WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is making changes to his cabinet.
The Progressive Conservative government says a new lineup of ministers will be announced this morning.
Pallister hinted at the shuffle last month in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press, in which he said potential changes include adding a second health minister to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shuffle comes after recent opinion polls have suggested that support for the governing Tories has dropped sharply.
Manitoba was hit hard by the pandemic’s second wave and, for much of the fall, led all other provinces in per-capita infection rates.
Testing capacity and contact tracing initially failed to keep up with demand as case numbers spiked. Long-term care homes were hit by outbreaks and the number of deaths rose exponentially.
In November, Health Minister Cameron Friesen accused doctors of causing chaos after 200 physicians and other scientists wrote a letter to the premier that said the health-care system was being overwhelmed.
Since then, Friesen has been less visible. Pallister, not Friesen, has held most of the news conferences on the government’s pandemic response, along with the province’s chief public health officer.
Pallister won a second consecutive majority mandate in 2019 and the next provincial
Manitoba had two health ministers under the former NDP government. One was dedicated to seniors and promoting healthy living.
In Ontario, one of two health ministers is dedicated to long-term care. In British Columbia, one is focused on mental health and addictions.
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