Healthcare gaslighting isn’t just greed - it’s violence

Another week, another abysmal event in Manitoba’s healthcare spiral.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government intends to spend more than $196 billion on healthcare over the next 10 years, including $46 billion in new spending above already-budgeted funds.

It’s money that healthcare systems across Canada desperately need. The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed hospitals beyond the breaking point. The problem was felt especially acutely here in Manitoba, after years of unnecessary and catastrophic cuts by the ruling Progressive Conservative government under the guise of “saving money.”

But Premier Heather Stefanson’s response to the proposed funding bump was rich (no pun intended).

“We’re a little disappointed,” Stefanson said, speaking on behalf of the country’s premiers. “It’s significantly less than we were looking for.”

Look. Do I think we should spend more on healthcare? Absolutely. But coming from the PCs, this is pure gaslighting. Stefanson has the power to increase healthcare spending at the provincial level. Why not tap into all that money that was supposedly “saved” by closing clinics and emergency rooms?

No, Stefanson doesn’t actually want more funding for healthcare. But she does want to be able to point the finger at the federal government and blame them for the dying medical system that she and her party have worked so hard to kill. It’s no coincidence that she, and other right-wing premiers across the country, are also pushing for increased privatization in health services.

This has to stop. The right’s attack on healthcare services in Canada isn’t just greed or a lack of compassion. It is violence. It is a literal, violent attack on the people who need these services to live, who can’t afford to pay through the nose in the American-style for-profit healthcare system that the PCs and like-minded people in power seem to want so badly

Published in Volume 77, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 9, 2023)

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