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Come and join an exciting group of panelists at a Forum on the Future of Primary and Secondary Education in Manitoba on April 29th

Panelists for Forum on the Future of Primary and Secondary Education in Manitoba
Rebecca Chartrand – a forward thinking Indigenous educator with 25 years in education and currently the Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy at Red River College. Previously while the Division Team Lead for Aboriginal Education she brought Seven Oaks School Division to the forefront of Aboriginal Education and was the driver behind the Kindergarten to Grade 3 Ojibwe Bilingual Program started in 2017 at Riverbend School. She was the founder of the Council for Aboriginal Education in Manitoba and the Aboriginal Circle of Educators Annual Aboriginal Education Awards.She has received a number of awards for her leadership, innovation, bridge-building and results.
Wendy Bloomfield – the chair of the Seine River School Division and a leader in innovative thinking in education in Manitoba having introduced programs like the Roots of Empathy, Kids in Play; offsite specialized alternative High School programs; …
Recent posts

Recognizing Senaka Smarasinghe at the Sri Lankan New Year Celebrations. on April 21

Presenting the certificate to Senaka Samarasinghe
Naomi and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Sri Lanka New Year Dinner on April 21.  It was a wonderful occasion to celebrate together and to enjoy the very colourful dancing and the entrancing music of many in the Sri Lankan Community.   On behalf of Terry Duguid, I also presented a certificate to Senaka Samarasinghe for his contributions to his community, to Manitoba and to Canada. My remarks are below, along with further photos: 
Subi Aluth Aurydak Wewa – Happy New Year.
Thank you for the opportunity to be with you this evening.I have a special presentation to make, but first I want to bring greetings on behalf of the Liberal Members of Parliament and the Liberal Members of the Legislature in Manitoba and on Behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and to wish all of you a Happy New Year. All of you – those who are Tamil and those who are Sinhalese.
I want to specifically mention Terry Duguid the Member of Parliament for Wi…

Concordia Hospital and The Concordia Foundation Dinner April 20

The evening of April 20, I attended the Concordia Foundation Dinner to support the Concordia Hospital and its efforts to improve health care in our province.  The photos above show Prodigy performing for those who attended. It was an inspired performance.

April 19th in Question Period, I asked about the situation at Concordia Hospital

Concordia and Seven Oaks Hospitals - Hip and Knee Surgery Wait TimesHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, quick access to good health care, including emergency rooms, operating rooms and ICUs is essential. ERs are being closed and already the median wait time in March is at more than two hours, up from 1.4 hours in October.       But that plan is also to close operating rooms and intensive‑care units. Concordia Hospital specializes in hip and knee replacements, which can have complications, and if the ICU at Concordia is closed patients will have to be moved post-op to another hospital.       Is the government planning to close the ICUs and op…

Bill 26–The Impaired Driving Offences Act - driving after smoking marijuana. It is important that people know the changes that are coming - and have input.

Bill 26, which puts very strict restrictions on driving after smoking marijuana, was debated at second reading on April 19th and will go to committee - likely the week of May 7th.  If you have comments on this bill and would like to make a presentation to the Legislative Committee phone 204-945-3636, the office of the Clerk to get on the list of people presenting.   My comments during the debate on second reading are below.  This is followed by a question and answer session with the Minister. 

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): First of all, I want to say that Liberals are strong supporters of efforts to keep our roads safe, that this is a paramount concern and it is particularly the case at the moment when we have evidence of increased numbers of accidents related to distracted driving. And at the same time, it's pretty clear that there are some unique problems associated with measuring impairment when we're talking about marijuana.       We don't fully understand yet the r…

Earth Day - let's address plastic waste and save our planet - it is our home.

April 19, I had an opportunity to speak about Earth Day in response to a Ministerial statement.   My comments, from Hansard, are below:
Mr. Gerrard:Madam Speaker, today more than one million people will take part in the largest day of action in the world. This year's theme we focus on a worldwide epidemic of plastic waste. Plastic water bottles and shopping bags continue to be used widely and discarded in spite of the knowledge that they do not degrade in landfills.       Vast numbers wash up on beaches all over the   world. They slowly break down over time into smaller particles, many of which can be carcinogenic, causing life-threatening cancers, or affect human hormones, causing early puberty as well as having effects on waterfowl, fish and our ecosphere.       Several times in the past decade Liberals have called for the elimination in Manitoba of single-use plastic checkout bags and we also call for a drastic reduction in water bottle use. The goal is to reduce our dependence…

Education Week in Manitoba

April 19, I had an opportunity to speak on Education week in a reponse to a Minsterial Statement.  My comments, from Hansard, are below.  They can also be seen on video at this link.
Mr. Gerrard:Madam Speaker, it is Education Week. I thank Manitoba teachers and other staff for   their hard work, their dedication and their commitment to providing students with the best possible education, and parents for supporting this effort.       Manitoba Liberals believe that our children's education at all levels, primary, secondary and post‑secondary is the key to our future.       Yet, halfway through their four-year mandate, this government has done little to improve Manitoba's education system. The Pallister government has shown no leadership on indigenous education issues when graduation rates for indigenous students are at an alarmingly low rate of 48 per cent.       Instead of working collaboratively with Manitoba teachers to build a stronger education system, the PCs have blindsided t…

Bill 25–The Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Amendment Act - Prohibiting Cannabis Consumption in Outdoor Public Places

Thursday April 19, I spoke to Bill 25 which outlines measures to prevent cannabis consumption in outdoor public places.   I also had an opportunity to question the Minister of Health on aspects of this bill.  My remarks and the questions and responses are below (from Hansard). This bill will be heading to committee soon.  Anyone who would like to speak at committee stage should call the Clerk's office at 204-945-3636, and you will be put on a list to be informed as to when committee meetings will occur.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I too feel that when we're dealing with cannabis use, that we need to proceed with some care and some caution, but we also, of course, need to be realistic. The law is respected so long as it's reasonable and fair and is perceived to be reasonable and fair. And that's one of the challenges that we have. I will have some questions for the minister in question period after–in the 15 minutes we have. I think that there are some matters that…

The provincial government must provide people with information on important meetings through their local community newspaper.

The Pallister government has brought forward two bills which would provide the ability of the provincial government to bypass the traditional requirement to publish notices of hearings in community newspapers.   One of these, bill 19, the Planning Amendment Act came up for debate April 19 and I spoke to it.   My comments, from Hansard, are below. Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I'd like to bring forward a number of points.       Section 168(2.1) says: Despite subsection (2), notice of a hearing is not required to be published in a newspaper or posted in any location if the notice is posted on a publicly accessible website or remains posted on the website throughout the 27-day period before the hearing.       Madam Speaker, we have had a tradition in this province that community newspapers provide advanced notices of important events happening in the community.       For this government to come forward and bring in an amendment which would bypass community newspa…

Geo-Positioning of Ambulances in Manitoba needs to be revisited

Thursday April 19 I spoke, in a Members Statement, on emergency medical services in rural Manitoba and the need to revisit the current plan to geo-position ambulances away from communities.   My comments are on video at this link, or in text from Hansard below: Geo-Positioning of AmbulancesHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I rise to talk about the government's approach to geo-positioning ambulances at sites which are far away from the communities they serve.
      The government's approach would have paramedics and ambulances positioned around the clock at what are called geo-positioned sites derived from a computer. These sites are often a considerable distance from any community and where population density is low. While paramedics are positioned at  these sites they are waiting for emergency calls, but are not able to contribute in other ways to health care because they are some distance from any community.
      The alternative, Madam Speaker, is exemplifie…

Come and join us for an open public Forum on Health Care in Portage la Prairie on April 24th

Our next Health Check Up open public meeting is in Portage la Prairie on the evening of April 24th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at CanadInns.