On Thursday, in Question Period I asked the government about their plan to address the crystal meth crisis in our province. Recent reports have shown a staggering increase in meth use in Winnipeg and it is of great concern to me and many other Manitobans. Sadly, the Premier's response was off topic. Unfortunately, as you can see below, he is not taking the issue of the meth crisis in Winnipeg seriously. Below is the transcript from Hansard.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, there's an explosion in crystal meth's use in Winnipeg with devastating effects on young people, on families and on children in child welfare.
In opposition, the current Minister of Health toured Manitoba and pronounced crystal meth a very, very significant issue, as I table.
Recent credible reports indicate that people with meth addictions are being told to get arrested because they'll get help faster in jail than in the health-care system.
Why, given the Health Minister's knowledge of this issue, has he, in a year and a half, failed to implement a plan to tackle addictions and mental illness, not a plan to put people in jail?
Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Well, there's a bit of a contradiction in those questions, Madam Speaker. I think the member recognizes that. And this is the danger of asking ghost-written questions.
The fact is the member started his preamble by suggesting we should not listen to anyone outside of Manitoba, continually espouses positions developed in Ottawa or in the gallery now, Madam Speaker. The fact is, he also labelled a sincere exercise that was participated in by over 30,000 Manitobans as garbage. And he should be ashamed of himself for that assertion.
Deliberative democracy should engage Manitobans, and we should encourage all Manitobans to feel this place is their place, that they have the chance to come here and express their views, whether we agree with them or not. And the fact of the matter is deliberative democracy and civic engagement are very important to this government. If they are not to that member, then that is a shame, Madam Speaker. But they are important to us, and we do not call the active participation of over 30,000 Manitobans in our prebudget consultation, we do not call that garbage here.