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Showing posts from June, 2018

The Implementation Plan for changes to Manitoba's mental health and addictions approach, including prevention, is delayed until the fall of 2018

Thursday June 21, I asked the Minister of Health in the Manitoba Legislature about his approach to prevention of mental health and addictions issues.  In his response, the Minister said any progress will have to wait for his implementation plan in the fall.  This is very disappointing given that the Pallister government was elected in the spring of 2016, and this will be two and a half years after the election before there is even a plan to move forward.  The exchange, from Hansard, is below:   Mr. Gerrard:  T here are many other areas of health care where prevention is important. One of those is in terms of mental health and addictions. And so I would ask the minister what his plans are with regard to prevention of mental health and addictions. Mr. Goertzen:  So we spoke a little bit about this a little earlier this afternoon. No question, the co‑ordination between mental health and addictions is a priority of the government. He's seen that with the release of the VIRGO repor

Diane Gudmundson and her team open their nurse practitioner clinic on Henderson

Saturday June 23rd, I attended the Grand Opening of Diane Gudmundson's Nurse Practitioner clinic on Henderson Highway.   Her practice, Nurse Practitioner on Wheels, which can be visited on line at provides nurse practitioner care to people in their homes or in their Rapid Care clinic.    Ashley Pylypowich, chair of the Nurse Practitioner's Association of Manitoba says "These nurse practitioners are visionaries who have identified a client need that's not fit by the traditional funding model.   They've developed new pathways to optimize client care."  For more click on this link.  I am sad that neither the former NDP nor the present Conservative government in Manitoba have provided the funding framework for nurse practitioners like Diane Gudmundson to work within our medicare system.   But I am happy that Diane and her colleagues are forging ahead on a new creative pathway in spite of the lack of government support.   Well do

Join Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberals on the campaign trail in St Boniface

The by-election in St. Boniface is on July 17th.  The advance polls are from July 5 to July 12.   There is more about Dougald Lamont and his campaign to be the next MLA in St.Boniface at this link - If you would like to volunteer to help in the campaign, please click on this link.

Central Corydon Community Centre Walking Group continues to be active

Mondays and Thursdays the Central Corydon Community Centre Walking Group has a walk together and then enjoys some time together afterwards.  Here is their schedule for July and early August CENTRAL CORYDON COMMUNITY CENTRE WALKING GROUP WE WELCOME NEW MEMBERS We walk for about an hour and then enjoy a sociable coffee or cool drink      June 21 – Aug. 9, 2018      ALL WALKS START @ 9:30AM   DAY   DATE LOCATION                           MEETING PLACE                                                                           Mon   July 2                 South Seine River Walk       Southglen Shopping Ctr. – Southglen Blvd & St. Annes Thur. July 5               Assiniboine Park                       Duck Pond Parking Lot Mon. July 9                The Forks                     Skating Rink entrance   (Note: Limited Free Parking) ** Thur. Jly 12               Harte Trail   -               Varsity View CC – 4230 Ridgewood Ave (west of Haney) Mon. July 16  

Congratulations to this year's graduates

Isha Khandelwal of St. Mary's Academy receiving the Community Citizenship Award Graduation is an exciting time in Manitoba!   It is good to see so many young Manitobans doing so well.   I had the privilege of giving Community Citizenship Awards to students graduating at schools in the River Heights area.  The recipients of these awards always exemplify leadership in their community, people who lead by example and set high standards for integrity and respect for community members.  Plus they demonstrate an interest and involvement in human rights issues.  This list of this year's recipients is below. Jenna Seyidoglu                -Grant Park High School Olivia Loewen                   -Kelvin High School          Isha Khandelwal                -St. Mary's Academy Teigen Baumgart              -Carpathia School Noah Hemmerling            -Grosvenor School Jillian Beiko                        -Harrow School Hazel Latimer                   

The Pallister government has no specific plan when it comes to addressing the diabetes epidemic in Manitoba.

Thursday June 21, I asked the Minister of Health in the Manitoba Legislature about the Pallister government's plan to address the diabetes epidemic, and specifically to prevent now cases of diabetes in Manitoba.  It is very apparent that the government does not have a specific plan, indeed does not have a preventive services plan for our province.  For more on the latter, see these links - link 1 , link 2  Instead of presenting a plan, the Minister tries to put the blame the federal government.   In an area as critical as diabetes, one would expect to see more leadership from the provincial government.   My questions and the Minister's responses are below:  Mr. Gerrard:   Yes, thank you. There is a concern  also–and I'll just mention them without necessarily asking the question–about the orthotics funding being reduced, the–what's called a telecommunication subsidy in health care being reduced, but I'd like to come back now to one of the things that I did talk a

Drought and Manitoba Hydro - What are the risks?

On Monday June 25th, at the Crown Corporations Committee of the Manitoba Legislature, I asked the President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro, Kelvin Shepherd, what the corporation's plans are if we have a drought.   My question and his response is below. (From Hansard). Mr. Gerrard:  Okay, one of the key factors in terms of being able to run a corporation is to understand and mitigate risks, and one of our jobs as MLAs is to have some understanding of the risk and the mitigation. I think, back in 2003, there was significant risk related to a drought, and what my concern is that we may well have another drought at some point, and it could be more than one year. How well is Manitoba Hydro positioned now compared to 2003 to be able to mitigate the risk of a drought? Mr. Shepherd:  I have to admit I recall, in 2003, a drought followed shortly thereafter, so your very question makes me nervous. However, what I will tell you is that there's two aspects to that question. One is the oper

Workplace safety at Manitoba Hydro and its contractors

On Monday June 25th, in the Crown Corporations Committee at the Legislature, I asked Kelvin Shepherd the President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro about Workplace Safety on Manitoba Hydro Projects and the relative roles of Manitoba Hydro and its contractors.   My questions and Mr. Shepherd's responses are below [from Hansard]. Mr. Gerrard: O ne of the things which you talked quite a bit about was the safety record and the emphasis on safety. Now, Manitoba Hydro has a certain number of employees, but I think many of the employees who are involved in the project were actually employed by contractors or subcontractors. Is that correct? Mr. Shepherd:  That is correct. We have, as of today, about roughly 5,300 employees, but when you look at major projects–so I would use, you know, say, Keeyask, which I'm more familiar with. We have a camp at Keeyask; roughly peak staffing at the plant is 2,300 people. There would be a few hundred at most that are directly employed by Hydro and the m

Where are the opportunities and the risks for Manitoba Hydro when it comes to its revenue?

In the Crown Corporations Committee on Monday June 25th, I asked Mr. Kelvin Shepherd the President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro about the opportunities for Manitoba Hydro for new revenue.   My question and Mr. Shepherd's response is below: Mr. Gerrard:   I'd like to come back and talk a little bit more about where the risks are. We've got a circumstance where the cost of natural gas from fracking has remained low and looks like it's going to stay relatively low for some time. We've got a situation where, although people talk about the coal‑generated electricity in Saskatchewan, quite a lot of that is from Coronach in southern Saskatchewan. I was there recently. That plant will operate until 2029, so it's not going to provide a huge demand [in the near future]..       So I have a real concern. We've got a highly competitive market; [in part] because lots of states and provinces are looking very heavily at demand‑size management and it's decreasing the r

Manitoba Hydro and the fires near Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi

Monday June 25, in the Crown Corporations Committee of the Manitoba Legislature, I asked Kelvin Shepherd, the President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro a series of questions about the role of Manitoba Hydro in relation to fire emergencies.  My questions and Mr. Shepherd's responses are below.  Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):  Let me start with a question from my colleague, the MLA from Kewatinook. She asks: Why did Manitoba Hydro fly in and out of Little Grand Rapids at a cost of $3,600  per day while restoring power when they could have stayed at the Little Grand Rapids Lodge at a cost of $2,600, saving Hydro $1,000 a day for the three weeks?       I know that Manitoba Hydro's looking carefully at all expenses, and she's just pointing out an area where there could have been some savings perhaps, and let me ask, probably most appropriately, to Mr. Shepherd. Mr. Shepherd:  Thank you for the question, Dr. Gerrard, and first just let me say that I think our staff that respo

Manitoba Hydro has no plan for dealing with its looming $25 billion debt

Last night, under my questioning at the Committee on Crown Corporations at the Manitoba Legislature, Kelvin Shepherd, President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro admitted that the corporation currently has no plans to deal with its looming $25 billion debt.  During the committee meeting, Mr. Shepherd and Crown Services Minister the Hon. Cliff Cullen both made it clear that in a few years, with all the money being borrowed to build Keeyask Dam and Bipole III, Manitoba Hydro will have a debt of about $25 billion.  As an example, Minister of Crown Services the Hon Cliff Cullen, said during the committee meeting that " when Keeyask comes online, Manitoba Hydro is going to have a debt of   $25  billion.  "  Uuit 1 of Keeyask is said to be  coming on line in 2021.    For a corporation the size of Manitoba Hydro this is a very large debt.  Indeed, the expected net debt for the Province of Manitoba at the end of the current fiscal year (2018/19) is $25 billion.   Thus Manitoba Hydro's de

Eyeglasses for seniors - the Minister says it is only $50 he may be taking away

On Thursday June 21, I asked the Minister of Health about the provincial program which provides support for eyeglasses for seniors.   It was earmarked, in the KPMG report, along with "orthopedic shoes for children" to be cut.   I asked the Minister of Health about his plans for the program   My question and the Minister's response is below.   If you want to send a comment to the Minister of Health you can do so by writing to his email at Mr. Gerrard:  I'll just talk about another couple of recommendations.       That recommendation for reducing the support for orthopedic shoes for children– this is a–you know, pretty important in terms of children being active, getting the exercise that we know that is so important for many things, including brain development and activity, including the prevention of diabetes, including reducing the risk of heart attacks. So developing good ability to walk, to move, to run and to make sure that all children

What will the Minister of Health include in mental health and addictions?

The Minister of Health has talked a lot about bringing mental health and addictions together.  The Minister has been saying he will include both in one governance structure.   I asked the Minister what he would include in mental health when he brings it together with addictions.   At this point, it appears he does not have the answer.  My question and his response is below: Mr. Gerrard:   One of the questions is mental health, or mental and brain health can be narrow or broader. What is the narrowness or the breadth of what is being considered under mental health and addictions? Mr. Goertzen:  I don't know that that's been entirely set out, in terms of the scope of it. I do know that the member, I believe, did a report on brain, mental health some time ago and provided it to us in the department. We accepted some recommendations. I think I wrote back to the member and told him that we accepted some of those recommendations and the department was acting on it.       So

What will be Manitoba's governance structure for mental health and addictions? Minister Goertzen won't say

Thursday June 21, I asked Minister of Health Kelvin Goertzen what he was planning for the governance structure for mental health and addictions?   My question and his response are below.  Mr. Gerrard:  The minister has recently tabled the VIRGO report. Among that–the recommendations is some discussion of a model for governance of mental health and addictions.       I wonder if the minister could provide clarity on what his plans are with regard to the governance of mental health and addictions in Manitoba. Mr. Goertzen:  Sorry, I may have–thank you, Mr. Chairperson–may have missed the very first part of that question. I was being heckled from my own side, which sometimes happens in a parliamentary setting.       I think he was asking, though, about the future of AFM or mental health governance. Mr. Gerrard:  Let me clarify.       In the VIRGO report, which was brought forward by Dr. Rush, there is a specific discussion of the future of the governance of mental health and

Universal Newborn Screening for Severe Combined Immune Deficiency

Thursday June 21, I talked with the Minister of Health about recent advances in screening for severe combined immune deficiency.   My comments and questions and the Minister's answers are below. Mr Gerrard;   I would, for the minister's interest, table a document which is a recent study, and this is a finding recently that has been made by Manitoba researchers that there is a very good way of neonatal universal newborn screening for severe combined immune deficiency and that this is an area where, in fact, you can identify early on these children and prevent problems later on and be able to deal with them more effectively. And so I would recommend in this area that the minister looks at this, and I think that by having a preventive services plan, proposals like this, when they come forward, could be looked at expeditiously on a cost-benefit basis. The cost of looking after these infants when they're diagnosed later rather than sooner can be extraordinarily high.      

Liberals push for better prevention of HIV and AIDS in Manitoba. But it is tough in our province, for when it comes to prevention of HIV and AIDS, the Pallister Conservatives are just as bad as the NDP were before them.

Earlier today, I asked the Minister of Health in Question Period what he was doing to have a provincially focused effort to prevent HIV and AIDS.   The essential problem we have in Manitoba is that our HIV rates have been going up.  This contrasts with British Columbia where they have had a much more comprehensive prevention effort in which the full costs of prevention, care and treatment are covered by the province.   In Manitoba, with our pharmacare plan, only part of the costs are covered provincially so that not everyone with HIV and/or AIDS is able to afford the coverage and some individuals with HIV-AIDS may not be getting adequate treatment.   The importance of adequate treatment is that with adequate treatment the viral load is kept so low the person with HIV-AIDS is no longer infectious and is not able to transmit the virus, thus preventing spread.  My questions and the Minister's response is below.  I must add, it was very frustrating that the NDP in government previous