If Manitoba was a person, what would you say to them? Would you give them a high 5 for the awesome things they are up to? Would you sit them down and give them a good talking to? Here are 6 things that I would discuss if Manitoba was a person and I got a chance to talk to them:
- Child welfare: ok, in recent memory, you released a child welfare report. Since then, you have introduced block funding, are running a pilot project for social impact bonds & have refused to make birth alerts illegal. Now while the first 2 have already gotten folks frustrated, I am looking for information that confirms that when the province of Manitoba switched to block funding while welfare services in Manitoba were cut by about 100 million dollars. I hope this is not true and would love to be proven wrong! Maybe an update on how many of the recommendations have been implemented is in store? The opposition had introduced a number of bills that seemed to be in line with the reports’ recommendations so I don’t know why some of those were defeated. Last thing for now is compliance and reporting as outlined in TRC calls to action 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5!
- Health: this one is a mess. We really need to be more forthcoming with the public about where you got your ideas and show us the math about how it’s gonna go down. If there are studies or evidence somewhere that says this current system overhaul helps, I would love to see it! Also, we need to get better and have a more robust and responsive mental health system. While we are on this topic, I wish that we had a provincial strategy on harm reduction, kinda like the one the WRHA has made.
- Education: there was a recent education review and I am excited & nervous to see the report. Many are worried about the state of local school boards and the ability of teachers unions to fulfill their responsibilities of representing teachers so they can have fair wages and safe working conditions. It’s no secret I have a soft spot for teachers and know that many spend out of pocket to provide resources to kids. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could organize our schools so that that didn’t have to happen??
- Health & Safety: I believe you would be happier and healthier if you had a rigorous health and safety system (to prevent situations like this one). Manitoba, tell me what your plans are to ensure workers know their rights, can recognize hazards in the work place, young workers are taken care of and anyone that wants to can participate in decisions related to worker safety. Also ensuring women are not harassed in the workplace should be top of mind for everyone (& anyone connected to the labour world).
- Reconciliation: This one requires working with First Nations, Metis & Inuit leaders in the province and while I see some progress I believe we can do better. This also entails improving many types of outcomes for Indigenous people in Manitoba, I would love to hear your plans and targets for reducing the number of Indigenous kids in care, increasing the health and education indigenous kids can access and reducing the number of Indigenous youth, women and men in provincial justice institutions. Also, we as a province are about to party for your 150th birthday, so can we use that as a time to highlight Indigenous history and contributions (even before you were born!!). Finally, there are many many things included in the new MMIWG report that can help too! There’s more to say here but I will leave it at that for now.
- Representation: The people who represent us as Members of the Legislative Assembly and the staff that work in provincial departments should look like the province and communities they serve. With that being said I would love to hear that you are going to have voluntary employee equity surveys as well as public targets and strategies to become more representative (by reaching those targets). You could also mention how you plan to retain diverse hires in the employ of the province with a particular nod to supporting young workers and let us know what your training plans are for all public servants.
So unfortunately for me, Manitoba is not a person so I won’t be having this conversation in real life. But luckily for us there is a way for us to have these kinds of conversations about provincial things as an election has been called for September 10, 2019 in Manitoba. That means there will be advance voting opportunities and you should familiarize yourself with what you need to vote. I want to encourage everyone to get together with your neighbours, family & friends and ask all the candidates that knock on your door or show up at your community event what they plan to do in your top areas of priority for Manitoba. Also for people who wanna educate others there are youth focussed resources on Elections Manitoba Website!!
I know many people don’t like politics in summer (or some people, never lol), but it is in all of our best interests to pay attention to what is happening in our province this summer. And even for people that think it won’t help if we vote, I believe we should take every available opportunity to effect change that is available to us and that includes asking candidates questions and voting. Also remember you can decline your ballot if you want to protest & still be counted! Get informed, take action & invite your friends to shape your own thoughts about what needs to happen this election.
P.S. please don’t fall for any of the BS attack ads out their and make your own informed opinions about people on all sides of the political spectrum