Treaty One Territory, Métis Homeland, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals say the PCs terrible mistreatment of international students has to change.
One student was left with a $120,000 medical bill and many others are ineligible for vaccine passports because they don't qualify for Manitoba Health cards.
In 2018, the PC Government cancelled health insurance for international students in a move that was widely condemned as counterproductive.
The province claimed to be saving $3.1 million by cancelling health insurance for international students, while these same students added $374.8 million to Manitoba's economy in 2016 (Stats Canada).
Manitoba Liberals say the PCs need to immediately reinstate health coverage, especially considering the PCs recently announced programs for training international nurses.
Tanjit Nagra, former University of Manitoba Students' Union (UMSU) President, is critical of the provincial government's policies towards international students.
"The PC government has to get its act together, because they are announcing international nursing programs that aren't going to work unless students can get basic supports like health coverage," said Nagra. "This should not be seen as a burden cost - it's an investment in basic care for people who are highly likely to make Manitoba their permanent home."
International students make up one of the biggest groups who belong to Manitoba's provincial nominee program - future residents and citizens.
That's why Manitoba Liberals say it makes no sense to turn a cold shoulder to people who are educated, motivated, already live in Manitoba, and want to build a life here.
"By cancelling a relatively low-cost health insurance plan, the PCs sent a clear message to international students who want to move to Manitoba permanently," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "International students are actively bringing money into the province to pay tuition, rent, and taxes. Restoring health insurance will pay for itself many times over and it's the right and humane thing to do."
1. CBC - Manitoba repeals universal health care for international students
2. International Student Expenditures - 2017 Update