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The story of Julie and Verna Eyers - Emergency Room operations still leaves people doing hospital tours

 Julie Eyers who has frequent seizures has had to go often to Winnpeg's Emergency Rooms.  The situation is much worse than before the closure of the Victoria Hospital Emergency Room.  I described Julie's experiences and asked the Minister of Health what he was doing to address the problems which have arisen as a result of the closure of the Victoria Hospital Emergency Room. 
Emergency Room Services - Consistency of Care
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):Madam Speaker, Julie Eyers, daughter of Verna Eyers, has a complex seizure disorder. She was able to receive excellent emergency care from the Victoria hospital at the emergency room until it was closed by this government. In the months since its closure, even with an affiliation letter from the Health Sciences Centre, emergency care has involved what Verna calls hospital tours: setting out for one emergency room, then being redirected to another, and sometimes being redirected to a third before being seen.
Is the government p…
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Speaking up for CancerCare Manitoba

Monday April 8, I asked, in Question Period, about the CancerCare Manitoba review.  The government's first attempt to put together a review did not work,  I asked about the plans for the revised review and for some certainty that the review would be about improving the quality of cancer prevention and care, and not just about cutting spending.  My questions and the govenrment's responses are below.  CancerCare Manitoba - Government Review Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):Madam Speaker, let me start today by paying tribute to Arnold Frieman, a great entrepreneur and builder who was eulogized this morning by Rabbi Alan Green.       My question today is about CancerCare Manitoba. The government's review process didn't work. Why didn't it work, and what is the government's next step with respect to CancerCare Manitoba? Hon. Cameron Friesen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): I thank the member for the question. It's important to undertake this operation…

How a two alarm fire became a five alarm fire - the tragic story of the Pallister government's failure to act to stop the meth epidemic from becoming today's crisis.

We have a crisis today in Manitoba with the increase in methamphetamine use leading to increased syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases, increased violence in our streets and in our hospitals, increased meth-related suicides and homicides and increased vandalism.   The meth epidemic started its dramatic increase in the summer of 2017.  It was the equivalent of a two alarm fire. There was an opportunity for the provincial government to act vigorously to prevent its further expansion.  But the Pallister government failed to act.  Today, in response to my question in Question Period they revealed why - they did not believe they could do anything which would have an impact.   They did  not even try to prevent further spread of the epidemic.   It is no wonder we are where we are now in the middle of a full blown crisis - equivalent to a five alarm fire.   My questions and the Minister's response are below: 
Methamphetamine Addiction - Request for Government Action

Hon. Jon Gerr…

Speaking to the problems with the Pallister government's approach to education.

Tuesday April 2, I brought forward our Manitoba Liberal Caucus's Opposition Day Motion on Education and the problems with the direction the Pallister government is taking.   My motion and my speech to the motion are below.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I move, seconded by the MLA for Kewatinook, that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba condemn the provincial government for initiating cuts to education that puts the quality of education of all Manitoba students at risk, for closing the Manitoba Curriculum Support Centre and for making a charade of the education review by hiring Avis Glaze, who has been central to the elimination of school boards in Nova Scotia, and also hiring Clayton Manness and Janice MacKinnon, who were Cabinet ministers who cut funding to education in order to balance budgets.
Motion presented. Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, I rise on this motion because we in the Manitoba Liberal Party are very concerned about the direction of education under …

The hiring of Avis Glaze and what it may mean for the future of school boards in Manitoba

The Pallister government's education review commission has chosen Avis Glaze to be the lead consultant for its review of kindergarted to grade 12 education.   Based on Ms Glaze's recommendation to eliminate school boards in Nova Scotia - which the province has now done - there is concern she may coordinate a similar recommendation in Manitoba.   I asked about this in Question Period earlier today.   My question and the Minister's response is below - from Hansard.

K-to-12 Education Review - Manitoba School Boards
Hon. Jon -Gerrard - (River Heights):       The government of Manitoba has hired Avis Glaze, a lead consultant for its commissioned review–K-to-12 education. In her report for Nova Scotia, she referred to school boards as undisciplined, fractious, and role-confused entities, representing narrow interests, and she recommended that all school boards be eliminated.  [Nova Scotia has since elminated all school boards.]  Why would the government hire a person with such a n…

The Pallister government's closing of the Curriculum Resource Centre

Sadly the Manitoba Curriculum Resource Centre closed yesterday on April 1.  No it was not an April Fool's joke.  It is now closed permanently.   I have had may teachers speak or write to me about this closure which they feel will negatively impact access to materials which they can use in their classrooms. I raised these concerns in Question Period earlier today.  The following is from Hansard. Curriculum Support Centre - Elimination of Library ServicesHon. Jon Gerrard  (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the Manitoba curriculum support centre has been an incredible resource. For example, one teacher librarian who serves three small schools accessed its resources several times a month every month all school year for more than 35 years.       The curriculum support centre is absolutely essential for teachers and students, particularly for smaller schools who have limited budgets and limited alternative resources. The Internet can complement but not replace it.       Why has the Palliste…

The need for more information for residents in areas of Winnipeg with lead contamination

March 21, I asked in Question Period about the lead contamination in Weston and North Point Douglas.   The history of lead contamination goes back to a survey report from 1979 which found that "lead concentration in tree foliage and surface soil from sampling locations in close proximity to the secondary smelters was frequently tenfold the lead concentrations found to accumulate from normal motor emissions in the Winnipeg area."  Weston Elementary School was specifically mentioned as being in an area of high lead concentrations (up to 1245 ug lead per gram of soil).   The 1979 report said specifically "It can be anticipated that lead will accumulated to the same degree in other plant tissues and soils such as those found in vegetable gardens."  In addition the 1979 report noted that "elevated lead levels have been found in neighbourhood children and employees of secondary lead smelters within the city and much concern has been raised."


The most recent (Ja…

A tribute to Agriculture in Manitoba

Tuesday March 19 I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature in support of our farmers and others involved in agriculture and food production, distribution and retail in Manitoba on Agricultural Awareness Day.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, agriculture is at the core of who we are as Manitobans.       All of us have to eat. All of us benefit from the nutritious food produced by farmers. Many of us benefit from the jobs and opportunities which result from us having a strong agricultural industry, a strong food-processing industry and a strong retail and restaurant sector.       Agricultural Awareness Day is a day to pay attention to agriculture. I thank our presenters today–Robyn, Steven and Curtis–who gave us an update on the importance of protein in the food produced on our farms and of new developments in the canola and poultry industries.       Agricultural Awareness Day is an opportunity to connect with individuals in agriculture from all over our province.       Mad…

Education Report Card - Neepawa Manitoba

Sunday March 17 I was in Neepawa to talk about the future of education in Manitoba.  This meeting was part of a series of meetings on Education which we are calling our "Education Report Card."   As the Manitoba Liberal Party Education critic this is part of my journey to look at how we can develop the best possible education system in our province.



We had an excellent in depth discussion of K-12 education in Manitoba.



There was a vigorous discussion of the role of school boards in providing local input and local wisdom into the delivery of education. 



There was a good discussion of the importance of ensuring that children have the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, and consideration of whether coding should be considered a basic skill in today's digital world.



To improve the overall performance of children, it is vital to be able help children who are struggling.   This includes providing optimum support for children with learning disabilities.  This als…

Ensuring children are in school is important

In Question Period today I asked the Minister of Education what he is doing to ensure children are in school.  Too often children who are not in school are the ones who get into trouble.  Children who stay in school are likely to do well.  The first recommendation of the recent Children's Advocate's report was that the government be much more effective in ensuring children are attending school.  Absenteeism Reduction in Schools
Children's Advocate Recommendations
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the children's advocate's report's No. 1 recommendation is to reduce school absenteeism. This is an important recommendation in part because children and youth who are not in school are a primary target for those who want to lure children and youth into using drugs and being sexually exploited. Reducing absenteeism can help young people get an education, can reduce the use of drugs like meth and can reduce sexual exploitation. Can the Minister of Education…