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Showing posts from March, 2018

Karen Cornelius - art show opening - fun, quirky sign prints

The opening of Karen Cornelius's latest art show was the evening of Friday March 23 at the X-Cues restaurant at 551 Sargent Ave.   For a number of years, she has compiled photos of curious signs seen in various countries around the world.  For each sign she has provided an artistic background.  Several of these are shown below. 

The 8th National Mental Health Conference in Winnipeg March 21-23

I was fortunate to be able to attend the recent National Mental Health Conference in Winnipeg.

There were many helpful sessions, including on youth suicide and on crystal meth in Manitoba and its impacts on health and justice.  I found the presentation by Delores Daniels, the mother of Serena McKay, to be particularly moving.   She spoke eloquently about bullying, gossip and lateral violence using her personal journey and experience as Serena McKay's mother to illustrate the importance of addressing these issues. 

Troy Draper shared his own experience with crystal meth and showed that people with meth addiction can recover.  For more on his story click on this link - Troy Draper story.

Sharon Blady spoke of her own lived experience, explaining how her own struggles with depression gave her the ability to be more empathetic when she was the Minister of Health for Manitoba.   Her experience shows the positive contribution that people who have this lived experience can make - a fact …

The recent closure of laboratories in medical offices

Thursday March 22, I asked the Minister of Health about the recent closure of laboratories in medical offices in Manitoba.  This has affected many people - both patients and health professionals and has resulted in diminished quality of service for patients.  My question and two supplementary ones are below.  Sadly, the Minister of health did not answer the questions.  Below my questions is a petition on this same subject which I have presented in the Manitoba legislature.  For more on this story click on this link to the follow up CBC news item.

Question Period
Laboratory Services - Clinic ClosuresHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I welcome the staff and patients from medical clinics who are here in the gallery today.       Because of the laboratory closures in medical clinics by Dynacare, many patients, having seen their doctor, are now having to journey some distance, sometimes for 45 minutes or more, to get the blood drawn for the tests that they need.       What meas…

World Water Day

Thursday March 22 is World Water Day.  This week is Canada Water Week.  This Saturday is Earth Hour.  I had the opportunity to speak in response to a Ministerial statement, and on a Member's statement on this issue.  My comments are below.

Response to Minister's statement
Mr. Gerrard:Madam Speaker, it is important that we collectively acknowledge the importance of Canada Water Week, World Water Day and Earth Hour and send a signal to all Manitobans about the concern we have for our water, for Mother Earth, for our great lake, Lake Winnipeg, and its future and for access to clean running water for all.       But spoken concerns and real action are different. In this context, I mention a lake forgotten for almost 70 years by successive NDP and PC governments. It is Lake Winnipegosis.       In 2015, Seafood Watch called Manitoba's fisheries the worst managed in the world and identified Lake Winnipegosis as the worst of the worst managed lakes. The current government has given lip…

An Amendment to the Manitoba Human Rights Code to include physical size and weight as protected characteristics.

Monday March 19 I introduced an amendment to the Human Rights Code.   In the gallery was Marie Ann sister-in-law to Dr. Moe Lerner.   Dr. Lerner was instrumental in this bill being brought forward.  Sadly Dr. Lerner passed away January 9 of this year.  I bring this legislation forward to help address and reduce the bullying and discrimination that is happening all too often to individuals with large or small bodies.  Hopefully we will be able to get it passed this year as a measure to improve the lives of many Manitobans.   Thank you to all those who have helped in the journey to get this bill this far. 

Below is from Hansard:  Bill 216–The Human Rights Code Amendment ActHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I move, seconded by the MLA for Burrows, that Bill 216, The Human Rights Code Amendment Act; Loi modifiant le Code des droits de la personne, be now read a first time. Motion presented. Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, this bill would provide that physical size and weight be p…

Dougald Lamont speaks to the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce - on Manitoba Hydro and a Manitoba Business Development Bank

Thursday March 22 was the Chamber of Commerce breakfast.   Dougald Lamont was the guest speaker.  Following up on the resignation of the Sandy Riley and the rest of the Board of Manitoba Hydro (except for one PC MLA - Cliff Graydon), Dougald spoke of the importance of Manitoba Hydro to our province.   He also spoke of the precarious financial position of Manitoba Hydro as the result of decisions by both the former NDP government and the present PC government and the need to address this in part by decreasing the province's money grab from Manitoba Hydro.  He also spoke of the serious miscalculation that Premier Brian Pallister has made in not meeting with or listening to Sandy Riley. 

Dougald also talked about the need for capital to help Manitoba businesses and the Manitoba Liberal approach - starting a Manitoba Business Development Bank - following on the success of the Alberta Business Development Bank - to help provide the capital that start up, small and medium sized busines…

The Meth Crisis - where does a person in meth psychosis go?

On Thursday March 22, I asked questions about the Meth crisis in Manitoba - and in particular about where a person with meth psychosis should go.  I learned recently, it is not easy to know where to go.   The text of my questions and the Minister's responses are below.  They are also available on a video at this link - Meth Crisis - where to go for help?    For more information and follow up see the story at this link. 

Health Sciences Centre - Beds for Methamphetamine PatientsHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, January 24th, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, as described in the Winnipeg Free Press, said since mid-January, the WRHA has opened an additional six mental health beds at the Health Sciences Centre to address the growing numbers of patients presenting to emergency departments with severe consequences of meth use.       This action was in response to the death of Windy Sinclair, who went to Seven Oaks emergency room for help with meth toxicity. She died …

Agricultural Awareness

On March 20, I had the opportunity to speak in the Manitoba Legislature about agriculture in Manitoba.  Below is the text from Hansard.   You can also see my speech on a video at this link - Agricultural Awareness
Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, agriculture in Manitoba is alive, doing well and is the cornerstone of our provincial economy. Agriculture is the base for our food processing industry and the base for nutrition in our province. Its impact on the economy and on the health of Manitobans is large.       It always bothers me when the agriculture sector is not given its full credit. The government's climate change plan credits the agriculture sector with producing 30 per cent of our greenhouse gases. But because the government report doesn't include fossil fuels used, agriculture's share is closer to 40 per cent.       I want to praise Sean Goertzen and the Keystone Agricultural Producers for a well­written report and proposals to reduce greenhouse gas production by agric…

The International Day of the Francophonie

On March 20, I had the pleasure of speaking about the International Francophonie Day, a day to celebrate the global francophone community and their contributions.  You can read the text of my remarks below, or you can see it on video at this link - Journée internationale de la Francophonie.
Mr. Gerrard:Madame la Président, je parle aujourd'hui de la Journée internationale de la Francophonie. C'est une occasion de mention les grandes contributions de la France, de la langue française et des régions avec les peuples qui parlent française dans notre monde.       Ici, au Manitoba, nous avons beaucoup qui parlent française et nous avons une culture francophone vibrante qui existe et contribué jour à jour à notre province. Le nombre des enfants qui sont  'régistrés' dans notre programme d'études en française augmente année par année. Malheureuse­ment, notre gouvernement Pallister a décidé de couper des fonds pour le Secrétariat des services en langue français, et de coupe…

Manitoba Liberal Party AGM - Dougald Lamont shows Liberals are the Progressive Alternative to Brian Pallister

Our Manitoba Liberal Party Annual General Meeting was held March 16 and 17.   Dougald Lamont (above) spoke at the dinner on Saturday evening - showing that Liberals are the progressive alternative to Brian Pallister.  For the full story click on this link - Liberals are the Progressive Option Shannon Sampert spoke to delegates at the lunch about the current political environment in Manitoba.

Provincial government gets $86 million more from the federal government for health in 2018, but will not spend all of it.

On March 15, in Question Period, I called the provincial government to account for getting money for health care from the federal government, and then not spending the full increase.  It is time we had a more accountable and more honest government.  My question is below: Mr. Gerrard:Madam Speaker, in this year's budget, the Minister of Health shows his budget increasing by $56 million from last year's budget. The budget also shows that the minister is receiving 86 million more dollars for Health from the federal government than last year.  This means that the provincial contribution to health care is decreasing this year by $30 million.       Why is the provincial contribution to health care decreasing by $30 million? Is this because the minister is cutting back on funding for people with cystic fibrosis who need life-saving drugs? The Minister of Health, in his reply, failed to acknowledge that the provincial contribution to health in Manitoba has decreased and that he has ther…

The Pallister Government's budget will increase inequality in Manitoba

The Pallister government will give what it claims is the largest tax cut in the history of Manitoba.   They will do this be increasing the personal income tax exemption.  Yet a person who earns $9,000, an income which is below the current personal exemption, will not benefit from this tax change, and he or she will have to pay more as a result of increased hydro rates and increased costs for gas for his or her car, the increased costs for heating his or her home and increased tuition to send his children to post-secondary education.  The budget does not treat those on low incomes fairly.  I raised this concern in Question Period on March 15th.  My question and the Minister of Finance's response is below.  You can also see it on video by clicking on this link - QP on growing inequality. You can see from the Minister's response that he either does not understand the situation of those on low incomes or does not care about it. 
Low-Income Manitobans - Cost-of-Living ConcernsHon. …

The Pallister government's decision to cancel the Special Drug Program was a mistake

In the late 1960s a Life-Saving Drug Program was introduced to ensure that those who needed life-saving drugs would be assured of receiving them, with the cost covered by the government.  In the late 1990s this program was changed to the Special Drugs Program.  The Pallister government has cancelled the Special Drug Program effective April 1, 2018.  On March 15, I spoke on a Member's Statement about this program, and I asked a question in Question Period.  Both are below. 

My Members Statement 

Members Statement - Termination of Special Drug ProgramHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, Pallister government is terminating the Special Drug Program. The elimination of this program will have a very negative impact on those who live with cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition. A protein, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein, is altered in function or decreased in amount.       Individuals with cystic fibrosis easily develop lung infe…

The Pallister government budget - my response

On Tuesday March 13, the day after the budget was delivered, I had a chance to speak in the Manitoba Legislature on the budget.  My comments, from Hansard, are below. You can also listen to my speech by clicking on this link - Jon Gerrard budget response   The amendment which I moved at the end of my speech describes some areas where the budget could be improved.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, the budget is, without question, the worst budget I have ever seen. The recently released report - Framework for Economic Alignment and Growth, done by Deloitte, a respected and influential firm, provides a perspective. This is not a report produced by or for the Pallister Conservatives when in opposition. It's not a report produced by or for the Pallister government in its first few months of office. It's not a report produced by or for the Pallister government in its first 22 months of office. It is a report delivered after the Pallister government has taken the reins an…

Health Care Check Up - Public Meeting in Winnipeg

March 11, I was in Winnipeg as part of our public consultations on the status of Health Care in Manitoba.  There is a major concern over Health Care in Manitoba at the moment, in part because the Pallister PCs have been making major changes and these are causing concern, uncertainty and low morale within the health care system.
In each of our public meetings as part of our effort to see where health care is at, we asked several questions.  1) What is working well?   This question is important because the starting place for improving our health care system is understanding what is working well.   Items that fall in this category need to be supported and indeed built upon and used as models of good care to improve the system. 2) What is not working?   This is an important question because it identifies where there are problems which need to be understood and addressed to improve the system. 3) Where do we need to invest? This is a critical question because it identifies areas which will …