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MLA Report - Oct. 14, 2020

Health system, childcare and education need more investment, not less
danielle adams column headshot

On Oct. 7, Premier Brian Pallister and his government put forward their throne speech for the upcoming year. 

In it, the Progressive Conservatives outlined their regressive vision for healthcare, education, infrastructure and childcare, while failing to mention virtually any supports for the North. 

Our plan would look much different. 

Now more than ever, Manitoba needs a strong healthcare system. Strengthening our healthcare system means hiring more nurses and aides for personal care homes, ramping up COVID testing to avoid the long waits, and reversing cuts to home care services. More action also needs to be taken to respond to the increased rates of diabetes, heart disease and infant mortality amongst First Nations and Métis people by investing in primary care, medicine and addressing systemic racism. We want to make it clear that the North – an already underserved area – cannot afford any more health care cuts and instead needs more investment from the government. 

Yet the government is moving full steam ahead with their planned cuts to rural and northern healthcare in the middle of a pandemic. We stood with the folks of Roblin who saw their emergency room shuttered just months ago by the Pallister government, and the NDP and I will continue to stand up for Manitobans of the North and fight cuts and closure to northern healthcare as well.

We will also continue to demand they reverse the cuts to the Northern Patient Transport Program and the privatization of LifeFlight and to ensure that there will be no more cuts or closures to health services.

In their throne speech, the government announced that it is committed to moving ahead with cuts to our children’s kindergarten to Grade 12 education through their education review at a time when we need more investments, not less. Trying to safely bring children back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic has created enough anxiety and uncertainty for educators, students and parents, meaning that now more than ever is not the time to radically change our education system. Instead, we are calling on the government to cap class sizes at 15, to hire more teachers and education assistants and to keep children safe. 

We believe that childcare is absolutely essential for the success of our children and parents, especially women. The government needs to invest more money into training childcare professionals, as well as providing more funding for non-profit childcare centres. Currently, the government has only used less than one per cent of the $18 million they’ve set aside for COVID childcare funding. We’re asking that the government use all of this money to keep children safe and to expand child care capacity. 

You can access the NDP’s full alternative throne speech here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/yourmanitoba/pages/69/attachments/original/1602003625/Alt_Throne_Speech_Oct_2020_Final.pdf?1602003625

Feel free to contact me with any concerns at Danielle.adams@leg.gov.mb.ca or by calling me at 204-677-2744.