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Wait Times for Addictions Treatment Rising as Pallister Sticks to Cuts Instead of Treatment

Winnipeg - New freedom of information (FIPPA) data show wait times for addictions treatment are still going up, while the Pallister government is spending millions of dollars less than promised on addictions. Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, Dougald Lamont says that a year after his own party released a plan, the Pallister PCs still aren't taking the problem seriously.

New figures from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) show that men in Winnipeg have to wait 52 days - seven and a half weeks - for treatment. The wait list for women is four times as long - 206 days - nearly 30 weeks, or seven months.

"We have Manitobans who are waiting weeks for addictions treatment. While the Federal government is handing more money to the province for mental health, Pallister keeps cutting," said Lamont.

Financial figures show that the Pallister government is consistently overpromising on spending while slashing the budget.

The Manitoba Health Annual Report showed that the Pallister government effectively cut the AFM, RHA Community and Mental Health Services and Mental Health and Addictions by $18.2-million in 2016-2017, and $28.5-million in 2017/18.

All of this is happening as the Federal Government has increased funding to Manitoba by nearly $1-billion a year, including $40-million a year earmarked for home care and mental health for the next ten years.

Lamont said the government's delays are a sign of a much deeper problem.

"Manitoba Liberals have been providing concrete, positive suggestions for action on meth for more than a year," said Lamont. "The question now is whether they won't do it because they don't want to, or if they can't do it because they are unable to come up with any ideas of their own."

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