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Showing posts from 2019

Under the Pallister government there are fewer opportunities for youth and an increasing net movement of people away from Manitoba to other provinces

Under the Conservative Pallister government we are seeing an increasing movement of people away from Manitoba to other provinces.   Under the last year of the NDP the situation was not good with a net loss of people from Manitoba to other provinces of 4,921 people.   Under the Pallister Conservatives the net loss of people has gone up substantially to 9,246 - an increase in the net movement out of Manitoba to other provinces of 87%.    This is likely because the Pallister Conservative government's policies have made Manitoba a less desirable place to live so we have a larger movement of people away from Manitoba.

I am very concerned about the bad government we have under Mr. Pallister which is leading to this outcome. 

In a committee meeting on Poverty on Thursday evening December 5th,  I asked Minister Stefanson about a disturbing statistic in the government's Poverty report - that there has been a substantial increase in the number of youth aged 15 to 24 who are not in emp…

Cindy Lamoureux amendment to Bill 7 ensures people of all genders can access leave when they are victims of interpersonal violence

Thursday December 5th, Cindy Lamoureux moved an amendment to the government bill to ensure  people of all genders will have access to leave when they are victims of interpersonal violence.   Her comments in the Legislature are below together with the Minister's and my responses. 
Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Tyndall Park):I move, seconded by the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard), THAT Bill 7 be amended in Clause 3 by replacing clause (a) of the definition "interpersonal violence" in the proposed subsection 59.11(1) with the following: (a) domestic violence, being violence that occurs when a person is subjected to an act or omission mentioned in subsection 2(1.1) of The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act by another person who (i) is co'-hibiting'–'-habitating' or is 'cohabitated' with another–with the person in a spousal, conjugal or intimate relationship, (ii) has or had a family relationship with the person, in which they have lived together, (iii) has or…

Remembering the Montreal masacre 30 years ago and dedicating ourselves to a better Manitoba

Thursday November 5th, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature in reponse to a Ministerial statement on the Montreal masacre.   My comments are below: 

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):Madam Speaker, December the 6th is a very important day, is indeed a–was a watershed moment 30 years ago. It is something that is very close  to me, in part because I spent four years in Montreal and in part because I had visited the École polytechnique when I was minister responsible for science at the federal level.   And so when this happened  it was not only an incredible shock, it was a shock which occurred in an institution that I had been visiting and been there and seen the incredible contributions that people have made at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, and it was so sad to have something like this happen.       It is and was a turning point, and it's a turning point on which we must build. We must recognize not only this time, but what has happened more recently with the #MeToo movement, wi…

Why was Skinner's restaurant removed from the Forks Market when there so much empty space there?

Wednesday, December 4 I asked in Question Period about the large amount of vacant space at the Forks Market, some of which had been vacant for two or more years.  I also asked specifically as to why the renowned Skinner's Restaurant was removed from the Forks Market when there is so much empty space now.  My question and the Minister's response are below.    A video of the exchange can be seen at this link - https://youtu.be/rD0h3cAkT3oThe Forks Market - Vacancy Management
Hon. Jon Gerrard  (River Heights):Madam Speaker, today The Forks Market has a lot of empty space, much of it empty for two or more years. The list of vacant space includes what was formerly Muddy Waters smokehouse, Beachcombers, Skinners, Dragon House, Aida Crystal, significant parts of Sydney's, Sushi Train, and several balcony businesses a lot–along with a lot of unused former administrative space.       The minister overseeing municipal affairs is responsible for oversight of The Forks, a provincial tre…

Mandatory overtime is being used as a vile, anti-nurse and anti-family approach

Earlier today, I commented on the government's improper use of mandatory overtime.   It was got so bad that I recently heard of a nurse who had been told to do mandatory overtime 16 shifts in a row!   I also heard of another nurse who left Manitoba to go to British Columbia because she was unable to have a life because she had been told to do so much mandatory overtime.   Mandatory overtime is bad for nurses and it is bad for patient care to have nurses who are overtires and overworked.   I asked the Health Minister when he was going to improve the management of health care so that mandatory overtime would not be necessary.   As you will see from his response, the Health Minister talked of the "historic (and I would add disruptive) changes"  he has introduced, which have been in part the cause of the problem of high levels of mandatory overtime use.  He did not mention any concrete steps to reduce mandatory overtime.  My questions and the Minister's responses are bel…

Honouring Taylor Pryor

Earlier today, I spoke on a Member's Statement about Taylor Pryor
I rise to speak of Taylor Pryor - an amazing young woman who did very well in school and was an athlete who loved playing soccer.She lived life to the fullest and lived a life where no one was left behind. One day, playing soccer, she collided with another player and had a concussion.
The concussion, in some way, changed her brain.She became suicidal.Her thoughts, no matter what she did, were of suicide.She reached out.She called out for help - again and again and again and again.
Her parents went above and beyond what normal mortals could do in trying to help.
We must build a better world – with more empathy, more understanding and more knowledge of how to help.
We must build capacity so that when a young woman like Taylor calls for help, our society and our health care system can save her.After struggling for almost a year, and after an unbelievable number of Emergency room and Crisis Response Centre visits, she…

More effort is needed to prevent suicides in Manitoba

The Advocate for Children and Youth in Manitoba has just released a report showing an alarming number of suicides in children and youth in Manitoba in the last year.   In Question Period today, I asked the Minister of Families what she is doing to prevent suicides in children and youth.    The Premier responded, but sadly did not answer my question.  You can see my question and the Premier's response below: Youth Suicide Prevention - Inclusion of Case PlanningHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, it is of concern that the children's advocate reports 32 suicides in those up to age 20 last year. Indeed, the number of suicides in those up to age 18 has increased by 60 per cent in the last two years compared to the previous four years, as the data I tabled shows. I note the child death review shows a deficiency in 53 of 57 case plans. Problems in case planning have been highlighted many times in recent years. My question to the minister: What's her plan to prevent sui…

A Members Statement and Questions to the Minister of Health on Personal Care Homes

Tuesday, November 26th, I spoke on the Legislature in a Members Statement on Personal Care Homes and our recent Forum, and then I asked questions of the Minister of Health.  My Members Statement and Questions are below: 
Members Statement about our Forum on Personal Care Homes 
Last Saturday, the MLA for Tyndall Park and I brought together constituents at a Forum on Improving Care and Preventing Tragedies in Manitoba’s Personal Care Homes.  We looked at what is a tragedy in such home.Tragedies include fires - and falls where a hip is broken or a head is injured.Tragedies also include when a family member is not allowed to visit their loved one in the personal care home, or when a person dies in a home unhappy and angry about the quality of care he or she received. We had four excellent panelists. Connie Newman, Executive Director of the Manitoba Association of Senior’s Centres emphasized the importance of having someone who is an effective advocate for care home residents.Michelle Gawron…

Improving Care and Preventing Tragedies in our Personal Care Homes - Our Forum

Saturday November 23rd, at the Corydon Community Centre Cindy Lamoureux and I shared the job of Master of Ceremonies for our Forum on Improving Care and Preventing Tragedies in our Personal Care Homes in Manitoba. 

We had four excellent panelists in Connie Newman, the Executive Director of the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres, Michelle Gawronsky the President of the MGEU and long time worker in a personal care home, Dolores Minkus-Hofley and Robert Rose Jr.  The Forum brought to light numerous and very disturbing concerns over what is happening today in personal care homes.   There were also many suggestions for improving the situation.   What is clear is the need for a review of staffing levels and training requirements for those working in personal care homes in our province.   It is to be noted that there are personal care homes which are doing a really good job, even as there are others which are falling short of what is needed.   Part of what could help is an effort to be…

Changes to management of Crown land being imposed by the Pallister government will have adverse effects on many beef producers and on local communities

Dougald Lamont and I met with a concerned group of ranchers in Crane River on October 13th.   The ranchers felt betrayed by the actions of the Pallister government which is making changes to the management of Crown Lands in a way that is very detrimental to their own livelihood and to the future of their ability to raise cattle in the area near Crane River and in nearby areas near St. Rose du Lac and in the Interlake.The ranchers were supported by a representative from the Manitoba Beef Producers, Diane Riding.
The ranchers made a strong case for continuing the “unit transfer” system.   Under this system, which has existed for some time, beef producers are allowed to transfer the rights to the land and to sell the rights to lease and use the Crown land.  In the system, beef producers are rewarded when they make improvements to the land.  Under this system beef producers can build up equity in their operations and then when they retire, they can sell the rights to lease the land as a un…

Lead exposure and violent crime in Manitoba

Increasing evidence from many sources links the lead exposure pregnant mothers and young children to increased violent crime when the children are age 18 to 25.  On October 10th, I asked the Minister of Justice what we was doing to understand whether the government was looking at this link and whether it was acting to look at whether this was one of the reasons for the high violent crime in Manitoba. Violent Crime Statistics
Lead Exposure LinkHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Manitoba has a disturbingly high level of violent crime. Under the present Conservative government the violent Crime Severity Index has risen by more then 30 points to reach 169.8; no other province has seen anything comparable.       Manitoba may have a large increase in crime under this government because the government has  done little to address poverty, homelessness, mental health or addictions. Alternatively, as I table, increasing evidence links violent crime to lead exposure, and lead exposure details have…

Ranchers and new regulations related to Crown lands

On October 10, in Estimates for the Department of Agriculture I asked Minister Eichler about his new regulations related to the use of Crown Land.   We have received many concerns from beef producers about the negative impact of these regulations on their future.  Interestingly the day after I raised these issues, Minister Eichler decided to make some changes to address some of the ranchers concerns.   However, there still remain major concerns for many ranchers.  My questions and the Minister's responses are below. 
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):What I'm hearing from a number of farmers is that some of these changes are going to be devastating. The minister is saying that young farmers are going to be the big beneficiaries, but I have here the Manitoba Beef Producers saying that young ranchers are going to feel the brunt of the changes that he's making.       It seems that there are a number of problems. You  may have a large number of leases coming up in 2034 to be auct…

Carbon Savings, Nitrous oxide emissions, algal blooms and composting

On October 9th I asked various questions during Estimates for the Department of Sustainable Development.   These related to the net impact of the governments climate change program in relation to carbon savings, the plans with regard to nitrous oxide emissions, the plans to address algal blooms - specifically with regard to the City of Winnipeg's need to reduce phosphorous going to Lake Winnipeg and on composting plans.  My questions and the Minister's answers are below:  Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):Yes, it looks like I have a relatively short time, so I'm going to ask several questions at once and the minister can see if she can–what the responses in her–with the carbon savings account, it appears quite possible that there could be savings of energy, fossil fuel use, on an existing building that would be positive, but at the same time there will be new buildings being built, which could actually use more carbon, and so that you could have a net increase instead of a n…

Government policy on birth alerts

On October 8 in Families Estimates for the Department of Families, I asked about the government's policy to continue issuing birth alerts.  Birth Alerts are used by Child and Family Services with regard to families where CFHIsS workers believe that children need to be taken away from their parents.  Historically, Manitoba CFS has apprehended far more children than other comparable jurisdictions, and in recent years has been apprehending about a child a day at birth.  Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):My question deals with birth alerts, and I understand the minister has indicated that there will be continued issuing of birth alert.       There has, in the last few years, been a series of studies showing the tremendous adverse impact of taking children away from mothers: harm to the mother's health, including increased risk of suicides, and there is also potential significant deleterious effect on the impact of the child.       So I am looking for an update on the status of that an…