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Showing posts from March, 2021

Bill 5–The Cannabis Social Responsibility Fee is not a fee. It is a tax.

 On Thursday March 25, I spoke at second reading on Bill 5, a bill to introduce a social responsibility fee on the purchase of cannabis.  Under questioning the Minister did not provide a clear explanation for how the money raised by the fee would increase social responsibility in the consumption of cannabis.  Further, he provided little evidence he has a plan to increase social responsibility.  This fee is not a social responsibility fee. It is a tax. My comments are below (from Hansard).   Bill 5–The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act (Cannabis Social Responsibility Fee) Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was very disappointed in the minister during the question period that we had, that he was not able to provide a plan for how the monies from the social responsibility fee would be spent, that there was no indication that that money was going to be re-spent responsibly on some evidence-based approach.       The minister did not indicate tha

Bill - A law to restrict the use of cannabis, in any form, in every single outdoor public space in Manitoba

On Thursday, March 25, I had a chance to question Minister Friesen about Bill 6.  It is a bill which prohibits the use of cannabis in outdoor public spaces in Manitoba.   Much of the restrictions will be contained in regulations.  I had presumed that the Minister would provide for the use of cannabis in some outdoor public spaces.  But under questioning it became apparent that he is talking about banning cannabis use in every single public outdoor space in our province.  The is too broad, and is not based on common sense as my comments below show.   My questions, the minister's answers and my comments during debate of second reading are below (from Hansard).  Bill 6–The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act Questions: Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):         I ask the minister, so much is hidden here, in terms of the definition of public spaces, under this act. The–so much can be written into regulations that it is hidden in the act itself.       Would the mini

Bill 53–The Municipal Statutes Amendment Act dealing with a municipal code of conduct and newspapers only publishing notices on their web sites

 On March 25, I spoke at second reading on Bill 53.   It provides for a code of conduct for municipal officials.   It also contains a provision that newspapers can meet the public notice requirements by putting public notices on their web pages instead of putting them in their newspapers.  Both of these provisions are poorly thought out as I discuss in my comments at second reading (from Hansard) - see below.  Bill  53 can be found by clicking on this link .  Bill 53–The Municipal Statutes Amendment Act (2) Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   We have major concerns with the legislation as it is written. We feel that the approach to code of conduct is just wrong. It's analogous to saying that if there's a problem with somebody who has code of conduct in our Legislature, that the majority plus one is going to decide whether there's an issue. Well, of course. the majority plus one in the government would decide that there was never an issue if it was a government person, b

Bill 54–The Personal Health Information Amendment Act - establishing a Research Approval Committee

 On March 25, Minister Heather Stefanson introduced, for second reading, Bill 54 The Personal Health Information Amendment Act.   This legislation establishes a Research Approval Committee to review all health research involving human subjects being undertaken in Manitoba.   My questions to the Minister and my comments at second reading are below [from Hansard]. Questions: Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   To the minister: this will establish a research approval committee. Will that research approval committee take over all the functions of the institutional review committees, or only those which relate to access to personal information? Mrs. Stefanson:   So, the research information will be set up by regulation under the act, and research projects, if it's government information that they want currently, they have to go to health–the health privacy committee. Otherwise they will go to the institutional research committee. Now there will only be one committee, so we are strea

Manitoba School Boards have contributed much innovation and advancement of education in Manitoba

On Thursday March 25, in Question Period, I asked the Premier why he is getitng rid of school boards when they have contributed to much to the improvement of education in Manitoba.  My question and the Premier's response are below (from Hansard).  Manitoba Education System Elimination of Boards and Divisions Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Madam Speaker, Manitoba school boards have been an incredible source of new ideas and innovation.       The White Horse Plains school board brought in audio and video links to Hutterite schools. The Seine River School Division piloted Roots of Empathy, to help kids learn empathy, and also Kids at Play: half-day kindergarten, half-day early-childhood education. The Seven Oaks School Division brought in Met schools. And there are many, many more examples.       Why is the Premier getting rid of school boards when they've done so well at listening to parents, at considering local needs and in bringing in new advances to education in

Qaumajuq Inuit Art Centre

On Thursday March 25, I spoke in the Legislature on the opening of the Quamajuq Inuit Art Centre.  Quamajug, which  means "it is bright, it is lit" in Inuktitut, is an amazing cultural achievement located near the Manitoba Legislature. Opening ceremonies were March 24 and 25. My comments (from Hansard) are below.  Qaumajuq Inuit Art Centre Mr. Gerrard:   Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to speak today of the opening of Qaumajuq, the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.       We thank the government of Nunavut, who have loaned to Qaumajuq 7,400 artworks which comple­ment the 14,000 pieces in the Winnipeg Art Gallery collection.       It is exciting to see how Inuit culture is flourishing. The art commissioned by the Winnipeg Art Gallery for Qaumajuq includes recent pieces like sealskin space suit, demonstrating the mix of tradition and modern Inuit art.       The centre, with its focus on light, is a welcoming space and an importa

Bill 10 The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act

  On Wednesday March 24th, I spoke at the Manitoba Legislature on Bill 10 The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act, a bill which establishes the organization Shared Health.  My  comments (from Hansard) are below.  Bill 10–The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act (Health System Governance and Accountability) Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  I want to talk about Bill 10 and the ramifications of this bill. First of all, this bill, with only minor modifications since, was first introduced December 2nd, 2019 – a year and a half ago, roughly, now. It was debated at second reading last year, but then the government decided that it was going to take June, July and August off, and so the bill sat there.       This is an important bill, and it has taken five years to get to this point from where we are now. One has to ask why this government took so long.       Now, I'm going to address several things: first of all, CancerCare Manitoba and concerns that the CancerCare ne

Bill 51 The Limitations Act

 On Wednesday March 24th, I asked questions and spoke on Bill 51 The Limitations Act which puts limits on the length of time after the event, or discovery of the event that court actions can be brought forward.  It will now generally be two years.  My questions and comments (from Hansard) are below.  Bill 51–The Limitations Act Questions: Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   To the minister: I have had concerns raised with me with  regard to individuals who already have claims before the courts and for a claim that has, for instance, a 10-year limitation currently, it will move to a two‑year limitation.       The individual is very concerned that the two-year limitation will prevent him from proceeding with his claim in court because, when you change the limitation period, you change the ability for somebody to bring an action forward. Mr. Friesen:   The legislation makes clear that this–that when it comes to actions that are currently under way, there is no prejudice; there is

Bill 62–The Animal Diseases Amendment Act

 On Tuesday March 23rd, I spoke, at second reading, on Bill 62, The Animal Diseases Amendment Act.  My comments on the importance of biosecurity and on the importance of the human treatment of animals are below (from Hansard).  Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Mr. Deputy Speaker, I want to say a few words about this bill, Bill 62, The Animal Diseases Amendment Act.       We've seen over the last 50 years increasing concerns for a whole variety of reasons about bio­security at hog operations and at some grain operations. And, you know, increasingly it is has become apparent that such biosecurity is vital to the agricultural industry, and it is very important.       The recent coronavirus pandemic, COVID‑19 infections, has highlighted once again the potential for transfer of diseases like this from animals. This occurred in the Wuhan market area, and although we don't have definitive information, the suspicion is that this originated in a transfer from animals, in this ca