June 24, 2024

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MLA Goertzen criticizes NDP’s subsidy hike amid healthcare and education concerns – SteinbachOnline.com

3 min read

Steinbach M.L.A Kelvin Goertzen is concerned about some decisions the N.D.P. government has made regarding healthcare. 

“I think the N.D.P. made a mistake by cutting the out-of-province surgical program until they could build capacity in Manitoba. We’ve seen now the wait times grow. I talked to constituents who are hearing that it’s going to be three years for a knee replacement, where when the out-of-province surgical program was available, I know of constituents who got two knees replaced within six months.” 

Goertzen says it could now take five to six years to get two knees replaced. He notes this is not about numbers, rather about the people who need to suffer while they wait to get the healthcare they need. 

He says the provincial government also owes Manitobans an explanation regarding its decision to stop progress on the new schools that were announced last year. They were planned for, and budgeted for, Goertzen adds, noting that the student population indicates these schools are needed, in Ste. Anne as well as other communities that were approved. 

“So, I think what we’re lacking from the government, more than anything, is an explanation about why they’re not proceeding with the schools. And if they’re not going to, what is the plan? I mean, students have to be somewhere.” 

Goertzen says delaying construction will only increase the cost while also increasing frustration in the communities. 

“Of course, among the list of schools that were planned and budgeted for was the Steinbach elementary school. And that one started in the summer of last year so, it was well underway. So, the N.D.P. couldn’t cut that school. But I have no doubt they would have cut the school if they had the opportunity, if it wasn’t already halfway out of the ground. So, we’re glad that that is proceeding, because they have no other option but to proceed with it. But the other schools that were planned and budgeted for, which they’ve stopped, again, they’ve not given a good explanation about why they’re not building them.” 

Goertzen says he understands the challenges of taking over a government after a successful election and wants to give the N.D.P. some time to get into the rhythm of running the province. 

“I know it’s difficult to take over a government. I’ve lived that experience. I describe it as trying to drink water from the fire hose, stuff is coming at you so fast. And I understand that. So, you know, I think I said in the media early on, I’m going to give it a little bit of time, I’m not going to rush into criticism because I know that it takes government time to find their bearings.” 

Goertzen is also critical of the government’s decision “to give their political party a greater subsidy, to double the amount of subsidy that political parties get after an election. Which we don’t think was needed or necessary.” 

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