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Flin Flon MLA Report - Aug. 10, 2021

PCs ignoring northern birthing services
tom lindsey column headshot

All Manitobans deserve quality healthcare close to home – and that includes Northern Manitobans. Northern families struggle to access local healthcare services as it is, but the Progressive Conservatives’ cuts to healthcare since taking office have only made it worse. 

Right now, at St. Anthony’s General Hospital in The Pas, there is a shortage of obstetric nurses trained to provide birthing services, forcing Northern Manitobans to have to travel to give birth. Expecting parents are stressed enough already – they don’t need the added anxiety of having to travel far away from home for care. Northern Manitobans should be able to access birthing services in their communities, close to their loved ones. We saw a similar situation play out here in Flin Flon a few years ago when the PC government cut our birthing services, and it is my hope that we do not see these services cut in The Pas as well.  

I have written to the health minister about this critical issue and the need to address the staffing vacancies immediately. The response I received was very dissatisfying and did not address the issues facing Northern Manitobans. The PCs’ healthcare cuts since coming into office have created an unacceptably high nurse vacancy rate in the Northern Health Region.

These cuts have led to reduced services throughout the north and have reduced the quality of care Northern Manitobans receive at the bedside, at no fault of the frontline workers who work tirelessly to make sure the care is there for our community. 

This government needs to actively start recruiting healthcare professionals to come to the North and to encourage Northern Manitobans with healthcare training to stay in our communities. Manitobans deserve a government that takes this staffing crisis seriously.

The PCs have not learned the lessons of the pandemic. Instead of investing in improving healthcare services for all Manitobans, they’re focused only on their own internal conflict within cabinet and caucus. The premier and new Indigenous reconciliation and northern relations minister’s comments this past month – an attempt to rewrite Canada’s colonial history – were inexcusable and just another example of how out of touch this government is with Manitobans.

Many PC MLAs will try to distance themselves from Pallister leading up to the next election, but Manitobans see right through this. We know that each and every one of those MLAs has been complicit in this government’s dismantling of services northern families and First Nations rely on like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. They can’t run from that legacy – not today, and not come election time in 2023.

If you’d like to share how the PCs’ healthcare cuts have impacted you and your family, contact my office at 204-687-3246 or Tom.Lindsey@yourmanitoba.ca.