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Showing posts from December, 2018

Speaking at Second Reading on Bill 5 to amend the Mental Health Act and the Personal Health Information Act.

On the afternoon of Dec 6th, I spoke at second reading on Bill 5 to make changes to the mental health act and the personal information act to allow health professionals to contact members of a person's circle of care when the person is or may be suicidal. My comments, from Hansard, are below.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  We have lost too many Manitobans to suicide, under conditions where the suicide could've been prevented. We've heard already today, and I will tell it again, the story of a friend of mine who went to the one place where he should've found help, at the emergency room, and he was sent away with a bus pass, and three days later he was dead. We have heard about Reid Bricker. We have heard about a friend of the MLA for Assiniboia, and I believe there are many, many more that we have not heard about because all too often, individuals in this circumstance, there is a sense of shame over the commission of suicide and an unwillingness of families to

Asking for accelerated passage of Bill 5 to save lives

On Thursday December 6, in Question Period, I asked for accelerated passage of Bill 5 - which changes the  Mental Health Act and the Personal Health Information Act in order to allow health care providers to contact members of a person's circle of care when there is a potential danger to the person's life - as when a person may be suicidal.  The passage of this bill has the potential to prevent suicides and save lives - and if it had been present three years ago might have saved the life of Reid Bricker.  Although, the government did not concede to my request to pass the bill on December 6th, the government did support passage of the bill at second reading later in the day so the bill can go to committee in January or February of 2019 and return to be passed early next session in March.  Mental and Personal Health Information Request to Pass Legislation Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Yes. Madam Speaker, yesterday the MLA for St. Boniface and I wrote to the Premie

A Bill about Empathy

On Thursday December 6, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature on Bill 20o The Safe Access to Abortion Services Act.   This bill would allow for buffer zones around any clinic, hospital or health-care facility offering abortion services to Manitoba women and girls, while prohibiting any protesting, demonstrating or picketing within these zones, and strengthens protections for patients and health-care providers against harassment, bullying, intimidation, shame and molestation. Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Madam Speaker, this bill comes down to one word: empathy. Do MLAs have empathy with women and girls who are making difficult health-care decisions?       There are those in Manitoba who have very different points of view with regard to abortions and a variety of other health-care matters. But the fact is that whatever your view on this subject, whatever your views are with respect to abortion or other health matters, that that's not what this bill is about.       This b

Conservatives copy Manitoba Liberals mental health bill - two years later

Yesterday (December 4), the Pallister Conservatives introduced a bill to make changes so that health professionals can more easily contact family members or members of a persons circle of care in order to provide help and prevent suicides and other potential harms to individuals.  This bill copies legislation introduced by the Manitoba Liberals two years ago.  It has meant a two year delay in getting this important approach implemented.  Judy Klassen introduced the Liberal bill on November 30, 2016 just over two years ago. Judy Klassen's introduction of the bill is below.  It is worth noting that the Conservatives voted against this bill at second reading.   Yesterday, after second thought, they are introducing a bill which is very similar to what Judy Klassen introduced two years ago.   I am pleased that the Conservatives have learned from the Liberals but sorry that it took two years, during which time an unknown number of people have suffered because this legislation was not i

Why is the government spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on contracts instead of recruiting, hiring and training pilots to deliver the service at higher quality and lower cost under the existing Lifeflight service

Monday December 3, I asked why the government is spending much more money in contracting our air ambulance flights when it could spend much less and get higher quality by recruiting and hiring pilots to do the flying in house.  My question and the government's response is on the video at this link  here: My questions and the government's responses are also available in print below: Lifeflight Air Ambulance Privatization -  Cost of New Service Contract Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights): Madam Speaker, to the Minister of Health: I understand that the government is spending large amounts of money to contract out air ambulance flights instead of having the flights done at lower cost by our in-house Lifeflight Air Ambulance service. Such contracts can now be for as many as 15 days a month.        For a government which is obsessed with every dollar spent to make sure it's done in the most efficient and effective way, why is the

Adverse Health effects of contamination by heavy metals in St. Boniface?

In Question Period today, I raised concerns about the health impact of contamination by lead and other heavy metals in Winnipeg at sites in St. Boniface, Point Douglas and Weston.  I also table information which shows that more children and youth are receiving prescriptions for drugs used to treat brain health conditions like ADHD in areas adjacent to the St. Boniface site than in other areas of Winnipeg and Manitoba. You can see my question and the government's response on video at this link -   The full text of my questions and the government's responses is below: Lead Contamination in Soil - Health Effects on Children Hon. Jon Gerrard  (River Heights): Madam Speaker, successive NDP and PC governments have known for decades of dangerous levels of lead in neighbourhoods across Winnipeg, including St. Boniface, Point Douglas and Weston.       We know where the contamination is. We know there can be serious health impacts from le

The Central Corydon Community Centre Walking Group comes to the Manitoba Legislature

Recognizing the Central Corydon Community Centre Walking Group - my Members Statement Dec 4 Since 2007, the Central Corydon Community Centre Walking Group has met every Monday and Thursday morning to walk at one of Winnipeg area’s scenic sites, including Kildonan Park, Assiniboine Park, Churchill Drive, Hentaleff Park, Silver Ave Walk, Fort Whyte Centre, Bunn’s Creek, Assiniboine Forest and the South Seine River.    The last walk, yesterday had 29 people. Starting at 9:30 am, this amazing group walks year round whether the sun is shining or the rain or snow are falling.   Members go at their own speed from fast to the not so fast, walking for about an hour and then afterwards socializing with a hot or cold drink.    Come out and join the group.   Over the years more than 150 different people have come.  As Chuck says, - "Like the air we breathe - it is free"    I encourage other MLAs to start groups in their area.    The Central Corydon Community Centre

A report on our Sharing Circle Forum addressing the root causes of health issues - including poverty and homelessness

River Heights Sharing Circle Forum  Report October 21 at a River Heights sharing circle forum we focused on keeping people heal thy, warm and safe this winter and in the future–in essence, what's needed for Manitoba's preventive health plan.       Michael Champagne led. He said, stop calling people homeless; instead talk of our friends and relatives on the street. If not for chance, it could be us. Help starts with understanding, dignity and respect.   Michael talked about the need for real reconciliation – action not just talk – 1) point out which Truth and Reconciliation recommending you are working on, for example the one which deals with hiring an indigenous person, 2) by supporting Indigenous institutions like Thunderbird House, 3) by adopting a trauma informed approach to care and caring, and 4) by improving representation of indigenous people   including at senior levels in organizations and on the Boards of organizations.   Michael also talked about t

My response to the government's Throne Speech

Tuesday November 27 and 28, I delivered my response to the govenrment's Throne Speech.  My remarks, below are from Hansard.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Madam Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the residents of River Heights for their continuing support and to talk a little bit about some of the things that I've been doing in River Heights that relate to the Throne Speech.      Specifically, I've held three forums this fall. The first of these was a forum on learning disabilities. And this forum focused on a major gap which currently exists in the support of children and adults with learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are common; about 8 per cent of our population have learning disabilities. And learning disabilities, when not identified and helped, can result in delays in learning, delays in reading, problems in school.       These difficulties, when not addressed adequately, can result in students becoming frustrated, dropping out of school and