WINNIPEG, MB – It’s hard to believe what Brian Pallister says about mental health care after he tried to shut down six inpatient mental health beds at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Center in the middle of the meth crisis. He only backed down when the Manitoba NDP publicized his plans.

“For three long years Brian Pallister sat on his hands while the meth crisis grew in our communities. Even worse, he tried to shut down six mental health beds at HSC last year and only stopped when he got caught,” said Uzoma Asagwara, NDP candidate for Union Station and a registered psychiatric nurse. “Why should Manitobans believe Pallister now when he spent three years cutting services and ignoring Manitobans’ calls for help?”

The beds had opened in January 2018 and were slated for closure in 2018 – in the middle of the meth crisis. The WRHA stated that the closure would result in “less capacity” to help people needing care (WRHA, Crystal Methamphetamine in Winnipeg, Aug. 1/18).

The PCs also received $4.1 million from the Federal Government in December 2018 to fight the meth crisis – but Pallister still has not spent one dollar to fight the growing crisis.

“The Manitoba NDP has listened to Manitobans and health care professionals,” said Asagwara. “We will take real, effective action on the addictions crisis in our first 100 days to get people the treatment they need and make our communities safer.”

Manitoba’s NDP will take strong, evidence-based action on meth and addictions within their first 100 days in Government. We would work invest in Main Street Project’s existing Protective Care beds program so it can expand and accommodate clients who are detained while suffering from effects of meth. This would reduce pressure on emergency rooms and facilitate a client’s move to treatment while keeping health care workers and other ER patients safe.

We will fund a safe consumption site, new detox and stabilization beds and a managed alcohol program in downtown Winnipeg to help people with addictions to get access to health care and treatment. These initiatives will complement other measures to combat the meth crisis Pallister has consistently ignored.