Manitoba NDP Call For Emergency Health and Economic Supports

November 1, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB—The Manitoba NDP joined representatives of front line health care workers and small businesses to call on the province to provide immediate and unprecedented supports for the health care system and economy today

“Our province is facing its most serious crisis in generations while our Premier and cabinet ignore the advice of Manitoba’s top doctors and are nowhere to be found”, said Wab Kinew, leader of the Manitoba NDP. “This crisis we face was not inevitable or unavoidable. There are steps we can take. We need leadership - and that means immediate, comprehensive supports for our health care system and small businesses who are in desperate need of relief and help”.

After consultation with health workers, system experts and small businesses, the NDP are calling for:

• Immediate increase to staffing across the health care system from contact tracing and public health to ICU and acute hospital settings - by drawing on every possible resource, including support from the Federal Government; and

• Taking control of all for-profit personal care homes in Manitoba and ensuring adequate staffing, PPE, testing and cohorting for all workers and residents; and

• Immediate and easy access to cash for small business to offset the impact of closures

"The Pallister government needs to step up and take control of those for-profit personal care homes with outbreaks, that are understaffed, lacking proper PPE, and order immediate testing for all residents and staff," said NDP Health Critic Uzoma Asagwara. "Instead of spending $450,000 on a premature restart campaign, that money should have been invested in hiring more nurses and healthcare staff, contact tracers, and supports for small businesses that were forced to close. Pallister needs to listen to medical experts and immediately ramp up the response to this pandemic for the safety of all Manitobans."

"Front line health workers have been waiting for support, and it hasn't been coming", said Debbie Boissonneault, President of CUPE Local 204 representing health care support staff in the WRHA and Shared Health. "We are still fighting for PPE, we are still fighting for backup, and we are exhausted. We need leadership now."

Chris Graves, owner of King’s Head Pub, supported the NDP’s call for immediate financial assistance to help small businesses like his weather the storm.

“The restaurant/ bar business needs financial assistance now. Throughout this pandemic, Safety has been the main focus of our industry. Many of us closed early in March before the government mandated we close. Now we are looking to the Provincial Government for help.” “Every day we fail to act risks further overloading our health care system”, said Kinew. “In every part of our province we need action - from more comprehensive restrictions and supports in  Winnipeg to increasing the Keeyask site in Northern Manitoba to code red. Manitobans lives and livelihoods are in the balance - the time to act is now”.