Protesters at legislative building fear cuts will not be temporary

News source from CTV News

Protesters returned to the legislature to sound their opposition against government cuts.

The group of protesters, who are part of a local group called ‘Community Not Cuts’ remained in their cars to protest from a safe physical distance, but waved signs and honked horns as they drove around the building.

This comes after a recent announcement from Manitoba Hydro that up to 700 positions will be laid off. Hydro said the layoffs are the result of a mandate from the Progressive Conservative government last month to reduce labour costs from May through August by 10, 20 and 30 per cent.

Hydro said the layoffs will provide approximately $11 million in workforce savings and will last for four months. But some protesters say they are worried these cuts, along with others announced earlier, could last longer.

“The biggest fear is that these cuts are not going to be temporary,” said Shaden Abusaleh, one of the protesters, on Wednesday. “These cuts will have long-lasting impacts on our public sector, as have any and all of the cuts and changes to the public sector that (Pallister) has done over the past few years.”

Pallister has previously said he doubts the hundreds of layoffs at Manitoba Hydro will have an impact on service, adding the public sector has been severely impacted by the pandemic and consequently Hydro does not need to provide as much service as it normally does.

“I can only tell you that we’re in a pandemic and the fact of the matter is that every aspect of society is impacted by it,” said Pallister at a news conference on Tuesday.

The protesters were at the legislative building as government met for its now weekly question period.

-with files from CTV’s Kayla Rosen

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