LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA
Wednesday, May 9, 2001
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
Manitoba Hydro Lines Routes
Mr. Ron Schuler (Springfield): I beg to present the petition of Y. Desender, S. Vigini, and Jim Bell and others, praying that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba request that the Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro (Mr. Selinger) consider alternative routes for the additional 230kV and 500kV lines proposed for the R.M. of East St. Paul.
Mr. Frank Pitura (Morris): I beg to present the petition of Guy LeGras, F. Friesen, J. MacDonald and others, praying that the Premier of Manitoba (Mr. Doer) consider reversing his decision to not support construction of an underpass at Kenaston and Wilkes.
Mr. John Loewen (Fort Whyte): I beg to present the petition of Sandra Lemon, Charlene Melvor, Dave Fox and others, praying that the Premier of Manitoba (Mr. Doer) consider reversing his decision to not support construction of an underpass at Kenaston and Wilkes.
READING AND RECEIVING PETITIONS
Manitoba Hydro Lines Routes
Mr. Speaker: The honourable Member for Springfield (Mr. Schuler), I have reviewed the petition. It complies with the rules and the practices of the House. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
Some Honourable Members: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: Clerk, please read.
Madam Clerk (Patricia Chaychuk): The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth:
THAT the R.M. of East St. Paul has the highest concentration of high voltage power lines in a residential area in Manitoba; and
THAT the R.M. of East St. Paul is the only jurisdiction in Manitoba that has both a 500kV and a 230kV line directly behind residences; and
THAT numerous studies have linked cancer, in particular childhood leukemia, to the proximity of power lines.
WHEREFORE YOUR PETITIONERS HUMBLY PRAY THAT the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba request that the Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro consider alternative routes for the additional 230kV and 500kV lines proposed for the R.M. of East St. Paul.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable Member for Fort Whyte (Mr. Loewen), I have reviewed the petition. It complies with the rules and practices of the House. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
Some Honourable Members: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: Clerk, please read.
Madam Clerk (Patricia Chaychuk): The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth:
THAT the intersection at Wilkes and Kenaston has grown to become the largest unseparated crossing in Canada; and
THAT the volume of traffic for this railroad crossing is twelve times the acceptable limit as set out by Transport Canada; and
THAT vehicles which have to wait for trains at this intersection burn up approximately $1.4 million in fuel, pollute the environment with over 8 tons of emissions and cause approximately $7.3 million in motorist delays every year.
WHEREFORE YOUR PETITIONERS HUMBLY PRAY THAT the Premier of Manitoba consider reversing his decision to not support construction of an underpass at Kenaston and Wilkes.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable Member for Morris (Mr. Pitura), I have reviewed the petition and it complies with the rules and practices of the House. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
An Honourable Member: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: The Clerk please read.
Madam Clerk: The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth:
THAT the intersection at Wilkes and Kenaston has grown to become the largest unseparated crossing in Canada; and
THAT the volume of traffic for this railroad crossing is twelve times the acceptable limit as set out by Transport Canada; and
THAT vehicles which have to wait for trains at this intersection burn up approximately $1.4 million in fuel, pollute the environment with over 8 tons of emissions and cause approximately $7.3 million in motorist delays every year.
WHEREFORE YOUR PETITIONERS HUMBLY PRAY THAT the Premier of Manitoba consider reversing his decision to not support construction of an underpass at Kenaston and Wilkes.
PRESENTING REPORTS BY
STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Committee of Supply
Mr. Conrad Santos (Chairperson): Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply has adopted certain resolutions, directs me to report the same and asks leave to sit again.
I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar), that the report of the committee be received.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister of Transportation and Government Services): I have a statement, Mr. Speaker.
I would like to provide an update on road conditions being caused by heavy moisture levels in certain areas of the province. Heavy moisture from last fall was frozen into the ground over the winter which, combined with warm spring weather, has resulted in weakening of the base structure of many provincial roads. The moisture creates a freeze-thaw cycle where water causes significant damage to road bases and surfaces when repeated freezing occurs. This damage has been accentuated by heavy precipitation levels in the last few weeks along with significant damage in some areas of the province from flooding.
I have detailed road information that I will table for the House, rather than read into the record, but certainly it does document some of the specific areas that are affected.
The Department of Transportation is working to mitigate the inconvenience caused by this damage. While we will not have an exact estimate of the cost of repairs until weather conditions stabilize, the costs could run into several million dollars. At the present time, our efforts are focussed on repairing the damage to the greatest extent possible and working to find alternative routes where damage is especially significant.
The highest priority for the department, as always, is public safety, and we will continue to closely monitor road conditions, which is our primary concern. Certainly we recognize the significant inconvenience many members of the public are faced with, Mr. Speaker, because of the current situations. We are already working on repairing many of those situations. We will do whatever is possible to bring those roads back to the level of service that people need in rural Manitoba. Thank you.
Mr. Harold Gilleshammer (Minnedosa): I thank the Minister of Transportation for this report on the condition of roads in Manitoba. Certainly many members on this side have noticed roads probably are in worse condition this year than they have been for some years because of the excess moisture.
I know that the minister has restricted RTAC roads for the first time in history. He has also indicated that in his budget only one in twenty projects can be announced and worked on given the resources that he has been given by Treasury Board, that Manitobans find the condition of Manitoba roads very difficult, and in the environment that we are living in the deterioration and damage seem to be growing each year.
It is something that we have indicated the federal government needs to take a serious look at in having a national transportation policy for this country, and we would urge the Government to bring that to the attention of the federal Cabinet. I would urge the Premier (Mr. Doer) to talk to the Prime Minister on this issue. We know that they take $150 million of gasoline tax out of this province every year and make no investment in our roads, and we think that is essential if this situation is going to be reversed.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I ask for leave to speak on the minister's statement.
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have leave?
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave has been granted.
Mr. Gerrard: Mr. Speaker, I note in the minister's statement that he has focussed on the short-run need to repair the roads and get them in working order. I think that members of this Legislature and citizens in Manitoba would also feel strongly that the minister should be paying more attention to long-run upkeep of roads, so that they are less likely to suffer damage with moisture in particular areas. Certainly, as I have travelled around the province, it has been pointed out to me that a little bit more care in how the repairs were done in many instances would have protected these roads from this kind of damage.
So a little more forethought and planning could actually prevent this. Clearly, in instances where there have been RTAC roads–as was pointed out at the recent Agriculture Committee hearings–which for the first time are having restrictions put on them, this is another sign that the regular and ordinary maintenance is not being adequately attended to. I would urge the Minister of Transportation to pay more attention to some of the long-run as well as the short-run issues.
Hon. Oscar Lathlin (Minister of Conservation): I have a statement I want to make to the House, please.
The water levels of most streams in the vicinity of Lake Manitoba continue to rise this morning. The Whitemud River at Westbourne rose close to a foot on top of the two-foot rise the previous day.
The most significant rises are in the area from Big Grass Marsh to Woodside, where the river is over bank and flooding much additional land with each half foot of rise. Cattle were being moved to higher ground in the Woodside area yesterday, and more will likely be moved today. Big Grass Marsh has become a fairly large lake, flooding much farmland all around it.
The crest at Westbourne this weekend will be several feet lower than that of the Easter weekend due to lower flows on Dead Lake Drain coming from the west. Rainfall was less in the western portions of the watershed. Flooding, due to overland flows, continues in areas surrounding Lake Manitoba. Marshes and swamps are overflowing in many areas, including St. Laurent, Ashern, Alonsa, Amaranth, Duck Creek Reserve and Peonan Point, to allow water to drain towards the lake. Overland flooding will likely be at its worst in the next few days and will begin to subside slowly over the weekend with favourable weather.
The weather forecast from Environment Canada calls for another storm next Tuesday, but it appears that most of the rain will be north of a line through Dauphin and Hodgson.
The level of Lake Manitoba has risen to 812.98 feet and is expected to rise to 813.2 feet, similar to what it was in 1997. Outflows at Fairford Dam will be increased to 9000 cfs tomorrow to ease the pressure on the lake. Inflows from the Portage Diversion continue to be high, with 8000 cfs being diverted this morning. The diversion flows were increased somewhat since yesterday to keep levels in the city of Winnipeg from rising above 18 feet. Diversion flows will be reduced later this week once the heavy flows from the La Salle River and Sturgeon Creek subside.
Some flooding is underway along the Assiniboine River from Portage la Prairie to Headingley due to heavy local runoff from the recent storm. Levels of the Red River continue to decline, but only .1 to .2 feet per day due to the additional tributary flows. A minor rise will occur upstream of the floodway inlet in the next few days. Levels continue to fall slowly on the Assiniboine River upstream of Brandon, as well as on the Souris River, Pembina River and the Little Saskatchewan River at Minnedosa. Levels of the Roseau River rose somewhat due to the rain, but little further rise is expected. Thank you.
Mr. Glen Cummings (Ste. Rose): Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his statement.
What we are seeing is almost a return to high water levels that occurred previously this spring from the spring runoff. I appreciate the fact that overland flooding is very difficult for Resources and Highways to deal with, but I would urge both departments and the Emergency Measures to continue to monitor and provide support as much as they can. Some of these people have been fighting flood for nigh on to six weeks, and they have another two weeks ahead of them. They are truly becoming very tired, worn out, and no doubt there will be some frayed tempers and some seriously damaged infrastructure.
The statement from the Minister of Transportation (Mr. Ashton) earlier is also welcome inasmuch as it provides an update, but it provides emphasis to what is becoming an increasingly difficult situation for the areas that are referred to in the Big Grass Marsh, Whitemud Watershed and across the Interlake. It is becoming very evident that those lands that are expected to be put in crop, there will be many of them that will be pressured as to whether or not they will be able to seed in a timely basis.
Certainly, if this weather holds and we get a break in weather, that would be the most welcome occurrence for those who are trying to care for livestock under these conditions because if we get another heavy rainfall on top of what we have got, there is certainly a possibility of some significant losses of young stock because they can only take so much of the rain and mud.
So I thank the minister for his statement, and I am pleased to see that the Government is recognizing the difficulty that is now resting with these people because of overland flooding.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill 20–The Farm Products Marketing and Consequential Amendments Act
Hon. Rosann Wowchuk (Minister of Agriculture and Food): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Ms. Friesen), that leave be given to introduce Bill 20, The Farm Products Marketing and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi sur la commercialisation des produits agricoles et modifications corrélatives) and the same be now received and read a first time.
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, having been advised of the contents of this bill, recommends it to the House, and I would like to table the message from the Lieutenant-Governor.
Ms. Wowchuk: The Farm Protection Marketing Act will replace The Natural Products Marketing Act which is nearly forty years old and has had a number of piecemeal amendments. The act will reflect similar language and technology found in other provincial statutes, such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. It will also correct several inconsistencies relating to the appeal procedures, improve the enforcement provisions and clarify the authority of boards and commissions.
Motion agreed to.
Introduction of Guests
Mr. Speaker: Prior to Oral Questions, may I draw the attention of all honourable members to the public gallery where we have from Minnetonka School 22 Grade 9 students under the direction of Mr. Larry Patrick. This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Member for Riel (Ms. Asper).
On behalf of all members, I welcome you here today.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): Mr. Speaker, before I ask my first question, I would first like to congratulate the Premier who clearly had the sense to first demand a business plan before he committed public dollars to the downtown entertainment complex. We certainly know that this was in stark contrast to the way that they went and cut a deal on the Pan Am Clinic. However, the discussions around the Pan Am Clinic will be again for another day.
Today we would like to make a comment that we have seen in the papers that a downtown arena appears to be a deal that is done. I think it is important there is a financial plan that we understand has been shared with city councillors, Mr. Speaker, and we understand that reporters have some of those details. I think it is fair that on this side of the House, on behalf of all Manitobans, we would ask the Premier to share those financial details with all Manitobans.
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to note that the member opposite, I am sure, has received a copy of the press release from True North that speaks about the great deal of optimism as part of the private sector investments and public sector investments to be part of the revitalization that is going on in downtown Winnipeg, whether it is the baseball park, whether it is the museum announcement that was made today, whether it is the Red River community college, whether it is the Mountain Equipment Co-op announcement, the Ashdown's warehouse, the Big Four, it all adds up to optimism in our community.
Mr. Speaker, he would have a copy of this press release. I know we all have friends that are part of the private sector group and know them quite well from past experience. I know members opposite know Mr. Chipman, know Mr. Graves, know Mr. Kreiner, and their press release today, I think, speaks to the optimism of their group of private sector investment.
Mr. Speaker, I believe yesterday I undertook to have a briefing with members. I think the Leader of the Opposition and the critic will be meeting with the minister and going over all the details. I think the facts of the matter are, this is a very, very positive announcement, a very, very positive development from the private sector, and we think it is a good framework for moving forward.
Mr. Speaker, I should point out that the federal government is still proceeding through their authorities. The City of Winnipeg has to proceed with their decision making. They have issues such as Winnipeg Enterprises existing operations. I do not believe they have made those decisions yet. There are decisions still to be made but there is a framework agreement that has been made public, and I think it is a good announcement for Manitoba.
Mr. Murray: Well, Mr. Speaker, we are delighted. Of course, on this side of the House, we have stated and will continue to state that a business financial dealing, any of those sorts of things that are driven by the private sector, we think are terrific. We support that very much. I think we would also agree that if there are opportunities to revitalize downtown Winnipeg, those are things that are terrific for Manitobans as well.
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): In light of all of those, I think it is again a fair comment in light of what the Premier has alluded to, understanding that maybe there are some outstanding issues on the federal side, but he is the leader of this Government. He is the Premier of the province, and so I would simply ask the Premier: How many tax dollars are going to go into the downtown arena?
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, the member opposite will be aware of past situations where proposals have been made. He will be aware of the fact that we supported the new baseball stadium in downtown Winnipeg with about a two-thirds public investment and one-third private investment. This is much different in its ratio.
We have indicated in the past that we see downtown revitalization as a priority for infrastructure. We also would note, Mr. Speaker, when you talk about tax expenditures, there are tax revenues. Sixteen hundred jobs directly and indirectly will be involved in the building of a $120 million facility. That and its goods and services generate a considerable amount of income, so there are both expenditures and revenues for the provincial government.
I mentioned the infrastructure money. There is well over $10 million on the revenue side to the province. There will be a $3-million infrastructure investment to be added to the $10 million. We believe that overall this is a very, very good investment for the people of Manitoba. As the member knows from questions in my Estimates a couple of days ago and from public statements before, we have looked at various alternatives for the entertainment complex, and we have committed ourselves to reallocating 50 VLTs, Mr. Speaker. It is quite a bit less than the Assiniboia Downs model, but we think our costs of reallocating low-revenue VLTs are quite a bit less than the value of those machines.
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): Again, I would reiterate the strong support that we have for a private-sector-driven downtown entertainment complex. That is, we believe, important because the private sector, I believe, creates the kinds of things that are important to Manitoba and something that I am delighted that the other side is starting to learn, Mr. Speaker.
While we support very much the opportunity of the private sector to drive a downtown entertainment complex, Mr. Speaker, in light of what the Premier has made mention of just in his attempt to answer the last question, I would ask the Premier if Manitoba taxpayers, in any way, shape or form, will be on the hook for operating costs of the new downtown arena.
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, part of our conditions in negotiations, and I would daresay from the other entities of government–one can understand that dealing with three levels of government and a number of private sector investors, this is a set of negotiations that require a great deal of co-operation and a great deal of optimism about our future and what we can do together to try to find the proper framework agreement that we can proceed with.
We are very cognizant of the past when former Minister Axworthy and former Premier Pawley had an agreement and it was defeated at City Hall. We are very aware of what happened in the '94-95 period, Mr. Speaker. We wanted to learn from our setbacks in the past to proceed to the future.
One of the areas that we are very concerned about is the whole issue of risk. Mr. Speaker, the private sector will assume the risk of carrying this new entertainment centre and that is very, very important for us for the future of this province.
Private Sector Funding
Mr. John Loewen (Fort Whyte): Mr. Speaker, it is interesting the change along the road to Damascus that the Premier has had vis-à-vis 1995 when he said to the Free Press: There should be no public money for an arena. A quote from the Free Press.
We, on this side of the House, agree that a private sector arena is valid. We agree it should be private sector driven. I would ask the Premier: Given that he will not tell us what the public sector contribution is to the arena, will he reveal to the people of Manitoba and to the elected members of this House what the specific private sector contributions are that he has been privy to in his backroom negotiations?
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I have a couple of articles back to 1992 where I was very critical of the operating loss agreement that was signed by the former government, that was alleged to cost the taxpayers $4 million, when later the Provincial Auditor released information showing the government of the day knew–talk about backrooms–it was going to be $45 million, Mr. Speaker. I said then and I say now that we should not pay for the operating losses of a team, that we should have made a decision whether to proceed with a capital asset at that time. He can find articles right into '94-95 with a comparable view on the issues, so we should not confuse a capital asset with limited money from the public sector and private sector money with the operating losses of a hockey team.
I do not want to go back to the old debate, but members opposite should remember that the amount of money he asked for before the election of '95 and the amount of money he demanded two days after the election, that is the ultimate insult to the transparency, Mr. Speaker.
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: May I remind all honourable members, when the Speaker rises all members should be seated and the Speaker should be heard in silence. I would ask the full co-operation of all honourable members.
Mr. Loewen: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Premier when he will make available to the elected members in this House the full details of the cash that is being provided by the private sector to invest in this project.
Mr. Doer: I would think that the member opposite would be delighted that the private sector is optimistic and putting their money forward, Mr. Speaker. The last proposal he dealt with was 100% public money for a new arena. This is much more beneficial to the people of Manitoba, the proposal we have on the table.
I have already outlined the investment of this provincial public sector, and the member opposite can nitpick all he wants. Either he is in favour of going forward in an optimistic way or he is against it. Let him take a stand.
Mr. Loewen: Mr. Speaker, I am simply asking the Premier to come clean with the people of Manitoba and tell them exactly what the deal is that is being proposed. Where is the private sector and does he consider a contribution of up to $20 million by the Crocus Fund as part of a private sector contribution?
Mr. Doer: Apparently, today in the media there was some representation that we were a bank for the Crocus Fund or backfilling the Crocus Fund X number of dollars, Mr. Speaker. The Crocus Fund can speak for themselves. They have their own investors; they have their own shareholders.
The member opposite talks about the private sector. I recall again the Spirit of Manitoba spent $3 million for lawyers, accountants and architects that was paid for by the taxpayers in this province. The private sector investors are paying for that because they have confidence and optimism, something that is not shared by the member opposite.
First Nations Casinos
Gaming Commission Compliance
Mr. Mervin Tweed (Turtle Mountain): Yesterday I asked the minister of gaming if he would provide for the House the list of the six Indian Gaming Commission people that are out of sync with the regulations. I am wondering if the minister has had time. In fact, in his comment he said if the member opposite wishes to hear that information, he would provide it to him. I am wondering if he would be prepared to provide that today.
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister charged with the administration of The Gaming Control Act): Mr. Speaker, the member opposite may not be aware, but I was in Estimates for a good part of the afternoon yesterday and, in fact, will be reviewing the question, getting the information that was provided. I also understand that his caucus asked for information; that information was provided actually a month ago in terms of some of the general questions he raised as well.
So, perhaps if he has any additional information that he is requesting over and above what his caucus already received, I will be prepared to discuss it with him. Certainly I will try and respond in whatever shape the member is seeking here, because we are quite up front with our information in this.
Mr. Tweed: Then I ask the minister again: Will he provide the six First Nations gaming commissions that are not functioning in accordance with the Gaming Commission's agreements?
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, the member's caucus did make contact with the Gaming Commission. Information has been provided. I am not sure what information the member is seeking over and above that.
Perhaps he can clarify that, Mr. Speaker. We can certainly discuss this here in Question Period or after Question Period as well. The reason for not being able to attend it was, quite frankly, I was in Estimates yesterday afternoon and Cabinet this morning. I will attend to it this afternoon.
Point of Order
Mr. Tweed: The minister asked for clarification, and I am happy to provide it to him. We did send a letter. The letter came back saying that there were six, but they refused to identify–
Mr. Speaker: Order. I would just like to remind all honourable members that a point of order should be to point out to the Speaker a breach of the rules or the use of unparliamentary language.
The honourable [interjection] –on the same point of order? Okay, I have to deal with the point of order first.
On the point of order raised, it is not a point of order.
* * *
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Turtle Mountain, with his question.
Mr. Tweed: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Then I will ask the Minister of Gaming: When can I expect to receive the six names of the communities that are not in compliance with your regulations?
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, once again, I was in Estimates yesterday dealing with some very important questions in terms of Transportation and Government Services. I have not even had the opportunity yet to meet with the Gaming Commission, but I do know that some information has already been provided to the members opposite.
In fact, once again, I will hopefully have the opportunity later on this afternoon to deal with that. I do not believe we are in Estimates today, so the delay in looking at the member's request was strictly to do with the fact that we were in Estimates yesterday, and I think that is appropriate.
Members would expect, obviously, information to be based on the opportunity for ministers to sit down with the relevant agency. I will be sitting down with the Gaming Commission, and I will be in a position to respond at that point, Mr. Speaker, this afternoon.
First Nations Casinos
Gaming Commission Compliance
Mr. Denis Rocan (Carman): Mr. Speaker, I accept the minister's response to the Member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Tweed), but yesterday the minister advised us that no First Nations casino will proceed unless all proponents are in full compliance with the Gaming Commission regulations. We on this side are concerned about a possible compliance loophole that will allow casino proponents to proceed despite a history of non-compliance.
Therefore, my question to the minister is: Can he confirm that four First Nations gaming commissions have requested that their licences be rescinded and have indicated licences will be sought from the Manitoba Gaming Commission for future events?
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister charged with the administration of The Gaming Control Act): First of all, Mr. Speaker, in regard to the issue of First Nations casinos, it is important to note that currently we have four active proponents. None of the proponents have proceeded to a point where there are any specific casinos in place.
The discussions and negotiations are ongoing. I want to assure the member that one of the requirements of the RFP that still remains in place is that all proponents be in compliance with gaming regulations, and that will continue. In terms of the other question the member is asking, I can certainly check into that, but I can indicate once again that compliance with Gaming Commission regulations was a requirement of the RFP, and that will remain in place. In fact, no casino will go ahead unless those or part of the proponents are in compliance with gaming regulations. That is the bottom line.
Mr. Rocan: Therefore, I would like to thank the honourable minister for that answer, and I guess the answer to this question should be very simple then. Are any of these requests from any of the First Nations casinos? These requests?
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, I can undertake to get a more detailed response to the member, but I want to stress again that what we said before remains in place. The conditions of the RFP are that any of the proponents be in compliance with Gaming Commission regulations. That provision will stand.
Mr. Rocan: Again, I thank the minister for that answer. Can the minister advise the House, when a proponent rescinds their licence, is their history of non-compliance wiped clean or can they acquire a new licence without first complying with the original licence request?
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier to the Member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Tweed), I will be meeting with the Gaming Commission later on to deal with some of the questions raised originally by the Member for Turtle Mountain, and I will certainly raise that issue as well. It is a fairly technical question, but it is a good question, and I will raise that with the Gaming Commission and report back to the House.
Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson): A number of weeks ago, the province initiated an all-party hearing across the province at which many community leaders, farm leaders and indeed farmers and businesspeople appeared and expressed the urgency of the disaster that was facing rural Manitoba.
Many people expressed the desire for the Premier (Mr. Doer) to lead a delegation to Ottawa. Can the Premier today indicate to this Assembly whether he has asked for a meeting with the Prime Minister, and is he willing to lead a delegation of municipal leaders, farm leaders and business leaders to Ottawa to express the urgency of the situation?
Hon. Rosann Wowchuk (Minister of Agriculture and Food): Mr. Speaker, the member does raise the issue of the Standing Committee on Agriculture hearing rural Manitobans. At those meetings, we heard many issues from producers and saw first-hand the difficult situation our farming community is facing.
Mr. Speaker, we have extended an invitation to the federal Standing Committee on Agriculture to come to Manitoba, to hear first-hand the issues and take the message forward, and certainly there are other options as well. There is the option of having the standing committee coming here. There is the issue of having the Prime Minister come and hear about this issue. There are also the other opportunities to send their report from the hearings to the Minister of Agriculture in Ottawa. So there are many things that we can be doing, and the committee will be having discussions this evening.
Mr. Jack Penner: On a new question. Many times–
Mr. Speaker: Order. Our rotation on a new question, we are on No. 5 now. Our agreement is that No. 6 would be the honourable Member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard). If you have concluded your question, I have to recognize the honourable Member for River Heights. If you want to go on a supplementary question, you have the option for two supplementary questions. [interjection] On a supplementary question.
Mr. Jack Penner: Will the Premier, as he has indicated many times to Manitoba that he had a new relationship with the Prime Minister and with the Government of Canada, will he now concede to the request of farmers, business leaders and municipal leaders from across this province to go to Ottawa and lead a delegation to Ottawa? Will the Premier answer the question?
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): As I understand it, the committee is meeting again tonight, and I believe that the committee is trying to deal with the best way to proceed. I think we are all united in the fact that–[interjection] If I could finish. I guess we are not united, but I was going to say I guess we are all united in the fact that the income support for Manitoba oil and grain seed producers and western Canadian oilseeds producers, we are united in knowing that that is not enough from Ottawa. That is what I was saying, Mr. Speaker.
We are united today that the Crow rate elimination, started in '92, finished in 1995, has produced a huge hole for the incomes of grain and oilseeds producers, particularly when you consider the fact that the federal government said it was an act of good faith to reduce the subsidies from our international trading partners, Mr. Speaker. In fact, the trading partners, the United States, has doubled, tripled and quadrupled the subsidies to their farmers.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to note that the Prime Minister may be coming to Manitoba. We should be seeing if we could get a meeting here or we should ask for a meeting in Ottawa. I am certainly not going to run down to Ottawa without a meeting with the Prime Minister. I do not think the member opposite would want that. We believe that this issue of income should be raised at the highest place in the federal government. We are committed to working with you, how best to do that.
Mr. Jack Penner: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Premier whether it is more important for him to go on a sojourn to Washington, or to Minnesota, or North Dakota instead of leading a delegation to Ottawa of business leaders, of municipal leaders and farmers, when the desolation of the very province that he leads now is in jeopardy. Will he personally lead a delegation to Ottawa and demand a meeting with the Prime Minister?
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, it is crucial that the federal government be made aware, and we are trying to make them aware with letters we have written. I have written two letters to the Prime Minister already on this issue. I would bring a delegation down to Ottawa to meet with the Prime Minister any day, any place, any time, if we can get that meeting with the Prime Minister.
Mr. Speaker, often we find when the Prime Minister says no more, absolutely no, he does not usually meet with you to tell you no a third time. Having said that, we will try, and we are aware he is coming to Winnipeg shortly. We are aware that we could get to Ottawa within two hours, but I am not going to take 200 people down to Ottawa if there is no meeting already established with the Prime Minister. That would be a waste of taxpayers' money, Mr. Speaker.
Health Care System
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): My question is to the Minister of Health (Mr. Chomiak). The National Post reported inter-provincial spending comparisons in health care today, and they show quite clearly that public sector expenditures in Manitoba are $235 per person more than the second highest spending province in this country.
I would ask the Minister of Health to admit that, by any rational comparison, his problem is not, as he so often complains, that he does not have enough money, but the problem of the Minister of Health is that he does not know how to spend it efficiently and wisely to give good quality health care in Manitoba.
Hon. Dave Chomiak (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong.
Mr. Gerrard: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the Minister of Health. I ask the minister: When one compares to other provinces and Manitoba spends $435 a person more than the average of all the other provinces, why is it that the minister has so much trouble paying health care professionals enough in this province that many are wanting to move to other provinces?
Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, if I can recall, the last six or seven questions of the Member for River Heights generally asked this Government to spend more money on a variety of areas of health care.
Mr. Gerrard: My supplementary to the minister. The evidence shows that it is not a question of enough money. It is a question of allocating it properly.
I ask the minister if he can explain why spending $4 million, for example, on buying the Pan Am Clinic puts him in any better position relative to the other provinces. In fact, it puts him in a worse position.
Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, the same report the member refers to is the CIHI report that recommended that in order to reduce cost and provide for more services, we should be doing more services in surgical centres, which is precisely what we are doing with Pan Am.
I might also add, in the last two years we have net 26 more doctors in Manitoba for each year, as opposed to the previous five years when we net lost 30 doctors.
I might add that yesterday we were very happy to announce a PACT program, a community-based mental health program for the first time in the history of this province, and an eating disorder program that is community based, the first time in this province.
Mr. Gerard Jennissen (Flin Flon): Mr. Speaker–
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
An Honourable Member: Eating hot dogs.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Jennissen: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to ask an unwienerlike question.
All of us in this House are aware of the sorry state of housing in northern Manitoba. Housing has been neglected for far too many years in northern Manitoba.
Can the Minister of Family Services and Housing inform this House what steps his department is taking to address this serious situation?
Hon. Tim Sale (Minister of Family Services and Housing): Mr. Speaker, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs estimates that there are 6000 housing units needed in northern Manitoba just to make up for the shortage. We need probably an additional 2000 in the non-First Nations communities that abut them in many cases or are isolated communities in other cases.
I was delighted that we began last fall to meet with the assembly and with others to plan a co-operative partnership of the northern industrial communities such as Thompson, The Métis Federation, the Northern Association of Community Councils, the Manitoba MKO, the Northern Chiefs and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Yesterday and Monday we held the first of a series of planning processes that are leading to action on this issue instead of more talk.
I am delighted to report to the House that the five partners have agreed to a long-term partnership that will lever private sector capital, will deal with some of the development issues that have prevented the investment of the private sector in communities in the North. We are going to take action on housing.
Forest Tent Caterpillars
Mr. Larry Maguire (Arthur-Virden): The overwhelming majority of Whiteshell Cottage Owners Association members have expressed a desire to have an environmentally friendly product sprayed on their properties this spring to control the forest tent caterpillars; however, the minister has indicated that he has a personal preference for no spraying. These people are willing to pay for this service themselves, and they have applied for these permits.
Can the minister tell this House whether these permits have not been issued because of his personal preference?
Hon. Oscar Lathlin (Minister of Conservation): I thank the member for the question. I understand the director of approvals has received applications from the Whiteshell Cottage Owners Association to spray their own properties to control the tent caterpillars. I am not sure as to when the director of licensing will be making a decision. Whenever he makes a decision, these people will be notified one way or the other.
Mr. Maguire: Can the Minister of Conservation be more elaborate in his answer given that the worms are already out, the timing is very near, and he still has not indicated whether or not these permits are not being issued because of his personal preference?
Mr. Lathlin: I can indicate to the member that the applications are in the director of approvals office right now, and it would be inappropriate for me to tell the director of licensing to speed up or approve these applications. I will leave it up to the director of approvals to make the decision as he sees appropriate.
Mr. Maguire: I understand the department is ready to issue these permits but can the minister, given the fact that the directors are saying that the issue has to come from higher up to okay these permits, indicate why they have not been okayed then?
Mr. Lathlin: I am sure if I were to go to the director's office and ask him to hurry up and approve these licences, then the same member would probably tell me the next day that I am interfering with this office that is supposed to be independent in nature.
Mr. Harold Gilleshammer (Minnedosa): The headline in yesterday's Brandon Sun was that floodwaters aid the spread of parasites. We read in the story that professors like Eva Pip and Bill Paton have indicated their concerns for the spread of the parasites that have been found on the Ron Anderson farm in the Rivers area. I am wondering if the minister who is responsible for the environment would indicate what testing has been done and what the results of those tests are in the water supply given that there has been overland flooding in the Little Saskatchewan River and the Assiniboine River.
Hon. Oscar Lathlin (Minister of Conservation): As the member probably knows, the issue of water security is very important to citizens of Manitoba, including those that come from the communities that the member has referenced. We continue to monitor the situation in that area. We alert the operators of those plants to be more vigilant to ensuring that the plants are operating properly. So far, we have not received any reports of crypto, but we will continue to work with the municipalities to make sure that the plants are operating properly.
Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.
Freeze Frame Film Festival
Mrs. Joy Smith (Fort Garry): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in the House today to recognize several award-winning students from Vincent Massey Collegiate and Arthur A. Leach School in the Fort Garry constituency. Students from both schools recently participated in the first ever Freeze Frame International Film Festival, and I am proud to say that many students were recognized for their outstanding efforts.
Jacqueline Chan, Brendan Richie, Jake Tower and Garth Merkeley from Vincent Massey won first place in the category of Animation Film and also won the honours of Qverall Best Film. Congratulations to these students for their hard work and dedication.
Brittany Willacy, Charles Zacharias, Ben Lapoint, Phil Kwan and David Turcan all took home the gold in the Live Action category for their film, "The Movie Guy." This film was a comedy about a video store clerk adoring a video to the point of obsession.
Mr. Conrad Santos, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair
The silver medal went to Randy Fyfe, Ian Torwart, and Scott McGregor for their movie entitled "Lucky Day."
Third place winners were Faimur Ali, Sohabe Ali, Scott McGregor, Brady Forbes, Alex Fontaine, Miche Viafara and David Rivet. Their film was an animation film called "Ninja School."
Mr. Deputy Speaker, as Member for Fort Garry, I am proud to see such creative, hardworking students achieve recognition for their efforts. For this reason, I would like to once again extend my sincere congratulations to students from both schools for their outstanding performances in the Freeze Frame International Film Festival. Thank you.
Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Office
Mr. Gerard Jennissen (Flin Flon): I rise today to draw the attention of the House to the re-establishment of an Aboriginal and Northern Affairs office in The Pas. Last Friday, May 4, I was privileged to attend this official reopening ceremony. The Minister of Conservation was present, along with Bev Desjarlais, M.P. for Churchill, Sonny Klyne, President of the Northern Association of Community Councils, Elder John Bignell and many others.
For some time, northerners have been calling for the re-establishment of a presence by this department to more directly serve The Pas-Flin Flon region. This new office represents a commitment to enhance services for people in northern Manitoba. The re-establishment of this presence in The Pas is part of a larger reorganization of the local government development division of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs that will result in more staff in the field and additional technical resources available to community councils.
The new office located in the provincial building is staffed by a municipal development consultant and a technical services consultant. Communities being served by this office include Cormorant, Sherridon, Moose Lake and Easterville. Additional services will still be available as needed from Thompson. The Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs maintained an office in The Pas for many years as an extension of the Dauphin regional office.
In 1989 The Pas operation was split from Dauphin and functioned independently until 1997, when it was closed by the previous government and then consolidated in the Thompson office. The new office at The Pas will mean a significantly enhanced level of service for The Pas and all surrounding communities.
In the past, this office in northern Manitoba provided valuable service to northern residents, and now, after a number of years, it will be able to fulfil this role again. Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
Tourism Awareness Week
Mr. David Faurschou (Portage la Prairie): I rise in the House today to say a few words about the first annual Tourism Awareness Week, which runs from May 7 through 11 in my constituency of Portage la Prairie. This progressive initiative aimed at educating the service sector to the benefits of the tourism industry was developed by the city of Portage la Prairie's Economic and Community Development Department's Tourism and Marketing Division and is sponsored by Heartland Community Futures Development Corporation.
As we are all aware, tourism is quickly becoming one of the largest industries in our nation, injecting an additional $50.1 billion into the economy in 1999. Recognizing this fact, Portage la Prairie in the Central Plains region of Manitoba is taking a strong and innovative step so as to participate fully in this burgeoning industry.
Throughout this week, seminars and workshops will be held in Portage la Prairie to enhance our abilities to attract and serve tourists. The sessions and information are available without charge to encourage more businesses and volunteers to attend. It is hoped that these seminars will improve on our excellent reputation for helpful and friendly customer service, complementary of the abundant natural resources.
It is also my hope that Tourism Awareness Week in Portage la Prairie will be successful in demonstrating to Manitobans and, indeed, all vacationers just how many things we have to offer in Portage la Prairie and the Central Plains region.
Again, as is often the case in Portage la Prairie, there has been tremendous co-operation in organizing Tourism Awareness Week. I would like to recognize the City of Portage la Prairie, the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce, the Heartland Community Development Corporation, CFRY and the Portage Daily Graphic for their efforts to make this week a success. Thank you.
Airport Capital Projects
Mr. Tom Nevakshonoff (Interlake): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise today to draw the attention of this House to investment being made by the provincial government in Manitoba's airports.
Mr. Speaker in the Chair
The Department of Transportation and Government Services is making an investment of almost $300,000 in new projects to upgrade community airports under the Manitoba Airports Capital Assistance Program. Air access is an important factor in local economies and an intrinsic component of the greater provincial transportation infrastructure. The projects in this latest round of funding will focus on the rehabilitation and upgrading of existing infrastructure of local public airports, including runways, taxiways and aprons.
Funding for these projects will be cost-shared on a 50-50 basis with the airport owner for projects valued at $5,000 or more. In total, 17 projects will be funded through the Manitoba Airports Capital Assistance Program, including projects in Piney, Winkler, Treherne, Lundar, Somerset, Gimli, Matheson Island, Swan River, Warren, Altona and Virden. Some of these community airports will be undertaking more than one project. Such is the case in Matheson Island, a community in the Interlake constituency. A $7,000 grant has been approved for apron construction in addition to a second grant of roughly $6,300 to go towards fuel storage. Knowing the people of Matheson Island as I do, I know this money will be put to good use.
The investments made in these smaller facilities reflect the commitment of this Government to strengthening and supporting growth in Manitoba's transportation sector. The work being done at these airports across Manitoba also highlights the desire of this provincial government to work with partners in these communities to sustain local airports and their role in regional and economic development. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Health Care System
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak briefly about the issue of the vision and the organization of health care in Manitoba.
One of the major trends at the moment has been that less is being done in hospital and more is being done outside in home care in the community. Another trend is that more should be done with prevention so that in fact we can have a higher quality but less costly acute care system. There is a need to have a seamless one-stop shop for in-hospital and for home care, for in-hospital and for out-patient care, and a one-stop shop for acute and for preventive health care so that we have a system which serves citizens in Manitoba in the optimum and most cost-effective kind of way.
I have raised the issue recently of the separation by the current government of the in-patient and the out-patient pharmacy for children, drugs for children with cancer and for renal transplants as is happening at the Health Sciences Centre. This is clearly a move in the exact opposite direction of all the major trends at the moment and clearly shows that the NDP wants to go backwards, not forwards. These patients with cancer have complex protocols; the risk of mistakes is high. It is more costly and less efficient to have divided services than to have a single, seamless, single-window, one-stop shop.
There is a second area, and that is the integration to public and private sector spending. I would say briefly that this morning I visited Seven Oaks Hospital, which with the Wellness Centre and the hospital side by side, is a good example of the integration of public and private sector spending, of in-hospital and out-of-hospital care, of preventive and acute care. The members on the Government side would do well to look carefully at this.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Gord Mackintosh (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, it is the House's intention today to deal with Condolences, and, if time allows, the second readings will be moved as they appear on the Order Paper, on page 3.
Mr. Speaker, would you please canvass the House to determine if there is leave to waive private members' hour today?
Mr. Speaker: Is there agreement to waive private members' hour today? [Agreed]
Mr. Mackintosh: Mr. Speaker, I believe we will start in just a few minutes. I understand the Premier is being scrummed right now.
* * *
Motions of Condolence
John Evinn Ingebrigtson
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns), that the House convey to the family of the late John Ingebrigtson, who served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, its sincere sympathy in their bereavement and its appreciation of his devotion to duty in a useful life of active community and public service, and that Mr. Speaker be requested to forward a copy of this resolution to the family.
Mr. Doer: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and members of the Chamber. I rise today to reflect on the life of our former MLA John Ingebrigtson, a Member for the Churchill constituency elected under the Progressive Conservative Party.
Today, on behalf of the Chamber and all members and all Manitobans, I would like to offer my condolences to his sons, Mark and Peter, and his five grandchildren and six great grandchildren. John is remembered by many for his love and his devotion to northern Manitoba and his dedication to the development of northern Manitoba.
The family emigrated to Canada from Norway shortly after he was born, and they soon settled in The Pas. When he was eight years old his family moved up to Churchill where John was to remain often in body and always in spirit the rest of his life. As a child, John was eager to participate and promote northern industry. As the youngest of six he worked on the Hudson's Bay Company supply ship Fort Severn and when he moved to Churchill he worked as a hunter and a trapper. John met his wife, Lorraine, while serving in New Zealand during the Second World War. When the war ended he returned to Canada with his young family, and after a brief period in Ottawa he returned to Churchill and started a family business.
In 1959, John Ingebrigtson was elected as the MLA for the Churchill constituency. He served in the Roblin government of the day. He was active in office in promoting northern development and advocating for the improve-ment of living conditions and access to essential services. John was especially proud of his accomplishments in helping health and education in his constituency and particularly in the development of the Frontier School in Cranberry Portage. John believed the loss of his own son at the young age of two and a half was largely due to the lack of access to health care and was a great advocate of ensuring access to health care in the North both during and after his time as an MLA.
After his term in office, John turned his attention to his family business and was a pioneer in the Churchill tourism industry. John often described northern Manitoba as a sleeping giant that would become a significant economic force in Manitoba through the sustainable resource development and select community economic development. John Ingebrigtson will be long remembered for his dedication to northern Manitoba. John Ingebrigtson will be dearly missed by his family, his friends and his colleagues here in this House.
Mr. Speaker, I know that our members from the northern part of this province and representing their northern constituencies would reflect very positively on the passion and the dedication to northern Manitoba that John exemplified in his role as an MLA and in his role in his community of Churchill. Today, I would like to join my colleagues in paying tribute to this dedicated and pioneering individual.
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all my colleagues, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. John Evinn Ingebrigtson. Although originally from Norway, Mr. Ingebrigtson spent much of his life in service to the residents of northern Manitoba. In 1928, he moved with his family from Norway to The Pas. From 1933 to 1935 he worked on the Hudson's Bay Company supply ship Fort Severn. When his family moved further north to Churchill, Mr. Ingebrigtson became a hunter and a trapper, went to school and enrolled in a radio correspondence course.
The Second World War arrived, and Mr. Ingebrigtson enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he was specialized in radar installations in the English, Egyptian, Indian and New Zealand theatres of war. While in New Zealand, he met and married his wife, Lorraine Helen Murtagh and their first son, Peter, was born there. Returning to Canada in 1945 Mr. Ingebrigtson worked for the National Research Board and conducted defence research in Ottawa. In 1948, he began a two-year posting in Churchill and by 1950 he began a family business there.
Mr. Ingebrigtson became involved in provincial politics in 1958, when he was elected the Progressive Conservative MLA for the Churchill constituency, and he served until 1963. In a day and age where we seem unable to get by without cellular telephones, fax machines, palm pilots and personal computers, I cannot imagine the challenges presented to Mr. Ingebrigtson in representing the Churchill riding. I am sure day-to-day communications with his constituents were at times a tremendous challenge, and it took a very special individual to meet the unique challenges of our most northerly constituency.
Mr. Ingebrigtson had a special interest in bettering the lives of northern Manitobans, particularly in education and public health. He was involved in getting several schools condemned due to their state of disrepair. He also worked on the development of the Frontier School in Cranberry Portage.
After leaving the Legislature, Mr. Ingebrigtson remained in Churchill working on his family business and pioneering tourism initiatives. He believed that northern Manitoba was a sleeping giant and that through sustainable resource development and community economic development the North could move toward becoming self-sustaining.
To the family and friends of John Evinn Ingebrigtson, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathies. I believe having someone as dedicated as Mr. Ingebrigtson in its service enriched the North. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Gerard Jennissen (Flin Flon): Mr. Speaker, I also rise today to offer my condolences to the family of John Ingebrigtson, the former MLA of Churchill.
I am sure that I speak on behalf of all members of this House when I say that we wish great strength to the Ingebrigtson family to cope with this great loss. It is always difficult to lose a loved one. I can attest to that personally. May the Ingebrigtson family, sons Mark and Peter, the five grandchildren and the six great-grandchildren, rest assured that all of us in this Chamber share their sad loss and their sorrow.
I notice some curious parallels in the life of John Ingebrigtson and my own life, Mr. Speaker. He was an immigrant from Norway; I am an immigrant from The Netherlands. He was a committed northerner, as everybody from the North is, I guess, a committed northerner, and certainly I am. I was particularly interested in the fact that he was involved in the establishment of Frontier Collegiate Institute in Cranberry Portage, a place where I taught for 22 years. I know that many northerners were involved in setting up this very important learning institution, including not only Mr. Ingebrigtson, whose work was essential, but also Mr. John Milner, who has also passed away, unfortunately.
As well, I notice that Mr. Ingebrigtson was involved in hunting and trapping, which is a passion with many northerners. I am also a hunter. I know in this day and age that is sometimes difficult to admit, but I am, and a trapper. I was involved in running the Frontier Collegiate Institute student trapline for 20-some years, and I remember many wonderful things about doing that kind of activity in northern Manitoba, the crisp, clean air, being with children out in the bush, doing something that is very traditional to the North. I am very happy to note that John Ingebrigtson was also involved in this very traditional type of work.
Of course, he was an MLA for the region, as I am, so it is amazing when you think of how our lives have run parallel. Perhaps it is because of the North, I am not sure. John Ingebrigtson was, as the Premier (Mr. Doer) has pointed out, and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Murray), a tireless promoter of northern Manitoba in general, and the Port of Churchill in particular. I could go on and on about the potential of the Port of Churchill, but I think our time is limited here. It is certainly one of the underrated ports in North America, and it has tremendous potential.
John Ingebrigtson referred to northern Manitoba as a sleeping giant. He was well aware, as most of us are, that the Golden Boy points north to the potential of northern Manitoba. John was right, the potential is in northern Manitoba. The sleeping giant is awakening. Northern Manitoba has become a significant economic force in this province. We only have to point at mining, forestry, hydro and tourism initiatives in northern Manitoba. True, the economic development of northern Manitoba has not yet reached the advanced stage that John Ingebrigtson envisioned, but northern Manitoba's day in the sun will come and is coming. The baby steps have become giant steps.
We pay tribute to the hard work and the pioneering vision of John Ingebrigtson. He is missed by all northerners, indeed all Manitobans. His fellow northerners, his family, his colleagues in this House, are all united in paying tribute to this pioneering individual. His physical presence has left us, but his imprint on northern Manitoba, the influence of his life's work, can never be erased. I thank John Ingebrigtson in his many roles as he fought for this country, as he stood up and fought for the North, as he worked to better this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Harry Enns (Lakeside): Mr. Speaker, just a few words added to those of the Premier (Mr. Doer) and my Leader with respect to John Ingebrigtson. I did not have the privilege of serving with Mr. Ingebrigtson in this Chamber. He left public office just a term before I came aboard. He represents for me a kind of nostalgic and a fine reminder of the time that the Conservative Party represented all northern seats. Mr. Ingebrigtson was one of them, including Flin Flon, including The Pas. That may surprise some of the current members at this stage that that indeed was the fact. So there is hope that will reverse itself.
John was a fighter. John truly represented the North, and you have to remember the Churchill of his day. Churchill was a thriving community of over 3000 people with a strong military base still present when Mr. Ingebrigtson was very active in the affairs of his community, as already stated by the Premier. He obviously passed it on to his son, particularly his son Mark, who I am personally acquainted with, who to this day is "Mr. Churchill" in many respects, hunting, trapping, guiding and indeed even, if my memory serves me right, in the mid-'80s or the late '70s ran for a seat in this Chamber, not successfully but nonetheless continued his every indication of his willingness to serve the public.
So, with those few comments, my condolences to Mark and to the rest of the family. He will long be remembered for his services to the people of Manitoba and in particular the people of Churchill.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I rise to offer, on behalf of the Liberal Party, my condolences to the family of Mr. John Ingebrigtson. Mr. Ingebrigtson was an individual who contributed in government, in education, in tourism, in many ways to this province and in particular to the northern part of this province. As we talk about him today and remember, we remember that vision and that contribution and say to the family that John Ingebrigtson made a major contribution to Manitoba, and he needs to be remembered. For that, we offer our condolences.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed and so ordered.
Would honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate their support for the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Murray), that this House convey to the family of the late Bob Rose, who served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, its sincerest sympathy in their bereavement and its appreciation of his devotion to duty in a useful life of active community and public service and that Mr. Speaker be requested to forward a copy of this resolution to the family.
Mr. Doer: I would like to offer my condolences to his wife, Lois, his five children and his nine grandchildren. Bob Rose, as everyone knows in this Chamber, many of us who served with him in the period of time he was elected in 1990 for the Turtle Mountain constituency, was a person who was dignified, quiet, a sense of purpose, kind of a keen sense of humour if you will, and a real true friend no matter what your political party or your political stripe.
I remember Bob Rose, like many of you, in terms of our opportunities to work with him and his keen sense of responsibility to represent his constituents. He added his comments to the debate on issues of agriculture and of course he was the legislative assistant to the Minister of Agriculture in this Chamber. He had strong views on balanced budget legislation and on education.
He was born and raised in Bunclody, not far from Souris. I want to make sure I pronounce that correctly, because I have to say I do not recall going through there but I am sure I have. He spent most of his high school years in Brandon and upon graduation he went on to complete his education at the University of Manitoba in the Faculty of Agriculture.
Bob returned to the southwest corner of this province to farm. He chose to diversify by operating his own seed-cleaning plant on his farm. Prairie Roads or Seeds was quite successful, shipping certified seed across Canada and into the United States. Later he bought an Elephant Brand Fertilizer dealership and Willhamby Seeds of Souris, forming the Prairie Gold Fertilizer outfit.
As well as being a successful farmer and businessman, Bob Rose was dedicated to public service. He served first on the school division board and later on the board of trustees for the Souris Valley School Division for some 16 years. He went on to become a member of the executive and then president of the Manitoba Association of School Trustees. He was highly committed to both young people and to improving their quality of education.
Bob Rose was also a pilot. He had a private pilot's licence and did a lot of flying. His decision to run for office later in life seemed to reflect his desire to continually experience new things in life. I always thought that Bob enjoyed his term in this Legislature although sometimes his common sense views I think he felt would make more sense than some of the perhaps theatre that is sometimes part of the culture of this Chamber. He was a no-nonsense dignified individual as I recall Bob in this Chamber and he liked to get things done, not just talk about them in terms of the people he represented.
He was a dedicated family person. His family, some of whom I have met, continue on in their vision for agriculture and for farming and they have been very active in terms of the farm crisis in Manitoba and very active in terms of the need to have a national vision for agriculture that is supported by all Canadians for the quality of food and the price of food we receive in our province.
Bob loved to farm, he loved farm people and, Mr. Speaker, I think it was appropriate that the former government commissioned Mr. Rose to undertake an examination of the impact of the 1997 flood on businesses in southwest Manitoba. It is a report that has many important recommendations for the people of Manitoba, and a report that the Leader of the Opposition and I discussed in our own Estimates a few days ago.
Again, on behalf of the people of Manitoba, I think it is safe to say that we miss Bob, that he passed away too early in his life and that his children and grandchildren live in his legacy. We pass on our condolences to his wife. On behalf of the people of Manitoba, we not only thank Bob for his excellent role as an MLA in this Chamber but for his countless hours and years on behalf of the people he represented, particularly with his strong views on public education and its role for the future of our youth and therefore the future of our province.
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): On behalf of my colleagues and I, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Bob Rose, including his wife Lois, and his children and their spouses, Kathryn and Rick Svistoski, Colleen and Mike Svistoski, Scott and Brenda Rose, Greg and Cindy Rose, Allyson and Greg Workman, and their numerous grandchildren.
Mr. Rose was born in Souris and raised on his family's farm in Bunclody. He went on to study agriculture at the University of Manitoba. He married Lois Marie Miles of Flin Flon in 1956 and returned to the family farm in Bunclody.
Over the years, he established a seed-cleaning plant on the farm and later went on to expand the same operation into Prairie Gold Fertilizer with outlets in Minto, Souris and Fairfax. Mr. Rose was always active in public life whether it was coaching his sons in minor hockey or moving into the political realm.
He served as a school trustee on the Bunclody school board and later on the board of trustees for the Souris Valley School Division, where he served at that time for 17 years. He served six terms on the Manitoba Association of School Trustees, on the executive, and was its president for one year. In 1990, he took his involvement in public service one step further, being elected as the Progressive Conservative MLA for Turtle Mountain. There he served one term.
It was said he enjoyed the experience greatly, including the debates. One of his school board colleagues, Bill Kirkup, noted that Mr. Rose had a remarkable mind and was known for his meticulous research. Kirkup called him "a quiet man, a quiet and influential leader."
Although, as the Premier stated, Mr. Rose left us too soon, it is clear his impact was very great, Mr. Speaker. Our lives clearly have been enriched by Mr. Rose's service in this Legislature. Thank you.
Mr. Harold Gilleshammer (Minnedosa): I am very pleased to be able to put some comments forward today on a gentleman, a dedicated man, who served the community of Souris that I have the privilege of serving at this time.
I think the outstanding feature that comes to my mind at this time is his sense of humour, and it was very much a self-deprecating sense of humour. In a couple of his latter speeches, he reflected on the goings on in this House and some of the things that he would sit quietly and think about and muse about. In fact, I think he referred to himself and the Member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) as the two guys from the Muppets who sat up on the third row there and watched the proceedings and watched the development of careers, and the way Question Period unfolded, and the way the answers came back, always a great sense of humour.
I remember he remarked that when the bells rang to call us to the House, it was time for members to head to the caucus room, instead of reporting here. Often that would happen for upwards of an hour, and he saw the humour in that and was quick to point it out to us.
Even when he announced his retirement which was on the eve of the 1995 election, he remarked that usually when you put out a press release at that time that you would not be seeking re-election, it was a time when reporters would scurry around and try and get the real scoop from you. He reflected that at age 61, it was the time to retire. People pretty much left him alone with that decision, and again very much a sense of humour.
He mentioned in one of his speeches how in his first campaign in 1990, the parties, as parties are wont to do, sent out a book on how to campaign and how to act, and a special note in there on how the spouse was supposed to support the candidate at that time. None of the menial tasks were to be done by the candidate; the spouse was to take care of that, to mow the lawn and do all of those things. I remember he mentioned that Lois was quick to set him straight on that. Again, an example of how I think Bob Rose could see the humour in things we do and the way we are as politicians.
He said, the first time he came in here, the Whip, who was responsible for his being here and his presence here and where he was, he sort of saw himself like someone training a dog, that he was to sit and stay. His remark was that his tactics were: I barked occasionally in frustration, I snarled once in a while in anger, and I wagged my tail in pleasure in hopes of getting some attention. Again, his view of the proceedings in the House. So his speeches were full of these anecdotes and these impressions of the House. Again, I think a gentleman in every sense of the word, and one that I was very proud to serve with.
He also told stories about his time in business in Souris and with a seed-cleaning plant that, as many businesses are wont to do, they give out a hat with some advertising on it. He remarked that this was often given to a customer when they paid their bill, and the word spread around town that that was an honest man if he was wearing that hat. He talked about one of his long and faithful customers being rather unhappy one time. Bob could not understand what that was all about, but there was an obvious coolness in the relationship. He later found out that this particular individual was upset because he had actually seen someone from town wearing one of those hats and these were reserved for farm people. After some research, he had found that out.
These are just a few of the many comments he made here in the House and stories he told. Certainly, those of us who were able to serve with him and know him, and I only knew him when he served here and briefly after that, are enriched by it. Today, I am pleased to take part in this ceremony to mark his presence and his time here in this House.
Ms. Linda Asper (Riel): Mr. Speaker, today I wish to join my colleagues in expressing my words of sympathy and offering condolences to the family of Bob Rose, a former member of this House.
I did not serve with him in the House, but my own association with Bob Rose, being a school trustee and executive member of the Manitoba Association of School Trustees, began as an educator on the provincial scene in the 1970s when I was serving as a member of the Manitoba Teachers' Society provincial executive. Our contacts continued as we both served as presidents of our respective organizations.
I soon learned that Bob shared a commitment to the education of young people in Manitoba. In particular, he was determined that there be equity in educational opportunity for all Manitobans. This led him to advocate that the system ensure rural students have access to the same quality of education as that enjoyed by those in urban areas, notably Winnipeg.
In my experience, educators admired Bob Rose and his efforts for Manitoba education and young people. I took the opportunity to read some of his speeches in the Library, and in his speech seconding the Throne Speech on October 12, 1990, Bob said that his "contribution to our fine public school system we have in Manitoba was small compared to the other 12 000 capable teachers and administrators." Having served myself a term as a school trustee, I can say that Bob Rose's contribution of more than 16 years on school boards and then at MAST was no small contribution of time and energy.
Further on in his speech I read that Bob referred to, and I quote: "My experience on the executive of the Manitoba Association of School Trustees where urban, northern and rural school boards are represented taught me that people and people-problems are very similar regardless of geography." He goes on to say: "It taught me that listening leads to understanding, that discussion and consultation generally lead to problem solving much quicker than confrontation."
Based on my contact with Bob, then, I believe that he will be remembered as a person of great integrity. He served as a model for public service, and he certainly will be remembered by educators and all Manitobans for his years of public service to education. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I speak to offer condolences to the family of Bob Rose, who served well in this Chamber for a number of years as the MLA for Turtle Mountain. Bob Rose made significant contributions to Manitoba in agriculture, in education, in government, and as we are aware most recently in the preparation of the Rose report which was submitted in August of 1999 reflecting on needs that were apparent for the business community and the agricultural community in southwestern Manitoba at the time of, or shortly after the time of, the flood of '99.
Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to go to Ottawa earlier this year with Bob Rose's son, Scott, in a continuing effort to get more assistance for people in southwestern Manitoba and for farmers. I think that there is some unfinished business in this area which still needs to be pursued, and I will continue to do what I can in the memory of Bob Rose and work with others in this Chamber to do that. Thank you.
Mr. Leonard Derkach (Russell): I would like to join with colleagues in this Legislature to extend my condolences to the wife and family of Bob Rose. I knew Bob Rose, Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the school division in Souris and then later as the chair of the MAST organization, and during those years I was involved in school board politics as the chair of the Pelley Trail School Board. In our many deliberations I understood very early in my knowing Bob that he was not only interested in the finances of school divisions and in the transportation issues but was much more interested in the equity in education and the quality of education the students were receiving and indeed in trying to enhance the opportunities for students right across this province.
Mr. Speaker, Bob showed in all of his dealings that he had a deep understanding not only of the agricultural issues in which he was involved as a business person but also in the educational issues and the society issues within his community. When I served with him as MLA, when he was MLA for the Turtle Mountain constituency, I can tell you that Bob very quickly gained the admiration of colleagues on both sides of the House in his understanding of issues and indeed in the way he responded to the issues that were brought forward in the House, and I know colleagues have expressed many of the ways in which Bob would express himself in the House on various issues.
But I guess the most important contribution I felt that he made to my department when we were in government was when Bob headed the Rose report after the flood in western Manitoba in 1999. Indeed, he did it with his colleagues very quickly, and he did it on a very timely basis and presented the report to this Legislature. If we look at that report we quickly see, I think, the quality of the report and how the understanding of the person who headed this report was reflected in the recommendations that were made to the Manitoba Legislature. If we can do anything in Bob's memory it would be to act on some of the recommendations that Bob brought forward in his report.
So I join my colleagues this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, in expressing my condolences to the family of Bob Rose at his passing.
Mr. Darren Praznik (Lac du Bonnet): I join with many who have spoken already in expressing my condolences to the family of Bob Rose. I understand many members of his family, his wife Lois, are here with us today in the gallery, and we certainly are glad that they were able to be here in this Chamber.
Bob joined our caucus and this Assembly in 1990 in what I remember as being very heady days. Our party had just won its first majority government. We were moving into some of the, I think, most challenging times that governments have faced in a number of decades. There were a lot of very difficult decisions that had to be made, and Bob joined at a time when there was lots going on. It was a very exciting place to be here. For me he always–many have referenced his sense of humour and his being very firmly grounded in common sense. During those times, I think, one of his greatest contributions to our operation as a caucus and our government was just that, his sense of humour, his sense of the average Manitoban, his feet being firmly planted on the ground.
Although Bob joined this Legislature later in his life, later in his career and probably felt that coming in at that time made it a little bit more difficult because he was one of the older members of our caucus as a new member, but he always contributed, I think, with that firm common sense and that humour. He became to me somewhat of a mentor. He was always very kind to me. I was a very young new minister in those days, a new Minister of Labour, and Bob, although being somewhat older, a generation older, always took very kindly to me. I say that very personally, Mr. Speaker, that he always took very kindly to me. We had many good talks and good exchanges and spent many times together sharing the humour of this place, of the situations that confronted us as politicians and some of the ironies that we all know are a part of politics.
When Bob decided to retire in 1995, I was very saddened by that. Not that I dislike the current Member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Tweed), he has become a very close friend, but I miss Bob. I missed him when he left, and I miss him today. He always had that very special way of just dealing with whatever situation we had to face. His sense of humour, his good common sense, always managed to put things into a perspective that, I think, we as politicians from time to time lose as we get caught up in the issues of the day. So I miss Bob very much, as I know his family does. I think those of us who sat with him in that period miss him a great deal.
I referenced Bob coming into this Legislature in the latter part of his career in his life, and I always thought–and I do not mean to second guess former premiers–but I always thought Bob would have made an excellent Cabinet minister. I think Bob had against him geography and age, somewhat, that he did come in his latter years, and he came from a part of the province where we had in those days many Cabinet ministers from those constituencies, and geography and age probably worked against him. But he would have made a very fine Cabinet minister whatever portfolio a premier might have appointed him to.
Bob never said this to me but I think there was probably some disappointment in coming into this place, having a very distinguished career in public service as a school trustee, a career in business, always being involved in local affairs, to have to face the frustration of being a government upper bencher. Although we all who have been there at one point in our careers or another know that it is a difficult task to sit in the upper benches of government, whatever party is in power, whatever attempts are made by premiers or Cabinet colleagues to be inclusive, it is a difficult role. For Bob, I would suspect there was from time to time some of that frustration that he did have so much to contribute and his wealth of experience was there, we drew upon it, but I would suspect there was some regret that he did not have the opportunity to contribute in an even greater way to the workings of government in our province. That is politics, that is public life, that is political geography, and that is age, but the reality for Bob was, I think, that had he been given the chance he would have been a remarkable and outstanding member of any provincial Cabinet.
I would also today just like to say to his family, who join us in the gallery, whom I had met at his funeral, in fact, many of the grandchildren that I think he took great pride in. I know today is a school day and it is very hard to be here, but I hope someday, as those grandchildren grow older and can appreciate public affairs and public life, that they have the opportunity to read the remarks that we are putting on this public record today.
I hope that they get the opportunity to read Bob's farewell speech that was referenced by my colleague the Member for Minnedosa (Mr. Gilleshammer). His goodbye speech to the Legislature was one that I will never forget. It was one of the most remarkable speeches that I have heard in this Chamber for, again, its way of putting into perspective what this place is about. Someday those grandchildren, as they grow older, will hopefully have that opportunity to read that speech and read our remarks today. I think, though they probably miss their grandfather a great deal, when they read those words they will be able to take great comfort and be very proud of their grandfather who was a thoroughly remarkable individual, not only in their lives as a grandfather, as I am sure he was, but in the public affairs of this province. He was truly a very great man, Bob Rose. I know I miss him a great deal, and I know many of my colleagues do, as well.
So, to his family who are here today, we join you in your sense of loss. We know you continue to miss Bob a great deal, and we just would like to let you know that his five years spent in this Chamber in his quiet, humorous way, he had a greater influence on his colleagues than I think people may ever realize. He touched the lives of the people who he sat with in this Chamber, and that is something of which I believe you should be very proud. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Larry Maguire (Arthur-Virden): Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today as the newly elected member from Arthur-Virden and pay my respects and condolences to Bob Rose, a former member of this Legislature from Turtle Mountain, and to his family who I am pleased were able to be here today, as well. I hope to be able to relate a few stories about some of the anecdotes that have taken place between our families over the years and still congratulate them on having lived with a person who will be greatly remembered in the lives of many Manitobans, as have members who have been in this House before me spoken of today on both sides of the House. I appreciate the words that they have put forward. They lived in this House with him, and I never had that oppor-tunity.
I just want to say that, in my mind, Bob Rose was always a serious individual, and that has been pointed out many times in this House today, but he was also a fun-loving individual. I have actually had the opportunity of talking to a few of his friends who spent some time in college with him, and I think there are a few of those here today, as well.
It just occurred to me while my fellow colleague from Lac du Bonnet was making some of those comments about how Mr. Rose happened to be in a situation of a number of Cabinet ministers coming from western Mani-toba, I know that wherever he is today he is looking at this House and saying he cannot wait until he can see a number of Cabinet ministers from western Manitoba again.
Mr. Speaker, I first got to know Bob Rose on my father's farm in about 1961. He was a young man, at that time starting off in a fertilizer industry, and one of the first things that he tried to do was convince my father to use this stuff, and he did. I remember walking those fields. I think it was one of those times when he had to do a lot of convincing, and he was a very convincing man, as all of you know. He walked those fields with my father, and I was not very old either. I remember the times that, well, you know, my father was always a bit curious about whether this stuff–I call it fertilizer–was really going to work because that is the term they used. What really convinced my father to do that was that Bob had said, well, you know, you use this stuff. In those days people were not as familiar with fertilizer as they are now.
So he convinced my father that the way to use it was to go around, around and around the 80-acre field till you ended up in the middle and shut the machine off and drive out. Of course, that left a whole lot of half-moon corners in this field all the way around it. In those days they felt that if you overlapped the product, you know, you just might kill who knows what.
So in the fall, of course 1961, for those of you young enough to remember, was one of the driest years we had in the '60s and the wheat grew very well. The average wheat crop in that area was probably about five bushels to the acre, but my father was proud that he was able to take off a ten-bushel-acre crop in that field, and Bob Rose will take credit for it till we are here before you to now, and I was going to say: until the day he passed away, and he did because that is the pride that he had in everything that he did.
He was able to convince my father that he should continue to buy fertilizer for years and years because in walking out and inspecting those fields he could always just point at those half-moon corners in the field where there was virtually no wheat at all and convince my father that this is exactly what you need to use in the future.
I remember Bob then as a school trustee because my wife was one of the first women trustees to embellish the Souris Valley School Division Board, and I am sure that Bob Rose and his friend who was referred to earlier here, Bill Kirkup, who were on that board, probably wondered what in the hell happened when she arrived. I know that Bob in his lighthearted manner had many discussions with my wife on school issues, and that has been recorded here today as well, that he was a very serious person when it came to the education of youth in this province. His term as MAST president in 1982-83 was only one of those times when I saw the roses, not the family but the flower, come out, and of course when I arrived at the MAST conventions, Beryl always slapped a rose on me and said: You are campaigning now; get out there and elect Bob, and we did. Of course, I had the opportunity in Belmont to arrive even though I was not a constituent at that time, a political follower, you might say in those days in 1990 when he was elected, to have the opportunity to go to Belmont when he won the nomination. We wore roses again.
But I have to concur with the Premier. He mentioned that he had never really heard of Bunclody before, but he made the comment that he has probably been through there, and I would rather doubt it. With no disrespect to the Premier, he may have been through the region, but that one experience that he has probably never been exposed to was that of the Bunclody marching band. If you were a citizen of that area that could play a musical instrument or sing, as most of the rest of them thought they could do who could not play musical instruments, then you know what I am speaking of. The Bunclody marching band was standing on the doorsteps of the Belmont Hall on the night when Bob Rose was nominated to be the candidate for this party in the election of 1990.
Those are the times that I remember, the fun-loving times, because that is what I remember this serious man as. There is another issue. His son and I played hockey against each other for many years, and I guess you could say that Bob and I had something in common. We both thought we were athletes. He played a little hockey in college, I am told, and so did I. I think that really our namesakes are what people will remember. Pete Rose had the most hits ever in baseball, and I lived long enough to see Mark McGuire hit enough home runs that he has got the most home run record. I think he would probably agree with me that that is as close as we ever got to expanding our roles as athletes, beyond what our eyes would allow us to believe. There is another third common thread that we had as well, and that is that we both married those girls from Flin Flon. It might have been a decade or two difference, but we are both proud of that as well.
The Rose report has been mentioned by my colleague from River Heights, and I want to say that throughout Bob's political career in this House, and I have read those speeches and I will not go through what my colleagues have already stated, for the things that he has said here that I am also proud of. The Rose report was one of those opportunities that you have in contributing to the future of Manitoba once you have left political life, if that is ever possible. I know he would say that. He was chair of a sound report that provided some economic initiatives for an area that was hard hit by natural disaster. I think that is probably why he took on the job, because he could see people that were in dire need.
I want to close by just saying that I saw Bob Rose as a distinguished gentleman, an extraordinary person, a friend and a mentor. I think if I can leave anything today, it would be that the greatest tribute I could offer to him is to say that other people in this House and outside this House, in all of Manitoba, saw him in the same manner.
The few things that I remember are that Bob Rose recognized that governments do not create wealth, people do. He believed in balanced budgets, as has been said. More importantly, he believed in youth, and not just giving them a chance or a choice but in doing what really was necessary to provide an opportunity for these people.
Just one parting comment about the nomination in Belmont that night. There is a quote that he made that I will never forget that evening in the hall. These things tend to be, or at least those of us that are up for nominations tend to think that this is the most serious thing that is ever going to happen in our lives, but amongst the whole process, Bob stood up in the middle of it and said in his speech: I do not know what I am doing here. I really think that this is an opportunity. I am not sure if I can do this, but my brother thinks I can. He said: My brother, I do not think he can ever see me doing anything wrong, so I will try. I guess I feel that is the nature of the beast. I am fairly emotional about this. I think it was the nature of the person, in Mr. Rose.
I would like to close by saying that I have always looked and thought that Bob was a leader, and we have named a number of professions but I would say he was a leader. If there ever was a piece of prairie gold, it was Bob Rose.
Mr. Glen Cummings (Ste. Rose): I would like to add my words of condolence on behalf of myself and my family, to the Rose family. We have heard several people mention how Bob probably inadvertently in some respects influ-enced our lives. I am also one of those that was from the class of the 1980s school trustees, and probably wore a rose when he was campaigning for chair of MAST. The way he carried himself, his thoughtfulness, his way of making a point with solid common sense, but nevertheless with good humour and respect for the person that he was arguing with, by the way, I think made him a leader that we were all proud to be associated with.
Mr. Mervin Tweed (Turtle Mountain): I, too, rise to offer my condolences to the Rose family. It is kind of interesting. I remember when Bob made his announcement that he was not going to run again in the election and people had approached me. I thought, well, the best person to call and ask about it would be Bob Rose. He encouraged me right from the start, and we got through the process and fortunate enough to win the nomination. The election call was there, and, again, I phoned Bob. I said, you know, it is new communities to me and new areas of the province that, although I am familiar with, any issues out there that I might encounter that I would have to be prepared for. Well, he said he did not think that there were too many pressing issues. He suggested that the Red Coat Trail might come up a few times in my sojourn into the political world. Not understanding what he was talking about, my first trip down No. 3 Highway into the Crystal City-Pilot Mound area, it certainly reminded me of the warning that he had given me and the preparedness that I would need in answering those questions.
Later in the campaign, actually on election day, and Bob references it in his final speech, talking about a manual that every new candidate gets on their performance, it suggested that you should go to every polling station and meet with the people and talk to them. So, again, being a little bit cautious and unsure, I thought I would phone Bob. I said, well, Bob, you know, you have done this; tell me what you did. Well, he said, you know, Merv, it was a nice day. I went golfing. That is just the type of person that he was. He had done his work ahead of time and, I think, recognized that it was a day for him and, perhaps, Lois to rest and be prepared for the evening. I cannot say as I honestly took that advice, but I remember it as good advice.
The other recollection shortly after the election that I want to relate to the House was I was over in Souris, and we were doing an announcement. Bob had been asked to be the emcee for the day. The election was in April, and I think this was late May and one of the first public events that I had been to. I was being introduced, and Bob was up there introducing the people up on the stage. He came to me, and he looked out to the crowd. He said, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to the best MLA in Turtle Mountain. He paused for about 10 seconds, and he said: in the last 35 days. That was his humour. He had a way of setting you up and also keeping you ever mindful of your responsibilities and the charge that you had been given by the public.
When we do these types of condolences, you read about the person a little more, and I found out about all the things that Bob had been involved in. Education, we certainly have heard from members across and not only members that worked with him in government and that worked with him in the school divisions.
I know, when I travelled and spoke to people, Bob Rose's name came forward several times, the ideas that he had and the suggestions that he had made. It just made you think back that here is a guy, all his life has been building communities, building families, building homes. He was a businessman, an entrepreneur, always had an eye out for an opportunity. I think he took advantage of those opportunities and created, not only wealth for himself and his family, but for the people that worked with him and for him and also to the communities that he provided those opportunities.
He speaks, I think, in volumes when he talks in his last speech. I know my colleague from Minnedosa referenced it, and I would too, just the fact that he is talking about the people of Turtle Mountain, and he is referencing kind of what they are about. I think he comes up with probably a very good description. He says: By and large, between elections, they prefer to be left alone to get on with their lives and be left alone by government. By and large, they take their responsibility for themselves and for their communities. By and large, they recognize that governments cannot provide but only promote policies that allow their individual talents and energies to flourish. I think that sums up the way I saw Bob Rose and the respect that I have for Bob Rose.
I do want to just end, Mr. Speaker, I think it goes without saying that Bob Rose was a very strong family man. My thoughts and my family's thoughts, and as the representative of his former community, our thoughts are with you today and will always be. Thank you.
Mrs. Bonnie Mitchelson (River East): I too would like to add a few comments as we pay respect to a person that many of us had the opportunity to sit with in this Legislature, and say to his family that we came to know Bob Rose in a different way than family did, and it was in a way that I think enriched all of our lives. As a member elected from the city of Winnipeg and as one who has always lived in the city of Winnipeg, I certainly came to understand many of the issues in rural Manitoba first and foremost in my responsibilities as the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation. We had many meetings with Bob Rose in the lead around the Red Coat Trail, as has been referenced.
I did come to understand the history and some of the dynamics and the politics out in rural Manitoba. I have to indicate that it took many, many meetings and many discussions about the Red Coat Trail to finally make a determination on whether Highway 2 or Highway 3 or part of Highway 2 and part of Highway 3 was the right route for the historical reasons or for the tourism reasons that were presented to us. Those that are now or have since had responsibility for Culture, Heritage and now Tourism will understand that there are many within the Department of Culture and Historic Resources that have very definite opinions based on their interpretation of history, but Bob Rose had a very definite opinion based on pragmatically getting on with it and getting the trail named so that we could get on and celebrate a part of our history and our heritage. So I think Bob certainly taught me much and helped me understand where he was coming from and the kind of common sense, practical approach that he wanted to see taken as we moved forward and made decisions.
Mr. Speaker, we all listened very intently to Bob when he spoke in this Chamber, because he did bring that common sense approach based on his life experiences. Being a bit older than many of us that were in this Chamber, I think we respected that part of Bob Rose.
Just in closing, I want to say to his family, to Lois, to the children and to the grandchildren: Be very proud of Bob Rose, the man that he was and what he contributed to Manitoba in the way of family. He made a significant contribution in the size of his family, in community and to this Legislature.
I do want to quote from Bob's first speech in this House, and I know that his position and his opinion did not change. His first speech was in 1990 before we had balanced-budget legislation. I think just this sentence or two sums up who Bob Rose was and why so many have so much respect for his position and his opinions.
I quote, Mr. Speaker: Governments do not create wealth, people do, and the only source of revenue our government has is from the perspiration and efforts of its citizens. Perhaps it is time to stop referring to government grants or government funding in news releases. Perhaps it is time to replace the soothing phrases with something more honest, like this project will cost X millions of dollars of taxpayers' money, or this project to improve our standard of living is financed from money borrowed from our children. Thanks, kids.
Mr. Speaker, I think that sums up Bob Rose.
Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): I also would like to rise to offer my condolences to the family of Bob Rose. I would just like to say a few words. I first got to know Bob when he was a Cominco Elephant Brand Fertilizer dealer in Souris. He operated a very successful farm supply dealership called Prairie Gold, and he worked very hard to serve his farm customers and was highly respected in the industry. He also made a great contribution to the industry.
When Bob was elected to the Legislature, I was the caucus chair and the government Whip and got to know Bob better. I certainly respected Bob's views. Bob also made a great contribution to our caucus. Regardless of what topic, whether it was agriculture, education or finance, Bob's words were always on target, and he always knew what he was talking about. It was a real pleasure to work with Bob, and I would also like to offer my condolences to Lois and to the Rose family.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson): I rise today, as well, with my colleagues to offer my sympathy and condolences to the Rose family. Having served with Bob Rose in caucus, having observed how he conducted business in this Legislature, how he presented his views, I think gained us all a great deal of respect and admiration for a man from out west.
But I want to relate one incident to the Rose family that I think is very significant. In my view, Bob Rose had a great sense of history and a great admiration for those who had explored, opened this country and built it. He wanted to recognize in some way the law and order that had been brought to western Canada and signify it in some way. He fought long and hard for this province to recognize the Red Coats, the Mounties, who had brought that law and order to this province. It was indeed a significant debate because I was the Member for Emerson, and Emerson, of course, is the home of Fort Dufferin. Fort Dufferin was the initial site of the Northwest Mounted Police which was the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Bob and I had many debates as to which routes should be identified as the Red Coat Trail. In the final analysis, I think we both came out winners. He was able to identify the No. 2 highway as the Red Coat Trail and it came down into Winnipeg, and I was able to identify the Boundary Trail and No. 3 Highway as the Northwest Mounted Trail coming out of Fort Dufferin and into Fort Whoop-up, of course, in Alberta, and in the final analysis came to that compromise, and both of us achieved our goals.
But Bob was without question somebody that one needed to pay attention to in caucus and indeed was a formidable foe in debate, for he did have his facts in order, and he would not enter the debate unless he knew his facts. I think his colleague Bill Kirkup, then also a school trustee, put it best when he said he had a remarkable mind but he never really spoke it until he had done all his research, and then you had better listen to what he had to say. I think that portrays Bob Rose best in our caucus.
He was the chairman of our Caucus Management Committee, and, indeed, he conducted that committee with that kind of respect. He demanded that kind of respect from members of that committee and, indeed, from caucus.
So I mourn today the passing of Bob Rose, because it was not the Rose family that saw the loss when he passed away. It was indeed his community and his province, and indeed this country, and we miss him dearly in this Legislature.
Mr. Denis Rocan (Carman): Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to speak about a dear friend and colleague of ours, one Bob Rose, and I pass to the family and Lois our condolences to each and every one of your family members.
As I sat here and I listened to comments of members about our friend, Bob, I paid attention specifically to the members opposite who never knew Bob Rose. You never knew Bob Rose. But for those of us who did know Bob Rose, he was one remarkable individual. I pay heed to the Premier's (Mr. Doer) words and where he references this wonderful individual who was here, and as members on this side reiterate one after the other about the wonderful things about Bob Rose I cannot help but notice the Member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) and our Premier nodding in acknowledgment, because they also knew the value of Bob Rose.
There is not much left to be said about Bob Rose. I think everything that has to be said has been said. The reason I speak today is because I, as a former member for Turtle Mountain, having left the seat and moving up to Gladstone and being replaced by Bob Rose, I recall on several instances that Bob and myself would get together and find out who was who in the constituency. But prior to my leaving, I had a woman who worked for me–this was just a great person–her name was Peggy Hissup [phonetic]. Anyway, Bob took Peggy on, and I guess in his words he needed somebody to sort of keep track of him I think are some of the words that he used to use, because he found it difficult for this individual to be cooped up in a particular setting with no leeway. He had no sense of direction. I want to use those words, because Bob might have to show up over here but he was quite comfortable in another restaurant, forgetting that he had to get over there. It was his style. Bob just loved to visit with people.
As I sat where you do, Sir, and Bob sat over here in the third row, many times I would look at him looking around this great Chamber, trying to figure out what some of these words meant on the wall. In fact, some individual spoke on it today, his research capabilities. He went to the trouble, and I believe I still have it, where he found out all Confucius, Leviticus, Alfred, Justinian and Mann, what each and every one of these individuals had done, this patria cara carior libertas. I remember him telling me exactly what all this sort of meant. He took the time when he did his research.
He was also one of the chairs of our committees, and those individuals reporting to the Speaker. I recall one time, let me just let the cat out of the bag, but there were certain ministers of the Crown back then who believed they had a right to govern and they were going to govern at all costs. Well, Bob was a little different sort of a guy, and Bob figured, well, that is fine. You have a right to govern because you are government, but there are certain individuals who sit on the other side of the House who have a right to be heard. They were Her Majesty's loyal opposition, and Bob knew in his heart that they had every right to speak out on behalf of the people of the province.
Those of us who can recall, Bob, and I do not want to say it was a filthy habit, because I had the same one, but Bob loved to smoke. [interjection] Harry would be another one, but how often we would find Bob in the members' lounge lobbying ministers of the Crown, or indeed trying to explain to the Opposition members exactly what government was trying to do. Prior to his holding court in the members' lounge, and for those of us who can recall Bob, in his manner he would walk up and down the hallways, both hands in his pockets and just shuffling his feet, staring down at the floor, but thinking, thinking, and thinking hard meticulously of what had to be said.
The Member for Emerson (Mr. Jack Penner) is quite correct, because indeed when we talk, the debate on the trail for the RCMP, Bob was sincere in what he was trying to do, but he wanted to make sure his facts were right. One day he says to me, Denis, I am going to speak on this tomorrow. I said, fine. He said, everybody better pay attention because I do not speak often but when I do it is because I have something to say, which often made me think of Parker Burrell.
We have two individuals here who had the sense of–not to say sense of humour, but it was the way they personified their existence. Bob knew he was here for a reason. He represented people from the southwest corner of the province of which he was proud. How many times will Hansard show us that Bunclody was named in Hansard? Bob Rose was extremely proud. He was also proud of the fact, for the new individuals that are here who never knew this, but we had two Bob Roses at one time.
We had 57 of the sharpest minds in Manitoba gathered here in this room. Two of them at one time were called Bob Rose. We had this one charismatic individual who was kind of off-the-cuff. He would just, you know, open his mouth, his brain would fall out. Then we had a Bob Rose from Turtle Mountain who was a deep thinker, who thought hard about what he had to say. It was often said, I am Bob Rose from Turtle Mountain.
To Lois and family and to all the people who voted for Bob Rose: We are proud of the fact that you sent him here to this place. I am proud to have had the opportunity to sit with Bob Rose. So to Lois and family, God bless.
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert): Mr. Speaker, just a few short words on behalf of my family. Winni and I would like to give Lois and the Rose family our condolences.
I sat next to Bob in the back row, the upper benches. We used to call it in the "Muppet parade." Mr. Speaker, many a day you would see Bob preparing for his speeches, and it would take him a week and sometimes longer as he would hand-write his speeches on his desk in his office in the House. All the speeches he delivered, he would sit and he would hand-scratch them, and that is exactly what he delivered in this House. Those were all his own words, and those were words that he gathered during his thoughts.
Everybody spoke about how Bob was a listener. Bob would very seldom heckle, though once in a while we could coach him into it. He would sit back and he actually said there was input to be received from the opposition. We used to have discussions on–we were both chairs at the same time, actually–what our roles were and how we were to allow the opposition sometimes their positions. The past Speaker Rocan has spoken about how ministers would sometimes expect you to lean their way, but we would have to make sure that all voices, as you know, Mr. Speaker, had to be heard. Bob said sometimes it was difficult, but he rather enjoyed it at times when certain ministers would try to push their weight around. I will not go into which ministers they were.
I can remember some of the jokes that he would express, I did not always catch right away. I got home one night and I broke out in tears laughing because it took me that long to come down with the joke, because his humour was a dry sense of humour and sometimes there was more to the line than was actually there. You had to be as good a listener as him to catch the story.
I guess I learnt a lot from Bob. He taught me that family and community were the reasons that we are here. He also was a member who stood beside me when I had times of hardship. When you felt alone and deserted and nobody was there, you could always count on Bob. He came to me and helped me out, and we worked together on that issue. I resolved some of my concerns I had because it was Bob and one other member that came to my aid. I will never forget Bob for that.
We had some good times, we had some bad times. We had some discussions where we did not agree but we always left the discussions as friends. He was a friend and I will miss him, as all my colleagues will.
There was one qualification that Bob lacked. Everybody spoke about the qualifications he did have, but he did not have that inflated ego that a lot of politicians have, probably 99 percent of them. Bob was not self-centred. Bob was more out there for everybody else, his family, his friends and anybody who felt they needed him or his assistance. So he did lack something. He did not have that quality that showed that self-interest in himself and that self-preservation.
Sometimes he would sit in the back upper benches with me, and he would say: What are we doing here? Is there really rhyme or reason to what we are doing in the House right now with these Estimates, as we are going through 240 hours of pain and suffering? He said, you know, these rules have got to be adjusted. Are we really here to have a game or put on theatre?
At times, it bothered him, and I think he had a hard time adjusting to that, because Bob was somebody who wanted to see things happen and have things done. That is what he got elected for, was to see that his community would be a better place for his children to be raised.
So, on behalf of Winni and my family, to Lois and the Rose family, my condolences.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed and so ordered. Would honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate their support for the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
William Obadiah (Obie) Baizley
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Murray), that this House convey to the family of the late William Obie Baizley, who served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, its sincere sympathy in their bereavement and its appreciation of his devotion to duty in a useful life of active community and public service, and that Mr. Speaker be requested to forward a copy of this resolution to the family.
Mr. Doer: I am privileged to be able to address this resolution of sympathy to the Baizley family on this occasion. Mr. Speaker, I certainly met Mr. Baizley in the past, although I did not serve with him, and know his sons Don and Brian, and my condolences to his family and his daughter Brenda.
Mr. Baizley was elected to the Manitoba Legislature on May 14, 1959, in the constituency of Osborne. He served in this Legislature through two subsequent elections in 1962 and 1966 until the election in 1969. During his 10 years as a member of this Legislature and as a member of the Progressive Conservative government under former Premier Roblin, Mr. Baizley held responsibilities as the Minister of Labour from 1963 until 1968, and was the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Commissioner of Northern Affairs from 1968 until 1969, under former Premier Weir.
Mr. Baizley followed a unique path to reach the Manitoba Legislature. He was born in Montréal in 1917, and he and his family moved to St. Vital soon after, where he settled into the family grocery store. Mr. Baizley attended Provencher high school and later graduated from Lincoln Chiropractic College in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1937, before returning to Manitoba to practise as a chiropractor. It was during this time in Winnipeg when Mr. Baizley met Jessie, and the two were married in Stonewall in 1939.
Mr. Baizley served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, returning following the war from the Air Force to his life in Winnipeg. His life in Winnipeg was one of dedicated community service, past-president of the Riverview United Church, Riverview Home and Dreamcode.
His school association was with the Winnipeg Kinsmen Club, in addition to the active involvement in both Manitoban and Canadian chiropractic organizations. Mr. Baizley also served after his election as chair of the Manitoba Labour Board in the late 1970s, and certainly all of us who had friends and colleagues in the Riverview area of Winnipeg knew of the respect his community had for him, his constituents had for Mr. Baizley, and knew of his active involvement in that community, and certainly knew of the involvement of his family in that community.
I had an opportunity when I was younger to meet Brian, and later I met Don Baizley, who is a very, very successful member of our community. You could tell the public service that was part and parcel of Mr. Baizley's life was also very, very much a part of the upbringing of his children in terms of their dedication to our community.
Mr. Harry Schellenberg, Acting Speaker, in the Chair
I want to wish my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Baizley for his dedication to our province and to his community. I know he was a tremendous asset to this Legislature during the years in which he served on behalf of the people of Manitoba.
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. William Obie Baizley. Mr. Baizley was born in Montréal, Québec, and moved with his family to Winnipeg, where they operated a grocery store in St. Vital. He studied to become a chiropractor and went on to practise in the city. He married Jessie in 1939, and he also served his country in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Mr. Baizley dedicated his life to public service. Among other organizations, he lent his considerable skills and enthusiasm to the Riverview Home and School Association, the Riverview Community Club, Riverview United Church Fellowship, the Winnipeg Kinsmen Club, the Manitoba Chiropractic Association and the Canadian Chiropractic Association. In 1959, Mr. Baizley was first elected as the Progressive Conservative MLA for Osborne in Duff Roblin's government. He was later re-elected twice thereafter, serving in both Mr. Roblin's and Mr. Weir's cabinets. He spent several years in Cabinet, variously as Minister of Labour, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Commissioner of Northern Affairs.
In the late 1970s, he also served as chairman of the Manitoba Labour Relations Board. I think all members in the Legislature join me in remembering the life of Mr. William Obadiah Baizley, a man dedicated to his family, his patients, his community and to the people of Manitoba. Thank you.
Hon. Diane McGifford (Minister of Advanced Education and Training): Mr. Acting Speaker, today I am privileged and honoured to address the resolution of sympathy to the Baizley family as we remember William Obadiah Baizley, known to family and friends as Obie.
I did not have the privilege, Mr. Acting Speaker, of personally meeting Mr. Baizley, nor did I have the privilege of serving with him. Obviously, I did not, but Mr. Baizley and I, constituency-wise, shared some territory. His Osborne 1959 and 1962 constituencies included some of the geography of my former constituency of Osborne, and his Osborne constituency of 1966 has much in common with my current constituency of Lord Roberts.
Mr. Speaker in the Chair
As we have heard, Mr. Baizley was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature on May 14, 1959, as the MLA for the constituency of Osborne. As I stated earlier, and as the Premier (Mr. Doer) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Murray) have also stated, Mr. Baizley served in the Legislature through two subsequent elections, in 1962 and in 1966, until the election of 1969. During these 10 years as a member of the Legislature and as a member of the Progressive Conservative government, Mr. Baizley held responsibilities as the Minister of Labour from '63 until '68 and as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Commissioner of Northern Affairs from '68 to '69.
The Premier and the Leader of the Opposition have already outlined Mr. Baizley's career in public service in this Legislature and some of the other important details of his life, so I do not want to repeat what they have said, but I will permit myself a few remarks on his community service.
His life in Winnipeg, as we have heard, was one of dedicated community service. He was president of Riverview United Church which is, of course, in Riverview. Anybody who lives in Riverview, as I do, knows this church as a community institution, although the title has now changed. It has amalgamated with Rosedale United Church to create a new church, Churchill Park United Church. I am sure that Mr. Baizley, or Obie as he was known to his friends, will be remembered by people at Churchill Park.
As well, Mr. Baizley was a member of the Riverview Home and School Association and president of the Riverview Community Club which is certainly alive and well and continues to be one of the most thriving community clubs in my constituency and I think in Winnipeg. He was associated with the Winnipeg Kinsmen Club. In addition, he was actively involved in both the Manitoba and Canadian chiropractic organizations; as we heard, he was a chiropractor by profession.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I wish to offer my condolences to the Baizley family and to Mr. Baizley's loved ones. Clearly, Mr. Baizley's dedication to the province and his community service were an asset to our community and to our Legislature during the years that he served.
Mr. Harry Enns (Lakeside): Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to add my voice to those condolences expressed by the First Minister, the Premier (Mr. Doer), and by my Leader (Mr. Murray). I had the privilege of knowing Obie Baizley very well, sitting in this House with him for the last four years of his term in public office and sitting in two cabinets with him, the first one being that of Duff Roblin and then with Walter Weir.
Obie was a delightful person to be associated with. I really got to know him best in the fall of '67, when after Mr. Roblin's departure from provincial politics, our party was put through the sometimes difficult task of choosing a leader. In those cases, it was a matter of choosing between four very good cabinet colleagues, the Honourable Sterling Lyon, the Honourable Walter Weir, the Honourable George Johnson, who later became our Lieutenant Governor, and Stewart McLean from Dauphin. It is not always an easy task to choose between colleagues, but Obie and I decided to support Walter Weir in a vigorous way and were successful.
Obie has one other distinguishing record to his career, if my memory serves me right. The Conservative Party, always being sensitive to the legitimate aims of organized labour, was in my opinion–and Obie served as the first Minister of Labour in the province of Manitoba. The first stand-alone Department of Labour was created by Duff Roblin, and if memory serves me correctly, Obie Baizley was that particular minister. There had been a directory of Labour encompassed, I believe, with an enlarged Department of Corporate and Consumer Affairs or even Public Service, I am not fully familiar, but the first stand-alone Department of Labour was created in the early '60s by Duff Roblin, and Mr. Baizley served as the first Minister of Labour for the province.
I had further contacts with Obie as he left politics, spent more and more of his time, retirement time, in our beautiful environment of our provincial parks in the Whiteshell. Obie never forgot his sense of responsibility to whoever he was with, in whatever community he was. Later on as Parks Minister, if I happened to be visiting the Whiteshell, Obie was sure to get hold of me and tell me what was right and what was wrong within the provincial park system. He did this well on into his years, and it was a delight to meet him on all occasions.
To Jessie, to the family, my heartfelt condolences on this occasion. The memory of Obie Baizley in this Chamber is vivid to me, and he ought to be remembered, as we are, for the decade of public service that he provided Manitobans.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I stand to offer my condolences to the family on the passing of Mr. Obie Baizley. Mr. Baizley made, over many years, significant contributions to the province of Manitoba in the area of chiropractic care, with his church and community, as an MLA for Osborne, and through his involvement in the Cabinet in the areas of Labour, Municipal Affairs and Northern Affairs. So on behalf of myself and the Liberal Party in Manitoba, I offer condolences to the family in memory of a man who has made a significant contribution to our province. Thank you.
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay respect and to extend condolences to the family of William Obie Baizley. Mr. Baizley of course served in the Manitoba Legislature many more years prior to my opportunity in coming to this Chamber. While I did not know Mr. Baizley personally, during my teenage years, as I would have been during the time when Mr. Baizley served in this Chamber, I did come to know the name of Obie Baizley in our province and the service that he performed on behalf of the Government of Manitoba and for the people of Manitoba.
Now, as the Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Murray) and the Premier (Mr. Doer) have indicated, Mr. Baizley was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature on May 14, 1959, for the constituency of Osborne, and that Mr. Baizley was subsequently re-elected through the elections of 1962 and 1966 and continued to serve until, I believe, the general election of 1969. So Mr. Baizley had served 10 years as a member of the Legislature and a member of the Progressive Conservative government at that time.
As the Member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns) has indicated, Mr. Baizley–and I did not know that he was the first Minister of Labour and I thank the Member for Lakeside for making us aware of that–Mr. Baizley had served as the Minister of Labour from 1963 till 1968, and also served as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Commissioner for Northern Affairs from 1968 until 1969.
Now, Mr. Baizley, of course, as the Premier (Mr. Doer) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Murray) have indicated, had followed a path that was perhaps unique, in that he was born in Montreal and then subsequently moved with his family to St. Vital, where he attended Provencher High School and later the Lincoln Chiropractic College, and then graduating and returning to Manitoba to practice as a chiropractor in our great province.
Mr. Baizley, of course, served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, and at the conclusion of that war returned to his life in Winnipeg and served with distinction on a number of organizations, whether it be the school association, the Winnipeg Kinsmen Club, the Riverview United Church, and other organizations, Mr. Speaker. He led, I believe a full and very active life.
So, on behalf of my family, Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend to Obie Baizley's wife, Jessie, and to their children our sincere condolences on the passing of William Obie Baizley. Thank you.
Mr. John Loewen (Fort Whyte): Mr. Speaker, I wish also to pass my condolences to the Baizley family for the loss of Obie, certainly a pillar of strength in the community where I had the good fortune to grow up. I would also say on behalf of the members here I also offer my condolences for the loss of their mother, Jessie, who passed away a few months after Obie's death.
I think this is one of those cases where we are reminded that love is not always warm and fuzzy. Obie did have some health problems during his later years. He spent a number of years in personal care homes needing attention. Jessie, at the same time, had failing health and was in a separate home. I think it is one of those situations where Jessie just had the sheer will to live, to provide the support for Obie that her love had demonstrated over the years. I think we should all stop and recognize that. I am sure Obie was very grateful for that support.
Obie Baizley was a pillar of our community. I knew him as Mr. Baizley. As a young man growing up in Riverview, I had the dubious distinction of following his sons through Riverview Elementary School, through Churchill High School. You would often hear of the Baizleys, and I think they were a reflection of Obie. Both sons and daughter very involved, very athletic, particularly Don was playing all kinds of sports encouraged by his father. I think Don had a lacrosse stick in the community before anybody really knew what lacrosse was. It was just the nature of the family. That said a lot about Obie, too, because Obie was always involved in his family's life, whether it was through the community club, where he served as president, whether it was through the church, whether it was through his activities in the Kinsmen organization or with the home and school association. Obie was always involved in the lives of the community and in the lives of his family.
Being a young man at the time, and at that time, there were those in the community that you not only respected, but you carried around a certain amount of fear for, and Obie was one of those gentlemen. Not that he struck fear in our hearts, but you just knew that when Obie was around you needed to be on your best behaviour. You needed to pay attention to what you were doing because it did not take much, Obie did not have to say much. He was one of those adults in our community that could just give you that steely look and you knew that you had better pay attention to your activity. So Obie definitely left his mark not only at the Legislature but on his community, and not only with people of his own generation, but those of us in younger generations that had an opportunity to witness his activities.
We talk in this House and certainly in the last number of weeks we have focussed on the potential flood, flooding of rivers, and the devastation, and, certainly, we all lived through that in 1997 in Winnipeg and in 1999 across the province.
Obie's family residence was in Riverview from 1946 to 1972. Obie's family lived through the devastation of the 1950 flood. Their house would have had water over the main floor. At that time that whole area was evacuated, and I am sure that was part of the motivation for Obie to get involved in public life, rebuilding that community. I am sure Obie had lots of words around the Cabinet table regarding the need for the floodway in the Duff Roblin administration. So Obie is I think a reflection, through his involvement in the community, through his involvement in politics, of what we all strive to be, somebody who is looking out for the best interests of Manitobans.
I first came to know Mr. Baizley–and he has had an impact on my own political career. My first real knowledge of Mr. Baizley came as a young man when my father ran for the Liberals against Mr. Baizley, against Obie Baizley in the constituency of Osborne. At that time, as at this time, people who chose to serve public life made sacrifices. Obie's profession was a chiropractor. He was well renowned for his expertise in that field, although not many people took advantage of the services of chiropractors in those days. Certainly, if one needed the attention, Obie was there and Obie was very good at what he did. But he set that aside to serve the people of Manitoba and he did so for a number of years. He was a gentleman, a man with class.
I remember as a young man and being competitive by nature, you naturally wanted your dad to win. We had gone to the same churches as the Baizleys. We went to the same school as the Baizleys. We went to the same community centres as the Baizleys. We had friends who had brothers and sisters who were friends of the Baizleys, and living a block apart it was interesting times.
I even remember back then–and I know Brian is with us here today–one of the methods for getting the message out was bumper stickers. There were a lot of people in our community who did not have cars, but those who did were encouraged to put a bumper sticker on the back of their car declaring who they were supporting, who they were going to vote for. Certainly, being somewhat mischievous young people from time to time in our community, although in a good-natured way, and trying to help out who we wanted to win, there would be the occasional bumper sticker disappear, not that I or any of my friends had anything to do with it, not that Brian or any of his friends had anything to do with it. But I do remember some discussions with my dad, and Brian has recounted to me some discussions with his father, on how important it was for us to set those friendships aside and to let the process follow through and to let the politics play out and whoever won, won; that was the will of the people. So that was one of my early lessons in politics.
I also remember the day of the election when all the votes were counted and Obie won by quite a substantial margin, and, naturally, our family was a little disappointed, and as a young man sometimes you are a little angry that things did not go your way. But I remember my father saying, well, we have to walk down to Obie's office–they both had campaign offices on Osborne Street–and we have to congratulate Obie, which we did. I must say Obie and his family and Jessie were extremely gracious as they always were, and, again, another lesson in politics well learned.
I would just like to emphasize again what great pillars of the community both Obie and Jessie were. I think that is obvious to anybody who knows their family. You see the reflection of both parents in their children. Brian has chosen to follow his father's career as a chiropractor and I think that in itself says a lot. We also know what great contributions Brian and Don have made, not only to their professions but to the community as a whole, and that is a reflection not only of Obie but of Jessie and the sacrifices they were prepared to make for their community. So I just want to pass on my condolences to Brian and I know he will pass them to the rest of the family, our sense of sorrow for the loss of both Obie and Jessie.
Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Seine River): Mr. Speaker, I just want to put a few brief comments on the record about my association with Obie Baizley. He spent the latter part of his life as a resident at Meadowood Manor Personal Care Home in my constituency. I recall probably the first year that I sat in the Chair where you now sit that I knew Obie through my association with the PC party and had met him on occasion but did not know him extremely well. I looked up into the public gallery and spotted him sitting up there. I interrupted the proceedings and our former Clerk, Binx Remnant, came rushing to the Chair to tell me what years he had served and in which constituency. He was a very modest individual as well. I interrupted the proceedings and recognized him, and I recall he looked a little shocked. He just kind of waved. He did not even stand to be acknowledged as the members were acknowledging his presence in the House.
During the 1999 campaign, he was not very well, and his son had been taking him for a walk down St. Anne's Road. He spotted myself and my volunteers at approximately four-thirty, five o'clock in the afternoon on the corner of Nova Vista and St. Anne's Road, Burma-shaving. He stopped on the curb of the boulevard and he was watching the proceedings. So when there was a break in the traffic I rushed over to speak to him and shake his hand. His son said he was not sure that he knew what was going on, but when I told him who I was and why I was there, a big smile broke across his face. I am certain that the partisan party politics he had still registered with him, although he was not able to respond. His son stood there with him sitting in the wheelchair for quite some time and then waved as they moved on. I found that quite touching.
So I would like to send my condolences to Obie's family and acknowledge the years he served in this Legislature and the contribution he made to the lives of Manitobans. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed and so ordered.
Would the honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate their support for this motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Elman Kreisler Guttormson
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the Member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard), that this House convey to the family of the late Elman Kreisler Guttormson, who served as a member of the Legislative Assembly for Manitoba, its sincere sympathy in their bereavement and its appreciation of his devotion to duty in a useful life of active community and public service, and that Mr. Speaker be requested to forward a copy of this resolution to the family.
Mr. Doer: Mr. Guttormson was elected to this Legislative Assembly in Manitoba in 1956 and served in this Legislature until 1969. It is a privilege to rise today to reflect on his life as a former MLA and to offer condolences to his brother and sister and to his five children and 11 grandchildren.
Mr. Speaker, Elman was a caring and generous man, fully dedicated to his family, his friends and his work. In 1952, he married Hildur Thorsteinson, and, over the 44 years of their marriage, devoted their lives to raising their family. He was greatly devoted to the constituency and the constituents of the Interlake region, and he served, I believe, in the St. George constituency for those 13 years.
Elman grew up in Lundar, and they moved to Winnipeg in 1946, where he began his career for the Winnipeg Free Press. His career spanned over 45 years. He started as a copy boy. He moved on to cover most of the major beats for the paper as a reporter, and many of us will recall reading his columns and his articles on the horses or the horse racing as a reporter that covered horse racing at Assiniboine Downs. I did not take his advice enough times, I do not think, in terms of the horses that he had predicted would do well.
I noted, interestingly enough, that he, as an MLA and a police reporter for the Free Press, persuaded the local RCMP to accompany him during their capture of Percy Moggey, one of Canada's 10 most wanted criminals at the time. This individual, of course, I remember as a child reading or hearing about the story about his great escape, escaping from Stony Mountain Penitentiary. He seemed to have been able to not only have been an MLA and write the story, but have access to this wonderful part of our Manitoba history.
I know Norm Donen [phonetic] knew Elman and talked about his vibrant intensity about his work and his dedication to his readers. Certainly we know the job of Whip is a very difficult one, and we can appreciate his dedication to his caucus members in that capacity. He was a very well-respected member of this Legislature, very well-respected by his constituents, and he was a very respected journalist.
One of his greatest accomplishments as reporter was winning the national newspaper award in 1962 for that same coverage and the capture of the escaped criminal Percy Moggey. It is interesting he was both an MLA and a reporter at the time, but those were different times, I suppose. In his career, he became editor and remained in that position until he retired in 1993.
I know he was a man of many interests. I know he liked to travel considerably. I know he was an individual that kept a lifelong involvement in the Liberal Party of Canada. He was owner of a major enterprise, a champion-ship-stake horse. He loved sports, avid baseball player, curler and golfer, and, as I said, he loved to travel far and wide in this wonderful world.
He was respected by his colleagues, as I understand it, from all sides of the House. He will be dearly missed by his family, his friends and his colleagues, and today I would like to join with my colleagues in paying tribute to this dedicated and generous individual who has not only touched so many Manitobans in his capacity as an elected representative but has also touched many people through the newspaper columns that he wrote and most particularly his columns and his material on the horse racing industry and horse people in his coverage at Assiniboia Downs.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I rise to second this motion of condolence to the family of Elman Guttormson. Elman served for many years as an MLA. He was born in Lundar and represented the constituency of St. George. He was born really on the eve of the Depression, so his early years were the Depression in Manitoba. When he had grown up and came to Winnipeg he started as a copy boy with the Winnipeg Free Press and gradually worked his way up, had a number of major beats, as has been referred, wrote with some passion about sports and horse racing, and certainly had quite an accomplished career as a reporter winning the national newspaper award in 1962 for his story and his involvement with the story of Percy Moggey.
When I served as a member of Parliament in Portage-Interlake for several years, the history of Percy Moggey was revived with sort of rebuilding of the cabin or a mock simulated cabin that Percy Moggey had and lived in following his escape. That cabin was on the edge of Eriksdale, out in the bush, and of course it now is becoming increasingly a tourism site remembering the legend of Percy Moggey but also in a sense commemorating the historic role that Elman Guttormson had in leading to the capture of Percy Moggey at that time.
Elman left a legacy as a lifelong Liberal. Many in his family have gone on to be heavily involved in the Liberal Party and perhaps most notably Barb Axworthy who married Bob Axworthy, and she has participated in many campaigns subsequently.
So, a tribute to Elman Guttormson, his role and his contributions to Manitoba as an MLA, as an avid sportsman, as a national award-winning newspaper reporter. These, I think, are important to highlight in offering today condolences to the family and family members as tribute in memory of Elman Guttormson.
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): On behalf of all of my colleagues, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Elman Guttormson. Mr. Guttormson served the Liberal Party of Manitoba as the representative for St. George from 1956 to 1966, a time of considerable growth and change for the province. Hailing from the Lundar area, he later moved to Winnipeg where he worked for the Winnipeg Free Press for four and a half decades. He moved up the ladder, working his way from a position as a copy boy to cover most of the major beats as a reporter. One of his most memorable stories, which has been referenced by the Premier (Mr. Doer) as well as the Leader of the Liberal Party, was being able to accompany the RCMP as they captured the elusive criminal Percy Moggey. These research and writing skills would serve him well in his role in this Legislature.
An avid sportsman, Mr. Guttormson was involved with horse racing, curling, golfing and as a pitcher for teams such as Morse Place and the Elmwood Giants. These teamwork and strategizing skills also served him well as he represented the people of the St. George constituency. Mr. Guttormson is remembered by his friends as a man of intensity and dedication to all that he pursued, both fine skills for a man choosing to work on behalf of all Manitobans. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Tom Nevakshonoff (Interlake): As the current member of the Legislative Assembly for the Interlake, it is my honour today to rise and speak on the career and life of Mr. Elman Guttormson, who passed away on October 10 of the year 2000. Mr. Guttormson was a long-time member of the Legislature for St. George, having served for some 13 years from 1956 until he was defeated in 1969 by Bill Uruski in a breakthrough election for the New Democratic Party. He tried to regain the seat once more in 1973 before retiring from politics at a time when Liberal fortunes were in decline in this province. On that basis, I think one can assume that it was not because the people of the Interlake were displeased with his performance in any way, rather his political career came to a close more because its end coincided with the rise of the left in this province, orchestrated by one of its greatest leaders, the Right Honourable Edward Schreyer.
Mr. Speaker, I took the liberty of contacting Mr. Bill Uruski, who fought two elections against Mr. Guttormson, to get his impressions. Mr. Uruski stated that it was largely because of redistribution of the riding and the fact that the Conservative Party ran a candidate who also lived up the No. 6 line on which the town of Lundar is located. It was largely because of those two factors that Mr. Uruski was allowed to essentially come up the middle and win the seat in the final count. Mr. Uruski said that he was told by constituents at the door that Mr. Guttormson was a very personable MLA who excelled at developing sincere personal relationships with the people he served. Mr. Uruski's final word was that Mr. Guttormson was very much a gentleman and a man of his word and that he served his constituents well during his tenure in office.
I never personally had the honour of meeting with Mr. Guttormson, but from what I gather from media reports and such he was indeed a colourful person who lived a unique, fascinating life which gave him the experience and developed in him the interpersonal skills which made him a natural for a political career. His work as a journalist gave him the training necessary to be an effective politician, in that the issues of the day throughout his lifetime were foremost in his mind.
Indeed, although he served for 13 years in the Legislature, it is apparent that his career in journalism never did cease over that period of time. As an example, I would refer you to one of Mr. Guttormson's greatest achievements, the winning of the National Newspaper Award for Spot News coverage in 1961 for his story and for the role he played in the capture of Percy Moggey, as has been referenced already a number of times. Mr. Moggey was an escaped convict from the Stony Mountain penitentiary and remained at large for several months, I think, seven or eight months, before he was finally captured in the fall of that year. Those must have been colourful times indeed.
In reference to that, I would like to just quote from one newspaper article at the time: "John Guttormson, his son, remembers the summer night in 1961 when he woke up and saw his father quietly stepping out of their Lundar home, gun in hand." Not a typical activity of an MLA today, I am sure.
I had the good fortune last summer to be taken out to the restored hideout of Percy Moggey by the good people of the Eriksdale Chamber of Commerce and can therefore attest to the fact that his capture must have been a hair-raising event, given the remoteness of the area and bearing in mind what kind of man this criminal must have been to have holed up in such a place as this for such a long period of time.
Mr. Guttormson was no stranger to ingenuity, and he orchestrated the presentation of the story in the media in such unique fashion that his paper the Winnipeg Free Press ran their story exclusively on the front page the following day, while the rival newspaper missed the story entirely.
In closing, as current MLA in the Legislative Assembly for the Interlake, I want to pass on the condolences of this Government and of the people of the Interlake to the Guttormson family in their time of sorrow. Be consoled by the fact that he was a fine man and lived his life in the service to the community for which he earned respect and a place in history. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Harry Enns (Lakeside): Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to add my comments to those of the First Minister (Mr. Doer), those of my leader and other members who have spoken. I had the distinct privilege of sitting with Elman in this Chamber for three years, from the years '66 to '69, and he was a great MLA to be with in the Chamber, as he has been described, a very active MLA. I think it is fair to say he was a very close confidant of the then-Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Gildas Molgat. He sat right beside the Leader of the Opposition in the front row, and those are some of my House memories that I have of him. When he took something on, such as questionable contracts that were awarded–the building of the Grand Rapids Dam–he fought things like when discussions were underway with respect to the flooding of South Indian Lake. Those were highlight issues that I recall of his legislative career.
I have a more personal reason for feeling very close to Elman. The honourable member from Interlake is partly correct. In truth though, in '69, in the new redistribution there was a recognition of the ongoing shift of rural populations in Manitoba, and the Interlake lost two seats. Prior to when Mr. Guttormson sat in this Chamber, the Interlake had five legislative seats which are now reduced to three. It is kind of a sober comment on rural depopulation, if you like.
It was my good fortune to inherit the greater part of St. George. Communities of St. Ambroise, St. Laurent, Oak Point, Lundar his home community, all became part of the enlarged constituency of Lakeside that I inherited. That was also the first election that this enlarged constituency was called Lakeside. My original seat that I won and that brought me into this Chamber was called Rockwood-Iberville and that disappeared in the '69 election along with seats like St. George.
Following somebody like Mr. Guttormson in servicing the constituents is a daunting task and that is when you really get to know what kind of an MLA the member was. I quickly became aware in canvassing and in working with the people of his home town and Lundar, around Oak Point, in St. Laurent particularly, St. Ambroise, that I had some very heavy footsteps to follow. Elman was a very hardworking MLA. Elman did something that is normally pretty difficult, particularly for rural MLAs. I know it is not quite the case for urban MLAs, but for Elman to have successfully represented St. George while living in the City of Winnipeg, that demonstrates his homework in the constituency. Rural voters can be pretty rough on an elected public official if they feel that his or her interests are not always first and foremost on behalf of the people who elected him.
Now, a lot of that has to do with the very strong family ties that the Guttormson family has in the community of Lundar. They are still very strong there. Brother John is still one of the main merchants in the community of Lundar and very much involved in family affairs.
So with those few comments to the family, to surviving members of Elman Guttormson's family and his extended family, particularly those living in the Lundar area, my condolences on this occasion. It was a privilege to have sat in the House with Mr. Guttormson.
Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): Mr. Speaker, I, too, would also like to offer my condolences to the family of Elman Guttormson. I got to meet Mr. Guttormson when he was the MLA for St. George which is now part of the Interlake constituency.
Elman worked very hard for the people of the constituency of St. George and for all of the Interlake area, and he made a great contribution to the whole development of the Interlake region. One of his greatest accomplishments was the bridge across the Lake Manitoba Narrows where a ferry had served the area for many years. The bridge was a great improvement and certainly a major accomplishment. Although the bridge is named the D. L. Campbell Bridge, it could easily have been named the D. L. Campbell and the Elman Guttormson Bridge. This certainly gave the area a full year-round crossing of the Lake Manitoba Narrows and was a major accomplishment.
So it is certainly my pleasure to offer my condolences to the Guttormson family. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Bonnie Korzeniowski (St. James): I rise to pay tribute to Mr. Guttormson. My colleagues have spoken extensively on his life and accomplishments, and I also note that he was also praised by Gil Molgat as a man interested in every subject. I had never met the man myself, but I do know his brother John and family quite well from weekends, years of weekends spent in Lundar where I have family.
I just wish to add my respects and condolences to them and family members. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion? Agreed?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed and so ordered. Would honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate their support for the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Hon. Gord Mackintosh (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, just on a matter of House business, if you could canvass the House to determine if there is leave not to see the clock until this next resolution has been dealt with.
Mr. Speaker: Is there agreement of the House to not see the clock until the next resolution is completed? [Agreed]
Introduction of Guests
Mr. Speaker: Prior to recognizing the honourable First Minister, I would like to draw the attention of all honourable members to the loge to my right, where we have with us Eugene Kostyra, former MLA for Seven Oaks. Also in the public gallery we have Leonard Harapiak, former MLA for Swan River.
On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you here today.
* * *
Harry M. Harapiak
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the Minister of Agriculture (Ms. Wowchuk), that this House convey to the family of the late Harry Harapiak, who served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, its sincere sympathy in their bereavement and its appreciation of his devotion to duty in a useful life of active community and public service, and that Mr. Speaker be requested to forward a copy of this resolution to the family.
Mr. Doer: I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to reflect on the life of former MLA Harry Harapiak, and on behalf of Ginny and myself, I wish to offer our condolences to Carol, to his five children, Marianne, Mark, Christine, Kelly and Chad, his six grandchildren and all his siblings and their family members, Steve, John, Walter, Rosann, Pat and Harvey.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is going to be tough for all of us to speak, although I note that the Harapiak family is so strong at these times. I mentioned to Ginny that the condolence motions were taking place, and every time I mentioned Harry's name she still cannot keep from crying.
I think it is safe to say that a lot of people in this Chamber, over the years, are respected, some people are feared, some people are taken for granted, some people have a combination of all those emotions, but from our perspective, Mr. Speaker, Harry was loved, loved by his whole caucus, and I dare say by all sides of the Chamber. His quiet integrity and strength in every area of his life, his strong values of justice, equality, the respect he had for everyone, everyone, no matter where they were from, always transcended any discussions we had in this Chamber or in our caucus or in our coffee shops or in his constituency.
He was a family man, and he was part of a wonderful family. I guess the Democrats have the Kennedys; the New Democrats have the Harapiak family as part of our wonderful leadership, and there is another generation, which we are all very proud of.
Harry was a wonderful member of our caucus. He took over from Ron McBride in the 1981 election. He was soon after his election in 1981, elected and selected for Cabinet. He won the general elections in '81, '86 and '88. He was not a candidate in the 1990 election because he saw the change in the boundaries, where the old The Pas boundaries were changed, four or five northern seats became four. He felt very strongly that the changing nature of the boundaries, the changing demographics of the Aborginal people, something he had fought for in all his years as an MLA, had to be reflected in the new constituency. As always, he always put himself behind the interests of his community, his constituents, his values of social and economic justice.
I recall his days in Cabinet before I was elected, when he was Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for the Community and Economic Development Fund. I remember him arguing the return on investments on some of those CEDC funds relative to other loans that were made by normal banks, but the need for having that kind of risk in investment for Aboriginal people and northern people. I remember his role as the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Manitoba Natural Resources Development Fund.
I served with him when he was Minister of Northern Affairs and when he was Minister of Government Services. In 1987, he was selected as Minister responsible for Workers' Compensation Board, and he had to bring in a number of changes that were controversial at the time. Probably Premier Pawley could not have picked a better person in those days, because Harry Harapiak as Cabinet minister would speak with such conviction and sincerity about the needs of disabled people and disabled workers and family members to have these increased entitlements that any opposite view was not successful in this Chamber. Minister Harapiak was very successful in communicating not only the substance of changes but the human need and the human priority for those changes for disabled people and disabled workers.
I particularly recall Harry's contribution to our caucus in 1988. We were a party that went into the election in very serious difficulty. We joked that we were not peaking too early. I think we were at 6 or 7 percent in the polls in that election. Harry was one of the successful members of our caucus between 1988 and 1990. We would not be in Government today, even though it took us a long time, if it was not for people like Harry Harapiak, who knew that we had to work five times harder when you are third party to get one-tenth the coverage, who knew that you had to keep true to your constituents when the political mood had swung against you, be true to our principles in the decisions we were making, and work as hard as you could every day to try to restore the ship, if you will, the party and the caucus, and the movement that he had worked all his life to build, and he worked in those two years to rebuild, to allow us to go to the next stage in the 1990 election.
I also remember his recruiting Oscar Lathlin, or recruiting the member, to run in the 1990 election, a Chief in his own community, and providing advice and counsel to him in his work as a new MLA in a totally different cultural environment that we exist in compared to his work as a Chief, and making that transition with some members of the community easier for the present incumbent and now Minister of Conservation, Minister Lathlin.
Harry was a hardworking, fair-minded person. He was a devoted family person. He was kind of a person who walked softly, and I do not like to use the term "carried a big stick," but walked softly, and when he spoke on any issue at any time you did not want to be on the other side of the argument or the debate, because again his values of justice, his values of integrity, and his absolute sincerity meant that he carried the day in our caucus and he carried the day for a lot of decisions that were made in this Legislature on behalf of people.
Harry returned to the railway. I remember him in caucus though as a very physically fit man. I could not keep up with Harry and Jay Cowan when we went cross-country skiing, and I was not in bad shape. It was almost like these Swedish commercials, they would just head off on those cross-country skis and they just kept going. I was pleased, when he lapped me in one of our runs at Birds Hill Park, he did not make a point of it. Again, I thought I was in good shape. He and Jay, of course, were very, very active outdoors people. For those of us who got a chance to participate with them, it was a wonderful chance, not only to get some fresh air, but also get some wonderful conversation with beautiful people. I know that others in our caucus, including Eugene Kostyra, travelled. I think they paddled some rivers and rented some areas in Spruce Woods together every year for purposes of enjoying our wonderful outdoors.
Harry was a dedicated person to his constituents. I recall attending meetings during elections, before elections and after elections. Even today, when I visit The Pas or Swan River, but particularly The Pas or any part of The Pas, people in his community are missing his contributions and, before he passed away last year, were always asking about him and Carol and the family.
He was a devout member of the Catholic Church. His faith grew into service as a layperson in the Christian community. Apparently, in the '70s, he looked at becoming a deacon, and he fulfilled his goal when he was ordained in 1999 at the Catholic church in St. Timothy Parish in Winnipeg. I have talked to Father Pat, who worked with Harry, worked with him in his accomplishment of a deacon in the church.
He was an individual, as I say, that was a working person. He farmed. He worked on the railway. He was fair-minded. He loved Carol and the family. He was devoted to his children and his grandchildren and his other siblings, who are here today. He was a person, though, without any pretence. Harry would not meet his constituents sometimes in his ministerial office. He would go down to the cafeteria, where he felt more at home.
His roots stayed with Harry throughout his elected and non-elected life. He was an individual, as I say, that had provided us in caucus a great deal of strength. My wife, Ginny, worked with him when she worked in the Legislative Building and feels that he was one of the finest people to work with.
So, on behalf of our party and our caucus and the people of Manitoba, I want to thank Harry for his wonderful contributions to public service, his commitments to his family, his church, his community, his province and his country, and we miss him.
Hon. Rosann Wowchuk (Minister of Agriculture and Food): I am very pleased to be able to speak today about my brother, my friend and my mentor. It is not very often that an individual gets to speak about their sibling in this House, so for me this is a real honour.
Many of you that will speak today will speak about your memories, about Harry and how you worked with him. I would like to share with you some thoughts and memories from our family and from our relationship with Harry, with his wife, Carole, and their five children and his grandchildren, who knew him as Gigi.
As I prepared for this, I had many thoughts about Harry and our family. I came to realize that there was certainly not a shortage of material to draw from. The real thought was: How do I summarize this in a few minutes on a life that was so full?
I hope what I share with you will reflect the essence of what I believe is a very remarkable person, his attributes, his passion and his values, and perhaps a little bit of humour about his life.
Harry's life was well grounded from the onset, born on a family farm to a farm family of eight, in the community of Cowan, where I continue to reside. I believe it was here that his life took root, later to be nurtured in other places. Family members recall his early passion for growing things, a passion that continued, planting trees, planting garlic and a huge raspberry patch. Some of us believe that the time he spent with Mother gardening and doing those farm-related activities provided the foundation for his work ethic and community involvement.
Family members will remember that Harry wanted everything to be a challenge. I share a story about when he lived on the farm and we had to haul wood to heat the family home. Harry provided a long path around the farmyard that eventually ended up at the house and unknowingly this served as a great preparation for the competitive nature Harry had, on the ball field, in the curling rink, on cross-country ski trips and canoe competitions with political colleagues years later.
At the tender age of 17, a mysterious force lured this prairie farm boy to the hard rock mines of Sudbury and the community of Constan. It was here that he showed his capabilities to adapt to changing requirements. At the time, an individual had to be 18 to work underground. Harry was only 17, but he produced his brother's birth certificate, of his brother John who was 18, and he was hired. Luckily, at that time, there was no photo ID.
It was there that Harry met Carol and they were married and soon after moved west where Carol was given an immersion program into agriculture and the amenities of rural life. Although I did not appreciate the challenges that Carol faced coming to the prairies, I do now appreciate and admire her determination to take on that culture shock that she faced. And it was here on the prairies, in Cowan, that Harry and Carol had their five children. They were born very close together. Within about five years they had five children, a very short time range and this set the stage for Harry and Carol to develop their parenting skills. I know he was always a loving and a devoted parent. I am told by the children, although patient there were times and they knew the definite boundaries if they crossed, they crossed at their own peril.
The demands of railway work saw the family move to The Pas. With children in school, Harry became a school trustee showing his commitment to the needs of his children and others. In the years that followed he moved into provincial politics. I remember how proud we all were when Harry won the nomination for the NDP, and when he won the seat in the provincial Legislature our parents were the proudest that they could be. They were extremely proud of his commitment to social justice.
Although I did not have the opportunity to serve in the Legislature with Harry, my brother Leonard did and Harry taught each of us a great deal about politics and people. He was a superb door-to-door campaigner with a genuine interest in people. He was the source of a lot of advice, and when I became a member of the Legislature and later a member of the Cabinet and government I knew that I could always call on Harry for advice. When on a difficult issue, you knew that if you had that discussion, when the discussion was over he would have helped you to come to a resolution on the issue.
After leaving politics, after leaving the political arena, Harry concluded his paid working career as an engineer with VIA Rail. Then it was time for more work with the church and more time as a grandparent. Some people saw the move from politics to serve as a deacon as a bit of an anomaly, a bit of a contradiction. I do not think it was that at all. It was a simple move to serve the needs of people in another way. In his capacity as a deacon, he again touched the lives of many.
As I think about Harry, the term "humility" comes to mind. In his role as a public servant he sought no glory. He did not do anything for recognition, he did things because it was the right thing to do. He was always supportive of others who shared his beliefs, and he was quick to recognize the contributions of others yet he sought no recognition for his own efforts.
But let me not mislead you. This strong, humble servant had a strong set of convictions and he would certainly rise to defend them. Though he preferred defences of thoughtful persuasion, there are a few individuals here, I am sure, who can attest to his ability to apply other forms of persuasion. On one rare occasion, I am told, when this did happen Harry truly agonized but he would not avoid, dare I say, taking the matters into his own hands, and those were very powerful hands. Some of you will remember the incident.
It will certainly surprise some of you, certainly not members of our family, but there was a very competitive streak in this humble man. He enjoyed a challenge. He never sought to excel by having someone else put down but he did certainly enjoy raising the bar, as the Premier (Mr. Doer) referred to, in his skiing. But there was also the golf course where my brother could tell you the stories about how he raised the bar in golfing, on the curling rink. Also, I can tell you that there was competition with family members about who could grow the biggest tomatoes, the earliest potatoes, who could find the best berry patch.
Harry had been away from the farm for a while and had forgotten about mushroom patches, but very soon Sil and I were able to introduce him to those mushroom patches, and he could get in on that competition as well until I learned that he did not enjoy cleaning those mushrooms very much.
Harry was a wise steward of resources. He always made sure he had good value. Things could not go to waste. If there were berries on the bush they had to be picked whether they were made into juice or jam or jelly or a pie. He was also one of the original composters and recyclers, and he is known to have collected many a pop can and many a beer can along roads and trails and have them recycled.
Harry was very much a man committed to community and family. He influenced the lives of many. He, in turn, was also influenced by those around him and certainly his wife, Carol, influenced him and was a very important part of his political career and all of his careers. I want to at this time pay tribute to Carol and the part she had in my brother's career. His children and grandchildren are a wonderful testament to his commitment to family. It was not only his immediate family. There were his nieces and nephews and many other friends who will remember Harry when he came to spend his summers at the farm. A visit to the farm could have meant anything from building a dam on the river with his grandson or having a fire every night in the yard and many marshmallow and wiener roasts.
Harry had an undividing faith in the good of people. I want to share a story with you that his children shared with us. His children tell the story about one Christmas when Harry was coming home from Mass he met a man who was broke and hungry. Rather than give the man money right away, Harry asked him to come home for Christmas dinner. Carol set another place at the table, and the man became known as Cowboy Bob to the children. The next day Harry loaned Cowboy Bob the money and sent him away. Harry's friends suggested that he had been taken. Some two years later a note from Bob arrived with all the money returned. Again, Harry's faith in people was well founded.
I want to tell you that there were many others of these stories that Carol did not even know about, but after Harry's funeral many, many cards and letters came from people who had indicated ways that Harry had helped them. So how do I conclude this tribute to a public servant, a proud railroader, a man of the soil and a model family member and a man of faith? My words would be inadequate. He walked quietly among us with a clear sense of direction, but his footsteps are indelible.
This was a man with a purpose and man with values. There is a Jewish saying, which I would like to paraphrase, which speaks to the needs of personal responsibility as well as commitment to the service of others, and I quote: If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, then what am I? If not now, then when? If not me, then who?
John Graves said: Success lies not in doing what others consider to be great but in doing what you believe is right.
Both of these capture much of Harry's approach to life, and both of these are quotes that were used at Harry's funeral by my brother Leonard. He did not wait for others to do what he believed in. He did his part, not because he was told to do so, but because he believed it was his responsibility, a responsibility shared with family and community.
For our family there is a great void in our lives with the departure of my brother, my sister-in-law's husband, and all family members; however, the size of this void is somewhat smaller when we view it against the mountain of experience and memories he has given us. I would like to take the liberty of using the language of our grandparents and just say: Vichnaya pamyat. Eternal memory, Harry.
Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): On behalf of all of our colleagues on this side, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Harry Harapiak, including, of course, his sister, the Honourable Rosann Wowchuk, Minister of Agriculture. To say that Mr. Harapiak had a varied and interesting life would certainly be an understatement. He was no stranger to hard work, having worked as a hard rock miner in Sudbury and as a beekeeper and a farmer in Manitoba. He loved the land and the people he strove to serve.
Mr. Harapiak was first elected for the NDP in The Pas in 1981, sitting until 1990. He served his government and his constituents in a number of roles, including being Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for the Communities Economic Development Fund, Minister responsible for the Manitoba Natural Resources Development Act, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister of Government Services and the Workers Compensation Board.
Politics came naturally to Mr. Harapiak, and I would just add that, as the minister said, her brother Leonard also served in the Pawley government as she now serves in the Doer government. Although we say, maybe much to our chagrin on this side, politics came easy to you, I think it was a token of what your parents taught you about the value of hard work. I think that has served your family very, very well.
The contributions this family has made to Manitoba politics are considerable, and we should acknowledge the many sacrifices people make in the course of public service. Mr. Harapiak was a deeply religious man, eventually ordained a deacon of the Catholic church in St. Timothy Parish in Winnipeg. As well, he was a devoted family man, adored by his wife, his five children and his grandchildren. He is clearly missed by all who knew him, and I would believe that the story or the chapter would say a life's work well done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister of Transportation and Government Services): I have given a few speeches in this House over the years, but forgive me if this one is a little bit more difficult. It is more difficult because I am afraid I am probably going to be a little bit more emotional than Harry would have wanted, I think we probably all will.
There are a lot of things I want to say. I was part of the group that was elected in 1981, November 17, to be specific. A lot of us said goodbye to Harry on November 17 last year. There was an irony in that. I got to know Harry in one chapter of his life, but it was a life of many chapters. Rosann mentioned Harry growing up in Cowan. I really wonder what it is in the soil or the air in Cowan and the family upbringing, because every one of the Harapiaks I have knows are just remarkable people, and obviously having served with three in this Legislature and having met other family members, and working with family members, it is a remarkable family.
It is interesting, because you learn things from people. I learned a lot from Harry, sitting in this Legislature in 1981. It was easy, actually, to get to know people in those days. We had three evening sittings a week. If you were an out-of-town member, like I was, we rented an apartment. Harry was just a couple of blocks away. Back in those days, before my daughter and my son were born, we actually used to commute back and forth. It is ironic my wife is actually driving to Winnipeg right now. We are actually going full circle. You got to know people. I got to know Harry very well on a personal basis.
I also got to know Harry in a lot of other ways too. Being a northern MLA, we spent a lot of time travelling together. Unlike the Premier, I stayed away from trying to compete with Harry at canoeing, or anything. I know how com-petitive he was. Besides, I knew that either it would be the Premier or Jay Cowan that would be trying that out. I tended to play another role.
We travelled a lot with the working group on Limestone. One thing I found with Harry is whenever I travelled with him–and this is really important for me, when I look at what an MLA is all about–I can say without a doubt that Harry Harapiak was probably the most popular MLA in his own constituency that I have ever seen, and one of the most popular people in northern Manitoba that I have ever seen. I say that, having been here through six elections, and striving myself to represent my constituency as best I can. He had respect from any and everyone in his constituency, Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, it did not matter which community. That was the kind of person that Harry was.
He had a lot of interest in issues too. Rosann talked about Harry's humility. There was another thing too that I found with Harry. He constantly was pushing issues. The north feeding the north, it really brought together Harry's farm background. I remember debates in this House, and with global warming, prime farmland is not northern Manitoba. He was just absolutely committed to that, dare I say the Port of Churchill. Harry knew every last one of the stops along the way. He knew every one of the bumps in the track, from his railroad days, and a big supporter of the Port of Churchill.
In his own constituency, he was a real advocate. People can still look to some of the things that we were able to do in all the communities in that area, in terms of community facilities, Easterville road. People still remember that to this day.
There is another side of Harry as well that I got to learn about sitting, sometimes in late night sittings. It probably is one thing I always will remember about him, in terms of his role in this Legislature. I remember sitting in Question Period, and the issue of the day was workers compensation. Harry would get up and talk about injured workers and their families. I am sure there have been a lot of ministers at Workers Compensation who have a good sense of how important workers compensation is, but Harry had an unique perspective.
I did not know, by the way, that Harry started working at Inco in Sudbury at the age of 17. I actually started at Inco in Thompson when I was a summer student at 16. That also was not supposed to happen, but that is another story. In Harry's case, Inco in Sudbury in the 1950s, I mean you broke your leg and you went to work. You did not take time off. This was the 1950s. Harry knew this stuff personally; he had been through it. When he talked about workers compensation and injured workers and their families, it was because he had been there and he had seen it and he had felt it.
We often forget how much of what we take for granted in our society today was not always there. I often think, myself, of the grandfather I never knew who lost his eye and died at a very early age, I am sure, because of the life that he faced. I think of that generational shift that has happened, that in Harry's lifetime you can go from being forced to work with a broken leg at Inco in Sudbury to today where I see a lot of progress. I attended a mine rescue competition in Thompson. I am sure Harry would have loved to have seen the co-operation there and the work going on between both Inco and the Steelworkers.
But, you know what, Harry knew what was at stake. He was not one that would be aggressive with words. I do know the incident Rosann was talking about, but I will save that for another day. You did not push Harry too far, but there was a quiet determination and a fighting spirit in Harry that I learned a lot from. He had been there. One of the reasons he was here was because he was concerned for working people. Harry knew that the fight was not just to move forward but to make sure that we never went back, something we can all dedicate ourselves to.
If I speak a little bit here towards members of the New Democratic Party and our caucus, not wishing to be too partisan in this case, I will tell you one thing. I think Harry was a saint and was fighting for working people, and it is something we should never forget, to continue his fight, to improve the workplace safety and health and provide justice for people through Workers Compensation.
I mentioned about the chapter in Harry's life that I got to know Harry. I wish there had been other chapters. Harry was taken from us far too soon. I will never forget those heady days in 1981, and as the Premier (Mr. Doer) said, the tougher days in 1988, or running into Harry once he left politics. I want to say here, and I know I had the opportunity to share memories at the funeral. That was part of Harry. The church, that was very important to him.
This is part of Harry, too, and maybe I can say that here. Harry was humble. Deep down he was a fighter. He made a huge difference for his constituency, and that is probably the most important thing, the most important place to start. He made a real difference in this province.
I learned a lot from him, and I will say on the record that if I can ever come even close to Harry's dedication to duty, his humility, his sense of purpose, any one of us would be proud to be even close to what Harry was. I will say this on the record. He was, as an individual, about as close to a saint as you can get, and he was a real inspiration for me.
On behalf of my family to his family, I am going to miss him. I have missed him every day since November 17. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I stand to offer condolences to the family and friends of Harry Harapiak, to his wife, to his brother Leonard, to his sister Rosann and to the others in the family.
As we have already heard from those who have spoken so far, Harry has left a legacy in this Chamber and outside. He has been a man who has worked not only within the Legislature but who had a variety of experiences from that of a miner, a farmer, a railway person, to being a deacon. He made contributions when in government as Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister of Government Services, and I think that his contributions in the area of workers' compensation have been noted particularly.
I will be brief because there are many others who want to speak as well, but I wanted to rise and, in particular, offer to the family and to friends on behalf of myself and the Liberal Party of Manitoba sincere condolences on the passing of Harry Harapiak. Thank you.
Mr. Leonard Derkach (Russell): I rise today to offer on behalf of my wife and family our condolences to Carol, Harry's family, to Leonard and to Rosann.
I guess I came to know the Harapiak family when I became a member of the Legislature. It was at that time that I got to know Harry a little bit, but it was at social functions that I think I really came to know the real Harry, and I would have to say that Harry was a good person. On behalf of our party, I represented our party at various functions where Harry and his wife would be as well. Oftentimes, it was not just Harry and his wife but indeed Harry and his whole family. Leonard would be there and Rosann would be there, and it was at these functions that I came to know the family a little better than we get to know each other here in the Assembly.
Although I have to admit we did not see the world from the same political view, we were able to lay aside our partisanship and deal with one another as acquaintances and as friends. Indeed, I would consider Harry and his brother and sister as friends, because they were able to lay aside the partisanship and deal with each other as people, as friends, as acquaintances. It did not matter where I went within the Catholic and Ukrainian community, people who knew Harry, whether it was here or any other part of Manitoba, there was an admiration and a respect for him and his family. That is something you could not get away from. It did not matter what political stripe people were; they had a respect for Harry, the person, and I think for the family as a whole.
So through the years that I knew Harry in this Legislature, there were times when I was able to sit with him and talk about life and talk about our views of the world without any hostility, without shouting at each other but rather trying to understand how each of us looked at the world, how each of us saw Manitoba and how we could contribute to the betterment of this province.
So when I learned of the passing of Harry, it was a bit of a shock to me because I think he went long before his time, a young man at 62 years who still had a lot to contribute to society and to his community. Many of my friends know the Harapiak family and certainly knew Harry, and I had never heard a bad word about the family or about Harry. Indeed, that is a tribute that I think his family can take and know, that he was so well respected by many people throughout the province.
So today I join with my colleagues, and I know it is a special thing for someone, a sibling, to rise in this House and offer condolences to her brother. That was touching. But today I join in expressing condolences on behalf of my family to the Harapiak family, and I join Rosann in the Ukrainian, and bid everlasting memory, Vichnaya pamyat.
Hon. Dave Chomiak (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I last saw Harry about two weeks before he passed on, and that big bear of a man put his arm around me and walked with me from the floor of the place I was speaking up to the podium and wished me well and talked about his son, Mark, coming in a few weeks to perform. After that, I never saw Harry again.
I have just a tiny bit of a different perspective on Harry that I wanted to mention, and that was I had the unique position of being honoured to be a friend of the Harapiak family, who I think are genetically predispositioned to decency. There is a gene in that family that is extraordinary, and it is right throughout the family.
I sang with Mark Harapiak in the choir. Mark and I were in the choir together, and there was this unique circumstance. When Mark had a place here in Winnipeg, Harry used to come and stay at Mark's place, and the guys in the choir thought that Harry was the neatest father, the neatest man around. We just all thought Harry was so cool. No one even knew that he was, like, a Cabinet minister. It did not matter; they just thought that Harry was the coolest father you could have. When I talked with Harry about that later, he also indicated that part of his role with staying with Mark was to sort of check up on him, which was sort of the other side of Harry.
Harry was a man with all of the frailties that we all have. You know, I have spoken in this Chamber about a lot of people, and there have been some wonderful, wonderful comments about a lot of really wonderful people, and I do not want to build up Harry beyond what he was. He was a man, and like a human being like all of us he had his frailties. But if I could live my life in a small way with the kind of commitment he had to his spirituality, if I could live my life with the kind of commitment he had to his family, if I could live my life with the kind of commitment he had to his fellow human beings, then people will be able to say of me what we really can say of Harry, that this place is a far better place because of him.
I would like to also join and say Vichnaya pamyat, Mr. Speaker.
Mrs. Bonnie Mitchelson (River East): Mr. Speaker, I would like to, together with all who have spoken already and those that I know will speak in a very fond way about Harry Harapiak, say that I did have the honour and privilege of serving with Harry in this Legislature from 1986 to 1990. Although I did not get to know Harry well, I do want to indicate that there was never an unkind word spoken or that I heard come out of Harry Harapiak's mouth.
I want to indicate that we always had the opportunity to exchange words that were very pleasant and very respectful of each other. I know that we did not always see eye to eye on the issues of the day or engage in debate on the same side of an issue, but I do want to indicate that I had much respect for him and for Len in the years that he served in this Legislature when Harry and I did.
When I see Rosann as part of the Legislature here today, I have to look back to the strength, I think, and the family values that contributed to seeing so many successful Harapiaks move up through successful different life opportunities. Not only have I had the pleasure and the opportunity to know Harry and Leonard and Rosann, but I have the honour to represent Harvey Harapiak and his family as my constituents.
I do want to indicate that I have had many opportunities to talk to them and discuss issues with them and spend time at their home helping to deal with local community issues that we all felt were very important, whether it be school issues in the community–I know that they have very strong family ties and family values and commitments. I do also respect the fact that Harvey Harapiak and his family did not work on my election campaigns in the River East constituency, but I do know that they went up and worked in Swan River and The Pas. They were very much absent in the River East constituency during election campaigns, because they were helping where they felt they should be and rightfully so where they should be, with family.
It just speaks to the kind of family commitment and the kind of family values that the Harapiak family displays, so I just want to say that I think many times our lives are touched by individuals and families in different circumstances for many, many reasons. I just would like to add to the comments that have already been put on the record and say to Carol, Harry's wife, to his children and grandchildren: Be proud of who your father, your husband and your grandfather was and recognize and realize that he made significant contributions to the life of this province as a result of the activities and the decisions that he made and undertook on behalf of Manitobans and those who he represented.
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): I rise to pay respect and to extend condolences to the family of Harry Harapiak. I had the distinct pleasure and honour, Mr. Speaker, of having met and known Harry for a few years when I was first elected in 1990, of course, as a nominee to run for election. You have an opportunity to meet the incumbents that are with the party that I was about to seek office for. At that time, of course, I had a chance to talk with Harry several times, and, after the election of 1990, there was more opportunity to see Harry when he would drop into the Legislature for a visit.
I want to start by saying that one of the first things that I noticed about Harry was he was very gentle, a very soft-spoken individual, but when he put out his hand to shake your hand, as was a natural reaction on his part, the first thing you could not help but noticing was the size of his hand and his wrist. You wondered, when you were about to shake his hand, whether or not he was about to crush your hand in his, but you were soon to learn that, while he had the ability to do so, he was very kind and very thoughtful and shook your hand in a very firm way, but to make sure that you knew that he was a compassionate individual at the same time.
Harry came from, obviously, a family that was very active and politically interested. I think back in my opportunity in having known Harry and to have had the years to know Leonard and to have worked with Rosann since 1990, to wonder what it was like in the Harapiak family kitchen, around the kitchen table, and the debates that would have occurred and the way the family would have interacted in those years. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in the kitchen and just listened to some of those debates and how those skills would have been honed around that family dinner table, which no doubt contained many lively debates.
Of course, the Harapiak family is a legacy. It has a legacy in public service, I believe, as the Premier (Mr. Doer) has said, perhaps unequalled in the province of Manitoba. The Democrats have the Kennedys, and the New Democrats have the Harapiak family. I think that is an appropriate comparison.
I can remember in 1990 after the election, Harry would come to visit our caucus and, of course, as new MLAs we were a bit taken aback by the Legislature procedures and the activities in this place. We would always look to those members of the Legislature that had many years of experience and ask them for guidance. I know Harry was very much open and approachable to providing that guidance and nurturing that new MLAs would need.
I can remember him sharing stories with us about his years in office, both as a MLA and as a minister, and as many of our colleagues in this House here today have referenced Harry's keen interest in the Workers Compensation system and the act itself, I can remember very clearly Harry talking about his days as a minister working in the Government and the cases that would come to him as the MLA for The Pas that would be Workers Compensation cases, and Harry becoming frustrated. You could sense the frustration in his voice at the slow progress that was being made. He wanted things to work in a much more expedited way to make sure that the families were not disadvantaged, that the injured workers would receive their wage loss and medical care that Harry believed that they required and deserved. I remember, even though he had left office, when we were having that conversation you could still sense the frustration in his voice. So, it was very much an issue that was near and dear to his office even after he had left public service. I know my colleagues had referenced that and that is one of the stories I want to share about conversations that I had had with Harry in my years in this building.
I remember too that Harry and I shared a bit of a bond in that we were both working for the railway. I had left the railway and was on leave and Harry would come back into this Legislature after 1990 and he would talk about the trip that he had just completed. Of course, I would always ask him if he had booked rest or was off for miles for the month and we would share stories about the railway life together that we both obviously held near and dear to us.
Harry, of course, returned to the railway service after he left public office. After he left public office, as well, it is my understanding that he had returned to curling and, knowing of Rosann's interest in curling and her strong curling skills, I expect, as we have heard here in this House today, Harry being the competitive individual that he was also took that same competition to the curling ice as he would in any other activity in which he immersed himself totally into that sport.
It is also my understanding that Harry was involved in many other sports and as the Premier (Mr. Doer) has indicated, it was difficult to keep up with Harry when he was involved in his cross-country skiing activities. It is also my understanding that Harry was involved as a hockey player and perhaps that is where some of the skills–or the sports that he was involved in developed the physical size and strength that the individual had and the character that Harry displayed. It is also my understanding that Harry was actively involved in baseball as well, and I think as members of the family have indicated, Harry was on the Cowan Cougars baseball team and was quite proud of being a member of that particular team, as I am sure he was in his activities of any sport and any activity in general.
Harry left us too soon and his passing was a shock to many, but Harry, whether involved in sports, in work, or in church, or in family life, Harry has left his mark on our province. To Harry's wife, Carol, and to your five children and to the siblings of the Harapiak family that Harry left behind, I extend my condolences on behalf of my wife and myself, and a heartfelt thanks for having the opportunity to have known Harry, the quiet gentle giant and a true gentleman.
Mr. Darren Praznik (Lac du Bonnet): I wanted to add a few words with respect to the former Member for The Pas, Mr. Harry Harapiak, whose family is in the gallery today.
When I first entered this place in 1988, Harry and I were kind of seatmates. We were not of the same political party or persuasion but, because we were in a minority government at the time and the New Democrats were in the third-party position, it just so happened that I was sitting as a government backbencher on the third row of the government, over where the Member for St. Vital (Ms. Allan) now sits, and Mr. Harapiak, being part of the New Democratic Party caucus that extended onto our side of the benches, was sitting a few seats down from me. So Harry and I were seatmates, for all intents and purposes, although of different political stripes.
At that time, I remember coming in here as a new member, and it was really my first experience to meet Harry. He was very kind, he was very gentle, and in many ways mentoring I think of all of us who were very new and very young. He was a gentleman and a true parliamentarian.
The reason, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to add my few personal remarks is, with Mr. Harapiak's family in the gallery today, I think it is very significant when the political colleagues of a member have so many good things to say about them, but I believe it is even more significant when one's political opponents are able to rise and be able to indicate their respect for that person for who they were as a fellow member of the Legislature. So today I wanted to add a few remarks for his family, because I think it was important to have emphasized that as a member of this Legislature, particularly in the worst of times, when you come from being a Cabinet minister to a third-party position, and that can happen to any of us, the whims of electoral change are certainly there, but Harry maintained a dignity as a parliamentarian. He maintained a warmth as an individual to those who were his political opponents. As a very young 20-something MLA, who was in this Chamber and very new to the process, to have this individual who had served many years in this Legislature, many years in Cabinet, sitting a few seats down in a very different role, to extend such a very warm and welcoming hand to a new member was something that was impressed upon my view of Mr. Harry Harapiak.
I notice his brother Len is here as well, and I must say it extends in the family, because Len has always been very kind to me when he has met me on various occasions in my role in this Legislature. I wanted to make that point today that the respect that Harry Harapiak had in this House extended beyond political lines, extended beyond the partisanship of this Assembly. It was very warm and very heartfelt.
I remember on one occasion on a constitutional committee, Mr. Speaker, as we were involved in, in those days of great national debate on the Constitution, our committee held a meeting in The Pas. The then-sitting member, Mr. Harry Harapiak, was there for our meeting, and the hospitality that he extended to us in his home constituency. Again, I remember one individual getting up and saying something about a phone call had not been returned to Harry, and it was very evident that the gentleman was not quite telling the truth. Harry had this great look of shock on his face at the time, because I think he was very conscientious about his constituents. He kind of looked: I am sure the guy called me; I called him back. We all looked. With Harry, you could believe it, because he was that type of a person.
I remember many moments in those benches there where we had a chance to talk about issues, and again great kindness to members, certainly overcame the partisan differences between us. An individual whom his warmth and personality and I think respect for other people shone through so greatly. So I wanted to add those remarks today, as a member of another political party, just so that his family again would come to hear that his abilities as a person, his personality and his warmth extended far beyond the partisan politics that are the nature of this kind of place.
I would like to say to them, as well, that although we have differences of partisanship on issues, in my travels as a former Minister of Northern Affairs, the name Harry Harapiak in the North in his constituency, in the many communities that he represented, that I had a chance to visit and many of them of which I was, as Minister of Northern Affairs, sort of the legal entity, as Northern Affairs communities, Harry Harapiak was more than liked by his constituents. He was deeply respected for his commitment to them and the kind of work that he did on their behalf in his days in this Legislative Assembly.
So I say to them, as someone of a different political stripe, I am sure they are very proud of his contribution to this province, his contribution to this Legislature, and I think they should be very proud of his contribution to humanity. He believed in what he stood for. He fought the good fight on behalf of what he believed, and he always was civil and respectful of other views and other people. I believe ultimately that one of the greatest tributes that an individual who serves in public life in this place can be paid is when his political opponents are able to rise and indicate very clearly their deep, true-felt respect for that individual.
I know when he retired in the 1990 election and the two years I had to know Harry, he was a member that I think was genuinely missed by the people that he worked with because he was just such a nice person. I would like on behalf of my family to extend our condolences. As some others have said, he left us far too soon. Thank you.
Hon. Tim Sale (Minister of Family Services and Housing): Mr. Speaker, my first acquaintance with Harry was at his nomination meeting in 1986 in The Pas in the Anglican church where my friend Fletcher Stewart is the rector. Fletcher and Pat and I go back a lot of years. It might be said that this is a sign of my slow learning, that it took me till 1986 to get to an NDP function, but that was the first one that I was ever at. It was the first of many, I might say.
At that particular evening Harry was being nominated, it was so clear from the attendance this was not going to be a contested nomination. It was, I am sure, one of many love-ins that took place, but it was also a unique event. I did make a request to Harry that I be first in line for supper because it was a pot-luck dinner, but unfortunately there was a typo in the program and it was a pot-lick supper. I thought perhaps I had encountered a northern tradition that I had not been aware of. I was a little anxious about this. It turned out to be a typo and not a new tradition.
The unique thing about Harry, in my experience, was that the warmth with which he greeted me and was interested in who I was and what I did that night was no different the first time, the second time or the twentieth time. The genuine warmth and concern for everyone he met never changed whether it was a chance encounter in the Legislature a couple of months or a month before he died or whether it was in more formal and longer occasions when we had a chance to talk. This was a person that was transparent in all his values, his deep commitment to the things that were important to him in his life.
I was really very shocked when his niece, Tarya, who I have the privilege of working with, told me that he had seriously taken ill. I urged her to go and be with her family and to stay with them. I know that this June when Tarya gets married, there will be a huge hole for Rosann and for Tarya and for the whole family because Harry was going to be deeply involved in that wedding.
There is an Old Testament prophet that is my favourite. Maybe it is because I am an Anglican I like the short Prophets, and Micah is very short. But in chapter 6 there is a lovely story about a kind of conversation that Old Testament prophets used to have with God. It was a tradition that part of Jewish understanding is that you talk with God. That is why Fiddler on the Roof has always been so popular, that the fiddler can have a great argument with God, and, Lord, you made me what I am. Well, Micah goes into this harangue about what is required. It is a kind of conversation where ritual and rivers of oil and all these things are put on one side of the argument, and God responds and says, come on, you guys, you know what is required: love tenderly, do justice and walk humbly with your God. Harry did, and Harry does.
Mr. Denis Rocan (Carman): I rise this afternoon to pay respect to our good friend Harry, to pass on condolences, not only from my family, but from my constituents, to Carol. Harry was a great friend. The Premier, I think, said it very well at the start when he opened his comments and said this would be one of the hardest ones we do. That is true. Harry was rough and tough, and I think that is why I loved him dearly. I loved Harry as if he was my own brother.
Harry and myself, I guess we come from similar backgrounds. Both of us were hard rock miners, worked for Inco. Both of us were farmers. Both of us were elected officials. Both of us were Catholics. Both of us were very competitive in curling. Both of us were big. But, most of all, both of us loved to play jokes.
I was very fortunate to have a very close relationship with my friend Harry, so much so that Carol and Harry's family had me over for dinner. I was quite at home when I sat with the Harapiak family. Leonard, Rosann, our condolences also to you and your families, because Harry was one of the great ones.
There is not much left to be said about my friend Harry, except that we miss him. To Carol, it has got to be very lonely in your house, because this House was extremely lonely when Harry did not come back. Every time I see a train, I think of Harry, because he was proud of the fact that he was an engineer, and I did not know how to drive a train. Harry told me this many times.
As I indicated to you a few moments ago, I was very fortunate to have dinner at their home. What was really intriguing was I had to attend a funeral of a young friend of mine, former constituent, killed in an accident. Harry was a deacon at the church. I was very proud watching Harry walking up and down and seating everybody. It was remarkable to see my friend doing such a job. When it came time for Communion, I made a special effort to line up where Harry was. As we slowly moved along, made our way to the front, and when it was my turn to receive the Host of Christ, I put my hands out, I bowed, and I waited, and I waited, and I waited for the Host to show up. When it did not show up, I looked up, and there was Harry with a big grin and a wink on his eye. Then he laid the Host in my hand. Harry fed me again spiritually that time. I will always remember my dear friend Harry.
What I want to leave this House with now, all the individuals that we are here representing, certain political parties, we represent strong political views, is the one story that I am going to share now, that I have kept secret for many years. Harry was Minister of Government Services, as some of you recall. As a newly elected individual representing the constituency of Turtle Mountain, brand new at this and not knowing what I was really supposed to do, working late and trying to find out what it is that an elected official does, leaving this building late one evening, and as I was walking towards the door, I happened to look back up at the 39 steps that go down the grand staircase. Lo and behold, a Cabinet minister was coming down the stairs with this woman on his arm, and as they reached the bottom of the stairs, I kind of waited for him and I asked the minister: What are you doing here so late? He indicated to me that he was giving a tour to his cousin and I had to accept that.
Anyhow, next day at caucus, I indicated–in fact, when he told me that I–let me elaborate a little bit. I said: Well, it is dark in here. How do you give a tour when it is pitch black? Oh well, we were just–I was just trying to explain to her where everything was. Next day in caucus I told my colleagues what had happened that evening and, as a newly-elected individual, they wanted me to score some points. So I am supposed to stand here in the House and I am supposed to raise the issue.
Harry, I do not want to embarrass, because he is a dear friend of mine, and I went and saw Harry, and I told Harry exactly what I had seen, and that my caucus was asking me to stand in my place and put this on the record and, God forbid, wanted me to embarrass the government. So I told Harry the whole scenario of what was going to happen.
Those of you who know Harry–and Harry had this deep belly laugh, and I often wonder why they called him Geegee. Gee this and gee that, and I figured that is why his grandchildren called him Geegee.
That afternoon in his office when I explained to him what was going to happen, and the way the questions were going to come out, Harry and myself set in place a series of events that would be good for Harry and that would be good for my side, and it went something like this. I was supposed to stand in my place and ask the Minister of Government Services: Who gives the tours in this wonderful building? Harry was supposed to stand up in his place: My staff. Those who work for Government Services. Fine. The second question was supposed to be my supplementary question, sir, with no preamble, was supposed to be something to the effect, "Well, to what hours of the night and who are the individuals?" And it was only then, Harry was to respond: I believe five o'clock, whatever it was, and the little tour guide who reported to the minister.
As I was asking the questions, the minister involved slowly slinking down into his chair, figured the third question was going to be the bomb. Harry waited. The first question. He got it and got it right. The second question, he got it, he got it right. But unknown to anybody, sir, there was never a third question. I sat in my place and everybody else, Government included, the Howard Pawley government, waited for the bomb to fall. It never did fall.
After Question Period you could have heard the laughter for a mile, because Harry and myself in his office, two individuals the size that I am here now, deep belly laughs from both of us, figured we had pulled off the greatest coup of all time.
But this was Harry. You had to know Harry Harapiak, the salt of the earth. One individual who would have given his heart and soul, not only for his family, but for this country. Harry loved everybody that he ever encountered. Harry was just one of the greatest individuals to have ever stepped foot into this Chamber, and for that I am eternally grateful.
So to Carol, you and all your siblings, Leonard and Rosann, and all your families included, on behalf again of my family and each and every one of my constituents, we are proud to say that we loved and respected Harry Harapiak. Thank you, Mr. Speaker
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to pay tribute to Harry Harapiak, former MLA for The Pas, and to once again offer my condolences to the entire Harapiak family.
I first became acquainted with Harry in the 1980s when I met him at NDP Conventions. In the 1990s, I got to know him better and saw him more often because my office was just down the hall from the MLA for Swan River and he used to come to her office and visit her. I am just going by memory here, but I seem to recall that when he said goodbye and ended a visit with her he would give her a kiss. I was touched by that because I thought it spoke volumes about the affection with which he held his sister.
I greatly admired Harry for his strong Christian faith, and I once gave him a book called, On Being Christian by Hans Kuhn. I think it has 500 to 600 pages in the paperback edition, and he was really keen to read it and really happy to receive it. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to discuss the book with him.
I would like to read into the record some comments that I received in a very brief e-mail from former Premier Howard Pawley. It probably would have been longer but he did not know that this was going to be used until afterward when I asked him for permission to read it into the record and he agreed.
Former Premier Howard Pawley said: "Harry practised his Christian beliefs on a daily basis and managed to hold his cool even under heavy political fire. His honesty was legendary. Everyone respected him. I was proud to have him in my Cabinet, along with his brother, Leonard."
In conclusion, I too would like to quote from the prophet Micah, which I was planning to do and had not talked to my colleague from Fort Rouge, but it is such a wonderful passage it bears repeating and it applies so wonderfully to Harry as well.
Micah, Chapter 6, verse 8: "He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
In my opinion, Harry practised justice, he loved kindness, and he walked humbly with his God. Amen.
Mr. Rocan: Mr. Speaker, I have just got taken to the woodshed, by the way, so just for clarification. I just want to make sure that when I laid out my story it was not Harry that was walking down the stairs. I just wanted to make sure the record shows that it was not my friend, Harry. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Drew Caldwell (Minister of Education, Training and Youth): Mr. Speaker, I rise today, as have my colleagues, to pay respect to the life of Harry Harapiak and offer my condolences to his family, many of whom are in the gallery with us today. In particular, I would like to offer my condolences to his wife, Carol, and his five children, Marianne, Mark, Christine, Kelly and Chad, as well as their families.
I met Harry Harapiak during his tenure as a Cabinet minister in the NDP government of Howard Pawley. I was a young New Democrat, President of the Brandon University Students Union and working with Len Evans and the Pawley government to secure support for the development of the Knowles/Douglas Student Union Centre at Brandon University. There was some excitement about the dedication of the student union building at Brandon University to Stanley Knowles and Tommy Douglas, two esteemed alumni of the university and two revered leaders of the political party of which I am proud to be a member.
I understand Harry Harapiak is a man very much in the spirit of Messrs. Knowles and Douglas, humble, hardworking, committed to the values of social justice, equality and respect. My association with him was brief and peripheral, but it was struck by his common touch and how he comported himself. Harry Harapiak was respected by all who knew him and was a man very much without pretence.
Mr. Speaker, the Harapiak family is a well-known political force in Manitoba. During the Pawley years, Harry served in Cabinet with his brother Leonard, and today I am very proud to serve with his sister, Rosann. I am certain that a new generation of Harapiaks will make their presence felt in this Legislature in the future.
Manitoba is a better place for the life and work of Harry Harapiak. For that we are all grateful.
Mr. Harry Enns (Lakeside): Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to just very briefly add my words of condolence to the family of Harry Harapiak, to the entire Harapiak family, and to acknowledge that it was a privilege for me to have sat in this Chamber with him. I am well aware of the politics of the Harapiak family. They understand that it is part of our process that Conservatives fight with New Democrats, New Democrats fight with Conservatives, and, occasionally, we pick on the Liberals if we can find them. But, as the First Minister knows, this is not always the case.
I want to recite just one brief incident that I had with the late Harry Harapiak to prove it. It is one of those occasions when we reached common bond in this House to fight a common issue or common concern. It was on the issue of the Garrison. I was privileged to be a part of an all-member representative group that was sent from this Chamber to Washington, the United States, to lobby with American senators and American congressmen about our concerns about the possible diversion of the Missouri River waters to the Hudson Bay Basin.
As we all know, some of the concerns remain the same with Devils Lake, the importation of foreign flora, fauna, organisms into our Hudson Bay watershed. I recall this particular incident so vividly. The former Minister Mackling was part of our group, Harry Harapiak and myself were in, the senator, I believe it was Senator Mark Andrews from North Dakota, big 6 foot 6, U.S. senator, in his office and he was listening patiently to us as we expressed our concerns until the senator finally heaved his 6 foot 6 frame from behind his desk and said: What are you all concerned about orgasms in my Missouri River? We made our point. A little more helpful.
I can say to his family on that occasion Harry had misplaced his travel documents, his airline ticket or something like that and he found himself stranded in Washington, D.C., capital of the United States. And I was pleased and privileged to offer my Visa card for him to get home on that occasion. I did provide a service to the Harapiak family and to Harry on that particular occasion, and for me Harry was always just a plain, neat guy.
Mr. Conrad Santos (Wellington): The only link between the member for Wellington now and Harry Harapiak is we were classmates, November 17, 1981. Of course, occasionally we see members of Cabinet, and I can see through this person he is real, no pretence and he is humble.
We are here, and this has been the tradition and practice of the House that we praise and honour those who have gone to the great beyond. I respect that. The member for Wellington only regrets that we praise them when they can no longer physically hear us. So I am giving my praise and admiration to the members of the family of Harry Harapiak who can hear and can appreciate.
People who serve public service, whether elected or appointed, sometimes do not appreciate the long suffering that the members of their immediate family have to go through. I admire the family of the Harapiaks. We praise those who are already dead, they can no longer hear us.
As an aside, I want to express my respect to the former Minister of Finance right here in the loge, who can hear me. I admire his dedication to duty and to his principles. That is an aside.
Il y a un moment pour tout, un temps pour chaque chose sous le ciel: un temps pour enfanter et un temps pour mourir.
To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.
Birth is something that we rejoice. We call the family members. We have parties. We even greet the little one, but look at the little one. He cries. I wonder why. Perhaps, I said to myself, he knew when he came to this world it will not be all bed of roses. Life is a long-drawn, uncertain series of events. It is like a continuing campaign rather than a single battle. There are defeats, and there are victories. Only the valiant stays.
I looked at him and his brother, Len, and I said to myself this one looks like–what is his name–Dr. Zhivago. He looks like him, Omar Sharif and that stuck inside me. When he talks to me he always greets me and I greet him. He is very pleasant, very amiable. I said this is a good person, I said to myself.
Of course, Len is also a good person. He still greets me now, even if he is the head of the technical institute and the director of all those enterprises there. When this kind of person, no matter what status they achieve, he stays the same, you know that they are nice people.
Death is something that comes. It is both paradoxically certain and uncertain, certain it will come, uncertain we do not know when, but that is only the beginning of another type of life. Without going through it, you can not go to the more interesting, more important life. They call it the everlasting life. I believe that, provided while you are in this temporary earthly life, you follow the Decalogue of Moses, the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, the laws that rear you and ingrain in your value system the best of your ability and also provided that you asked for and received the grace and mercy of the Maker.
Where does life come from? I believe it is a gift from God. We do not possess life. It only passes through us. This body is part of the earth, and to the earth it will go back. The only thing that will remain is what we have done, not what we have said. Too many things we say, we regret later. It is what we have done. In that sense, we have to be sincere when we do things and do it to the best of what we know would be the right thing to do.
The world will not always love us. We like fame and glory. These are the things that people seek while in this stage of life–temporary, transitory, full of trouble, full of joy also. We seek what? Wealth. Then when we become wealthy, what do we seek next? Power. When we become powerful, what do we seek next? Fame and glory. When we become famous, oh, I do not want to be famous. I have seen people who become instantly famous and immediately they are called to the great beyond.
You have heard these things. I have seen that–who is that designer? He became famous. The killer of the designer, he became famous overnight. The Princess of England–[interjection] yes, Diana, famous overnight. Done. Watch it. This is the pattern. I have observed, and I am only reporting.
But what is life for and why are we here? I do not know. Perhaps there is a purpose, but certainly there is accounting. I believe that when the time comes we shall be called to account, and then the great judge will give us what is our due with the grace and mercy of the Lord. Thank you.
Mr. Glen Cummings (Ste. Rose): There are others in this House who knew Harry more personally than I did and have spoken eloquently about his time in this House and about his life. But in this House we do learn to take measure of each other, and the quality of the individual comes through very quickly.
Harry was one of those who met full measure in terms of his honesty, his integrity and his dedication to representing the community and the beliefs that he so strongly held that everybody here has spoken of.
So on behalf of my family, I extend my condolences to the Harapiak family and particularly to the Minister of Agriculture (Ms. Wowchuk).
Mr. Stan Struthers (Dauphin-Roblin): I consider myself very fortunate to be someone who met Harry Harapiak who had an influence on me. I feel very fortunate to be someone whose family has grown up in the same part of the world as the Harapiak family. Anyone who has grown up in that part of the world considers the family good neighbours.
You know, you only get once chance at a first impression. My first impression of Harry was a man who was sincere and who was a politician who was in it for all the right reasons. I first met Harry in 1983, when I was a schoolteacher in Norway House. I had been involved with the Norway House First Nation on some economic development proposals, and Harry came and spoke with us, and it did not take long for all of us to understand that Harry was sincere; he was genuine. He exuded this sense of sincerity, and you knew you were speaking with the right guy. He helped us.
You could not help but notice Harry's commitment to public service. You could not help but notice that Harry was a hard worker. We have talked several times, and the Premier (Mr. Doer) mentioned and others have mentioned Harry's sense of competitiveness. One time I tried to compete with Harry, and I did not tell him. I actually gave myself a little bit of an advantage. It was when I was a candidate in 1993 for the New Democratic Party in the federal election.
Harry came to help me canvass. I did not tell him I was going to try to out-compete him, but I was no match for Harry. I do not know a better canvasser than what Harry could do. You always knew that Harry was there to help you. I cannot name you an election that Harry did not come and help me and others. It was a little bit of a humbling experience too, because at the end of a day of canvassing we had a gathering of people, and a lot of people showed up. We had a barbeque and Harry was there. I thought, you know, I had a hard time keeping up with him on the doorstep. I think more people wanted to talk to Harry than they wanted to talk to me, but at the supper I thought now I am the candidate. I am the centre of attention. I am going to have a fun time at this, but people wanted to talk to Harry. I felt like I was trying to muscle in sometimes, but you know what Harry's response was? He was introducing me to some of those who I was hoping would be my constituents down the road. Harry was introducing me to people. He did not want to be the limelight. He did not want to be the centre. He reserved that for his young, inexperienced, beginning politician. I thought that was big of Harry.
Quite often, when I head back to Dauphin, I get on the VIA Rail at 8:45 in Winnipeg and make that trip to Dauphin on Thursday night, and one of the reasons that I used to do that–well, there are lots of reasons to do it–but one of the things that was a real benefit was that I knew somewhere along that four-hour trip, Harry would walk along through one car to the next saying hi to people along the way, and he would sit down across from me and we would talk. It would be dark and lights would be flashing by the window as we zoomed through Portage la Prairie and Gladstone on our way up to Dauphin.
It was dark, and it was Harry and me and nobody else. The whole rest of the world was just blocked out. Harry wanted to know about my family, wanted to know about what was going on in the Legislature, what I thought of this issue, that issue, talked over some old CN stories because he knew that my dad was an employee of CN for 30-some years.
The one feeling more than anything that I got from Harry was that he wanted to know what I thought. He valued what I had to say, and I can tell you that that is as good a feeling as there is. I mean, Harry had been a minister of the Crown; he had been a MLA for 10 years. It would have been easy for Harry just to keep on walking through the train and say hi to me and carry on his way. It would have been easy for Harry to sit down and start to espouse all the things sometimes we do as politicians and talk about what we think and how this should be done or how that should be done. Harry did not do that. Harry wanted to know what I thought of the issues, and when you are a beginning politician, when you are a rookie around here, that is something that I will always value.
So I just want to say that Harry, in those late night conversations that we had, has had quite a deep, lasting impression on my thinking and my approach to politics and representing people. I hope that he has had that same kind of a positive influence on others in this room, and I know he has had a good, positive, uplifting, inspirational effect on many Manitobans.
So, Carol, on behalf of my family, I want to express our condolences to you and Marianne and Mark and Kelly and Chad. I want to express my condolences to my friends Christine and Jean-Louis, and on behalf of my mom and my brothers and sisters and the whole Struthers family, I want to say to Rosann Wowchuk that our thoughts have been with you and that we express our condolences for your loss.
I just want to end by saying that Harry's first impression, that of being sincere, will be his everlasting impression. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson): Dora and I also want to extend our condolences to the Harapiak family.
My first acquaintance in the Harapiak family was a young fellow by the name of Leonard when he became the Minister of Agriculture and I was the farm leader. My first impression of the Harapiaks was through Leonard, and when I was asked the question after our first meeting, what do you think of the Minister of Agriculture, I said: He seems rather shy or, I said, he plays his cards close to the vest.
As we found out later on, the latter was true. He was not given to a great deal of verbiage as some politicians are, but we found that what he said meant exactly what he said. We found him to be a very honest and straightforward person.
That is how I got to know Harry Harapiak, sitting in that bench right there, in the second row, in the second chair from the end, and Harry Harapiak sitting right behind me. We turned around and talked to each other many times. I found Harry Harapiak to be one of the most sincere persons with a good sense of humour, and that combination I think is why the Harapiaks have probably been representing that part of Manitoba for many, many years.
To have a third person follow in those political footsteps is highly unusual in political life, to have three members of one family serve in this Legislature, one of the most honoured places I think in Manitoba, to serve in this Legislature, and for Harry to turn to his Lord after he quit politics, I think was a true demonstration of his character and his personality and his deep beliefs in serving people.
So today I want to extend my appreciation to Carol and the family and all the members of the Harapiak family and thank them personally for the many years of service they have extended to the agricultural community and indeed to all people in Manitoba, in serving not only their community, their province and the country, but in serving God.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed and so ordered.
Would honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate their support of this motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Hon. Gord Mackintosh (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all members of the House, we certainly express regret that time does not allow us to deal with the resolution regarding the late Senator Molgat. However, it appears that we will be able to deal with that matter next Wednesday following Routine Proceedings, and if there are any difficulties with that schedule, we can deal with that tomorrow. I do understand that there were no members of the family present; otherwise, we would have attempted to accommodate this matter in a different way.
I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if you would canvass the House, so this is on the record, that there is leave to begin the standing committee at 7:30 given the passage of time and the need for supper, a bit of a break, before the Standing Committee on Agriculture meets this evening.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the will of the House for the standing committee to meet at 7:30 p.m. this evening? [Agreed]
* * *
Mr. Speaker:The hour being 6 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning (Thursday).