The Void Teen Getaway

Mr. Gerry McAlpine (Sturgeon Creek): Madam Speaker, as the MLA for Sturgeon Creek, I am pleased to rise in the House today to pay tribute to another great group and organization in my community. I was pleased to be part of a teen dance at the St. James-Assiniboia teen drop-in centre located in the constituency of Sturgeon Creek. The drop-in centre is appropriately named The Void Teen Getaway as it seeks to fill a void that many young people have in our city today.

For the past eight years, my wife Jeanie and I, along with other dedicated volunteers, have been actively involved in helping to sponsor, organize and participate in these dances and other events on a weekly basis. During the summer months car washes are held to raise money to underwrite the cost of the dances and other more regular functions for the youth. Employment is offered to young, mature students over the summer and weekends during the year by means of fund-raising events and the Green Team.

The Void Teen Getaway is sponsored by the St. James Focus on Youth Incorporated and has been very effective in giving our young people a safe, responsible, enjoyable way to spend their time. Jeanie and I participated in the most recent dance. I was impressed with the orderly manner of the people who turned out for the evening.

Madam Speaker, I want to publicly acknowledge the St. James Focus on Youth Incorporated for having the vision to meet our young people at a level where they feel welcome. A lot of organizing, planning and roll-up-the-sleeves work is involved for this organization year around and I very much appreciate their tireless effort, especially people like Tina Tully, Jill Andres, Andrew Fennell and others. I am particularly honoured to be invited to participate in all facets of these youth directives and thank those responsible for consistently inviting me to attend. It is my pleasure to attend, and it is my distinct pleasure to recognize activities such as these in this House today.

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Portage Correctional Centre for Women


Ms. Diane McGifford (Osborne): Madam Speaker, earlier this week the Minister of Justice attempted to divert attention from the NDP Justice critic's call for a full-scale public inquiry into the Headingley riot by claiming that the member for Osborne's concern with the provincial penal system was with toys at the Portage Correctional Centre for Women. Her statement completely and quite deliberately misrepresented my written concern, and I think her tactics are contemptible. I believe that the overriding and single most important concern in correctional institutions is, of course, always and forever, the safety of employees and inmates. This is true in Portage as it should have been true in Headingley.

But, as well, Madam Speaker, I am concerned that women in Portage must meet their families and visitors in the public vestibule, a small room of about 10 by 15 feet with no dividers, no privacy, no opportunity for confidential conversation and no toys for the children. On visiting days, Saturdays, this room is crowded, noisy and chaotic. The atmosphere is not conducive to family cohesiveness.

The stated purpose of the Portage Correction Centre's self-development program is, and I quote: To provide for delivery to residents which shall assist and enable their successful return to the community as law-abiding citizens. Creating bonds between women on the inside and families on the outside will assist with this goal and help guard against recidivism.

I ask the minister to eschew misrepresentation and diversionary tactics and promote Portage's goals, and if she is worried about introducing toys, as she should have worried about potential weapons at Headingley, a daily count of rubber ducks might ease her anxiety.

Let the minister stop pointing fingers and instead, with the dignity that should accompany her office, accept responsibility for the Headingley disaster.

Canadian Police Association

1995 Yearbook

Mr. Gary Kowalski (The Maples): Madam Speaker, I would like to make a statement in regard to a publication I received the other day from the Canadian Police Association. It is their 1995 yearbook and because I am a former director of the Winnipeg Police Association--I guess that means in the vernacular of the government that I was a union boss and very proud of it--I do have an opportunity to receive their yearbook every year.

Going through the yearbook, you see the wonderful work of this organization, not only in bargaining for salary and working conditions of its members throughout Canada but the lobbying they do to bring positive legislation in the fields of criminal justice and labour law, working with victims and commemorating the officers who have lain down their lives in the line of duty. By coincidence, when I received it, it was also the same day that I noticed an article indicating that another police officer was killed in Montreal, another officer that was very close to his retirement, just doing a traffic stop on a quiet residential street when three bullets were pumped into his body. On the same day, there was an RCMP officer that risked his life in Emerson to save some people.

So I rise to congratulate the Canadian Police Association for their publication and to remind all honourable members of the significant work and contributions that police officers make to the community in Canada.

City of Winnipeg

BFI Information

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert): Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak about a little bit of propaganda that we received within our community and I believe throughout the entire city. This propaganda was sent about by the City of Winnipeg. On the front it read: Millions of your dollars could be headed straight to the BFI dump.

They are wrong. There is at least $100,000 going to the Brady landfill because that is where the majority of these so-called propaganda papers are going. We were in the apartment blocks in my constituency, and we saw hundreds of these in the garbage cans. So I know they will not be coming back to me, and I know where the people stood on it.

It is interesting because back when I was on council and back when I first got elected in the Legislature, this issue was before us. We spoke about and we initiated some of those tipping fees, but when I was there I said, if you attempt to make more than a 20 percent return, you will have competition in the future. It is there today because they have put in place a very large fund for themselves. We should call it what it is, and it is a hidden tax. It is a hidden tax because it is a tax on the businesses which is spent on or extended onto us when we purchase products from them. The increase that they imposed on the tipping fees went directly to business. It has caused the businesses to impose a new cost to us as purchasers of their products. So it is not $7 million that they are going to lose from their so-called fund; it is $7 million that is going to be redirected back to where it belongs, and that is to the public so we can choose where to spend those dollars.

Madam Speaker, if they are going to start spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for this type of propaganda to make me make a political interference decision against the commission that is making a report--and back in 1990, in closing, they told me that I should accept this commission's reports when they speak to bringing forward a hazardous waste in my constituency. They said it would be good, and that I should accept it wholeheartedly and that everything would be all right. Well, the City of Winnipeg can go back to bed. That is where they have been for 15 years.

Resignation Request

Reform M.P.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): Regrettably, on Tuesday, April 30, Reform M.P. and party Whip Bob Ringma stood up in Parliament and proceeded to make discriminatory statements regarding members of visible minorities and homosexuals. His comments were clearly racist and discriminatory, and I hope that all members of this House and all citizens of Manitoba will join with me in condemning Mr. Ringma's comments.

Mr. Ringma's words offended many Canadians. According to Mr. Ringma, it is acceptable to fire, or as he put it, move to the back of the shop any member of a visible minority or homosexual if the presence of that individual offended a bigoted customer.

Essentially, these comments represent one man's yearning to move the clock back to the days when open discrimination was rampant in this country. Unfortunately, however, these comments did not shock me. I know that even today racism and prejudice are commonplace in our society. Every day many Manitobans confront these evils in their homes, workplaces and communities. However, I was deeply saddened to hear that these comments were spouted from an elected member of Parliament.

Mr. Ringma, in his role as an M.P., is supposed to be a representative of the people, but in all reality, how could a member of a visible minority or a homosexual look to Mr. Ringma for political leadership? Mr. Ringma has lost the trust and confidence of the Canadian people. Mr. Ringma was forced to acknowledge this to a small degree. This is why he, although first refusing to, finally did apologize to all of the Canadians he offended. In addition, he also resigned as the Reform Whip.

But the question I would like to ask is, is this enough? I do not believe so. Mr. Ringma should do the honourable thing and resign his seat as an M.P.