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Showing posts from November, 2019

Honouring Taylor Pryor

Earlier today, I spoke on a Member's Statement about Taylor Pryor I rise to speak of Taylor Pryor - an amazing young woman who did very well in school and was an athlete who loved playing soccer.    She lived life to the fullest and lived a life where no one was left behind.   One day, playing soccer, she collided with another player and had a concussion. The concussion, in some way, changed her brain.   She became suicidal.   Her thoughts, no matter what she did, were of suicide.   She reached out.   She called out for help - again and again and again and again. Her parents went above and beyond what normal mortals could do in trying to help.      We must build a better world – with more empathy, more understanding and more knowledge of how to help.   We must build capacity so that when a young woman like Taylor calls for help, our society and our health care system can save her.   After struggling for almost a year, and after an unbelievable number of Emerge

More effort is needed to prevent suicides in Manitoba

The Advocate for Children and Youth in Manitoba has just released a report showing an alarming number of suicides in children and youth in Manitoba in the last year.   In Question Period today, I asked the Minister of Families what she is doing to prevent suicides in children and youth.    The Premier responded, but sadly did not answer my question.  You can see my question and the Premier's response below:  Youth Suicide Prevention -  Inclusion of Case Planning Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights): Madam Speaker, it is of concern that the children's advocate reports 32 suicides in those up to age 20 last year. Indeed, the number of suicides in those up to age 18 has increased by 60 per cent in the last two years compared to the previous four years, as the data I tabled shows.             I note the child death review shows a deficiency in 53 of 57 case plans. Problems in case planning have been highlighted many times in recent years.             My question to the min

A Members Statement and Questions to the Minister of Health on Personal Care Homes

Tuesday, November 26th, I spoke on the Legislature in a Members Statement on Personal Care Homes and our recent Forum, and then I asked questions of the Minister of Health.  My Members Statement and Questions are below:  Members Statement about our Forum on Personal Care Homes  Last Saturday, the MLA for Tyndall Park and I brought together constituents at a Forum on Improving Care and Preventing Tragedies in Manitoba’s Personal Care Homes.  We looked at what is a tragedy in such home.   Tragedies include fires - and falls where a hip is broken or a head is injured.    Tragedies also include when a family member is not allowed to visit their loved one in the personal care home, or when a person dies in a home unhappy and angry about the quality of care he or she received.   We had four excellent panelists. Connie Newman, Executive Director of the Manitoba Association of Senior’s Centres emphasized the importance of having someone who is an effective advocate for care home

Improving Care and Preventing Tragedies in our Personal Care Homes - Our Forum

Saturday November 23rd, at the Corydon Community Centre Cindy Lamoureux and I shared the job of Master of Ceremonies for our Forum on Improving Care and Preventing Tragedies in our Personal Care Homes in Manitoba.  We had four excellent panelists in Connie Newman, the Executive Director of the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres, Michelle Gawronsky the President of the MGEU and long time worker in a personal care home, Dolores Minkus-Hofley and Robert Rose Jr.  The Forum brought to light numerous and very disturbing concerns over what is happening today in personal care homes.   There were also many suggestions for improving the situation.   What is clear is the need for a review of staffing levels and training requirements for those working in personal care homes in our province.   It is to be noted that there are personal care homes which are doing a really good job, even as there are others which are falling short of what is needed.   Part of what could help is an effor

Changes to management of Crown land being imposed by the Pallister government will have adverse effects on many beef producers and on local communities

Dougald Lamont and I met with a concerned group of ranchers in Crane River on October 13th.   The ranchers felt betrayed by the actions of the Pallister government which is making changes to the management of Crown Lands in a way that is very detrimental to their own livelihood and to the future of their ability to raise cattle in the area near Crane River and in nearby areas near St. Rose du Lac and in the Interlake.     The ranchers were supported by a representative from the Manitoba Beef Producers, Diane Riding.   The ranchers made a strong case for continuing the “unit transfer” system.   Under this system, which has existed for some time, beef producers are allowed to transfer the rights to the land and to sell the rights to lease and use the Crown land.  In the system, beef producers are rewarded when they make improvements to the land.  Under this system beef producers can build up equity in their operations and then when they retire, they can sell the rights to lease

Lead exposure and violent crime in Manitoba

Increasing evidence from many sources links the lead exposure pregnant mothers and young children to increased violent crime when the children are age 18 to 25.  On October 10th, I asked the Minister of Justice what we was doing to understand whether the government was looking at this link and whether it was acting to look at whether this was one of the reasons for the high violent crime in Manitoba.  Violent Crime Statistics Lead Exposure Link Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Manitoba has a disturbingly high level of violent crime. Under the present Conservative government the violent Crime Severity Index has risen by more then 30 points to reach 169.8; no other province has seen anything comparable.       Manitoba may have a large increase in crime under this government because the government has  done little to address poverty, homelessness, mental health or addictions. Alternatively, as I table, increasing evidence links violent crime to lead exposure, and lead exposure

Ranchers and new regulations related to Crown lands

On October 10, in Estimates for the Department of Agriculture I asked Minister Eichler about his new regulations related to the use of Crown Land.   We have received many concerns from beef producers about the negative impact of these regulations on their future.  Interestingly the day after I raised these issues, Minister Eichler decided to make some changes to address some of the ranchers concerns.   However, there still remain major concerns for many ranchers.  My questions and the Minister's responses are below.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   What I'm hearing from a number of farmers is that some of these changes are going to be devastating. The minister is saying that young farmers are going to be the big beneficiaries, but I have here the Manitoba Beef Producers saying that young ranchers are going to feel the brunt of the changes that he's making.       It seems that there are a number of problems. You  may have a large number of leases coming up in 2

Carbon Savings, Nitrous oxide emissions, algal blooms and composting

On October 9th I asked various questions during Estimates for the Department of Sustainable Development.   These related to the net impact of the governments climate change program in relation to carbon savings, the plans with regard to nitrous oxide emissions, the plans to address algal blooms - specifically with regard to the City of Winnipeg's need to reduce phosphorous going to Lake Winnipeg and on composting plans.  My questions and the Minister's answers are below:  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Yes, it looks like I have a relatively short time, so I'm going to ask several questions at once and the minister can see if she can–what the responses in her–with the carbon savings account, it appears quite possible that there could be savings of energy, fossil fuel use, on an existing building that would be positive, but at the same time there will be new buildings being built, which could actually use more carbon, and so that you could have a net increase inste

Government policy on birth alerts

On October 8 in Families Estimates for the Department of Families, I asked about the government's policy to continue issuing birth alerts.  Birth Alerts are used by Child and Family Services with regard to families where CFHIsS workers believe that children need to be taken away from their parents.  Historically, Manitoba CFS has apprehended far more children than other comparable jurisdictions, and in recent years has been apprehending about a child a day at birth.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   My question deals with birth alerts, and I understand the minister has indicated that there will be continued issuing of birth alert.       There has, in the last few years, been a series of studies showing the tremendous adverse impact of taking children away from mothers: harm to the mother's health, including increased risk of suicides, and there is also potential significant deleterious effect on the impact of the child.       So I am looking for an update on the st

Asking probing questions on the reasons for the high rate of violent crime in Manitoba

On October 7, I asked the Minister of Justice in Estimates questions on the reasons for the very high rate of violent crime in Manitoba.  Mr. Gerrard:   I have in front of me the violent Crime Severity Index for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, BC, Ontario, Canada. What is striking is that during the tenure of your government there has been a dramatic increase in the violent Crime Severity Index in Manitoba, which has gone up from 138.6, in 2015, to 169.8 currently–well, or 2018. So that's a 31-point increment in the violent Crime Severity Index here in Manitoba. There's no parallel with this anywhere else in Canada.       And I know Saskatchewan, for example, was similar to Manitoba, you know, in 2015, but the numbers in Saskatchewan are virtually identical in 2018 to what they were in 2015.       So my question is, why has Manitoba alone, of all the provinces, seen a dramatic rise in the violent crime rate in the last several years? Mr. Cullen:   I appreciate the me

Clarifying responsibility when a child is abducted and taken to another province.

On October 7, in Justice Estimates, I asked for clarification of the responsibilities of provinces when a child is abducted from one province and taken to another.  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Just seeking to start with some information on an instance where you have a child abducted–a child abduction from Manitoba across a couple of provincial boundaries into a third province–two-year-old child, say. Who, then, jurisdictionally, is responsible for–this is a child found in a remote location in the hands of a third party, not a parent or a relative. Who decides on whether there's going to be an investigation? Who decides on  whether there's going to be charges? And who decides on whether ther e's going to be a prosecution? Because you've got a trans-provincial issue here. It's a Manitoba child. Mr. Cullen:   Just want to seek some clarification on your situation. So in this case, in–the individual, the child, was abducted by a family member or a third