Looking ahead to the light at the tunnel’s end


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/12/2020 (884 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Soon, we’ll begin a new year. After a year in which our lives were dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we enter 2021 with a number of vaccines and a light at the end of the tunnel to signal the end of the pandemic. The end will not come quickly, but it will come in 2021.

How that light glows and grows will depend on us. We have lost too many of our loved ones and too many of our elders, while seniors in personal care homes remain in danger from the spread of COVID-19. Too many families are now struggling. Some who rely on medications to manage diseases like diabetes are having to face the difficult choice of getting their medications or buying food. And so many of our local business owners are suffering as a result of the lockdowns and restrictions that have been put in place during the pandemic.

We must do all we can to  help each other get safely through this difficult time, even as we begin to plan with more hope for the renewal which is to come.

In River Heights, we can begin to look forward to our local businesses fully reopening so that we can walk in and talk with our friends and neighbours while we shop. We look forward to being able to visit more freely with others and resume the socializing that is so important to our mental well-being. We look forward to when our community centres, churches, synagogues and temples will be available for everyone to worship, play, and come together as a community.  

This year many events made use of virtual technology so that people could still connect. My traditional MLA holiday party was one such event. It was a successful hour of song by River Heights Christmas singer Chad Celaire and Wilton coffee house entertainers Phil and Isabel Spevack. Next year, we plan to benefit from this technology and will have a hybrid seasonal party so that those who cannot attend in person are able to join us.

Students and teachers have learned to be flexible using remote learning at various times this year, when they were not able to be in the classroom. It has been a challenge, but the effort has enabled children and youth to learn how important a level of flexibility can be to success. It has also shown that we need to pay special attention to the needs of those who are less able to be flexible so that all can learn. 

Thank you to everyone, especially the educators, who made this all possible through hard work and much effort and sacrifice. I was inspired by students at Kelvin High School who were concerned enough about those who are homeless to want to help them, even as they were challenged to do their schoolwork in new ways.

2020 will be remembered as the year when everything changed. My staff and I have worked to help and advocate for people in a wide variety of circumstances. Like others this year, we have not always been successful, but we have worked hard and done our best. In the process, we have learned new ways to help and support people in River Heights.

Through it all, and continuing in 2021, I — along with Shandi Strong, David Mintz and Nancy Chippendale — will be there to help you. You can reach me at jon.gerrard@leg.gov.mb.ca or by phone at 204-945-5194.

Jon Gerrard

Jon Gerrard
River Heights constituency report

Jon Gerrard is Liberal MLA for River Heights.

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