Healthcare front of mind for Pallister while visiting nation's capital
In this file image, Brian Pallister speaks during a press conference in Winnipeg on August 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
WINNIPEG -- Premier Brian Pallister joined fellow premiers Jason Kenney from Alberta, Doug Ford from Ontario, and Francois Legault from Quebec on Friday afternoon to call on the federal government to commit to increasing health funding to provinces in the upcoming throne speech.
After the announcement, he spoke with media about healthcare in Manitoba.
The premier was asked if the province has any plans to adapt the Government of Canada's contact tracing app in Manitoba.
The app, according to the Government of Canada, uses Bluetooth to exchange codes with other phones that have the app.
It then checks the codes to see if anyone connected to the codes has tested positive for COVID-19.
So far, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, are all using the app.
Pallister said the province is currently investigating the app to see if Manitobans should use it.
He said while this would help with contact tracing, there are also concerns about people's privacy.
"We have to balance those two things effectively," Pallister said. "But, obviously we have to learn to live with the realities of COVID and one of the realities is, if someone gets infected, we have to be able to track and trace quickly."
Pallister also hammered home the point that the country as a whole needs to focus on the healthcare system and improving it so everyone can access it when they need to, and not have it slowed down by COVID-19.
"Manitobans, Canadians deserve to be able to access the care they pay for with their tax dollars that they have anticipated that would be there for them when they needed it and it's critical that we continue to make sure that we find ways to get that care to people sooner than has been the case."
He said wait times at hospitals and other healthcare facilities have continued to climb over the past 20 years and that was before COVID-19 impacted the healthcare system. He added with this growing problem, the federal government needs to step up and be a "reliable partner in the rebuilding of accessible healthcare."