Winnipeg, MB — Today, the Government of Manitoba released the 2020 provincial budget, which outlined priorities of tax cuts, a reduced deficit, and business prosperity. While it may leave more money on the kitchen tables of the most affluent Manitobans, it leaves much to be desired when it comes to meaningful climate action.
“In a climate emergency, the policies, and more importantly, budgets need to reflect that,” said Green Party of Manitoba Leader, James Beddome. “Manitobans want real action on climate change and they simply won’t find it in this budget.”
The provincial budget proudly leads with the Made in Manitoba Green Levy and PST Rate Reduction, which introduces a flat rate of $25/tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, effective July 1, 2020. The PST rate cut to 6% will disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Manitobans, have little to no impact on consumption behaviours, and fails to invest in essential climate mitigation and resilience efforts.
“The Government of Manitoba wants to receive credit for the energy investments of previous governments, suggesting that Manitoba has already done our part in the fight against climate change,” said Beddome. “However, we need a Carbon Tax that addresses our emissions today and continues to increase for tomorrow. A Green Levy that is ‘flat like the prairie horizon’ is short-sighted, especially for a prairie province.”
The budget also demonstrates the continued underfunding of the North End Waste Water Treatment Plant at only $21.8 million, a reduction in vehicle registration fees of 10%, and new ‘green’ investments that are yet to be announced. While we see an increase in the Conservation and Climate expenditure of 66% and a one-time capital investment of $45 million for climate resiliency projects, there are far too many question marks around where those limited funds will be allocated.
The Green Party of Manitoba recognizes the opportunities that the Province of Manitoba has in taking meaningful action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and invest in a green economy. In this budget, we are seeing many of those opportunities being missed.
“The Greens would want to see strategic investments that better prepare Manitobans for the future,” said Green Party of Manitoba President, David Nickarz. “Whether it be addressing climate change, poverty, healthcare, or education, we recognize that tax cuts do not adequately prepare our province for what comes next.”
As a party, we will continue pushing the Government of Manitoba to implement bolder targets and policies to address climate change and the many challenges Manitobans are facing.