Southdale constituency report
Audrey Gordon is the PC MLA for Southdale.
Recent articles of Audrey Gordon
After two years of the pandemic and with summer upon us, many of us are looking to soak up the sun and enjoy all the wonderful local events that Manitoba has to offer.
As an advocate of improving our community mental health, it is more important than ever that our seniors participate in the wonderful, sunny, festivities before the leaves begin to change colour.
The benefits of seniors safely gathering with friends and family are monumental — namely, reducing the risk of depression from isolation, bolstering self-esteem, reducing stress, and increasing lifespan.
I recently had the honour of making several announcements as health minister that focus on strengthening physical and mental wellness for our seniors.
International Women’s Day took place on March 8. The day marks a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. But it is also an important time to talk about the work that must be done to ensure equality and safety for women in our province.
The international theme this year was “Break the bias.” While the world has come a long way in ensuring women have more equality and opportunity, we know there are still disparities. Sometimes these are more readily discussed and documented with statistics and evidence. But these are also daily experiences in our homes, communities, workplaces and governments. While progress is being made, events such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic can reveal the gaps still there.
A 2021 report from Statistics Canada indicated that women were more severely affected by employment losses in the first year of the pandemic. This is on top of existing statistics that verify the existence of a gender pay gap between women and men. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development marks Canada as having the eighth-highest gender pay gap out of 43 countries. As the pandemic continued, there were concerns that women would be disproportionately affected by impacts of childcare and caregiving.
Last year our government invested more than $600,000 to initiatives that support women to develop careers in trades in Winnipeg and in four northern and remote communities. We also partnered with our federal counterparts on a multi-year plan to improve affordability and accessibility of quality childcare for Manitobans. These initiatives aim to help ensure women have more opportunities in the workforce.
A new school year is on the horizon and we are all hoping to see as much normalcy as possible.
I have received and responded to letters and feedback from local parents and have heard their concerns regarding the plan for the 2021-22 school year and COVID-19. I also meet regularly with our local school division and school trustees.
I understand everyone has been under a lot of stress. While we have continued to adapt and move forward, and our kids have shown tremendous resilience, I want to make people aware of the plans and resources available to support students, parents and teachers during this school year.
The plan for the 2021-22 school year has been a collective effort and is built upon the successes of the last school year with four priority areas that will help guide students and school officials with a safe return to the classroom. The four priorities are promoting mental health and well-being, vaccinating Manitobans through promotion and outreach, assessing and addressing learning impacts, as well as following public health’s recommendations of health and safety.
At the beginning of 2020 we never could have known how much would change over the coming year.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were so many unknowns. We faced a year of adjustment and adaptation, and what felt like a pause. A pause of the lives we had known up until that point.
As we start 2021, we can take back the steering wheel as we manoeuvre into the new year. Many of you have been closely following public health guidelines and restrictions. For that, I thank you. I know you are tired, lonely and struggling. But you care. You care about our many health-care workers who are putting in long hours looking after an influx of patients. You care about vulnerable people in our community who at risk of becoming very ill from COVID-19. You care about making sure our health-care system can continue to serve all people suffering from health issues or needing emergency care. You are making a difference.
Your care and action are shining lights as we move into 2021 because we have big goals for this year. With your continued efforts and the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, this will be the year we do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our beautiful community and thrive.
Two weeks before Christmas, it may appear that the joy of the season is not bright or near. With COVID-19 among us, the holidays won’t be the same. No extended family or friends gathered around fireplace flames.
While times are tougher than when the Grinch stole holiday decorations and feasts, the risk of COVID-19 has taken away some of the traditions we usually look forward to. But like the residents of Whoville, we can find joy in the season despite the differences between this year and last.
This is in fact what many are doing — making a conscious effort to create more joy in ways big and small. Whether it’s decorating houses early in the season to brighten dark days or rallying around community members to ensure anyone struggling gets food and gifts this holiday season.
There are many ways to give this season. The annual Toy Mountain drive has drop-off locations and is accepting online donations. The Christmas Cheer Board is taking online or mailed donations to purchase food vouchers in lieu of packing food in hampers this year.