Ready for the challenge
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Wab Kinew, Premier In Waiting

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Ready for the challenge

On Friday, November 18, 2022, Wab Kinew, the official opposition leader for Manitoba’s New Democrat Party (N.D.P.), and Jamie Moses, the Member of the Legislative Assembly (M.L.A) and Education Critic for St. Vital, visited and met with leaders of the Afro-Caribbean community. It has been a while since an official opposition leader met with the Afro-Caribbean leaders to discuss their needs. 

In the past few elections, the Afro-Caribbean community has become more engaged in the electoral process. They have actively engaged the various parties’ leadership and representatives at the levels of government.

Kinew’s willingness to openly engage the community and answer tough questions about changes his government with implement should he become premier was refreshing and appreciated. He was offering Manitobans a different future that addressed many of the current concerns of all Manitobans. But what was impressive was that Kinew was laser focused on what solutions the N.D.P would provide for Manitobans without criticizing the current Administration.

The fact that most politicians spend time criticizing their opponents or opposition parties may not seem like such a big deal. Still, when considering that people are more focused on how their government can help them and improve their standard of living, it is much appreciated. 

Kinew prioritized good-paying jobs for Manitobans, more investments into education, incentives for international students to stay in Manitoba, creating more opportunities in the trades industry, and ongoing training for professionals, which puts Manitobans in the best position to succeed. “The economic horse pulls the social cart.” Said Kinew

Under Kinew’s plan, if Manitobans give the N.D.P a governing mandate in 2023, he proposes several monumental shifts in policies that would significantly positively affect Manitobans.

Healthcare 

The pandemic has confirmed that healthcare workers, doctors and essential services members were heartbeats that kept Manitoba going. Yet, they are underpaid and overworked and are in a working environment that does not do enough to address their needs. Kinew sees the medical community as a vital partner when it comes to making decisions of a medical nature. He emphasized consulting medical experts when it comes to ways of improving healthcare. 

Kinew would put focus more on preventative healthcare instead of proactive. This would include training more Doctors, Nurses and healthcare workers and working with the various medical associations to ensure trained medical professionals immigrating to Manitoba have the resources and training to meet the requirements needed to remain in the medical field.

He would also work to further ease the strain on urgent care by working to have 24-hour Dr offices to meet the needs of the people. Having the option to see your family doctor when you need it most is a paradigm shift that Manitobans will welcome. 

Seniors

When the pandemic hit, seniors were the most hard-hit group in society. If elected, Kinew would see more resources in place to address the needs of seniors. This would include adopting a spectrum of healthcare options for seniors to adapt to their changing needs. It would mean more resources being devoted to senior care, long-term care facilities being repaired, and more beds being created and existing beds being improved. 

In addition, Kinew reiterated the need for an air ambulance service owned by Manitobans. Privatizing air transport puts a higher financial burden on Manitobans, especially seniors and low-income people when this life-saving medical service is needed.

As per Kinew, the medical experts in the industry say there is enough money to incorporate these changes into the Manitoba Healthcare system. The experts believe this can be accomplished by addressing the multiple overlapping healthcare systems such as Winnipeg Regional Healthcare, Shared Health, and other similar agencies.

Education

Jamie Moses, the M.L.A for St. Vital and N.D.P education critic, addressed the education challenges. Under an N.D.P government, Moses stressed the importance of an education system supporting its educators and students. In the past two years, tuition has increased by 18%, making it increasingly harder for Manitobans and international students to choose Manitoba to get educated. 

Moses wants to make it easier for those educated in Manitoba to stay in the province by ensuring that job opportunities are available once they graduate. Moses believes it’s essential to have the voices of the people heard and acted on in the Legislature. Nowhere was this more evident than in the party’s fight to repeal Bill 64. 

“If it passed, it would be setting the community up for failure.” Said, Moses

Bill 64 was dubbed ‘The Education Modernization Act. If passed, the Bill would have eliminated democratically elected school board trustees, changed principals’ roles and eliminated all school divisions to create regional catchments to highlight a few of the most salient points. This Bill has been one of the most contentious Bills and drew wide protest from Manitobans.

Employment  

The cost of inflation and necessities has skyrocketed, and everyone feels the financial pinch. Kinew believes investing in the prosperity of Manitobans means investing in good-paying jobs and having an economy that works for everyone.

If elected, Kinew will create multiple Centres of Excellence in fields such as nursing, the various trades, cancer, infant mortality, Indigenous wellness, etc. He believes Manitoba can create as many as 20 Centres of Excellence in the decade, incentivizing young people to work in a specialized field and stay in Manitoba. 

Kinew referred to the province’s difficulty acquiring healthcare workers and physicians into the industry. “It’s tough to get people to come into this industry when the only thing they hear is how bad it is work in it.” 

Kinew believes the Centres of Excellence is an ambitious goal; however, there needs to be a new way of thinking and an emphasis on fixing a broken healthcare system.

Homelessness

Manitoba has one of the worst homeless crises in Canada. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into the countless agencies, non-profits and community entities, not much has changed. If elected to form the government, Kinew would end chronic Homelessness in Manitoba by adapting many of the key principles instituted by the city of Houston, Texas and making the necessary amendments specific to Manitoba.

Chronic Homelessness as defined by the government of Canada; “Chronic homelessness refers to individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness and who meet one of the following criteria: they have a total of at least 6 months (180 days) of homelessness over the past year or they have recurrent experiences of Homelessness over the past 3 years, with a cumulative duration of at least 18 months (546 days).”

The genesis of the Houston approach is to have all leaders of every organization, private, non-profit, including governments at all levels that do anything with Homelessness, housing, food, substance abuse treatment, mental health, etc., under one roof with one mandate.

“Our mission is to get people off the streets and into a better position. We will make a list of all the available housing, and one by one, we will go to every tent, every bridge, every bus shack and every park bench to end chronic Homelessness in 8 years. It’s about helping every Manitoban.” Said, Kinew

Often politicians keep throwing money at a problem and expect a different result, which is the definition of insanity. What is different about Kinew’s approach is that he is not reinventing the wheel. He is adapting a proven method to a universal problem. It also gives people back their dignity and no longer has to be stigmatized for being considered a problem to Manitoba’s healthcare system.

Change takes time, but doing nothing or the same can not continue or move the province forward. Kinew also indicates that his government would strengthen Crown corporations to make life easier for Manitobans. One suggestion is looking at ways for Manitoba Hydro to make monthly hydro bills more affordable for all Manitobans. 

Kinew and the N.D.P. have a legitimate chance of forming government in 2023, and he is offering an alternative to the last decade. Since 1958, Manitoba has only been governed by the Conservatives and N.D.P., with an average mandate of 10 years. So it is very likely, that trend will continue.

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