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Flin Flon MLA Report: New premier is recycling ideas of old premier, who prioritized cuts over Manitobans

Backlog of surgical procedures exacerbated by the pandemic is only a symptom of the underlying issues affecting Manitoba’s health care system.
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Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey

As many of you may have heard, on Dec. 9 my fellow NDP colleague, Danielle Adams, MLA for Thompson, tragically passed away in a car accident on her way to Winnipeg. Danielle worked tirelessly for her constituents to have equal access to quality health care, education and good jobs in Manitoba’s northern communities. She was a caring partner and mother of two, and wore her heart on her sleeve. Danielle wasn’t afraid to think big, and she worked with her colleagues to imagine and plan for an accessible childcare system that worked for many thousands of Manitobans that have been left behind. She is deeply missed by her colleagues, community, friends, and family. 

I just returned from a short legislative session that started off with the new Premier Heather Stefanson’s throne speech. In this speech, the government outlines its agenda and focus for the forthcoming session. However, 80 per cent of the commitments in Premier Stefanson’s throne speech were repeats from the Pallister administration. It is clear that nothing has changed at the decision-making table and the PC government continues to fail all Manitobans. Premier Stefanson is recycling ideas from failed Premier Brian Pallister who prioritized cuts, not Manitobans. 

Recently, the PC government announced a task force to address the ever-growing surgical and diagnostic test backlog in Manitoba. While the creation of a task force was long overdue, the announcement contained few details and no new funding to tackle the 152,000 postponed surgeries and diagnostic procedures in our province. Meanwhile, during this fourth wave, more surgeries and diagnostic procedures continue to be cancelled because of Premier Stefanson’s mismanagement of our healthcare system. 

This backlog is only a symptom of the main underlying issues facing the Manitoba healthcare system. Over the last five years, the PC government has dismantled and amalgamated health care facilities and services in the north, be it Flin Flon, The Pas, Lynn Lake, or Leaf Rapids. For example, the town council for Lynn Lake said nearly all its nursing positions were filled by people who lived in the community five years ago. Now almost all those positions are vacant. While the government flies in some agency nurses, it’s not a permanent solution, and this negatively affects the healthcare people receive and the community as a whole. 

These issues are only going to continue to get worse. My NDP colleagues and I have been calling on the PC government to not only stop their incessant cuts, but also to look at what services are required in the north and to meaningfully invest in northern healthcare.

I want to thank the many folks in Flin Flon and beyond who have done their part to make our communities safer by getting vaccinated and getting their booster shots as well. 

Happy holidays to all, and please do not hesitate to contact my office at 204-687-3246 or Tom.Lindsey@yourmanitoba.ca.