Skip to main content

We need to address racism in Manitoba

The organization “Hire a Refugee” has highlighted the  rise in racism and racist discrimination which has been occurring toward refugees in Manitoba.  This sends a message that is incongruent with the diversity and multicultural beliefs held by the majority of Canadians and specifically Manitobans, so I am writing this blog to raise awareness about this situation.  

1) As a result of refugees we now have more opportunities for jobs in Manitoba, because refugees like all of us need food, clothing, housing and education.   All of these add to the economic growth that is needed in our province and adds job opportunities.  To look at it another way, if there had been no immigrants to Manitoba over the last 150 years, we would have a much smaller population and significantly fewer jobs!

2) It is important to understand that the refugees we are receiving from Syria, Iraq and many other countries have often spent many years in a refugee camp.   They have often lost friends and family to violence and horrific circumstances including car bombs.   Many have been at the front lines in fighting terrorism and terrorist groups like ISIS and have suffered as a result.  The refugees are coming to Manitoba to work hard and to participate in our Canadian society.   Yes, many need help, but they are also people who will make a very positive contribution to our society and will help efforts to decrease terrorism and to build a stronger more diverse Manitoba.

The web site “Hire a Refugee” has been receiving negative messages including the following. (My apologies for the profanity, but I feel it is necessary to demonstrate verbatim the level of hate that is being spread by these racists.)
  • WTF why only refugees were here don't need no MF taking over jobs" - N**** T*******
  • How bout hire a canadian or fck off," -D*** W**** E****
  • I have dog shit to be cleaned it pays what you take" -D***** D******
  • “F*** the Refugees”
  • “F*** them”
  • “F*** you”

These comments are defamatory and inappropriate.  I have written to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and to the Honourable Heather Stefanson, the Minister of Justice in Manitoba to investigate this situation and to ask them to act to address it. I also see we need to take a broader view and look at our city, encouraging awareness and supporting the efforts to have Winnipeg designated a Human Rights City, and our province Manitoba becoming a Human Rights Province where understanding of others and empathy towards others is chief among our values. 

It is important to recognize that many Manitobans who are not refugees are struggling to find work.   For example, more must be done to help those who are 50 to 65 who are looking for work as many, even when well qualified, are having difficulty finding a decent job in an environment rife with cutbacks.  The efforts to find employment can be broadened and Hire a Refugee has indicated that while they are primarily focused on helping refugees, they are also ready to help others.  Let us work together to find solid solutions for all who want to work in Manitoba. 


Popular posts from this blog

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…

Geo-Positioning of Ambulances in Manitoba needs to be revisited

Thursday April 19 I spoke, in a Members Statement, on emergency medical services in rural Manitoba and the need to revisit the current plan to geo-position ambulances away from communities.   My comments are on video at this link, or in text from Hansard below: Geo-Positioning of AmbulancesHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I rise to talk about the government's approach to geo-positioning ambulances at sites which are far away from the communities they serve.
      The government's approach would have paramedics and ambulances positioned around the clock at what are called geo-positioned sites derived from a computer. These sites are often a considerable distance from any community and where population density is low. While paramedics are positioned at  these sites they are waiting for emergency calls, but are not able to contribute in other ways to health care because they are some distance from any community.
      The alternative, Madam Speaker, is exemplifie…

Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party win big in the St. Boniface by-election

Today Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party came out substantially ahead of Blandine Tona of the NDP in the St. Boniface by-election.   Francoise Therrien-Vrignon of the Green Party was in third and Mamadou Ka of the Progressive Conservatives was fourth.  This is a major victory for Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party.  It will mean our Liberal Leader is in the Legislature.  It will also mean that the Manitoba Liberal Party will have what is called "Official Party Status" in the Manitoba Legislature, with more resources and more ability to contribute inside and outside the Legislature - in holding the government to account and in contributing constructively to helping achieve a better Manitoba.