This New Year began with much excitement. The Flin Flon New Year’s baby was born at The Pas Health Complex just after midnight and not in Flin Flon as our obstetrics unit is still closed.
Obstetric services have been suspended in Flin Flon General Hospital for over a year now, requiring expectant mothers to travel to outside locations to deliver. And the government’s long-awaited Clinical and Preventative Services Plan turned out to be not a plan at all for the North but a vague document with more anticipated cuts and no timeline. Northern people are entitled to healthcare just like everyone else. It is time this government lived up to its moral obligation and realized the impact their cuts are having on our ability to access quality care close to home.
The water systems in Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids and Sherridon need to be updated so people no longer continue to be placed under boil water advisories. Equipment problems with the water treatment plant in Lynn Lake for example, have left the town under a boil water advisory since October 2012. However, even with the ongoing boil water advisory, costs keep going up. The town has applied to the Public Utilities Board for a proposed 17 per cent increase in the cost of water in Lynn Lake. This will make Lynn Lake’s water bills possibly one of the highest in the province, for water they cannot drink. But the town has been placed in an untenable situation as they are not allowed to run a deficit on water and sewer operations.
Everyone deserves and is entitled to safe and clean drinking water in their homes. The provincial government needs to prioritize and aid municipalities in repairing these water systems so all communities can gain proper access affordable and safe drinking water.
It was disappointing to again hear that after 90 years of operations, Hudbay’s Flin Flon mine and processing facilities are set to close in 2022. The impending closure will have a negative impact on our communities. The closure will inevitably translate to hundreds of jobs being lost and a devastating economic impact to our northern communities. The provincial government needs to step in and make strategic investments to help grow the north.
Yet the government has not put forward a definitive plan for the north that will give more families access to good-paying, non-precarious work. Their Look North report is just another example of empty words on a page.
The legislature resumes sessions on March 4 and I look forward to advocating for our communities and raising concern regarding the Pallister government’s continued failure to look north.
I want to hear your concerns or questions, please contact my office at Tom.Lindsey@yourmanitoba.ca, or call me at 1-204-687-3246.