By: Graham Lane
Recent news that Gord Mackintosh, Daryl Reid and Ron Lemieux will not run brings the number of NDP incumbents not running for election to 12. This large number is tantamount to the NDP throwing in the towel. Recognizing defeat is inevitable and they now spend their last months in power doing everything they can to sabotage matters for the next government.
We have seen what they are doing with Manitoba Hydro, setting the next government up to triple power rates with a plan to borrow $26 billion for building unneeded dams that will subsidize American power consumers. The latest public sector contract has a no-cut clause, hamstringing a new government from rationalizing departments and culling incompetent NDP partisans riddled throughout the government. New laws mandating ever-shrinking class sizes also forces unnecessary costs onto the next government, a recipe for even higher school taxes. And, let’s not forget the now chronic deficits which have followed the NDP’s systematic defanging of Manitoba’s balanced budget law, opening the door to ever-larger additions to the province’s mammoth debt.
Now yet another trap has been set by the NDP, this time in immigration. Last year, under pressure to better manage the flow of immigrants, the NDP implemented an expression of interest process. This allowed them to select applicants with the highest number of points and process them more quickly. This was first prudently managed, with about 70 invitations going to overseas applicants per week continuing up until October last year. Since that time, the number of overseas invitations has doubled to about 150 per week.
At the same time, there remains a backlog of 3,700 old and unprocessed applications from two years ago. At current rates of processing, these older applications would take five years to deal with.
But wait, there is a catch, Manitoba has a yearly quota of only 5,000. Based on the current number of applications invited every week, the quota will be used up in May. And, if they also process a few hundred of the old files from two years ago, then the quota would be fully allocated by the end of April — conveniently in time to mess up the next government.
The large number of invitations still going out seem purposely designed to create problems for the new government. In any given year, there are only about 2,000 approvals of those on Manitoba work permits. These are generally skilled workers, who work here for six to 24 months in order to qualify. If Manitoba runs out of spots by the end of April there will be no way these people can stay. Many will see their work permits run out, forcing them to leave Canada. Some of them have been here as students and workers for up to six years — while highly trained they still will have to leave.
The Provincial Nominee Program has been in operation for 19 years, but never before has it seen this kind of abuse. This is a new low in the government’s behaviour, and will affect thousands of families now living here who will have to go back home. The NDP will either blame the new government or the federal government (for not allocating more spots), but clearly it will be their fault.
Graham Lane chairs Manitoba Forward (www.manitobaforward.ca), focused on sound public policy. Republished from the Winnipeg Sun online edition March 3, 2016.
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