Pallister’s “Code Red" is a Half-Measure: MB Liberals call for 2-week Hard Shutdown, Immediate Emergency Financial Supports for Every Affected Worker and Business

November 2, 2020

TREATY 1 TERRITORY, WINNIPEG, MB - With experts projecting that Manitoba's Covid-19 deaths could reach 2600 deaths by the end of January without a change in direction, Manitoba Liberals are calling for tougher emergency health and financial measures to drive down cases and help Manitobans.

Lamont and his fellow Liberals, Seniors Critic Cindy Lamoureux and Health Critic Dr. Jon Gerrard say they have all been inundated with e-mails pleading with the PCs to change direction.

Many Manitobans at the breaking point: doctors, nurses, teachers, businesses, because the Pallister PCs response has been weak, confused, and disorganized.

According to a Facebook post of a nurse, an outbreak at Victoria Hospital occurred after a patient was transferred from St. Boniface a day before their outbreak. No contract tracing followed, patients and staff at Victoria were infected, and some were mocked for wearing masks or for suggesting they could have an outbreak.

Liberals are also hearing from teachers that they are burning out, breaking down, and that Covid-19 transmission is not being reported in schools.

"We need a hard shutdown for at least two weeks, and this government needs to introduce a bill within the next 24 hours to help Manitoba small businesses cover their costs and make sure people can pay their bills," said Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface and Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

  • Hard Shutdown for Two Weeks for any institution that cannot operate safely. The two weeks can be used to reduce cases, and help give teachers and the school system time to better prepare schools.
  • Split Public Health and Economic Response in Two. It is clear that for the last 8 months, the public health orders have been watered down in response to lobbyists. This is reckless. Public Health must be free and independent to take the necessary measures and the government must respond with economic ones.
  • Pass an Emergency Income Protection Act for Individuals and Businesses. The Manitoba Government should commit to providing two weeks' worth of revenue to affected businesses - buying products and services that can be donated to frontline workers, people in need, or auctioned off.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later Program. In particular, the Manitoba government could buy up gift certificates for everything from hotel rooms, to restaurants and bars and either us or donate them to frontline workers-people who need to self-isolate, Covid-free seniors escaping care homes, or auction them off and recoup the funds.

Manitoba Liberal Health Critic Dr. Jon Gerrard said there is no excuse for lack of preparation, bad communications and the crisis that followed.

"These tragedies were preventable. It is now eight months to the day that we first called on the Pallister PC government to get a Covid-19 plan ready while the NDP spent the first 8 days of this crisis blocking everything in the Legislature, even emergency debate in the house," said Gerrard.

"Manitoba Liberals spent months offering this government a better way to handle this pandemic and warned them of what was coming. In their arrogance, the PCs ignored the advice and Manitobans are paying the price," said Lamont.

Liberals said it's clear the Pallister PCs didn't take a second wave seriously, routinely watered down public health measures, and refused to back up prevention with funding until it was too late. To get back on track, the PCs need to set the rest of their agenda aside and focus exclusively on three things: driving down Covid cases, keeping people safe, and making sure people and business can pay their bills.

"I am fed up with this Government not listening to Manitobans. Between parents feelings scared to send their children to school, teachers feeling uneasy about going into schools, and seniors in care homes whose physical and mental health is rapidly declining," said Manitoba Liberal Seniors and Education Critic, Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Tyndall Park. "This Government needs to stop ignoring Manitobans who are pleading for them to start focusing on keeping people safe and healthy."

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