Premier and Liberal Leader Andrew Furey was campaigning in the Big Land on Monday, visiting candidates and groups in Labrador West and Lake Melville.
Furey spoke to the media while he was in Labrador City and covered a variety of topics, including concerns Labradorians have with the Medical Transportation Assistance Program (MTAP).
Last week NL NDP Leader Alison Coffin said her party would remove the requirement for upfront payment by patients and reimbursement for medical flights, which has been referenced as a barrier by people in the region.
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When asked by SaltWire how his party would change the program to better meet the needs of Labradorians, Furey said he had met with impacted people while in Labrador West and recognizes there needs to be changes made.
The Liberal leader said when he was working as an orthopedic surgeon they had begun offering clinics in the region to cut down on patient travel, but says more needs to be done.
“When you hear the stories about a child or a loved one with cancer, obviously you can’t have an oncology clinic in every nook and cranny around our beautiful province, but we’re Canadian and everyone deserves a Canadian standard of medical care,” he said.
“That’s part of being Canadian, part of what we’re proud of as Canadians, is that won’t bankrupt you. My government won’t let that happen in the future.”
The district was a close loss for the Liberals in the last election, when NDP Jordan Brown beat then Liberal cabinet minister Graham Letto by only two votes. Former Labrador City mayor Wayne Button is representing the Liberals this time around, and Furey said he has full confidence in Button as a representative for the region as a candidate.
Our team is heading to Labrador this morning after a quick pit stop at home last night. Great to be with our families, next stop @nlliberals candidate @wbutton123! As long as the weather holds... pic.twitter.com/mXOw9hSgLg— Andrew Furey (@FureyAndrew) January 24, 2021
Furey was also asked about InvestNL, an online portal for investors to connect with local entrepreneurs his party had announced earlier in the day.
One of the ways out of the global economic crisis is to continue to bring investment to the province, he said, referencing Labrador West and the mining opportunities there an example of what the province has to offer.
“There is great interest around the world, but we need to make it easy for foreign investments to come to Newfoundland and Labrador by creating a portal to attract foreign investments to the government,” he said. “It’s a virtual trade desk that will link foreign investors with local entrepreneurs and the appropriate people in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Our province has an abundance of valuable resources and a vibrant ecosystem of companies and entrepreneurs. So our...Posted by Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador on Monday, January 25, 2021
Evan Careen is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Labrador for the SaltWire Network