PCs promise up to $10M for Indigenous-run addictions treatment centre
Heather Stefanson makes announcement on same day of rallies against her landfill search decision
Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Heather Stefanson promised funding to help build an Indigenous-run addictions treatment centre, on a day when rallies were held nationwide against her decision not to search a landfill for the bodies of murdered Indigenous women.
Stefanson said Monday if she's elected premier on Oct. 3, Manitoba would contribute up to $10 million toward the Quest Health Recovery Centre, a proposed 180-bed addictions treatment facility for Indigenous men and women.
The centre, run by Chemawawin Cree Nation, would offer culturally appropriate treatment over three months in two facilities that would be built in Winnipeg, said Chemawawin Chief Clarence Easter, who has endorsed the PCs in this election.
Stefanson made the announcement while rallies were held in 17 Canadian cities on Monday against Stefanson's decision not to search the Prairie Green landfill north of Winnipeg, in the Rural Municipality of Rosser, for the bodies of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, two Indigenous women who police believe died at the hands of an alleged serial killer.
"This is to prevent those things, those horrible tragedies from happening," Stefanson said about addictions treatment for Indigenous men and women, speaking outside the Quest Inn on Ellice Avenue in downtown Winnipeg.
Stefanson opposes a landfill search on the basis it could endanger workers. She described support for a new Indigenous-run treatment centre as part of her party's commitment to reconciliation.
Easter could not say where in Winnipeg the new facilities would be located or when construction would start. He said the program could be expanded to 400 beds.
The program would be open to Indigenous men and women who live in First Nation communities as well as outside of them. The program would offer some supports for residents of First Nations who return to their communities, he said.
The money for the recovery centre constituted the second health-related announcement for the PCs on Monday. Earlier, the party pledged $30 million a year to recruit more health-care workers.
The pair of announcements prompted sarcasm from the leader of the New Democratic Party, which has made a health-care pledge almost every day since the formal start of the election campaign.
"I want to welcome Heather Stefanson to this year's election campaign. Today is the first day she's coming to make an announcement about health care," Wab Kinew said outside Grace Hospital in Winnipeg, where he announced a plan to expand surgical capacity and add 12 more step-down beds to reduce wait times at the site.
With files from Caitlyn Gowriluk