Skip to main content

Judy Klassen raises concerns about the air ambulance and wildfire suppression air services

In Question Period on Monday June 11, Judy Klassen, Liberal MLA for Kewatinook asked the government about the air ambulance and wildfire suppression air services in northern Manitoba.   Her questions and the Minister's responses (from Hansard) are below.

Air Ambulance Services - Safety and Maintenance

Ms. Judy Klassen (Kewatinook): Thousands of Manitobans rely on our province's air ambulance service. It is a lifeline for northern residents who require urgent medical attention. Northern residents have reached out to me with stories of instrument failure occurring before boarding, even during mid‑flight.
      I can't imagine how that additional stress affects the patient when they're facing a critical situation.
      Can the minister responsible please share with the House what procedures or safety checklists are in place to keep Manitoba's air fleet in proper working condition?

Hon. Ron Schuler (Minister of Infrastructure): Madam Speaker, not just does our government ensure that the maintenance is continued, these are maintenance standards that are set by the federal government, our government also spends more than $1 million on training our pilots.

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

Manitoba's Air Services - Privatization Inquiry

Ms. Judy Klassen (Kewatinook): Madam Speaker, the past two years of this PC government have come with detrimental changes. We would have hoped that the rise in extreme weather incidents would have been a warning to this government to take action, but  instead they've decided to privatize wildfire suppression and air ambulance services, emergency services that are keeping Manitobans safe and alive.
      Services which are keeping entire communities from burning to the ground are going to be privatized.
      Can the minister tell the House why the–doesn't the value of a life supersede the supposed cost saving this government expects to save with these reckless measures?

Hon. Ron Schuler (Minister of Infrastructure): Well, Madam Speaker, I would like take this opportunity to thank all of those who worked on the recent wildfires that took place here in Manitoba.
      I'd like to thank our federal partners–the federal government of Canada–and also the Canadian Red Cross for doing an exemplary job. Also, within the government of Manitoba we all participated to ensure that all Manitobans were safe.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Kewatinook, on a final supplementary.

Ms. Klassen: Wildfire suppression and air ambulances are essential services, not just in theory but under The Government Essential Services Act of 1966, which lists water bombers and air ambulances as such.
      It's been proven time and time again that services suffer when a corporation needs to turn a profit. Cuts to northern airports have made it so that a–critical patients are forced to wait outdoors, even in the dead of winter because airports are not open to house them while they're waiting for a medivac to come in and land. This is quite serious.
      Knowing that Manitoba's air service saves lives on so many levels, is the government still proceeding with plans to privatize the province's air services?

Mr. Schuler: Madam Speaker, I would advise members of this House to choose their words carefully because misplaced words really matter.
      The member opposite first trash-talked all the airplanes that we have and then talked about how   wonderful they are. I would like to tell all Manitobans that we take great pride in the fleet that we currently have. We maintain it to a federal standard. These are standards that are set federally on how your airplanes are supposed to be maintained.
      We also train our pilots to a federal standard. The Province of Manitoba spends millions of dollars not just maintaining our airplanes, but also training our pilots

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Comparison between Manitoba and South Dakota shows dramatic impact of Physical Distancing

Manitoba implemented physical distancing measures in mid-March.  South Dakota has still not made physical distancing mandatory.   The result is a dramatic difference in the incidence of covid-19 viral infections between the two jurisdictions.   This graph shows the number of people with Covid-19 infections from March 27 to April 14.  Manitoba ( red line )  started leveling off about April 4 and has seen only a small increase in Covid-19 infections since then.   South Dakota ( blue line )   has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections since April 4.  Those who are skeptical of the impact of physical distancing in Manitoba should look at this graph! Data are from the Johns Hopkins daily tabulations

Karen Keppler 1953 - 2020

  Karen was an incredible person who helped so many people. She had a heart of gold. Back in 1994 to 1997 we worked closely together to help communities all over Manitoba get connected to the internet. In the years since she has done amazing things.   She has served as Chair of the Winnipeg Library Foundation and helped with raising money for the expansion of the Millenium Library.    She helped many people to get new opportunities through the Selkirk and District Learning Centre and through her activities at the University of Winnipeg and the Herzing College.   She was an entrepreneur who helped many people move forward and start successful businesses.  Karen was very concerned about her community.  In she was   the Manitoba Liberal Party candidate in Sekirk constituency.   When the COVID pandemic came, Karen was really helpful in an effort to get computers for kids in need so that they could learn at home. Even recently when I was working to understand lead pollution and lead effects

PCs hiding availability of volunteering benefits from EIA Recipients

More than I month ago, I was approached by Tara St. Laurent.  Because of her disability she is unable to work and is on EIA.  But she loves volunteering when she can with the Winnipeg Human Society.  When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and Manitoba went into lockdown, she was no longer able to volunteer as before.  She missed the $100 benefit which was critical for her to be able to purchase her food to eat.  She asked me if there was a possibility of seeing if she could still get the benefit.  I wrote a letter to Heather Stefanson the Minister of Families to make this request and she said yes.  However, actually getting the benefit took some time, and a direct intervention with Tara's worker to ensure she got the benefit, which she is now getting.  I had expected that Minister Stefanson would notify other EIA recipients who have been volunteering that they are eligible for the benefit.  Sadly, this did not happen, so the availability of this benefit has been largely unknown.   When I