Budgets are about choices
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This article was published 04/05/2022 (392 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
On April 12, the Progressive Conservative government released its budget for this year. Budgets are about choices, and Budget 2022 demonstrated that the priorities of the Stefanson government do not align with the priorities of Manitobans and the needs of people in Union Station.
This year’s budget for health care is far below the rate of inflation. The results are everywhere in our health system. Wait times at our hospitals have grown unacceptably long. At Health Sciences Centre, the wait for care was 10 hours last month. Three hundred patients have been transported many hundreds of kilometres away because there is not a bed for them.
The problems in the health-care system started before the COVID-19 pandemic because of the PC government’s cuts. In 2019, Manitoba had some of the longest wait times for hip, knee, and cataract surgeries in Canada. Now the situation is worse, including 168,000 Manitobans waiting for surgeries and other procedures.
I have heard from many folks in Union Station who are waiting. Unfortunately, this budget does not set a timeline to clear the backlog. Thousands of Manitobans are waiting in pain, and the PC government owes it to Manitobans to provide a clear timeline for when the backlog will be cleared.
This budget also leaves funding for emergency medical services flat. We recently found out that, in January, emergency response was delayed for Winnipeg residents 588 times because a response team was unavailable. This resulted in a combined delay of 28 hours for people dealing with emergencies where every second counts. I am deeply concerned that this year’s budget does nothing to address this.
We know that cuts and closures in our health-care system left a big hole, and necessary investments just aren’t being made. Not one new personal care home bed was announced in Budget 2022. Now that all the residents have left Parkview Place Long Term Care in Union Station, there are fewer personal care home beds available across the province than when the PC Government took office. Unfortunately, the budget for building such things as personal care homes is capped for the next three years.
The government’s financial decisions ultimately have a direct impact on the wellbeing of our province. Unfortunately, this year’s budget does not address the urgent problems faced by Manitobans. If you would like to contact me about the budget or any other issue, I would like to hear from you. My constituency office is at Unit 1-331 Smith St. Call 204-306-8581, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Union Station constituency report
Uzoma Asagwara is the NDP MLA for Union Station.