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Posts Tagged ‘ndp’

Health care needs to be fixed, and I don’t think there’s a single Manitoban who would say that the Doer government is anywhere close to fixing it.

Here are some things we need right now:

1.    A Manitoba Patients’ Bill of Rights that establishes a legally enforceable guarantee of timely access to quality care.

2.    A Medical Standards Quality Council to establish provincial standards for wait times based on the best medical and scientific evidence available.

3.    An Enforcement Office which will have the authority to send patients for immediate care if they have not been treated within the mandated time, whether they be sent somewhere within Manitoba, or to another province.

4.    Eliminate the rationing of health care for Manitobans.  Quotas and global budgets are not meeting the needs of patients, and far too much funding is flowing to the bureaucracy instead of to the frontline health care providers.

5.    Reduce medical errors in the health care system with a blame-free reporting system and a Medical Procedure Improvement Team to ensure that action is taken to prevent the errors from occurring again.

6.    Improve aboriginal health care, beginning with the often overlooked basics of access to care, milk, and clean drinking water.

7.    Improve mental health care by focusing on community mental health care.

8.    Build new long-term care spaces to move patients with chronic care needs out of hospital sooner.

9.    Implement an electronic health care system that standardizes patients’ records.  This is a critical component of amodern health care system, allowing proper reporting to be done on outcomes and wait times.

These items aren’t part of an idealistic wish list; the fact that these things aren’t in place are failures of the current government.

There has been quite a bit of window dressing regarding health care, but the NDP government has continued to get it wrong in that they aren’t willing to guarantee these nine items for our province.  There has been no leadership from the government on these issues.

Several people who have worked at Concordia hospital have told me that the only time they ever saw that facility free of hallway medicine was from an hour before to an hour after any of the Premier’s visits.  We have patients waiting for 18 months for rotator cuff (shoulder) surgery, and by far the highest ovarian cancer mortality rate in the country.

Cancer Mortality by Province/Territory

Cancer of the Ovary, Females, All Ages, 2004

To better illustrate the current sentiments of Doer’s goverment, here’s an example of the NDP government’s approach to Aboriginal health care:

Flor Marcelino, MLA for Wellington: … However, I noticed that if you can be creative and practical, there are other alternatives to milk if you just want calcium. I saw in Gods Lake Narrows this school where supplies are delivered. They have several boxes of Cheez Whiz which is also a derivative of milk product containing calcium. I saw lots of bread. I thought without even thinking about this bill that this is a good alternative for milk.
So these children and adults from remote communities who, with this product which could be stored for a long time, these people from the northern communities are not without calcium in their diet. They may not have the actual fresh, chilled milk in the morning, but they have Cheez Whiz and other milk-derivative products that could be stored.

(Hansard except posted at The Great Canadian Talk Show blog.)

I think it’s pretty clear that we have a serious problem with health care in Manitoba.  And it’s on this platform that Bill Blaikie wants to join government.  Our provincial government’s approach to health is an embarrassment, and The Honourable Mr. Blaikie had better stand up and admit the crisis if he expects to show any leadership on the issue.

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I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately focused on issues occurring in Winnipeg proper, and I’ll be doing more of that soon (more on Plan Winnipeg II, for instance).  But obviously as a candidate for the legislature, I am also engaged in the issues that affect or are due to our provincial government.

It’s harder to write about the problems of our province, mostly because the Doer government is quite adept at spin, whereas our mayor has often had problems with how he is perceived by the general public and the media.  (Translation: Mayor Katz is an easier target.)  But the disagreements that I’ve had with the mayor about Winnipeg’s future are minor compared to the problems I have with the Doer government.

There have been serious errors by the government that have resulted in the deaths of dozens of children under the eyes of Child and Family Services, in the embarrassing health care crisis that still exists a decade after the Premier promised to fix it, and in the still-smouldering wreckage of Crocus.

But what is the overall problem with the NDP government?  What is the bottom line here?  Is it a lack of accountability by ministers and the leaders of crown corporations and agencies such as Hydro, CFS and WCB?  Is it the fact that the Premier uses his leftist ideology for window dressing (i.e., anemic program funding without any results) while he frequently flirts not only with the centre but also with the centre-right?

To me, our nine years of NDP government can be described in one word: mediocrity.

It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.

– Isaac D’israeli  (Father of Benjamin Disraeli, who was not only the Prime Minister of Britain but was also the namesake of Disraeli Street, which in turn became the namesake of the Freeway which the NDP government likes to ignore.)

Here’s a plaque that I keep on my desk:

Manitoba has so much potential, yet the Premier is content with the status quo. There is no aggressive strategy for the growth of green industry in Manitoba, as wind farms are chased out of the province and our noble Manitoba Hydro subsidizes parking for its employees while handing out “How green are we” calendars to everyone else. The rest of the country is looking to innovate and to experiment, while our government places blanket moratoriums on hog barns and school closures without offering any solutions or embracing any opportunities that are available.

To illustrate the mediocrity of the Doer government, I will post about several major provincial issues and explain why the current government is failing us. Up first will be health care, which I will be spending quite a bit of time on in the coming weeks.

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I’m sure I’m not the only person wondering why the Premier would bother parachuting Transcona’s Bill Blaikie into a constituency that already had two potential candidates.

“Blaikie said Doer approached him to run in Elmwood – not the first time the premier has tried to woo Blaikie into provincial politics.”  Winnipeg Free Press, Dec 5, 2008 – http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Blaikie_.html

Of course, there had been several other rumours about the Premier pushing for a transplant for Elmwood:

Past rumour that Scott Smith is moving to Elmwood: http://hacksandwonks.blogspot.com/2008/10/elmwood-gossip-that-wont-go-away.html

Phil Walding, Son of Pawley-government kaibosher Jim Walding, approached to run in Elmwood by-election to succeed Jim Maloway: http://tgcts.blogspot.com/2008/10/september-guest-and-story-review.html

What’s wrong with choosing a candidate from among the people who live in Elmwood?  Why is it that citizens like Darryl Livingstone, who has worked for years with Councillor Lillian Thomas, or Ed Innes, who has been fighting alongside former MLA (and current MP) Jim Maloway on the Disraeli bridge issue, are not considered worthy of the seat?  Why did the Premier decide that he needed to search high and low for a third choice from outside of the area?

I’m not sure why an esteemed Member of Parliament would retire from politics, only to run for a provincial seat in an area he doesn’t live in.  I’ve certainly heard the rumours that Mr Blaikie wants to be the next leader of the Manitoba NDP, and/or that Mr Doer decided that he needed a favour from a big name because the voters of Elmwood have been left feeling neglected after years of, well, neglect.   All I can say is that I do not believe that Premier Doer gave any consideration to the actual needs of Elmwood when he made his choice… he seems to be more focused on what HE needs.

In these days of uncertainty about the motives of some Federal politicians, I think it’s a bad idea for the Premier to be meddling politically in a constituency that already has its local talent.   There are far more important things that our Premier should be spending his time on.

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