The first week of December marked the end of the fall session. We started the week marking the 30th Anniversary of World Aids Day. Our Liberal Caucus called on the Province to expand harm reduction across Manitoba and prevent the spread of HIV by making life-saving medication available free of charge. Manitoba needs to join Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in covering the cost of the highly effective HIV treatment medication known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and should make testing for HIV routinely available to all Manitobans.
Manitoba is the only province in Western Canada that doesn’t cover PrEP under the province’s pharmacare plan. Better testing and making sure Manitobans can access life-saving medication is key to getting ahead of and containing HIV. It will save lives.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES I was very honoured to be asked to speak at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. When it comes to ensuring that people with disabilities can live with dignity, we have to embrace universal design. We also have to make sure that the people caring for persons with disabilities are properly trained and can make a decent wage. Right now in Manitoba, workers caring for people with disabilities have required no training, and only Grade 10 education. They may be expected to dispense medication, and if they make a mistake, it can cause serious harm. The pay is so low that there is huge turnover. The average person with a disability will have over 700 people care for them. Caregivers most recent wage increase was 11 cents an hour, from $12.06 to $12.15. I raised the issue in Question Period. Click here to watch.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Still a lot of work to do on accessibility for disabled: advocates https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/still-a-lot-of-work-to-do-on-accessibility-for-disabled-advocates-501830721.html
BILL 5 – THE MENTAL HEALTH AMENDMENT On Wednesday, Manitoba Liberals asked for all-party support to pass Bill 5 - The Mental Health Amendment and Personal Health Information Amendment Act - before the house breaks for the holidays.
The bill would allow health care workers to contact a patient's family in situations where serious harm is likely to happen. The information can be communicated even when the patient has not granted permission.
CBC MANITOBA: Mom who lost son to suicide says legislation that will let doctors warn families 'makes all the difference' https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/health-information-manitoba-disclosure-bonnie-bricker-1.4932431 “Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said the bill sounds a lot like what River Heights Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard has pressed the government on, with the help of Bricker. "It's good to see that it's been picked up by the government, because basically this is a Liberal bill," Lamont said.” WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Province tables bill to alter privacy rules, let health workers alert at-risk patients' contacts https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/province-tables-bill-to-alter-privacy-rules-let-health-workers-alert-at-risk-patients-contacts-501932041.html “Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said his party has been promoting such a measure for a long time and "it's good to see it's been picked up by the government."” "There is an urgent need to pass this legislation as we approach the holiday season so that people who are suicidal and seeking help from an emergency room, receive that help, and ensure they aren't being sent home without family members being notified," said Manitoba Liberal Health Critic, Dr. Jon Gerrard. MANITOBA HYDRO
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Tories, NDP point fingers as Hydro applies for latest rate hike https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/tories-ndp-point-fingers-as-hydro-applies-for-latest-rate-hike-501835392.html Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont also said the government could do more to keep hydro rates low. Lamont renewed his argument the government is extracting too much money from Hydro infees, which total in the hundreds of millions annually. He said the government is better able to take on debt than Hydro currently is. If the government were to collect less money from Hydro — at least until it gets over a particularly bad hump in the next several years — the corporation will be on a sounder financial footing, Lamont said.” PALLISTER’S STATE OF THE PROVINCE Every year, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce hosts the State of the Province address from the Premier. Over 1,000 people spend up to $200 each to hear the government’s plan. Two years ago at the State of the Province, the Premier announced a Premier’s Enterprise Council. One year ago, the Premier provided a sneak preview of the results of a Deloitte study which found that, “The Province is unable to articulate a forward-looking vision for the Manitoba economy. As a result, industry, academia and peer governments are uncertain how to best to engage with the government of Manitoba.” I predicted that the Premier would announce a new plan to plan. That is what happened. A slim document with a series of recommendations that lack any specifics - lots of suggestions to “develop”, “promote”, or “create” with no money, timelines or outcomes. WINNIPEG SUN: Pallister reveals economic growth strategy in State of the Province address https://winnipegsun.com/news/provincial/pallister-reveals-economic-strategy-in-state-of-the-province-address CBC MANITOBA: Province unveils development strategy to 'unlock the untapped economic opportunities' in Manitoba https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-economic-development-strategy-plan-1.4934863
BUY LOCAL CHALLENGE
Here’s a fun buy local challenge! To all of you who celebrate Christmas, let’s see “How much Manitoba you can fit under your Christmas tree?” Gifts that are made or sold by independent local entrepreneurs, artists or businesses. I hope that you will take the challenge! HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE A big thanks to everyone who stopped by the Manitoba Legislature's Holiday Open House this past Saturday!
Yes, that's me dressed as an elf. But, can you guess who Santa is?
OTTAWA TRIP Jon Gerrard, MLA River Heights & Cindy Lamoureux, MLA Burrows and I are heading to Ottawa next week to meet with representatives from the Ministers of the Environment, Public Safety, Science, and others.