Flin Flon MLA Report - Dec. 15, 2020

2020 tough for Manitoba, north

As the New Year approaches, the legislature has ended its fall sitting. We did our best to delay some truly egregious legislation the Pallister government brought in. As the Official Opposition we did our job and will continue to stand up for Manitobans.

2020 has been a tough year for Manitobans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Pallister government has only made matters worse. They’ve pushed through hydro rate increases while people were already struggling to make ends meet and have continued with health care cuts during a public health crisis.* We in Flin Flon have seen nothing but cuts in health care from this government with closures of units of our hospital one after the other. Homecare is a disaster highlighted during COVID-19, but it was short staffed well before, with people not getting the care they should be entitled to.

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The government failed to prepare for the second wave, and we have seen the disastrous results of that failure. Case numbers continue to spike and deaths of people, our friends and neighbours and our family climb every day. Hospitals in Winnipeg were left scrambling to create more ICU beds and find staff to attend to patients. COVID-19 case numbers continue to escalate in the North and Flin Flon and Snow Lake have not escaped. Cross lake locked down completely to stop the spread as they do not have adequate health care facilities or isolation facilities. Many residents have been evacuated to Winnipeg for care and isolation. Norway House is now seeing an increase in numbers as well. As has been seen in Shamattawa, COVID-19 can be disastrous in northern communities that lack so many basic things that we take for granted such as clean water, housing and hospitals to name a few.

The good news is that it seems like we will be receiving the vaccine soon. The first batch of those being inoculated will have already begun by the time you read this.

Unfortunately, due to dwindling revenue caused by the pandemic, Nav Canada is also contemplating cuts to services which would negatively impact our airport in Flin Flon.

I have heard that these reductions could cause delays at the airport and make schedules less reliable. We haven’t seen the provincial government step up to financially support Nav Canada, nor have they lobbied the federal government to provide aid. I’ve personally participated in technical meetings to ensure that our voice is heard and our team has written to the federal government asking them to step in and help.

I would like to end on a positive note. We have seen people pull together to support others during these trying times and I hope this will continue post pandemic. My wife Sharon and I wish each and every one of you a happy holiday and a safe and healthy 2021, better days are coming.

I can be reached by phone at 204-687-3246 or email Tom.Lindsey@yourmanitoba.ca if anyone has any questions, comments or concerns.

*Sentences that appeared in the original version have been removed at the request of the columnist.

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