On Nov. 15, the government shared their speech from the throne in the legislature. The speech doubled down on their poor decisions and neglect of northern communities. Unfortunately, Northern Manitoba received very little attention in the throne speech, just as it has received very little attention for the last several years.
The provincial government has offered far too little attention and support across the board for many years, and the throne speech is proof of that. The throne speech is meant to lay out the priorities of the government during the legislative session, and it is obvious that the government has no interest in prioritizing families in Northern Manitoba. This was unsurprising, but it is still unacceptable for the Progressive Conservative government to ignore northern families in even their speech intended to address the most pressing issues in the province.
There are a mountain of issues affecting Northern Manitoba that should have been addressed. The vacancy rate in northern highway maintenance is over 40 per cent. The throne speech made no commitment to address it. The emergency room in Thompson has been running half vacant. The PCs have not addressed it. Our clinic helped address foot care concerns, particularly for those with diabetes where people are at risk of amputation. That clinic closed and has not reopened. The throne speech makes no commitment to reopen it.
This provincial government cut support programs like the Communities Economic Development Fund which help businesses. They also cut support for communities that are dealing with mine slowdowns or shutdowns. By this government’s own admission, thousands of jobs are being lost. This has slowed the development of northern communities by so much that many are struggling just to get by while costs are skyrocketing. Northern Manitoba has been left to struggle for so long that communities need desperate attention now to address the issues that have arisen in the past years of austerity.
Northern Manitoba deserves the attention of this government, and the longer that this government goes without investing significantly in the north, northern families and communities will continue to struggle to make ends meet.
The PC government has deprioritized Northern Manitobans for too long, and the paltry mention and response to issues affecting Northern Manitoba cannot be ignored any longer.
I will continue to fight for proper funding and support for northern families, because I am a Northern Manitoban. I have been dissatisfied with this government just as you have, and I will not be satisfied until I see adequate provincial investment in our northern communities. Please do not hesitate to call my office at 204-677-4789, reach us by email at Eric.Redhead@yourmanitoba.ca, or come see us at 402-79 Selkirk Avenue in Thompson if you have any concerns. I want to hear your thoughts and concerns, because it is important to me that I am able to represent you.