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Showing posts from April, 2021

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

The Spirit Bear Day Act

On Thursday April 22, I  spoke on Bill 223, The  Spirit Bear Day Act.   This bill, introduced by Bernadette Smith, would provide for May 10th each year to be Spirit Bear Day in honour of Spirit Bear the bear which has become the symbol of  Jordan's Principle.   I have been and continue to be a strong supporter of Jordan's Principle and I am a supporter of this bill.  My speech is below.  At the bottom  are  photos of me with Spirit Bear, and me with Cindy Blackstock and Trudy Lavallee when  we went to Norway House together in August 2016. Bill 223–The Spirit Bear Day Act Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Mr. Speaker, first off, I want to say that I support very strongly this bill, which would provide for Spirit Bear day in Manitoba to be celebrated annually.       I thank the member for Point Douglas (Mrs.  Smith) for bringing this bill forward.       I remember vividly, in the fall of 2005, reading the tragic story of Jordan River Anderson in an article by Trudy Laval

The need to eliminate lead water pipes in Winnipeg

On Wednesday April 21,  I asked  a question in Question Period and presented a petition in relation to the continued existence of lead water pipes in Winnipeg. Lead exposure has been shown to be a associated with learning difficulties, behavioural problems, poor performance  in school, juvenile delinquency and  increased  likelihood of crime. Other  jurisdictions are addressing this issue by removing lead pipes.  Winnipeg is behind in this respect.  My question, the Minister's response and the petition are below.   I thank Ben Kramer, Hilary Druxman, James  Favel and many others for signing the petition.  Lead Water Pipes -  Timeline for Replacement Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   Mr. Deputy Speaker, President Biden recently announced spending of $45 billion to replace all lead water pipes in the United States to prevent lead poisoning of children. Newark, New Jersey, has nearly completed replacing its lead pipes. Regina in Saskatchewan will replace all lead water pipes b