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We must stop the Pallister government from implementing the KPMG proposed cuts to children's hearing aids, bone-anchored hearing implant processors and FM transmitters.

The Phase II report from KPMG on the Health System Sustainability and Innovation Review makes a recommendation that the government decrease the level of provincial support for children's hearing aids, for bone-implant processors and FM transmitters.    These are devices which are very important for enabling children with hearing difficulties to hear.   We have recently (2016) finally achieved universal newborn hearing screening after many years of advocating for this.   It is essential that children who are identified at birth as hearing deficient have the support for enable them to hear as good as they can hear with the support of hearing aids and Cochlear implants.  When children have a hearing deficiency, they have difficulty hearing and this translates into difficulties learning and often to behavioural and other problems down the road.  We need to ensure that these children are enabled to do well.   The provincial government should definitely not reduce support for this progr…
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The Pallister Conservatives have a pattern of not adequately consulting with people who are affected by their decisions

On Wednesday June 20, I spoke on Bill 29 to talk about the fact that the government has too often not adequately discussed the impacts of measures it takes with the people who are being affected.  My comments in the Legislative assembly are below. 
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Just a few comments on this. I note that in his motion, which we are debating, that the Government House Leader (Mr. Cullen) has suggested that–correctly–that one of the things that was deemed important was having additional consultations and discussions over the summer. The way to do that is to not pass it through to committee, but rather to make sure that those discussions are undertaken and that peoples' views are adequately considered. It is, sadly, something of a pattern that this government has got into, to introduce measures without being able to look at and consult with people who are knowledgeable in the area.       I would give you an example. The government is–has tabled a report from KPMG whi…

The Methamphetamine crisis: We need to learn from the Morberg House experience

On Thursday June 21, I had the opportunity to 
. Gerrard:My next question relates to something which I know is a big concern of the minister's, and that is the meth epidemic for the large number of people in Manitoba, an increasing number of people, often young people, in Manitoba, who are caught up taking and addicted to meth. We've had a lot of discussions and questions over the course of the last couple of years for the minister on this subject, but the approach to the epidemic needs to go beyond just an educational approach and hoping that will reduce it.       I've spoken on a number of occasions about the activities that have happened, as an example, at Morberg House in St. Boniface, and I would hope that the minister would have an opportunity to visit and see the results. The minister's interested in outcomes of what's happening at Morberg House, and a number of these results were discussed on CBC several weeks ago.       And the fascinating thing about Morbe…

Judy Klassen congratulates the graduates from her constituency of Kewatinook

Thursday June 21, Judy Klassen spoke to honour the high school graduates in Kewatinook.   Her comments are below. Kewatinook 2018 GraduatesMs. Judy Klassen (Kewatinook): I would like to take this time to congratulate my Kewatinook 2018 graduates–indeed, to every graduate across our province.       Indigenous graduation rates are at a deplorable 49.3 per cent rate, and yet my young adults, teachers, administrators in Kewatinook are doing everything possible to raise that number.       All these diplomas are hard-earned. Most kids have to leave their First Nation to attain their diploma because there simply is no high school in their community. I know how much it hurts to be forced to leave for school; I had to do it, facing insurmountable loneliness, unfamiliar landscapes, concrete jungles and a different culture that you have to adapt to and the unjust racism that exists in that supposed civilized world you now live in.       There are many challenges within our own communities as wel…

Interim supply - the reason for the emergency session - the Pallister government needs more money

On June 6th our Manitoba Legislature was recalled for an emergency session.   A primary reason for the emergency session was that the Pallister government had done a poor job of managing the budgetary process, had not completed the budgetary process and indeed had not even introduced one of the important budgetary bills - the BITSA bill.  The BITSA bill (short hand for Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes Amendment Act) is an essential part of the budgetary process and would normally be introduced and often debated and passed by this time.   However, the Pallister Conservatives did not manage the budgetary process well with the result we had to have the emergency session.   In order for the government to have money to continue to operate as a result of the budget not being fully passed, a major reason for the emergency session was to pass an interim supply bill which would give the government the ability to keep on spending during the period until the budget bills like BITSA are ful…

Taking children away from their parents - why we in Manitoba should be very concerned about what has been happening in the United States

Tuesday June 19, I spoke on a debate on a matter of urgent public importance namely "the urgent issue of the cruel and inhumane policy of the US administration to separate migrant children from their parents when entering the United States to claim asylum and the importance of condemning this inhumane practice on the part of the US administration."   I responded to this issue to emphasize the understanding that we have in Manitoba of the appalling impact of taking children from their families - as has happened with the taking of so many children by the government's child and family services.   My comments in the Legislature are below: 

Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, as we talk today, there are on the US-Mexico border, children who are  being separated from their families. I believe that the urgency of this issue and the importance of this issue speaks to that particular concern, and we, in Manitoba, know probably better than almost anywhere else the adverse effects of childr…

Judy Klassen speaks about the importance of Indigenous Peoples Day

Thursday June 21, Judy Klassen spoke about the National Indigenous People's Day

Ms. Klassen: I'm very happy to rise today to speak to National Indigenous Peoples Day.       This morning Cindy Blackstock called on all Canadian politicians to take mandatory training on indigenous peoples, residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and contemporary injustices that face our First Nation people.       I am proud to stand beside her in this call and I'd like to add that everyone should also learn about our treaties.       I would ask that all members of this House to use this day to take a good look at what is happening to indigenous people in our province, reflect on their own privilege and to be thankful for it and imagine what it would be like not to have it, and perhaps that'll be the catalyst that is needed in this province for real change.       We should all be working in this House to bridge that gap, to ensure that all Manitobans have the same acces…

Judy Klassen asks about the provincial government's approach to indigenous languages

Thursday, June 21, Judy Klassen asked about the use of indigenous languages in education in Manitoba.  Her questions and the Minister's responses are below: Education Curriculum - Indigenous Language ProgramsMs. Judy Klassen (Kewatinook): Along with our inherent right to hunt, trap and fish, we also have the inherent right to our languages.       The Aboriginal Languages Recognition Act recognizes seven languages spoken here in Manitoba which are the Cree, Dene, Ojibwe, Dakota and Oji‑Cree, and those spoken by our Metis and Inuit relations.       Thanks to the great work of the Seven Oaks School Division and the Winnipeg School Division we now have Ojibwe and Cree bilingual programs offered there.       When will this minister look at ensuring that more schools offer indigenous bilingual programs? Hon. Ian Wishart (Minister of Education and Training): I thank the member for the question.       A number of school divisions are in process of developing programs for indigenous languag…

Cindy Lamoureux asks probing questions about personal care homes in Manitoba

Recognizing the contributions to global public health by Manitobans

In Tuesday June 19, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature on the recent conference held in Winnipeg on Global Public Health and on the extraordinary contributions by Manitobans to address the global HIV-AIDS epidemic and to address outbreaks of Ebola. Canada and Global Public Health ConferenceHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): On June 12th and 13th a conference was held in Winnipeg on Canada and Global Public Health: Moving from Strategy to Action.       Achievements by Manitobans were highlighted. In 1980, Dr. Allan Ronald began the University of   Manitoba/University of Nairobi World Health Organization Research and Training Program in Sexually Transmitted Diseases.       Dr. Frank Plummer and others worked closely with Dr. Ronald in this work in Kenya and this effort contributed significantly to understanding the nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and has led to approaches to address and reduce it.       Dr. James Blanchard and Dr. Stephen Moses have worked extensively in Karnataka and R…