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Calling for a real plan for achieving greater awareness of FASD

Tuesday morning, November 6 I spoke at third reading on Bill 230 the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day Act.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I speak this morning in support of this bill. I  want to thank the member for Fort Richmond (Mrs. Guillemard) for bringing this forward. I want to thank those who have come in support of this bill this morning. It is an important bill, an important measure, and now we need to make sure that for next year there is, and every year after, that there is an important plan and a significant plan for creating awareness about FASD. And so we're looking forward to seeing the plan as it emerges. I hope that the MLA for Fort Richmond will involve the people who are here in supporting in the development of that plan.

      I would suggest that there's a number of elements which are important in the plan. I would suggest that one of the things that the MLA for Point Douglas has mentioned, which is that Liquor & Lotteries would have the opportunity to actually put warning labels on alcoholic beverages. That is something that's certainly within the doable for the government, and we should expect that to be part of an awareness plan.

      We would expect that the awareness plan not only makes awareness, people aware of what's happening, but also aware of the need for further research, research related to, for example, nutrition and its impact, either preventing or mitigating FASD, research into helping children with FASD and making sure that they have the best possible opportunities in the future.

      And also, as part of the plan, should be some ability to look at the impact of, or the effectiveness of, the awareness. I have been at a number of Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries committees, and I have asked them, because they have had awareness campaigns to some extent in the past, whether they were effective. And they had no idea whether they were effective or not. And so there needs to be some measurement of the effectiveness of the plan to see if it is working.

      It turned out that when we were dealing with bringing more attention to the negative effects of cigarette smoking, that actually measuring what worked turned out to be very important in the design of awareness campaigns.

      I hope that the member for Fort Richmond (Mrs. Guillemard) will take all this into account as she works with others to develop the awareness plan for the future. Thank you.

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