Pallister Government Breaks Promise to Release Review of Health-Care System: Wiebe

The Pallister government is hiding a review of the province’s health-care system it promised to make public and is running roughshod over the right of Manitobans to know what cuts and changes it’s planning, NDP Health Critic Matt Wiebe said today.

“The government has had this review of the health-care system in its hands for weeks, but Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen won’t allow Manitobans to know what’s in it or what their plans are,” Wiebe said. “Once again, Pallister and his minister are reneging on their promise to be transparent and accountable.”

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen stood in the House on June 6 and promised the government would release the bulk of the review, Wiebe noted. Goertzen said: “… those issues that don't deal with proprietary or legal issues will be made public, Madam Speaker.”

The review of health care was done by accounting firm KPMG for a cost of $750,000 and submitted to government on Jan. 20. The NDP filed a request under the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for copies of the KPMG review of the health-care system but was denied.

KPMG also did the “value for money” audit for a cost of $740,000 and submitted it to government by Dec. 31. It, too, has not been made public, despite a vow by the premier to do so.

“The Pallister government has made it clear it’s considering privatizing parts of our health-care system, but no one knows which parts or who will be affected,” Wiebe said. “It’s already closed one QuickCare clinic, and still the government refuses to let anyone know whether further cuts are being considered.”

Wiebe pointed out that the Pallister Conservatives promised to be transparent and accountable in their actions, but have broken that promise. The premier also promised to protect frontline services and workers, he noted, but instead is slashing hundreds of jobs across different areas of government.

“Health care is the most important priority of families and Manitobans deserve to have a say in the future of the system,” Wiebe said. “Rather than hiding information that was paid for by Manitoba taxpayers, Pallister should come clean and release the report.”