It's 2017 — the provincial government will listen to any caucus member on women's health issues, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen declared Friday.
New Democrat MLA Nahanni Fontaine went after Goertzen in question period for his practice of regularly deflecting questions on the so-called abortion pill to Rochelle Squires, the minister responsible for women's issues. Friday's exchange continued heavy criticism she'd fired at Goertzen during his estimates hearing this past week.
"If I chose to have an abortion, under whose department does that now fall?" Fontaine asked the legislature.
Fontaine accused Goertzen of abdicating his role on women's health, and demanded to see the revised mandate letters of ministerial responsibility that show he's transferred his jurisdiction on women's health to Squires.
"Manitobans deserve to know who's responsible for their overall health," Fontaine said.
Goertzen responded that he's proud Squires is involved in reproductive health issues.
"After all, it's 2017," the health minister said.
"We take input from all members of our caucus. It's 2017, (Fontaine) should join us in the modern world."
It's not just reproductive health issues, said Fontaine. She demanded to know if it is Goertzen or Squires who is responsible for women's health issues ranging from breast, cervical and ovarian cancer to vaginal bacterial infections.
Premier Brian Pallister finally got into the exchange, telling Fontaine that when the NDP was in government, no one was in charge because New Democrats were too busy fighting with each other.