September 21, 2020
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB—Internal documents obtained through Freedom of Information (FIPPA) requests show the Manitoba Government has ordered all front-line health care organizations to cap their spending while the Premier is demanding more health dollars from the Federal Government.
“The Premier of Manitoba is meeting with the Prime Minister today to demand more health care dollars, but we know at the same time he is directing his officials to make sure it is not spent on health care,” said Wab Kinew, leader of the Official Opposition. “The Premier is saying one thing publicly when he leaves Manitoba but then turns around and makes cuts and closes health care facilities when he bothers to come back to our province.”
The Manitoba Government has mandated provincial health spending goals for all Regional Health Authorities which deliver front line health care in our province. A copy of a 2019/20 RHA annual health plan obtained through FIPPA (after the intervention of the Manitoba Ombudsman) reads: “Our Strategic Plan (2016-2021) continues to serve the organization…while closely aligning with new provincial health goals: …Manitoba health system expenditures at March 31, 2019 will be contained within 3.1% over 2016/17 expenditures” (emphasis in original, page 28, Southern Health Authority Annual Health Plan).
“The Premier says he wants more money for health care but that’s a smokescreen to hide what he is really doing – ordering cuts to our front-line health care organizations,” said Kinew. “Instead of hiring nurses and doctors and investing in new facilities, he has closed Emergency Rooms and fired hundreds of nurses. That’s wrong – Manitoba needs more investment in health care, not less”.
According to Public Accounts, the Manitoba Government spent $6.513 billion dollars on health care in 2016/17. The most recent Public Accounts from 2018/19 show $6.572 billion dollars was spent on health care – an increase of less than 1% (page 48, Manitoba Public Accounts 2018/19).