Lagimodière constituency report
Andrew Smith is the PC MLA for Lagimodière.
Recent articles of Andrew Smith
As your MLA, I always put the needs of our community first, and push hard for any programs that can benefit all of us who have made Lagimodiere our home.
I am very happy to say that the results of this advocacy have recently paid off for Sage Creek in the form of two provincial funding grants, benefiting local community projects, for the Sage Creek Residents’ Association (SCRA). The first is a $36,000 grant through the Building Sustainable Communities program, which will assist the SCRA in its improvements to public event and playground areas in Ron Duhamel Park. The second is $9,947 from our province in Green Team funding, which will help the SCRA cover salary costs and expenses for upkeep and maintenance of greenspace to keep Sage Creek a naturally beautiful place to live.
As many of you may already be aware, in order to alleviate the student overcrowding that has taken place in recent years, I have worked very hard to have a second elementary school built in Sage Creek.
After many years of pushing for this to become a reality, I am very happy to announce that design work on a second Louis Riel School Division kindergarten to Grade 8 school in Sage Creek is expected to begin shortly, news which comes as design work has already begun on a Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine kindergarten to Grade 8 school in Sage Creek.
On Jan. 18, I was appointed by Premier Heather Stefanson as Manitoba’s new minister of sport, culture and heritage, and the minister responsible for tourism. I thank the premier for the honour to serve in cabinet. I am proud to be a part of shaping Manitoba’s future for the benefit of both present and future athletes and artists, in this province.In my previous role as legislative assistant for this office, I had the privilege of working with a broad variety of cultural groups, and establishing some great relationships. When things are up and running again, I look forward to attending cultural events such as Folklorama, further exploring previous relationships, and establishing new ones. Manitoba is becoming a prominent artistic hub, and already possesses a strong reputation for producing world-class talent and projects. In our area alone, we have a number of world-renowned artists, painters, sculptors, actors and writers and others who are working toward that goal. I look forward to continuing to support for them, so we can help foster the growth of an even larger talent pool here in our province. Sport has always been very important to me. During my university years, I had the honour of representing Manitoba at the Western Canadian championships for Olympic-style weightlifting, so I know first-hand the challenges of being involved in amateur athletics. Our community is home to a multitude of hockey players, curlers, baseball players, football players, soccer players, and a variety of other athletes, including several world-class athletes and recent and past Olympians. I am looking forward to seeing Manitoba talent at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. I am very proud of our athletes, and have the utmost respect for all amateur athletes out there working hard to pursue their goals.I remain firmly committed to our community and, in the future, I look forward to seeing you at local sporting, cultural and artistic events here in our neighbourhood.
On Jan. 18, I was appointed by Premier Heather Stefanson as Manitoba’s new minister of sport, culture and heritage, and the minister responsible for tourism. I thank the premier for the honour to serve in cabinet. I am proud to be a part of shaping Manitoba’s future for the benefit of both present and future athletes and artists, in this province.
In my previous role as legislative assistant for this office, I had the privilege of working with a broad variety of cultural groups, and establishing some great relationships. When things are up and running again, I look forward to attending cultural events such as Folklorama, further exploring previous relationships, and establishing new ones.
Manitoba is becoming a prominent artistic hub, and already possesses a strong reputation for producing world-class talent and projects. In our area alone, we have a number of world-renowned artists, painters, sculptors, actors and writers and others who are working toward that goal. I look forward to continuing to support for them, so we can help foster the growth of an even larger talent pool here in our province.
On Nov. 11, I will once again, after a one year hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, have the honour of attending the annual Remembrance Day celebration, organized and hosted by Norwood-St, Boniface Branch 43 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
This will be a sombre occasion, as we remember our young men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to secure the freedom we are privileged with here in Canada.
Today we live in a world where oftentimes we take for granted the rights and freedoms to which we have become accustomed. On this day, when we honour those who have fought for our country and our freedom, it is hard to find the words to express just what they have given each and every one of us.
Think for a moment what life would be like if not for those who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for us all. There would be no democracy, which gives us the freedom to vote for our politicians, who represent us on our behalf in government. There would be no human rights, which keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from persecution and violence, and enable us to lead our lives in peace. There would be no freedom of speech, allowing us to express ourselves without the fear of serious reprisals, and harm coming to us and our loved ones. There would be no freedom of beliefs, allowing us the religious freedoms to worship as we see fit.
During our high school years, we learn the skills that prepare us for our future careers. These are our formative years, the ones that pour the foundation upon which we build our lives. It is here that many of us have learned important life skills, especially when it comes to excelling in our studies, as well as athletic endeavours.
Every year, there are a few graduates who stand out amongst the rest. These are the students who rise to the challenge, and greatly improve from where they started, and in doing so deserve to be recognized.
Starting in 2016, when I was first elected to office, I established Most Improved Student and Most Improved Athlete scholarships to assist these young people in their post-secondary endeavours.
I am pleased to announce that for the sixth consecutive year, I recognized four such students for my scholarships at the high schools in our neighbourhood: two from J.H. Bruns Collegiate, one from Collège Beliveau, and one from Centre scolaire Léo-Rémillard.
As Manitoba’s first-dose vaccination rate continues to grow, additional efforts are being taken to address vaccine hesitancy and access to ensure that Manitoba is able to reach its provincial vaccination goals.
As a government we are we are doing everything we can to ensure that Manitobans have the information and support they need in order to make the right decisions to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.
To improve uptake, this latest phase of vaccinations will be bolstered by ProtectMB community outreach and incentive grants, which includes funding for local organizations, groups, and businesses in the province that work with vaccine-hesitant communities.
As well, an expanded ProtectMB advertising campaign will be implemented to encourage Manitobans to receive their vaccinations so they can enjoy the activities they have missed and allow everyone to enjoy such freedoms once again. There will also be expanded vaccine access through clinics, pop-up vaccination sites, and pharmacies, to make it easier than ever to choose vaccination, so that the province can reopening safely.
I am pleased to highlight a recent provincial announcement, one that will have a positive influence right in our neighbourhood.
Over $10 million in Green Team grant programs has been announced, which will help young Manitobans find summer employment, and gain work experience, while supporting COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
Three recipients of the Green Team grant are right here in our constituency, and they include Meadowood Manor Personal Care Home for $13,522, the Sage Creek Residents Association for $10,008, and the St. Boniface — St. Vital Baseball Club for $4,768. The funds will be used to employ youths and young adults in the capacity of exterior grounds maintenance for these local organizations.
I recognize the value of supporting community-based organizations and providing youth with critical work experience and income during these challenging times. These grants are a strong investment in our youth, as they help them get involved in our communities, and parks, while kick-starting their career prospects.
This summer, I was pleased to announce funding for two important projects in our community.
I advocated for these initiatives, and am pleased to work with our government to make them a reality. The projects are the SEIG Pathway and an accessible dock on the Seine River, each of which will contribute to increased safety and accessibility in our community.
The first was $55,105 for the Island Lakes Residents Group (ILRG) SEIG Pathway project. The pathway will be multi-use, and will run through Seignieurie Park in Island Lakes, to the controlled intersection at Lagimodiere and Sage Creek Boulevards.
The pathway will be a permanently paved path between the Sage Creek intersection, up the Lagimodiere berm, and will link to a smaller existing pathway in Seigneurie Park. This walkway will further connect our community, and provide a much-needed, safe means for individuals, and families, to travel back and forth between Island Lakes and Sage Creek.
The Christmas season is a time spent with loved ones where everyone should feel happy, safe and secure.
Unfortunately, crime has been a serious issue in our province lately, so I want you to know that both I and our provincial government are taking this matter very seriously.
Our Safer Streets, Safer Lives Action Plan will crack down on drug dealers victimizing our communities and make downtown Winnipeg safe again. But downtown is not the only area that needs improvement, as there have been rashes of crime right in our very own community.
Within the past few years, there has been an ongoing theft ring, which has been breaking into cars in Island Lakes, and wreaking havoc on our neighbourhood. With the increase in smash-and-grab crimes across the city, you may have noticed an increased police presence at retail locations around town, including our area. Unfortunately, that means that there is no area in our city that is devoid of crime.
Our government has made it a priority to ensure they can provide strong funding for the needs of our neighbourhoods.
The new Building Sustainable Communities Program will streamline support for such funding so that non-profit groups and charitable organizations may have access to a more modern and efficient grant support program for community development projects.
The predecessor to this system is what enabled us to fund recent successful community projects in our neighbourhood. These projects included both the Island Lakes Resident’s Group’s “Get Fit” initiative, to which our government contributed $14,800 for the required outdoor fitness equipment, and the Community Kitchen inside Niakwa Place School. The Building Sustainable Communities Program will give us the ability to even more efficiently fund future projects right here in our community.
The new $7.9-million program will transform grant funding, with a focus on increasing community capacity, and the sustainability of non-profit organizations. Replacing seven antiquated provincial grants, the Building Sustainable Communities Program will be more responsive to communities’ needs, while reducing red tape, and duplication for both applicants, and for our government.
On Sat., Jan. 12, I hosted my 2019 open house at the constituency office.
It was nice seeing so many friendly faces; thank you to all of you who participated, especially those who left donations of unused household items for the Darcy’s Arc Thrift Store. This is a very worthwhile cause that has all proceeds from the sale of these items going to the animal shelter. Our winter is shaping up to be extremely cold, so anything you can give to the shelter would be greatly appreciated.
The harsh winter months are a time of increased health related issues. The good news is that hospital wait times are down. Our government has implemented a health care reform that has made much progress over the past year. The health care system is in the midst of transitioning to a new and more efficient model. While the full improvements to patient care will not be realized until this transition is complete, the health system is already seeing progress in a number of key areas. For example, the length of stay for emergency patients admitted to hospital is 10.47 hours this year, a 4.6 per cent decrease over last year. The length of stay for inpatients since April 2017 is 8.38 days, the equivalent of freeing up an average of approximately 147 beds, a 7.8 per cent improvement over 2016/17, the year before our plan was initiated. As well, August wait times improved over last year, even with a 16.4 per cent increase in emergency medical service arrivals, and an 8.3 per cent increase in the number of admitted patients.
The WRHA is expanding sub-acute (non-life threatening) capacity at Victoria, Concordia and Seven Oaks Hospitals on an ongoing, incremental basis. This is important to ensure good patient flow out of acute (life threatening) care to create capacity for new patients. The opening and expansion of clinical assessment units at St. Boniface, Grace and HSC are supporting emergency department patients who require longer assessment, freed up space, and staff resources. The three acute care hospitals (HSC, St. Boniface, Grace) improved over last year, with HSC improving 25 per cent over last August, while Victoria General Hospital Urgent Care saw a 19 per cent improvement. All in all, Manitobans have saved almost 380,000 hours while waiting for medical care in Winnipeg emergency departments. The improvements will continue, as we remain diligent in our goal to dramatically improve our province’s health care system.