Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/10/2011 (3646 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG — Reg Helwer may have just been sworn in as the Brandon West MLA last week, but on Monday, he asked his first questions and gave his first speech in the Manitoba legislature.
Helwer first questioned the government about its actions during the faculty strike at Brandon University.
"Some students are in their final year of studies and are in the second strike they have had to work through during their studies and they fear they will lose an entire semester. Can the minister of advanced education indicate whether her government will act in the interests of the students and appoint a mediator?" Helwer asked Erin Selby, who is also the NDP MLA for Southdale.
Selby told Helwer the government had received a request from the Brandon University Faculty Association that morning and added: "This is a difficult time for students."
"I can inform the house that Michael Werier has been appointed as the mediator."
Helwer then pressed with a supplementary question, asking: "Can the minister explain why it took nearly two weeks to appoint a mediator?"
Labour Minister Jennifer Howard said the first stage of dispute resolution is to appoint a conciliator before moving on to install a mediator.
"I hope that the work the mediator does is successful and that an agreement will come to fruition and everyone can get back to work," she said.
Later Monday afternoon, Helwer addressed the legislature in his reply to the speech from the throne — also known as the maiden speech, if the MLA is speaking for the first time in their career.
While he predictably criticized the government’s response to issues such as the 2011 flood and the pace of Assiniboine Community College’s move from the Victoria Avenue East campus to the North Hill, Helwer became emotional when describing his family’s experience with the health-care system.
His daughter Jessica was told she needed a kidney transplant at the same time Helwer’s father-in-law was in the hospital for another issue, which caused his death more than two years ago.
"Even the doctors were frustrated by a system overrun by forms, reports and bureaucracy," Helwer said. "We seem to have forgotten that it’s about the patient."
With his voice starting to crack, Helwer added: "I can tell you many, many stories about this time."
"In the end, a friend …was a match and ultimately became the donor. When we saw the doctor come into the waiting room at the Health Sciences Centre, we knew that both had come through with flying colours and I knew we had both Jessica and Ainsley. Our lives are a little more normal, with the exception of the election and as I’m sure you may realize by now, family and friends are pretty important to us."
Helwer also thanked the volunteers that helped to elect him as well as his Brandon West predecessor Rick Borotsik.