The Pallister government is correct when it says that food bank use increased 2.4 per cent immediately after the NDP raised the PST in 2013.

Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen has been throwing that stat at the NDP all week as he defends raising the minimum wage annually at the rate of inflation.

But poverty activists said Thursday that the increase Cullen cites was not only one of the smallest annual increases in significant food bank use under the NDP, they argue that the PST is not a significant factor for Manitobans needing emergency food help.

Lynne Fernandez, a labour issues expert with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, says the PST increase from seven per cent to eight is irrelevant, as far as food bank use is concerned.

“PST is not charged on many of the items that low-income people spend all their money on,” she said. “It’s just weird that the blowback is coming in 2017 over a completely unrelated issue.”