The legislative session kicked off with a speech from the throne which raised some concerns about the government’s plans moving forward for childcare, housing and addressing poverty in our province.
When childcare was mentioned in the speech there was no commitment to increase their funding for public daycares; they only talked about for-profit daycares. They neglected to invest in any plans for social or affordable housing, and they failed to make even one mention of the word poverty or give a clear poverty reduction strategy.
The government knows there is great demand for social and affordable housing across Manitoba, but they have chosen to remove funding towards the Residential Adaptation for Disabilities Program and sold off 94 Manitoba Housing properties.
Investments in social housing projects across Manitoba would be one of the first steps in a poverty reduction strategy.
We all want a better health care system, and one that is community-based.
The current government has no clear plans for phase two of the health care system overhaul which is in relation to rural and Northern Manitoba. We know that government-commissioned reports only lead to more cuts and Thompson is still dealing with the cancellation of the expansion of the Thompson Northern Consultation Clinic.
You think the government would be more concerned with focusing on fixing the ongoing chaos the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is still reeling with from phase one before exporting this chaos to the rest of the province.
The government will not be clear with rural and Northern Manitobans about which of their emergency rooms will close and when. So far, under the instruction of this government, 17 rural emergency rooms have been put under long-term suspension as a result of staffing shortages. Rural Manitoba needs these ERs to be reopened, and they can only be well-staffed if more nurses and doctors are hired, which the government is failing to do. Closing ERs will not solve the ongoing health service concerns, but it will worsen.
Cuts and closures of facilities, and moving towards more virtual and telephone healthcare puts primary patients care further out of reach for rural and Northern Manitobans. In addition, transportation services such as Lifeflight have been privatized and subsidies towards the Northern Patient Transport Program have been removed.
We need more healthcare practitioners, more investments to improve healthcare services in the North not cuts and closures.