MNU Responds to Throne Speech

Publish date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Health care

MNU President

Nursing shortages

Politics & Government

This week’s Speech from the Throne officially marked the beginning of the 42nd session of the Manitoba legislature following the recent provincial election. Although it included some specific health care announcements, most of it reiterated the PC Party’s promises made during the campaign. As a result, nurses are left with many questions about the details of the Pallister government’s plans for health care, following three years of continuous health care cuts and closures.

Health care was declared one of five key areas of focus for the government’s legislative agenda. The speech reiterated the PC promise to increase health care funding by $2 billion over the next four years – although the exact areas of spending are not clear and will include both operating and capital expenditures. Part of this funding is targeted for a new emergency department at St. Boniface Hospital.

The Speech also promised the hiring of 80 rural paramedics, with the intention of ‘having 24/7 care within 30 minutes for 90 per cent of Manitobans, 90 per cent of the time.’ Other initiatives include $3.4 million for women’s health and a promise to create 200 new nursing positions by 2023.

“It’s clear that Premier Pallister has identified health care as a top priority for his second term in office,” said MNU President Darlene Jackson. “Although we will always welcome promises to bring more nurses into the system and improve services, this government’s record on health care is a mixed bag.”

According to Freedom of Information Requests (FIPPAs) received by MNU, nursing vacancies are at an all time high in many programs. In the WRHA alone, there are approximately 1,500 vacancies; this calls into question the promise to create new nursing positions while the government increasingly struggles to retrain and recruit nurses in Manitoba.

“Nurses are frontline professionals that have great ideas to improve health care,” added Jackson. “A real change in approach is needed in order to achieve their stated goals, not more cuts to frontline services.”

MNU will continue to monitor the Pallister government’s plans for health care closely. Stay tuned for more news and updates as we head into the New Year.

The 2019 Speech from the Throne is available at


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