MHC Provincial Director Thomas Linner was pleased to join Communities Not Cuts for a press conference just ahead of the "Better Manitoba" rally at the Manitoba Legislature. Here are his prepared remarks:

"My name is Thomas Linner. I am the Provincial Director of the Manitoba Health Coalition.

We are a non-profit, non-partisan health care advocacy organization established in 2018 to work for the preservation and expansion of universal, public health care in Manitoba.

We are a leading voice in the fight against efforts to privatize health care.

Over the past five years, the PC government has chosen to attack public health care and health care workers.

Pallister-era cuts and privatization efforts demoralized staff and weakened capacity throughout the critical care system prior to the arrival of COVID-19.

I would like to tell the provincial government - there is a better way.

We have seen just this week what can happen when a government puts aside partisanship, reaches across the aisle and gets things done for people.

Pharmacare and Dental Care will make a real difference for families in Canada and right here in Manitoba.

Reaching across the aisle, this government could make a similar impact by:

  • Committing to an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of COVID-19
  • Investing in the public system to tackle the backlog of surgical and diagnostic procedures, rather than sending money to private and out-of-province operators
  • Increasing funding for mental health and addictions to 9.2% of the health budget as recommended by the 2018 Virgo report
  • Establishing a comprehensive health care human resources strategy
  • Removing for-profit operators from our long term care system - both residential and home-based
  • Creating the office of a Seniors Advocate in Manitoba
  • Funding the establishment and staffing of a supervised injection site in Winnipeg
  • If we put aside cynicism and partisanship, there is so much that can be accomplished.

Now is the time for this government to restore confidence in our democratic process and ensure that our health care system remains public and accessible to all.

You might call it a better Manitoba."