Child care, health on PM’s Winnipeg agenda


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Winnipeg to meet with health-care workers and make an announcement on child care.

“We know that moving forward on accessible, affordable high-quality child-care spaces can make a huge difference,” Trudeau told a crowd of more than 100 party faithful who pressed into a banquet hall at the Fort Garry Hotel Thursday night.

“That’s one of the things brings me here to Winnipeg.”

Trudeau appeared at a party fundraiser, but the main events are scheduled for Friday, when he holds a joint news conference with Premier Heather Stefanson at a childcare centre.

In the afternoon, he will meet with health care workers at a city hospital.

He said Thursday Canadians are “incredibly proud” of their public health system, but they know “it’s not living up to our expectations of it right now.”

Trudeau said his government plans to move forward with targeted investment to “reinforce” the health-care system, ensure access to family doctors and mental health supports.

He did not provide specifics about how those investments will affect Manitoba.

Trudeau and Stefanson are expected to take questions from the media following Friday’s childcare announcement.

The prime minister went on to address issues such as inflation, COVID-19 recovery and Indigenous reconciliation.

He credited the carbon tax for combating climate change, and reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to supporting Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion.

He did not address allegations of Chinese interference in the last election, which are said to come from Canadian Security Intelligence records leaked to the Globe and Mail.

The RCMP said this week it is not investigating the claims, while the Conservative party, NDP and Bloc Québécois have called for an independent public inquiry.

Before concluding his speech, Trudeau admonished Official Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre, who was in Winnipeg in January to speak at a Frontier Centre for Public Policy event.

The think tank has been criticized for denigrating COVID-19 vaccines and downplaying the impact of residential schools on Indigenous children.

“There’s people you shouldn’t talk to, and there’s things you cannot be encouraging if you want to be a serious leader,” Trudeau said.

“Pierre Poilievre is trying to play a very, very dangerous game of pretending to Canadians he pushes back on that kind of hateful divisive rhetoric.. and yet at the same time, quietly encouraging people to continue to support him as prime minister.”

Trudeau last appeared in Winnipeg in December, when he attended the funeral of Liberal MLA Jim Carr who had died of blood cancer.

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