The harsh reality is that the province may have little choice. Manitoba currently finds itself in a precarious fiscal situation. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has calculated Manitoba’s debt to be exceeding $30 billion in 2013, with the present provincial government intent on adding another $24 billion in debt for Manitoba Hydro alone, this to build dams and transmission lines for shaky export markets against prevailing expert advice. A recent joint study by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies found that equalization payments to Manitoba are falling because fiscally challenged Ontario is increasingly crowding out the traditional have-nots at the federal transfer payment buffet table.
The obvious answer is to bring, over time, provincial public sector employee complements down towards the national average sooner rather than later and save a very useful $2 billion annually.
This article appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press