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Showing posts from 2021

Third reading for Bill 217 - changing the requirements for official party status

 On Tuesday, October 12, I began the debate on third reading of Bill 217, a bill which would change the requirements for official party status in the Manitoba Legislature from the present - four elected MLAs in  a party to two elected MLAs when the party has received more than 10% of the vote in the previous provincial election.   My speech in the debate is below.  As you will note, I quoted from supportive comments made at the committee stage by Paul Thomas, Lloyd Axworthy, Patrick Falcomer and Lloyd Talbot.   CONCURRENCE AND THIRD READINGS–PUBLIC BILLS Bill 217–The Legislative Assembly Amendment and Legislative Assembly Management Commission Amendment Act Madam Speaker:   As previously announced, we will now consider concurrence and third reading of Bill 217, The Legis­lative Assembly Amend­ment and Legis­lative Assembly Manage­ment Com­mis­sion Amend­ment Act. The hon­our­able member for St. Boniface (Mr. Lamont)–oh, sorry, the hon­our­able member for River Heights. Hon. Jon

Provincial Infrastructure issues - Lake Manitoba, Lake St Martin to Lake Winnipeg channels, delays in return of residents of Paugassi and Little Grand Rapids and dam repairs near Neepawa and Rapid City

 I had a chance to ask questions to the Minister of Infrastructure in Estimates.  I asked questions about several infrastructure projects including: 1) The channels from Lake Manitoba, to Lake St. Martin and from Lake St. Martin to Lake Winnipeg,  2) The delays in residents from Paungassi and Little Grand Rapids in getting home after fires this summer, 3) repairs to dams near Neepawa and Rapid City.  My questions and Minister Schuler's comments are below:  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Minister Schuler, what is the timeline for completion of the Lake Manitoba outlet to Lake St. Martin, and the Lake St. Martin then connection to Lake Winnipeg?   Mr. Schuler:         Mr. Gerrard, great to hear from you. Great to hear your voice. Miss you at events, you and your beautiful wife Naomi, and with just so much in common with her love for art, my love for art.       If you want, Mr. Gerrard, you can go onto our public disclosure site, Manitoba Infra­structure, and we have a lo

Calling for more attention to the dire straits of many in Afghanistan - particularly those who are relatives of individuals in the Afghan community in Winnipeg

On Thursday, October 8, I spoke on a Member's Statement about the need for more help for those who are in very difficult and dangerous circumstances in Afghanistan, and the need in particular to reach out to help those who are relatives of individuals in the Afghan community in Winnipeg.    Afghanistan–Prov­incial Response Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Madam Speaker, the situation today in Afghanistan is be­coming a humanitarian crisis.       Members of the Afghan com­mu­nity in Winnipeg tell me stories of many families who are having to stay in their homes for fear of the Taliban. If they go out, they fear they will be taken by the Taliban or killed by the Taliban. Some are now running out of food and are starving, for they have no way to get food and no money to purchase it. Others, who are in hiding, are having to change locations frequently for fear of being found by the Taliban.       One of the most heart-rending stories I heard was of a father giving his son a

Calling for the replacement of Cochlear Implant speech processors to be covered under medicare in Manitoba

 At noon, on Thursday October 7, there was a rally at the Manitoba Legislature calling for the coverage of replacements for the speech processor for Cochlear Implants.   This coverage has been needed for some time now.  My question the in the Manitoba Legislature and the petition I read the same day are below: Question Period   Cochlear Implant Software -  Prov­incial Coverage for Upgrades Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  M adam Speaker, hearing is critical for com­muni­cation among our fellow human beings. Every­thing possible must be done to ensure our elders can maintain their hearing in their senior years.       At a rally at the Legis­lature today, Gladys Nielsen and many others called for the prov­incial gov­ern­ment to cover the cost of updating the software, the pro­ces­sors in their cochlear implants. These should be covered under medicare so that they–these individuals with  cochlear implants can continue to hear. Petitions signed by 1,000 Manitobans, which Manitoba

Calling for the government to act to clear the massive backlog of surgeries and diagnostic procedures

 This week I was active in calling on the provincial government to implement a plan to address the very large backlog of surgeries and diagnostic procedures.  On Tuesday October 5, we issued a call on the government to deliver the plan to address the crisis - our press release is below: Manitoba Must Act Now To Start Clearing Massive Backlog of Tests and Surgeries Treaty 1 Territory, M├ętis Homeland, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberal MLAs say the PCs need to immediately get to work with doctors and other health care professionals to come up with a plan for clearing the province’s massive backlog of medical procedures. Wait times for hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery were all getting steadily worse while the PCs cut and froze Manitoba’s health care system, then lists exploded during the pandemic as procedures were cancelled and personnel moved to fighting Covid. Manitoba Liberal Health Critic Dr. Jon Gerrard said it is routine to hear of people waiting more than a year

Remembering Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Monday October 4th, I joined many others at the Oedena circle at the Forks to remember the Indigenous women and girls who are missing or who have been murdered.  

Do not forget Afghanistan

 On October 1st, there was a rally at the Manitoba Legislature to again emphasize the importance of acting urgently to help people in Afghanistan, particularly those who are brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces , children, mothers, fathers and cousins of members of Winnipeg's Afghan community. The stories of what is happening in Afghanistan are disturbing.   There is an urgent need to help individuals in desperate straits to come to Canada.   Ariana Yaftali, Terry Duguid, Karen Gordon, Dougald Lamont and myself were among those who spoke.  

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

 On September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Naomi and I joined thousands of Manitobans in a march from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to St. John's Park where there was a large gathering and a Powwow. 

With Ryder's team raising funds for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba

 On September 25th, I joined other members of Ryder's team to raise funds for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba.  As Ryder's mother, Rachel said "The Cerebral Palsy Association has become so important to our family."  Indeed, the Association has supported many, many families in our province. 

Concern for those in Afghanistan

 On August 28th, at the Manitoba Legislature there was a rally to raise awareness of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.  I listened to many stories from those in the Afghan community in Winnipeg about the difficult and dangerous situation of their relatives in Afghanistan, and I said I would do what I could to help.  

The federal election

During the federal election, I was campaigning with many of our Liberal federal candidates.  The result was disappointing in that it was not a Liberal majority, but it is good to know that with a Liberal minority government that many of the initiatives which have begun - including efforts to have major national support for childcare, efforts to effectively address climate change, efforts to move forward on reconciliation will continue.   Below, Naomi and I are in Niverville with Trevor Kirczenow and his team.  In the photo below I was in Neepawa with Kevin Carlson While in Neepawa, I also had a chance to see a bridge badly damaged in a recent flood. 

The 2021 Drought in Manitoba

  This summer drought ravaged much of Manitoba, and it was felt particularly in the Interlake.  On July 21, I had the opportunity to go to the Interlake area and to visit with farmers.  I saw the drought conditions first hand, and heard many stories from affected farmers.  It was a dire situation which left many farmers with no choice but to sell of part, or sometimes all, of there herds.  Together with our caucus team, Dougald Lamont and Cindy Lamoureux we have continued to stay in touch with produced around Manitoba and have advocated on behalf of farmers with federal and provincial ministers of Agriculture.   The federal government is providing $500 million to go toward helping drought affected farmers in western Canada.  The province has announced part of the specific (federal-provincial cost shared program), but we are still waiting for the announcement of financial support so that farmers can rebuild their herds after having been forced to sell them as much lower prices than they