Families Struggling With Addictions Deserve Better

Scrubbed Report Leaves Manitobans with Questions

May 15, 2018

Today NDP Leader Wab Kinew continued to pressure Brian Pallister for answers on how a recommendation for a front-line addictions treatment option was removed from a consultant’s report.

The report was released Monday morning containing a recommendation to open a safe injection site, also known as a safe consumption site, in Winnipeg. When asked during Question Period whether the government would commit to that recommendation, Pallister falsely claimed that the report released did not contain a recommendation to open a safe injection site.

Later, the government said that a draft version of the report had been released in error, which left Manitobans questioning whether Pallister’s personal opposition to safe injection sites for ideological reasons led to the recommendation being removed from the report.

Key questions remain unanswered:

  • Why wasn’t Dr. Rush aware of the interest expressed by Main Street Project to open a safe injection site? Wouldn’t it have been reasonable for government to make him aware that interest in such a site had been expressed?

  • Why weren’t Dr. Rush and his team provided with the information they needed to make a recommendation on whether a safe injection site is needed in Winnipeg? Wouldn’t this information be fundamental to assess the overall impact of addictions on our health system?

  • Will the government now provide Dr. Rush the information he needs to assess whether a safe injection site is needed in Winnipeg?

  • Was the removal of the reference to a safe injection site a political decision? What other recommendations were removed from the report, and what role did the government have in removing those recommendations?

  • Why, after having the draft report for many weeks, was the Minister of Health unable or unwilling to commit to action on any of the recommendations made by the report?

  • Is it a common practice of the Pallister government to remove information they disagree with from other supposedly independent reports?

NDP Leader Wab Kinew said that the appearance of political interference in the recommendations of the report leaves Manitobans with more questions than answers about the direction of mental health and addictions treatment.

“The appearance of political interference leaves us with more questions than answers today. Families want a plan they can believe in to help their kids who deal with mental health issues in school or whose loved ones deal with addictions. Unfortunately, the way government has handled this issue has lost them a lot of credibility,” said Kinew.