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Showing posts from 2021

Creating awareness about Heart Failure for Heart Failure Awareness Week

On Thursday, April 29, I spoke in response to a Minister's statement about Heart Failure - to recognize that May 3rd to May 9th is heart failure awareness week.  My comments are below:  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Mr. Deputy Speaker, your heart pumps blood around your body so that your tissues can get oxygen and so that you can live.       Based on national numbers, it's estimated that about 20,000 Manitobans live with heart failure. It's an important condition to be aware of. I join others today to raise awareness of heart failure. Its major causes include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, faulty heart valves, cardiomyopathy   and arrhyth­mia, among others.       Important risk factors for the development of heart failure include, as examples, having a heart attack, having sleep apnea, having obesity. Prevention of heart failure is primarily about reducing risk fac­tors, including reducing smoking, controlling high blood pressure, preventing dia

Blain Pederson responds to my question and makes it clear the request for a permit for a quarry on ecologically sensitive land near Rivers has been denied.

On Wednesday, April 28th,  asked in Question Period about the status of an application to build a quarry (gravel pit) on ecologically sensitive land near Rivers, Manitoba.   The Minister, Blaine Pederson, was very  clear the  quarry  permit application has  been denied.  My question and the Minister's response are below: Gravel Pit in Riverdale, Manitoba Request for Update on Proposal Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have raised concerns about a proposal to put a gravel pit in the centre of an ecologically sensitive area in the RM of Riverdale just south of Rivers.       In early April, using careful COVID precautions, I visited the area to meet people who have great concerns about this proposal. I've been working on their behalf since then. The area has native forest and prairie and is incredible wildlife habitat, including for endangered and threatened species. The area also has important archeological sites. The gravel pit would have a signi

A Petition to preserve an ecologically sensitive area near Rivers, Manitoba

 On  Tuesday April 27, I read a petition in the Legislature which calls on the provincial government to deny a request to put a gravel pit on land which is ecologically  sensitive, has endangered and threatened wildlife species, significant archeological findings and is on an important wildlife corridor.  The petition is below.  Riverdale Aggregate Quarry–Request to Deny Conditional-Use Application Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Mr. Deputy Speaker, I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.       The background to this petitions is as follows:       A conditional-use application has been filed in relation to a proposed gravel pit, or aggregate quarry, located at SW 11-12-21 west of the primary meridian in Riverdale municipality. Many local resi­dents have concerns about the proposed gravel pit, which are not being addressed.       The site has an extensive forest of oak, ash, poplar, saskatoon, chokecherry, pin cherry and two kinds of hazelnut t

Two Ten Recovery - its provision of housing with supports has been effective in enabling people with addictions to return to the community sober and employed

 On Tuesday April 27, I spoke in the Legislature on a Members Statement about Two Ten Recovery  - a program which has been effective in helping individuals with addictions return to the community sober and employed.   My statement is below: Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Mr. Deputy Speaker, in 2007, an organization was founded in Winnipeg to provide safe transitional housing to in­dividuals who've completed an addictions treatment program. Help is provided for individuals to achieve a sustainable recovery with paid employment and suc­cessful reintegration into the community.       The program, Two Ten Recovery, uses trad­itional–transitional housing and an abstinence-based approach developed after consultation with groups focusing on prevention, treatment and re­covery for individuals and for families.       It has successfully served over 700 men and women. Residents stay for three to 12 months. They attend anywhere from one to 10 meetings per week with sponsors or supp

The importance of moving toward a more equal society - an amendment to Bill 71

 On Monday April 26th, I spoke in response  to an amendment to Bill 71 which raises issues with the government's approach in Bill 71.  In providing large rebates to property owners, a concern is that it  will contribute to larger economic differences between those who are well off and those who are struggling.  My comments are below:  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   The member for St. Johns (Ms. Fontaine) has moved an amendment, which is based on the fact that the bill fails to ensure an equitable distribution across income groups and makes life less affordable for renters in Manitoba.       I support this amendment to Bill 71. Quite clearly, as I pointed out in my earlier speech on Bill 71, this bill does not ensure an equitable distribution of benefits across income groups and will produce greater inequalities among Manitobans.       This bill, which reduced education property taxes by 25 per cent–that's Bill 71–this year will benefit about 650,000 Manitoba property

Raising concerns about the provincial government's approach to Employment and Income Assistance

 On Monday April 26th, I asked a question in Question Period about  a man who had his EIA clawed back when he received a residential school settlement.   James Favel was helpful in telling me this story.  We have subsequent to this question   period confirmed that money from residential school settlements are not to be clawed back, and I am hopeful in this instance the issue will be resolved successfully.  EIA Constituent Case Concern Residential School Settlement Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Mr. Deputy Speaker, James Favel   and others are finding a major problem with the provincial government's operation of the EIA system.       For example, an individual who received money from a residential school settlement and gave the money to his daughters to help them out, has had his EIA money clawed back. He has been taken off EIA and is now living rough on the street, as he has no other option.       As the minister knows, and I table, residential school settlements are n

The 35th Anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster - a cautionary tale

On Monday April 26th, I spoke in response to a Minister's statement  on the 35th Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.   It is a warning to all of us to pay attention to safety and to  be aware of the costs of cleaning up environmental disasters. Chernobyl Disaster   Mr. Gerrard:   Mr. Deputy Speaker, together we remember 35 years ago the Chernobyl disaster as the largest nuclear disaster ever. Less well appreciated is the role it had in the disintegration of the Soviet Union because it exposed major problems in the supervision of nuclear facil­ities. In 2006, Mikhail Gorbachev wrote: "The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union."       There were, in the disaster, two staff killed, 134 people hospitalized, of whom 34 died from radiation and 14 more died in the next 10 years from what's believed to be radiation-induced cancer. There were, as well

Bill 71–The Education Property Tax Reduction Act

Thursday April 22, I spoke  at Second Reading on Bill 71 The Education Property Tax Reduction Act.  My comments (from Hansard) are below. Bill 71–The Education Property Tax Reduction Act Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Mr. Deputy Speaker, Bill 71 will reduce education property tax for homeowners and for those who own commercial property, or perhaps, more accurately, will give rebates to such property owners, which, in the case of residential homeowners, are 25 per cent of their prop­erty tax.       In order to do this, the government is borrowing about $250 million to give property owners a tax break. While it's always nice for people to get a tax break, there are a number of important questions we need to ask. First, we need to ask: Is it smart to reduce taxes in this way at a time when the government has a large deficit and a large debt?       The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) says that this year the government will run a deficit of more than $2 billion. We have t