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Showing posts from September, 2017

We need to restore the Tuition Rebate for students and recent graduates

Instead of helping students and recent graduates in Manitoba, the Pallister PCs are hurting them by raising the amount of taxes they will have to pay.   They are doing this by eliminating the tuition rebate program which started in 2007.   This, in my view, is a mistake.  Eliminating the tuition rebate program will result in more recent graduates leaving Manitoba and because more will leave, there will be fewer Manitobans paying taxes and less revenue to the province.  My plan if I am elected leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party October 21, is to push for reinstatement of the tuition rebate program, and should we have a Liberal government in 2020 to restore the rebate. Students and recent graduates deserve support, and Manitoba deserves to have more recent graduates stay in our province. 
The tuition rebate program offered graduates up to a 60% rebate on the total amount of tuition fees paid over their time at any post-secondary institution in the province, capped at $2,500 per year an…

The Leader's Dinner - the questions and my answers.

Thursday evening, the Manitoba Liberal Party - Leader's Dinner at the Metropolitan Centre was a chance to meet myself, Cindy Lamoureux and Dougald Lamont - the three contestants for the Leadership of our Party.  The event was well attended.  We were each asked a series of questions by Scott Newman.   Below are the questions I was asked and my responses. 

Scott Newman: "Jon, I think everyone in this room knows you, and probably everyone in the Province knows you.  MP for four years, MLA for going on 18 years now.  Leader through four elections with challenging results.  Why are you running again for Leader, and what's different?"

Jon Gerrard:  For our party, having a leader who is well known all over the province, and who is experienced and knowledgeable is an advantage.  In my years in politics, and particularly since I stepped down as leader in 2013, I have learned much.  I am a better politician and leader now for having had four years away.  My people and leadership…

Congratulations to Estelle Lamoureux on a successful Diversity Runway

Yesterday, at the Fort Garry Hotel, was an opportunity to celebrate diversity in Winnipeg.  It is our success as a city that we have a diverse population and that we can celebrate it.  Congratulations to Estelle Lamoureux who was the main organizer of this event, and to all the volunteers who helped make it a success.   Almost 30 different cultures and diverse groups were celebrated and recognized.   As has been emphasized increasingly in recent years, diversity enhances creativity and productivity and helps a city like ours to grow and prosper.  The event raised funds for Thunderbird House and for Welcome Place in Winnipeg. 

The Laurier Club Luncheon of Sept 21

Last Thursday, Cindy Lamoureux, Dougald Lamont and I all spoke at the Laurier Club luncheon.    The room was full and there was lots of interest as we enter the last few weeks of the Manitoba Liberal Party leadership contest.   My Speech is below.
Hello Everyone.   It is good to be here today at the Laurier Club.
First of all I want to give a shout out to the Winnipeg Goldeyes – what a team and what a season.
Let me start with the question some people are asking – Why am I running to be our Manitoba Liberal leader?
This journey began with many people approaching me to say I should run.  After many discussions first with my wife, then my River Heights Liberal Association and then many others – and with much enthusiasm from many, and some skepticism from some, including my wife, who is also my greatest support, I decided to run to give Liberals a third option.  I am running because I believe that we have an opportunity to form government in 2020 – and that Manitoba needs our Liberal Party…

A tribute to Ken Harris of Minnedosa (1927 - 2017)

Earlier today, I was in Minnedosa to celebrate the life of Ken Harris a longtime Liberal who has made incredible contributions to his community.   He served on numerous committees and in particular played an important role on the Lake Rehabilitation Committee which oversaw the development of the campground, the refurbishment of the beach pavillion and the re-establishment of  the Minnedosa beach as a prime tourist attraction.  

As was reported in 1981 in the Minnedosa Tribune "A few years ago Ken Harris, then a councillor and Parks Board member, had the idea of developing campgrounds at the beach.   Being a somewhat stubborn opinionated Englishman he refused to listen to friends, colleagues or enemies who informed him in no uncertain terms that , "it wouldn't work".   The Parks Board, he was told, had enough to contend with in the administration of the existing site.  Mr. Harris refused to listen and eventually he was able to get good, if reluctant, support for his …

Jon Gerrard’s action plan to improve public policy on brain health in Manitoba

In the last year, our caucus produced a major report on brain and mental health, and I have given a series of talks on brain health, and on what we need to do to improve brain health in Manitoba. Below is a synopsis of public policy changes we need to make. 
Homelessness: We can end homelessness.  We need a made in Manitoba approach.  We must give credit to those who are working hard in Manitoba to end homelessness.  At the same time we have some distance to go, and we must learn from what has been done elsewhere.  For example, I have visited Medicine Hat to learn about their approach and believe there are aspects we can learn from them.  Part of what is needed is better supports for those with mental health and addictions issues, including comprehensive long term plans, not just short term action. Ending homelessness is essential if we are to give people with brain and mental health conditions the best chance of doing well.

Addressing Addictions and opioid overdoses:The number of peo…

The MGEU Rally - CARE COMES FIRST - at the Legislature Today

Cindy Lamoureux, Dougald Lamont and I were all at the Health Care Rally at the Legislature over the noon hour today.   The large crowd, organized by Michelle Gawronsky and the MGEU, raised their concerns loudly over the Pallister cuts to health care.  Care Comes First was the rallying cry.  Many effective words were spoken including "Balancing the budget on the backs of patients is wrong." As Liberals we will continue to speak out strongly against the poorly thought out changes and cuts by Brian Pallister and his government.      

Critical changes to Child and Family Services are needed to better support families: Minister Fielding needs to act

This morning, in front of the Manitoba Youth Centre, I called for improvements to the current Child and Family Services system to provide much better support for families.   My press release is below. 
Gerrard calls upon Family Services Minister to decrease child apprehensions by immediately developing an integrated family support approach to CFS
Today, at the Manitoba Youth Centre, Manitoba Liberal Party leadership contestant Jon Gerrard called for urgent action by Scott Fielding, Minister of Family Services, to change policies which would shift the paradigm from a focus on child apprehensions to an integrated approach to support families.
Citing the success in Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) in Nelson House and by Westman CFS in Brandon -- both use an integrated service delivery approach for families -- Gerrard said, "It is time to put the ‘families’ back in the Family Services Department and ensure they receive much stronger, consistent, and individualized help so that children…

A universally accessible child care and early childhood education system for Manitoba

This morning I announced my commitment to a universally accessible child care and early childhood learning system for Manitoba.  The press release is below.  Above, I am with Regan Wolfrom and his children Isla and Colin at the Elmwood Day Nursery where I made the announcement.   Regan and his family have used child care in Manitoba and appreciate the importance of having access to quality child care and early childhood education.

Gerrard pledges to end Manitoba’s “child care deficit”
“We need a solution to child care issues in Manitoba, not just tinkering,” said MLA for River Heights and Manitoba Liberal Party leadership candidate Dr. Jon Gerrard today.  “That solution is a system that provides for stable, affordable, universally accessible, high quality early learning and child care throughout the province.  It’s time to finally end Manitoba’s child care deficit.”
The NDP government left a legacy of extraordinarily long wait lists for early learning and child care in Manitoba.  In Apr…

We need to address racism in Manitoba

The organization “Hire a Refugee” has highlighted the  rise in racism and racist discrimination which has been occurring toward refugees in Manitoba.  This sends a message that is incongruent with the diversity and multicultural beliefs held by the majority of Canadians and specifically Manitobans, so I am writing this blog to raise awareness about this situation.  
1) As a result of refugees we now have more opportunities for jobs in Manitoba, because refugees like all of us need food, clothing, housing and education.All of these add to the economic growth that is needed in our province and adds job opportunities.To look at it another way, if there had been no immigrants to Manitoba over the last 150 years, we would have a much smaller population and significantly fewer jobs!
2) It is important to understand that the refugees we are receiving from Syria, Iraq and many other countries have often spent many years in a refugee camp.They have often lost friends and family to violence and …

Calling on the Manitoba government to declare state of emergency with respect to fores fires

Today, Chief Dino Flett together with many members of the Garden Hill First Nation, Wasagamack First Nation and St Theresa Point First Nation marched from the Soccer Complex on Leila Avenue in Winnipeg to the Manitoba Legislature.   Accompanying them was Judy Klassen the Liberal MLA for the constituency of Kewatinook. 
Chief Flett, Judy Klassen and other First Nation leaders called upon the government of Manitoba to declare a state of emergency and take effective and immediate action to provide additional help for the evacuees.  I joined the march near the Legislature (photos above), and then Judy Klassen and I both spoke during the event at the Legislature.  In my remarks I supported the call for the province to declare a state of emergency.   I also called for an inquiry into why no effective action was taken when the fire was small to prevent its spread.  In discussions I had with individuals aware of the situation the fire is believed to have been started by lightning on Friday S…