We need an inquiry into pandemic response


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This article was published 10/12/2021 (539 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

COVID-19 hit Fort Rouge families hard. Seniors suffered alone in personal care homes and we had some of the worst outcomes in North America. Repeated lockdowns took a toll on mental health and our local economy and our kids missed out on so much.

 We need to take an honest look at what went wrong so we can fix it and build a more resilient healthcare system, economy, and province. That’s why the Manitoba NDP is calling for an independent public inquiry into the province’s pandemic response. If the PCs don’t do it, the NDP will start one ourselves should we form government after the next election.

The inquiry should examine the changes to our health-care system leading up to and during the pandemic so we can build a more resilient system for the future. We need to ask how PC cuts to intensive care unit beds and privatization of the province’s air ambulance service led us to send 57 ICU patients out of province, including one who tragically died during transport. We also need to look at the hidden and ongoing impacts of the strain on our health-care system, such as surgery delays and delays in detecting cancer and other illnesses. We know COVID-19 disproportionately impacted BIPOC populations, but we need to take a closer look at the data so we can address the social determinants of health and improve health equity for everyone in Manitoba.

Lockdowns were hard on families, workers and businesses in Fort Rouge. That’s why it’s so important we study how decisions about public health orders were made and communicated. We need to investigate how we blew an early lead and failed to prepare for the second and third waves even though we had the benefit of lagging behind other jurisdictions.

This inquiry will help us better protect Fort Rouge families from the next emergency, whether it’s driven by climate change like we’re seeing in B.C., or another public health challenge.

With recommendations from this independent inquiry, we can make positive and lasting changes to improve the lives of Manitoba families. Implementing the recommendations from this inquiry will help families recover from the pandemic and inform our decisions as we rebuild our healthcare system. The Manitoba NDP caucus is ready to ask what worked, what didn’t, and what do we have to change now so that we can build a better future for everyone.

Do you have suggestions about what the inquiry should investigate? I want to hear from you. Contact me at 204-615-1922 or

Wab Kinew

Wab Kinew
Fort Rouge constituency report

Wab Kinew is the NDP MLA for Fort Rouge and leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party.

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