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All the Way Home: We call for major changes and improvements to help those experiencing homelessness in Manitoba

Today we released our Manitoba Liberal Caucus report designed to address the needs of those experiencing homelessness in Manitoba.   For me it has been a three months journey to understand the reasons for so much homelessness in Manitoba.  Nancy Chippendale, an activist concerned about the needs of those experiencing homelessness approached me early last fall to say that we needed to look into the situation in Manitoba.   Nancy said " This winter, with the COVID-19 pandemic there are going to be unique challenges.   Many of the places people experiencing homelessness may be closed or inaccessible due to COVID-19."   We started the planning in October and in November  and December we talked to  many, many  people who are trying  to help those who are homeless. As well we talked to individuals with lived experience of being homeless.  With Nancy's help, I have learned a lot, and the result is this report.  The full report - titled "All the way home:  Ending 40+ years o

The importance of having a Seniors' Advocate in Manitoba and of improving the quality of care in long term care facilities.

  On January 29, 2021 we released our Manitoba Liberal Caucus report on the state of support  for Manitoba's seniors.  The report focused particularly on the need for a Manitoba Seniors' Advocate and on the need for improvements in long term care facilities.  The Media release is below.  The report itself can be found by:clicking on this link.    The title of the report is Standing Up  for Seniors:  Ending 40+ years of Neglect.  Why Manitoba needs a Seniors' Advocate and a new model for Long Term Care.  Manitoba Liberals Release Report Detailing 40+ Years of Neglect in Seniors Care:   Seniors need Advocate, System Needs Reform Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB - The Manitoba Liberal Caucus released a report detailing 40+ years of warnings and reports of neglect by Manitoba Governments of the conditions in personal care homes they say contributed to the appalling Covid-19 death toll in personal care homes across the province. Of all OECD countries, Canada’s death rate

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

Ongoing concerns about COVID variants coming to Manitoba

 I is now some time since new COVID-19 variants have  been identified  in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. These new variants are more transmissible and therefore more dangerous, though whether they cause more severe disease is not yet certain.  As Manitoba Liberals we continue to be concerned about efforts which need to be taken to prevent such new variants from coming to our province.   We know that new variants have been detected  in Ontario, British  Columbia and Alberta.   In Ontario a new variant has been identified in an outbreak in Barrie.   Action to prevent such variants coming to Manitoba  should have already been taken 10 days ago.  As well, Manitobans deserve answers to a number of questions concerning these new variants and the Manitoba situation.  Our letter below was sent January 15,  and we still have not had a reply to most of these questions, although public health has indicated that as of January 22, there had been no new variants detected in Manitoba. 

Action is needed now - for Manitoba to prevent the new COVID-19 variants from coming to Manitoba

Action is needed  now  to prevent the new  variant forms of the COVID-19  virus (SARS-CoV2)  from coming to Manitoba. Major new variants of the virus have been found in the United Kingdom, in South Africa and in Brazil.  While these new variants may not cause more severe  disease (this is good), the new variants spread faster and are more infectious than the strain of COVID-19 virus we have been dealing with so far (this is bad).  The variants  will be harder to contain than the original strain of COVID-19 and therefore it is imperative that Manitoba act  now to limit the spread of these variants to Manitoba. We need, immediately, to review protocols for people coming from any jurisdiction where the virus has  been found (including Ontario, British Columbia  and Alberta).   Individuals coming from these areas should all self-isolate for 14 days (currently this is not required  for individuals from British Columbia and Alberta). Testing protocols for International travelers currently re

Lead Contamination and Children in the care of Child and Family Services

On Monday January 11, I had the opportunity in the Legislative  Committee dealing with the Annual Report of the  Manitoba Advocate  for Children and Youth, to ask questions about the possibility of children in the care of Child and Family Services having high lead levels due to exposure to lead.  My  questions and the responses of Ms Ainsley Krone Deputy Manitoba Advocate for Children and  Youth are below - from Hansard. Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):     I have a question which I'd like to bring up. In the report of the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth, there's a section here on where there are service gaps, and clearly, it's important to identify areas where there may be service gaps.       And I want to refer to a report that was done in Pennsylvania which showed that children who were in foster care, when they were tested before they entered care, had rather high levels of lead in their blood such that nearly 90 per cent of these children had levels of lea

COVID-19 and Children in the care of Child and Family Services

Monday Jan 11, I had an opportunity during a Legislative Committee on the Annual Report of the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth to ask about the impact of the COVID pandemic on children in the care of Child and  Family Services.  My questions to Ms Ainsley Krone the Deputy Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth and her answers are below - from Hansard.  Mr. Gerrard:   I want to come to the situation of the COVID pandemic. Are there concerns about the care of children in the COVID pandemic? Are you seeing an increased number of reports of problems–you've been following suicide, for example–and other concerns. Where are the gaps now because of the COVID pandemic? Ms. Krone:   Thanks for that question, Dr. Gerrard.       I would say that, you know, it's still, as you can appreciate, pretty early on in terms of the broader analysis of the impact of the pandemic and–but when we look at what's happening for young people in our province, the concerns that are being r