During the swearing-in ceremony for the new Manitoba government, which took place on Oct. 18, we learned that Union Station MLA Uzoma Asagwara was named Minister of Health and Deputy Premier of Manitoba.

At MNU, we are very pleased to see a nurse as Minister of Health. Uzoma has a good knowledge of the issues and has indicated that they want to collaborate with frontline professionals to start addressing issues in our health care system.

We know that this will be a tall order. As I said in an interview with CityNews Winnipeg, this is a big ship that we have to turn around and we’re not going to make the changes we need to make overnight… but we can make a plan for change with the new Health Minister.

Last week, Premier Wab Kinew and Minister Asagwara held a press conference where they discussed a letter that was sent to all health care workers via your employers. If you did not receive this letter and would like to read it, you can find it at this link.

We are encouraged to see this new government repeatedly state that not only are they committed to listening to the frontlines, they are open to suggestions from the frontlines.

Imagine a supportive, collaborative frontline.

With more bodies in place, this government also plans to end mandatory overtime so that nurses can feel like they are making a difference at work AND in their personal lives.

Premier Kinew’s government plans to offer more education and training opportunities to equip staff with skills to be flexible and adaptable.

And get this… (our personal fav) they plan to HOLD MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTABLE.

The change in government in Manitoba, along with a new federal Health Minister in Mark Holland, signals a new era for public health care after years of under-funding and neglect.

During our meetings in P.E.I. with Minister Holland, which CFNU organized, we felt that the new Minister heard and understood nurses’ concerns and is committed to addressing workplace challenges and creating environments where nurses and patients can thrive.

Manitoba is turning a new leaf, Premier Kinew said, adding that this was why the swearing-in ceremony was held at The Leaf in Assiniboine Park.

We welcome this new leaf with optimism that our healthcare system can be improved.

On a final note, tomorrow is Oct. 31st, so I’m wishing a Happy Halloween to you and your family, and especially to your children and grandchildren!