THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
(Fifth Day of Debate)
Mr. Speaker: On the adjourned debate, the fifth day of debate, on the proposed motion of the honourable member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) for an address to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, in answer to his speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment by the honourable Leader of the official opposition in amendment thereto, and the proposed subamendment as proposed by the honourable Leader of the Second Opposition (Mr. Edwards) in further amendment thereto.
Mr. Harry Schellenberg (Rossmere): Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour that I rise to speak on the throne speech.
I have enjoyed being part of this Legislature for the past year and a half. I have found the time here and my work in the constituency very rewarding.
Mr. Speaker, I want to commend you for your fine work, because you have been personable and fair in your work as Speaker.
I would like to welcome back all members of the House on the 125th anniversary of our province.
I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to the six Pages of this House. I am certain their time here will be a real learning experience.
I must mention Jeff Browaty, one of the Pages, who is a student at River East Collegiate where I was a teacher for many years. I wish him the very best, and I hope he can share the experiences here with students and teachers at River East Collegiate where excellence and hard work has been a tradition over many years.
I would just like to point out that River East Collegiate has a reputation for being one of the finest schools in Manitoba. Traditions of excellence in athletics and academics are two strong points of that collegiate.
Mr. Speaker, I must inform this House that two students from River East Collegiate, David Eggertson and Alex Potenza, were involved in a fatal car accident on December 3 at the corner of Highway No. 59 and Springfield Road. The school had a service in memory of these teenagers. I commend the staff and student body for this service. Our condolences go to the family and we wish the others in the hospital a speedy recovery.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the constituents of Rossmere for bestowing on me the trust and honour for allowing me to represent them in this Chamber. I commend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) for his hard work, good leadership, his informed knowledge on the many issues that are debated in this House. I have appreciated his assistance.
I would like to make a brief evaluation of the throne speech in the context of what the residents of Rossmere are telling me. The government will know what the people in Rossmere think because most of them were involved in the Rossmere by-election. Most of these cabinet ministers were up and down McLeod Street, Oakland, Springfield, you name it. So they are very familiar with Rossmere.
We know that Rossmere is a working class constituency with a large number of seniors. When I speak to residents at the coffee shop, at senior citizens' homes, at the Rossmere constituency office or at the doorstep, people have great concerns about the future of this province in respect to the economy, health care, jobs and their youth.
The Speech from the Throne suggests that there is optimism, economic growth, job creation and a general satisfaction with the future. Let me tell you that I hear a very different story at the doorstep in Rossmere or the phone calls that I receive at the constituency office. People are facing very difficult times. Welfare, poverty, unemployment, food banks, soup kitchens are on the rise. Students have completed four years of university, and there are no jobs in sight. People with master's degrees are working at fast-food restaurants or driving a taxicab. This seems to the first generation of young people who will not have the quality of life that their parents experienced.
Gambling seems to be the only economic strategy the provincial government has, and that certainly has its negative, social side effects.
On top of this poor economic situation we have violence in the schools and on the street. Crime is also on the rise, and crime is one of the main topics at the doorstep. Mr. Speaker, this is the beginning of a social breakdown in our society. The gap between rich and poorer is growing, and there is no strategy to deal with these problems.
Child poverty, which Manitoba is number one in, teenage violence, crime, unemployment, welfare are symptoms of a real crisis in our society. All these issues are related to the poorer economic performance and a total inactivity of our government on the economic front, except for the VLTs that are spread all over the province. It is doubtful if they are a benefit to many of the local communities.
In the Legislature we have been hearing a lot about the Year of the Family, but the family has been undermined by the VLTs, the job cuts, unemployment, child care cuts, cuts to education--and I might say ACCESS is just one example--cuts to home care, Pharmacare delisting, cuts to personal care homes--and the cost of personal care homes has gone up from anywhere between $26 and $46 a day. There are cuts to senior citizens' housing, and the cost of some senior citizen housing has gone up between $500 and $600 per year. Cuts to social assistance and many other cuts that I do not have time to list.
The family has had much of its economic support base removed. The best support a family can have is a job. It is job creation that is lacking in this province. The throne speech reveals no vision or strategy to deal with the many problems Manitobans face.
(Mr. Jack Penner, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
Education is another concern to Manitobans. The throne speech and the new blueprint for education do not address the problems a teacher faces in the classroom. The policy of parental involvement in education is always appreciated, but a partnership with teachers, principals, superintendents and trustees must be developed. The present policy shuts out teachers, principals and other professionals from participating and developing educational policies.
The composition of the Parent Advisory Council in the new guidelines is problematic. Parental involvement in schools will only be effective in a spirit of trust and collaboration. Teachers and staff in general must have a meaningful role to play at the school level. The present policy limits teachers and principals from even voting on the new advisory councils.
The Minister of Education should show more respect and trust towards teachers. It is a teacher that is one of the keys to good education for our children. It is a teacher that is a caregiver to students in these difficult times. It is a teacher that is a link between home and school. It is a teacher that has a real influence and a strong relationship with students and parents, and therefore the teacher should be part of the Parent Advisory Council.
Do not declare war on the teachers. They can be a support to the whole school system. What the Minister of Education should do is give support to the teacher so that the authority of the teacher in the classroom is restored. The minister should work with teachers, trustees, superintendents and principals and try to find a solution to the difficulties in the classroom.
The government has also failed to be flexible, as Grade 11 history and physical education from Grades 9 to 11 was made optional. Trustees, principals and teachers, parents are very upset about making these courses optional. I realize that the Minister of Education and the Premier have received many letters from many school divisions on this matter. There seems to be very little input into the new blueprint in education. It even seemed as if the P.C. caucus has had very little input into that new blueprint.
I know that I, as a former teacher, an MLA from Rossmere, have had very little input into the new blueprint because the new blueprint was never discussed in the Legislature. It seems that the Minister of Education is the main author of the new blueprint.
I would like to comment on the importance of history for a moment. Why would the government drop Grade 11 history when we have Quebec at the brink of separation? Unity at this moment is very important. All other provinces require a high school history course except Manitoba. Why should Manitoba students be shortchanged? We are a country with many new Canadians, who will teach them the rich history of Canada? We spend millions of dollars commemorating our history by building museums, monuments and placing historical markers on special places. Our very legislative grounds promotes history by all the monuments that surround it. We have the monument of Louis Riel, La Verendrye, Lord Selkirk and General Wolfe on these grounds.
The knowledge of our past helps us to understand and appreciate the present. It teaches citizenship. It teaches us about First Nations people. It teaches us about Canada's contribution and participation on the world stage, such as peacekeeping and other U.N. work. It teaches Canadianism and teaches us to celebrate the past.
Physical education is another matter that needs some discussion in this Legislature because of its great importance. The Manitoba Sports Federation was at the Legislature recently and the literature they handed out states that if 40 percent of the population became involved in regular physical activity, the net savings from health care to that country would be $6.5 million per day. That statement supports the importance of physical education.
Research points out that students involved in athletics do better in school and have lower drop-out rates. Many students are kept in school because they like the physical activities and the sports programs. Many students just wait for the physical education class.
I know the Premier (Mr. Filmon) and the Minister of Education (Mr. Manness) have received letters from school authorities and the general public on this matter. I hope the government reconsiders its position and makes Grade 11 Canadian history and physical education compulsory to Grade 11.
I would like to make some comments on health care as well. Health care has remained an important issue on the doorstep since the Rossmere by-election. Very little has changed except that the CAT scanner is now used at the Concordia Hospital, and plans to close the emergency ward seem to have been dropped. Seniors are especially concerned over the delisting of Pharmacare, the increase of personal care homes from $26 that ranges to $46 per day, the cuts at the hospital and the long lineups at the emergency ward at Concordia Hospital.
The whole concept of Americanizing and privatizing our health care system is something people in Rossmere fear. The Connie Curran model is something people strongly reject. People still talk about Connie Curran getting $4 million for American ideas of cuts to health care. The heavy cuts to home care is another real concern to seniors and disabled people. Our caucus wants to move from costly acute care beds to a community-based health care system where people live in the community instead of public institutions.
It is only fair as Urban Affairs critic that I comment on our city. The government does not seem to have a vision for this city. The run-down infrastructure is just an example of the lack of direction and commitment for the city. The streets, the sewers, the sidewalks are in need of great repair. One small rain and all the basements are flooded. Welfare, poverty is on the increase. About 30,000 or more people in Winnipeg live off of welfare. The province spends about $60 million on welfare in Winnipeg, a city of about 20 million. Also, the federal government spends more millions on unemployment. Why does the government not use all this money to work on the infrastructure, create jobs?
People tend to vote with their feet. Many of our people, especially young people, not only have left the city but have left the province. The whole downtown needs more attention. There has been a real depopulation of the downtown as a result of people wanting to escape the crime and poverty that exist there. For example, European cities have made a real effort to rebuild their downtowns, which attract people and makes them into vibrant communities. Instead of maybe spending millions on bridges, we should be rebuilding the infrastructure so that people's quality of life is improved in the core area.
The Winnipeg Development Agreement is another issue that needs discussing. Apparently it seems as if it has halted completely. As you know, it is a $75-million agreement with the three levels of government to rebuild our downtown. It appears that the provincial government is dragging its feet on this program at the present time. Let us hope that the provincial government speeds up this program because the downtown needs this money to rebuild the lives of the people in the inner city.
Taxes are a major concern and especially property taxes. We hear a lot about freezing taxes when in reality taxes have risen. For instance, a reduction of $75 in the property tax credit took place in 1993. The sales tax base was extended to include newspapers, personal hygiene supplies such as soap and shampoo; snacks were included, meals under $6, school supplies such as rulers, pens, erasers; baby expenses such as baby foods, cloth diapers, disposable diapers, soothers, baby bottles, baby cups, all had been added to the sales base.
Gasoline tax has increased by one cent per litre, which is about $20 per year per person. The total of tax increases to the province is as follows: property tax credit changes equal $53 million in new taxes, sales tax increase is about $48 million in new taxes, and the gasoline tax increase is $13 million in new taxes. The total tax increase equals about $114 million, and the government always talks about tax freezes, which we heard in the Speech from the Throne.
Also, we must include all the offloading that this government has done on the city and the school boards of this province. The deficit is another issue that needs some explanation, but before I do that I would like to talk about Harold Neufeld, the former MLA from Rossmere, who did not always agree with the deficit and the way this government reported its deficit, which I plan to explain.
I would like to report some of the deficits according to Volume 1 of the Manitoba Accounts as follows: the year '89-90, $117-million deficit; 1991, $328-million deficit; 1992, $286-million deficit; '92-93, $748-million deficit; '93-94, $458-million deficit. This does not indicate that this government has practised fiscal responsibilities as we hear in the throne speech.
Mr. Acting Speaker, I feel embarrassed that I have to read those numbers. Even after all the cutbacks, this government still had a major deficit. In '88-89, the last year of the NDP, there was a surplus of $58.7 million, according to the Provincial Auditor's report. In '89-90, the government created a Fiscal Stabilization Fund which helped them hide some of these deficits.
It was these deficits and the way they were reported to the public that made Harold Neufeld resign. The CAT scanner at the Concordia Hospital was another reason for his resignation, but it was these huge deficits that encouraged Harold Neufeld to resign.
Mr. Acting Speaker, in conclusion, the throne speech does not address the issue that faces Manitobans in the 1990s. We do believe that fair government can make a difference. We believe that government is there to serve all the people.
Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Seine River): Mr. Acting Speaker, it is an honour for me to have the opportunity today to respond to the Speech from the Throne. Under the careful direction of our Premier (Mr. Filmon), this government has put Manitoba back on its feet during the last six years and has laid the groundwork for continued growth for Manitoba.
I would like to begin, first of all, by extending my congratulations to Mr. Speaker on his reappointment as Speaker. I have experienced the challenges of the Chair, and I congratulate you for your patience.
I also would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Speaker's Office, the Clerk, the Deputy Clerk and all of the staff in the Clerk's office, Hansard staff, the Sergeant-at-Arms and the Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms for the assistance and co-operation extended to me in my role as Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Acting Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome back all honourable members to the House for another session, and I would particularly like to pay tribute to the three members of this Chamber who have announced that they will not be seeking re-election to the Legislature in the next general election. The contributions made to this Chamber by the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), the honourable member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose) and the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) have been considerable, and the sacrifices and the personal sacrifices of their families as well. I am sure their presence will be missed by all honourable members.
I particularly will miss the honourable Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), who has been most supportive, not only in offering guidance and assistance, but in sharing and insuring that I was included in many events that he and I shared in representing our constituencies. I sincerely wish the honourable member and his wife, Yvonne, continued good health and a long and happy retirement.
I would also like to wish my colleague the honourable member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose) and his wife, Lois, all the best in their future endeavours.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Pages for this session of the Legislature: Karen Remus, Ivan Holloway, Corrine Maes, Jeff Browaty, Jaime Henkel and Davyd Hooper. I know you will find your time here in the House exciting, rewarding and challenging.
Mr. Acting Speaker, it has always been a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of my constituents in this House, for without their support, I would not be here today. During the past four years, I have greatly valued the input they have given me on a vast array of issues as I go door to door and as I attend functions, events and meetings throughout my constituency.
I have used this input to guide me in my role as their representative in this Chamber. Manitoba continues to grow stronger due in no small part to the consistent and effective leadership of our esteemed Premier (Mr. Filmon). Our Premier continues to stand strong for Manitoba, working diligently with all levels of government to ensure that the interests of all Manitobans are protected today and into the future.
During his two terms as Premier of Manitoba, he has demonstrated a sincere willingness to work with the federal government to protect Manitoba's interest, but he has not hesitated to stand up for Manitoba when our interests have been threatened by federal government initiatives, particularly federal Liberal government initiatives.
Manitobans trust the leadership skills of Premier Filmon, and in 1990 this government made a commitment to Manitobans to make our province strong. I believe all honourable members will agree that a prosperous economy is the key to achieving this goal. We are all currently aware of the difficult time that faced Canadians and countries around the world during the last recession, but as Canada moved out of the recession, Manitoba indeed has been leading the way.
Our government's plan to keep taxes down has received acclaim from the business community and from people across Manitoba. The initiative this government will take to pass balanced budget legislation will ensure that Manitobans never again experience the fiscal crisis created by the massive overspending of the previous NDP administration.
The uncertainty created by that crisis in confidence in the government's ability to keep its financial House in order at that time cost Manitoba investment and jobs, and this government is committed to maintaining Manitoba's position as a safe and secure environment for investment and expansion.
Mr. Acting Speaker, I would like to speak for a moment about what Manitobans are saying about Premier Filmon and the way our government is handling the economy, and I quote from a recent edition of a Winnipeg daily newspaper. The headline reads: Budget plan wins praise. It goes on to say, and I quote: Premier Gary Filmon's pledge to make balanced budgets a requirement for future government may not please the opposition, but small businessmen like the idea. It is a lofty goal, and I do not know how he will manage it with all the demands from every sector, said Claude Brunel of Lifesport.
Brunel gave Filmon top marks for guiding the province through the recession in a reasonable fashion while giving the two opposition leaders a failing grade.
It goes on to say that Premier Filmon is my Leader of choice, and I do not have any problems with the provincial attitude. I have more of a beef with the city and all of its high taxes.
These comments are only a small sampling of the positive comments that I have heard Manitobans making about the positive impact our government is having on the business community. We are keeping the commitment we made in 1990, as Manitoba emerges in excellent shape from the recession because the Filmon government has made the right choices.
I would like to take a few minutes to put some of the good news on the record. This government has managed to hold the line on taxes for the past seven budgets, a record unmatched by any other jurisdiction in North America.
We have, while keeping the deficit down, maintained spending levels on the services Manitobans depend on the most: education, health care and family services.
Exports to foreign markets this year have grown by approximately 30 percent--the best overall performance in all of Canada. Our overall economic growth in Manitoba has outperformed the Canadian average for three of the last four years, and the Conference Board of Canada has projected a 3.7 percent growth rate for Manitoba this year. Employment in the manufacturing sector of our economy is at its highest level in 13 years.
Mr. Acting Speaker, small business accounts for approximately 80 percent of new jobs in the economy. Our government has been listening to the concerns of men and women who own and operate small businesses. We have responded by giving them the means to succeed in Manitoba. I am pleased that our government will be introducing a new pooled investment fund for small business to allow small business people access to the capital they need to expand and enhance their businesses to be more competitive in the global economy.
This is in addition to such successful programs as REDI, Grow Bonds, the Crocus Fund, Business Start and the Vision Capital Fund which have helped Manitoba businesses create jobs for Manitobans.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in the opening of a new business in my constituency, a new small business. The Pride and Joy children's clothing store that I opened is another example of a made-in-Manitoba success story.
The owners have operated a store in Selkirk for several years, and they found a solid market for the products they sell. Their success at that location prompted them to open a new location in Winnipeg to take advantage of the market for children's clothing in the city and, in particular, in the southeast area of our city where there are so many young families.
I wish the owners of Pride and Joy much success at their new location, and I pledge to do all I can to ensure a strong climate exists for business to thrive in this province.
The economic initiatives and the entrepreneurial spirit have been referred to by the honourable member for St. James (Mr. Edwards), as we all know, as small potatoes, and it was so eloquently pointed out to the other honourable members of this Chamber last Friday by the honourable member for Emerson (Mr. Penner).
Education is another issue that is of great importance to my constituents, and I am pleased with the action our government continues to take to make sure that our children receive quality education that will serve them well in the global economy of the 21st Century.
Our government has increased funding to education from approximately $700 million in 1989 to over $758 million today. We have worked to ensure that programs and services in our education system that are of prime concern to Manitobans have been protected and enhanced. As a former educator and a proud grandmother of four young grandsons I have a very personal interest in the state of our education system. I want to ensure that our young people can read, write, compute and problem solve in a safe, secure learning environment.
I was encouraged by the first parents forum on education held in Winnipeg last April when parents from throughout the province had the opportunity to voice their opinions about our school system and the direction they would like to see the government take with respect to education. Parents said that the highest priority is to guarantee quality education for their children, and they recognized that change to the current system is absolutely necessary.
Coincidentally, I was at a meeting last evening of teachers in the St. Vital School Division and they also indicated that they are very discontented with the current education system and recognize that change must take place. They also were very pleased with the initiatives announced yesterday in terms of addressing violence in the schools. A number of them cited personal examples of their biggest fear in walking into the classroom and having to handle some of the students that were completely uncontrollable, and for the first time in 25 years one teacher indicated she felt intimidated and dreaded walking into the classroom when that one student was present.
Many of the recommendations from these parents became a part of the Renewing Education: New Directions, A Blueprint for Action, and the most recent work guideline, advisory councils for school leadership. Parents want a greater voice in the operation of their children's schools, and our government has taken action to see that parents play a more important role within the school system.
I have also met with all the parent-teacher associations in our school. They are reviewing the document, continue to review the document, and are really pleased that they will finally have the input they feel they deserve.
I was also pleased to hear that a second parents forum on education will be held to further encourage parental involvement in their children's education. All Manitobans will benefit as a result of the increased involvement and interest in education by parents. The teachers forum on education will also provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to express their concerns about the education system. As the deliverers of education, teachers have a great deal of practical knowledge and skill that will be valuable to our government as we work to make our schools more responsive to the realities of the global economy.
A number of measures were outlined in the Speech from the Throne by our government that will ensure the security of the public and the individual, this, in addition to the tough action we have taken to deal with the problem of youth crime and violence that has been of concern to all Manitobans. We will continue to press the federal government for a strengthening of the Young Offenders Act to deal with young people who commit crimes. Manitobans need to be able to feel safe from the dangers posed by stalkers and sexual offenders. Our government will be taking action to ensure that the victims of stalkers are notified when the stalker is either released from prison or escapes custody so that they can make the necessary arrangements to ensure that they are secure.
We will also be developing initiatives to permit public notification of dangerous sexual offenders that are at large in the community, a measure long called for by Manitobans to enable everyone to take the proper precautions to guarantee their own safety.
Our government has also reaffirmed our commitment to preserve our health care system in Manitoba as the best in the world. At 34 per cent of our government's budget, we continue to spend more on health care than any other province in Canada. By building on the successful Drug Program Information Network, our government will be creating a provincial health information system to link all health care stakeholders. This will eliminate unnecessary waste, duplication and abuse of services and will improve the quality and speed of health care services without increasing the cost of the services provided.
By making sure that all resources are directed to providing the services that are most important, we help ensure the long-term strength of our provincial health care system. All Manitobans benefit from a measure like this, that improves service and reduces waste in the system at the same time. We have sought to consult as widely as possible in the community and with health care providers throughout our term in government to come up with new ideas and new solutions for the challenges we face in health care. Our emphasis will continue to be on redirecting resources to ensure that Manitobans continue to receive quality care.
Manitobans are justifiably proud of the health care system in our province, and having had many personal experiences over the course of this last summer with our health care system, I can tell you that it is second to none. We are moving to ensure that Manitoba continues to have a health care system that is at the forefront of the industry. Initiatives introduced in the Speech from the Throne will maintain the high quality of care and guarantee the efficiency of the system while at the same time address many of the concerns Manitobans have about the future direction of health care services.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with a group of nurses who voluntarily requested a meeting and who are employees of one of the major tertiary hospitals. They came in with their own individual concerns and reports and shared with me inefficiencies in the system that they see on a daily basis. I am fully supportive of the initiatives our government is continuing to take in the area of nurse-managed care.
Also, to address the growing concerns related to cancer, we will be establishing a prostate centre to provide state-of-the-art services to the more than 2,000 men who have prostate disease. This is in addition to our commitment to establish a breast and cervical cancer screening program by 1995 to provide the earliest possible diagnosis of this terrible disease. Manitoba will continue to be at the forefront of early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The increasing revenues brought to Manitoba by our thriving tourism industry benefits all Manitobans. We have experienced the best growth in all of Canada in 1994 in overseas visitors and overnight visitors by tourists from the U.S. We will continue to promote our province as a popular destination for visitors worldwide with a goal of doubling the revenues from tourism by the year 2000.
All Manitobans were thrilled with the announcement of Winnipeg as the host of the Pan American Games in 1999. In addition to promoting friendly competition and a better understanding of our fellow nations in the western hemisphere, the Pan Am Games offers us an excellent opportunity to promote Manitoba as both a tourist destination and as a trading partner for Pan American nations. The new Pan America Trade and Tourism 1999 Initiative is geared for harnessing the energy during the buildup to the Pan Am Games to create partnerships and friendships that will last long after the games are over. Thousands of volunteers will be required to ensure the success of these games. I encourage all members of this House to become involved.
Mr. Acting Speaker, I would also like to say a few words about International Year of the Family. As I am sure all honourable members are aware, 1994 was proclaimed International Year of the Family by the United Nations, and Manitoba has enthusiastically responded to the challenge to celebrate the family.
In my role as chair of the ambassador committee of the Premier's Family Year '94 council, I have had numerous opportunities to meet and work with many hard-working and dedicated Manitobans in promoting awareness of issues concerning our families. As the Year of the Family draws to a close, I personally have developed a greater understanding of the problems families face as we enter the latter part of the 1990s. Our family year committee is still examining the results of all the discussions, dialogue and events that were held and within the context of the Year of the Family. I am more certain than ever that the pioneer spirit of Manitobans will triumph over any difficulties we face. In the spirit of our pioneers, the hard work and dedication that has always been a part of Manitobans will ensure that our province continues to thrive.
As we approach 1995 and the 125th anniversary of Manitoba's entry into Confederation, I believe we should take a moment to reflect upon all that our province has accomplished in our short history.
We have gone from being a sparsely populated outpost on the edge of civilization to the strong and vibrant cosmopolitan society that is the envy of the world. We have attracted immigrants from throughout the world, and many more join us each year to become a part of our great province. But it is important that we not lose sight of the qualities that our ancestors bestowed upon us as they built this great province. The hard work, the dedication and the concern for fellow Manitobans that they showed are just as important today as they were in 1870, and these values form the basis of our province as we look toward the future. So, as we celebrate Manitoba 125 in the year ahead, let us not lose sight of what has made Manitoba so great.
Mr. Acting Speaker, in closing, I commend the Seine River residents for making our community such a great place to live and raise a family. It is a pleasure to serve this House on behalf of my constituents, and I look forward to the continuing opportunities to listen to the concerns of people of Seine River constituency and work diligently to see that these concerns are addressed.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all honourable members a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with love, good health, happiness and prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker.
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): It gives me great pleasure to rise to add my comments on the sixth throne speech, Mr. Acting Speaker, since I was elected in 1990 to represent the people of Transcona. It has been my honour to represent the people of Transcona and to bring their concerns to this House.
But first, Mr. Acting Speaker, before I get into the comments on this throne speech, I would like to welcome you back, Sir, and also through you to the Speaker, to welcome him back as well. We look forward to his guidance and his advice on the matters as we progress through the sitting days of this House.
I would also like to welcome back the table officers and members of the Chamber, and, of course, welcome to our new Pages as well. We hope that they are able to gain a significant amount of knowledge from their experience in serving members of this House.
I have had the opportunity in reviewing the throne speech that we have here before us today, and I must say that I have seen better throne speeches. In fact, my Leader presented a throne speech which would greatly surpass the one that this government has issued for us to comment on. It is also interesting to note, Mr. Acting Speaker, that the government even had the opportunity to xerox some of our ideas and incorporate them in their own document. It appears that they have stolen some of the thunder from our Liberal colleagues, which we had originally thought was the original Xerox party of this province.
In reviewing some of the comments here--and I have listened to the comments of other members of the Chamber here with reference to some of the issues in the document itself. The government has said that the tourism industry now contributes over a billion dollars to the economy of the province of Manitoba. That in itself, I suppose, is good news, but they do not go on to tell you that has been the fact for some time and nothing has changed. It remains status quo for an extended period of time. We would hope that over the period of this government we would have seen some improvement in that figure.
Of course, they are looking in-house for some of their advertising activities, which I think is unfortunate. The money would have been better spent trying to attract some out-of-province and out-of-country tourism to our province to help that one-billion-dollar figure grow. The government also claims, Mr. Acting Speaker, in their throne speech document that they have frozen major tax rates. Well, they do not tell you that while they have frozen the major tax rates, they have expanded the base of the taxation that they charge and they have eroded some of the other support programs, particularly the Senior School Tax Assistance program in the past budgets which they have taken away from seniors in this province.
The document goes on to say in the throne speech document that they are going to introduce balanced budget legislation. The question here, Mr. Acting Speaker, remains: where was the government over the last six and a half years when they are talking about--[interjection] Where were they? Are they going to make this retroactive? Maybe they should be taking some steps to look back on some of the actions that they have taken over the last six and a half years where they have run up an additional $4 billion to the provincial debt in this province.
How much does that mean when you take a 10 percent interest rate and apply that against the $4 billion that they have obviously had to borrow on the debt that they have created for this province, the interest that they have added on to the debt problem in this province here? Do not let them be talking about the debt problems and the problems that previous governments have had in this province. They have to look at their own actions first. Clean up your own house first before you start criticizing others on that matter.
The government also talks about 30,000 small businesses in this province, Mr. Acting Speaker, and they say they are going to introduce smarter regulations for reducing red tape. Well, this is another Xerox idea that they have taken from the New Democratic Party in that my former colleague the member for Flin Flon, Mr. Storie, when he was a member of this House came forward after significant consultation with small-business members in the province and introduced a piece of legislation into this province long before this government even started to take any action on this matter. So it is interesting to see now that the government is taking another idea from the New Democratic Party.
Mr. Acting Speaker, it is also interesting to note that the government in their document, and I quote, says: we will introduce new initiatives to help encourage entrepreneurs to invest in their dreams and create jobs. Now I have had some small experience in that with members of my own constituency who have called my office in that they wanted to start small businesses. Now I thought this was an opportunity for us here to allow our economy to grow and expand, and I was very hopeful that they would be successful.
We had the pleasure of contacting members of the Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism to seek out their guidance and their advice to assist these small-business entrepreneurs to help them start a business. One of the problems that was encountered was the lack of funding availability for these small businesses to allow them to buy the necessary stock to allow them to open the doors for the business. They did not have the capital that was necessary to do that. That may be one area that the government can look at is to give small businesses, people wanting to start small businesses, the opportunity to access the necessary funding. As the government has said, and members on this side of the House have said many times, small business is the backbone in the province, and we have to have the small businesses grow if the province is going to be successful.
The document also talks about the transportation sector employing some 25,000 Manitobans. That is a very significant portion of our economy in the province of Manitoba.
I listened to the comments of the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Findlay) during his comments on the Speech from the Throne yesterday. The minister made reference to the Northern Hemisphere Distribution Alliance wherein the airport would become a focal point for those operations. It would combine the activities of the trucking, the rail industry and the airline industry in moving freight traffic through the Winnipeg International Airport from business, manufacturing activities within 30-36 hours driving distance of the Winnipeg International Airport.
We think that this is a good idea. This is something that should be advanced with the greatest amount of speed in that it can provide significant economic opportunities not only for Winnipeg, but indeed for the province itself, and we hope for our neighbouring provinces in Canada as well. We think that this can be a positive step forward and that there will be, hopefully, a fair number of jobs created through this program.
We know that this program has been in the works now for a period of years. We would hope that we would see some further progress on this, and we would see some actual real jobs created through this. We know there is a significant amount of time that it takes in study and preparation for this and to bring all of the sectors together. It is our understanding it is quite an undertaking, but we hope that this project can move forward with the greatest possible speed.
The government says that they like to have new ideas with respect to some of the issues that come forward.
I look in the throne speech document when they make reference to public security. We have listened to the comments by the Minister of Justice (Mrs. Vodrey) during the Question Periods through the last few days that this House has been sitting. There have been some ideas that I have heard in the public with respect to a Child Abuse Registry, and I can say that there seems to be a support for that type of a program in that we need to protect our children with whatever mechanisms we deem appropriate.
Also, the government says that they are looking for ideas on how they can improve the justice system. I have often thought that when we have people that are committing offences with weapons, not only in this province but elsewhere in this country--and I have looked at some of the reports that have come out after individuals have been found guilty of such offences--why we do not make such offences where weapons are involved consecutive in the times that are dictated by the justice system in the province, why do we always have them concurrent in the time that would be served for such an offence? I think there is some room for movement, some areas for improvement.
I had the opportunity, Mr. Acting Speaker, to make comment to members of my community by way of a survey that I had done over the course of the last couple of months. While the space that was limited on the card that was sent to all the homes in my community asked a number of questions, we also left room for written comments to come back.
I must say, in the area of preventing crime, there was a significant amount of interest in the community in preventing crime. A great number of the respondents to that survey--I must say I had a significantly large number of surveys returned to me completed. A lot of the respondents to that survey would like to see some strong steps taken to improve and take steps to prevent crime from happening in this province.
There appears to be a perception within the public that youth crime is the most significant factor right now. That, of course, I suppose, has been led, to some degree, by the announcements through the different sources of media within our province when they are reporting on certain actions that are involving young people within our province.
I know we have talked in our throne speech from the New Democratic Party how we should take and put into place some programs that would involve young people, to give young people the opportunity to participate in programs that would hopefully steer them away from involvement in gang-related activities. We think there is room to involve the young people in these decisions, and we hope that we will have the opportunity in the near future to involve the young people, to hear their ideas and to implement those ideas to cause, in effect, young people to be involved in positive and creative activities.
The throne speech document also goes on to talk about the education system within our province. I have listened, Mr. Acting Speaker, to the comments here in Question Period and the comments that were made in rebuttal by the Minister of Education (Mr. Manness) yesterday with respect to education.
I have had the opportunity to go and talk to several young people within my community in the high school system and also to talk to some of the teachers within the high schools in my community with respect to the history program. I found that there is a fair amount of interest in the history program. I find it strange that the Minister of Education would move towards a system that would essentially make our Canadian history and the history of our province an optional course within our high schools, starting at the Grade 11 level and Grade 12.
I have here with me today copies of the history program texts that have been used in the high schools of my community, Mr. Acting Speaker. One of them is, The Contemporary World: Conflict or Co-operation. It is the Canadian second edition. It is a document that is used in the high schools. It goes on to explain several things about the world, the world in conflict, the co-operation in Europe, the conflicts that are there, so the young people have a chance to learn about the world.
Also with me here today I have another text from the high schools, Grades 11 and 12 documents here. One of them is titled, Our Canada: A Social and Political History of Our Country. This document goes on to talk about various aspects of not only our country and the peoples of our country but the different types of government--the federal government, provincial governments and municipal governments.
One of the things I have noted in my time as an elected representative for my community is that quite often people within the various communities of the province do not have a good grasp on what levels of government are there to assist them and what the duties and responsibilities of each level of government are supposed to assist with. I think that there is room, not just to eliminate the history program, but to even expand on the base of knowledge that we provide for our young people with respect to the duties and responsibilities of each level of government--federal, provincial and municipal--and I suppose school boards and the duties that they perform on behalf of the communities.
I also have with me a world history of patterns of civilization, so it goes back to the beginning of time, not only for our country but also for our province. The Minister of Education (Mr. Manness) wants to eliminate or make optional the history programs in Grades 11 and 12 in our high schools in this province. I think that would do a great disservice to our young people. Judging from some of the letters that I have received from some of the young people in my community, some of the students--and I will talk about their comments, Mr. Acting Speaker. One young person talks about students being bombarded with American TV, movies, magazines and music and that they will have no real knowledge of what Canadian history is all about.
Another student wants to learn about confederation, democracy and patriotism, three things that she says are important to this country that we live in. The students said also that if you eliminate the history program or make it optional you will not have a higher awareness of what our country's identity really is.
Another young person goes on to talk about graduating from high school without ever having studied history beyond Grade 6. I know, Mr. Acting Speaker, my own son is in Grade 6, and I have asked him several times what is involved in the history program and asked to see the text that he is using within his school. The unfortunate part is that there is only one textbook for every two students so he is unable to bring that textbook home. I am having a difficult time comprehending how the young people can, if they are assigned homework, take a textbook home with them. So we have some real problems in the funding for the young people beyond trying to take history and physical education out of the core curriculum of our education within the province.
One of the young people goes on to talk about, we cannot always be influenced by American media. So the young people are even seeing that we are having significant bombardment by American media in our province by way of the different media sources. I have seen it within my own children. We try to limit the amount of television where possible and steer them into constructive or creative programs away from the television if at all possible.
This one young person in my community talks about all Canadians have a right to know the history of their country and that we would be gaining the people's right of our country to know the history of our nation. If we eliminate this program we will not have that right to know what the history of our country is.
Another young person asked the question--I think it is a very valid question--why does the Minister of Education (Mr. Manness) not explain the reasons for his proposed change? That is one of the questions that is in the mind of the youth in my community. They want to know why history is going to be made an optional course.
In addition, the physical education program is not going to be made a compulsory course, and I can tell you, Mr. Acting Speaker, in talking with the young people of my community in one of the elementary schools, I have seen the young people involved and participating in the physical education programs to such a degree that their interest grows beyond that into the academic learning circles. They take back their enthusiasm for being involved and participating in physical education programs to the classroom and are actively involved in participating in the learning programs within the other school curriculum.
So I think that, if you eliminate the physical education component and make it optional in the Grade 11 and Grade 12 areas, not only will it affect the health of the young people, but it will also affect their enthusiasm to continue with further or advanced studies as they become more complacent about what is happening to them.
I have also received, Mr. Acting Speaker, some information from a young woman within my community relating to the physiotherapy national exam. The individual has sent me a piece of correspondence, which, I believe, was sent to the Ministers of Health (Mr. McCrae) and Education (Mr. Manness). The young people in 1995 are going to be asked--those that are involved in the physiotherapy program at the universities--to undertake a national physiotherapy exam. Since Manitoba only graduates some, I believe, 30 students each year, there needs to be 40 students writing the test that is going to be required. There are going to be 40 people required to take that exam before the exam is held in a centre such as Winnipeg, and since only 30 people graduate each year from Manitoba universities, that means that Winnipeg will not be a chosen site.
On top of that, those students are going to be writing the exam, and if they are going to be forced to travel to other areas, they are going to have to pay for the additional examination fees, the travel costs and the accommodations, quite possibly even in Toronto. Of course, that is a fee that I believe in many cases they will be unable to undertake. The figures that have been provided for me indicate that some of the costs would range anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500 for the new graduates to take such an exam, and they are wondering how they are going to be able to afford to pay for such a cost since they do not have a job and they are just at the end of their training period, which would further add to or compound the problems that they are facing--completing the course, having to pay an extra $1,500 to take the examination, and then they should travel to some place else to write the exam and then have no job prospects likely in front of them.
Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, we look at some of the other areas that the government has talked about in their document, and I listened to the comments yesterday by the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Findlay) wherein he talked about the transportation sector. Trucking still does play a significant part of the economy of Manitoba. We have had and seen that there is an increased need for drivers in the trucking industry within our province. I have had people in my own community who are running transport driver training programs. They have come to my office for assistance. We fortunately have been able to provide that assistance for them through the Department of Driver and Vehicle Licensing. [interjection]
No, I wished I had a Class 1 driver's licence, but, unfortunately, I do not. I would ask the Deputy Premier, though, if he wishes to compare driver's licences, I will ask him if he has five merits on his driver's licence. [interjection] You cannot have any more than five, even though the Deputy Premier does not know that. I wonder about his comments. [interjection] His one-upmanship does not work in this case.
One of the things that we have seen lately was where the federal Liberal Transport minister was in Winnipeg back in October, and he was just again in Manitoba just recently too, Mr. Acting Speaker, I might add, where he, despite Mr. Chretien's admonishment about cabinet ministers travelling in government jets, flew to Winnipeg on the private government aircraft, signed a document on behalf of the federal government, which, I believe, took all of 17 minutes, got on the jet and flew back to Ottawa, at great expense to the taxpayers of this province. I can see that the federal government and the Prime Minister are not sincere when he says they are going to cut back on the use of government jets and the cost to the taxpayers.
But one of the things that bothers me, Mr. Acting Speaker, is the federal Transport minister's comments when he attacked rail workers in this province, when he said that railway workers with only Grade 8 or Grade 9 education cannot be blamed for negotiating excessive collective agreements. Not only does he think that the collective agreements that were fairly arrived at between negotiations of two parties, management and the employees, are not fair, he says they are excessive, and he says that railway employees in general have only a Grade 8 or Grade 9 education.
Now I think this is a very irresponsible statement by the federal Liberal Minister of Transport. Doug Young said that, that railway workers do not have more than a Grade 8 or Grade 9 education. Well, I can tell you that in my 25 years with the railway the majority of the people there had a minimum of Grade 12, and many of them had college or university training, and they also had the apprenticeship programs when they were in place.
An Honourable Member: So what if they only have Grade 8 or Grade 9? Does that make them less valuable?
Mr. Reid: No, it does not make them any less valuable. They are very, very skilled people. They have their apprenticeship programs that they have completed. They have a high degree of training, and the education there should have no bearing and should not have taken place in the minister's comments. So I hope that the federal Minister of Transport, the Liberal Minister of Transport, will apologize to the rail workers of this country for his uncalled-for comments. [interjection] Well, I hope that the Manitoba Liberals will apologize for the comments of their federal colleague.
One of the things that I saw--and I do not want to move on more than just a couple of more minutes in my comments--was the recent absence, the noted absence of the provincial Liberals from the Nault task force hearings that were held in the city here last week. Mr. Nault, who is an M.P. from Parliament, is heading up this task force, and he was here conducting these hearings with his colleagues from Parliament. I noticed that the Liberals did not even go out and make representation on behalf of the rail interests of this province, the rail jobs that we have in this province. I think that is a shame.
In addition to that, Mr. Acting Speaker, one of the things I noted too was that the provincial Minister of Transportation was not even in attendance at those hearings, which also is a shame that he would not take the time to represent the interests of rail workers in this province and the protection of those jobs.
An Honourable Member: I suppose they do not vote the right way.
Mr. Reid: Well, it is quite possible that they do not vote right. That may be the case. I am not really sure why the minister did not go out and make representation, but I think that is a shame that he did not do that.
There are many other issues that I would like to talk about, Mr. Acting Speaker. It is my understanding that the CP Rail bid to purchase CN Rail, while the federal Minister of Transport has not announced it publicly yet, Mr. Nault has indicated that the CP Rail offer to purchase CN Rail is now dead and that that will not be taking place. The deal that CP has come forward where they were asking for a tax shelter to purchase this company I think is abhorrent at best. I think they wanted the Canadian taxpayers to pay for the purchase through the tax rebate system. I do not think that is an appropriate way to deal with any matters.
I hope that the federal government will take the necessary steps and that the Nault task force will come back with recommendations saying that we need in this country, and indeed in this province, a publicly owned rail system in this country that can compete effectively and openly with other private rail interests. I know members opposite may not agree with that viewpoint but that is my personal viewpoint. I think Crown corporations have a role to play within this province and this country, and I support them and I will continue to support them.
An Honourable Member: It is a philosophical thing.
Mr. Reid: It is a philosophical thing, I suppose, but that is something that I have believed in for a long time and I will continue to believe in that.
Mr. Acting Speaker, there are many other things I would like to have talked about but unfortunately I see my time is running short. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to add my comments on the government's throne speech, and I know that the members and the public of Manitoba will soon have the opportunity to vote on the future of Manitoba's history. Thank you for this opportunity.
Mr. Ben Sveinson (La Verendrye): Mr. Acting Speaker, through you to the Speaker, before I respond to the throne speech, I would like to welcome all honourable members back to the Legislature. In particular, I would like to welcome the Speaker back to his place in the Assembly.
I would also like to welcome our new Pages to the Assembly and wish them well. What they will learn about the processes that go on in this Assembly perhaps will help them in their future.
I would like to wish a number of members who have chosen not to run in the next election, or not to let their name stand for the next election, I would like to wish them well also--the members for Riel, Turtle Mountain and Dauphin, at this point. There is some talk about Inkster, but we will not get into that one right at this point.
I am pleased, Mr. Acting Speaker, to rise in the Legislature today to discuss this government's throne speech, which is a clear indication of our future direction in this province. Not only is this an outline of government plans, but it is a clear expression of what a majority of Manitobans expect from their government. It is clear that the status quo, which we can see across the way and since we came in four years ago, is sitting across the way. It is just not good enough nor would it be right to revisit outdated ideas from years past.
There is clearly a new path to the future. It is a path where we can play a large part in setting the direction it leads. Sticking with the old ideas of big government would lead to a stagnant provincial economy, a continuing escalation of debt, and, frankly, it would set the stage for economic catastrophe for our children and their children.
Mr. Acting Speaker, I would like to discuss an area of extreme importance to Manitobans. That, of course, is in the creation of jobs. Unfortunately, there have been far too few constructive suggestions offered by the opposition parties during this term of government. In fact, I think many of their statements show that they are out of touch with most Manitobans and their minds are blank of new ideas.
I would just like to mention here, I think it was about a week ago or a week and a half ago when it was announced that we would receive something in the neighbourhood of $180 million more in transfer payments. The Leader of the official opposition was out there spending the whole works. I do not think he was leaving much of anything of that $180 million. The second opposition Leader was only going to spend half. Well, I guess that day half sounded better than the whole thing. That was money that we did not have yet.
The fact is, Mr. Acting Speaker, that money is no longer coming. I believe it is down to in the neighbourhood of $34 million or $36 million now. That would put even the second opposition Leader approximately $60 million or $80 million in the hole on his half.
When we talk about jobs and economic development, is it unfortunate to see the Leader of the third party dismissing the efforts of small business? In his own words the member for St. James (Mr. Edwards) says: Grow Bonds and REDI are good programs, but they are really very "small potatoes." He is also critical of this government's efforts to attract new industry to this province. The comments from the Leader of the Second Opposition showed the lack of vision that this member has for the future of Manitoba.
I can tell you, those jobs are putting Manitobans back to work. He should really tell the families that are depending on those jobs that they are really small potatoes. The honourable member tried to explain his comments by saying that more should be done for job creation. I will agree with him to a point, but if that job creation means deficit spending for a few more make-work, short-term projects, then I would have to disagree. He should ask his colleagues in the official opposition. They tried to buy jobs with ill-conceived projects in the 1980s. That not only did not create any meaningful employment, it also contributed to the NDP's dismal economic performance.
The NDP managed to triple the debt of this province in six years, or between six and seven years. It had taken from 1870 until the NDP's years to accumulate a small deficit, that government debt, yet it took them only six years to triple it. I do not need to tell the people of Manitoba that we can ill afford that type of economic stewardship in the future.
Mr. Acting Speaker, the opposition does not realize that what may seem like a few jobs here and there soon becomes thousands of jobs and a great spurt for the Manitoba economy. The very programs that the member for St. James (Mr. Edwards) was talking about have created close to 3,000 jobs for Manitobans.
My colleague the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) released figures last month showing the economic growth that has been brought about through REDI programs. This government's Rural Economic Development Initiative has created more than 745 new full-time jobs and another 2,100 part-time jobs for youth. The REDI-funded projects involving 150 business initiatives worth more than $14.4 million, but more important is the fact that they have triggered $159-million worth of new capital investment in rural Manitoba. Those programs for rural Manitoba are achieving a tremendous success, and I am pleased to say that they are contributing significantly to our economy.
The continuation of the Business Start Program is another significant initiative that is assisting entrepreneurs with their efforts to create jobs for Manitobans. I am pleased to say that this government recognizes the tremendous contributions made by that program, which does not involve any direct grants to businesses. Those Manitobans with sound ideas and a solid business plan are able to create jobs through their own initiative.
Mr. Acting Speaker, we are constantly reminded about the changes facing us daily as the world moves to a global information-based economy. Even the unions that foretold of the demise of Canada through free trade and the NAFTA agreements are now trying to jump on the bandwagon, now that they want a bigger share of those profits. Here in Manitoba, we have two opposition parties that are immersed in fear of the future. Instead of confidently looking towards the future of Manitoba and the strength and confidences of our people, they are content to hide in the past and tout the same old ideas--spend money we do not have. I explained that just a minute ago.
Their main goals are power, not serving the people of Manitoba. Manitobans cannot afford the economic disaster that would surely come with the old ways of doing business. That is where this government differs.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
We have worked to build on Manitoba's strength, and at the same time we have tried to undue the unfair tax regime created by the NDP. In the six years prior to 1988 they raised taxes not once, not twice, but more than 13 times. Despite double-digit increases in revenue they still decided to burden the taxpayers with even more of a load. Is that fairness? Is that the sign of a party that should be governing Manitoba?
What has the Filmon government done since 1988? We have the longest running freeze of major taxes in North America through seven consecutive budgets. Even the Saskatchewan NDP government has recognized Manitoba has created a fair taxation system. Their own budget tables show that for a family with an income of $25,000 we have the lowest combined tax rates including all government charges.
For a family of up to $50,000 we were second lowest and for a family of up to $75,000 we were third lowest. So not only do we have among the lowest tax rates in the country but we are fair about determining who pays more of those taxes. That fair taxation system also applies to businesses, where we have removed the regressive payroll tax from 90 percent of the businesses that were once burdened by it. I think it was called a tax on jobs. This gives them the opportunity to grow and put more money back into their businesses and into the salaries of additional employees that they could not afford to hire under the past regime.
It is interesting to note that the NDP say that this government is repackaging itself for the election. The Leader of the Liberal Party (Mr. Edwards) says, there is nothing new, no direction for the creation of jobs. Both of these gentlemen are very wrong. Their definition of new is big government programs, buying votes and in fact creating debt. They still do not understand that the real growth in this country comes from small business, which is the true engine of the Canadian economy.
Even the federal government has started to realize this by moving away from big government programs to rely more on the private sector. They were just talking about this the other day. They announced just the other day what is going to happen as far as their cuts are concerned. They are going to be asking, more and more, the private sector to take on the job, and that is in creating jobs. The Liberal Leader who seems to praise anything and everything that comes out of Ottawa should take note of that. The Filmon government has the vision that is resulting in growth in new industries as well as focusing efforts on our own strengths.
Let us look at the tourism industry and its continued potential for growth and creation of jobs for Manitobans and wealth for our province. If we continue to follow the plans and pathways developed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Downey) and this government, we will see the tourism industry doubled by the year 2000.
December of 1994 was one of the best in many years and is a sign of what is to come. Many small businesses in my constituency, especially up into the Whiteshell and out on east No. 1 Highway, have made extensive changes to their business, the expansions. They are into winterizing cottages and cabins to take on the added tourism industry of the snowmobilers who actually come in from a number of different provinces and from across the line.
The people in my constituency are very excited about it. I have been out and visited these cabins, and I would indeed invite all of you to take a drive out into the beautiful constituency of La Verendrye and into our Whiteshell and visit some of these facilities. If not, maybe spend a few days and go skiing. There are many, many different skiing trails, snowmobile trails, groomed trails, throughout the Whiteshell and indeed--[interjection] I sent you. They might charge you a very nominal fee, but--[interjection] Oh, you wanted to charge it to me. Well, see, we are working on a tourism thing here. [interjection] Jealousy will get you nowhere my friend.
Visitor traffic to Manitoba from the United States and other provinces is escalating. That means cash registers are ringing in Manitoba, and the money brought in by tourism is playing a large part in the improvement in our economy. Our American visitors are coming to Manitoba more frequently and staying longer than they have in the past. Some 230 U.S. tours made visits from January to September. That is 10 percent higher than in 1993 and twice the national average for growth.
Our American friends are only one part of the growth we are seeing in tourism. Nearly 800,000 tourists from other parts of Canada visited Manitoba during the first nine months of this year. Visitors to our province all have one thing in common for many of our business people and indeed for us. They spend money here. On average, U.S. visitors spend about $300 per day. That combined with money spent by Canadian visitors means millions of dollars are injected into our economy. That is money spent in Manitoba businesses like hotels, gas stations, restaurants, stores and other services, and those businesses in turn are able to employ many of our young people throughout the summer and others because of that tourism business.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that this government's vision for the future of tourism does not stop at the U.S. border or our boundaries with other provinces. Recently our Tourism minister met with Tourism ministers and officials from other countries in Japan. Japan holds out a tremendous potential for tourism dollars for Manitoba. If you just look at Prince Edward Island, you will see what I mean. That province has successfully targeted Japanese visitors and has enjoyed a very profitable relationship.
Some of our members opposite here might have this paper. It is from the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, and we have a very nice picture of our minister. In it, it states: Just back from world tourist industry forum in Osaka, Japan, and jurisdiction, says delegates were told that there are now 500 million people classified as tourists. That number is expected to be doubled by the year 2005, and I am determined that Manitoba will get its full share of that growth. I would like to congratulate the minister on that endeavour.
In Manitoba we have a great deal to offer people from Japan and other parts of the world. The Japanese are extremely interested in ecotourism destinations. Watching the beluga whales or polar bears in Churchill and visits to the Oak Hammock Marsh are a few of the prime possibilities. We can also capitalize on the beauty of our provincial and national parks, like the Whiteshell, which happens to be in La Verendrye, which can offer visitors a return to pristine conditions. The tourism industry is worth about one billion dollars a year and creates employment for thousands of Manitobans. We must and will continue our efforts to strengthen the industry and look for potential new visitors.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to turn my attention now to another part of the government's continued efforts to make Manitoba stronger. We have said constantly on this side of the House that our goal is to make the streets of Manitoba safe for everyone. We have also said that there are no easy solutions, no magic, but what we are doing is making a difference. We will continue our efforts to ensure that Manitobans can live in a society that takes a tough stand on crime and violence. We recognize that youth violence is only a part, and indeed probably a small part, but it is important that we deal effectively with young offenders. We want to ensure that these people realize they are accountable for their actions. We also want to ensure that they can receive the counselling and treatment that they need to prevent from offending again.
With that in mind, we have introduced boot camps for serious and repeat offenders. It is a system that is focused on reforming young offenders, not giving them a summer camp setting with pool tables, television sets, etc. They are there because they committed crimes.
A large part of dealing with young offenders falls under the responsibility of the federal government. I am pleased that our Minister of Justice (Mrs. Vodrey) is in direct communication with the federal government to express Manitoba's plans for combating youth violence. Many of the points contained in Manitoba's nine-point plan have been incorporated in federal changes, but we believe that there is still more to be done.
Here in Manitoba, we have made a number of significant changes aimed at fighting crime. Our drinking and driving laws are the toughest in Canada. We have moved to strip the driving privileges from those who steal cars. We have cracked down on spousal abuse, and we have proposed changes to strengthen antistalking laws.
Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased with the initiatives this government has undertaken with respect to the education of our young people. There is a realization that the education system we have is good, but it needs to be tailored to meet the needs of the future and the future of our children. There is also a need to be able to effectively measure skills learned by students in Manitoba. I am pleased that this government has listened to the desires of Manitobans and included them in discussions to form the blueprint on Education.
This government also intends to continue to listen to parents through a second Parents' Forum on Education. We have consulted and will continue to listen to teachers in a special forum to help us tailor our plans in a way that will see the most benefit to our education system. In all of our consultations, our key goal is to improve the education of our children.
Recently, the Education minister released the guidelines for Parent Advisory Councils in Manitoba schools. With very few exceptions, the guidelines have been met with approval and praise in the education community.
In particular, parents have asked to have a more meaningful role in the education of their children, and we have delivered. Parents will now have a greater voice in the school system and will be able to work in partnership with teachers, school administrators and school boards. As I said earlier, the common goal is to improve the education system for our children.
I was somewhat surprised a short time ago to hear Ron Banister, the head of the teachers' union, when he commented about the changes. His great fear was the cost of advisory councils. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that many parent councils already exist at schools across this province. Not only are these councils comprised of parent volunteers, but most also generate funds for schools through fundraising and other means.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the teachers in Manitoba have a very different agenda from that of their union bosses. I believe teachers want to work with parents to ensure the education system is meeting the needs of parents. I believe teachers also want parents to be more involved in the system, and they want parents to understand the challenges and concerns that teachers face on a daily basis.
We want to ensure that teachers are able to teach in a positive environment and that children are able to learn. That is why the plans outlined in the education blueprint include a partnership with all those involved. To make things better we must work together. That is exactly what we are doing and we will continue to do with all the stakeholders in education.
I just noticed in a clipping here, I believe it was yesterday I think in the Free Press. There are just pieces of the article that I would like to note.
It says here: "Education Minister Clayton Manness has introduced legislation to get tough with disruptive students and other undesirables who have no place hanging around schools."
The headline firstly was: "Tories tackle violence in schools.
"We are going to make sure The Public Schools Act gives the power to principals and school leaders so when they ask someone to leave the school boundaries, that they will know the impact of the full force of the law will come down upon them if they wish to neglect those instructions."
Another part here later on: "But Manness said teachers need to be given control over the classroom so there will be structure and they can teach students in an atmosphere and environment which is conducive to learning. Regarding those found loitering around school buildings or grounds, the minister said there is currently little a principal can do if somebody defies an order to leave. Principals can call police in such circumstances, but there is a lack of clarity with respect to the powers right now."
That is quite interesting. "Linda York, president-designate of the Manitoba Teachers' Society, welcomed the proposed changes. Abuse and violence have been a concern for us and we have certainly wanted something to be done, she said. I think it is time."
I would just like to point out again that is the president and designate of the Manitoba Teachers' Society.
Mr. Speaker, another key area of this throne speech is the continuation of this government's effort to preserve our vital health care system and make it more responsive to the needs of Manitobans. Health care spending continues to be the largest part of government spending. This year close to $2 billion was allocated in the provincial budget. Health is the single largest department in government. It is also one of the most critical areas when it comes to doing business more effectively. I am pleased at this government's desire to improve community-based service is progressing. We are working in partnership with health care professionals like the doctors, the nurses and hospital boards to ensure that the health care needs of Manitobans are met well into the 21st Century.
Initiatives such as nurse-managed health care, breast cancer screening programs and community-based services mean a health care system that is more responsive and closer to the people it serves. Health care is another area like education where we have consulted extensively. In fact, in health care I would say very honestly that more consultation has taken place on the renewal of health care in Manitoba than on any other subject that you could bring up.
I heard the Leader of the NDP criticize having so many health care committees. It is obvious they do not want consultation. Then they would criticize for that also. The NDP does not seem to want consultation on many things. The member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) was talking about the Wheat Board earlier this week saying there is no need for consultation. [interjection] I think I woke somebody up. That seems to be the NDP policy on most things. Take the stand that is opposite. It does not matter what the topic is, just take the opposite stand.
Back to health care now and our plans that are shifting more and more services into the community. This government's initiatives will help control health care costs which continue to escalate. By looking for ways to make the system more responsive, we are in fact delivering a remedy for an ailing system. That was like a bomb ready to blow just looking for a place to happen. We and other provincial governments have been faced with a massive challenge to make the system more efficient or risk losing it altogether.
I have heard comments from opposition members that more money needs to be spent. That sounds like a simple solution, but it is no solution. I mean, all we have to do is look back at the history of the NDP during the 1980s. It is very clear.
By directing the dollars to the areas where they are most needed and removing costly duplication of services, this government is not only enhancing the health care system, we are ensuring its future. Instead of looking to make cheap political points by saying just spend money, the opposition parties should have the courage to suggest meaningful ways to improve health care. Unfortunately, courage is not a word in their policy manual, Mr. Speaker, that is if they have such a thing.
I am pleased that this government is showing courage and is willing to work to preserve health care for the sake of all Manitobans and our future generations. We all know about the financial constraints facing all governments in Canada. We also know about the hard decisions that some governments have faced. In Saskatchewan, 52 hospitals have been closed--51? The members say at this point 52 hospitals. In Manitoba, we have been able to avoid such drastic measures. Yes, we have reduced a number of acute beds in Winnipeg hospitals.
The Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation, a world-class research facility, has released a report evaluating the effects of that move to redirect resources to other areas. In its report, the centre says that reducing the number of beds in Winnipeg hospitals has not had a detrimental effect on health care. In fact, there is no reduction in access to hospital services because more procedures are being done on an outpatient basis.
This government also wants to ensure that patient care is not affected by the move away from long hospital stays. The centre studied the effects on health care and has reported very favourably on the results. It states that access to health care has not decreased but has increased, and the quality of health care has not diminished.
Our Minister of Health (Mr. McCrae) has stated many times that our goal is to make the system more responsive to the needs. That is precisely what is happening. Instead of filling up costly hospital beds for almost any element, health care providers are ensuring that those beds are used by those that need them most. The move to day surgery not only allows people to stay in their homes and with their families, it is far less of a drain on the system. The report shows that if appropriate services are in place when beds are closed, the quality and access to health care can be maintained and even enhanced.
This government is not only dealing effectively with changes in health care, we are also dealing compassionately. We have not hacked and slashed. We have carefully tuned the system to ensure it meets the needs of the community and indeed our people. Just a small example, a couple of examples, in Ste. Anne, we have the hospital and a nursing home that are very close together. They have taken and hired one administrator over the hospital and the nursing home, and indeed it is working very, very well.
The hospital is also looking at other ways to share services with other hospitals that are not too distant from them. I am sure, and I have been told by board members and by the administrator that there are areas that they can work together with other hospitals.
The opposition parties talk about change. They try to say that they are the agents of change, but all they are really changing is some of their rhetoric. They still put forward the same old tired policies, and just the example of their spending habits just the other day on transfer payments of $180 million and how they were going to spend it, and they were jumping on it before they even had it, is a prime example.
It would be truly in my mind disastrous if people like that were ever to come into power as a government. It would be disastrous. They spend money with no knowledge or reasoning of where they are going to get that money to pay it back.
Mr. Speaker, this government has adapted to change and embraced it. We have clearly shown the people of Manitoba that we can move with the times and prepare for the future. Whether it is being in the forefront of new technology, launching the information highway or meeting the day-to-day needs of our citizens, this government has proven it is worthy of office.
We will introduce balanced budget legislation to protect us and future generations from those who might, by chance, come into government down the road in another 10 years or so, but just to protect us from people like that who do not know how to handle money for the people of this province. We can no longer afford to issue blank cheques on our future.
I believe this throne speech surprised the members of the opposition. If you sat here and watched the members across the way when the throne speech was being read, if you watched their faces, they were very surprised. They thought this government would revert to the opposition ways, revert to the style of politics and come up with these huge programs to buy votes in time for the next election. They were sadly mistaken.
This government is sticking to its game plan and to the principles that are shared by the large majority of Manitobans. We were elected because Manitobans entrusted us to get this province's finances in order. We have stuck to that course, and we will clean up the tremendous mess that was left for us by the NDP.
With all that has been accomplished during the four difficult years that we have just passed, imagine what we will be able to do now that a strong foundation has been laid for the future of this province.
In closing, I would just like to thank the people of La Verendrye for their support, for their invitation, their love, their good will in inviting me into their communities, into their homes and into their churches. I have been welcomed, and I thank them for that.
I would also like to wish them the very, very finest of Christmases and the healthiest and most prosperous New Year.
I would also like to wish all members in this Assembly the same. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Gary Kowalski (The Maples): It is truly an honour and a privilege to rise and speak in this Chamber today. I must first acknowledge you, Mr. Speaker, for the way you have handled your position. We in the Liberal caucus are especially grateful and appreciative of your stewardship in this Assembly. Our caucus, with only six members, could have easily suffered the tyranny of the majority. In many other countries the minority is not heard. In this Assembly, the majority can easily shout, heckle or laugh us down by their sheer numbers, but you have confirmed the principle that all members are equal in this Assembly. You have assured that the minority have their fair share of questions and opportunity to speak and to be heard. For that I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I also wish to acknowledge the Clerk and his staff, the Sergeant-at-Arms and his staff, the Hansard staff and many others too numerous to mention.
I also wish to acknowledge the new Pages. If we get to an Estimates process, I hope we will get to know them better in the evenings that we will work together.
(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
In this adversarial environment of partisan party politics, I must comment on my colleagues in this Assembly. After a year as a politician, I have increased my respect for all members of this Chamber. I was, like many people outside this Chamber, cynical of politicians, believing they do not work hard, were overpaid and had their own self-interest as their main priority. I now know how hard most members of this House work, the sacrifices that both they and their families are required to make. In this partisan forum we often strongly disagree on how to make Manitoba a better place to live. I believe all members have that same goal in my mind.
I have special respect for the members of Liberal caucus. Being a small caucus, a great deal of work is shared amongst six MLAs. They work tirelessly, even in the face of what should be an overwhelming majority in this House, but they are not overwhelmed.
After some poll results were published last Spring in the media, our small caucus received increased media attention. We became the target of the other two caucuses. The abuse and scorn from those other caucuses are reassuring. They confirmed the fact that both of the other parties realize that Manitobans see our party as the alternative to the present government.
I will pay a special tribute to the valued leadership and inspiration provided by my Leader. His achievements have and will continue to have a profound impact on the political future of Manitoba and this country. As Manitobans get to know our Leader better, they will find, as I have, that to know him is to like him and respect him. The more Manitobans get to know our Leader the surer they will be that he is the man to lead this province after the next election. I am always impressed with his intelligence, wisdom, caring and his restraint and ability to ignore the taunts and vile personal comments and heckling that increase as does his popularity.
The Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, stated, when he was in Winnipeg earlier this year, that my Leader reminded the Prime Minister of himself in his younger days, but by the time the Prime Minister was the same age as our member for St. James, he was already a cabinet minister. So he had better get going before he gets too old.
As MLAs we should not forget our caucus staff and our constituent assistants. In all three political parties, the staff have shown their political bosses a great deal of loyalty and effort above and beyond the call of duty. They often do this with the realization that there is little job security in working for an elected official.
I would like to take this opportunity, as well, to thank my family for their support and energy, helping me to take on this important task.
In my first year as the MLA representing The Maples, I have seen many good things happening. In the past year, we have seen the opening of a Citizens for Crime Awareness Community Police Office. This project was headed, amongst others, by Doug Simpson and Tracy Sumka, two community volunteers. They worked together with Constable Ron Bell, Constable Jim Hewey, and their supervisor, Sergeant Ian Mann and a large number of volunteers who made it possible for us to have a community policy office in The Maples.
In the past year, we have seen a Maple's youth centre. This project was headed by Devi Sharma and approximately 20 young adult mentors from our community, young adults who have grown up in The Maples and are willing to give something back to the community. In addition, our city councillor, Mike O'Shaughnessy, Dawn Smithson from The Maple's Recreation Association, and George Miller and Doug Simpson, also shared in the work and made this a reality. I should mention that this project started with a petition of 400 youths from Ken Seaford Junior High, who presented this petition to me, and because of their efforts and co-operation of Bob Ashuck from Parks and Recreation and the Garden City Inn, we had a forum, where we established what the young people of our community wanted. Together with the volunteers from our community and the young adults, we made it a possibility, and the success of our youth centre has been overwhelming.
During the summer, often they had between 40 and 70 young people, people who might otherwise have been getting into mischief, recreating in an appropriate manner. The success of this program has prompted me to submit a resolution that will be presented in this Chamber, and I hope all honourable members will support that resolution.
Maples Youth Justice Committee is now in its second year of operation headed by Tracy Sumpka, the chairperson. It is expanding its role, besides dealing with judicial proceedings against young offenders, by expanding to deal with examining the possibility of dealing with young offenders under the age of 12 years of age by doing youth venturing, peer justice committees and youth employment projects. This is a group of citizen volunteers that are making The Maples a better place to live.
In addition, we had a paint project over the past year. We had approximately 40 young people and adults working together in our community painting over the graffiti put on by the few young people who are not the best of The Maples. These young people wanted to make a point, that it is only a small minority of young people that is attracting so much attention and the majority of young people in our neighbourhood are good. We have received co-operation from many businesses in the community supporting us with this paint project, including General Paint, Tim Horton Donuts, Canadian Tire, Manitoba Hydro, Kentucky Fried Chicken, MSA Canada Inc., Manitoba Hazardous Waste Management Corporation all assisted us by giving donations, equipment, supplies and food to accomplish this project.
Local small business prospers and provides employment to my constituency. Small businesses, such as Lawn Tech Enterprises have opened up in The Maples to show the industriousness of the people of that community. The Mandalay Mall continues to flourish with no vacancies being available in that mall. Renovations are now taking place in The Maples Marketplace Mall to show the vibrancy of our community. In some small way I have tried to help the businesses of The Maples by issuing a directory of the businesses and the services available in The Maples. I hope to continue this practice as it has been much appreciated, both by the constituents and the businesses of The Maples.
The constituency office that I opened up in The Maples has been a very great success. Many people have used the offices for meetings. The government job postings are located there so people could look at them. Constituent concerns and personal concerns are addressed. It has been a very great success and I am glad that was established.
Part of that success is due to my constituency worker, Gloria Balassu. Gloria was also a volunteer on the Child and Family Services Advisory Council with Doug Simpson, Debbie Sharma, Barb MacMath. Barb MacMath is also a volunteer at the Inkster Youth Justice Committee that my colleague, the MLA for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), was one of the founders of. Gloria Balassu has made presentations at Folklorama, Child and Family Services, Philippino family values and other venues and has attended conferences dealing with drug abuse.
I want to talk for a few minutes about the tone of the throne speech. At a poverty forum that we had recently, and previously at my Listening to Youth Forum, people said they were looking for a positive message. They said some of the problems amongst the youth is a lack of hope for the future. They often say it does not matter where you are as long as you know that there is a possibility of getting to somewhere. People are looking for leadership from their politicians, looking for people in authority to come together to find solutions and be positive and optimistic about the future. No political party has a monopoly on concern for the poor and young people, and nobody owns a good idea.
The releasing of the legislative agendas, alternative agendas--people have tried to take credit for ideas. No one owns a good idea, and the timing, if it was released on a Monday as opposed to a Tuesday, does that give you ownership and a monopoly on a concern for children and young people? I think not. We had a poverty forum weeks before where many of the suggestions of the participants we found on the agenda of the first opposition party, but we do not claim any ownership. As I say, no one owns a good idea.
This being a pre-election session I expect it will be very rancorous, very partisan, and it is a shame. If this same election was not called so that going into this celebration of the 125th, we would not be involved in this rancorous, partisan debate that will be so divisive and cause so much cynicism in the public about politicians.
Yesterday the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) started his reply to the throne speech as an informative talk to the Pages as a way of explaining the differences between the parties. I find that was an interesting practice. But just as the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) had done when it came time to explain what the Liberal Party philosophy stood for, the member for Burrows used the opportunity to take another cheap shot at the Liberal caucus as the NDP and Conservative caucuses continue with what some might call an unholy alliance against what they seem to see as the biggest threat, the Liberal Party. While it is reassuring to be the focus of attacks from both of the other parties, because it confirms our status as a real alternative to the present government, it resulted in the Pages not having an opportunity to hear what the Liberal Party is about. So I will take a few moments on that subject.
William Gladstone, the great British Liberal, was a Tory M.P. until he was about 50 years of age, and he grew wiser with age. Gladstone probably stated what liberalism is better than anyone has before or since. Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people, tempered by fear. If alive in Canada today, he might well describe democratic socialism as ultimate trust only in government, not people. He would probably find the Reformers to be undistinguishable from the Tories, Conservative populists in wigs and mustaches to disguise themselves.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier said in 1877, I am a Liberal. I am one of these who think that everywhere in human things there are abuses to be reformed, new horizons to be opened, and new forces to be developed.
Just to go into a little bit more detail to inform the colleagues in the Legislature, because they seem to be confused as to the Liberal philosophy, I will read from the Liberal Manifesto of 1947. It was drawn up in Wadham College, Oxford, England, 1947. It says: We, the Liberals of 19 countries assembled at Oxford at the time of disorder, poverty, famine and fear caused by two world wars, convinced that this condition of the world is largely due to the abandonment of Liberal principles, affirm our faith in this declaration.
Man is first and foremost a being endowed with the power of independent thought and action and with the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Respect for the human person and for the family is the true basis of society. The state is only the instrument of the community. It should assume no power which conflicts with the fundamental rights of the citizen and with the conditions essential for a responsible and creative life; namely, personal freedom guaranteed by the independence of the administration of law and justice; freedom of worship and liberty and conscience; freedom of speech and of the press; freedom to associate or not to associate; free choice of occupation, but opportunity of a full and varied education, according to ability and irrespective of birth and means; the right to private ownership of property and the right to embark on individual enterprise; consumers' free choice and the opportunity to reap the full benefit of the productivity of the soil and the industry of man; security from the hazards of sickness, unemployment, disability and old age; equality of rights between men and women. These rights and conditions can be secured only by true democracy. True democracy is inseparable from political liberty and is based on the consciousness, free and enlightened consent of the majority, through a free and secret ballot with due respect for the liberties and opinions of minorities.
The suppression of economic freedom must not lead to the disappearance of public freedom. We oppose such suppression, whether it is brought about by state ownership or control or by private monopolies, cartels and trusts. We admit state ownership only for those undertakings which are beyond the scope of private enterprise or are in competition in which competition no longer plays its part. It goes on. That manifesto was reconfirmed in 1967 in Oxford and then in 1981 in Rome.
More recently, the Liberal Party of Canada is committed to the view that the dignity of the individual man and woman is a cardinal principle of democratic society and the primary purpose of all political organization activity in such a society.
The Liberal Party is dedicated to the principles that have historically sustained the party--individual freedom, responsibility and human dignity in the framework of a just society and political freedom in the framework of meaningful participation by all persons.
The Liberal Party is bound by the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is committed to the pursuit of equality of opportunity for all persons, the enhancement of our unique and diverse cultural community to the recognition that English and French are the official languages of Canada and to the preservation of a Canadian identity and a global society.
In accordance with this philosophy, the Liberal Party subscribes to the fundamental rights and freedom of persons under the rule of law and commits itself to the protection of these essential values and their constant adaptation to the changing needs of modern Canadian society.
The Liberal Party recognizes that human dignity in a democratic system requires that all citizens have access to full information concerning the policies and the leadership of the party, the opportunity to participate in open and public assessment of such means, such modifications of policies and leaderships as are deemed desirable to promote the political, economic, social, cultural and general well-being of Canadians.
To realize this objective, the Liberal Party has tried to provide a flexible and democratic structure whereby all Canadians can obtain such information, participate in such assessment and militate for such reform through open communication, free dialogue and participatory action both electoral and nonelectoral.
This philosophy causes our caucus to examine each issue, not from a simplistic right-wing or left-wing viewpoint. Instead, on each issue, including many long-standing challenges to this province, we look at them through fresh eyes of an invigorated, principled Liberal philosophy.
Point of Order
Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington): I am wondering if the member for The Maples would entertain a question or share with us during the rest of his speech about his party's position on the immigration issue.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): The honourable member does not have a point of order, but if the honourable member does wish to answer a question, it will be up to him.
Point of Order
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader): I know the member for Wellington is very anxious to try to justify what the NDP in Ontario might be doing on immigration. I believe that the member for The Maples has the floor. He is trying to respond to the throne speech. He is giving a very sincere--
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Order, please. The honourable member does not have a point of order. I have already ruled that the honourable member did not have a point of order.
* * *
Mr. Kowalski: As I was saying, this philosophy causes our caucus to examine each issue not from a simplistic right-wing or left-wing viewpoint. Instead, on each issue, including many long-standing challenges to this province, we look at them through the fresh eyes of an invigorated, principled Liberal philosophy, instead of the tired old eyes of the old left- and right-wing dogmatic philosophies. So I am proud to be a Liberal and am proud to be associated with my federal Liberal counterparts.
(Mr. Bob Rose, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
Are the government members proud to be associated with their federal counterparts? I know that there are not many left, so I have to compare and contrast the former Prime Minister Mulroney and his federal Conservative government with our provincial Conservative government. How are they similar? Well, the former Mulroney federal government was a two-term government, as this provincial Conservative government is a two-term government. The Mulroney federal Conservatives stretched their mandate out to their fifth year. The provincial Conservative government are stretching their mandate out to their fifth year. The Mulroney Conservatives seemed to like to gamble. Remember the former Prime Minister's roll of the dice analogy. Our provincial Conservatives support of gambling and all the benefits, like addiction, family breakups, suicide, crime is well known.
In my view, the Mulroney Conservatives had a lack of respect for Parliament, instead preferring to deal in back rooms. This provincial Conservative government has shown their lack of respect and use for the Assembly by calling the Assembly into session less than any other previous government in Manitoba. Our provincial Conservative government has repeatedly stated that they feel it is not necessary to be in session to govern this province. The people of Manitoba thought that in 1990 they elected 57 representatives to govern this province. Instead, maybe they should have elected the bureaucrats, like the head of the lottery commission, because their representatives had no opportunity to present their views on casinos and many other issues.
The Mulroney Conservative government underestimated the deficit, just as our provincial Conservative government has. The Mulroney Conservative government, in my opinion, had a tendency to alienate groups of people. Our provincial Conservative government has alienated teachers, health care workers, RCMP officers and many other professional groups. So after comparing and contrasting the Mulroney Conservatives and our provincial Conservatives I am led to believe there is little difference. A Tory is a Tory is a Tory.
The throne speech appears to be a throne speech by Angus Reid. The same polls that must have stopped this government from calling an election this fall seem to have dictated what went into the throne speech. That is why I find the Minister of Energy and Mines' (Mr. Orchard) allegation that our position on gun control is motivated on what is politically correct laughable in the wake of this government's rhetoric on getting tough on crime with boot wilderness camps, rigorous confinement, welfare snitch lines, when after six years of Conservative government crime is on the rise in this province. RCMP officers are concerned about lack of staff, court backlogs swell and so on. This government is ignoring the professionals in justice, law enforcement, health and education to do what is popular as opposed to what is effective.
This government's claim of no new taxes is also rhetoric. When services are cut, when user fees are added, when the tax burden and the responsibility for certain costs are shifted to municipalities and school boards who are forced to raise taxes, is that not a tax rise? The reduction of the deficit is being accomplished with gambling funds and an increase in the federal fiscal stabilization transfer payments--no great achievement for this government. The reduction to the--
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Rose): Order, please.
Point of Order
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Energy and Mines): Mr. Acting Speaker, I wonder if given the current speaker's question in Question Period if he would respond to a question on gun control that emanates from his recent statements?
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Rose): The honourable member does not have a point of order.
* * *
Mr. Kowalski: Reduction of the deficit is also being accomplished by increasing the social deficit of this province. We have seen at our poverty forum, Manitoba leads the nation in child poverty. That is part of our social deficit. In 1991 the child poverty rate was 27 percent as opposed to the national average of 18 percent. In other words, more than one out of every four Manitoba children live in poverty. The Manitoba child poverty rate for children under seven years old has doubled from 16 percent in 1981 to 33 percent in 1991. Manitoba's social assistance rates for a single parent with one child add up to only 60 percent of the poverty line.
(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
In Canada, a single female parent would have to work 73 hours per week at minimum wage to bring her family up to the poverty line.
The teenage pregnancy rate in Manitoba adds up to 45 reported pregnancies a week among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Many of these girls are choosing to keep their babies rather than give them up for adoption. Poor children are more likely to die at birth, to suffer from lower birth weights and chronic health problems and more likely to die of injury. In Manitoba the injury death rate for preschoolers is 60 percent higher than the national average, bucking the national trend towards reduced injury rates. This all adds up to our social deficit. Yes, the fiscal deficit may be coming down, but our social deficit in increasing.
After reading the throne speech I thought, thank God for Jean Chretien and the federal Liberal government. In the words of the First Minister, when he was interviewed in the Maclean's magazine about the Team Canada trip to China, the First Minister stated, the Prime Minister has just been absolutely delightful to work with. Well, of course, he is a Liberal.
In regard to some of the matters concerning this topic of justice dealt with in the throne speech, this government continues its rhetoric about getting tough on crime with tough-sounding talk but with policies that are having little real effect on crime in Manitoba. The Justice minister still tries to take some credit for influencing federal policy on the Young Offenders Act. If the truth be known, on page 85 in the red book, the plan to amend the Young Offenders Act was made long before she tried to capitalize on her tough talk. But as Scott Newark, Executive Director of the Canadian Police Association--and I admit, as the Justice minister says, he is only representing the officers who do the crime prevention--stated on CBC on November 15 of this year, thinking that we can change a couple of sections in the Young Offenders Act, and youth crime is going away, we are deceiving ourselves.
In Manitoba the minister is deceiving all Manitobans to believe her tough talk will have an impact on youth crime and violence in Manitoba.
On May 30 of this year, in the last session of Justice Estimates, I asked the Minister of Justice (Mrs. Vodrey) to examine the possibility of addressing the lengthening court backlog by using the courtrooms and staff already in place for evening court. The minister indicated that this idea was worthy of consideration. I am happy to see that this is addressed in the throne speech and I hope to see this court in operation in the near future. I hope some of the other suggestions I made in the last Estimates of Justice will also be implemented.
The throne speech talks about levels of policing, how hypocritical. After discounting the concerns of the staff relation representatives of the RCMP has been only the workers representatives and not representing the force and then going on to ignore the concerns expressed to her by the commander of the RCMP in Manitoba.
The throne speech speaks about taking steps to ensure the victims of stalkers are notified in the event that stalkers once charged with criminal offences escape from custody or is released on bail by courts. I have news, this has been done for a long time. Notifying public of dangerous sex offenders in the community is fine, but what will we do for treatment? Will we just play a shell game with these sex offenders, move them from one community to another, or are we going to solve the problem? Again, doing something that is politically correct, that is politically popular as opposed to doing something that is effective.
I see in the throne speech that the "mechanisms to place names of convicted pedophiles on a Child Abuse Registry are being reviewed." I encourage the Justice minister to continue on that course. That would be a welcome addition to the registry.
The throne speech also talks about expanded community magistrate training programs and the appointment of an additional 20 magistrates in communities without local justice services, to improve community-based justice services. I applaud the minister on that initiative.
Then the throne speech talks about pursuing the development of initiatives to permit expanded services for victims of crime. I have never seen a commitment couched in such tentative language, such a noncommitment in a commitment, ever in my life. Will they do it? Will they have an opportunity to do it? Why do they not do something that is really tangible? If they want to help victims, instead of punishing victims of crimes through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, who, in truth, can be permanently disabled and whose compensation is not indexed to inflation. As inflation increases, their pain does not, their need does not decrease.
The throne speech reflects on the Maintenance Enforcement Program, and although no one owns a good idea, I know my colleague from Osborne has led the case for improvements to the Maintenance Enforcement Program. I am sure that she is very happy to see that she can have an effect on this government by reason, by the force of her strong arguments to correct a program that has not been working.
Then the throne speech goes on to talk about rigorous confinement. I have had the pleasure of taking tours of the Agassiz Youth Centre, the Manitoba Youth Centre, and I have to applaud the staff. Many of them were in a moral dilemma. When the minister started talking about boot camps, many of them had to make a moral decision. Would they implement the type of facility, the militaristic boot camp that the Justice minister was advocating, that would not sit well with their professional beliefs, with their personal beliefs, or would they resign for their jobs? Thank goodness for the staff in Corrections. They were able to get a program that is based on sound research and will be effective, hopefully.
The boot camps that the Justice minister keeps talking about, there are no boot camps; they are bootie camps. The staff have been encouraged to call them boot camps, but in no way, shape or form, other than the minister's words can they be classified as a boot camp.
So again the minister's tough talk and rhetoric--[interjection] I have been asked a question by the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Orchard) about gun control. I would like to answer the minister's question about the legal importation of guns. As police officers come across guns, unless they are registered, how will they be able to tell which ones are illegally imported and which ones are legally imported unless there is a registration process?
I hope the minister will finally listen to experts, the Canadian chiefs of police, the doctors, the teachers, the professionals, but, again, this government's lack of respect for the professionals and research as opposed to doing what is politically popular, as opposed to doing what is effective, makes me look forward to the upcoming elections when Manitobans will be able to comment on this throne speech with their votes.
Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Health): Mr. Acting Speaker, I am delighted to rise in my place in the Manitoba Legislature and respond to the motion put in this House by my colleagues at the opening of this debate and to respond to the Speech from the Throne so ably read to us by the Lieutenant-Governor of our province.
I am pleased to see all the members again and to be back in the Legislature, if only for a little while this time. I cannot help but join with colleagues in expressing my appreciation to Mr. Speaker for the services he renders to this House and its members and, through them, to the people of Manitoba. By listening to comments made by honourable members on all sides of the House, it is clear that our Speaker indeed enjoys the confidence of the members of this House.
It is a pleasure for me to tell you that I will be supporting the Speech from the Throne and the comments therein, because the Speech from the Throne at this session lays out for you, Mr. Acting Speaker, and all of us, the plan that our government, to pursue--[interjection]
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Laurendeau): Order, please. I am having a little bit of difficulty hearing the Minister of Health at this time. If those members want to carry on a conversation, I would appreciate it if they did it in the loge.
Mr. McCrae: --in developing a society in Manitoba which will endure as we and our children and those who come after them continue to pursue successful lives and the happiness that can accompany successful living. That successful living, in large measure, is the result of a caring attitude and a caring approach for one's fellow men and women.
Mr. Acting Speaker, in order for that kind of result of our efforts now to happen, we need indeed to follow a very carefully thought out and planned economic and fiscal policy. I dare say--and you are not supposed to talk about budgets before they materialize--our next budget, following in the tradition laid down by my colleague from Morris, my colleague from Kirkfield Park will follow a course of stability for Manitoba, the kind of stability that gives people confidence that they can locate here, they can build successful enterprises here, they can put their fellow Manitobans to work, and they can build that happy and successful life for themselves and their families that we all strive to do.
If indeed the budget that will follow will be consistent with the throne speech that we are debating today, and consistent with previous throne speeches and budgets, then I will be there, Mr. Acting Speaker, to support that budget and any budgets that are like that.
One of the members, in the discussions following the Speech from the Throne--in fact, I think it was the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer)--made a comparison of one throne speech from this government with another and, I think, was saying there is very much a similar vein running through both throne speeches. I do not think that should come as any surprise if indeed that is the case, because I think that is what we have been trying to produce, a stability which comes with a certain consistency. I do not refer to the kind of consistency referred to by the famous writer Emerson, I think it was, who said that a foolish consistency was the hobgoblin of a little mind. As I sat and listened to the speech made just before me by the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Kowalski), I thought, well, I guess the members of the Liberal Party in this province have very big minds, because there is absolutely no consistency in their approach. I think a consistency that makes sense and that works and that enjoys the support of the people of a province is the kind of fiscal and economic consistency that I want to support, and I will indeed be doing so.
That is very key, Mr. Acting Speaker, in the development of the future economy which will drive all of the other things that we in Canada hold so dear, such as an education system that produces the kinds of results that my colleague the honourable Minister of Education and Training (Mr. Manness) has been talking about in all of his consultations and discussions and in his pronouncements here in this House, the health system that we indeed hold up as one of the unique aspects of our country that makes us such a special country in which to live, and our social safety net that we have in our province and in other provinces that we debate on a daily basis in this House and throughout the province. The reason we do that is because indeed we all do care about those people in our system who are vulnerable. We do care about other people who become vulnerable through ill health or accident or whatever reasons.
So the most important thing we can do for our fellow citizens is to build an economic system that will support that health, education and social service network that we insist on having here in this country. That also includes a strong justice system about which the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Kowalski) spoke. He spoke of all of these things that he did speak about with a backdrop of all these famous Liberals that he knew. He left out one or two. He made no mention whatever--[interjection] Unfortunately he did leave out the honourable member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray), but I am sure it was just an oversight and it probably will not happen again now that it has been brought up and raised here.
(Mr. Gerry McAlpine, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
He forgot altogether to mention the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I wonder why that is. I wonder why that would be. The man who led this country and taught us new dimensions in body language and new dimensions in phraseology as well. Things that I frankly did not even want to tell my kids about until they became old enough to understand that they ought not to talk that way or ought not to act so indecently themselves. The honourable member for The Maples left out any reference to the Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, but he did talk about how much respect the Liberals have for the parliamentary traditions and the democratic traditions that we have in the parliamentary system. [interjection]
The member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) asks me if I want to speak about Mulroney. Well, the honourable member for Maples did, so I do not need to. But he did not talk about the days of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I was there and watched what happened during those years that Pierre Elliott Trudeau was the Prime Minister of our country. I was there when a frustrated opposition speaking for large segments of our population, notably in western Canada, had to ring the bells of the Parliament of Canada for 15 days fighting for some semblance of respect for the democratic process and respect for the regions of our country. I was there and I saw it. Now I know why the member for Maples did not refer to that sorry chapter of Liberal history.
I remind you that a former member of this House now sits in the other place, as they call it in Ottawa, otherwise known as the Senate, who spoke in such strong terms about the whole issue of patronage, and now finds herself in the other place. I remind you that that former honourable member of this place was one who liked to worship at the feet of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau. So let there be no mistake about where some of our colleagues in the Liberal Party stand.
The honourable member for The Maples kind of skipped over some of that stuff. He forgot to mention when he was discussing Sir Wilfred Laurier that one of his key ministers was Sir Clifford Sifton. I invite you to read Pierre Berton's book. It is called The Promised Land. I have spoken in glowing terms about Sir Clifford and so I do not propose to disturb anybody as they rest today, but Pierre Berton had some interesting things to say about Clifford Sifton in the days when he was a Liberal. I remind the member for The Maples that even Sir Clifford, who was the last Attorney General from Brandon other than myself, ended up joining the Conservatives in the end.
Those who seek wisdom find the Conservatives.
Mr. Speaker, it has been a year and two months and 28 days and seven hours and 15 minutes since I became Minister of Health. I thought that in the little while that I have, the microphone that is, today, it would be a good idea to take a step back just to see where we are at today.
While I am doing that, I might refer in passing to our friends in the New Democratic Party. I thought that as the member for The Maples spoke that the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) showed some wisdom and some common sense when she invited the member for The Maples to answer a question about the federal immigration policy. I thought it would be reasonable for that to happen. I thought initially that the member for The Maples would want very much to set the record straight. But no, not to be deterred by the member for Wellington, the member for The Maples had his mind made up what he was going to say, and no sense of reason or logic was going to get in the way of his getting done what he was going to say.
Similarly, the Minister of Energy and Mines wanted to point something out and have the honourable member respond, something about the member for The Maples suggesting that mandatory registration of all guns would stop all illegal importation of firearms. The honourable member for The Maples is a former police officer. Surely he knows that just because a law appears somewhere in writing that it is not going to be obeyed by everybody. Otherwise, we would not need police officers, would we? But no, the honourable member for The Maples did not want to engage in that kind of discussion, because that might have put some of the things he was saying to the test.
It just bothers me a little bit about the honourable member for The Maples because he gets up and says some things that I really feel strongly about--that is, things like the cynicism within which the political system is held in the minds of many people. I find that just as upsetting as the honourable member for The Maples. Like my colleagues on this side of the House, we have tried to conduct ourselves in such a way as not to bring on that sort of cynicism. He talks about that and how honourable and glorious we all ought to be as members of the Legislature. Then he goes on to give the most partisan speech given so far in this debate. If that does not engender some cynicism in the minds of the members of the public, I do not know what.
So I do not think the honourable member should be immune from a little bit of criticism and chiding when he talks that way in the House because, you know, frankly I am not impressed by that because it demonstrates sort of a double-track sort of way of thinking or a double standard that seems to exist sometimes. It is that very double standard that has people in the community so upset about politicians. [interjection]
The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party says he is going to save all the answers until after the next election. That sounds like a Liberal to me, too. It seems to me that the questions ought to be asked before the election. Let the people judge and let the people make an informed decision. But no the member wants to answer the questions after the election. Maybe I could say that sounds typical, but that would not really get me too far down the road either.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
On the issue of my having the honour of being the Minister of Health for Manitoba, I think one of the best ways for us to determine our progress and achievements is to compare those achievements with those in other provinces. Sometimes that bothers members of the New Democratic Party especially because they are so ashamed of what has been going on under the leadership of their friends in Ontario and their friends in Saskatchewan, notably Mr. Michael Decter, former Deputy Minister of Health in the Province of Ontario who has recently gone on to other pursuits. [interjection]
The honourable Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) asks if Michael Decter has gone on to become the general manager of Connie Curran's Canadian operations. I will confirm for the honourable minister that that is my understanding, that that is precisely what Michael Decter is doing, after doing his number on the province of Ontario, after having worked so closely, nose to nose and belly to belly and toe to toe with honourable members in the New Democratic Party around the cabinet table. But honourable members opposite do not really want to talk very much about Michael Decter and his contributions here in the province of Manitoba.
(Mr. Gerry McAlpine, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
For the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen), what I meant by that expression was that Michael Decter and she and her honourable colleagues are soul mates when it comes to their philosophy about health care. No matter what they try to put across to the people of Manitoba, we know the truth about the New Democrats.
Health care services are being examined, renewed and revamped in virtually every province in Canada. We have all discovered that continual increases in spending do not improve the health of the population. That is something about which we all agree. Furthermore, we all recognize that health services must be made more efficient in order to protect those services for our children and for future generations. This means health care renewal is taking place right across our country and right around the world. While the need for renewal is consistent across Canada, the actual approach to making changes differ from province to province. That is one of the strengths or one of the weaknesses, I am not sure which. Sometimes I think it is one of the weaknesses of our health care system that each province is, more and more, being left to its own devices to try to run the best health care system we can. With the help of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation I can say that we are achieving some of the results that we want to achieve.
More and more the credibility of the federal authority in Canada is being eroded by their moving away farther and farther from their funding role in a national health system. The time is going to come when Alberta or B.C. is going to say butt out, Ottawa, you can make all the threats you want because you do not have enough money on the table anyway, and that will be the end of the health care system that we have worked so hard to develop in Canada.
So while I recognize that our federal colleagues have some very serious challenges in front of them--nobody is going to take that away from them--we have to ask ourselves as Canadians, is our health care system as important to us as we say it is? Because if it is, we desperately need that partnership that is diminishing from the federal authority.
Most provinces in Canada have chosen to take a top down approach to the changes in health care. The government sets the agenda and decides what is going to happen, and the health system is then required to carry out those changes. Some of the changes take place very rapidly and with very little time for evaluation.
In Manitoba, we have taken a much different approach. From the very start we have gone out into our communities to ask for advice and suggestions. I wish the honourable Health critic for the New Democratic Party would stop being critical of that approach because, to me, I do not know a better way to figure out what to do with our health system than to ask our fellow Manitobans what they think. That is precisely what we have been doing. We have been consulting with care providers, community organizations and individual consumers. We listen, and we act on their input.
The trouble with some Manitobans is, they are too busy talking to do any listening, and that is something we all have to do, some listening. So if honourable members opposite would settle down a little bit, I would appreciate having a little quiet.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
We recognize that partnership is the cornerstone of successful restructuring, and I personally have made a commitment to include all key stakeholders in the health renewal process. As part of this commitment, I was very pleased to sign earlier this year a Memorandum of Understanding with faith-related health care facilities, on October 27. This Memorandum of Understanding states that Manitoba Health recognizes the wish of each of the facilities to continue to provide health services in the spirit of its mission, its values and its ethical traditions.
Manitoba Health also recognizes the wish of each facility to implement, enforce and ensure appropriate stewardship of its mission and its guidelines. In short, when a facility can demonstrate that a particular health service offends its philosophy or ethics, the facility will not be forced to offer that health service. I believe this understanding affirms the autonomy of faith-related health care facilities, and I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement to build on the mutual respect and understanding that we have in Manitoba. These are key requirements to any partnership, and we are working towards that kind of proactive relationship in all the areas of our health system.
Mr. Speaker, I want to stress that I include nurses in this commitment. Nurses play a crucial role in the day-to-day delivery of health care to Manitobans. They are providing those valued services in settings as diverse as northern nursing stations and urban hospitals, personal care homes, at home and in both the private and the public sectors. As patient advocates, educators, researchers and care managers, nurses need to be heard in the restructuring process. To that end, I have instructed my department to meet with nursing professionals to review the status of health reform committees. They will work to ensure nurses participate, wherever appropriate, on committees where they are not currently represented. This kind of partnership approach has been helping us to stay on course towards our goals, and we will continue to make that approach part of the Manitoba approach to health renewal.
Another key feature in our approach to health renewal is that we make changes gradually rather than abruptly, as you see in provinces to the east and west. Gradual shifts in services allow us to evaluate the impact of change, and I am proud to say, we are hearing that our changes are improving the way health services are delivered in our province--improving.
Unfortunately, changes to health care seem to be synonymous with rumours of hospital closures. In fact, several provinces have either closed hospitals or are in the process of doing so. The going list includes Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta. Saskatchewan alone closed 52 rural hospitals.
I shudder when I think of that, because there are so many people in rural Manitoba who feel and look to their hospitals as the place to go when they need help, and I am very, very disturbed for the people of Saskatchewan. But I cannot be critical, I am not the Health minister for the province of Saskatchewan. They have their reason for doing it and their way of doing it. Our way is different, and our way is to do things in a more gradual way which shows respect for people who work in our institutions and shows respect for the people who are served by those institutions.
In Manitoba we have not closed down any hospitals. What we are doing is working with urban and rural hospitals to ensure service needs continue to be met with high standards of care. The news of Manitoba's success is catching on in other provinces, and people are coming to see what we are doing in order to follow our lead. For example, Ontario recently sent several people to learn from the success of our mental health reform process.
I ask members of the Liberal party to look carefully at what was said by their Health critic, Dr. Gulzar Cheema, about the approach that has been taken here in Manitoba and the approach my predecessor put into effect with respect to mental health care delivery in Manitoba. It took some courage to do that, but that is what the people wanted to be done. Dr. Gulzar Cheema recognized it, this government recognized it, we are doing it, we are on target, we are on budget, we are on time.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: The hour being 5:30 p.m., pursuant to Rule 35(2) I am interrupting proceedings in order to put the question on the motion of the honourable Leader of the second opposition party (Mr. Edwards), that is, the subamendment to the motion for an address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.
Do members wish to have the motion read?
Some Honourable Members: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: That the amendment be amended by adding thereto the following words:
And further regrets:
1. that with an employment growth rate of less than half the national average over the last year and the lowest GDP rate in the country in 1993 this government has failed to accurately represent Manitoba's economic situation; and
2. that this government has consistently underestimated the need to provide educational opportunities to Manitoba families living in poverty, and family supports to allow access to those opportunities and in fact has consistently eroded those opportunities and supports; and
3. that this government has failed to put forward any fiscal plan to provide economic growth, choosing instead to place increasing reliance on gambling revenue for government revenues; and
4. that with a child poverty rate that continues to be one of the highest in the nation this government has failed to address the needs of children and their families and has instead raised Pharmacare deductibles, reduced daycare subsidies and cut welfare benefits to families; and
5. that this government has failed to provide leadership in managing change in our health care system, but has instead shortchanged Manitoba citizens on the health care services they require; and
6. that as Manitoba heads into its 125 birthday this government has failed to recognize that a slide into mediocrity is no longer acceptable for Manitobans.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.
Some Honourable Members: Yea.
Mr. Speaker: All those opposed, please say nay.
Some Honourable Members: Nay.
Mr. Speaker: In my opinion, the Nays have it.
Mr. Lamoureux: Yeas and Nays, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: A recorded vote having been requested, call in the members.
The question before the House is the motion of the honourable Leader of the second opposition party, that is, a subamendment to the motion for an address in reply to the Speech from the Throne as the one I just read.
A RECORDED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:
Ashton, Barrett, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Hickes, Kowalski, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Mackintosh, Maloway, Martindale, McCormick, Plohman, Reid, Robinson, Santos, Schellenberg, Wowchuk.
Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst, Filmon, Findlay, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Laurendeau, Manness, McAlpine, McCrae, McIntosh, Mitchelson, Orchard, Pallister, Penner, Praznik, Reimer, Render, Rose, Stefanson, Sveinson, Vodrey.
Mr. Speaker: I declare the motion lost.
Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock?
An Honourable Member: Six o'clock.
Mr. Speaker: Six o'clock. The hour being 6 p.m., this House now adjourns--
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): Yeas 26--
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Clerk: Yeas 26, Nays 29--uh, 28.
Mr. Speaker: I declare the motion lost.
Again, is it decided to call it six o'clock? The hour being 6 p.m., this House now adjourns and stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday).