Manitoba’s NDP party says Premier Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government is not doing enough to mitigate the economic effects that will be felt as up to 1,500 jobs are lost in Flin Flon and Thompson in the next year or so.
A briefing note sent to Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen last May, which was obtained by the NDP through a freedom-of-information request, said those job losses could represent $100 million in lost income and an overall loss of $300 million to the Northern Manitoba economy. Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey told the Nickel Belt News that the province is not doing enough in the short term to limit the damage those jobs losses will cause.
“We need to start addressing some of these issues right now,” said Lindsey, noting that the Look North task force’s report is more focused on long-term solutions. “The long-term vision is good but what do we do now that will try and keep those jobs, those workers, in the communities in the north so that Flin Flon and Thompson can survive?”
Lindsey said the approach to this economic crisis needs to be different than the one the government has taken towards Churchill, which has been without rail service since late May.
“They need to step up their game for the rest of the north because we need to look at what investments should be made and how they can be made so that workers and communities have that job base and that tax base,” Lindsey said. “The government needs to have those people working in those high-paying jobs too because it’s a lot of taxes that are going to disappear from their tax base.”
Pallister told the CBC that the job loss numbers in the briefing note have been well known for a long time and that the focus needed to be on the long-term.