Skip to main content

The closing of the Dauphin jail and the possibilty of building a healing lodge and centre for restorative justice in Dauphin.

On Thursday March 5th, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature on a resolution which deals with the closure of the Dauphin jail and the possibility of building a healing lodge and centre for restorative justice in Dauphin.  My comments, from Hansard, are below: 
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam–Mr. Speaker, this resolution brought forward this morning suggests moving in a direction of a better way for correctional facilities in the way of using a healing lodge to address crime, to improve rehabilitation, to improve recidivism and to improve access to restorative justice.
      I thank the member for bringing this forward. This is a concept which needs to be explored. It's to be noted that we stand here because of a drastic failure of this government to consult before bringing in their traditional axe.
      The Pallister government, is bringing in their axe.  It has fallen again, this time on the people of Dauphin. Not many months ago it was falling on people who were farming on Crown lands in the Crane River area and other areas of Manitoba.  And the Pallister government's axe has fallen on many others over the last several years.
      It is too bad that the Pallister government brings in the axe without even thinking about what the forward plan is. It is too bad that this was done without consultation, without discussions with people in Dauphin. I would say that the concept of a new approach to correctional institutions–that the NDP had a chance to bring this in for 17 years, and did not. The concept is now coming forward. It's coming forward at a time when the Minister of Justice (Mr. Cullen) himself says that there's a dramatic rise in the number of people who are being helped with restorative justice approaches.  And at the time of such a dramatic rise in the number of people using and benefitting from restorative justice approaches, it is worthwhile considering this sort of a facility.
      It is to be noted that healing lodges and restorative justice and traditional approaches to justice are being explored in a number of other venues. It is interesting that they have been mentioned in reports going back for 20, 30, and maybe even 40 years, but their movement has only really been going recently. I was in Nelson House not long ago and they are talking about more effective traditional approaches to justice. I think we need to listen and consider these seriously.
      New approaches to justice, I believe, also need to better understand the nature of some of the underlying causes. The contribution of learning disabilities and FASD need to be recognized. They are starting to be recognized with FASD and mental health courts but we need to do more, and this would potentially be an opportunity to do that.
      The effectiveness of this sort of approach needs to be looked at in more depth and the possibility of a facility in Dauphin should be explored further.
      I note with interest that about 15 years ago, a Mr. Sam McGillivray, who was taken up as he was walking along a road in his home community of Opaskwayak Cree Nation. He was picked up as part of the '60s scoop as he was walking along the road, and he was taken to a farm not far from Dauphin where he and other lost boys, as they've been called, were abused, and he has called, about 15 years ago, for such a healing lodge to be put in place in the Dauphin area in recognition of some of the past tragedies that have occurred.
      So I think this is something which can and should be explored. There is background for this. There is a rationale. It is too bad that the current government has moved in so quickly with their axe without really exploring all the options, and I want to speak and say my condolences to the people in the city of Dauphin that they have been treated in this way.
      I will now stop so that there is time for a vote on this resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Popular posts from this blog

Standing up for Seniors

Yesterday in the Legislature I  asked the Minister of Health questions about the care of seniors in personal care homes in Manitoba.   I specfically called for the Minister to increase the training and staffing requirements for personal care homes in Manitoba to bring them up to date.   My questions, the Minister's comments and the Speaker's interjection are below: Personal-Care-Home Improvements - Need for Upgrades to Standards and TrainingHon. Jon Gerrard  (River Heights):Madam Speaker, we're very concerned this government is not adapting to the reality of caring for seniors who are living longer. Seniors living in our personal-care homes today have much more challenging health-care conditions than those who were in similar homes even five years ago, and yet the staffing formula, or minimal personnel requirement, is over 20 years old. Too few care aides and nurses are adequately trained to look after residents with dementia and multiple chronic health conditions. I ask on…

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 - 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…

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…