Pandemic top of mind for Manitoba NDP ahead of throne speech

WINNIPEG — One day before the Progressive Conservative government delivers its throne speech, the Manitoba NDP unveiled its own alternative plan for the province Tuesday morning, with addressing the COVID-19 pandemic at the top of the list.

In a news conference at the Manitoba legislature, NDP leader Wab Kinew said his party’s plan includes hiring more nurses and health care staff to address the high demand for COVID-19 testing. He said the province wants to see an increase in both the number of testing sites in Manitoba, as well as hours of operation.

“This government has to be willing to invest in hiring more nurses to increase our testing capacity, as well as more people to do the contact tracing, the phoning, all of those jobs that happen at testing facilities and at Cadham Lab, in order for us to clear the backlog, and to ensure that Manitobans do not have to wait for hours in line to get a test, and then to take days and days off work before you hear from your test results,” said Kinew.

The NDP’s plan also calls on the province to keep Manitoba Hydro public and invest more in public schools and child care.

“The women of Manitoba have subsidized this industry for too long, and the government’s expectation that women are going to disproportionately bear this, and just cover the gaps of the failing childcare system is just wrong,” Kinew said. “The government has to do better.”

There was no cost listed for the NDP’s plans in the alternative throne speech.

Last week, the provincial government said the next session of the legislature will focus on protecting Manitobans and restarting the economy, which has been impacted by the pandemic.

The speech from the throne begins after 1:30 p.m.

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