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Showing posts from November, 2020

A significant source of spread of the COVID-19 virus is by people who are asymptomatic, we need to recognize this and act to reduce such spread

On Thursday November 19, I spoke on a Members Statement in the Manitoba Legislature about the importance of people who are asymptomatic with COVID-19 virus infections in the transmission of the virus.  We need to recognize this and we need, in Manitoba, to implement best practices recommended by experts and which are being used in other jurisdictions. My Members Statement is below. The Importance of Asymptomatic individuals to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic Eleven months ago, as detailed in Bob Woodward’s book RAGE, the United States had intelligence the COVID-19 virus was extremely dangerous.  A major reason was the best estimate from China that 50% of individuals who were infected had no symptoms.   In the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Marukas a leading infectious disease specialist, writes - an effective strategy for stopping the spread of this coronavirus “ must focus on detecting both… individuals with and without symptoms”.  She continues “For an aggressive tes

It is time to close schools in Manitoba

The  situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is dire in Manitoba.  Dr. Roussin on Tuesday called the situation scary.  He said our hospitals are at their max.  He said the situation is not sustainable.  That is my assessment as well.  On Tuesday November 17, I  asked the government to act to close schools.  Increasing evidence from a variety of jurisdictions is now showing schools are a significant source of spread of the COVID-19 virus, and that closing schools can be important to better controlling the virus.  There are already hundreds of schools where children have been found to have infections.  My question and the Premier's answer are below:  COVID-19 Outbreak in Schools Request for School Closures Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Madam Speaker, we stand today at a very critical time. Manitoba's health-care system is extremely stressed. Resources are challenged to the max. Dr. Roussin himself said today the situation is scary, it is unsustainable. Hospitals are at th

Taking away the Children's Special Allowances by the NDP and then the Pallister Conservatives has been a significant cause of homelessness

 It was after 3 am, as the sitting of the Manitoba Legislature was coming to a close, I spoke one last time on Bill 2 - to make the point that the  NDP and Conservatives taking away the Children's Special Allowances was a significant cause of homelessness among children who aged out of care.    They should have had access to the funds which were being held in trust for them when they aged out of care.  I describe what this has meant to those who were in care and why Bill 2 was wrong.  Sadly my appeal had no effect on the Conservatives who shortly thereafter voted for and passed Bill 2.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Two weeks ago, my wife Naomi and I spent 24 hours fasting in the teepee which is in front of the Legislature.        We did this because we believe passionately that children who are in care deserve support, that they deserve to receive the funds that were stolen from them by two governments in a row. It was an honour for Naomi and myself to be there. We began

Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Tyndall Park, speaks against Bill 2

 On Friday November 6, after 3 am in the morning, Cindy Lamoureux spoke forcefully and effectively against the passage of Bill 2.  Her comments are below.  Ms. Cindy  Lamoureux  (Tyndall Park):   I just wanted to have the opportunity to put a few short words on the record. Our party will not be supporting Bill 2 because it does continue to create a larger wedge in our economic recovery.       We can talk about 800 Adele and how this government continues to put false information on the record. The facts are: the Province chose to evict vulnerable children from a safe space while causing destruction and trauma. The Premier (Mr. Pallister) and some ministers are, in fact, now facing court challenges because of the comments that they have made in response to their mishandling the contract with the owners of the building.       We can also talk about the obstacles for children in care that this government continues to put in place, talk about CFS special allowance and how this governmen

Dougald Lamont speaks out strongly against the "reprehensible", "legally and morally indefensible" Bill 2

 Early in the morning, just after 3 am, on November 6th, Dougald Lamont spoke at third reading of Bill 2, the Budget Implementation and Statutes Amendment Act.  He spoke strongly against the bill because it attempts to legitimize a historic injustice against children in the care of child and family services.  As  Dougald says this bill is " the betrayal of children, First Nations and the people of this province. " Mr. Dougald  Lamont  (St. Boniface):   These are historic times. This is an  historic budget, for all the wrong reasons.  I was thinking of the Premier's (Mr. Pallister) comments about D-Day today and my relatives who served in combat in the First and Second World War. I had a relative who played for the Blue Bombers and served at D-Day with the Winnipeg Rifles because he was an excellent athlete, he made it quite a long way up the beach.       And had he lived until last year, he might have been one of the veterans the Premier insulted by not showing up at a

Exposing the Pallister government's about face in its approach to the children's special allowances

 On Thursday November 5, I spoke at second reading of Bill 2 The Budget Implementation and Tax Statues Amendment Act. This bill has been the subject of much attention because it includes measures which are designed to confirm the government's taking away of money's from children in the care of child and family services, and to prevent any court action against the government for taking this action.  As  I point out in my comments on Bill 2, in 2015 and early 2016, when Brian Pallister was the leader of the Opposition, his team called the  taking away of this money from children in care illegal and immoral.  I spoke against Bill 2 because of this clause and I reminded the Premier that he was doubling down on an action (taking the money from children in care), which his team had called "illegal and immoral" while he was the leader.  I also spoke against the clauses in this bill which deal with breaking a contract for a facility that was being used to help children in dif

Standing up for restaurants and restauranteurs in River Heights

 On Thursday November 5, I spoke at second reading on a budget bill on the situation of businesses, particularly restaurants, in River Heights.  I have been receiving a number of emails from restaurant owners in  River Heights and I  wanted to make sure  their point of view was being better represented. My comments,  from Hansard, are below.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Yes, Madam Speaker, I want to take what the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Lamont) has talked about in terms of the big level down to the local situation in River Heights, where I'm getting many people writing in for one reason or another. But let me start with our local restaurants in River Heights. And I'm sure many other constituencies have similar situations.       As Manitoba continues to endure the second wave of COVID-19, restaurants are being singled out and are struggling. There have been a lot more restrictions placed on restaurants, yet no data has been provided and there has been no help of

By not spending money to get prepared for the second wave of COVID-19, the Pallister government has cost our province and businesses a lot of money

Spending wisely often involves preparing well for potential problems coming up.  This summer the Pallister government could have spend modestly on preparations for the Second Wave of COVID-10 and prevented the huge surge in cases which we have seen.  Preventing the current crisis by preparing in advance would have dramatically reduced the amount of expenditures now needed.   Preventing the current crisis by preparing well in advance would have meant businesses could have stayed open instead of going into lockdown. I spoke of this on Thursday November 5 during debate on a major budget bill. My comments are below.   Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Madam Speaker, I want to put a few words on the record about the appalling fiscal management of this government.       There are times when, if you've got a good approach to preventing problems, then you can save huge amounts of money. And what we've seen with this government is that in July and August and September, they just w

We need to Support Manitoba Doctors and to listen to their recommendations

 On Thursday November 5, I spoke in the Legislative Assembly on a Grievance.   The speech was focused on my very strong support for the hundreds of medical doctors and PhD scientists and researchers who have come forward to raise their high level of concern for the extent of the current COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Madam Speaker, I rise today on a grievance.       I speak today to say in the strongest possible terms that I support the hundreds of doctors and other health professionals who have signed a letter to the Premier (Mr. Pallister) calling for much more substantial measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.       The Minister of Health was wrong to say the doctors are trying to cause chaos. The doctors say very clearly that we in Manitoba are in grave peril. These words by the doctors and their colleagues were not chosen lightly. We have an extreme emergency. The words of the doctors and other health professionals were n

Calling for a more united effort in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic - and for more of Manitoba to be Code Red

On Thursday, November 5 I called in Question Period for the government to listen to doctors and to use an approach which is more unified in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.   I called for this knowing that in the past when Manitoba has faced other crises and critical issues some Premiers have worked more closely with other parties and with others around the province.   I also asked for the Premier to heed the doctors in calling for more attention to areas outside of Winnipeg.  The number of cases in proportion to the RHA population is similar for Winnipeg, the Northern RHA, the Southern RHA and the Interlake-Eastman RHA.   Thankfully the Prairie-Mountain RHA remains much lower.   Increase in COVID-19 Cases Code Red Designation Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Madam Speaker, the success of a government in an emergency depends on the government's ability to bring all resources and people with experience together in a united effort. The government's failure to

The need to take action on lead exposure and lead poisoning in Winnipeg

On Wednesday November 4, I asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking with respect to lead exposure and lead poisoning of children in Winnipeg.   My questions and his answers are below.    You will note that I emphasize the need to screen children in areas like Point Douglas where there is evidence of high lead exposure. In the United States they have been doing such screening in areas of concern going back to the 1980s.  In 1991, the Centres for Disease Control in the United States put in their strategic plan that this was so important that every child should be screened.  In some states there is now universal screening of all children.   In some areas like New York and Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina, screening has been going on for several decades.  We should not be several decades behind.  Our children should be screened and where blood lead levels are high they should be helped.  For more go to this link. Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  I just have 'til