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Showing posts from November, 2017

It is vital for Manitoba to reduce nitrous oxide if we are to reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The most potent of the three major greenhouse gases is nitrous oxide.   It is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.   It makes up approximately 15% of the greenhouse gases produced annually in Manitoba, when expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents.   It is produced primarily as the result of the application of fertilizer containing nitrogen onto fields in Manitoba to help the crops grow.  Especially under wet conditions, the nitrogen applied is converted to nitrous oxide which is a gas and goes up into the atmosphere.  The conversion of nitrogen to nitrous oxide results in a loss of the nitrogen fertilizer for farmers and the production of a potent greenhouse gas which warms the planet.  Its importance is even greater when one considers that its residence time in the atmosphere is more than 100 years - usually given as about 112 years.

The NDP produced a climate change plan with a target to reduce greenhouse gases in Manitoba.  They failed to reach their targets largely because t…

The Emergency Medical Services station in Grandview must be saved

In Question Period November 22,  I presented a petition of 1,000 signatures of people urging the government to continue and to expand the Emergency Medical Services station in Grandview. I presented additional petitions of 500 signatures each on November 23 and 24th.   There are many reasons why it would be wrong to close the Grandview ambulance and emergency medical services station   There is tremendous community support for keeping it open.  I called on the government to keep the Grandview EMS station open and to keep their promise not to cut front-line services.  You can see the Minister of Health's response in the video by clicking on this link - video on Grandview EMS services  The written text from Hansard is at the bottom of this post. November 25th, Naomi and I were in Grandview to meet with people in the community and to enjoy a community dinner together.  We were pleased to meet so many community members and to see the close working relationship between the community of…

A Forum - The impact of the Pallister cuts - and finding a way forward

Sunday November 19th I hosted a Forum to explore the impact of the Pallister government cutbacks and to chart a course forward.  Three panelists joined me.  From left to right, in the photo above, they are Shelley Kowalchuk, Judy Walker and Alex Arenson.

Alex Arenson, a Winnipeg lawyer and an advocate for the Corydon Primary Care Clinic, was the first of the panelists to speak.   He covered the history of the events since the government first announced that the Clinic would be closing in July 11, 2017.  According to the latest plans, the Corydon Primary Care Clinic will close in mid-January 2018.   As Mr. Arenson discussed, the closure of this clinic makes no sense either in terms of service for people or economically.   Just as people who went to the Misericordia Urgent Care are not going to the Victoria Hospital Urgent Care because it is too far away, few people from the immediate area around the Corydon Clinic will travel to near Bishop Grandin Boulevard for their primary care - f…

Building health care which puts patients first

In my remarks to a panel on health care in April I spoke about the importance of patient-centred care.   A health care system needs to be founded on a number of operating principles.   One of these is the importance of putting patients first.

While this may seem obvious, achieving care which puts patients needs first is often not in place.  Indeed, in many respects much of today's health care is organized around the needs of health professionals.   Hospitals and clinics are often designed using input from health care professionals, and they will frequently choose options which are most convenient for health professionals, not always thinking of the need to put patients first.

The book "The Putting Patient's First Field Guide - Global Lessons in Designing and Implementing Patient-Centered Care" edited by Susan Frampton and her colleagues should  be required reading for people looking at the organization of patient care.  One of the points that is made is this (pages …

Speech on Bill 24: The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act:

This evening, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature on Bill 24: The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act.  My speech is below:
I rise to talk in opposition to Bill 24, and also to clarify several issues:
In the Manitoba Liberal Party, we support the reduction of red tape and making things simpler for citizens and for businesses to deal with government.   There are many ways of doing this – for example
- improved coordination between provincial and federal governments.  I recall when I was the federal Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification it was routinely much easier to get federal and provincial governments working together to help businesses in Alberta than it was to work with the then PC government in Manitoba.   Mr. Speaker, things have not changed, the current PC government is always ready to criticize the current federal government but rarely ready to try to work together to solve the issues that citizens and businesses need addressed to improve the liv…

Very poor time management by the PCs and NDP in this session results in a lack of accountability as estimates for many departments were never completed.

Today is the last day of the Legislative Session.  Many bills were given royal ascent.  But at the same time there were remarkable problems with the way the PCs and NDPs managed the time of the Legislature.  As an example of the problems, we were unable to complete the 100 hours of time in estimates that is usually taken for this process.  Even more surprising is that many departmental estimates were never even considered. 
Departmental estimates for Growth Enterprise and Trade, for Municipal Relations, for Sports, Culture and Heritage, for the Civil Service Commission, for the Legislative Assembly, for Employee Pensions and other costs and for the enabling and other appropriations were not considered at all.  It is in fact astonishing that the estimates for Growth Enterprise and Trade were never considered since this is the main economic department for the government.   How could such a thing happen?  Well, sad to say, it was terrible organization by the PCs and the NDP in how time…

Does the Pallister government's decision to cut lactation services in the WRHA hold water?

On Monday this week, I received an email from Karen Dunlop, Chair of the Board of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.  In her email Ms Dunlop wonders if the decision to cut lactation (breastfeeding) services at the Health Sciences Centre "holds water", and whether the evidence really supports this decision.  Ms. Dunlop is a nurse herself, and a well respected one, so her concern has the weight of her professional background as well as her position as Chair of the WRHA.   I raised this issue with the Minister of Health on Tuesday.  As you will see in the Minister's response, he was not able to defend the WRHA's decision and in desperation he opted instead to blame the federal government, and to accuse me of come sort of conspiracy theory.  Below are my questions and the Minister's responses from Hansard. Winnipeg Regional Health Authority - Response to Cuts to Lactation ServicesHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):Madam Speaker, recently, a mother approached me ab…

Pallister PCs disappoint many who had hoped for support in the effort to reduce discrimination based on a person's height or weight

Dougald Lamont and I meet with Lindsey Mazur and Elaine Stevenson about Bill 200 Samantha Rayburn-Trubyk with Judy Klassen and me.   Samantha was in the gallery, along with Lindsey Mazur and Elain Stevenson, for the vote. 
This morning the Pallister PCs voted against a much needed measure, Bill 200, to put physical size and weight as protected characteristics under Manitoba's Human Rights Code.  Over the course of the last two years I have met with many people who know of the critical need for this legislation.   The people include as examples, Samantha Rayburn-Trubyk, President of the Little People of Manitoba, Lindsey Mazur, with Manitobans Against Weight Stigma, and Elaine Stevenson, Co-administrator of the Alyssa Stevenson Eating Disorder Memorial Trust. 
Discrimination against people based on their physical size or weight is a serious healthcare issue.    This issue is not currently adequately addressed under Manitoba's Human Right Code.  The evidence from other jurisdic…

Let us remember Welsey Elwick who died a year ago, and dedicate ourselves to the improvement of addictions services and to preventing tragedies like his death.

Wes Elwick (photo above) was a 25 year old man with a lot of promise and a lot of potential. Today in Question Period I asked about the need for improvements in addictions services in Manitoba and the need to  prevent tragedies like the death of Wesley Elwick.   Below is from Hansard - sadly our Premier is doing everything he can to direct blame elsewhere instead of taking the situation seriously, taking responsibility and acting.   
Addiction Services - Access Options
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):Madam Speaker, last Thursday, I asked in question period about crystal meth. The Premier (Mr. Pallister) did not take my question seriously and never even mentioned meth in his answer.       Twenty-five-year old Wesley Elwick died a year ago because the Main Street Project and the health-care system in general are not provided with adequate resources to give the services that addicts most need when they need it.       When the actions needed to help people with addictions are known, when t…