Premier Brian Pallister’s eyes and ears will be firmly affixed on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday during his Speech from the Throne.
Specifically, he and the other premiers will be looking for more funding for health care, something they provided a united front last week. Since their public declaration on Friday, it has been quiet on that front.
Of particular note are wait times across the country that have increased.
“It’s horrible for people who are waiting, it’s hell every day for them and their families,” said Pallister. “If we can work together and shorten the wait times … that’s a major source of progress.”
Wab Kinew, Manitoba leader of the opposition, said even if the province did receive more money from Ottawa it would not flow back to funding Manitoba hospitals and clinics. He said according to a freedom of information request the province has capped funding increases on health care at 3.1%.
“They can go to Ottawa all week, they cry around about how they need more money from Mr. Trudeau, they can get down on their knees and beg for more money from Mr. Trudeau, but I think everyone in Manitoba knows that Mr. Pallister will not spend more money on health care in Manitoba,” said Kinew.
CALLS FOR COVID RESTRICTIONS
The increase of positive COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg has led to some to call for the return of some public health orders in Manitoba’s capital.
Pallister, defaulted to Dr. Brent Roussin, the provincial chief public health minister, on making the call on whether or not to raise Winnipeg to an orange or red caution level. Winnipeg is currently at a yellow.
He did the same with Winnipeg Jets’ captain Blake Wheeler who tagged him in a tweet calling for a universal mask mandate on Sunday. “Why not? Let’s take care of each other,” tweeted Wheeler.
@BrianPallister time for universal mask mandate. Why not? Let’s take care of each other. — Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) September 20, 2020
“I personally have a ton of affection for Blake Wheeler and the way he plays hockey, I also have a lot of time for people like Blake who have a ton of passion for Manitoba,” said Pallister on Monday. “To make sure we get through this together we have to demonstrate we can respect those who we have put in the position of trust and leadership. Brent Roussin’s been put in that position, and it’s really important that we respect that.”
FUNDS FOR SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT
The premier said he talked with Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna about Winnipeg’s $1.8 billion North End Sewage Treatment project on Monday. The City of Winnipeg is looking for partners from all levels of government in the project which will help improve the filtration of phosphorus and nitrogen from the flow into Lake Winnipeg.
“We agree, we’ve got to get some things done here,” said Pallister. “It was a really good conversation, a good meeting, I’m very, very hopeful that we can get this project moving ahead. It is truly about time.”