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Liberals: Manitoba Government Must Investigate Health Impacts on Children in Lead-Contaminated Areas

Winnipeg - Manitoba Liberals say the Manitoba Government needs to move beyond soil and air testing in areas known to be contaminated by lead and other heavy metals to ensure that the health and safety of children and families are not being affected.

The Manitoba Liberals' request comes after a Freedom of Information (FIPPA) request that shows children and youth living near the St. Boniface Industrial Park were being prescribed antipsychotic medications at a higher rate than other parts of Winnipeg and Manitoba.

"Our focus needs to be on keeping people safe. It's not enough to just test the soil and air for pollution. We need to know the human impact," said Manitoba Liberal Health Critic, Jon Gerrard.

Gerrard said the Manitoba Government must commit to studying the health of children and youth in areas of Winnipeg that the Manitoba Government has known to be contaminated for years. In October 2017, the Pallister government released a 10-year old report that showed both NDP and PC governments had reports of lead and heavy metal contamination dating back to the 1980s.

Manitoba Liberals say that there also needs to be an investigation into how both governments could ignore such reports for decades. The Liberals called on the Legislature to lift the veil of cabinet confidentiality and advice to Ministers that is preventing the full truth from coming out.

"It's not acceptable for governments to keep reports of heavy metal contamination secret and do nothing," said Lamont. "We need to prevent it from happening again, and we can only do that if we understand what happened before."

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