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Showing posts from June, 2021

Invitation to a Town Hall - "Better than Bill 64: Ideas to Improve Education"

I write to invite you to a Town Hall on “Better than Bill 64”   It is now widely recognized that Bill 64 is a bad bill because it takes us backwards, it will reduce local input into education, it will reduce the ability of schools to help disadvantaged students, it is not an approach which will work for Indigenous students and it will use a model which has been ineffective and rejected elsewhere.   There are much better approaches than Bill 64.   This Town Hall will focus on such approaches. Title:   “ Better than Bill 64: Ideas to improve education ”   Time and Date: On the evening of  Thursday June 17 th  at 7 pm.   The zoom Town Hall will begin at 7 pm, with the formal part of the Town Hall expected to be over by about 8 pm or perhaps a bit after depending on the number of questions and interest in the Town Hall. Goal: The Town Hall will explore various options for improving education to provide a better future for education in Manitoba than is proposed in Bill 64.  T he p

Mourning the 215 children who didn't come home

The recent discovery of the bodies of 215 children near the Indian Residential School at Kamloops, British Columbia has emphasized the tragedy of children who attended the residential schools.   Even as we mourn the loss of these children, we must dedicate ourselves to a better understanding of what happened and to the process of reconciliation.  On Wednesday June 2, I joined many others in front of the Legislature to spend time trying to better comprehend what happened in Kamloops, and what happened at many other residential schools across Canada.  My  comments in the Legislature on June 1 are at this link. 

Using science and evidence to enable school sports to continue

On Tuesday June 1, I spoke of the urgent need as Manitoba opens up,  to be able to resume physical activities and sports, especially for young people.      Physical Activity Programs and Team Sports Participation of Vaccinated Population Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):         Mr. Deputy Speaker, physical fitness and athletic activities are important to good health, especially in young people.       Once hospitalizations and ICU cases are down, will the government allow full participation in fitness  and athletic activity, including team sports, in  communities and regions which reach a specific proportion of the population vaccinated as, for example, in communities with 80 per cent of Manitobans 12 years of age or older having had at least one of their vaccine doses?       And will the government also use rapid testing, as Utah has shown works, to keep team sports safe? I table a copy of the Utah studies. Hon. Kelvin  Goertzen  (Acting Minister of Health and Seniors C

Speaking on Reclaiming Power and Place - the National Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

  On Tuesday June 1, I spoke in response to a Ministerial statement about the final report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a report entitled “Reclaiming Power and Place”. My comments (from Hansard) are below. MMIWG2S National Inquiry Final Report Mr. Gerrard:   Mr. Deputy Speaker, the national re­port on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls entitled Reclaiming Power and Place re­leased two years ago revealed the tragic and unsettling details of what had long been suspected in relation to the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.       I join others in acknowledging these tragedies and in dedicating myself and our Liberal team to ensuring that issues raised are followed through and that the recommendations in the report, which are directed at all governments, including our provincial govern­ment, are followed to the extent that they possibly can.       As chief commissioner Marion Buller said in the report, it is about beautiful Ind

The 215 children buried near Kamloops

O n Monday May 31,  I spoke in the Legislation on a Matter of Urgent Public Importance – specifically on the need to address the situation of 215 children found buried near the Indian Residential School near Kamloops in British Columbia.  My comments (from Hansard) are below. MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE Mr. Gerrard:   Seventeen years ago, in the spring of 2004, I visited the friendship centre in Brandon. I was shown a plaque by Andrea Hinch-Bourns, which honoured children who'd stayed at the Brandon residential school   between 1896 and 1923.       During this period, children were brought to the Brandon residential school from communities all over Manitoba. Sadly, as marked by the plaque, too many of these children never got to go home.       Before this, I hadn't realized the tragic toll in lives which has resulted during times when children attend­ed residential schools. It was a shock to learn this. It was a shock I will not forget.       Recently, we'v

Access Awareness Week

 On Monday May 31, I spoke in response to a Ministerial statement on Access Awareness Week. I spoke of a greater need for recognition of mental as well as physical disabilities and the need to assure access and accommodation for those with disabilities.  I also spoke of the need for better progress on the accessibility standards on information and communication, on transportation and on the built environment.  Manitoba Access Awareness Week Mr. Gerrard:   Accessibility awareness week is an important week. It's a week dedicated to achieving greater understanding and support for children and adults with disabilities–or, as we often say, special abilities.       We all need to be aware of the physical and men­tal or brain disabilities. Too often the mental or brain disabilities are hidden and not recognized and, as a result, not accommodated for. Such mental and brain disabilities include, as an example, learning dis­abilities.       Learning disabilities, in part because they&#

Child Care and Early Childhood Education, Lead water pipes and Employment and Income Assistance

On  Friday May 28, I asked the Minister of Families (in  Estimates) a  series  of questions related to her ministerial responsibilities - specifically on Child Care and Early Childhood Education, on Lead pipes at Child Care Centres and on Employment and Income Assistance.  The Minister replied to me on Tuesday June 1.  My questions and the Minister's reply are below (from Hansard).    Friday May 28: The Questions Mr. Gerrard:   Thank you. I'm going to briefly ask three quick questions for you, because of the limited time.       One is that the–there's a need for more staff in child care and early childhood education, and while there are many who are trained in this area, there's a problem with salaries being lower than they need to be. I know the minister has commented that this is the responsibility of the board of directors, but some­where, somehow, one clearly needs to increase the salaries you're funding in order to be able to retain early childhood educators.

The situation at 101 Marion St

 Friday May 28, I asked the Minister of Families during Estimates, about concerns that have been raised with respect to the Manitoba Housing unit at 101 Marion St.  My question and the Minister's response are below (from Hansard). 101 Marion St Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):   To the minister, there's been a concern raised in relationship to Manitoba Housing and specifically with respect to the situation at One O One Marion. This was originally 55-plus housing, but there are increasingly younger people in the building.       I'm informed that there are instances where younger residents are letting non-residents into the building and they are breaking into apartments, stealing property, making conditions unsafe for elderly residents; indeed, that there may be gangs and  drug dealers who've taken up residence in the building, as well as problems with cockroach infec­tions.       Three suggestions have been put forward for the minister: (1) to triage homeless indi

Second reading of Bill 72–The Disability Support Act and Amendments to The Manitoba Assistance Act

  On Thursday May 27 th , I had an opportunity to ask questions and to speak at second reading of Bill 72, the Disability Support Act, and Amendments to the Manitoba Assistance Act.   My remarks and my questions with the Minister’s responses are below: Bill 72–The Disability Support Act and Amendments to The Manitoba Assistance Act Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  I certainly want to put a few comments on the record on this bill, which I think is an important bill and could potentially be an important step forward.       I will say that the Manitoba Liberals proposed that there should be a separate approach to people with disabilities.   That was about 20 years ago. So it's good that the PCs are only 20 years behind us. Of course, the NDP never got there in 17 years.   They maintained the status quo, and that's unfortunate; unfortunate for  people with disabilities, unfortunate for all of Manitoba.       Now, as I understand this proposal, it would provide for a mor