December 8, 2022

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Well being care, public security and racism take forefront at Thompson mayoral Q&A

Well being care, public security and racism take forefront at Thompson mayoral Q&A

Racism, public security and higher well being care had been among the many large speaking factors at a Thompson, Man., mayoral candidates Q&A on city Indigenous points on the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre on Thursday night.

Les Ellsworth, Ron Matechuk and Colleen Smook, the three folks operating for mayor of the northern Manitoba metropolis, all had been on the occasion hosted by the friendship centre, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Keewatin Tribal Council and the Manitoba Métis Federation.

Whereas the main focus of the discussion board was city Indigenous points, the primary query focused a big-ticket merchandise for the town and past: a brand new hospital to offer higher well being take care of these coming in from surrounding communities.

“We have to construct a brand-new hospital right here,” mentioned Ellsworth, who’s a metropolis councillor.

“And we have to take care of the people who dwell in Thompson and the encircling communities, and that is not occurring.”

Well being care is a provincial duty however Ellsworth mentioned as mayor, he’d “be sure that we get a brand new hospital and the service that we deserve right here in Thompson, Man.”

Well being care, public security and racism take forefront at Thompson mayoral Q&A
William Elvis Thomas was amongst 30 folks on the mayoral discussion board on the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre. Thomas was additionally a candidate on this yr’s Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation election. (Ethan Butterfield/CBC)

Smook, who’s operating for re-election after turning into Thompson’s first feminine mayor in 2018, mentioned the town undoubtedly has to maintain advocating for a brand new hospital and well being care.

“Would not essentially must be all of the well being care in Thompson. We’re the hub,” she mentioned.

“There’s bigger communities that encompass us which have simply as a lot proper to have extra well being care of their communities served proper there.”

Matechuk, a former metropolis councillor making his fourth run for the mayoral chair, did not communicate concerning the want for a brand new hospital, however targeted on foot care for example of the necessity for extra well being providers within the metropolis.

“We do want extra well being care,” he mentioned. “Beginning with essentially the most fundamental — give us again foot care.”

Organizations just like the Thompson Seniors Neighborhood Useful resource Council have petitioned for the return of specialised foot care to the town. There have been two foot care nurses locally however after they retired, they weren’t changed.

“I, too, am diabetic, and I see folks in wheelchairs with legs and toes gone,” Matechuk mentioned.

The three mayoral candidates within the 2022 Thompson election gathered on the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre on Thursday for a discussion board on city Indigenous points. (Ethan Butterfield/CBC)

Candidates had been additionally requested how they’d handle racism within the metropolis.

Ellsworth mentioned as mayor, he would be sure that everybody within the municipal authorities understood their function and that there could be a penalty for ignorant behaviour.

“If they didn’t adjust to the function, if I had a councillor, or any administration, anybody, that must be dealt [with] in a respectful method,” he mentioned.

Smook steered a process pressure on racism could possibly be developed, “to only discover out simply precisely what programs that we have to take as a neighborhood.”

Matechuk mentioned the answer is easy.

“To deal with it, you cease and the place you see it,” he mentioned. “Easy as that.”

Public security was additionally raised as a problem.

Ellsworth mentioned downtown Thompson is the number one difficulty he hears about whereas door-to-door campaigning.

“I am very dedicated to taking a look at what’s occurring in our downtown space,” he mentioned. “We have to take care of it.”

Smook mentioned in her work with different communities, she’s realized that every one 10 of the communities in Manitoba with the best inhabitants are coping with the difficulty.

“It isn’t simply Thompson,” she mentioned.

“We’re engaged on the crime.”

Candidates had been additionally requested concerning the Thompson Aboriginal Accord and its implementation. The accord, signed on June 21, 2019, “affirms [the city’s] dedication to strengthening relationships with Indigenous governments and peoples.”

“It is no good to return and say we’ll work on this and we’ll work on that,” Ellsworth mentioned.

There is no committee construction to work on it, he mentioned.

“We must always have been speaking about it on a regular basis.”

Smook mentioned implementing the accord is as much as everybody, together with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and Keewatin Tribal Council.

“If we as metropolis have fallen down, then sure, now we have to get again on it,” she mentioned.

Matechuk identified {that a} excessive proportion of Thompson’s inhabitants is Indigenous.

“Now we have to behave accordingly,” Matechuk mentioned.

The municipal election is Oct. 26.