That dreadful dragon, Austerity, has reared its head again. A favorite pet of right-wing parties, it is always unleashed once the public purse has been drained into private coffers. As winter's chill breath covers the prairies, the plunder hath been completed.

In Winnipeg, the proposed budget is filled with hilariously dumb Austerity measures like turning off streetlights on streets and blocks during the longest dark period of the year, slashing water treatment plant funding, clobbering community services, cutting transit, and junking garbage collection.

Winnipeg Transit will lose a total of $18.4 Million dollars in FY2020, with larger cuts slated for FY2021, FY2022, and FY2023. (Coincidentally, almost the same numbers by which the police budget has risen since FY2018)

Advocates decry proposed Winnipeg Transit service cuts
Winnipeg is “moving in the wrong direction” with proposed Transit cuts, say advocates for low-income workers and a sustainable environment. To stay within a two per cent budget increase imposed by Mayor Brian Bowman and the executive policy committee, Winnipeg Transit has to cut a combined $5.6 mill…

All Cops Are Bad (in Winnipeg especially)

In Winnipeg, the budget allocated to police has been increased to ridiculous levels as the occupying RCMP has demanded and acquired, among other things, helicopters, armoured vehicles, a tank, a cadet training center. In FY2018, the Winnipeg Police Disservice cost $301.4 Million in 2018 (only $19M of which was supplied provincial government).

Aldo Santin on Twitter
“Smyth: didn’t consider scrapping the armoured vehicles, says it’s a workplace safety issue”

For 2020 fiscal year, this has ballooned to $314 Million, the majority of which is city-supplied. (The police also collect a cool $20 Million a year in traffic tickets, hitting the public TWICE.)

Wild stuff.

It's gotten so out of control that city council in Winnipeg will cut transit service, street lamps, and GARBAGE COLLECTION to fill the police trough.

That's right: the city would rather increase the police budget and give the Winnipeg Police Disservice a second helicopter to hector drivers with than pay for GARBAGE COLLECTION.

City mulls cutting garbage pickup to apartments, condos to meet budget demands | CBC News
The city’s water and waste department is looking at cutting garbage pickup service to multi-family units in order to stay within budget targets for the next four years.

The Winnipeg Police Service claim that they're dealing with a major crime wave and that they'll be able to field fewer staff if they don't get an even bigger increase this four year term. But the type of crimes they're referring to are ones commonly associated with rising inequality and poverty - ones that you can't bust with a tank and handcuffs.

But you can bust it with legislation and budget changes. Like, say, cutting the police and increasing public services. Creating community centers and funding public events. And of course, increasing minimum wage to living wage standards for the first time in 50 years would actually help.

Photo: unsplash-logoFabian Blank