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Manitoba premier touts COVID-19 response and penalties to party faithful

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks during the province's latest COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg Monday, March 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

WINNIPEG – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is defending his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to Progressive Conservative party members.

In a speech to the provincial party’s annual general meeting, held via online video, Pallister said all provinces west of New Brunswick are dealing with a surge of cases in the pandemic’s second wave.

Manitoba currently has the highest per-capita rate of new infections in the country, and intensive care units are running close to capacity.

Health care unions have said the government failed to boost capacity in the summer in order to prepare for the second wave.

Pallister said his government is spending more on health care than the previous NDP administration.

He also said people have to follow public health orders, and pointed to new and increased fines the Tories have implemented for rule-breakers.