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Showing posts from April, 2018

Come and join us for our Health Check Up Public meeting in Neepawa Tuesday May 1

We are holding the ninth of our public meetings on the status of health care in Manitoba this Tuesday from 7 to 9 pm in Neepawa at the art gallery - ArtsForward at 293 Mountain Street.   The meeting is open to all who are interested.  There is no cost.   Bring your opinions.  I have found people in communities around Manitoba are very interested in the quality of health care in their area.   Our goal is to be constructive and I will be asking questions like: 1) What is working well?  It is important to build on what is working well. 2) What is not working?  It is important to recognize where there are problems that can be addressed to improve our system. 3) Where do we need to invest to improve Manitoba's health care system? 4) How do we improve trust in Manitoba's health care? 5) What should health care look like in the Neepawa area ten, twenty and thirty years from now?

Being able to be safe at work is important

A large group of people gathered today in Memorial Park, near the Manitoba Legislature, to emphasize the importance of safety for workers.   We have had too many deaths in Manitoba.   The banner in the top photo speaks to the death of Todd Maytwayashing who died far too young at a Manitoba worksite.  We need to be sure the measures are taken to prevent deaths like Todd's.  All workers should be given the opportunity when they work to be in a safe work environment!

Dougald Lamont is nominated this evening as the Manitoba Liberal Party candidate in St. Boniface. Go Dougald Go!!!!

This evening Dougald Lamont was nominated to be our Liberal candidate in the upcoming byelection in St. Boniface.   Sharon Carstairs gave an uplifting speech comparing today to 1988, when 30 years ago she led the Manitoba Liberals to become official opposition with 20 Liberals elected.   Dougald followed with a barn burner of a campaign speech.  If you are interested in helping in the byelection, please call our Manitoba Liberal Party office at 204-988-9380

Art show opening - Naomi Gerrard, Hildegard Sen and Pamela Rayner Moore - at the Winnipeg Art Gallery at the Forks in the Johnston terminal

Today was the opening of the art show at the WAG at the Forks featuring art by Naomi Gerrard, Hildegard Sen and Pamela Rayner Moore.   The show will be up for the next month - until May 27th.  The three artists work is complimentary with Naomi's featuring the use of grains to create amazing pictures, Pamela with outstanding portraits, and Hildegard with colourful scenes from Lake Winnipeg and the nearby agricultural area.

The Meth Crisis in Winnipeg - the Health Minister's response

On Tuesday April24th, I asked the Minister of Health in Estimates about his response to the meth crisis in Winnipeg.  My question and his response are below:  As we saw at the CBC Forum - Breaking Meth - last night, the Minister's response, as described below, has been appallingly inadequate to address the issues.  Mr. Gerrard: In Winnipeg with the meth epidemic, there seem to be some issues.       First of all, the police refer to the fact that the intoxicated persons act does not include meth. It includes alcohol and it's not sure that it will apply to people with meth.       And second, that there is not a clear place, [with meth toxicity to take people] right? We've talked about a detoxification centre for people with meth psychosis, but that has been a problem for people to be able to get into treatment for meth psychosis, and I wonder if the minister could provide an update on these issues. Mr. Goertzen: On the issue of the intoxicated persons act, we're just check…

The Meth Crisis in St. Theresa Point, Wasagamack and Garden Hill - asking the Minister for his view

In Estimates on Tuesday April 24, I asked the Minister of Health for his actions with regard to the meth crisis in the Island Lake area of northern Manitoba.   My question and the Minister's response are below:  Mr. Gerrard: The minister met, you know, not long ago with a group of people who had walked from St.  Theresa Point, Wasagamack, and Garden Hill, and I wonder if the minister has any update in terms of what he might be able to do in terms of helping people in those communities who have got a meth crisis in the community. Mr. Goertzen: I thank the member for helping arrange that meeting. I know we didn't have a lot of time to meet because we recessed this session essentially for 10 minutes to be able to meet with the walkers. But it was certainly an emotional 10 minutes for me, as I imagine it probably was for them. And the understanding that I got from that meeting is that among other things that they were looking for more education on the community. So we  had contacted…

Has there been any progress on providing a dedicated stroke unit in Winnipeg?

On Tuesday April 24th, I asked the Minister of Health about progress on a dedicated stroke unit in Winnipeg.  My question and his answer are below.  Mr. Gerrard:One of the issues that has, I have raised many, many times, and members of his party raised when they were in opposition was the putting in place of a dedicated stroke unit. And I wonder if the minister could give an update on where we are on that. Mr. Goertzen: So I had the opportunity to visit the Foothills hospital in Calgary in October as part of the Health minister meetings that were happening in that province at that time, and toured their stroke unit. I know they have two in–at least two in Alberta, but they provided me the opportunity to tour the stroke unit at Foothills in Calgary and it was certainly educational and reaffirmed the value of a stroke unit.       At this point, from my understanding is there's been a significant work done in terms of the desired location for a stroke unit. Clearly, the understanding i…

What is the Minister of Health doing about latex safety for those with latex allergies?

It is important that we have public buildings and a health system which is safe for those who have latex allergies.   I asked the Minister of Health in estimates what he is doing about this situation?
Mr. Gerrard:       I have been approached by, and have been working with, a number of individuals who have a–quite a severe latex allergy, latex being an airborne allergen as well as contact allergen. These individuals have problems in being in buildings where, for example, latex cleaning gloves are used. And in our Legislative Assembly, under a former minister of Health, a change was made so that the cleaning gloves used in this Legislative Building are no longer latex but they're other gloves, and this made it possible for people with a latex allergy to visit in the Legislative Building, whereas before it was not possible.       I wonder if, you know, in view of the fact that this is a significant factor, in view of the fact that hospitals in other jurisdictions have made their hos…

Why is the government of Manitoba not fully endorsing the Treatment is Prevention approach to HIV-AIDS

British Columbia has used a treatment as prevention approach to HIV-AIDS which has been very successful in reducing the number of new cases of HIV-AIDS in B.C.   Manitoba has not acted and the number of cases in Manitoba has remained stable and not decreased.  I asked the Minister of Health in Estimates on April 24 about this.
Mr. Gerrard: British Columbia, for a number of years, has taken the approach that treatment of HIV/AIDS is prevention, because current treatment is able to drastically lower the viral load so that people are no longer infectious. We have a considerable number of Manitobans with AIDS who can't afford the treatment. And it has been recommended for a number of years that the treatment for HIV/AIDS be covered completely so that–by the Manitoba Health in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Manitoba. In contrast to BC, where the–there's been a dramatic reduction in HIV/AIDS, the incidence has been relatively stable in Manitoba. Is the minister going to …

What is the government doing about preventing lung cancers due to Radon exposure?

In Estimates on April 24, I asked the Minister of Health what he and his department are doing to prevent lung cancers due to Radon exposures given the high levels of Radon in many Manitoba homes?
Mr. Gerrard:  Several days ago, I had asked what was the minister's and his department's approach to the issue of radon, which is believed to be the second highest cause of lung cancer in Manitoba.
Mr. Goertzen: The member will likely know that over the last many years, there has been, I think, the ability to purchase radon testing kits. There's been public education both in terms of information, I think, that's been put out by government but also, certainly, information that's been put out by the media as well. I'm not sure if–what more specifics he's looking for.
Mr. Gerrard: Yes, the–clearly, with the fact that many homes in Manitoba have been found to have high levels of radon, it would seem that preventing lung cancer by lowering exposure to radon would be a sm…

When can the Ombudsman help with health issues?

In Estimates, April 24, I asked the health minister about when people could approach the Ombudsman in relation to health issues.  His response below provides some clarification.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Yes, at the end of the day yesterday I had asked about the access for people in St. Theresa Point to the Ombudsman with regard to health issues. Mr. Goertzen: I thank the member for following up on that question yesterday.       The Ombudsman, as he knows, is there to serve  all Manitobans. The Manitoba Ombudsman accepts and investigates four broad areas of complaint about provincial government departments, and agencies, and municipalities, including government administration, fairness of actions–of decisions–that's under The Ombudsman Act. The government wrongdoing, which is under the public interest disclosure–the whistleblower act; access information and privacy, which is under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; and access to personal health and …

Portage la Prairie - Health Care Check Up - Public Meeting

April 24, I was in Portage la Prairie 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 wh…

Come and join an exciting group of panelists at a Forum on the Future of Primary and Secondary Education in Manitoba on April 29th

Panelists for Forum on the Future of Primary and Secondary Education in Manitoba
Rebecca Chartrand – a forward thinking Indigenous educator with 25 years in education and currently the Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy at Red River College. Previously while the Division Team Lead for Aboriginal Education she brought Seven Oaks School Division to the forefront of Aboriginal Education and was the driver behind the Kindergarten to Grade 3 Ojibwe Bilingual Program started in 2017 at Riverbend School. She was the founder of the Council for Aboriginal Education in Manitoba and the Aboriginal Circle of Educators Annual Aboriginal Education Awards.She has received a number of awards for her leadership, innovation, bridge-building and results.
Wendy Bloomfield – the chair of the Seine River School Division and a leader in innovative thinking in education in Manitoba having introduced programs like the Roots of Empathy, Kids in Play; offsite specialized alternative High School programs; …

Recognizing Senaka Smarasinghe at the Sri Lankan New Year Celebrations. on April 21

Presenting the certificate to Senaka Samarasinghe
Naomi and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Sri Lanka New Year Dinner on April 21.  It was a wonderful occasion to celebrate together and to enjoy the very colourful dancing and the entrancing music of many in the Sri Lankan Community.   On behalf of Terry Duguid, I also presented a certificate to Senaka Samarasinghe for his contributions to his community, to Manitoba and to Canada. My remarks are below, along with further photos: 
Subi Aluth Aurydak Wewa – Happy New Year.
Thank you for the opportunity to be with you this evening.I have a special presentation to make, but first I want to bring greetings on behalf of the Liberal Members of Parliament and the Liberal Members of the Legislature in Manitoba and on Behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and to wish all of you a Happy New Year. All of you – those who are Tamil and those who are Sinhalese.
I want to specifically mention Terry Duguid the Member of Parliament for Wi…

Concordia Hospital and The Concordia Foundation Dinner April 20

The evening of April 20, I attended the Concordia Foundation Dinner to support the Concordia Hospital and its efforts to improve health care in our province.  The photos above show Prodigy performing for those who attended. It was an inspired performance.

April 19th in Question Period, I asked about the situation at Concordia Hospital

Concordia and Seven Oaks Hospitals - Hip and Knee Surgery Wait TimesHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, quick access to good health care, including emergency rooms, operating rooms and ICUs is essential. ERs are being closed and already the median wait time in March is at more than two hours, up from 1.4 hours in October.       But that plan is also to close operating rooms and intensive‑care units. Concordia Hospital specializes in hip and knee replacements, which can have complications, and if the ICU at Concordia is closed patients will have to be moved post-op to another hospital.       Is the government planning to close the ICUs and op…

Bill 26–The Impaired Driving Offences Act - driving after smoking marijuana. It is important that people know the changes that are coming - and have input.

Bill 26, which puts very strict restrictions on driving after smoking marijuana, was debated at second reading on April 19th and will go to committee - likely the week of May 7th.  If you have comments on this bill and would like to make a presentation to the Legislative Committee phone 204-945-3636, the office of the Clerk to get on the list of people presenting.   My comments during the debate on second reading are below.  This is followed by a question and answer session with the Minister. 

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): First of all, I want to say that Liberals are strong supporters of efforts to keep our roads safe, that this is a paramount concern and it is particularly the case at the moment when we have evidence of increased numbers of accidents related to distracted driving. And at the same time, it's pretty clear that there are some unique problems associated with measuring impairment when we're talking about marijuana.       We don't fully understand yet the r…