Premier Pallister refuses to fully implement the recommendations made by Manitoba doctors to address Manitoba's COVID-19 crisis
On Tuesday May 25th I asked in Question Period – when will the Premier fully implement the recommendations made the morning of May 25th by Manitoba doctors. In this case, the Premier’s answer below is completely unsatisfactory. The Premier is wrong when he says “our restrictions are stronger than anywhere else”. The doctors at their press conference made it clear that this is false. I talked to my son in Ontario. In Ontario malls are closed. In Manitoba they are open. In Ontario book stores and a large proportion of other retail establishments are closed. In contrast, book stores and virtually all retail outlets in Manitoba are open for people to go inside. Ontario is at a completely different, and more strict level than Manitoba, and that is why Ontario can accept our patients in their ICUs and why Manitoba’s ICUs are over capacity and we have to send patients our of province. It is very unsettling to have a Premier, who, at a time of a crisis like this, will not be honest with Manitobans.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Manitoba is in a state of crisis. With intensive-care-unit capacity more than full, some patients needing an ICU bed are being looked after on regular wards. Other patients are being sent to ICUs in other provinces. As Dr. Roberts said this morning, we have hit the wall.
There are 20,000 Manitobans waiting for surgery, which has had to be postponed, and some of these are urgent. At least six patients have already died waiting. Dr. Peschken emphasized the entire health-care system is in danger of collapse.
When will the government fully implement this morning's recommendations from Manitoba's doctors?
Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): We already have implemented a significant number of the recommendations the doctors alluded to. Our restrictions are stronger than anywhere else. They were, a month ago, stronger than everyone except Ontario. Our enforcement and our–of our restrictions is stronger than anyone else across the country, bar none. So, on the issues that they raised in those respects, we are actually already having implemented what they asked for.
In terms of the pandemic pileup, the backlog of surgeries and treatments, that is an absolute concern of this government and continues to be; it's a concern that we have to address in partnership with our federal government, going forward. But this makes it clear that we need a federal-provincial partnership to be restored that was deteriorated in the '90s under a term of office of the member who just spoke, that has deteriorated in the last six years under the Trudeau government, that needs to be strengthened now, never more than now.