Budget Office shows that Manitoba's spending is $2.1-billion comes with a footnote, "Manitoba's spend of $2.1-billion is lower than the PBO estimate of $2.5-billion" (Page 25).

"For months, we have been calling for an honest accounting of Manitoba's finances and instead we get a document that is relentlessly dishonest," said Lamont. "In a time of crisis, we need leaders who will tell it straight, not manipulate people."



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