Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks at the Manitoba legislature, in Winnipeg, on March 24, 2020.

JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

Manitoba’s premier is pushing back a promised cut to the provincial sales tax, draining the province’s rainy day fund and looking at borrowing billions of dollars in order to deal with the fallout from COVID-19.

Brian Pallister said Thursday that the novel coronavirus pandemic will damage the economy, reduce revenues flowing into the provincial treasury and require large amounts of new spending.

“It’s a very, very significant challenge, I would say on a magnitude perhaps without precedent – maybe wartime, maybe the Spanish flu earlier in the last century,” he told reporters.

Story continues below advertisement

At this early stage, Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government is expecting a $5 billion hit – a combination of reduced revenues and higher expenses – to the province’s budget. That will derail the fiscal plan released earlier this month, which called for a $220-million deficit on total spending of $17.9 billion.

To soften the blow, a promise to cut the provincial sales tax to six per cent from seven on July 1 will be pushed back to next year, the premier said. A provincial carbon tax of $25 per tonne, which was to take effect the same day, is also being pushed back.

The Tories have $572 million socked away in a provincial rainy day fund – formally called the Fiscal Stabilization Account – and Pallister said that will be used up within the next three months.

Pallister is calling on the federal government to set up an emergency credit agency to borrow money on the provinces’ behalf. He said the federal government can borrow at lower interest rates, due to its size, so the provinces could save billions of dollars.

“We and virtually every other Canadian province will need to borrow more money to protect our health-care system,” he said.

Manitoba has a total of 36 probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases, but hasn’t seen any community transmission of the novel coronavirus, although officials expect that is bound to happen.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, on Thursday reported the latest case is a Winnipeg man in his 20s who is believed to be linked to a previous case.

Story continues below advertisement

Manitoba has managed to boost testing capacity for COVID-19 at a provincial laboratory and officials were hoping a backlog at the lab would be cleared by the end of the week. The province is now expanding testing beyond people with symptoms who have travelled outside the province or who are close contacts with known cases.

“We are expanding our testing criteria to include the groups of people at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19,” Roussin said.

The new criteria include people with respiratory symptoms who work in health care, live in remote, fly-in communities, or live in group settings such as shelters, work camps and nursing homes.

Niki Ashton, an NDP member of Parliament who represents much of northern Manitoba, said testing should be expanded to all First Nations, not just those accessible only by plane.

“We know that regions of our province are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, particularly First Nations, Metis and northern communities,” Ashton said.

“The reality on the ground is that all First Nations lack testing abilities.”

Story continues below advertisement

The government declared a state of emergency last week that limits gatherings to 50 people and allows most retail stores to remain open. Schools are in the middle of a three-week shutdown.

Roussin hinted Thursday schools may be closed for a longer period.

“We’re looking at that,” he said.

“It’s difficult to comprehend a scenario where we would be … lifting our social-distancing strategies any time in the next few weeks.”

The spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continues, with more cases diagnosed in Canada. The Globe offers the dos and don'ts to help slow or stop the spread of the virus in your community.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters.

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies