While the house has risen until the spring, there is still a flurry of activity going on within the walls of the Manitoba Legislature.
This week the City, the Province, and Ottawa announced a task force to battle Manitoba’s meth crisis. While the announcement is a step in the right, it is something that the Manitoba Liberals have been calling on for more than a year. We need action now to address this crisis.
We have been raising the issue of Meth use in Manitoba since 2017.
HERE'S A BRIEF TIMELINE:
On October 26th, 2017, Manitoba Liberal Health Critic, Jon Gerrard raised the issue in Question Period.
“There’s an explosion of crystal meth use in Winnipeg,” said Gerrard. Click here to watch.
On November 1, 2017, Gerrard raised the Meth crisis again with the Pallister government.
Fast forward to October 9th, 2018 where I asked the Pallister government to commit to using cannabis revenue to help fight Manitoba’s meth crisis. The funds could be used for prevention and to create new spaces for addictions treatment and recovery.
On that same day, October 9, 2018, our Caucus asked the Pallister government to declare a Public Health Emergency and to create a Meth Task Force to address Manitoba’s meth crisis.
A government appointed Director would run the task force and assemble a team that would work with all departments and levels of government to create a rapid response to this crisis.
Manitoba Liberals believe that Manitobans should not have to wait another six months for the Pallister government to figure out how they will address the crisis.
“Public education and prevention programs that discourage people from using meth should be a top priority, but don't seem to be on the province's agenda," Manitoba Liberal Party leader Dougald Lamont said.
"I’ve spoken with public health nurses who say that we’re not getting out into schools where we could be doing it. And the province still isn’t doing enough to contain this or get out ahead in front of it," Lamont said. "That’s what needs to be done and that’s where resources need to be placed."
FRENCH LANGUAGE EDUCATION
I had the pleasure of meeting with the Honourable Minister Mélanie Joly's staff in Ottawa last week. I shared concerns that I had voiced to Prime Minister Trudeau in September that French language education, services, and rights are being undermined by the cuts being made by the government of Manitoba.
We discussed cuts in Manitoba to the bureau de l’éducation français (BEF) as well as to translation.
As Manitoba Liberals, we see French language and culture as a tremendous asset for our province to be further developed.
There are two areas we see would benefit from Federal support:
· Additional funding for French language education (which I believe the Federal government is already working on)
· Developing the Centre Culture Franco-Manitobain (CCFM) into a creative hub for francophones in Western Canada. There is already a strong, existing creative community in St. Boniface and this would provide new resources from which to grow.
Another issue is getting better pronunciation for place-names and streets in Manitoba and in Canada.
Manitoba has many French-language names for towns and addresses. Smartphones - SIRI and Google assistant have trouble understanding and correctly repeating locations in Manitoba.
I left Minister Joly a gift of two shirts, from ENtk, a company in Orleans, Ontario.
They have a lot of great products - especially this shirt,“Restez Calme - Il y a des francophones hors Quebec”
Happy Holidays! And don't forget Tax season is just around the corner.