In Session

Wayne Ewasko In Session at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.

NDP pays nearly $3 million for political friends before election

Cost of the Selinger government’s dysfunction threatens front-line services: Pallister

November 17, 2015 – The Selinger NDP has increased the salaries of a number of political staff by an average of 22 per cent and paid nearly $3 million in salaries and payouts to 52 political staff members since the beginning of the NDP’s family feud a year ago, in an attempt to beef up its manpower in advance of the upcoming provincial election campaign.

“The NDP is paying large salaries using taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars in its desperation to hold onto power,” said Opposition Leader Brian Pallister. “This is the price of dysfunction under this Premier. And it clearly shows why Manitobans, under the NDP, are paying more and getting less.”

Since five NDP cabinet ministers stepped down in revolt against the Premier in November 2014, the Selinger government has paid at least $670,000 in payouts, hired 33 political staffers and increased the pay of about a dozen others by an average of 22 per cent, and in some cases by as much as 62 per cent – amounting to approximately $3 million in salaries and payouts paid for by taxpayers.

“The Premier wants a topped-up political machine using taxpayers’ money that could have been spent on services Manitobans need, such as health care, infrastructure or child care,” said Opposition house leader Kelvin Goertzen. “The NDP’s waste is rewarding political staff at the top of the government. In contrast, the PC vision is to protect front-line workers and services.”

Backgrounder

Below is a sampling of selected additional political staff hired by the NDP since the resignation of five senior cabinet ministers in November 2014:

  • 2 executive assistants
  • 3 special assistants
  • 2 project managers
  • 3 directors
  • 1 associate director
  • 1 executive director
  • 1 outreach co-ordinator
  • 1 policy and issues manager

A total of 12 political staff received pay increases averaging more than 20 per cent since the resignation of five senior cabinet ministers in November 2014. Below is a sampling of some of those increases:

  • director of issues management: 62 per cent
  • previous director of issues management: 33 per cent
  • director of cabinet communications: 30 per cent
  • project manager, priorities and planning committee of cabinet: 20 per cent
  • director, premier’s secretariat: 18 per cent
  • program manager, minister’s office: 15 per cent

PC MLA Advances Lymphedema Awareness Day Act

Bill enshrines March 6 as day to recognize impact Lymphedema has on Manitobans: Ewasko

May 5, 2014 – A Private Members’ Bill introduced by Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko, to recognize the significance of Lymphedema is one step closer to being passed into law.
“Lymphedema is a hidden epidemic and can affect anyone,” said Ewasko, Private Member’s Bill 209’s sponsor. “Lymphedema’s effects can impact lives through the loss of mobility, increased possibility of infections and of course pain and enlarged limbs. It’s important we designate by law a day to show those affected by Lymphedema they are not alone and have the support of all Manitobans.”
In promoting the Bill, which would enshrine March 6 as a province-wide day of awareness, Ewasko continues to stand with the Lymphedema Association of Manitoba, which is based in his constituency, to promote its important work. This day will recognize the pain and suffering affecting 150 million people living with Lymphedema worldwide – including 12,000 Manitobans. Lymphedema is a serious medical condition which affects cancer survivors and anyone whose lymphatic system has been damaged by injury or surgery.
Lymphedema is one of the most feared side effects for breast cancer patients and survivors. It affects 25 percent of those patients, sometimes for decades. Babies can also be born with this condition.  As this Bill continues to progress through the Legislature, the tireless efforts of the Lymphedema Association of Manitoba volunteers, such as chair Kim Avanthay, should also be recognized for helping him work to make this important day a possibility.

IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTIONS STRENGTHENED BY PC BILL

Personal information is better protected because of Bill 211: Ewasko
September 13, 2013
– Personal information is a target for thieves and before Bill 211, there were few protections for information breached in the private sector. Bill 211, first sponsored by former Morris MLA Mavis Taillieu and now brought forward by Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko, works to change that. The bill governs the collection of personal information by organizations, and the organizations that collect this information are now responsible for safeguarding it from being misused.

“Never before have these important protections been available for all Manitobans,” Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Critic Wayne Ewasko said. “Since 2004, the NDP has failed to act to protect Manitobans when it knew identity theft was a growing issue here. We are pleased to take action to make Manitobans safer.”

Bill 211 states that people must give oral or written consent for their information to be used by an organization, and that authorization can be withdrawn at any time. If information is lost or stolen, the individuals must be contacted and informed of the breach.

Manitoba Progressive Conservatives have tried nine times under this NDP government to get this legislation passed. That Bill 211 will finally become law is a victory for all Manitobans.

CULTURE, HERITAGE & TOURISM CRITIC WAYNE EWASKO EDITORIAL

MLA for Lac du Bonnet Wayne Ewasko attended Pinawa’s 50th Birthday parade on July 20, 2013

MLA for Lac du Bonnet Wayne Ewasko attended Pinawa’s 50th Birthday parade on July 20, 2013

July 26, 2013 – As Manitobans, we have the great privilege to live in a province with a number of exciting cultural events and festivals to take part in. This could not be more true during the summer time. Every summer Manitoba comes alive with the sights and sounds of festivals, cultural events, and activities that the whole family can enjoy.

You can visit Dauphin where every August the National Ukrainian Festival is held. At the 48th annual National Ukrainian Festival (Aug. 2-4), Manitobans can celebrate Ukraine’s Independence Day and experience the flavour of old traditions and culture through song, dance, costume and delectable Ukrainian cuisine.

For Manitobans who are interested in learning more about the province’s rich cultural history, they can head down to Gimli from Aug. 2-5 for the second oldest ethnic gathering in Canada, the 124th Icelandic Festival of Manitoba. The Icelandic Festival includes everything from a midway to New Iceland historic and cultural exhibits to a parade.

Visitors can also tour Roblin known as the “Jewel of the Parkland” where a number of exciting attractions and events, including the Roblin Fair Dance (Aug. 10), and the Inglis Elevators and Keystone Pioneers Museum showcase our agricultural history. This year Roblin also celebrated their 100th anniversary along with the communities of Rivers, Russell and Rossburn.

In Selkirk visitors can enjoy the Marine Museum of Manitoba which features a collection of historical marine artifacts of Lake Winnipeg and the Red River area, and on Aug. 18 join Selkirk’s Motor Country Club to celebrate their centennial anniversary.

Manitoba’s diverse festivals foster pride and enhance our quality of life. They help us celebrate who we are and drive our province’s creative economy. This summer, I hope you will go out and enjoy some of the wonderful festivals that are making our province a more vibrant place to live.

Wayne Ewasko
Critic for Culture, Heritage and Tourism
MLA for Lac du Bonnet

WINNIPEG FOLK FESTIVAL

Wayne’s Honours the 40th Anniversary of the Winnipeg Folk Festival in a Private Members Statement – July 15, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise today and congratulate the Winnipeg Folk Festival on their 40th anniversary. For forty years the Winnipeg Folk Festival has been a highlight on Manitoba’s cultural calendar and one of the most successful festivals across the continent, attracting visitors and musical artists from across the world.
It all started in early 1973 when CBC documentary filmmaker and banjo picker Mitch Podolak saw an ad on TV for the upcoming Winnipeg centennial anniversary. It seemed crazy at the time but Mitch thought to himself that it would be a good idea to hold a festival in commemoration of the anniversary.
At the time the only Folk Festival in Canada was in Mariposa and so the Winnipeg Folk Fest had something unique to offer not only Manitoba, but Canada. Forty-two acts were booked for the first Folk Fest, admission was free, and workshop stages were scattered across the park site.
Forty years later and the Winnipeg Folk Festival stretches out over five days at the newly renovated Birds Hill Park which now boasts a shiny new entrance, campsite, and food pavilion for visitors.
It doesn’t just play folk music either, now there’s something for the whole family to enjoy whether it’s children’s music at the Big Chickadee Stage or electronic sounds at the Big Blue Stage at Night. There’s also ethno-fusion, world beat, reggae, and indie-rock selections to choose from.
The annual festival runs on a budget of more than $2 million and employs 20 staff, generating approximately $14.7 million in economic activity for Manitoba, from the annual park fest alone.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask this house to congratulate this year’s organizers for pulling off yet another spectacular Folk Fest. I am already counting down the days until next year’s festival, and I look forward to seeing the festival grow even bigger and better in future years.

PC’s PUT FORCED AMALGAMATION ON HOIST

This is a bill that clearly deserves a closer look so we put it on the hoist in the Legislature: Pedersen
May 29, 2013
– The PC Caucus has introduced a Hoist Motion for Bill 33. This bill, if passed, would force municipalities with fewer than 1,000 residents to amalgamate.

“We have said all along that this legislation was not well thought out and was sprung on municipal governments without warning. Several municipalities have already voluntarily amalgamated because it made sense to do so, but forcing legitimate local governments to merge is not the answer,” said Critic of Local Government Blaine Pedersen.

“Manitobans don’t like to be bullied so we’ve stood up to the playground bully. The NDP shouldn’t be strong-arming Manitobans. They need to sit down and work with municipalities,” adds Pedersen.

We think this legislative tool makes perfect sense because it will allow the province and municipal leaders six months to consult, which is what should have happened in the first place.

NDP CRUSHES MANITOBANS WITH RECORD TAXES

Manitobans will pay a quarter billion more in taxes: PallisterApril 16, 2013 – Last year Manitobans were hit with the highest tax increase in 25 years with a $184 million increase. This year they have managed to break that record this year with a $227 million tax increase. That’s over $400 million in new taxes and the NDP will break the Balanced Budget Act to do it without a referendum.

Opposition Leader Brian Pallister says, “Enough is enough. The NDP ran on a promise not to raise taxes on Manitobans and have blatantly lied to Manitobans.”

This is a government with a spending problem. Even with a quarter billion in new taxes this year, the NDP is ducking responsibility and has not only failed to reduce the deficit and the debt that comes with it, but have increased the amount of red ink by $502 million.

The premier is going to need a lot more wiggle room if he believes he can balance the budget in three years and Manitobans can expect taxes to continue to rise.

SESSION EXPOSES NDP BROKEN PROMISES

June 14, 2012 – The spring 2012 session of the Legislature wrapped up today. It was a session of broken NDP promises – on taxes, on education, on crime and on health care. Greg Selinger and the NDP arrogantly broke their promise not to raise taxes, hammering Manitoba families with $184 million in new taxes. Together with my Caucus colleagues, the PC Party of Manitoba has worked hard the past months to hold Greg Selinger accountable for his flagrant broken promises.

The session may be over, the but full impact of Greg Selinger’s broken promises is only just beginning. Manitoba families are being punished by higher taxes, increased violent crime, a health care system that ignores the frontline needs of Manitoba families, and an education system that sees Manitoba students with test scores that are getting lower and lower.

The NDP are counting on Manitobans to forget their broken promises. But I know you, and Manitoba families like you, will not forget. To help you remember, visit www.pcmbcaucus.com, or click on this link, to listen again to the radio ads we ran to hold the NDP to account. If you want to take a reminder of Greg Selinger’s real agenda with you everywhere you go, you can also download our new “Greg Selinger 2012” ringtone for your wireless phone. It is a helpful and fun reminder that every time Greg Selinger says “We’ll deliver on that,” it can only mean things will get worse for Manitoba families.

I want to thank my PC Caucus colleagues for their tremendous support and hard work as we held Greg Selinger and the arrogant NDP’s feet to the fire these past few months. Most of all, I want to thank all you, our dedicated and committed supporters. It has been an honour to lead the PC Party of Manitoba through this session, and do it with your support. Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Hugh McFadyen

Leader – PC Party of Manitoba

Sagkeeng’s Finest

Wayne Honours Sagkeengs Finest in a Private Members Statement – May 16, 2012

I rise today to honour three young men from Manitoba’s Sagkeeng First Nation who have accomplished something truly remarkable. Two brothers and a close friend, Mr. Brandon Courchene, Mr. Dallas Courchene and Mr. Vince O’Laney entered their traditional clogging trio into the national competition known as the–known as Canada’s Got Talent last August, and on Monday, May 14, 2012, they won the competition. They called themselves Sagkeeng’s Finest, and they joined 11,000 other auditioning
individuals and groups for a chance to perform on the national stage.Brandon and Dallas began dancing in Sagkeeng as part of an eight-person square dance team they called the Sagkeeng Elders of the Past. Two years later, Vince joined the team and the three of them were able to practice their particular jig style of
dancing together. It is truly a remarkable achievement, not just because they won the competition, but also because of the incredible motivation and discipline they carried with them throughout the championship
performance Monday night. Following lavish praise from each of the judges, one thing which stood out was how the judges seemed most impressed with the improvement of the trio over the competition. It seems they, in fact, learned the principles of tap dancing in about a week, which is no small feat.

As part of their prize package, they had received a sports car, a trip to Tobago, a chance to perform in Las Vegas, and they will perform at Citytv’s televised New Year’s Eve party, and most importantly, they’ve considered building a dance hall in their hometown with their prize money. It makes us all proud to see these young stars already considering how they can use this experience to share it with their community.

WAYNE PAYS TRIBUTE TO LAC DU BONNET RESIDENT JOHN USACKIS

Private Members Statement – May 24, 2012

photo courtesy of The Lac du Bonnet Leader

Mr. Speaker I rise today to honor Mr. John Usackis, an avid competitor, enthusiast and supporter of curling at the local, provincial and national level. In May 2008, Mr. Usackis was inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and he continues to compete in Senior Men’s Curling tournaments to this day. As it stands, Mr. Usackis has been curling for over 60 years.

Mr. Usackis was introduced to curling at the age of 11 when his school organized an extra-curricular program to teach young students to play. However, he became interested in curling one winter when the local hockey rink was shut down. Once he had learnt to play, Mr. Usacki’s lifelong passion for the game had begun.

Over the next several decades, Mr. Usackis competed in over 46 provincial championships, won 3 provincial titles and he sits second in total games played in the history of Manitoba provincial championships.

Mr. Usackis is a great proponent of local curling in Lac du Bonnet, and he is the Lac du Bonnet Community Centre Representative. He was instrumental in bringing the community centre to Lac du Bonnet in the late 1990’s, and I admire him for his role in that. In fact last year the community center had printed up 1000 fundraising calendars and Mr. Usackis had sold over 700 of them himself.

Mr. Usackis is an example of a Manitoban from Lac du Bonnet who pursued his passion for curling nearly all of his life and in doing so, he made an immense contribution to his community, his sport and the organizations around him. I think we are all deeply moved when we hear the story of Mr. Usackis and his lifetime of service.

That is why I take great pride in recognizing such an amazing individual who has made such an amazing contribution to the sport of curling in Lac du Bonet. May he continue to inspire others as he inspires me. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.