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Friesen Must Resign or Be Fired for Failed Second Wave Response: Inquiry Needed

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals are calling for Health, Seniors, and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen to resign or be fired for the Pallister PCs disastrous mishandling of the Covid-19 second wave and undermining public health.

The Manitoba Liberals are releasing a petition calling for Friesen's resignation and asking for an inquiry into why the PCs didn't get ready for a second wave.

"The Minister of Health downplayed the importance of masks, put lobbyists over public health, and worst of all, placed wishful thinking over getting ready for a second wave," said Gerrard. "Even after reports from Ontario and Quebec over the deadly disasters in Revera care homes, the PCs didn't get ready. The Minister of Health needs to be replaced."

Manitoba Liberal Health Critic Dr. Jon Gerrard said the PCs ignored repeated calls and advice from the opposition, experts, seniors and educators pleading with the government to get ready.

On March 2, 2020 the Manitoba Liberals called for the PCs to develop a pandemic plan, including a plan to protect personal care homes, First Nations and Northern communities, and low-income individuals forced to quarantine. On May 22, the Liberals called on the PCs to create a "Rapid Response Team" to staff PCHs with outbreaks based on what had gone wrong in Ontario and Quebec.

In May, the Pallister PCs did a "helicopter drop" of $200 cheques for seniors, which Pallister himself qualified for. Manitoba Liberals say that $45-million would have been far better spent in getting care homes ready for a second wave.

By mid-August, the province had allocated no money at all to helping long-term care facilities pay for Covid infection prevention measures.

Manitoba Liberals say there is no excuse for the lack of preparation.

"In July, Manitoba had no cases, and we now have the worst active case count per capita in the country," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "For the Minister of Health to suggest that there was nothing that could be done to prevent outbreaks in care homes is false and a shameful evasion of responsibility."


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