Manitoba's Protecting Children Act must go further: NDP, Liberal critics say
Conservatives say new legislation will help find missing kids faster
As the Progressive Conservatives get ready to table their Protecting Children Act, opposition critics from both the provincial Liberal and New Democratic Parties are looking for the government to go further.
"To make it easier for government departments, child and family service authorities, community service providers and law enforcement agencies to share information and collaborate while dealing with victimization and at-risk children," Fielding said in the Legislature on Wednesday, which was also International Missing Children's Day.
New Democrat and Liberal critics are concerned the government won't go far enough to improve the conditions that prompt children to go missing and support their families.
Judy Klassen, Liberal MLA for Keewatinook, told the Legislature that Manitoba has the highest rate of missing children per capita in Canada and in Winnipeg 83 per cent of missing children are in the care of Child and Family Services.
Klassen said while she was campaigning in the recent election she heard from people who are living with the perpetual grief of a missing child.
"My hope is we never relax on our duties to protect our most vulnerable — our children," Klassen said.
Those concerns were echoed by St. Johns NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine who was involved in the campaign for an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
"We must ensure the safety of children with the development of a 24-7 drop-in centre for Indigenous women and girls and provide additional supports for families living through such trauma," Fontaine said.
Fontaine added that the government has mentioned little about support for missing Indigenous children or their families in either the throne speech or the recently published ministers' mandate letters.
She said she is concerned that there won't be any new initiatives or funds to support them in the new budget.
A spokesperson for Fielding said a timetable to introduce the Protecting Children Act is still being determined.
The new government has released no details on what it will or won't be funding in the upcoming budget.