LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Mrs. Mavis Taillieu (Morris): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
These are the reasons for this petition:
The NDP government has increased Pharmacare deductibles by 5 percent each year for the past seven years, with the curious exception of the 2007 election year.
As a result of the cumulative 34 percent hike in Pharmacare deductibles by the NDP government, some Manitobans are forced to choose between milk and medicine.
Seniors, fixed and low-income-earning Manitobans are the most negatively affected by these increases.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:
To urge the Premier (Mr. Doer) of Manitoba to consider reversing his decision to increase Pharmacare deductibles by 5 percent in budget 2008.
To request the Premier of Manitoba to consider reducing health-care bureaucracy, as previously promised, and to consider directing those savings into sustaining Pharmacare and improving patient care.
This is signed by L. Bachynski, Ruth Hall, Patty Lee and many others.
Mr. Speaker: In accordance with our rule 132(6), when petitions are read they are deemed to be received by the House.
Long-Term Care Facility–Morden
Mr. Peter Dyck (Pembina): Mr. Speaker, I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.
The background for this petition is as follows:
Tabor Home Incorporated is a time-expired personal care home in Morden with safety, environmental and space deficiencies.
The seniors of Manitoba are valuable members of the community with increasing health-care needs requiring long-term care.
The community of Morden and the surrounding area are experiencing substantial population growth.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:
To request the Minister of Health (Ms. Oswald) to strongly consider giving priority for funding to develop and staff a new 100-bed long-term care facility so that clients are not exposed to unsafe conditions and so that Boundary Trails Health Centre beds remain available for acute-care patients instead of waiting placement clients.
This is signed by Velma Scharf, Theresa Wiebe, Beverly Penner and many, many others.
Provincial Nominee Program
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster): Mr. Speaker, I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
The background to the petition is as follows:
Immigration is critically important to the future of our province, and the 1998 federal Provincial Nominee Program is the best immigration program that Manitoba has ever had.
Lengthy processing times for PNP applications causes additional stress and anxiety for would-be immigrants and their families here in Manitoba.
The government needs to recognize the unfairness in its current policy on who qualifies for a Provincial Nominee Certificate.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:
To urge the provincial government to consider establishing a 90-day guarantee for processing an application for a minimum of 80 percent of applicants that have family living in Manitoba.
To urge the provincial government to consider removing the use of the restrictive job list when dealing with the family sponsor stream.
This is signed by M. de Leon, E. de Leon, M. de Leon and many, many other fine Manitobans.
Paved Shoulders for Trans-Canada Highway
Mr. Larry Maguire (Arthur-Virden): Mr. Speaker, I wish to present the following petition.
These are the reasons for this petition:
The lack of paved shoulders on the Manitoba portions of the Trans-Canada Highway poses a serious safety risk for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.
This risk was borne out again with the tragic June 2008 deaths of two cyclists travelling east of Virden on the Trans-Canada Highway and injuries sustained by two other cyclists.
Subsequently, the Government of Manitoba has indicated it will pave the shoulders on the Trans-Canada Highway but has not provided a framework for doing so.
Manitoba's Assistant Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation told a Winnipeg radio station on October 16, 2007, that when it comes to highway projects, the provincial government has a "flexible response program."
In the interests of protecting public safety, it is critical that the paving of the shoulders on the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba be completed as soon as possible.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:
To request the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation (Mr. Lemieux) to consider making the completion of the paving of the shoulders on the Trans-Canada Highway an urgent provincial government priority.
To request the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation to clearly articulate a time frame for paving the shoulders on the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba
This petition is signed by Ed Page, Michelle Vincent, Rick Jackson, Ian Whyte and many, many others.
Recovery Strategy–Manitoba Farmers
Mr. Ralph Eichler (Lakeside): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba:
These are the reasons for this petition.
Several regions of Manitoba have been hit by repeated heavy rains since spring of 2008.
This has created serious challenges for farmers, including hay and straw shortages, damage to bales, forage and pasture, barns and corrals, crop losses and lost inputs, among others.
The excess moisture has also caused other problems, including the flooding of homes and outbuildings, sewage backups and septic field saturation.
Local governments have been hit with road washouts and further infrastructure damage.
People affected by the excess moisture and flooding are very concerned that the provincial government has not responded quickly enough and that they are being left to deal with this disaster on their own.
There is fear that, without a comprehensive strategy to address these challenges, there will be a serious and lasting economic consequence in the affected regions.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:
To urge the provincial government to consider developing a comprehensive recovery strategy aimed at addressing both the immediate and the long-term effects of this year's excessive moisture conditions and flooding.
To urge the provincial government to consider examining all types of programming to help producers recover from this disaster, including emergency one-time programs, as well as improvements to the crop insurance program to address its shortfalls.
To urge the provincial government to consider addressing shortcomings with drainage and the processing of drainage permits.
Submitted on behalf of Cliff Thibeau, Patricia Bray, Neil Bray and many other struggling producers.
Mr. Stuart Briese (Ste. Rose): Mr. Speaker, I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly:
These are the reasons for this petition.
Several regions of Manitoba have been hit by repeated heavy rains since spring 2008.
This has created serious challenges for farmers, including hay and straw shortages, damage to bales, forages and pastures, barns and corrals, crop losses and lost inputs, among others.
The excess moisture has also caused other problems, including the flooding of homes, outbuildings, sewage backups and septic field saturation.
The local government has been hit with road washouts and other infrastructure damage.
People affected by the excess moisture and flooding are very concerned that the provincial government has not responded quickly enough and that they are being left to deal with the disaster on their own.
There is a fear that without a comprehensive strategy to address these challenges, there will be serious and lasting economic consequences in the affected regions.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:
To urge the provincial government to consider developing a comprehensive recovery strategy aimed at addressing both the immediate and the long-term effects of this year's excess moisture conditions and flooding.
To urge the provincial government to consider examining all types of programming to help producers recover from this disaster, including emergency one-time programs, as well as improvements to the crop insurance program to address its shortfalls.
To urge the provincial government to consider addressing shortcomings with drainage and the processing of drainage permits.
This petition is signed by Patricia Taylor, Richard Jantti, Edward Hill and many, many others.
Plan for Potential Reduced Revenue Streams
Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon West): The provincial government is well under way developing the Red River Floodway to protect against a once-in-a-700-year flood. You would think that this same government would be planning for a once-in-a-lifetime financial crisis. The Finance Minister is content to let the world pass him by. He continues on his merry way of spending. He continues on his merry way of borrowing more money and depending on the federal government to bail him out of any of his financial crises.
Does the Finance Minister have any contingency plans to deal with a downturn in the economy? Does the minister have any contingency plans to deal with reduced revenue streams?
Hon. Greg Selinger (Minister of Finance): Many of us are eager to answer your question on this side of the House.
Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, yes, we do have plans to continue to keep a steady-as-she-goes economy, and those plans start every spring with our budget where we make a long-term commitment to improve infrastructure, where we make a long-term commitment to educate Manitobans so that they can be better income earners in the economy, where we make a long-term commitment to address the pension liability, where we make a long-term commitment to reduce the accumulated deficit in the province which is down well over a billion dollars since we've come into office, where we make a long-term commitment through tax reductions to incent research and development, to ensure that our small-business community has the lowest tax rates in the country.
All of these things help us stay competitive which is why the economy is growing at two and a half times the Canadian–
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Provincial Contractual Obligation
Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon West): Mr. Speaker, that's totally wrong. We have the highest taxes west of Ontario. We have a debt that's growing. The $900 million he talks about is like paying off the minimum balance on a credit card, but he goes out and borrows more money.
I take it from the minister's non-response that he doesn't have a response and a contingency. The minister should realize that the Province of Manitoba is not immune to the impacts of a global fiscal crisis. The American parent of Motor Coach Industries has just recently filed chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. MCI is a vital part of the Manitoba economy. MCI has an outstanding loan with the Province and a contractual obligation to keep its 1,200 employees here until 2009.
Has the Minister of Finance (Mr. Selinger) met with MCI executives, and what is the contingency plan beyond 2009?
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, the specific question is have we discussed the situation with the principals of MCI. The answer is yes.
Mr. Borotsik: Well, Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the fact that the Premier has finally got off his seat and talked to the principals of MCI, but the fact is there are serious, serious problems out there right now.
We have 1,200 Manitobans right now who are sitting waiting to hear some answers from not only this government, from the corporation. How is it going to affect us? How is it going to affect the taxes that are going to be collected from those 1,200 people if they don't have jobs in this province?
The Premier has talked to MCI. What's the answer? Will they stay after 2009?
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, I would point out that when there was a difficult situation with the amalgamation of four plants a few years ago, a second vote was required by the employees. We actually called on that second vote, and I was condemned by members opposite for doing that.
We think that certainly the fact that they're making 50 percent of the highway buses in North America, have order books for 50 percent of the sales is extremely positive. It's not just 1,300 people, Mr. Speaker, as the member has talked about. It's actually quite a bit more, companies like Vansco that are suppliers to Motor Coach. So actually the number he's using actually doesn't reflect the full economic scope of the Motor Coach operation and industries.
We're very aware of what's going on in North Dakota with the North Dakota operation. We're working with the company through their refinancing, but the one part of this issue of liquidity is the fact that the order book is very strong, Mr. Speaker.
We went through a similar situation with Motor Coach and Flyer about five years ago. The members opposite predicted gloom and doom. There are challenging times for a lot of companies in terms of liquidity and equity, but in terms of Motor Coach, as I say, 50 percent of the new buses being purchased to drive on the highways of North America are built in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, at Motor Coach, Mr. Speaker.
Mrs. Mavis Taillieu (Morris): Mr. Speaker, yesterday we met with a representative of CUPE concerned about the loss of Air Canada flight attendant jobs due to the impending closure of the flight attendant base here. Hundreds of flight attendants are either going to lose their jobs or they're going to have to commute to Toronto to start their day.
Why has the Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade failed to make Manitoba a place where businesses want to come to, rather than go from?
Hon. Andrew Swan (Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade): Well, I certainly hope the Member for Morris and her colleagues on that side of the House will work with us in trying to convince Air Canada the decision is wrong.
I was very disappointed to see the Member for Morris wrote a letter to the editor talking about these job losses which have occurred in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax. She would seek to blame the loss in Winnipeg on the NDP government. I'm not sure she's aware there's a Liberal government in British Columbia, at least for now, and there's a Conservative government in Halifax, at least for now.
I hope she's going to be positive to work with us so we can get Air Canada to turn this around.
Mrs. Taillieu: Mr. Speaker, I'm disappointed in the minister's ability to turn things around.
Mr. Speaker, Winnipeg had the first flight attendant base in the country, and now we're about to become second string. We're losing jobs, we're losing families, and with less flights coming into Winnipeg there's a future loss of potential businesses.
Why has the Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade allowed our province, our flight attendants and our air travellers to become second string?
Mr. Swan: Mr. Speaker, immediately upon learning of Air Canada's plans to close the flight attendant base, I wrote to Robert Milton, the CEO of Air Canada's parent company. I met with Duncan Dee and senior officials with Air Canada who travelled here to Winnipeg. We put forward our arguments as to why their argument is wrong. We've heard from CUPE. I also met with CUPE representatives.
We think there is further and better information. I am going to be writing again to Air Canada to make sure we have all the information on the table to convince them their decision is wrong, that Air Canada's base in Winnipeg is a historic one, certainly an important one for the flight attendants and for all of us here in Manitoba.
Mrs. Taillieu: Mr. Speaker, at a July 28 rally the Premier (Mr. Doer) said, and I quote: The base must remain open and you must stay here with all your families. He also vowed to use his clout to persuade the airline to reverse its decision.
The Minister of Competitiveness met with Air Canada, and what was the outcome? I quote: I'm not especially hopeful they will reverse their decision. In fact, a few days after the meeting, the headlines questioned whether we would lose the pilot base here as well. Nice work, Minister.
Is the Premier's clout waning or is he able to tell the 145 Manitoba flight attendants that they don't need to pack their bags because he's saved their jobs here in Winnipeg?
Mr. Swan: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's very interesting that Conservative members rise in this House to talk about Air Canada job losses. There's a federal election on and there was a time in this country when Air Canada layoffs would have been a federal election issue, but it's not because the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney sold off Air Canada, sold it from the Canadian people, and now there's shareholders right across–
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable minister has the floor.
Mr. Swan: Yes, I realize I touched a nerve with the neo-Conservatives on that side of the House, but the fact is this should be a federal issue and it isn't because the federal government has left us without that being an option.
That being said, I can assure the Member for Morris and all members of this House that we are continuing to work with Air Canada to make them see that this is a competitive place to have employees. It's an excellent base. Air Canada has very, very high loads in and out of Winnipeg, and it only makes sense the flight attendant base remains open and here in Winnipeg.
Mrs. Myrna Driedger (Charleswood): Mr. Speaker, a new report, the 2008 Canada Health Consumer Index, was just released, and it paints a very grim picture of NDP failure in health care in Manitoba. In fact, many of the scores for Manitoba are poor. Overall, compared to other provinces in Canada, Manitoba ranked seventh out of 10th, almost dead last.
So I'd like to ask the Minister of Health to please tell us why Manitoba is scoring almost dead last again in health care, as we did a few years ago with the Conference Board of Canada report.
Hon. Theresa Oswald (Minister of Health): I noticed that the member opposite neglected to mention that there was another report that came out today from the Canadian Institute for Health Information and Stats Canada, not known, like the other institution, for its right-wing thinking and celebration of the privatization of health care. That particular report addresses specifically how we might be able to address reports that have health rankings in them.
When we look at the criteria that they suggest, the Frontier report has a lot of problems in it, not to mention, Mr. Speaker, facts that are just wrong.
Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, despite the NDP spin, Manitoba scored the worst in all of Canada in the wait-times category in this report. This report shows that there are significant problems in health care in Manitoba, so I'd like to know when this minister is going to put patients ahead of spin in her answers in this House and in the job that she does because, certainly, this report is worth looking at. It's looking at all provinces in Canada and Manitoba fares very, very poorly.
When is she going to stop the spin and look at this and do something for patients?
Ms. Oswald: Again, it's my opportunity to correct the record. It's not NDP spin. It's CIHI and Stats Canada that report that 87 percent of Manitobans rate the quality of health-care services they received as good or excellent, above the Canadian average of 85.5 and the highest satisfaction rate west of Québec. That's CIHI. Manitoba has the shortest wait time for radiation therapy. That's CIHI. February '08, Manitoba, along with Alberta, has the shortest wait time for cardiac bypass surgery with no wait, of course, for urgent cases. That's CIHI, February '08.
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy report, you know, they have a right to report what they wish to report, but it's very selective and it's incomplete, Mr. Speaker. That's just not fair.
Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, the minister chooses to cherry-pick. This report did not do that. This report–
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable Member for Charleswood has the floor.
Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, when this minister is looking for data or anything specific, she cherry-picks the good things, and we see where she chooses not to talk about some of the real problems in health care.
This report indicates that we have the worst wait times in Canada. This report also says that we are the third biggest spender in health care in the country and that we are getting one of the worst bangs for our buck in the country, meaning that more money is not buying better health care in Manitoba. I think we've all seen that. Wait times are the worst in the country. There's limited access to new drugs, and the shortage of doctors is one of the biggest weaknesses. We've seen that with a crisis in southwest Manitoba with the doctor shortage.
Nine years ago, this government said they were going to fix health care. I want to ask them today: Where's their fix?
Ms. Oswald: Another thing that CIHI says is that Manitoba has the best home care problem in the country. These are issues that are not captured in reports like the Frontier's comments on spending.
One of the things that the report itself says, speaking of cherries, Mr. Speaker, the report that she's citing says that, or they state, Manitoba has fewer than 60 PCH beds per 1,000 seniors. It's wrong. Our score is 123 PCH beds. Talk about picking cherries, she's making my point. The Frontier embracers of privatization of health care will choose facts, and they'll put in facts that are just wrong. I'll trust CIHI. I'll trust StatsCan any day of the week over the Frontier Centre.
Assistance for Farmers
Mr. Stuart Briese (Ste. Rose): Mr. Speaker, last Thursday night, I was privileged to attend a farmers' and ranchers' meeting in Eddystone related to this year's excess rainfall. There were 240 people in attendance from 25 different communities. Ninety-three of those people filled out questionnaires about the impacts of wet conditions on their farms and homes, and some of the numbers were truly interesting.
The number of bales of hay that have been made in that area is 65,000; bales of hay required, 173,000. Bales up compared to what's required is 38 percent; loss of forage acres, 148,000 acres lost; grain forage under water, 11,000 acres.
Mr. Speaker, I ask: When is the minister going to take action and offer some meaningful relief to address the emergency that is unfolding in the Westlake and Interlake regions of this province?
Hon. Rosann Wowchuk (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives): I can tell the member opposite that we have taken meaningful action, and we have announced programs that help to move hay. In fact, Mr. Speaker, you will see trucks of hay moving into that area right now.
Mr. Speaker, we have announced advanced funding from AgriStability. There is an emergency cash advance for people. The members opposite, instead of being critical and saying that there aren't programs out there, they should get on board and start to talk about the millions of dollars that are available for producers if they fill out their application.
We have worked with the federal government. We've been able to move these programs ahead. The members opposite refuse to co-operate because they want to say the sky is falling.
Mr. Briese: Mr. Speaker, an emergency is unfolding in the Westlake and Interlake areas. The president of the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association is concerned that 400,000 head of cattle will be going into the winter short of feed. That's about 25 percent of the province's cattle herd. Cattle will be coming off pasture in the next four weeks. Feed supplies are either unavailable or unaffordable.
Mr. Speaker, when will the minister stand up for the producers and offer some meaningful solutions to these emergency conditions?
Ms. Wowchuk: Mr. Speaker, we have been working on this issue since August 22. On August 28, we announced the Forage Assistance Program, and hay and feed supply is moving into the area.
The federal minister and myself announced the AgriRecovery program, which is an emergency program for disasters to help move in feed supply, Mr. Speaker. We've also announced that there are advances from AgriStability, emergency funding for a cash advance.
The members opposite just want to continue to say there is not enough support there, instead of getting on board and saying to the producers, get in and fill out an application form.
Mr. Briese: Mr. Speaker, I have a number of past years' announcements on disaster financial assistance. They all say the same thing. They all start off the same way. This government is refusing to do that.
Mr. Speaker, victims of this year's heavy rains have other concerns. The survey at the meeting also found 45 percent of the respondents had flooded basements; 66 percent of the respondents had saturated septic fields. Households had experienced power outages an average of 5.4 times over the last 10 weeks.
These are very serious health and safety issues. Mr. Speaker, will the minister responsible take immediate action to address these concerns? Winter is approaching; solutions are needed now.
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): Mr. Speaker, like my colleague the Minister of Agriculture (Ms. Wowchuk), I took the time to get out and see the situation first-hand. I can say that right from day one EMO has been working with our municipalities in terms of non-insurable losses, which are, indeed, the basis of DFA. Not only have we identified the process by which people who have suffered that damage can apply for funds, we've actually already had at least one homeowner that has had that coverage. We have municipalities that will probably have road damage when the water recedes as well.
Mr. Speaker, we're out there, and the members opposite seem to think this is the U.S. They've been watching the Republican convention too much, I think. They talk about declaring disaster zones. In Manitoba, the way it works is you go to your municipality; you work with EMO; you provide the coverage, and that's what we're doing.
Proposed Nutrient Reduction Strategy
Mr. Ralph Eichler (Lakeside): Mr. Speaker, on Monday we heard that Manitoba Pork Council is more prepared to work with the government on nutrient management issues. They announced a three-step approach that would ensure that any phosphorus applied is taken up by crops used. It's a logical science-based strategy that the government should be embracing instead of moving forward with Bill 17, a patently political approach, yet the Minister of Conservation has rejected Manitoba Pork's strategy outright.
Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Conservation explain why he's rejecting a science-based approach to managing phosphorus?
Hon. Stan Struthers (Minister of Conservation): Clearly, Mr. Speaker, the zero percent solution offered up by Manitoba Conservatives and the Pork Council is a zero percent contribution to the solution of protecting water in Manitoba. Absolutely clear that what this is, this is clearly an attempt to gut Bill 17.
We're not going to back off protecting water. Members opposite shouldn't either.
Mr. Eichler: We have a government that's not prepared to listen to anybody other than their heavy-handed government.
Mr. Speaker, during the committee hearings on Bill 17, Dr. Karin Wittenberg of the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Agriculture, noted the bill would ensure the number of hogs won't increase in Manitoba. However, she stated and I quote: That is not the same as a development of policy to reduce nutrient loading of Lake Winnipeg. Innovative incentive-based regulatory tools have greater potential for environmental returns through improved cost-effectiveness and promotion of innovative technologies for environmental controls, end of quote.
Will the Minister of Conservation concede that he has taken the wrong approach and follow the advice of scientists such as Dr. Wittenberg? Base it on science, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Struthers: Mr. Speaker, we've been listening to Manitobans on this issue for a long time. Specifically, I've met with the Manitoba Pork Council over the summer to learn from them, and they've talked to me about some of the ideas that they bring forward. If you look at the three things they brought forward on Monday morning, the first one, crop removal over five years, that's already contained in the CEC recommendation. We're moving forward on that. Applying winter spreading, part of the CEC recommendation, we're moving forward on that. Direct injection, we're already doing these things.
What's very clear, Mr. Speaker, is that we are listening to producers. We are listening to Manitobans. It's the Tories at Manitoba Pork who simply want to gut Bill 17 and back off from protecting Manitoba–
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Eichler: Mr. Speaker, let's get this correct. The minister won't listen to the Pork Council. He won't listen to the scientists. He won't listen to the 300‑and-some presenters of which 98 percent were opposed to his bill.
Mr. Speaker, also during the committee hearings on Bill 17, Dr. Don Flaten, University of Manitoba, in Agriculture in Manitoba, stated, and I quote: I look at nutrients. I don't see special phosphorus molecules that come from hog operations versus cattle, dairy or from manure, synthetic fertilizers, or from the Legislative Building. I see phosphorus, okay? If the moratorium is the way to go, then you folks at the Legislature have a lot more moratoriums to work on because there are a lot of resources to deal with and you're going to be busy on moratoriums, end of quote.
Mr. Speaker, why does the Minister of Conservation single out the pork industry? Shame on this minister.
Mr. Struthers: Mr. Speaker, clearly we had our ears open at that hearing and the opposite members didn't. They were not. The public came to us and very clearly said, you need a comprehensive approach to protect Manitoba water. Over and over and over again, we heard that at the hearings.
Mr. Speaker, it might be news to members opposite, but that's exactly what we're doing. That's exactly how we're protecting Manitoba water. We're doing what the people of Manitoba said we should do, what they gave us a mandate to do. We're committed to protecting Manitoba water. It appears that Manitoba Tories aren't.
Scientific Advice for Nutrient Reduction
Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): This NDP government is developing a reputation for ignoring the advice of scientists and experts in various areas and having regular Manitobans pay the price.
This morning, their own government's chair of the Clean Environment Commission said that while changes needed to happen to ensure the ongoing environmental sustainability of the pork industry, the pork industry in Manitoba is sustainable and that insofar as the government's response to the Clean Environment Commission report in March goes, that the Clean Environment Commission cannot take responsibility for how the government interprets its advice.
These are the words of their own chairman of the Clean Environment Commission. They've got a habit of ignoring scientific advice on the issue of Winnipeg's waste-water system. We had a scientific report earlier this summer from Dr. David Schindler from the University of Alberta who is one of the world leaders on water research and he said, and I quote: What we found goes against the practices of the European Union and many scientists around the world. Controlling nitrogen does not correct the polluted lakes and, in fact, may actually aggravate the problem and make it worse.
Now, Mr. Speaker, they've directed the City of Winnipeg to remove nitrogen. At the same time, city of Winnipeg ratepayers have seen their water rates double in the last number of years, and they're projected to double again in the next five years in part to pay for a project that the scientists are saying may make Lake Winnipeg even worse than it is today.
Mr. Speaker, will the Premier acknowledge the advice of the scientific experts in Alberta and other places, look out for Winnipeggers who are working hard to pay their water rates and ask the Clean Environment Commission to review the science and do the right thing when it comes to directing changes at the level of the waste-water system in Winnipeg?
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Sargeant did speak this morning on the hog moratorium proposal before the Legislature. He started off by saying, let's start in the southeast, largely encompassing the R.M.s of La Broquerie and Hanover. He goes on to say that there's simply no more room for further expansion in that area, very specifically. I'm surprised the member opposite would take his comments out of context.
Number 2 region we're having a moratorium on–and the majority of the province, by the way, is available for expansion–the Red River basin has a particular problem or two. It's flat and wide and has been known to flood from time to time and add to that the manure that is spread in the fall, not incorporated, which can be flushed by floodwaters or heavy rainfalls into the river and ultimately into the lakes.
So he certainly understands the recommendation we're making in this legislation.
The Interlake which is the third area, the land is marginal, gravely and marshy. In the interests of protecting biodiversity, we recommended against the conversion of such lands into manure-spread lands.
So until more is known about these matters, better to err on the side of caution, Mr. Speaker, in terms of protecting water and lakes.
We have Bill 17 before this House that allows expansion to take place in two-thirds of Manitoba's area space. In the areas that you can't build anymore, you can't spread anymore or you don't know anymore, we have a moratorium. Why are you against water protection? Why are you voting against Bill 17?
Mr. McFadyen: Mr. Speaker, there was no call anywhere in the Clean Environment Commission report or in Mr. Sargeant's comments this morning for a blanket ban on expansion of buildings or changes to buildings as it respects to the industry. What he was referring to was the fact that in some areas, there is a large concentration and that needs to be dealt with. But the scientific evidence, he went on to say, we don't have the science today to be able to monitor what's happening to the lake. The scientific evidence is not sufficient to be able to develop all of the policy solutions.
And what he said–and the Premier wasn't there this morning. He went on to say, however, that these are some of the issues that have been identified but that the Clean Environment Commission can't take responsibility for the way the government interprets their reports and their advice. Their advice was not to introduce a blanket moratorium. The advice was to deal with the issue of keeping phosphorus from getting into Lake Winnipeg. There are lots of innovative ways of doing it. There's a growing demand for organic fertilizer in Manitoba. There's technology related to injecting into the soil which deals with some of these issues. There is no need to launch a full frontal political attack on people and agriculture in Manitoba at a time of worldwide food shortages.
I want to ask the Premier, we will not pit Manitobans against each other when it comes to protecting the environment or protecting jobs. We believe that the United Nations is right; you can achieve environmental objectives and grow the economy at the same time. They're pre-1987; we're living in the post-1987 UN world where you can achieve all these things at the same time.
I want to ask the Premier: When it comes to protecting the economic, social and environmental interests of our province, why is he ignoring the scientific advice on the waste-water project? Why is he flushing hundreds of millions of dollars down the drain that could be used to improve the environment and other areas? Why won't he listen to the scientists? Why is he playing politics with the ratepayers of Winnipeg?
Mr. Doer: The specific recommendations on dealing with ammonia, phosphorus and nitrogen, dealing with the Clean Environment Commission report, I would point out that ammonia is the largest cost, phosphorus is second and nitrogen is between 10 and 15 percent, and there are different scientific views on either side of that issue.
Mr. Speaker, we do not have a blanket, quote, moratorium in Manitoba. Maybe the member opposite has not read the bill, that we do have a targeted limitation on expansion of farms, hog barns, in three distinct geographic regions of Manitoba. A majority of the area of Manitoba is available for expansion.
Let me go into Mr. Sargeant's comments today. To start with, the area southeast is largely encompassing La Broquerie and Hanover. He goes on to talk about what's happened in the last number of years. This is an easy one to understand. Let me repeat, this is easy to understand. Perhaps you didn't hear this. This is an easy decision to understand. There is simply no room for future expansion in that area, full stop. Mr. Speaker, that's what's in Bill 17.
He also talks about the area on the Red River basin. It can be flushed away when rain falls into rivers and ultimately lakes. Again, science and the report leads us to the legislation. In the interest of protecting biodiversity in the Interlake, we recommended against conversion of such lands into manure spread areas. Of course, that's part of the existing protocol with hog barn expansion.
Until more is known, better to err on the side of caution. Why won't members look at our policy? It's not a blanket moratorium. If you've labelled it as a blanket moratorium, you have not done a very good service to this Legislature or to the people of Manitoba. It is a targeted moratorium against hog expansion to limit the expansion in areas where, and I quote, there is no further room for expansion in that area. That's what Bill 17 is all about. You should support it, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McFadyen: No amount of shouting, arm waving and cartoon character political performances is going to change the facts of what the scientists are saying on the issue. Mr. Sargeant identified the problems. He didn't endorse the approach that's being taken by the government in terms of their interpretation of what the report had to say. When he made reference to the issue of expansion of the industry, he was talking about two R.M.s. There are far more than two R.M.s that are being covered by this bill.
The fact is that on every step, instead of following the scientific advice, what they've done is they've chosen to play politics. They are pitting people in the city of Winnipeg against people who live outside the city of Winnipeg for blatant partisan gain. The Premier has admitted as much in a variety of ways over the past number of months. That's the way he plays politics. If that's the way he wants to play politics, then he'll be held to account for that when the time comes.
Mr. Speaker, he is about to throw away in excess of $100 million in connection with nitrogen removal. He just said it's between 10 percent and 15 percent of the total project cost, in excess of $100 million, money that could be spent working with agriculture to adapt practices, doing what the scientists have advised with respect to Lake Winnipeg, which was to not put a ban on buildings which have nothing to do with phosphorus but to deal with the issue of the phosphorus itself for which there's a growing market as an organic fertilizer, for which there are new techniques to deal with it in terms of ensuring it goes back into the food chain to produce food not just for Manitobans but for everybody in the world.
I want to ask the Premier: Why is he playing politics with such an important issue? We are a province founded on agriculture. We live in a time of world food shortages. Why is he attacking agriculture to score political points when that's not what the scientists are saying? They're saying, be practical, be pragmatic and find a solution that doesn't involve killing jobs in Manitoba.
Mr. Doer: The easy political solution is what happened in the '90s, and that's to do nothing. The easy political solution is do nothing.
The harder solution is to take action, to have ads out against you by different lobby groups. That is the harder position to take. In the city of Winnipeg there were bills going out before the last election, during the last election, saying, because of action taken by the provincial government and the CEC, your water bills are going to go up. It would have been easy to do nothing. The status quo is the easier solution.
Taking action to spend one-third of the commitment for the clean-up in Winnipeg for phosphorus, ammonia and nitrogen, that's the harder position. To allocate money where no money was allocated before is the harder political position. We're not asking anybody. It's the Clean Environment Commission and the Province of Manitoba that has pledged one-third of the cost. We're pledging money in Brandon for phosphorus clean-up. We're pledging money in Neepawa for phosphorus clean-up and, yes, in three areas of the province we're taking action.
It's not the easiest way out to take action, believe me, and I would point out in the one area it says: largely encompassing the R.M.s of La Broquerie and Hanover. It's easy to understand. There's simply no room for further expansion. The second area says manure is flushed by floodwaters and heavy rains into our rivers and ultimately into our lakes; thirdly, that we are better to err on the side of caution.
Mr. Speaker, why are you not erring on the side of caution? Why are you flushing manure into the Red River, into Lake Winnipeg in the Red River Valley and why are you voting against expansion where it's easy to understand? Why don't you vote for Bill 17?
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): It seems to me there was once a joke from Tommy Douglas about a Premier who stood up on a manure spreader and told stories. Here we are. When it comes to improving wellness and preventing illness, then, this government is falling short.
There's a study in Pediatrics, a scientific journal, this month, showing very clearly that when governments don't make the use of bike helmets mandatory, then more children have injuries and die.
I ask the Premier: Why does his government not support preventing injuries? Why does his government not support legislation to make the use of bike helmets mandatory in Manitoba so that we can save the lives of Manitobans?
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should know that when Tommy Douglas stood on the farm equipment he was talking about Mr. Gardiner, who, I believe, was a Liberal at the time. I would support Tommy Douglas and his comments about the Liberal government in Saskatchewan any day of the week, so I'd like to thank the member for his quote of Tommy Douglas, a person, of course, who moved to Winnipeg and lived on Union Avenue and is a person that we hold in a great deal of respect.
Mr. Speaker, we're bringing in a series of safety legislation in the November session and the member should stay tuned.
Access to Information
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, this government not only is not doing adequately in preventing injuries but it's hiding information. I table a Freedom of Information request which shows that they are not even collecting essential information regarding bike injuries and helmet use in Manitoba. You know, this is disgraceful.
It's happening not only there, but I had Amanda Foerster approach me recently. Her baby died in St. Boniface in January 2008. A critical incident was filed. The report was completed in July and now, two months later, there is a refusal to share that report with Amanda, to share the knowledge so that we can improve and prevent problems in the future.
Why is the Minister of Health presiding over a system in which information is not being shared, critical information, critical incident reports?
Hon. Theresa Oswald (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, and again, while inappropriate to deal with specific issues of a specific case, I can ensure that any individual that would go through circumstances with the loss of a child, something unbearable to anybody in this House today, deserves to have open and transparent information on this issue, and we will ensure that that happens for any Manitoban that should suffer an unbearable loss such as that.
The member opposite knows that we've worked to amend legislation concerning critical incidents, that we've worked with him, other members of this House, to improve transparency and will continue to do that, Mr. Speaker.
Flight Attendant Base Closure
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster): Mr. Speaker, we should all be concerned in regard to Air Canada's closure of the flight attendant bases. In fact, there were two conditions for the privatization of Air Canada: First, that it be subjected to the official languages act, and then, second, it would maintain its operations across Canada, specifically its head office in Montreal and operational centres here in Winnipeg.
Mr. Speaker, there is at least a moral if not even a legal obligation of Air Canada to keep that base open. We put forward an emergency debate on the issue. Both the Conservative and the Liberal leaders have indicated they are prepared to go and meet with the corporation.
Will the Premier (Mr. Doer) take the initiative today and acknowledge and work with both opposition parties and fight for those very important jobs in Winnipeg today?
Hon. Andrew Swan (Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade): Mr. Speaker, indeed, the Member for Inkster did bring forward a matter of urgent public importance, and we did have a chance to speak on that very important issue for the Air Canada employees, for their families and for our community.
But, it's interesting, of course, the Member for Inkster correctly raises this is a piece of federal legislation, and, again, there is a federal election going on. I would think the most productive thing that all members in this House could do, could speak to their own MPs, their own candidates, to make sure that the continued presence and the strong presence of Air Canada here in Manitoba is a federal election issue and is an important issue for all MPs to deal with.
Mr. Speaker: Time for oral questions has expired.
Mahatma Gandhi Day
Mrs. Myrna Driedger (Charleswood): Mr. Speaker, the designation today in a proclamation of October 2 as Mahatma Gandhi Day is an occasion for Manitobans to celebrate the life's work of a great leader, activist and philosopher. Gandhi served as a catalyst for change in his own nation and around the world. From fighting for the rights of Indian people in South Africa to working towards India's independence from Britain, his dedication to achieving freedom for his people was paramount. Still, his personal doctrines that spawned a philosophy for many prevailed. He advocated non‑violence and peaceful protests in the pursuit of civil rights.
Today, India is the world's largest democracy with over 1 billion inhabitants who count Gandhi as father of their nation, a leader whose noble principles of social action and non-violence have had lasting effects on future generations and schools of political thought.
Ms. Bonnie Korzeniowski, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair
The Indo-Canadian community right here in Manitoba continues to value this rich element of their social history. All Canadians can come together to reap the benefits of Gandhi's teaching and the beliefs he adhered to in his life of service.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. Madam Deputy Speaker, a few years ago I was very privileged to be at that site and see where it had happened, to walk in his footsteps as he had walked at the time just before he was assassinated. I had the opportunity to throw flower petals on his shrine. I have to tell you it was an absolutely profound experience for me personally, and I do feel some sense of how the Indian people feel about this particular person and his greatness.
We can all learn from the example that Gandhi has set for us with deference to his ideals of truth, service, peace and co-operation as key philosophies that unite us across perceived political boundaries. By paying tribute to this remarkable world leader and his contributions to social justice on October 2, Manitobans will be offered an opportunity to reflect on Gandhi's message and how they can best integrate it in their own lives. Thank you.
Snow Lake Mining Developments
Mr. Gerard Jennissen (Flin Flon): Allow me to highlight exciting mining developments in one of our northern communities, Snow Lake. Snow Lake is making waves with action towards a sustainable community plan. Given recent developments in the area and prediction of rapid growth, Snow Lake is at the front line of a brand-new problem in the north, that of how to accommodate a population boom and a development boom.
Recently, HudBay Minerals Inc. announced positive results for its hundred percent owned Lalor Lake deposit in the Flin Flon greenstone belt, 15 kilometres from Snow Lake. In late August, Allen Palmiere, president and CEO of HudBay, announced the Lalor Lake deposit as one of our important exploration properties which has the potential to be HudBay's next mine in northern Manitoba's greenstone belt area. The Lalor Lake deposit, if and when fully developed, will drastically influence growth and economic development in the Snow Lake, Cranberry Portage, Flin Flon region.
In anticipation of an upturn in employment and population growth, the Town of Snow Lake, with the assistance of MMM Group Limited, is preparing a sustainable community plan. The plan will examine the state of the town's infrastructure, community services and facilities. Recommendations coming from this plan will look to accommodate growth in environmentally and financially sustainable ways. Members of council have received a positive response from the Province as this particular plan is expected to be an innovative model for development in small mining towns.
The Town of Snow Lake is to be commended for its vision for the future. These initiatives are an indication of our Province's support for responsible mining. The Province of Manitoba is committed to mining developments in the north. We're also directing our commitment towards mining rehabilitation and the removal of environmental hazards with our orphan mine policy.
Manitoba is a responsible, mining-friendly province which continues to streamline its regulatory processes. We look forward to mining developments in Snow Lake, Lynn Lake and elsewhere.
The anticipated mining development and Manitoba Hydro's massive dam-building initiatives should ensure growth for decades to come. A prosperous north will mean a prosperous Manitoba.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
125th Anniversary of Morris
Mrs. Mavis Taillieu (Morris): It gives me great pleasure to rise today and put a few words on the record about the 125th anniversary of the town of Morris. Between 1,200 and 1,300 people gathered on the July 11-13 weekend to commemorate the 125th anniversary. Community members and visitors enjoyed reunions, a homecoming dance and historical tours of the town.
A notable event during the weekend was the opening of a 100-year-old time capsule which was found in the former Morris School. When the building was demolished three years ago, a capsule from 1908 was found in the school wall. The capsule was opened during the 125th celebrations. Included in the box were two copies of the Manitoba Free Press, a copy of the Morris Herald and one of the Winnipeg Telegram. Interestingly, the headline on the Winnipeg Telegram on September 22 of 1908 said, Conservative convention in Winnipeg.
Opening the 100-year memory box reminded Morris residents of the changes over the last 125 years. Morris's location in the middle of the Red River Valley made Morris an ideal location for fur traders in the later 1700s. With strategic access to the river, two fur trading stations had developed along the river by 1801. At this time, the town was known as Scratching River. Eventually, Morris was named after Alexander Morris, the second Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, and the town was officially incorporated in 1883.
Mr. Speaker in the Chair
The fertile and flat farmland is some of the best-producing agricultural soil in the world. As a result of this fertile land, the economy of Morris is based on agriculture. The town serves the surrounding community with agricultural supplies and services. Morris is also conveniently located as a base for trade along the mid-continent trade corridor. Businesses in Morris produce and supply products nationally and internationally.
Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to speak at the 125th celebrations. Provencher Member of Parliament Vic Toews also spoke about agricultural communities such as Morris as a backbone of this country. We both had the opportunity and the honour of presenting Morris Mayor Dale Hoffman with commemorative plaques. I also want to pay tribute to the many, many volunteers who worked very diligently to put this weekend together. It was a huge success, and I want to congratulate the town of Morris on its 125th anniversary.
25th Anniversary of MFL Occupational Health Centre
Ms. Jennifer Howard (Fort Rouge): Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today to mark the 25th anniversary of the Manitoba Federation of Labour's Occupational Health Centre. This centre is a non-profit, community-based organization located in downtown Winnipeg in my constituency which provides free services to help workers and employers improve workplace health and safety and eliminate hazards.
When the centre was launched in 1983, it was only the second occupational health clinic in Canada. Manitoba's labour movement was instrumental in recognizing the need for quality accessible and comprehensive workplace health and safety services.
The volunteer board of directors, founded by the late Dick Martin, a former Manitoba Federation of Labour president, is currently chaired by the present MFL President, Darlene Dziewit, with many board members from throughout the province. The centre's dedicated staff includes Executive Director Carol Loveridge, three part-time physicians, two occupational health nurses, an occupational health specialist, an ergonomist, a health educator, a librarian and an office administrator.
Mr. Speaker, the Occupational Health Centre offers innovative projects such as outreach programs to Aboriginal workers and immigrant workers, information on small-business ergonomics and managing workplace stress. The centre also provides a wealth of informational resources available to the public.
I would like to applaud the Occupational Health Centre for their commitment to comprehensive and accessible health care. I encourage them to continue to aid Manitobans in attaining the highest level of occupational health and safety and to continuing to empower individuals and groups to take action to improve their workplace. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
100th Anniversary of Roland
Mr. Blaine Pedersen (Carman): Mr. Speaker, the town of Roland is celebrating its 100th birthday. Early settlers came from Ontario in the 1870s to the Roland area and began clearing trees for farmland. This agricultural community is still benefiting from this fruitful agricultural land. Descendants of four settlers still remain on those very farms qualifying these four family farms for the status of Century Farms.
In 1908, the municipality of Roland was officially established. On June 21, 2008, Roland celebrated its 100th birthday. The Roland Agricultural Society and the Rural Municipality of Roland combined their centennial celebrations. A float parade started the day. Beer gardens, food vendors were enjoyed throughout the day as well as the traditional tractor pull, 4-H Musical Ride, Altamont Orchestra and an old-time dance were enjoyed by the celebrators. Games and races and a live band also entertained residents and visitors at the centennial celebrations.
Roland is famous for its annual October Pumpkin Fair, and the pride of Roland is a giant pumpkin landmark. The statue honours the late Edgar Van Wyck, whose 422-pound pumpkin ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1976. In 2007, the pumpkin landmark was the second Canadian landmark to be refurbished by the Hampton Hotels Save-A-Landmark program. The site of the pumpkin was then landscaped and lit and parking areas were established. Roland Agricultural Society hosts the annual Roland Pumpkin Fair which is a great venue for those interested in growing giant vegetables.
Another achievement of the town of Roland is the development of 4-H clubs, which originated in Roland. The existing Boys and Girls Club program changed to place a greater emphasis on personal development rather than agricultural production. In 1952, the name was changed to 4-H. 4-H clubs across the world now include 80 countries and over seven million members.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the community of Roland on all its achievements over the past 100 years and wish the community many, more years of success. Thank you.
Hon. Dave Chomiak (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, the parties have agreed in the Chamber that this afternoon the House will consider condolences motions. For the information of the House, these are the names of the former members of the Legislative Assembly whose passing this House will be taking note of today: Robert Gordon Smellie, Harry Edward Graham, Clarence Baker, Gabriel Girard, Charles Lemington Shuttleworth and Jackson A. Hardy.
With those few comments, that will be the extent of government and House business for the afternoon, Mr. Speaker, as we consider the worthwhile public contribution and service of all of these late members of the Chamber.
Mr. Speaker: For information of the House, this afternoon, the House will consider condolence motions. For the information of the House, these are the names of the former members of this Assembly whose passing this House will be taking note of today: Robert Gordon Smellie, Harry Edward Graham, Clarence Baker, Gabriel Girard, Charles Lemington Shuttleworth and Jackson A. Hardy.
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): Yes, I move, seconded by the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr. McFadyen),
THAT this House convey to the family of the late Robert Gordon Smellie, 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 and the 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. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the memory of a Manitoban who spent his life in the service of his community, province and country, Robert Gordon Smellie.
Many of us would have known Mr. Smellie as a member of the Cabinet of Duff Roblin. He was a member of that government from the elections in the 1950s. He was re-elected in '62 and made Minister of Municipal Affairs in the Duff Roblin government until '66, and he was made minister without portfolio in the Roblin government after that.
Of course, we know that the Roblin government and the Cabinet of Duff Roblin was a very, very formidable public service force, and for Mr. Smellie to be recognized by former Premier Roblin for this prestigious appointment and this very important appointment I know brought great pride to his family and to his constituents in the Birtle-Russell area.
Mr. Smellie was a Conservative representative in the Legislature from 1959 to 1966 in the riding of Birtle-Russell. He was born in Russell. His family was in Russell. He was part of an industrious and entrepreneurial family and was well respected in the creamery and retail sector. He went to Russell Collegiate and then moved to Brandon College, and his studies were interrupted, as so many of our previous colleagues were, by the Second World War. Mr. Smellie enlisted in the Canadian Army. He was part of the Canadian landing party at Juno Beach on D-day. Mr. Smellie was wounded several weeks later and convalesced in England. After his recovery, he began his officer's training and was commissioned a lieutenant in the army.
After the war, Mr. Smellie returned to Brandon to finish his studies. He went to the University of Manitoba and attained a law degree. He married his fiancée, Lois Cochrane, and they had three daughters, Susan Lynn, Carol Ann and Linda Darlene.
During his time of legal practice in Russell, he practised and owned his own practice in law, and then he later came to a firm, Aikins MacAulay, until his retirement. After politics, he went into Aikins MacAulay and he retired from law practice in 1995. He worked a lot in municipal law and, of course, his experience as minister was very invaluable, estate law, commercial law, and he dealt a lot with gas rates with the PUB.
Mr. Smellie also was involved after direct political life in this Legislature with local boundaries, dealing with municipalities, and that is also a very, very important public service. He worked as a volunteer at Deer Lodge Centre, the Heart Foundation of Manitoba and the Manitoba and Canadian Bar Associations. He was devoted, as many veterans are, to his legion. His service with his legion culminated in his role as Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion in the early 1970s.
Mr. Speaker, we certainly appreciate the fact that Mr. Smellie joined the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, his organization dedicated to finding employment for ex-military and ex-RCMP officers in that capacity.
Mr. Speaker, we know that Mr. Smellie had a fond memory of his military service. He retained closed relationships with his war-time regiment, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, and was appointed in 1986 as an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the unit. We know that the Juno Beach military activity and some of the other battles of Europe were fittingly recalled and celebrated by former Premier Roblin representing Manitoba, and I'm sure Mr. Smellie, in that anniversary that took place before his death, would certainly appreciate the fact that our former Premier and another combatant in that battle were speaking on behalf of Manitoba, but I really thought he spoke on behalf of Canada at those commemorations that took place a few years ago.
Mr. Smellie is survived by his present wife of 25 years, Jean, as well as his daughters, Susan, Carol and Linda; his sister Patricia; brothers George, Logie and numerous nieces, nephews and grandchildren. I just want to say on behalf of the people of Manitoba that we want to thank and appreciate the life of Mr. Smellie, his contributions to public affairs in this Legislature, his contributions to voluntary activities throughout this province, and his ultimate sacrifice of participating in the war of Europe and being a wounded casualty of that war, putting his life before his person on behalf of democracy in Canada, and for that we are very thankful and we honour his life today.
Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): I want to thank the Premier (Mr. Doer) for that tribute to Mr. Smellie. The Member for Russell (Mr. Derkach) also has some words to contribute to this condolence motion and we certainly support wholeheartedly the resolution introduced by the Premier (Mr. Doer) to convey the condolences of this House to Mr. Smellie's family.
The Premier has highlighted many of the significant achievements of Bob Smellie over the course of his career. He is somebody who was a great member of what is arguably the greatest generation, as described by Tom Brokaw and certainly echoed by many. He was a war veteran, somebody who had the courage to land at Juno as part of the liberation of Europe that was such a vital turning point in turning back the totalitarian ambitions of the then government of Germany.
He did so much in the course of his life subsequent to that in the way of public service. It's difficult to capture all of it with just a few minutes, but some of the highlights are that he chose to serve in this Chamber for many years. He was elected to the Legislature originally in 1959, leaving a law practice that he had built up with some large degree of success prior to that in Russell. Was re-elected in 1962, appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs under then-Premier Duff Roblin. As the Premier has indicated, this was a very active and successful government in building up many of the things that we would today take for granted in the world of provincial-municipal relations, infrastructure, schools, health care and so many other areas that are such vital building blocks of our present-day society.
Over the years, he undertook a number of other specific assignments, having chaired a provincial boundaries commission, chairing the Municipal Board of Manitoba and, of course, carrying on in his distinguished service as a representative of the Canadian Armed Forces.
In that capacity, he continued his involvement with the Royal Canadian Legion. He was named dominion president of the Legion in the early 1970s, and was awarded a distinguished service medal from the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, and a Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2003.
Bob Smellie is a name–I'm speaking personally now–that was known to me as I was growing up. The person who encouraged and inspired me to take an interest in politics was my late grandmother, Gwen Laughlin. She was friends with Bob Smellie, also with his then-wife, Lois, and certainly my association with that name is one that is very positive, somebody who was held in very high regard by everybody who knew him and I certainly knew him by reputation as a result of his many and substantial contributions to our province.
As somebody who is privileged to serve in this Chamber, and having the opportunity to attempt as best we can to build on the many achievements of those who came here before us, I just want to extend my personal thanks to him in tribute for the many contributions that he made, and also extend, as the Premier has indicated, condolences to his daughters, Susan Lynn, Carol Ann and Linda, as well as to his present wife, Jean, somebody who was dearly loved by Bob.
So I second the motion and thank the Premier for his comments and look forward to a further tribute to be offered by the Member for Russell. Thank you.
Mr. Leonard Derkach (Russell): As we pay tribute to a great Manitoban this afternoon, Mr. Bob Smellie, I want to begin by extending the condolences of the constituents of Russell and, more specifically, my family, to Jean and to Bob's family, and his extended family, and thank his family for supporting Bob throughout his public life for the province of Manitoba and, indeed, for this country of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, my comments today are going to be more of a personal nature because I came to know Mr. Smellie when I was in grade 9. At that time, Mr. Smellie was seeking re-election in the second term of office. He had some of us young students participate in a democratic electoral process. We did that by distributing some pamphlets, of course, in the community. Walking into the constituency or then the campaign office to see how an election process was being conducted, it was at that time that I met Mr. Smellie, admired this gentleman as being one who was not only popular in the community, but one who exhibited in many ways leadership for the community and, indeed, for our province.
Never did I dream at that time that I would ever follow in the footsteps of this gentleman in terms of being the Minister responsible for Municipal Affairs many years later, Mr. Speaker, and then to, once again, work with Mr. Smellie when he was appointed to the Municipal Board. I worked closely with Mr. Smellie as Minister responsible for Rural Development in his time as the chair of the Municipal Board.
I never stopped learning from this gentleman, because he was someone who could mentor people regardless of what they thought they knew. He had a way about him in which he could always teach you a lesson or two, and it was always greatly appreciated.
Mr. Smellie was born in Russell, of course. For those of us who were also born in that community, the Smellie name is a very household name in the community, Mr. Speaker. It is one that goes back long before I was on this earth and one which, I think, helped build the community in many ways. As a very young person, I remember the creamery that was in the town. It was one of the larger facilities in the community, owned by the Smellie brothers. Of course, one of the, I would say, signature buildings of the town, which still stands today, is called Smellie Block and is being renovated as a historic building, but that building itself was used as distribution for retail goods, not only for the community but, indeed, for communities in the surrounding area.
The Smellie brothers and their families were known as entrepreneurs, Mr. Speaker, leaders in the community and, I think, to a large measure, leaders in this province. I think Russell, Manitoba, takes a lot of its pride from the quality of the people such as the Smellie family and, indeed, Mr. Bob Smellie was an important part of that.
Mr. Smellie had a very active practice, law practice, in the community of Russell. I'm not going to repeat some of the biography that has been already put on the record, Mr. Speaker, except to say that the entire community respected Mr. Smellie and wanted to keep him in the community. I think there was a little bit of, perhaps, jealousy, certainly, sadness when Mr. Smellie left our community because he was elected to this Legislature, became Minister of Municipal Affairs. In those days, it wasn't quite as easy to travel back and forth as it is today, and Mr. Smellie and his family did choose to locate in Winnipeg.
I also remember Susan, who was the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Smellie, was a classmate of mine, and it is through that relationship that we started to become interested in politics and hand out brochures. Of course, as students in the same school, it was just a close connection that made me respect Mr. Smellie so much.
When I ran for politics in 1985 for the nomination, I remember that my thoughts very quickly went back to the days when I was helping Mr. Smellie. I didn't do much. I was simply a young observer, someone who was just getting started in taking some interest in provincial politics. But, certainly, my thoughts went back to how a campaign was run then and how we needed to run a campaign in 1986. Since then, I have always respected the Smellie name, Mr. Bob Smellie, who I think represented not only the community of Russell, but, indeed, this province in a very eloquent way. He represented us in a very respectful way.
I must say as Minister of Municipal Affairs, I believe that the years in which he became Minister of Municipal Affairs were, indeed, very active years and ones where there were many changes made to the whole area of municipal affairs and how the department itself evolved into something that municipalities needed, something that showed leadership to this province. Indeed, it was led by a great man in Mr. Smellie.
So, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Smellie's life was, indeed, a very active life. As has been noted, he did serve in the war, was wounded, came back and served his country and served his province. He not only practiced law in Russell, but, indeed, after his term in office as a politician, he went back to politics and, as minister, when I was Minister of Rural Development, I was very pleased to once again associate myself with Mr. Smellie and work with him for a number of years as he undertook the leadership in his role as the member of a government that I was a part of and, certainly, someone who I had a great respect for.
So, Mr. Speaker, with those words, I once again extend our thanks to the Smellie family for sharing Mr. Bob Smellie with Manitoba, with Canada, with this Legislature. Indeed, I extend to them greatest appreciation for the work that he did on behalf of Manitobans.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I rise to extend condolences to family and friends of Mr. Bob Smellie on his death. I want to acknowledge his major contributions to Canada, serving overseas and being present at D-day at Juno Beach, serving later on as the president of the Royal Canadian Legion, serving as the national chairman of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires and, in a number of ways, contributing to Canada as a whole.
I also want to pay tribute to his service in the Manitoba Legislature, the time that he was here as a representative for Russell and as the Minister of Municipal Affairs, and the contributions that he made to Manitoba. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion? [Agreed]
Would honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate their support for the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Harry Edward Graham
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. McFadyen),
THAT this House convey to the family of the late Harry Edward Graham, 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 the 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. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the memory of Harry Edward Graham, a man who has lent his many talents and great character to the services of the people of Manitoba and to Manitoba politics for some 17 years.
Mr. Graham was elected, as I recall, in 1969 in a by-election in February and was re-elected in '69 in the June election that took place in Manitoba; re‑elected in '73; re-elected in '77; re-elected in 1981 and decided not to run in Russell, leaving a very strong constituency to the present Member for Russell (Mr. Derkach), one which I know Premier Pawley, at the time, thought he couldn't win as long as Mr. Graham was the incumbent and thought there was an opportunity there when the seat became vacant but only to have those thoughts dashed because of the strong, strong, strong constituency organization that Mr. Graham established and bequeathed to the Member for Russell.
Certainly, all of us can see, and I'm sure that all of us can still picture Harry Graham in that Speaker's gowns and that Speaker's hat. He fit the role. He certainly looked the figure. He was appointed at the time by former Premier Lyon to Speaker. I believe he was Speaker right throughout the Lyon years from '77 to '81. The Member for St. Johns (Mr. Mackintosh) is nodding his head, because I think from some point at that time he would have been serving at the table before practising law and then ultimately being promoted to this House.
Mr. Graham was a Conservative representative, and I understand that Mr. Graham was raised in Binscarth to his parents, George and Margaret. This was an agricultural centre, and he was very involved in agriculture. He worked both as a farmer and a contractor in the area, and he was soon married to his fiancée, Velma, and together they had six children, Walter George, Bruce, John, Henry, Dianna and Joy.
He apparently established his political career when he was helping his friend, the dentist, in the area, Dr. Vern Rosnoski, whom we certainly have met in the past. However, apparently the doctor couldn't find a buyer for his left-handed dental equipment at the time and after he declared he was going to run, he withdrew from politics and Mr. Graham assumed the dentist's place. Now, of course, the rest is history because he won so many elections and was the esteemed Speaker of this House in his role in this Manitoba Legislature.
He was known to be a fairly outspoken and tireless representative of his constituents. He enjoyed the thrust and parry of debate with the Schreyer government that he served opposite to for a period of time and, of course, he enjoyed his role, I know, very much.
I remember listening to him talk and hearing him in a social event once in the role of Speaker, and he really, really cherished that job. He was really respected, as I recall it, by all members of the Chamber. It was before the time I was elected, but, certainly, he was a man of integrity in the Chair and respected from all quarters in this House.
He, Mr. Graham, as I say, served not only in this Chamber, but he served in many other roles, public roles. He was involved in the Masonic lodge. He was involved in his church. He was involved in sports associations, curling, golf, bridge, involved with the community centres, school boards and hospital boards. He was also involved in the Progressive Conservative Party. He was active in his party and had been active in his party throughout his years, both before being elected and after. He remained involved as a president of the Progressive Conservative Association in the federal riding of Marquette, and he was always somebody that people called upon for political wisdom before they ran, during the time they were running and after they ran in terms of being accountable to their constituents.
Certainly, Mr. Graham was involved in many public issues of importance outside of his Speaker's role. He was dealing with farm machinery matters, dealing with equipment and farmers' emergency grants, county courts and highways. He was always interested in furthering the interests of rural residents, and he was involved in federal-provincial relations and business-state relations with great energy and enthusiasm. Mr. Graham retired from politics in '86, but he was, as I say, very active as a volunteer in his community.
Mr. Graham is predeceased by his parents and his one son, Walter George. He is survived by his wife, Velma, and his five children, 15 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Mr. Graham for his great contributions to the people of Manitoba and for his great contributions to this Assembly and his constituents here in Manitoba.
Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): I, too, would like to express condolences to the family of Harry Graham. Those who have been left behind have lost a formidable presence in their lives. The Premier has touched on some of the highlights of his career and, I think, given a flavour of his personality and character. He's not somebody that I had the opportunity to know well, although I did meet him on a couple of occasions. I know him primarily by reputation and it's a reputation of somebody who was not boring and who was, in a line of work that tends to attract interesting people, somebody who was more interesting than your average in every positive sense.
He was a great advocate for the communities that he represented. He was a great believer in parliamentary democracy and the traditions as well as the evolution in the rules of this House and has left a lasting mark on politics in Manitoba and on this Chamber.
The Premier has touched on the fact that his background was in agriculture. He began his life as a farmer prior to entering politics and then became engaged in politics because he had an abiding belief in the need for a strong voice for rural communities in this Chamber and, in particular, a voice that would stand up for farms and farm families. He was the president in his political life of the Marquette Progressive Conservative Association, and in his non-political life served as vice-chairman of the Russell District Hospital because of his commitment to ensuring the availability of health services in his home community of Russell. He was a member of Toastmasters International, was regarded as a persuasive and interesting public speaker and has contributed a great deal to this province.
He was Speaker of the House during the Lyon administration, from 1977-1981. He presided over this Chamber in a way that was viewed as impartial and fair and had the respect of members from all parties.
I would just say that I know that he had a great impact on the way politics was done within our party. He believed strongly in the importance of standing up for one's constituents and having a strong presence in the communities that he represented.
The Premier (Mr. Doer) has talked about the strong organization that he built up during his time as MLA, and I do want to echo those comments. My understanding is that there was strong association left to his successor, but I also want to give credit to the fact that his successor is a formidable leader within the community in his own right and has built on that organization that was left to him by Mr. Graham and has earned a great following among the people of the Russell constituency.
With those comments, I want to leave it to the Member for Russell to add some personal reflections, something he's far better qualified and able to do than I am in light of his personal relationship with Harry Graham and his family.
I will say this: he is somebody with a formidable reputation of great public service to our province, and I want to extend my condolences to his family and thanks to him for the contributions that he's made to building up our great province of Manitoba. Thank you.
Mr. Leonard Derkach (Russell): When I look at you in your chair, Mr. Speaker, I can't help but think about those years when Mr. Graham occupied that chair. Although I wasn't in the House at the time, I remember he loved his job. I'm told that he did his job with distinction and impartiality like you.
I remember visiting him in the Legislature once. It was at that time a custom, I guess, or the tradition that the Speaker lived in the Legislature here, in the Speaker's office, which is now the Speaker's office. We did have an opportunity to visit Mr. Graham in his office and in his accommodations here at the Legislature, which doesn't exist anymore in terms of a dwelling. It's rather an office instead, Mr. Speaker.
To the family of Harry Graham, I want to extend, again, the appreciation of all of the constituents of the Russell constituency and the constituency that then went beyond Russell and to the Virden area, because Mr. Graham did represent that area as well. I would have to say from all of the people in the area that we want to express an appreciation for the years that Mr. Graham spent in this Legislature representing the western part of this province and, indeed, thank his family, Velma and their children, for sharing her husband, their father, with Manitobans in the work that he did on behalf of Manitobans and for this country.
Mr. Graham was a fairly colourful individual, and the way he entered politics was a little bit unusual. I think the Premier mentioned the left-handed dentist who happened to be my first campaign manager as well.
Let's go back a few years to when Mr. Graham entered politics. Mr. Graham first decided to become a campaign manager for a new candidate that was going to represent the Russell area. The new candidate was going to be Dr. Vern Rosnoski, who had been a teacher in the area, then went on to get his dentistry, but was left-handed. The only way that Dr. Rosnoski could actually go into politics was to find a left-handed dentist that could take over his practice; he was the only dentist in town. He did attract a young dentist for about four days. For some reason, that relationship didn't last and Dr. Rosnoski found himself unable to find a replacement for his then-emerging business.
In a meeting that was held between Dr. Vern Rosnoski, Harry Graham and some other executive members, it was decided that they would switch roles, that Harry Graham would run as the candidate and Dr. Rosnoski would be the campaign manager. That relationship lasted quite a few years. I think there were a lot of decisions made between those two gentlemen as to how the constituency would actually be represented for many years to come. There were many interesting meetings, I can tell you, because Mr. Graham was a very colourful individual and one who felt very passionately about rural life and about, specifically, that western side of the province.
Another incident was one where the association wanted to have a fundraiser, but they didn't know who they'd get for a speaker. Harry Graham suggested that maybe they should get John Diefenbaker in. That idea was scoffed at, of course, because why would the Prime Minister of Canada ever come to a small community like Binscarth or Russell? But Mr. Graham was convinced that he could convince the then-Prime Minister of the country to come to the constituency. Indeed, I guess it showed in later years why Mr. Graham was a true leader in his constituency, because at that time a lot of people didn't know the, I guess, determination of this gentleman and he took it upon himself personally to invite John Diefenbaker to Russell and, lo and behold, John Diefenbaker did attend the function in the Russell arena and I don't think there have been as many people in the Russell arena since that visit by the then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to the area. Today, some of the elderly people in the community still talk about their actual meeting with then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and it was all because Harry Graham had gone out of his way to invite John Diefenbaker to the community.
When he became the member for the Legislature, of course the constituency was of a different configuration than it is today. As we go through electoral boundary changes, which we are just going through now, it put Russell on a boundary, as it does today, between two constituencies and it's always been that way except for a few years in the late '80s when it actually extended to the Duck Mountain Provincial Park, but Russell has always been sort of the boundary between two constituencies. So we were always blessed with having two representatives close at hand, both Conservative representatives, which was good for the area and both Harry and Wally, the late Wally McKenzie, represented the Inglis and the Roblin area and certainly those two gentlemen, I think, presented a lot of life in this Legislature because I believe it was one time that–you know, displays in this House are not allowed, Mr. Speaker, but there was an issue that evolved in this building about pigeons dying, being poisoned around the Legislature and, to make the point, I think one of these two gentlemen actually brought a pigeon into the Legislature here and used it as a prop in his speech. I think after that they didn't allow props in this Legislature.
So the area has produced some fairly colourful individuals, and the late Wally McKenzie and also the late Harry Graham were two of those colourful individuals who brought a real life to politics and I think, you know, when we look at the representatives of that region, whether it was Bob Smellie, Harry Graham, Wally McKenzie, Mr. Speaker, these individuals did contribute richly not only to this Legislature, but to our province.
Now, Mr. Graham, as has been said, was a farmer. He and his brother were probably one of the larger producers in the Binscarth-Russell area, between the area of Binscarth and Foxwarren, really. At the same time, the brothers also owned a construction company and I think some of the roads that we still travel on today were built by their company. As an entrepreneur, as someone deeply interested in the political direction of this province and this country, Mr. Graham did contribute to the area, and I guess because of that kind of representation in the area I was blessed to take over in the area as the MLA, and because of the high quality of representation by people like Mr. Harry Graham, people still feel very strongly connected to the Conservative Party and to politics. Certainly, I have reaped the benefit of the work that these gentlemen did. I'm hoping that in years to come I can pass that on to someone else down the road.
Mr. Speaker, when I became the MLA, Mr. Graham became a member of the executive association and would offer good advice to me as a young MLA and as a new MLA and would oftentimes caution me about taking a position that was popular, that perhaps it was time for me to reflect a little on the issue and take a bit of a different approach.
Those members who may read some of the Hansards of Mr. Graham will know that he didn't always follow the beaten path. He would oftentimes voice caution, voice concern and would take a bit of a different approach. I think he was known for that in terms of allowing people to take a second look at a direction that was being taken, perhaps reconsider their approach and re-examine where they were going. For that I think we have to be thankful because Mr. Graham did exhibit that individualism that we sometimes forget, some of that character that we perhaps should display in this Legislature to give all of us the opportunity to reflect on a decision that we are taking.
When he became Speaker, I know that he loved the job, but the only thing he didn't like was the fact that it didn't allow him to stand up in the Legislature and make some of those eloquent speeches that he liked to give from time to time. That was, I think, the only regret he had about being the Speaker of the House. All the other aspects that go with the Speaker, I think Mr. Graham enjoyed immensely.
He did take, buy or was given a chair from this Legislature when the building was converted from a dwelling to an office. That Speaker's chair is now in the little Binscarth community centre and museum. Again, it was donated by the family to the community as a reminder that there was a Speaker who did represent that area in the Legislature. It's certainly something the community considers and are very proud of.
To conclude, Mr. Graham served our province, served this Legislature with distinction. Mr. Graham was an individual who I knew very well, who gave me advice from time to time. Certainly I appreciated it immensely. On behalf of our family and behalf of all the constituents that I represent, we extend our thanks, our appreciation and, certainly, our condolences to Velma and all of her family and to the extended family of Mr. Graham,
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I rise to extend condolences on the part of the Manitoba Liberal Party to the family and friends of Mr. Harry Graham.
Certainly, Mr. Graham made major contributions to the Manitoba Legislature in his 16 years here and, particularly, as Speaker, a tradition which you, yourself are following and certainly we acknowledge the importance of having a Speaker who is fair and makes sure that there's reasonable order in this Legislature.
I think it's a tribute to Mr. Graham and his work on school boards and hospital boards and a variety of other community and sports activities. I think it's also of interest to learn where the current Member for Russell (Mr. Derkach) got some of his individual approach, and I think we appreciate those stories and the personal anecdotes that the Member for Russell brings to this Legislature.
With those comments, I just want to say that this is a tribute and paying respect to somebody who's made an important contribution to Manitoba.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? [Agreed]
Would honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate the support for the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the Member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Hawranik),
THAT this House convey to the family of the late Clarence Baker, 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: Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the memory of Clarence Baker and to offer our condolences to his family and friends.
Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of serving in 1986 with Mr. Baker. It was the first election I was privileged to win, and Mr. Baker had won that election in 1986. Certainly, I remember Mr. Baker as a person in our caucus who uttered few words, but they were always wise, dignified and completely targeted on what he wanted us to achieve. He certainly was a person, I believe, with a very non-partisan style of personality. He respected and admired all people from all parties, but he had strong views on the principles that he held so dear. He was a strong advocate for farmers to have orderly marketing. It came out of his background and his concern for farming. Whenever there was a discussion on the Canadian Wheat Board or any other form of orderly marketing in the province or in the country, he was a very, very strong advocate on behalf of farmers having strength through numbers as opposed to allowing what he believed to be the degradation of farming and their product, their price, their income and their dignity with what he had experienced before some of these institutions were established in our country and in our province.
You know, the short period of time he was elected, he didn't like bell ringing, filibusters, points of order from any member. He just thought it was all just a big waste of time. He didn't mind disagreeing with you. He didn't mind debating with you. He didn't mind agreeing with you. He didn't take the view that just because you were wearing a different colour in the last election on your sign you had to disagree on what was good for Manitobans. You know, from time to time, he would use certain terminology to describe what he would call the tactics of the House, and he was quite frustrated with it in terms of what happened, in terms of what he believed it meant or didn't mean for his constituents.
So he is not a person who went home at night with Robert's Rules of Order, but he did go home at night representing Bourinot's. But he did go home at night saying, you know, if I didn't raise that issue in caucus or in the House, I failed the people who sent me there. He really, really believed that he was here to represent his constituents, and so he didn't take too kindly to activity on both sides of the House at that time in terms of parliamentary tactics. So he thought it got in the way of the business of the people of Manitoba. Certainly, I knew that Clarence not only served the Lac du Bonnet constituency from 1986 to '88, he was born in a Baker homestead in Cromwell, Manitoba, in July 1928. He spent his early years farming and clearing bush and worked in bush camps in the winter when he wasn't farming in the spring and summer. His time working in the bush camps, I understand, was hard work in cold and snowy weather, but Clarence never complained because it was while he was working at the bush camp that he met his wife, Ilene, who was working as a cook.
They were married shortly thereafter in September of 1951. They lived at the Baker homestead in Cromwell, raising five children and working together to build the family farm. I understand the Baker children can't be here today because they're doing what Clarence would expect them to be doing. They're out in the harvest. They're out participating in the harvest in their farm and in their community. I pass on my regards to his children and to his family.
He was certainly committed, obviously, to agriculture. It was also a time when people talked about policies and politics a great deal. Ed Schreyer, our former premier, spoke and gave the eulogy at the funeral of Clarence Baker. I remember many of the stories that he told of Clarence, the Schultz family and others involved in political debate about the future of farming and how farming could be best organized for the benefit and security of producers in the area.
It was a time when you didn't stay at the hotel 8 or eat at the Chicken Shack. You always spent time in other people's family homes, and, when you spent time there, you didn't sleep there, you talked politics, policies, friends. You know, there's something very kind of authentic about that kind of political life and life that led Clarence Baker, ultimately, to be so involved in his community, so involved in affairs of agriculture, and so involved in his principles through partisan political activity, even though he wasn't a partisan man.
He was an exemplary farmer. I always heard even, not even–I don't want to use that word–but I heard Conservatives say he ran a good operation. Even the former Member for Pembina would acknowledge, I don't know why he ran for your party. He runs a good operation. In fact, he was recognized in 1984 as the Farmer of the Year, something that was probably even more important to Clarence Baker than winning the Lac du Bonnet constituency in 1986. Any of his neighbours and any of his friends would tell you that he was a good operator. He ran a good farm. He had all the terminology of somebody that other farmers respected, and that's why his peers recognized him with the selection of being the Farmer of the Year in 1984.
I know, also, in the Brokenhead area there was always a lot of quasi-political, quasi-community activity. It was always a good place to find a baseball game, a pick-up baseball game in the Brokenhead community area, and, of course, for my purposes, you always got compared to Ed Schreyer, who was a good baseball player. You always had to make sure you didn't have any errors or strikeouts because you were always compared to somebody before Ed Schreyer and Ed Schreyer when you played baseball in that area. But, after the game was over, you always would go out and talk politics and policy. It was a lot of fun in that Brokenhead area and Clarence Baker was always at the centre of those discussions. He was always involved in organizing those activities, and he always felt it was part of the quality of life and the experience of life being with friends and family after a baseball game with those kinds of activities.
Clarence was a long-time reeve, a councillor, a member of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities. He had a very strong interest in bringing positive change for his neighbours and constituents, and that was evident in everything he did. I know the people in Brokenhead from all parties appreciated and expressed their good will when he was the reeve of that area. I know that Howard Pawley was very, very pleased to get Mr. Baker to run in 1986. He had a brief political career in this Chamber, but it was one of dignity and honour.
I know that he had a lot of camaraderie between the new rookies in 1986. Some of you, like the Member for Russell (Mr. Derkach), myself, we're dating ourselves now, were elected in that election and it was certainly a turbulent political time. Our government wasn't peaking too early in terms of its second term and it led to an early demise, I might say, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I'm sure it did for all of us in that caucus.
Clarence was certainly proud of the legacy here in Manitoba. He worked hard to bring a brighter future for Manitoba farm families. He worked as a volunteer in his community for the Pool Elevators, the Manitoba Crop Insurance, the Beausejour Hospital, the Knights of Columbus, his curling club, the Lions Club and many other activities in his own community.
I know he, quote, lobbied us, on facilities that should be included in the Beausejour Hospital in different stages of its development. I know that he would phone us and the most recent call we received was on the Canadian Wheat Board. He was obviously a tireless supporter for the Canadian Wheat Board and of course his son Andy Baker is also a strong proponent of the Wheat Board as the Member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Hawranik) would know and others would know. I'm sure that these stories that Clarence could tell so well, the stories of what it was like before Medicare, before the Wheat Board, before insurance, before crop insurance, before these institutions, what it was like to have your neighbours not be able to have surgical procedures if you didn't have the money, not to have more predictable income if you didn't have marketing. He could tell those stories vividly and they, I'm sure, will live on with his sons and his grandchildren.
In fact, I know that his grandchildren, I think he called it the "Baker's Dozen" of grandchildren, and I don't know whether that meant it was 13 or 12 so I'll have to double check, but I know he was very proud when the fifth generation of Bakers worked the harvest just a few years ago. That was one of his proudest moments and I just want to, on behalf of the Legislature, thank Clarence Baker for his great contributions to Manitoba, to the principles under which we operate in government and outside in our communities. It was a life well lived, a life of dignity, of integrity and of great personal warmth to anybody that met him or listened to him.
Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to second the Premier's motion and to convey the condolences of this House to the family of the late Clarence Baker.
I didn't have the privilege of knowing Mr. Baker personally but what I do know of him through the accounts that I have read and heard, the words "principled" and "dignified" and "committed" are words that seemed to be used by those who had the opportunity to serve with him and to know him.
There's a very long and clear tradition of strong family connections connected to the land at the Baker homestead in Cromwell, Manitoba, a strong commitment to agriculture and farming and to passing along wisdom and traditions from one generation to the next. These were some of the things that Clarence Baker did as a father and grandfather and as a farmer and as a community member but he also did many other things as a public servant and as somebody who chose to dedicate much of his life to public service, starting in municipal politics where he led the charge to achieve some progressive changes within the R.M. of Brokenhead and, as a result of those contributions, was recognized by the then leader of the New Democratic Party, Mr. Pawley, and had also come with a recommendation of Mr. Schreyer, who hails from the same part of the province.
As all good political party leaders do and every premier, from the current Premier on back do, they identify people who are leaders within their community, regardless of their partisan orientation, and encourage them to become involved in the political process at the provincial level, which, of necessity, involves choosing to become involved in partisan politics. Mr. Baker was somebody who entered politics through that very long-standing tradition within Manitoba politics of being a public servant first and a partisan second. His ideas with respect to agricultural support and stability, with regard to medicare and other forms of support for individuals who may, at different points in their life, experience the misfortune of either an economic downturn or personal health problems are things that are well known.
He certainly adopted principled positions, not always positions that would be agreed with unanimously in terms of policy, but certainly motivated by a desire to protect the citizens that he cared so much about and was charged with representing at the provincial level. He served for two years in this Legislature during very tumultuous times, politically, and he was ultimately defeated in the election of 1988, where there was a great amount of turnover in terms of the representation here in this Legislature.
I want to just offer my thanks to him for his contributions to public life and for the example that he set of somebody who put the interests of his community ahead of everything else. I also want to extend my condolences and good wishes to members of his family who survive him, and certainly extend our good wishes to everybody who felt the loss of his death just two years ago, in fact, almost to the day.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Gerald Hawranik (Lac du Bonnet): I'm pleased to second this motion. I knew of Clarence in the late 1960s, although at the time in the late 1960s he didn't know me. During that time, Clarence started snowmobile racing when he wasn't farming. He was passionate about racing and would enter every local race that he could. Incredibly at that time, he was racing at age 37 and would be racing against many others who were half his age.
I grew up in Whitemouth, and during that time Whitemouth hosted snowmobile races during its winter festival. Clarence was well known, and he was a well-respected snowmobile racer at the time in our area. News that Clarence was coming to town, to race in Whitemouth, caused quite a buzz in Whitemouth at the time. Because Clarence was coming to race in Whitemouth meant that Whitemouth was, of course, the big leagues of racing when we compare ourselves to other communities such as Beausejour, Lac du Bonnet and Pine Falls.
I moved to Beausejour in 1976 and practiced law there from 1979 to today. During that time, I got to personally know Clarence, particularly during coffee breaks. Clarence was part of the coffee group at the Beausejour restaurants for many years. I looked forward to going to coffee to hear Clarence's stories about life on his farm, about his farming adventures, and about work in bush camps when he was single. He never regretted working in bush camps to supplement his farming income because it was there that the met his spouse, Ilene, to whom he was married for 53 years. Ilene passed away a couple of years before him in 2004.
Clarence, in the Rural Municipality of Brokenhead-Beausejour area, was a force to be reckoned with. He was a fierce debater. He was passionate about issues, particularly as they affected farmers. He knew the farming industry and was never afraid to try new methods and new techniques to improve his farming operation. Of course, that led to his becoming, in 1984, Mr. Manitoba Farmer. He was a tireless defender of the Canadian Wheat Board and he was a passionate promoter of the Beausejour and R.M. of Brokenhead areas–indeed, all the communities within the constituency of Lac du Bonnet.
He was involved in local politics as a councillor and reeve of the Rural Municipality of Brokenhead, and in his capacity as councillor and reeve, he instituted many progressive improvements to our area. He was well respected. So much so that our community named a street in the industrial park after him to commemorate his contributions to our community.
Clarence, of course, served our constituency as an elected MLA for a two-year period in the late 1980s. He made a substantial contribution to the debates in this Legislature. He ran for election so that he could make our area a better place to live, to work and to raise a family. He was very community-minded and a tireless volunteer, having served on many boards and organizations in our community which included the Manitoba Pool Elevators, Manitoba Crop Insurance, the Beausejour and District Hospital, the Canadian Power Toboggan Championship board of directors, Knights of Columbus, the Beausejour Curling Club, the Beausejour Lions Club and many others within our community.
During the last year of his lifetime, Clarence lived at Stony Plains Terrace in Beausejour, which is an assisted living facility in Beausejour, and Clarence, himself, was instrumental in establishing and constructing Stony Plains Terrace during his tenure in politics.
On behalf of all residents of the Lac du Bonnet constituency, we'll miss Clarence's reasoned approach to local issues and his passionate support for our farming community. On behalf of all residents of the constituency of Lac du Bonnet, I extend my condolences to his family, to his five children, to their spouses, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.
Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I always find it's an opportunity when we speak in this House and remember particularly former colleagues. It's an opportunity to remember a lifetime of service. Often this Legislature, being a part of that service, I find it's an opportunity, in many cases, to actually learn about people that we often felt we knew very well, but find different dimensions from some of the tributes. I think it's also important for us, as the Legislature, to remark really on the fact that, in many cases, people who had a lifetime of service also saw this as a pinnacle in terms of achievement.
Now, I got the opportunity to sit with Clarence, and I can tell you he was someone that had a lifetime of service to his fellow residents and neighbours in municipal politics both before and after he was an MLA. There was no real rediscovering himself after an MLA. He had all too short a time here in the Legislature. But I can tell you he was very proud to be elected and very proud to serve his fellow citizens in this Chamber.
I got a chance to get to know him, and I know that brought a unique perspective. But one thing I'll never forget is I remember sitting in the loge. I had just been re-elected myself so I was, after some predictions of my own short-term political future, was back with someone who had much more experience in terms of public service than I did, Clarence Baker, although he was the rookie. I'll never forget some advice he gave me. I remember, as if it was yesterday, sitting in the loge, and he said, you know, Steve, I remember one time, and he said, it was a fellow worker. He said, you know, she stopped talking to me. She was upset at me. I said, well, what was it about? He said, I didn't know. So actually he said, you know, I thought about it. He said, I went to work the next day, and I said to the same individual, whatever I've said or done to upset you, I'm sorry. So I asked Clarence, well, so what was it that upset her? He said, well, you know, to this day I don't know. But I understood that she was upset at me, and what she wanted to hear was the fact that I understood that and acknowledged that she was upset. And he said, it's always a bit of advice. When you're in politics, always listen and sometimes you may not even understand why people are frustrated, but, if they are, acknowledge they're frustrated. That advice has stuck with me to this day.
Now, you know, I've heard advice from many others in this House. Maybe, once in a while, I've given advice as well. But that kind of human touch, that comment and that advice he gave, it was really what he was all about. As much as he'd served in public office and served this Legislature, he was about as approachable a person as you could ever run into.
I know for a fact that in his area, not just people that he represented directly, there are still people who speak very fondly of him. He accomplished a great deal and I know other members have put forward his long record of public service, but I'll never forget that advice. I'll never forget his friendship. As I said, it became the irony of–I was the returning member, he was the rookie and, you know what, I learned one lesson as well from Clarence, it's not how many years you've served in a place, it's your ability to listen that counts. I still consider myself a rookie at heart in terms of waiting for comments and advice from people. I hear it every day.
I'll tell you one thing, I'll never forget that comment and that advice, and I'll never forget the tremendous sense of public service that he exhibited. We, in this Legislature, only saw too brief a part of it. I wish that he'd had more time in this Legislature to put forward that experience and that unique perspective. But he had a lifetime of service. He was a great person, and I want to, if I can, say I want to pay tribute to him, passing my condolences to his family and say that so long as I live, I'll never forget, not only that advice, but I'll never forget a fine human being and a great public servant.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I rise to express condolences on the part of the Manitoba Liberal Party to the friends and family of Clarence Baker. I want to pay tribute to Clarence Baker, his service not only in the Legislature but, in particular, his services as reeve and councillor in the R.M. of Beausejour over quite a number of years.
I had the opportunity in 1997 to work with Mr. Clarence Baker and others in the area during the period of the flood of the century. There's one little story from that time that I remember in particular. The Armed Forces, as we all remember, came out and helped in a major way during the Flood of the Century. They were interested in looking at where they would set up their operations and have a base and so on. One of the places was near Beausejour. This fellow from the Armed Forces was sent out ahead of time. As I recall, he arrived in Beausejour early one Sunday morning and he was looking for the mayor to have discussions and to find out the lay of the land and see what could be done, and that, of course, would not be necessarily an easy time to find somebody on a Sunday morning. He walked into the coffee shop and there was Clarence Baker, the reeve of the R.M. of Brokenhead. Serving coffee was the mayor of Brokenhead, running the coffee shop, Fred Kazina. So the mayor of Beausejour and the reeve of the R.M. of Beausejour sat down with the representative from the Canadian Armed Forces, and within an hour they had everything worked out and agreed to, and everything worked very smoothly from that point on.
It was an example of the kind of ability to get things done, but the function, sometimes, of coffee shops in rural Manitoba as wonderful meeting places and organizing–so that was an anecdote I remember. I certainly remember on more than one occasion meeting and talking with Clarence Baker, and listening to his wisdom and discussion of items, particularly around the flood situation and what needed to be done. Thank you.
Mr. Leonard Derkach (Russell): Just a few comments about Mr. Clarence Baker, whom I had the privilege of sitting with in the Legislature for a couple of years. When I came to know Mr. Baker I couldn't help but respect this man, although we disagreed in terms of our politics and in terms of some of the policies of different political parties, I did have an admiration for the quality of this person. The quality of the individual and his genuine nature and his approach to life.
One of the areas that Mr. Baker and I could never agree on was–and as members of this House would know–it would be the Canadian Wheat Board, and Clarence would always say, well, you're just against the Wheat Board because you're a Conservative, and, of course, I said, no Clarence, I'm not against the Wheat Board. I just think the Wheat Board is an archaic system and needs to be modernized, and if it is modernized and can do its job it can become the sales agent for farmers in Manitoba, and he couldn't disagree. Mr. Baker couldn't disagree with the fact that it needed to be modernized, but he was a staunch supporter of the Canadian Wheat Board and I know that if he were here today he would defend the Canadian Wheat Board as he did before. I have to respect that because that was a matter of principle to him. It wasn't a personality issue. It was a matter of principle and something that he had grown up with in a farm that he ran. I would have to say that, knowing Mr. Baker and talking to him about his farm, that he certainly ran a first-class operation. That's the way he conducted himself, Mr. Speaker, everything, all details were looked after in the issues that Mr. Baker would address. For that I had to respect him as an individual, respect him as a great Manitoban, respect him as a reeve who provided leadership for his community and the people that he represented.
Indeed, I think I am richer for having known Mr. Baker in my own life. Certainly, to his family who are great Manitobans and who continue to work in the area that he so loved, I want to extend, on behalf of our constituents and my family, our deepest sympathy and our appreciation for having Mr. Baker serve in this Legislature as a member of this institution.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion? [Agreed]
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): Yes, I move, seconded by the Leader of the Opposition,
THAT this House convey to the family of the late Gabriel Girard, 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: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the life and accomplishments of a past member of this House, Mr. Gabriel Girard.
Mr. Girard was elected to this House in 1969 from the constituency of Emerson, and he did not seek re-election in the general election of 1973. The riding included areas that are in the present constituency of Emerson, but also areas such as Lorette that are in different constituencies today because of different shifts in population.
Mr. Girard served as a member of the Conservative Party. He had, as I understand it, strong interests in agriculture, in education, in wildlife and wildlife protection, in civic interests including public libraries, and a number of other areas dealing with public service and civil service in terms of legislation that was before this Legislature.
He ran in the riding of Emerson, which was then a long-time Liberal stronghold. He was victorious in that campaign under the leadership of Walter Weir, and then he served his term with great enthusiasm. He brought considerable interest to politics in rural and southern Manitoba into the walls of this Legislature.
When he was involved in politics, he, as I said, remained very, very vigilant on agriculture in terms of its role in the Manitoba economy, and any issue related to rural population issues such as farmland taxation, rural school tax revenues, and the licensing of automobiles and snowmobiles. He was also involved, after this Legislature, in many activities during his lifetime. He worked as a teacher, a principal, a superintendent of schools, a real estate salesman of farm lands, a manager of farm equipment dealerships, a grain farmer in the Lorette area, and he also served as an owner of a converted machine shop. He was a trustee of the St. Boniface School Division for a number of years, and was a member of the Public Schools Finance Board for four years. You can see that Mr. Girard's life was not only one of direct activity in investment in public affairs in this Legislature, but also he spent a lot of time outside of this Legislature working in so many different walks of life and different interests.
Apparently, he loved the outdoors. He loved his daily walks. He loved to fish and golf, and, of course, that made sure that he was very, very involved in the whole issue of wildlife affairs and policies in this Legislature.
Mr. Girard, as I say, served in this Legislature. He did not run again in 1973, and I want to, on behalf of the people of Manitoba and members of this Legislature, thank Mr. Girard for his contributions to this Legislature, and to pass on our condolences to his wife, Marcie, his daughter, Cynthia Nault, and sons Robert and Gerry.
Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): I am pleased to second the motion to extend condolences to the family of the late Gabriel Girard, who served with distinction in this Legislative Chamber from 1969 until 1973. Mr. Girard was a proud member of the Progressive Conservative Party, and brought much commitment and enthusiasm to the task of representing the constituents of the Emerson constituency. He began his career as a teacher and then went on to become a principal of the school in Dominion City. Many Manitobans had the benefit of learning as his students; many of them went on to make significant contributions to our province, and have reflected on the excellence that he brought to the job of teaching. That excellence was recognized when he was promoted to the job of principal in Dominion City, and then, ultimately, as superintendent of the first Boundary School Division, which was a significant job at the time, as the boundaries of the school division expanded significantly. There was a great deal of responsibility and much innovation required in order to provide sound oversight in administration for the schools that fell within his area of responsibility.
As a result of his years in the teaching profession, and as a leader and administrator within the world of teaching, he maintained a lifelong interest in advancing the cause of public education in Manitoba, a commitment that he brought to the task of being a critic in the Legislative Assembly in the areas of Education and as well in the areas of Labour and Social Development.
His interest in politics led him to become involved in supporting the candidacy of Jake Epp, when he entered the political arena, as his first campaign manager and, obviously, to some considerable success. His reputation was as somebody who had a great deal of integrity and, as the Premier (Mr. Doer) has mentioned, a love of the outdoors, of wildlife and outdoor activities and, in particular, as a champion for rural causes and issues, somebody who believed in the value of rural life and the very many other aspects of rural life that can sometimes not be fully appreciated by those were born and raised in urban settings.
He brought that appreciation to this Legislature and stood up strongly on behalf of his constituents, on behalf of agriculture and on behalf of rural communities. His contributions to our public education system have been discussed and his active involvement in public life was something that stands as an inspiration to all who have had the privilege of following him.
I know the Member for Emerson (Mr. Graydon) has some personal reflections and comments that he would like to put on the record. I would, however, like to just second the resolution and extend our condolences and good wishes to the family of Mr. Girard and extend and confirm our thanks for his contributions to the people that he represented within the Emerson constituency and to the province of Manitoba more generally.
Mr. Cliff Graydon (Emerson): Mr. Speaker, I'd like to extend our condolences as well from the constituency of Emerson and from my family to Gabriel Girard's family, and I'll give a few words that I know about Gabriel Girard, born September 14, 1935, passed away February 4, 2006.
Gabe, or Gabby, as he was affectionately called by his friends, started his teaching career in Ridgeville, Manitoba, in 1958 and taught at that school until 1961. In 1960, Gabby married Marcie Yarmie and in 1961 to 1966, Gabby was the principal of the Dominion City school in the town of Dominion City. During this time many young teachers started their careers in Dominion City, as it was a fairly large rural school, and many of these teachers continued to teach in the area for the duration of their careers.
When asked about their time teaching with Gabby, their common response was that he encouraged them by pointing out their successes but never once mentioning their shortcomings. This was very appreciated as these young people were on permit at the time and, Mr. Speaker, you'll probably understand that and remember those days when, at one time, you went to Normal School and then you went on permit. If you passed that year of permit, then you could upgrade yourself as a teacher and carry on. Many did in rural schools at that time. It just showed that Gabby had the ability to see the goodness in all of the people and encourage them. In doing that he turned out some wonderful teachers.
In 1966, Gabby decided to contest the provincial election and let his name stand as a Conservative candidate, and was unsuccessful in this attempt. He also went back to teaching, this time in Emerson where he taught for a year. During this period of time, there were huge changes taking place in southeastern Manitoba. We had, at that time, many small school districts with one-room schools and two-room schools. Our large schools at that time were three-room schools with three teachers that would cover 12 grades or 8 grades in a two-room school. At that time they started to form the large school divisions, which was, of course, Boundary School Division. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. McFadyen) has pointed out, it was Boundary School Division that was formed.
You have to understand that the issue of putting these school divisions together, many people–most of the people–wanted this larger division. However, for every small school, there was a way to do it, and so it was a difficult exercise and it required a very tactful engineer to be the superintendent of this large school to address all the issues that were brought forward by the small divisions throughout that area. Gabby stepped up to the plate and took that position and did just an excellent job. My parents recall that they went to a meeting one night with a bunch of people and they were angry. They were angry the way that my school that I went to, the Green Ridge school division, the way it was being treated. They didn't feel that that was right. A number of the people went to this meeting, and when they left there, the common theme was that poor man is so overworked. He had the ability to calm the people and then have them feel sorry for him for doing the job that he was paid to do. He was an excellent individual when it came to that type of tactfulness as the superintendent, and he did step up to the plate.
In 1969, a general election was called and Gabby again entered the political race. This time, however, he had had experience and a number of his former students from his teaching era were influential in his campaign. They were still students at the time and they organized a very strong campaign throughout that area. Some of the stories I don't think that I should tell, but some I will tell. They organized a campaign where they would load up a pickup and with a megaphone they would drive through the town where the sitting MLA at that time was, a Liberal MLA, Mr. John Tanchak, and they would give the message. They would give the message of Gabriel Girard and some of the strong supporters of Mr. Tanchak would chase them out of town.
It was an interesting time, but at any rate, Mr. Girard was successful and was elected. At the same time, some of these students went on to become political geniuses and had a great impact in the future of Manitoba. Gabby and his team had just ended 56 consecutive years of Liberal rule in the Emerson constituency, so from 1969 to 1973, Gabriel Girard held critic duties that included Education, Labour and Social Development, among others, and as the pay for MLAs was not much in those days, apparently, he was also the principal of the school in Lorette, which would indicate that he was a very ambitious individual and still wanted to participate in the communities. While doing this, he also became a campaign manager for the young man wanting to be a Progressive Conservative MP, and as was pointed out earlier, that particular individual was Jake Epp. The campaign slogan at that time that Gabby came up with, Jake Who? Jake Epp, of course, and, of course, Jake became the MP and was the reigning MP until 1993. He still had his belief in the Progressive Conservative Party and he carried his belief on his shoulder for everyone to see.
He was the superintendent of the Whitehorse Plains School Division from 1973 to 1976, at which time he switched careers and accepted a position as a general manager of Eli Motors. Gabby was also a people person who was like a magnet. People seemed to be attracted to his optimism, his positive attitude and his outgoing personality. In 1979, he again switched careers and for three years was a real estate salesman for Robidud Realty [phonetic] and LT Realty [phonetic].
In 1982, he went into business for himself as an owner and manager of Benson Converter Supply, which built converters in a remodelled machine shop, converters for automatic transmissions. During this time, he spent 10 years on the St. Boniface School Board, as education was his first love.
I would be remiss not to mention that he was also a member of the Public Schools Finance Board, appointed by an Order-in-Council in 1979 to 1982 by Sterling Lyon. In his retirement, as in his working career, Gabby was active in community activities, but particularly baseball. Gabby just loved to play baseball, and I'm sure that the former premier of this province has played baseball against him. The Honourable Ed Schreyer has played baseball against Gabby many times.
Gabby was an active player with the Bonivital team. That was a senior softball team. He was known to be– by the time the game was over and people were wanting to go home, Gabby would be talking to the opposition. Many times he convinced some of the opposition players, the better ones, to join their team. He was this type of person that just needed to get along with everyone.
Gabriel Girard is survived by his wife, Marcie, of 46 years, three children and two grandchildren. It is my hope that his grandchildren get to know as much about Gabriel and how the people in his area that he had met throughout his life and the people that he had touched, how much they appreciated him and his accomplishments.
With those words, I would like to pass on the condolences of my family and those of the constituency of Emerson to the family of Mr. Girard.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I rise to extend condolences to the family and friends of Gabriel Girard, on behalf of the Manitoba Liberal Party.
I'd like to pay a particular tribute to Gabe's work with education, teacher, principal, superintendent, his work in the Legislature as an Education critic and his contributions as a trustee of the St. Boniface School Division and his work on the Manitoba Public Schools Finance Board. He was passionate about education and very interested in trying to improve education in Manitoba. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion? [Agreed]
Would members please rise and remain standing to indicate the support for the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Charles Lemington Shuttleworth
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the honourable Member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard),
THAT this House convey to the family of the late Charles Lemington Shuttleworth, 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 to pay tribute to the memory of Charles Shuttleworth, who was elected in 1949 as a Liberal member from the constituency of Hamiota and served in this Legislature until 1959.
He was born on the family homestead southeast of Minnedosa. He attended local schools in his community and he worked alongside his father on the family farm. He was a reeve in the R.M. of Odanah, and, in 1935, he married Charlotte Sedgwick. They had two children, Elaine and David.
He served in the Douglas government as Minister of Public Utilities, minister responsible for the power commission, and in 1956, he served, to 1958, as Minister of Agriculture, along with the other duties, so he was obviously a formidable member of the Cabinet of former Premier Douglas Campbell. In his role as minister responsible for the power commission, Mr. Speaker, he oversaw the rural electrification program that made electricity available to farmers across rural Manitoba.
After politics, after the Legislature, he was appointed commissioner of the Grain Commission, and he had chaired a committee that completely revised the Canada Grains Act. He was appointed as the first chair of the Canada International Grains Institute in 1972, and, of course, this is an institute that works to promote the agricultural industry in international-domestic markets through education and technical programs.
He was a devoted member of his church and devoted to other activities in his community, including the 4-H club and different wildlife organizations.
He retired from many of these functions after being involved directly in them, and he was still very active in his own community. In 1982, the University of Manitoba recognized his contributions to the agricultural community by presenting him with a certificate of merit. He was also recognized for his years of service by the Agricultural Hall of Fame of Manitoba, which inducted him in 1996. He certainly, as I say, is well remembered in various community groups, including the Rotary Club of Minnedosa and the Prince of Wales Masonic Lodge.
He is survived by his daughter and by his son, David, and I'd ask members of the House to pay tribute to the life and contributions of Mr. Shuttleworth to democracy here in Manitoba, and to the quality of agriculture and quality of life that he helped lead with the rural electrification program that he was minister of.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion and, in my turn, to offer condolences to the family and friends of Lem Shuttleworth, and to pay tribute to his contributions to the people of Manitoba.
Lem Shuttleworth received the recognition as a member of the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, and appropriately so, because throughout his career, he was not only a farmer, but concerned throughout his political career with improving the lives of farmers and people in rural areas in Manitoba.
He served for a time as the reeve of the R.M. of Odanah, and then, in 1949, was elected to the provincial Legislature, and his service as a Cabinet minister began as the Minister of Public Utilities, and in that context he was very involved in extending the hydro-electric power to people in rural areas. This was an initiative which had begun under the premiership of Stuart Garson and then continued under Douglas Campbell, but was extended, and the fact that Lem Shuttleworth was given this portfolio is certainly a sign of the respect and trust of D.L. Campbell, his premier, because this was a very important portfolio and initiative to him.
In 1956, Lem became Minister of Agriculture, in addition to his role with the Public Utilities, and served admirably there, addressing issues in particular like farm credit. He was a very strong advocate for a national system of farm credit, but was also involved in trying to make sure that there was access to farm credit provincially.
His role in agriculture didn't end when his term of office was over in 1959. He served as a member of the Canadian Board of Grain Commissioners, starting in 1965, and provided a lot of leadership, chairing a committee which conducted a complete revision of the Canadian Grains Act. In 1972 he was appointed as the first chair of the board of the Canadian International Grains Institute and played a seminal role with the institute.
He retired to his farm near Minnedosa in 1977 and played a significant role there with the Minnedosa heritage museum, which was very influential and important in preserving and keeping records of the farm activities in the area.
I'd like to mention, in addition, Lem's contribution to the Liberal Party, his involvement, not only himself– I met him on occasion and he provided advice–but his daughter, Elaine, ran for the Liberal Party provincially and has also been involved.
A tribute to Lem Shuttleworth and the major contributions that he made over a lifetime of 96 years.
Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support the motion of the Premier (Mr. Doer), seconded by the Member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard), to extend condolences to the family members of Charles Lemington Shuttleworth, who was commonly known as Lem Shuttleworth.
As the Member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) had indicated earlier, these condolence opportunities are of benefit for several reasons, one of which is that it gives those of us who have the privilege of serving today in this Chamber an opportunity to learn more about those who have served so very well in years before us, regardless of political party.
Mr. Shuttleworth is certainly one individual who served in this arena with considerable distinction. He represented the area that is largely covered by the current constituency of Minnedosa, at one time known as the constituency of Hamiota. He was born in 1910 on a farm near Minnedosa and was part of a long line of farmers who contributed to that region of the province. It was a farm that was started by his great-grandfather a couple of generations before him. His family has certainly left its mark on that part of Manitoba and contributed greatly to all those who have followed.
He began his career, as already indicated, as a reeve of the R.M. of Odanah and was elected in 1949 to this Legislature and re-elected as a consequence of his hard work and excellent dedicated service in both 1953 and 1958. As has been noted, he was a Minister of Public Utilities, power commissioner, and Minister of Agriculture during a very interesting period in the development of our province, a time period where much of the electrification of rural Manitoba took place. These were changes that had a radically beneficial impact on many rural communities and citizens. Mr. Shuttleworth played a strong leadership role in those years of progress in the development that had led to the establishment of Manitoba Hydro and led to the extension of electrical services to many communities in rural Manitoba who, until then, had been without.
He continued as a public servant after leaving politics in 1959, mainly focussed in the field of agriculture, an area that he knew well as a result of his experience on the farm. He served with the Canadian Board of Grain Commissioners and went on and made considerable contributions to agriculture in our province, an area we know is the backbone of our provincial economy and way of life.
He was presented and recognized through the presentation of a certificate of merit in 1982 and then through his induction to the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1996.
As a result of his many contributions, I'm pleased to support the motion and extend condolences to the family of Lem Shuttleworth.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? [Agreed]
Would honourable members please rise and remain standing to indicate their support of the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Jackson A. Hardy
Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I move, seconded by the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr. McFadyen),
THAT this House convey to the family of the late Jackson A. Hardy, 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 to pay tribute to the memory of Jackson Hardy and to offer our condolences to his family and friends.
Mr. Hardy was known as an MLA for St. Vital from 1969 to 1971, but he was certainly before that time a very, very powerful political figure in St. Vital. He was an alderman; he was a mayor before he was elected as the MLA. He, as a mayor, took a strong opposition to the amalgamation of the city of Winnipeg, and, certainly, he was a strong voice for the people of St. Vital. He served a short period of time, as I say, in this Legislature, but he served a long time in the public service through his role in the community of St. Vital.
He was married to Cathie Murray in 1945 after moving from Thunder Bay to here. He, in his early life, was a pilot in the RCAF, an accountant at Fort William Grain Elevator. He was transferred to Winnipeg in 1950 and settled in St. Vital. He joined the provincial government as an administrator of the provincial sales tax that was introduced in Manitoba, I believe, in the late 1960s. He moved on to British Columbia upon his retirement in the Legislature. In fact, I think that was the by-election that, when he retired, Mr. Walding was elected in St. Vital, who will be remembered on Thursday in this Chamber.
He certainly has a very strong following and respect, in particular the St. Vital community. Again, a very strong record of public service. He retired with his family and friends in the Okanagan, but on behalf of the people in Manitoba, we thank him for his public service in this Legislature. We thank him for his role as an officer in the RCAF, and, of course, we pay tribute to his strong, elected role as mayor–former mayor of then-City of St. Vital.
Mr. Hugh McFadyen (Leader of the Official Opposition): I'm pleased to second the Premier's motion, to extend the condolences of the Progressive Conservative members of the Legislature to the family of Jackson Hardy, who was born in Ontario in 1924 and who moved to Winnipeg as a young man. He did what many men of his generation did and volunteered to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force, as did both men and women who volunteered their service, particularly in the course of the Second World War.
He served with the Royal Canadian Air Force helping to protect our country and its interests for a number of years and later carried on the tradition of public service by getting involved in civic politics in St. Vital. He came to Winnipeg at the age of 26 as an accountant and settled in the St. Vital area, which, at the time, as the Premier has noted, was not part of an amalgamated city of Winnipeg.
He was known as a fighter for the people that he represented. The Premier has noted that he opposed the amalgamation of the various municipalities that were brought into the city of Winnipeg at the time of Unicity. He did so out of concern that the interests of the people of St. Vital would not be well served in a larger government structure, which he feared would be insensitive to the particular concerns of the people of St. Vital.
He got involved at the provincial level because of his desire to serve not only St. Vital, but the province as a whole. In 1969 he ran and was successful in being elected in St. Vital as a Progressive Conservative MLA and to serve at that time in the official opposition under the leadership of Walter Weir. He later moved to British Columbia–which was a loss to our province of Manitoba–after leaving politics, but he certainly carried on in the realm of public service until he retired later in life. He carried on in municipal government and made his mark on the communities that he lived in over a long and successful and worthwhile life.
I want to just support what has been said to extend condolences to the family of Mr. Hardy, to thank him for his service in this Legislature and, in particular, for the service that he provided in being a strong advocate for the people of St. Vital.
Ms. Jennifer Howard (Fort Rouge): I want to rise today on behalf of the current MLA for St. Vital and pay tribute to the memory of Jackson Alexander Hardy and to offer our condolences to his family and friends.
Jack, as he was known, was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1924, and in 1956 he married his high school sweetheart, Cathie Murray. As has been stated, in his early life, he was a pilot officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force and an accountant. So he was both a pilot and an accountant at Ft. William Grain Elevator. In 1950, he was transferred to Winnipeg and settled in St. Vital where he made lifelong friends with neighbours on Glenlawn Avenue.
As has been stated, he had a passionate interest for politics and was elected at many levels, municipal and provincial. He served as alderman and he was mayor for St. Vital, and he was well known for his opposition to amalgamation with the city of Winnipeg.
He moved to British Columbia where he also pursued a career in municipal government. He retired in Vernon, British Columbia, and it was there in his home, surrounded by his wife and his daughters, that he passed away on August 22, 2006, after a brief illness. Those who knew him described him as full of life with a great sense of humour, and he achieved much happiness and success in his 81 years of life.
His greatest priority was always his family, from whom he received the greatest adoration and respect.
I would ask the members of the House to join me in expressing our condolences to family and friends of Jackson Hardy.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I rise to extend condolences to the family and friends of Jack Hardy on his passing and to pay a tribute to his work in the Manitoba Legislature and representing the area of St. Vital.
He clearly was an individual who spoke out and worked hard for St. Vital. Although I was not personally able to meet Jack Hardy, I certainly worked very closely with his daughter, Elspeth Haid, when she was the executive director at the Children's Hospital Research Foundation, and certainly the energy and the passion and the community activities that she represented and that she engaged in are a reflection, I think, of what she inherited from her father and what he passed on to her in terms of the importance of community activity and standing up and public service. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? [Agreed]
Would members please rise and remain standing for the support for the motion.
A moment of silence was observed.
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, 5 o'clock. Call it 5 o'clock?
Mr. Speaker: Is it the will of the House to call it 5 o'clock? [Agreed]
Okay, the hour being 5 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).