Skip to main content

Comments on a Bill by Wab Kinew to remove political involvement in public health decisions

 While on the  surface it seems reasonable to remove the Premier's involvement in public health decisions, the real answer is to have a Premier who can work together with the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer in the interests of all Manitobans. The problem at the moment is that in Manitoba there is often not a good parallel between the actions of  Premier Pallister and Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Roussin.  For example, just as the number of cases of COVID-19 infections were increasing, Pallister was launching an advertising blitz about opening up Manitoba for business.  Pallister's badly timed advertising efforts led people to be less cautious about COVID-19 at the very time that the infections rate was increasing this fall, and made it more difficult for Dr. Roussin to impose stronger measures initially.  This bill would not have made a difference in the Pallister advertising initiative.   We need a Premier who better understands that the first step in having a better economy is having lower rates of COVID-19 infections.  My  speech at Second Reading on this bill on Thursday November 26 is below. 

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I completely understand why the NDP are bringing forward this bill at this time. The Premier (Mr. Pallister) has made many poor decisions during the pandemic. He's shown poor leadership and his delay in preparation for the second wave, his closing of the incident command centre and many other decisions have caused a situation where Manitobans' health is now at risk from a booming second wave and our economy also is at risk.

      But at the same time, we need political account­ability. We need to know where the buck stops. We need the Premier and the public health officer working together to get us through the epidemic. We need the Premier to adequately fund public health orders.

      We can't have a situation where there's dueling responses to an emergency, one coming from the public health orders and the other coming from emer­gency measures orders, where there's a disagreement between the two. [Wab Kinew explained in his opening talk about the bill, that if a Premier disagreed with the Chief Public Health Officer he could issue a counter order under the Emergency  Measures Act].  

      So in spite of my sympathy for the position of the NDP, We're going to take a position against this measure. I speak from experience in Cabinet under Jean Chrétien, when I saw that the best results occur when the political head and the lead within the public civil service–including here the chief public health officer–are made with input from both and when the Premier can better listen, when the political lead [the Premier] can better listen to the public health officer, as sometimes does not appear to be the case now.

      Controlling the COVID-19 pandemic is essential to improving our economic prospects. We see this this fall. Had the COVID-19 pandemic been kept under better control by the Premier with all the advice that he should've and was receiving from us and from many others, we would've had a much more open economy. The failure of the Premier to put health care first has put our economy last.

      We could've had, as we've had in the past, an all-party task force working together. The Premier chose not to do this. That's his decision, Madam Speaker. And the Premier's decision to not listen always to the public health orders or public health doctor and the team from health care has been shown many times, including when there was a letter from many, many doctors and letter from many nurses bringing out problems with the Premier's approach.

      So, in spite of the fact that we disagree very strongly with the approach that the Premier has taken, we still believe there needs to be political account­ability so we will not, in this case, be supporting this legislation.


  1. “The failure of the Premier to put health care first has put our economy last”.

    No truer words Dr. Gerrard — Perfectly worded and tragically true!

  2. I have been with the virus for 2 years when i was introduced by a blogger who also narrated Her story online on how she was cured by a herbal medication which was sent by doctor chala, am telling you today that my test results come out negative. Contact Dr chala on his email address or you can visit his website on http://drchalaherbalhome.godaddysites... or


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Comparison between Manitoba and South Dakota shows dramatic impact of Physical Distancing

Manitoba implemented physical distancing measures in mid-March.  South Dakota has still not made physical distancing mandatory.   The result is a dramatic difference in the incidence of covid-19 viral infections between the two jurisdictions.   This graph shows the number of people with Covid-19 infections from March 27 to April 14.  Manitoba ( red line )  started leveling off about April 4 and has seen only a small increase in Covid-19 infections since then.   South Dakota ( blue line )   has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections since April 4.  Those who are skeptical of the impact of physical distancing in Manitoba should look at this graph! Data are from the Johns Hopkins daily tabulations

Standing up for Seniors

Yesterday in the Legislature I  asked the Minister of Health questions about the care of seniors in personal care homes in Manitoba.   I specfically called for the Minister to increase the training and staffing requirements for personal care homes in Manitoba to bring them up to date.   My questions, the Minister's comments and the Speaker's interjection are below:  Personal-Care-Home  Improvements - Need for Upgrades to Standards and Training Hon. Jon  Gerrard   (River Heights): Madam Speaker, we're very concerned this government is not adapting to the reality of caring for seniors who are living longer. Seniors living in our personal-care homes today have much more challenging health-care conditions than those who were in similar homes even five years ago, and yet the staffing formula, or minimal personnel requirement, is over 20 years old. Too few care aides and nurses are adequately trained to look after residents with dementia and multiple chronic health conditi

I cried today when I heard the report on the Maples Care Home disaster

Today the Pallister  government released the report on the tragedy which occurred at the Maples personal care home in October  to December 2020.   There were far too many people infected with COVID-19 (73 staff and 157 residents) and far too many deaths (56).  It did not have to be this way.  The central finding of the report was: "The review found that while pandemic plans had  been prepared and were in place, the site was not prepared for the significant reduction in available staff once they had been  exposed to COVID-19  and were required to self-isolate.  In addition, the urgency of requests for additional on-site staffing supports were not  fully understood until the situation became critical.   While additional staff were brought in, many were not skilled in providing long-term care services and  lacked training in infection prevention and control and specialized housekeeping skills."    Five  months before, Manitoba Liberals had warned the Premier three times that pre