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The Pallister Governent and their reckless changes to health care

Thursday April 12, I asked the Premier about his reckless changes to health care in Manitoba.  My question and the Premier's responses are at this link or in the text below:


Changes to Health Care - Impact on Front-Line Workers


Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the ripple effects of this government's cuts to health care are impacting across the province. Front‑line workers see the brunt of these cuts. Nurses are speaking out.
      Recently, our caucus heard from a nurse who says: It breaks my heart to see my work family stressed, leaving crying, sleeping on their breaks–if they get them–because they're so exhausted. The job was never going to be an easy one, but these changes have made it difficult to even cope with the day‑to‑day issues we face.
      How can this government continue with these reckless changes knowing full well that front‑line workers and patients are suffering?

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): I appreciate the member reading Dougald's question, Madam Speaker. I know that the member for River Heights couldn't deliver that question with any conviction or sincerity, because he was part of the largest cuts to health care in the history of Canada when he was in the Liberal Cabinet in the 1990s. I know he doesn't want to reference that part of his record, but it is a real part of his record. And now, with the second largest cut coming forward over the next 10 years–we're talking about a couple of billion dollars we won't have here in Manitoba alone, let alone across Canada, to help with health care–the member sits  quietly by, says nothing, supports the Trudeau government yet again on something they themselves said they didn't believe in when the previous government proposed it in the first place.
      So, Madam Speaker, there's no sincerity coming from the member. If he read the wait times task force report, the analysis the WRHA put together of our reform plan, he would know that use of overtime is  down among staff. He would know that staff are generally very pleased with the process and supportive of it and he would stop fomenting fear and he would own up to the fact he's never stood up for health care in his entire political career.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, I've fought for good health care all my life, but it's time this Premier stood up and took responsibility instead of trying to blame others.
      Mandatory overtime–which should only be used in the rarest of circumstances–has hit a crisis level at St. Boniface Hospital. Nurses and other front‑line workers deserve better than the unhealthy working conditions this government is imposing.
      The same nurse continues: Before turning the hospital employees' workplace upside down, you should have consulted with the people that actually work there and with our patients. There always was a better way. Please don't let it get worse.
      Will this government stop using their reckless health‑care changes and start listening to the concerns of Manitoba nurses?

Mr. Pallister: Well, the member puts phoney information on the record, Madam Speaker, in terms of overtime. [The increase in mandatory overtime at St. Boniface is well documented - see this link] The overtime expenses at St. B. and elsewhere in the system and the WRHA are down year over year. They are down year over year by 33 per cent. [interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Pallister: So when the member speaks about these things–I see the member for Minto (Mr. Swan)–[interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Pallister: –has all the answers. He had his chance before he resigned from his previous position, Madam Speaker.   Let me just say I appreciate the member putting facts on the record. No one should appreciate him putting misinformation on the record.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a final supplementary.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mandatory work time, Madam Speaker, is when a nurse has worked a full shift and then is told–she's dead beat, she's exhausted–you're going to have to work another eight hours. That should rarely, rarely ever be used.

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