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Showing posts from October, 2018

Fishers rally at the Manitoba Legislature concerned about the future of fish stocks in Lake Winnipeg

Tuesday October 23 Fishers rallied at the Manitoba Legislature concerned about the future of fish stocks, particularly Walleye and Sauger, in Lake Winnipeg.  The concern arises because the catch of Sauger is down more than 96% from the peak catches.  At the same time, anglers have observed a decline in the catch of large walleye and are raising a concern that the walleye population may be in danger.  While some commercial fishermen dispute the fall in walleye numbers, the fact is that the province is not adequately assessing the biomass of walleye in Lake Winnipeg.  Further commercial fishermen have been reporting large amounts of algae and what appears to be sewage inundating Grindstone on Lake Winnipeg.   The Pallister government promised they would improve the management of the fisheries on Lake Winnipeg, but they have not.   The Pallister government promised they would eco-certify the fisheries on Manitoba's three largest lakes, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg bu

FASD Awareness Day will be September 9 each year if Bill 230 is passed

Monday October 22, I spoke on a Bill to make September 9, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day in Manitoba.   As I indicated in my remarks in the Legislature which are below, Manitoba Liberals support this legislation.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  First of all, Manitoba Liberals support this bill. To have an FASD Awareness Day on September the 9th, I think this is important to do.       I'm going to focus my remarks on what we need to make people aware of. We have clearly some significant things that we need to be talking about. One is awareness that if you drink alcohol and you are pregnant, then your child might be born with FASD. I've suggested in question period and before this that we should have labels on all alcoholic beverages warning that if you drink when you are pregnant, then your child may develop FASD. I hope that the member for Fort Richmond (Mrs. Guillemard) will bring an initiative along this line forward.       Second thing that we sho

Meeting members of the Manitoba Teachers Society at the Legislature

Monday October 22, the Manitoba Teachers Society held a reception at the Manitoba Legislature to talk about our education system and the improvements that are needed.   Cindy Lamoureux and I joined them to get their insight and to have a helpful dialogue on our public education system in Manitoba.  Below are some photos from the event. 

Are we doing enough to educate our children about methamphetamine and about cannabis?

Thursday October 25th, I asked about the level of education in primary and secondary education about methamphetamine and about cannabis.   Clearly these are important areas for students to know about given the meth epidemic ongoing in Manitoba today, and the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada.  My questions and the Minister's responses are below.  Meth and Cannabis Awareness Inclusion in K-to-12 Curriculum Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  The meth crisis is extremely serious. One of the essential steps that should already have been taken to–is to ensure the K‑to-12 curriculum has material which deals with what meth is, why it's so dangerous, why it should be avoided and never used, what are the specific steps that a student should take if they have started taking meth and need help, who they can go to for help and where, and how they can help a friend who's started taking meth.       At this critical time in our history, with this epidemic and crisis rag

Calling for better attention to Learning Disabilities

On Thursday October 25th, I called, in The Legislature, for more attention to learning disabilities and better support for children with learning disabilities in Manitoba.  My questions and the Minister's responses are below. Learning Disabilities Mr. Gerrard:  Madam Speaker, the government needs to be proactive, not just reactive.       Individuals with learning disabilities often experience frustration with the K-to-12 education system because detailed assessment of their learning disability is often slow and the help and support available in Manitoba is not as advanced as it needs to be, particularly for those with complex learning disabilities, including processing difficulties.       Students with learning disabilities are among the most vulnerable and, when not adequately helped, are more likely to be involved with substance abuse and to have mental health issues, as we learned at a recent forum I held in River Heights. Action is urgent.       What is the Min

The need to end stigma and discrimination based on physical size and weight

At noon today, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Mary Forhan and Ian Patton presented at the Manitoba Legislature on their work on obesity and the need for improvements in the way we approach obesity. Ian Patton, Public Engagement Coordinator with Obesity Canada MC'd the event.  James Teitsma, MLA for Radisson spoke to give greetings and to emphasize the importance of ending discrimination.   Wab Kinew, MLA for Burrows and Leader of the NDP spoke to bring greetings and to emphasize the importance of treating people fairly and that "fat shaming" - the practice of shaming people who are fat is counterproductive as it hurts the very people it is trying to help.  Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface, also brought greetings and spoke about the need to design our health care system for everyone including those who are short or tall or have large or small bodies.  He gave an illustration in fighter pilots where it worked much better to design for everyone and did not work well when things were

Supporting Manitoba workers - and doing what we can to make workplaces safer

On Thursday October 11, Dougald Lamont called, once again, for a public inquiry into the death of David Fifi and the working conditions that led to it.  David Fifi died while he was in Thompson and working on the Vale smelter.   It took many years for his wife, Lila Fifi, to get basic information as to what happened.  It is time for a full public inquiry into why Lila Fifi was unable to get this information sooner, and into the working conditions that led to the death of David Fifi.  Workplace Death Case Concern Request for Public Inquiry Mr. Dougald  Lamont  (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Madam Speaker, 10 years ago David Fifi, a 48-year-old boilermaker, died when he was working for Comstock at the Inco Vale smelter site in Thompson. His widow, Lila, is here in the gallery, with her family, and has been fighting for answers since his death 10 years ago.       This August, she finally received the answer she'd been fighting for. In a review of David's case by Ma

Raising concerns about the need to address poverty in Manitoba

On Thursday October 11, there was a large rally at the Manitoba Legislature to push for action to address poverty in Manitoba.  This was followed by attention to poverty in the Manitoba Legislature.  Dougald Lamont asked questions of the Premier.   His questions and the responses are below the photos. Poverty Reduction Strategy Request for Government Plan Mr. Dougald  Lamont  (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Madam Speaker, I'd like to thank the folks from Make Poverty History for joining us here today.       When it comes to dealing with poverty, Manitoba's record stands out as unique in its failures. I table a report that shows between 1981 and 2010 every single province experienced a considerable drop in poverty for single-parent families but one: Manitoba, where it increased by 9.1 per cent.       Manitoba has seen more than $1 billion in corporate property and individual tax cuts for the wealthiest Manitobans while hiking taxes on those who can least aff

Concerns about the quality of care in our health care system.

I n a debate on Bill 233 which prevents the imposition of health care premiums in Manitoba, I commented on the bill and raised concerns about the Conservative government's handling of health care in our province.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Madam Speaker, I rise to put a few comments on this resolution. Manitoba Liberals are in support of this resolution and don't believe that health-care premiums provide an advantage or a benefit and they certainly are a cost to individuals. And so we support this resolution and thank the member for Minto (Mr.  Swan) for bringing this forward.       I do want to make a few comments on the importance of having quality health care in our province. I received a call yesterday from a woman who–she and her family have had quite a lot of experience with our health-care system over the last number of years. And she commented to me that though there continue to be exceptional individuals in the health-care system who are still very ki

How will roadside testing for cannabis and meth work?

During the question period on Bill 36 which deals with aspects of cannabis testing, I asked the Minister responsible what process will be used for roadside testing for cannabis and meth.  My questions and the Minister's responses are below: Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Madam Speaker, I would ask the minister first to describe what's involved in the physical co-ordination and drug reporting evaluation.       And also I would ask the minister whether it is the government's intention that the levels which he's described be used alone, or would there be a requirement that there be a demonstration of the  impact or the effect of the drug on physical co‑ordination or in other respects. Madam Speaker:  The honourable Minister of Finance. Mr. Cullen:  Thank you, Madam Speaker. In terms of the physical co-ordination test or the drug recognition evaluation, those really are tools that police officers will use when they pull over an impaired driver. So they will a

A flash mob to bring attention to the need to pass Bill 216 to put physical size and weight as protected characteristics under Manitoba's Human Rights Code

Wednesday October 10, a flash mob in front of the Manitoba Legislature drew attention to the need to pass Bill 216 to reduce discrimination on the basis of physical size and weight.   Bill 216 will put physical size and weight as protected characteristics under Manitoba's Human Rights Code so that those experiencing such discrimination will be able to raise this with Manitoba's Human Rights Commission and get their situation addressed. Bill 216 will come up for second reading debate on Thursday morning October 25, 2018.

Judy Klassen raises concerns about the East Side Road and northern Airports

In Question Period on Wednesday October 10, Judy Klassen raises concerns about the situation of construction of the East Side Road and about the government's support for northern Airports.  Unfortunately, Ron Schuler was not giving any answers.  East-Side Road Development Request for Five-Year Plan Ms. Judy  Klassen  (Kewatinook):  In June of 2017, I   asked the Minister of Infrastructure about the development of the east-side road network. He said that in the upcoming session his department would table their five-year plan.       This is now the third upcoming session since we had that discussion.       Can the Minister of Infrastructure release the department's five-year plan for the development of the east-side roads today? Hon. Ron  Schuler  (Minister of Infrastructure):  Well, Madam Speaker, I don't know where to start, where we have started and where we have completed– [interjection] Madam Speaker:  Order. Mr. Schuler:  –projects that were never, ev

Dougald Lamont raises Conflict of Interest Concerns with regard to Conservative MLAs

Dougald Lamont raised concerns about Conflict of Interest with respect to Conservative MLAs who own apartment buildings and are voting on a bill to give financial benefits to apartment owners.  Dougald's questions and the Premier's responses are below.  Bills Before the Legislature -  Members' Conflict of Interest Mr. Dougald  Lamont  (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Madam Speaker, we know from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner that Manitoba has the lowest standards for conflict of interest in Canada. They have not been updated since 1985.       As a new MLA, I was told that I should–if I should face a vote on a matter of conflict of interest, I should declare it and recuse myself.       Bill 12, the red tape reduction act, includes a clause that weakens the rights of tenants to appeal rent increases. For a landlord to vote in favour of undermining tenants' rights is a self-evident conflict of interest, and we know that specific ministers own apartments