Pallister government under fire for Manitoba’s ‘disastrous’ COVID-19 response

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Pallister says ‘COVID is beating us’ after some Manitobans ‘lost their way’' Coronavirus: Pallister says ‘COVID is beating us’ after some Manitobans ‘lost their way’
Coronavirus: Pallister says ‘COVID is beating us’ after some Manitobans ‘lost their way’ – Nov 2, 2020

The leader of Manitoba’s opposition says the Pallister government isn’t doing enough to help Manitobans at a critical time in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew told 680 CJOB that he’s calling on the provincial government to help small businesses weather the latest pandemic restrictions.

“We know that there’s going to be a big impact on small businesses in particular — businesses generally speaking as well,” said Kinew.

“So I want to see a really strong program to help these businesses be able to make it through what is going to be a big hit on them.

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Read more: 8 more deaths brings Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll to 75

The NDP leader said the province should also be taking control of personal care homes and other places with outbreaks, like the St. Boniface and Victoria hospitals.

“At this point, I want the province to step in, because they have the staffing and the resources and the expertise to try to straighten these outbreaks out.”

Read more: ‘A grave situation’: Winnipeg doctors urge province to move to full lockdown

Premier Brian Pallister spoke with media Monday about the new restrictions that came into effect Monday and said it was a “tremendously difficult” weekend for those who lost loved ones.

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Pallister said that while the government has “taken action” to fight the virus, it’s up to Manitobans to help each other as well.

The province has already helped small businesses with some of the largest compensation in the country, he said, when asked if there was more help coming.

“These and many other programs … have helped us to lead the nation in recovery,” he said, saying there may be an expansion of existing programs announced later this week.

Kinew isn’t the only provincial politician calling out Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives for their handling of the crisis.

Manitoba Liberal leader Dougald Lamont said the ongoing healthcare chaos was a result of “weak leadership” from the government.

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“We need to be clear about where the responsibility for this lies, and it lies with the premier and the minister of health,” said Lamont at the Manitoba Legislature Saturday.

“Because they’re the ones who have been calling the shots. They’re the ones who have been undermining public health.”

Click to play video: 'Epidemiologist on most recent COVID-19 numbers in Manitoba' Epidemiologist on most recent COVID-19 numbers in Manitoba
Epidemiologist on most recent COVID-19 numbers in Manitoba – Nov 2, 2020

As of Monday morning, the province had a total of 75 deaths, with 3,255 active cases and 2,704 recovered. The reported active case number is higher than the actual active case number, due to a backlog in contact tracing.

On Friday, a group of 17 doctors penned a letter to Premier Brian Pallister and Health Minister Cameron Friesen that said tight restrictions are the only way to deal with the spread of the virus and the toll it’s taking on Manitoba’s health-care system.

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“We urge you to go to a full shutdown immediately. This is the time. A couple of weeks from now will be too late. The result will be an appalling and pointless loss of life,” said a portion of the three-page letter.

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