Friday, December 13, 1991


The House met at 10 a.m.








Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the 1990‑91 Annual Report of the Manitoba Farm Mediation Board.




Bill 20‑The Municipal Assessment Amendment Act


Hon. James Downey (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Family Services and the honourable member for Minnedosa (Mr. Gilleshammer), that Bill 20, The Municipal Assessment Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'evaluation municipale, be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 35‑The City of Winnipeg Amendment Act (2)


Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Urban Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), that Bill 35, The City of Winnipeg Amendment Act (2); Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur la Ville de Winnipeg, be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.

       His Honour the Lieutenant‑Governor, having been advised of the contents of this bill, recommends it to the House.  I would like to table that message.

Motion presented.

Mr. Ernst:  This bill is the bill necessary for the remedial action to deal with the City of Winnipeg business tax.

       It is my intention to ask leave of the House on Monday, immediately following Question Period, to have the Throne Speech Debate suspended so we can have second reading of Bill 35. Assuming Bill 35 then passes second reading, we will ask leave of the House on Monday evening to have a committee sit concurrently with the House and to hear public representations with respect to Bill 35 and again on Tuesday morning, if it is deemed necessary to have additional time to hear representations.  Following that, on Tuesday, immediately following Question Period, we will again ask leave of the House in order to suspend the Throne Speech Debate for a period of time in order to deal with third reading and Royal Assent for the bill.


Point of Order


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  On a point of order, because he did touch briefly on some House business and I would just ask for clarification for our purposes.  That is‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member is asking for some clarification.  First we will dispense of first reading and then we will get the clarification.

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Mr. Speaker:  First reading of Bill 35, it is agreed?  Agreed and so ordered.


Point of Order


Mr. Lamoureux:  I would ask the minister for clarification, we understand now that the printed form of the English version would be made available for all those who are interested for today, is that correct?

Mr. Ernst:  No, Mr. Speaker, it is not.  I have undertaken to meet with the critics of both the opposition parties to discuss a draft of the bill.  The final bill information is not yet available.  I will be discussing it immediately following the closure of the House today with the opposition critics appropriate methods of dealing with the concerns that have been raised to me by those critics.

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Mr. Speaker:  I would like to thank the honourable minister for the clarification.


Bill 38‑The Manitoba Evidence Amendment Act


Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), that Bill 38, The Manitoba Evidence Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la preuve au Manitoba, be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.

Motion agreed to.


Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of honourable members to the gallery, where we have with us this morning from the Angus McKay School, twenty‑eight Grade 5 students.  They are under the direction of Mr. Greg Holowka. This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway).

       Also this morning, from the Teulon Collegiate, we have thirty Grade 11 students.  They are under the direction of Mr. Ed Masters.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer).

       On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you here this morning.




Child Poverty

Government Initiatives


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, this morning we received shocking news really, news that I think should be a concern for all members of this Chamber.

       The National Welfare Council of Canada has just reviewed child poverty in our country and has determined in its statistics that Manitoba had the highest rate of child poverty in 1989 of any province in Canada.  In fact, indeed a 22 percent rate of child poverty in the province of Manitoba.  That is almost one in four children in our province, and it is a serious issue I think for all members of this Chamber to address.

       The committee goes on to recommend‑‑the committee presented to Ottawa‑‑recommends a number of improvements and actions that are also available to provinces to take to alleviate child poverty, talking about education, talking about child care programs, talking about housing programs, talking about employment programs.

       I would ask the Premier (Mr. Filmon) what action is his government going to take to change the situation where Manitoba is last?  Let us see a situation and an action plan that puts Manitoba in first place in child poverty and not last place.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) is quite right in quoting the study.  The reality is that among other things the study noted that worst off are Native children; half live in poverty.

       As the member is well aware, the proportion of Native children in Manitoba is much higher than that of most other, in fact I believe all other provinces.  The two highest are Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and they show up in the study as having the two highest levels proportionately of children on poverty.

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       We all are concerned with that problem.  That is why the study, I might say, is primarily focused at federal issues because the issue of poverty with respect to Native children has to be primarily addressed by the federal government, with their primary responsibility for Native children and for the economic well‑being of the Native people of this country.

       We will indeed work co‑operatively with the federal government and all levels of government on any programs, whether they be education, whether they be social programs, health care programs, any programs designed to eradicate poverty with respect to the children of our province.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, many of the programs that the report deals with deals with areas under provincial jurisdiction, under jurisdiction of areas of this Premier (Mr. Filmon):  Housing, child care, employment, education, the whole infrastructure in our province that ministers across the way are responsible for, so I asked a very specific question.  I did not ask the Premier to explain the statistics.  I understand that there is a joint challenge for all of us.  What I asked the Premier is, what action are we going to take in this House?  Yesterday we had the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) saying the solution to our problems is to cut social programs and to control social costs in our province when we have numbers showing the child poverty rate is the worst in Canada.

       My question to the Premier:  What action is his government going to take in these areas under provincial jurisdiction, many of which are listed in the report?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, as I said, we will examine the report and examine all avenues for our involvement in it, but he makes my point when he talks about housing, when he talks about education as they apply to Natives.  The primary area of funding and responsibility is from the federal government, and that is why the matter cannot be looked at in isolation without knowing the background for it.  I mean, if one were to just take statistics and use them indiscriminately without understanding what is behind them, then one could not solve the problem.

       I am just asking the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer), in the spirit of co‑operation that he espouses, to allow us to look in depth at the problem and to seek co‑operation and help where it is not only necessary but where it is vital to the solution of the problem.

Mr. Doer:  First of all, Mr. Speaker, poverty is across all of Manitoba society.  If he looks at the welfare rates, if he looks at all the indicators of poverty, it is right across the board. So I think just to say about one group or the other is really to miss the whole issue of what we are talking about.  Poor children come from poor families.  Poor families are families that do not have jobs and economic opportunities as well.  That is the fact of the matter in poverty, something we have been saying all along.

       Every day we have been bringing out economic indicators of lack of job opportunities.  Today again we have a 13 percent decline in the value of manufacturing shipments in Manitoba, 10 out of 10 again out of all the provinces of Canada.  My question is very specific.  You have cut northern Native job core programs.  You have cut many programs in your own provincial jurisdiction that affect these poverty issues and poverty challenges.

       What specific action is this Premier (Mr. Filmon) and this government going to take so that the situation where we are 10 out of 10 can be changed and we can start improving the lot of all Manitobans facing poverty in our province?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, again the Leader of the Opposition makes my point for me.  He is wanting to allege that things are worse in Manitoba because of other reasons, not because of the reason that is highlighted in the report that those who are worse off are Native children, and Manitoba has proportionately a higher proportion of Native children than any other province. That has to be addressed if we examine solutions.

       We are not suggesting that there are not needs to address the problems that are out there.  I will say this, that we are increasing social allowance rates; we are increasing programs, and I might say we are not doing what the NDP did when they were in government and one year they increased social allowance rates only 2 percent.  Shocking, absolutely shocking.  At a time when their own revenues were rising at double digit rates, they increased welfare 2 percent‑‑shocking.

       Those are the kinds of things that build up over many, many years and we are attempting to look at it in the broadest possible context, with the interests of the children at heart. We will examine every possible avenue to improve the situation, the unfortunate situation that many of our children find themselves in.


Food Banks

Increased Use


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, there is ample evidence that the recession is over, the depression has begun. Manitoba has three new food banks‑‑in Flin Flon, The Pas and Selkirk.  Food banks are not a solution to a problem.  They are only a symptom of a very serious problem in our society.  In Winnipeg the number of welfare cases on city welfare is up 65 percent in the last year.  What is the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) doing to eliminate the need for soup kitchens and food banks in Manitoba, and especially the dependency that these create amongst people?

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Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  The member is well aware that we announced some new initiatives recently to do with the allowances for social allowance recipients.  We have increased allowances by 3.6 percent on the basic needs and created a new program in very difficult times to give additional funding to the disabled.  The food banks are a reality and in many communities this is work that people do through their churches and through organizations at this time of the year.  It is sad that we have food banks, and I note in Ontario the provincial government there is spending over a million dollars to institutionalize food banks and seem to accept that as a service that government wants to have continue there.

       We will work with our social allowance recipients and continue to enhance our programs, and again I am pleased that the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) has supported us on the tax credit initiative in his speech last year.


Social Assistance

Rate Increase


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, why did the Minister of Family Services raise social assistance rates by 3.6 percent when the average for the year, for the consumer price index over 12 months, was 5.3 percent?  Why does the minister allow the poor to fall further and further behind so that social assistance is no longer the program of last resort?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, we looked at the year over year cost of living from October of 1990‑91, and the increase in the cost of living was 3.6 percent.  I dare say I expect the cost of living in the province of Ontario was much higher than that and, given a higher cost of living, reflective of the difficult decisions that governments have to make, they raised their social allowance rates by some 2 percent.  As the Premier pointed out a few moments ago, even when revenues were much higher in the mid‑1980s the New Democratic Party in government at that time only raised rates by 2 percent, so I am pleased that, given the tough economic times, we were able to raise the rates 3.6 percent.

Mr. Martindale:  Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Family Services announce changes and improvements to the Manitoba benefits because there are areas in which we are the worst in Canada, specifically on the liquid assets and on the work incentive, and will he address the fundamental question of what is he doing with‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The question has been put.

Mr. Gilleshammer:  The member is aware that historically changes in the rates have been announced at this time of the year and, again, I am pleased that even in these difficult times we were able to raise the rates by 3.6 percent.  I would readily concede to the member there are other issues that we work on within the department and that come before the department from time to time and, hopefully, in ensuing months we will be able to make further announcements with regard to social allowance recipients.

       Again, as is evidenced across this country, it is difficult for some provinces to find the funds to raise those rates. Ontario, again, is an example, and we are pleased that we are able to adjust the rates by 3.6 percent.

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First Ministers' Conference

Government Agenda


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, I would caution the First Minister about suggesting that poverty is a Native problem because it is a problem that crosses and affects, I think, most people in this province or certainly a majority of people in this province.

       The effects of it are felt in every part of the province as the existence of these new food banks shows.  I would ask the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) this.  It was Ken Battle from the National Welfare Council at a workshop I was at recently who, himself, said that we have to raise the economy, that we have to get the economy going if we are going to address these issues.

       The Premier (Mr. Filmon) has been invited to a First Ministers' conference, and I would like to know what specific recommendations he is going to take to that conference?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, firstly, I would suggest to the member for Osborne that I have not said that poverty is a problem confined only to Native people.  I quoted from the report on the study that said, worst off are Native children, half live in poverty.  I have said that there are many, many people who live in poverty in this province.  We regret that whether it applies to one or to any number and regardless of race or background or culture or whatever have you, we have to address it as a problem throughout the economy and throughout society.

       Yes, indeed, we are very happy that the Prime Minister has accepted the recommendation that I have made, as well as other First Ministers that he have a First Ministers' conference on the economy.

       Mr. Speaker, among other things, we will be talking with the Prime Minister about the need to look globally at the problems that face us in Canada to ensure that whatever policies his government comes forward with to get us out of the recession and on to strong growth again in our economy in the next year and beyond that, we do it in co‑ordinated fashion, that we do not have people out there pursuing different economic policies because there is no means of discussion, consultation, or co‑ordination of policy.

       It would be the worst thing, I think, for various provinces and various regions to be going at the problems that we face as an economy on different tacks and, in fact, being counterproductive and conflicting in the solutions that we pursue.  That is one of the things, a co‑ordination of economic policy initiatives to work together and a desire to work together, so that all of us are pursuing the resolution of a problem that is affecting all provinces and all regions.

Mr. Alcock:  Will the First Minister be taking to Ottawa the specific recommendation about increasing investments in research and development and education?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, since yesterday was just the first confirmation and I have not received it from the Prime Minister, I have received it essentially through media, we have heard a potential date. ‑(interjection)‑ As a matter of fact, he did call yesterday, and I was unavailable.  I expect that I will be hearing from him today.

       Mr. Speaker, there will be a variety of recommendations.  I might say First Ministers in the past, in fact the last two Premiers' conferences carried forth the kind of recommendation that the member for Osborne‑‑increasing, in fact I believe we talked about doubling our commitment to R&D as one of the commitments for the 1990s, getting us into the area that we, as a province, are committed to with the new Economic Innovation and Technology Council that we have formed is aimed at directly that particular initiative, to increase our emphasis on research and development and the development of industries and job creation in the higher technology areas for our province.  We believe that that applies across the country.


Economic Growth



Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Does the First Minister believe that it is time for a significant increase in investment in this province to bring us out of this depression?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, indeed we do and indeed that is what the announcement by Medix about two weeks ago involves, an investment in the medical product field that commercializes some inventions and developments that have come out of our medical and scientific community in Manitoba.  That is precisely what is involved with the announcement we participated in about three weeks ago at Morden where 3M is doubling the size of their plant and adding a very substantial $10‑million investment, I might say, with many more jobs and opportunities for the people of southern Manitoba.

       That is precisely what is involved in the Apotex announcement in which Apotex is bringing the manufacture of chemicals, prime quality chemicals, for the pharmaceutical industry, a new plant with an initial investment of $20 million and a total investment of $50 million to Manitoba.  Those are precisely the kind of investments we are talking about, and we are working very hard to keep going.

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Economic Growth

Employment Creation Strategy


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  I have a question for the Premier.  The Royal Bank is warning that the recession is not over and could continue into late 1992.  Manitoba's unemployment levels are likely to get worse this winter and municipal welfare is skyrocketing.  I note today that Winnipeg is up to 20,000 and is anticipated to rise even further.

       Mayor Norrie of Winnipeg has urged the province to implement a job creation program similar to that established by the former NDP government to reduce the number of people on welfare and give them meaningful employment.  I would ask the Premier:  Would the Premier convene a meeting with Mayor Norrie and city officials to explore this possibility?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Brandon East for his question.  I might say that we too read economic forecasts from a whole variety of sources.  Although we believe Manitoba's unemployment rates are too high, they happen to be the second lowest in the country.  That is still not good enough, but we believe that does indicate that Manitoba is faring as well as can be expected under a very severe recession right across the country.

       Despite the fact that the entire country is in a recession, Manitoba's manufacturing employment in November of 1991 was up by 1.7 percent from a year ago at that time.  That contrasts to a drop of 7 percent in the rest of the country.

       We are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, but more particularly Manitoba is working on attracting investment.  I just spoke earlier in response to the questions of the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) about the investments that are being made right now by 3M Canada doubling their plant capacity; by Medix, a new medical research and development company in health care products; by Apotex, a pharmaceutical company producing fine chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry in Manitoba, an initial investment of $20 million up to $50‑million total investment and jobs that go along with it.


Antirecession Task Force


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I do not think the minister answered the question.  I would hope he would reconsider.

       Would the Premier be prepared to establish an antirecession task force to explore ways and means to fight the current recession given that economists and forecasting agencies are predicting a continuation of the recession?  I note now department store sales in Manitoba are down 11.7 percent in October compared to last year, about the worst in the country. As the Leader of the Opposition‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The question has been put.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, this is the ultimate all‑party committee for looking at the problems of the Manitoba economy.  This Legislature, with the appearance of members from all parties each day has the opportunity to present positive solutions.  All I get from listening to the opposition is an attempt to read selectively the worst possible statistics about the Manitoba economy and take great glee in suggesting that somehow the problems that we are facing in Manitoba are not being faced by the rest of the country.  That kind of input will not solve any problems.  We would welcome any positive contribution that might be made by the member for Brandon East, not the kind of selective gathering of statistics to make things look as gloomy or as negative as possible.

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       Mr. Speaker, we on this side want to work in a positive and co‑operative fashion.  We are out there consulting with people from all sectors of the economy and society.  We have gone on cabinet tours during the past three months to various areas of the province, to the North, to the central, to the southern Manitoba areas.  We have made ourselves open for public meetings with people of all backgrounds, economic development committees, chambers of commerce, labour, other groups, and we will continue to consult so that we work together positively for a better solution for Manitoba in the future.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Is the Premier prepared to work together consultatively right now with business, labour and other parties, to prepare a position to go to Ottawa to fight the recession because we have a serious recession in North America?  Even George Bush and the American Congress are prepared to do something.  Let us fight the recession.  Are you prepared to consult to fight the recession?

Mr. Filmon:  I am scheduled to meet with and speak with the Chamber of Commerce next week.  We have met within the last few weeks with the Union of Manitoba Municipalities.  We have met with various other groups.  We are meeting with the Manitoba Federation of Labour, I believe, within the next 10 days, Mr. Speaker.  We are going to be working with all groups in society, with all sectors in society to seek a common resolution to the problems that face us.  It is going to take all of us working together to get ourselves out of the recession in a healthy fashion.

       Mr. Speaker, I will just repeat again that driving up taxes to the second highest level in Canada, which was the solution of the New Democrats when they were in office is not the solution for this decade.  That will only discourage investment.  That will only discourage job creation.  I will not accept the member for Brandon East's solution of higher taxes and higher deficits as a means of getting out of the recession.  That has not worked before and it will not work in future.


Repap Manitoba Inc.

Employment Creation


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, today is the last day of work this year for over 30 people at Spruce Products. Over 60 people have been laid off in the forestry industry in the Swan River area, close to 100 people out of work.  That is having a tremendous impact on the Swan River valley.  When the Repap deal was signed, Swan River was promised 250 jobs and prosperity.

       My question is to the minister responsible for Repap:  When can the people of Swan River expect all those jobs?  Will he admit that the whole deal has been a disaster and a failure?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I might remind the member for Swan River, because she was not here during the battle days when her colleagues were in government, that when they were running the Manfor operation at the downturn in the early '80s, they not only laid off 300, 400 and 500 people at Repap‑‑what was then Manfor‑‑but they lost $32 million in just one year of taxpayers' money, taxpayers' money which she would have to get from her taxpayers and her citizens in Swan River.  We all had to pay for it right across the province.

       In this recession, Mr. Speaker, not only are Repap's employment levels higher than they were when Manfor was being run by the NDP, but we do not have a $32‑million bill to be paid for by the taxpayers of this province.


Environmental Assessment


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, we are now paying it out in welfare.

       To the same minister.  Why can this government not get its act together with the federal government and get on with the environmental review that has been promised but not acted on? That is what has to happen, and Repap is hiding behind the environmental review.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I might just say for the edification of the member for Swan River, in the days when the NDP were running Manfor, they were paying welfare as well as a $32‑million loss that the taxpayers had to pay, and they lost more jobs during the recession than Repap has lost during this recession.  Wrong on all counts.

       I might say, Mr. Speaker, as well, that we are very anxious to have the environmental assessment and review proceed on Repap's next phase of the project.  The member for Swan River might want to talk to some of her friends who are opposed to that project, including her Leader, who are at odds with the Repap proposal and who for a long time have been putting roadblocks in the way.  She may talk with her colleague from Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) who is opposed to the project.  That might be of more help than asking the government about the environmental assessment.


Contract Obligations


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  You should just appoint the committee and get on with the review.

       Will the Premier tell the House when the government is going to insist that Repap fulfills its commitments of a permanent chipper, of a maintenance facility, of jobs to Swan River? People were promised these things in the deal and nothing has materialized.  Repap has broken the deal.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that Repap is awaiting opportunities to go before a full environmental assessment and review.  Repap, like every other pulp and paper company in North America, is suffering from the fact that pulp prices were approximately $850 a tonne back a couple of years ago and today are down to less than $400 a tonne.  They have dropped to less than half.

       It is very parallel to the situation that farmers are facing and, despite those circumstances, the taxpayer has not had to pick up a nickel of it, Repap is absorbing those losses.  Unlike the situation that occurred when the NDP were running Manfor and they lost $32 million in one year of taxpayers money, Mr. Speaker.


Conawapa Dam Project

Legal Opinion


Mr. James Carr (Crescentwood):  Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro.  All week the minister has mused aloud about the wisdom of signing a power deal between Manitoba Hydro and Ontario Hydro.  Yesterday in this Chamber we tabled an Order‑in‑Council dated March 21, some seven weeks after the legal requirements contained within the agreement with Ontario.  Can the minister tell us today if he has a legal opinion on that situation?

Hon. Harold Neufeld (Minister responsible for The Manitoba Hydro Act):  Mr. Speaker, I have in my possession an Order‑in‑Council dated November 30, signed by the Ontario Lieutenant‑Governor‑‑pardon me, 30 November 1989.

       The Order‑in‑Council substantially allows the Ontario Hydro to enter into an agreement with Manitoba Hydro, and I will read part of it.  "Now, therefore, Ontario Hydro is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with the Manitoba Hydro Electric Board for the supply of power and energy to Ontario Hydro, substantially in the form of a draft contract attached hereto as Schedule 1."

       Now, Mr. Speaker, we have asked and are awaiting a reply from our solicitors whether or not the second Order‑in‑Council was indeed necessary.


Surplus Power


Mr. James Carr (Crescentwood):  Mr. Speaker, since the date of the Order‑in‑Council is prior to the date of the contract signed between Manitoba Hydro and Ontario Hydro, the minister may well want to ask for legal opinion on that subject.

       Mr. Speaker, since the latest projections are now that Manitoba will not need the power until the year 2012, can the minister tell the House what the economic consequences are for Manitoba with over 350 megawatts of unused power?

Hon. Harold Neufeld (Minister responsible for The Manitoba Hydro Act):  Mr. Speaker, I have said in the past, and I will say again, that as and when the licence to build Conawapa is received, Manitoba Hydro will go out and attempt to sell at a firm price the excess power it will have available, but as we stand here today we are not in a position to sell any excess power because we do not know whether or not we will get an environmental licence.  It would be foolhardy at best for Manitoba Hydro to attempt to sell at a firm rate any excess power which it may not have.  So I tell the member for Crescentwood that as and when the surplus power becomes available, we will be out there selling at firm prices to either the Northern States or to Ontario.  We will now have two lines, one running north and south, and one running east and west, so we are no longer held captive to one market alone.


Public Utilities Board



Mr. James Carr (Crescentwood):  Since the economic model given to the Public Utilities Board by Manitoba Hydro assumed that there would be a need in Manitoba by the year 2000‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Question, please.

Mr. Carr:  ‑‑does the minister not now believe that the situation is sufficiently different to go back to the Public Utilities Board all over again?

Hon. Harold Neufeld (Minister responsible for The Manitoba Hydro Act):  I have never denied, Mr. Speaker, that the situation today is different than it might have been in December of 1989. However, what is the purpose of going back to the Public Utilities Board for a needs assessment, which is what indeed it was, if we cannot get out of a deal with Ontario Hydro?  We must be in a position to deliver that power as and when the agreement calls for it.  So no matter what the Public Utilities Board might today tell us, we are not in the position to alter our agreement with Ontario Hydro.  Until we have received legal opinion, I think we should withhold comment.


Government Reports

Environment Friendly Products


Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship):  Mr. Speaker, I took as notice a question yesterday on the environmental report that had been prepared.  I would like to inform the House and the member for St. James (Mr. Edwards), who asked the question, that indeed the environmental report was done on recycled paper; however, it was glossy recycled paper.

       The reason for that was because the Queen's Printer did not have in stock enough nonglossy recycled paper.  I understand all of that stock is there now and every report that has been done since June of 1991 has been on recycled paper.  In the future, if we indeed have enough nonglossy recycled paper, all reports will be printed on that.

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Western Canadian Wildlife Service

 Oak Hammock Marsh Report


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, this government is making international news.  It is too bad it is because they are being criticized for paving over wetlands with their environmentally backward project at Oak Hammock Marsh with Ducks Unlimited.

       A number of us who are opposed to the project and the waste of $4 million of public money have been urging the federal Minister of Environment to get involved and finally he has.  My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

       Does he have the report presented to the Minister of Environment by the Western Canadian Wildlife Service?  Has he asked for the report?  Is he aware of this report?  Will he table the report in the House?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, no.

Oak Hammock Conservation Centre Environmental Assessments

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  I would urge the minister to inquire about‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member kindly put your question now, please.

Ms. Cerilli:  ‑‑the environmental impact assessment by the federal government on this project, will the Premier withhold the over $2 million in Manitoba public money on this project?  Will they put a moratorium‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The question has been put.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  The member for Radisson continues to ignore the fact that this project was the subject of a very extensive environmental assessment and review process before the Clean Environment Commission.  This project got a more thorough review than any project that was ever done under a New Democratic administration.

       They did projects like Limestone without any environmental assessment and public review process.  They were prepared to issue licences.  Repap, at The Pas when it was in its former incarnation at Manfor, they allowed it to pollute the ground.  We have spent millions of dollars cleaning it up.  They never had an environmental assessment and review process.

       Despite all of that, we have gone for the full environmental assessment and review.  Based on that third party objective review at which every one of the criticisms she has attempted to place on that project in this House, every one of the criticisms was placed on the table, was considered and yet the project was approved.

       I believe the process should prevail.  It should not be politically motivated by anybody in this House, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Cerilli:  I would like to table a copy of what this government's money is going to:  plastic wrap on DU propaganda.

       My final supplementary, Mr. Speaker:  How can this government maintain‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  Save your question.


Point of Order


Hon. Darren Praznik (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I believe the rules of the House are clear that supplementary questions are to be used to clarify the initial answer of the minister to whom a first question was addressed. Obviously, there has been a great deal of latitude taken in this case by the member for Radisson.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member was just going to put her question.

       The honourable acting government House leader does not have a point of order.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  On a new point of order, Mr. Speaker.

       I would also ask if you would remind the ministers, particularly the First Minister (Mr. Filmon), of Beauchesne's Citation 417, one of the key aspects of which says that answers should not provoke debate.  The Premier seems to be engaging in not answering questions engaging in debate, and one would expect that opposition members will respond and try and clarify some of that.  What is happening is we are having a continuing abuse from the Premier and from ministers‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  I would like to remind the honourable opposition House leader that a point of order should be raised at the time the infraction did occur.  The honourable opposition House leader did not have a point of order.

* * *

       The honourable member for Radisson, put your question now, please.


Government Credibility


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the government.

       How can this government maintain any environmental credibility when they are bulldozing ahead with this project when there is injunction in the courts and when there are dozens of environmental groups opposed to the project?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  I guess that a New Democrat should ask how could the New Democratic Party of Manitoba have any environmental credibility when they would go forward with the largest project ever developed in the history of this province, Limestone, with no public environmental assessment and review process, that they would operate without an environmental licence Manfor at The Pas at a time when it was dumping oil, when it was bunker sea oil into the ground, when it was polluting good soil, when it was polluting‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  There is a point of order going to be raised.


Point of Order


Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Similar to the point I raised earlier and I am raising at this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, in regard to answers being brief and relating to the question raised and not involving debate, the Premier is once again clearly violating our sections of Beauchesne in terms of answers.  I am asking you to call him to order and answer the very specific questions asked by the member.

Mr. Speaker:  On the point of order raised, I would like to remind the honourable First Minister, brevity both in question and in answers is of great importance.

       The honourable First Minister to finish his response.

* * *

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, my response is about credibility of governments on environmental issues.  I am talking about the total lack of credibility of the New Democratic Party when it was in government, and it proceeded to allow government‑owned Crown corporations to pollute the ground and the environment without ever giving it an environmental licence or review.  It is that kind of lack of credibility that has got us into the difficulties we are in.  We gave it a full environmental assessment and review in the process that was set up by the New Democratic legislation and with an arm's length review panel.


Manitoba Telephone System

Call Management System


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, the Public Utilities Board is currently holding hearings in Winnipeg and Brandon on the application for a Call Management system being put forward by the Manitoba Telephone System.  This application has been strenuously opposed by among others, the Manitoba Association of Shelters, Klinic, Evolve, all crisis lines in Manitoba, Manitoba Association of Rights and Liberties, Manitoba Society of Seniors, as well as the Pedlar report and the Manitoba Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

       My question, Mr. Speaker, is:  Will the Minister responsible for the Manitoba Telephone System now intervene as he has the authority to do and urge Manitoba Telephone System to withdraw its application for CMS in light of this overwhelmingly negative response?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister responsible for the administration of The Manitoba Telephone Act):  Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba Telephone System operates at arm's length from government.  The Public Utilities Board is definitely at arm's length from government and if the people who are supporting the application, those who are opposed, have an opportunity in an independent process to put their views in front of the Public Utilities Board, and the Public Utilities Board will rule on the basis of the evidence put in front of them, no, I will not interfere.

Mr. Speaker:  The time for Oral Questions has expired.


Nonpolitical Statements


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, do I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for Wolseley have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?  Leave?  It is agreed.

Ms. Friesen:  I would like to congratulate, on behalf of this side of the House, the University of Manitoba, in being named one of the leading universities in Canada and North America in clinical medical research.  This rank has been established by the Philadelphia‑based Institute for Scientific Information, which measures the average number of times research from the University of Manitoba has been cited by other scientists.

       Mr. Speaker, citation indexes are only one way of measuring research excellence, but they do reflect well the professional recognition accorded to the University of Manitoba and the international significance of the kind of research being pursued in our provincial medical faculty.  One of the reasons, for example, that Manitoba received its ranking is due to research activities in public health issues, particularly in AIDS transmission.

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       I would like to congratulate the medical faculty and to commend the university for its continued commitment to research under difficult circumstances.  It is vitally important that we all recognize that medical researchers and their teachers are not created overnight.  What we rejoice in today across this province and in this House is the fruit of the commitment by all governments across Canada in the late '60s and early '70s to expand our universities and to enhance national support for all academic and scientific research.

* * *


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, may I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for The Maples have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?  Leave?  It is agreed.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, it is a great day for the people of Manitoba.  Our medical school has been recognized as the second best in this country for medical excellence.  It tells us that we have the best people in Manitoba and not only are they contributing to the people of Manitoba to improve the quality of life, but they could be a backbone for our economy in terms of the medical excellence and the medical technology which could be set in this province.

       I would like to join with the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) in wishing them all the best and say please keep up the good work.  The people of Manitoba are proud of you.






Mr. Speaker:  The adjourned debate, sixth day of debate, on the proposed motion of the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) for an address to His Honour the Lieutenant‑Governor in answer to his speech at the opening of the session and the proposed motion of the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) and amendment thereto, open.

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that other honourable members wish to participate in this traditional and important debate.  I will refrain from taking the full time available to me.

       I begin in the traditional manner.  I thank the honourable members all for making that wise decision that we assemble in this pre‑Christmas session in the hope that we can so order our time that perhaps we can conduct the fullness of our business prior to the event of summer coming upon us.  It seems that the last few years, we have found ourselves debating issues in the heat of midsummer when so many Manitobans, quite frankly, have other matters that they are concerned with.  I applaud the House leaders and members of all groups within the Chamber that we have made this decision to come together in this pre‑Christmas session to begin getting things on a more orderly track.

       Mr. Speaker, I of course offer you my congratulations on once again assuming your responsibilities as Speaker of this Chamber, along with that the table officers, new pages you have assembled.  I am particularly pleased, for I think the first time in a long time that I can remember, that we supply to the House from the Interlake several of the youngsters who are going to be helping us through this session.  I particularly take note of them and congratulate them.  I of course realize that I will have to be on some special order to behave myself in a manner more fitting because they are indeed reporting right back to my own constituency.

       Other members have indicated and made comment about the really mind‑boggling events that have happened in the global situation.  I will not dwell on them too long but to simply point out that it has in effect had a change on Canada as a nation. Most of us, particularly those of us who perhaps are still closer to our school years who studied our geography classes, do recall that our geography lessons teach us that Canada, up to now and certainly most of my life, was referred to and known as the "second largest country in the world."  That no longer is true, Mr. Speaker.  We are now No. 1.  We have become, because of the events in the Soviet Union, the largest country in the world.  It would be a pity if, because of our inability to overcome our own constitutional problems, we should lose that status which we have just won in the last several months.

       I make that comparison only to spur on all of us about the important tasks that we face; the tremendous responsibilities that face our Leaders and our Premier (Mr. Filmon).  I think that Manitoba‑‑and certainly I hear this in the limited travel that I have done in the country in attending to official businesses at ministerial conferences in British Columbia or Ontario, the fact that we have chosen a particular path that has been able for us here in Manitoba to speak with a fair degree of unanimity is not lost on the rest of the country.

       I applaud again all members of the House, particularly those members who have worked diligently on that particular committee, its chairman and all of us, for having been able to take that particular route.  It would serve us well.  I know that there will be stresses and strains put on that unity as we begin to study some of the more final proposals that may emerge from the overall efforts at Constitution making, but it would serve us well if we could maintain that unity.  I may be asking too much. The lure, the temptation of politicking is, of course, always there, but for what it is worth I applaud the efforts to date.

       I think it would be extremely worthwhile for all of us to continue along that path.  There would be maybe some short‑term gains made politically but not really acting in the long‑term interests of the country if we, in our province of Manitoba in this Chamber, reflect really in a micro way the issues at stake in this country.  We have all the elements.  We have the language questions to deal with here in this province of Manitoba.  We have the aboriginal questions to deal with here in Manitoba.  We have the basic economic issues to deal with here in Manitoba.

       If we can find unanimity in approaching the Constitutional questions here in Manitoba as so often is the case, our modest province of a million people has the ability to lead in so many ways.  We showed it in quite a different way just a month ago when we put on one of the greatest parties that this province or city has seen in celebrating the national Grey Cup event.

       Honourable members opposite, you know my socialist friends, and that is why they are socialists, they never see.  They cannot really stand any good news.  They are humourless people.  They have to pick on the throne speech authors because we made passing note about the fact that we Manitobans all were thrilled, all enjoyed the spirit of the Grey Cup Week, but socialists in their typical dour outlook on life cannot have any fun any time.  That is what marks you.  You can never take a moment off.  However, I digress from what I am wanting to say.  You know, I get mad at that when people talk like that about me.

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       Mr. Speaker, I appreciate honourable members, except when they have as we had today in the Question Period something negative to say about a project.  I want to tell you, as I said in the closing debates on Bill 38 when last we met, within a year's time the Ramsar people from Switzerland will have revisited Oak Hammock.  They will have looked at what is being done at Oak Hammock, and they will say what is being done is good, is worthwhile.  They will stamp, once again, double stamp the Ramsar seal of approval on Oak Hammock as an international wetland development that we in this province should be proud of, that Canada should be proud of, and that indeed is recognized by the international community.  They will do that; they will do that.

       The North American Ornithologist Society, which got duped into signing a hasty letter of criticism about it, have already apologized, have written Ducks Unlimited Canada expressing apology saying that they were in fact duped.  There were a couple of hucksters that came to them.  They were busy with other matters and without paying proper attention, they allowed themselves to pass a resolution in New York City condemning the project.  They have sent a letter already expressing their deep regret for having ill‑advisedly taken that action.  The Audubon Society to whom we have written will come within a year when the project is written, come to Oak Hammock.  They will write a formal public apology for having been so silly, so irresponsible, to allowing a few people in Ottawa to dupe them into expressing opposition to the project.

       Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not have‑‑as usual the socialists never keep their promises.  The honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) indicated she was going to table a particular document.  Mr. Clerk, was that not the case?  She just wanted to wave that for the television cameras.  She did not really want to do that.  So I do not have it, because I could use it.  I could use that folder that you have received in the latest edition to the Conservator, the Ducks Unlimited Canada paper, which gives you a very, very graphic description of what is happening at Oak Hammock Marsh.  It points out the first big lie, the first big lie.  You see socialists always succeed because they lie, and when you lie often enough, loud enough, people start believing it.

       The first big lie is that we are building an office tower in the middle of a marsh.  Look at that handout.  It is not in the middle of the marsh.  It is on the western extremity where Ducks Unlimited had purchased an additional quarter section of 160 acres.  Mr. Speaker, there is not one square foot of wetland, not one square inch of wetland, not one square metre of wetland, is being given up because of this project, unlike the member saying that we are paving over wetlands.  In fact, Oak Hammock Marsh, because of the project has grown by 156 acres.

       Well, Mr. Speaker, the second big lie is, of course, if I were to ask anybody and I do not blame anybody, but if I was to ask those students watching us right now, do you think it is appropriate to build an office tower in the middle of the marsh? Everybody, myself included, would say of course it is not appropriate, because that augurs up a vision of a glass tower, steel tower 20 or 30 stories, in the middle of the marsh.  Well, we know from the first lie that it is not in the middle of the marsh, but we are not building that kind of an office tower.  We are building an administrative building that will house wetland specialists, water control engineers, bird specialists.  These are the people who invest millions of dollars in reclaiming wetlands in an environmentally sound building that will have native grass on the roof.  Mr. Speaker, birds, migratory birds, ducks and geese will be landing and nesting right on top of this building and you, when you fly over the building, you will not see it.

       Within six months of its operation, Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretative Centre will be acclaimed internationally as one of the great educational centres where our young people can learn more about wildlife, where our tourists can come and visit us and applaud us, and we will preserve.  More importantly, the ducks and the geese, they will keep coming in ever‑growing numbers as they are right now.  Hundreds of thousands of birds come and use that beautiful facility, and they will continue doing so.  Well, enough of that.

       Mr. Speaker, I want to say something though to my honourable friends, the opposition.  They do not like my efforts as Minister of Natural Resources to try to do something about cutting down on the poaching, cutting down on the illegal sale of animal parts. They do not mind if thieves and murderers shoot bears like "Big Duke" in Riding Mountain Park for their galls.

       I asked this Legislature last July to give me some authority, give the Department of Natural Resources some authority to stop the obscene and the offensive practice of the selling of animal parts.  Every Liberal member, every New Democratic Party member, voted against that.  You want to shoot.  You want to kill more Big Dukes.  You want to see our wildlife poached.  You are not prepared to see my officers who are out there trying to stop this action, because you want to play the little business of politics.  You want to play these little politics.  Believe me‑‑

(Mr. Penner, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jack Penner):  Order, please.  I am having great difficulty hearing the speaker.

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Acting Speaker, in response to the very many letters that I receive, and those I know other members receive, people are expressing legitimate concern or outrage when they read of some of the things that happen in the woods, the illegal poaching and killing of our deer, of our elk, of our bears.  I write them back saying that thanks to the support that the Conservative members of this government gave me last July, I am now in the final stages of drafting legislation that can control the sale of animal parts in Manitoba.

       I could not do that.  The department did not have that authority before.  I needed that change to The Wildlife Act that was passed last July under Bill 38, but I also remind them that I had to do that with the vigorous opposition of the Liberal Party and the vigorous opposition of the New Democratic Party.  You opposed me every step of the way.  You voted against it formally twice in this Chamber.  So do not talk to me about your concern about our deer.  Do not talk to me about your concern about our black bear.  It is only the Conservative Party because true to our title, we are conservatives, we conserve.  We are the ones who will conserve the wildlife in the province of Manitoba.

       I do thank my colleagues, all of them, for having the courage.  It was a difficult bill.  It was one of the last bills, if honourable members will recall, that was dealt with, but it has given us the authority to do that.  With that, we are expanding the enforcement efforts as was mentioned in the throne speech with some additional help, our resource officers.  You know, I have called it different things.  The technical name is a mobile‑enhanced enforcement unit that will be supplied with all the latest resources that we have to help us cut down on illegal taking of game.  That includes the use of decoys.  It does not, Mr. Acting Speaker, as has been reported in some media, include the arming of the officers with sidearms.  There is a policy question that has been brought to my attention on a number of issues.  I know that the officers have approached the different caucuses and expressed their concerns, but I take this opportunity to make clear that at this point that is not in the works.

       I regret that the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) says in a kind of a patronizing way that while stopping poaching is a nice idea, Mr. Storie says in this particular media report, but he says efforts could be directed elsewhere.  In my view we have other problems more important.  I am aware that the Minister of Education and Training (Mr. Derkach) has big problems on his desk every day.  I am aware the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has even bigger problems on his desk every day.  I am aware that my colleague the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) has big problems on his desk, not to speak of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General (Mr. McCrae) or the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings) or the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay).

       My particular department, the Department of Natural Resources has its particular responsibilities and its particular mandate. One of them surely is that we do the best job possible in enforcing the wildlife regulations that we pass from time to time in this Chamber.  We do that to ensure that not only we but the generation coming after us and their children coming after them will enjoy nature, will enjoy wildlife throughout the length and breadth of this province.  That is why again my party, my government is prepared to do something about it.

       The NDP's official spokesperson, the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) says there really ought to be better things that the government should be doing, should be occupying their time. Again, what a callous disregard for some of the important things that my department does.  It shows the complete and overall attention that the honourable members opposite focus on the issues.  They only address the issues of my department when they can make an environmental issue to attack this government.  They only address issues of my department when they think they can express some latent anti‑Americanism because they do not like Ducks Unlimited, and it has some American partners with it.  That is why they attack it.  They are not attacking it on resource‑based issues, not at all.

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       I have every enthusiasm as we embark on the affairs of state for the next year.  There are a number of issues that will loom large.  I am excited about the successful start‑up of one of the most exciting resource recovery programs ever instituted in the province.  It is principally centred on the southwestern region. It is called the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, where we as a government are targeting upwards to half a million prime acres in agro‑Manitoba in that beautiful Minnedosa, Shoal Lake, Virden, Killarney country that is so famed as being "the duck factory" where thousands upon thousands and millions of ducks use it as the summer breeding grounds.

       That area is under attack from ever‑encroaching agriculture, in some cases from improper land use, in some cases just not caring enough about the importance of maintaining the potholes and the surrounding few acres of habitat for wildlife.

       This very ambitious program calling for an expenditure of some $134 millions of dollars over the next 15 years, this is a long term program.  There will be a Minister of Natural Resources, of what description I do not know, but 10 years from now, 12 years from now, we will truly be able to say that what was started last year and is starting will have made a difference, would have made that environment a greener environment, a cleaner environment, a more hospitable environment for our wildlife and wildlife of all description.

       Wildlife is focused on waterfowl.  Any time you put together a habitat and leave it in its natural state, you are encouraging, you are providing a home, an environment for all kinds of wildlife.  That is what is happening in the southwestern part of the province, Mr. Acting Speaker, a tremendous initiative that I would invite honourable members from time to time, once they get past their immediate hangups about trying to hurt my department or hurt this minister in a political sense, ask some reasonable questions, delve into what the department's functions are really and truly all about and what we are trying to accomplish because it is important to the welfare of all of us.

       If we can enhance the environment for our ducks, for our geese, for our deer, for all our wildlife, we are doing it at the same time for ourselves.  What is most encouraging about this is the tremendous co‑operation we are receiving from Agriculture, officially from the Department of Agriculture, the agriculture people themselves, individual farmers on the landscape, PFRA, Agriculture Canada, all working together on this massive project.

       That says a great deal about the evolution, about the maturity that has happened, because all too often the two found themselves on opposing sides and all too often for a good reason.  It ought not to fall fully and squarely on the individual farmer's shoulders or on Agriculture's shoulders, the cost of the maintenance of some of the hoped‑for increased wildlife populations, be they waterfowl or otherwise.

       Proper and reasonable and acceptable compensation programs have to be in place, so if indeed in a given year, because of the way the harvest comes off, there is substantial crop damage by waterfowls or by big game that the government is in fact in a position to compensate the farmer then.  These are the kinds of things that are happening on the landscape.  They are encouraging.  They are exciting.  They auger well for the decade of the '90s that we can, in a very fundamental way, improve and change for the better the natural environment in this instance of that part of the province of Manitoba.

       Mr. Acting Speaker, there is one other issue.  My colleague, I know, the honourable member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Connery) will, on many occasions, no doubt, find reasons to address the issue.  That is the question of providing adequate water for that fundamentally important part of our province, the southwest, the region that you are all too familiar with, all the way down to the U.S. border.  It happens to be, via quirk of geography, some of the finest land anywhere.

       In Canada there is no better land base, with the odd exception of a small parcel of land in southern Ontario, that it rivals for special crop production, for vegetable production, in heat units, in the type of soil, in the number of frost‑free days and all of these kinds of things that are important kinds of basics for our diversified agriculture.

       What is missing throughout the region is just that little topping off of dependability of water in many instances.

       It is missing right now to those thriving communities that compose of what we call the Pembina triangle country, communities such as Carman, Morden, Winkler, Altona, Morris, Letellier, St. Jean, all along the net in that area.  They have requested and have put before the government, after just about two years of diligent work based on years and thousands and thousands, if not millions, of dollars worth of study, a proposal that calls for the diversion of some additional waters from the Assiniboine.

       Mr. Acting Speaker, I appreciate the concern that my colleague from Portage (Mr. Connery) will express and has expressed in this Chamber about understanding the need for the water in other parts of the province, but surely, you know, not at the expense of future opportunities and development for the region that he represents.

       The government has yet to make any decisions on this question.  Long before government's make decisions, the environmental process will, of course, be full and extensive in terms of precisely what the proposals will be.  I have mentioned this only in passing, that I expect that to take up a considerable amount of the energies of my department as we move on into spring and summer and wrestle with this very important issue.

       I suspect that my time is just about coming to an end.  I did want to, in fact, indicate the‑‑one would have thought that with what is happening internationally that my friends, in the NDP at least, would have come, maybe reluctantly, to the realities of economic life on this planet Earth.

       I could understand that as long as there was the facade of a successful and strong Soviet Union operating under the‑‑with totally ignoring the market economy, that there was some intellectual underpinning for that position but to have it expressed so succinctly by my delightful friend‑‑Mr. Acting Speaker, I want to take that back.  That may not be a politically correct term, it may even be interpreted as sexist.  I did not mean it that way.  I am talking about the honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) and her contribution, which was a classic.  I have read all of it.  It was a classic expression of the power struggles.

       In this case, it is hard to identify just who was the oppressor and who was the oppressee.  One could argue, as my friend the member for Portage said, a pretty good case could be made that the union bosses do a pretty good fair share of oppressing when they represent the entire union, and when they do not allow proposals to be voted on at large by memberships and things like that.  That is a pretty powerful expression, but she was on another tact.  She bought into the whole feminist argument, but what caught my attention is, and I know this is‑‑well, I have to be careful because the Prime Minister has just been censored for using language in the House.  How can I say it?  The word, Mr. Acting Speaker, if I whisper it, the word "profit" is just an anathema to the socialists.  They cannot stand the word "profit," and nobody expresses it better than the honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) when she said it is the kind of basically profiteering economic policy that tries to put profit ahead of meeting the demands and the security of the workers‑‑something like that.

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       That is the trouble.  When will they learn without profit there are no jobs, the economy does not work; without profit there is no medicare; without profit there are no universities; without profit there is no health care.  Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, I could not argue this so forcibly because up until this very time, up until these last few years, at tremendous cost, oh, Lord, the cost.  That cost that was spawned by Marx and Engels, that political ideology of communism was tried for 70 years.

       Mr. Acting Speaker, all the religious wars of mankind, all the big wars of mankind, all the natural disasters of mankind, have not inflicted upon mankind the disaster, the brutality of 70 years of communism, by their own admission.  Up to 14 million people of the Ukraine were deliberately starved by government policy, not in time of war, not in time of great dissension, just as a matter of government policy to drive them off their land, to collectivize agriculture.

       Mr. Acting Speaker, a few years ago when references like that were made in this House the journalists, my favourites, the Frances Russells of this world, they would call that red smearing.  We cannot say that anymore anyway because it was not a smear.  What was said was true, what was said is now open to us all.  We see it everyday on our television cameras.  And why did the system fail?  I will not get into great political debates about why the system is failing here, but it should be easily understood because it simply could not deliver the basic human needs.  It does not put food on the shelves, it did not provide education, and we know now that it did not provide a good health care.  There was health care for the wealthy, there was health care for the few party of . . . , but there was no genuine health care; the system has failed.

       We have people, Mr. Acting Speaker, in 1991 who will still ignore all of that and decry the fact that profit is needed in our economy to continue that it be driven properly and that it be driven in the right direction.  Without that motive, there may well be another ideology spawned, another Marx and Engels will come together in a tea house in Switzerland and dream up some other ideology that will turn mankind on a different path, but this one has been junked.  This one has been trashed in the history bin.  Let us not belabour us, and they ought not to waste time on that any more.

       Mr. Acting Speaker, that is, of course, the fundamental difference between their side and our side.  They honestly believe, as their socialist friends believe, that we can through legislation, through laws, fundamentally alter mankind, change the character.  I have never made such an arrogant assumption for myself and in the main, nor does the Conservative Party.

       What we believe we have to do is so order the affairs of our society that we be fair, that the rules and regulations that we pass from time to time are fair and provide a measure of justice, that we provide the opportunity.  We cannot mandate, we cannot legislate it.

       Honourable members opposite do not believe that.  They believe they can legislate morality.  They believe they can legislate and fundamentally alter mankind's character.  That is the socialist concept. That is not mine, and so we will have that difference all the time.

       In fact, I have even greater problems that I have not resolved despite my going on 25, 26 years in politics.  I have never quite been able to resolve what my position as an elected member is here.  It ought to be easier, because we are elected by our people in our districts and our ridings so personal thoughts should not intervene.  I may have very strong religious convictions of one kind or another, but surely my first responsibility is to reflect the wishes of the people who elected me.

       I have trouble sometimes with respect to party discipline. Again, what is my first responsibility, to the people who elected me or to the party that I am part of or even to the cabinet that I am part of?

       Mr. Acting Speaker, you and I know what cabinet discipline means and what needs to be done to maintain that cabinet stability.  I am not suggesting that I am about to do something that will alter that.  I just say that it represents an ongoing problem to me, and I have never satisfactorily answered that question as to what it is that should be the primary priority position of an elected member.

       I understand representative government.  I also understand that when governments and members in two many instances fail to reflect the views of the people who elect them, that in my judgment is what creates growing cynicism and growing lack of trust in the people and the governments that they elect.  If over a prolonged period of time, it is amply demonstrated by scientific polling that 70 or 80 percent of the people in Manitoba do want and do believe in capital punishment, for instance, but if over that same period of time‑‑decades‑‑it fails to get reflected in a democratic system in a Parliament, that is a problem.

       Why does that happen?  That is because individual members place their individual concepts and beliefs ahead of the people's.  Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, we do it at risk.  I am sure we all have to do it from time to time, but I say that we do so at risk to our institutions and to ourselves over a period of time if we ignore those particular wishes of our constituents.

       I say my honourable friends opposite who want to ignore the history that is being written in big bold letters internationally across this world, help us to make a better economy, help us to become more competitive in this world, but do not hide your head in the sand in believing that competitiveness, market‑driven economy are just a figment of imagination of this Conservative government.

       There is today no other way, no other way.  Let us not talk about collectivism.  Let us not talk about throwing out the profit motive.  Let us not talk about throwing out the need for the economics to drive the economy.  There is no other way.  That is being demonstrated not just here but throughout the world that we live in.  Mr. Acting Speaker, it is being demonstrated and being accepted.

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       I have some empathy for that, because I am sure that today, throughout eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union themselves, there are people who with all their hearts intellectually believed, were trained throughout their schooling, throughout their secondary university education, belived with all their heart that they had indeed found a better way, that the revolution that was sparked in 1917 by Lenin was indeed a better way.  For them to have to acknowledge as they are acknowledging now, whether it is by active members like Boris Yeltsin, the leader . . . , who were after all lifelong communists, lifelong antifree marketage, trained and educated from kindergarten through to university in that philosophy.  They have to face up to the fact that it is not one that can be relied upon to work.

       Mr. Acting Speaker, I have not made‑‑although the temptation has always been there when you hear some of the musings and mutterings that come from the other side.  I have always appreciated the difference between a social democrat or the New Democratic Party and the Communist Party.  Although I must tell you right in this Chamber that division was not always that clear.  It was not always that clear.

       This New Democratic Party member, this still counts among its membership members who up until recently were quite happy to be associated with the Communist Party of Canada.  This democratic party has an Attorney General who ran for the Communist Party of Canada in a federal election.  I would have a great deal more respect for that gentleman, I can have respect for that gentleman, if today he would say he would undo the words that he spoke in this Chamber when he said that he had no reason to change his politics; he had been taught them at his mother's and father's knees who were long‑time communist supporters of the Stalinist type.

       If he would today say, I am wrong, I am wrong, what I learned at my mother's and father's knees was wrong, it was wrong, then I would have a little bit of respect for the former Attorney General of this province.  I would have a little bit more faith in what is being taught in the University of Manitoba, particularly in the economics class, if I did not sit here in that chair and listen to the now Dean of Economics, Cy Gonick, tell us what was wrong with Russian communism was that it did not go as far as Mao's communism, China. ‑(interjection)‑

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       They are still teaching that.  They are still teaching it.  I would stop this tomorrow.  There would be no need of this except that my dear friend the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), in this throne speech in 1991, decries the fact that we are market‑driven, decries the fact that the word "profit" still comes out of our lips from time to time.  It is not me; check her speech‑‑the terrible profit‑driven economy.

       Mr. Speaker, if we have that kind of basic misunderstanding, then we will continue to talk past each other.  If you do not understand what it is our Premier (Mr. Filmon), what it is our Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), what we are trying to do.  If you do not even understand that, in the final analysis, will be the deciding factor when a major project like Conawapa goes ahead.  If there is a profit there, in this case a profit to the people of Manitoba through its organization, then it will proceed.  We are not troubled with the word "profit."

       I thank the honourable members for their attention.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to join in this debate on this most recent Speech from the Throne.  I have listened most carefully to the words of the speaker just before me, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), who has asked us a number of questions that I take very seriously.

       He has asked us to look at the issues, the problems before us from a collective, objective point of view and not a personal anecdotal approach.  He has asked us to look at our problems in the context of the international scene.  He has asked us not to rule out the importance of a viable economy, a mixed economic approach and a spirit of competitiveness in our society today.

       I want to indicate at the outset that we take all three points very seriously.  We approach this debate and the current crisis before Manitobans from an objective point of view.  Yes, we bring a history, a philosophy, a background in addressing solutions to those problems.  They are not based on personal agendas, and they are not based on anecdotal approaches to our legislative work.

       Mr. Speaker, we recognize that our concerns and the problems facing Manitobans today must be looked at in the context of what is happening internationally.  We do so without beginning from a very confined, blinkered, ideological approach that what is happening internationally is all good and the way of the future, which is clearly the premise behind the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) comments and, indeed, behind the Speech from the Throne.

       Mr. Speaker, let me clearly put on the record something that has been said time and time again.  Members on this side of the House, in the New Democratic Party, have always advanced the notion of a mixed economy, have not dismissed the entrepreneurial spirit in this province and have worked very hard to ensure an active and diverse business community, and have particularly singled out the devastating impact of federal and provincial Conservative policies on the small business sector, the retail activity in this province and, indeed, across this country.

       Our approach differs from the present government in terms of role of government.  It is our belief that government has a very clearly defined role to play.  It is not a question of a hands‑off approach as members in the Conservative government of this province and, indeed, the federal government of Canada are inclined to do and something which has characterized their approach to decision making over the last six or more years.

       It is our belief that government's first and foremost priority must be to act, to show leadership, to redress inequities.  Our first job as legislators is to voice the concerns of the weak, the powerless, the most vulnerable members in our society.

       I believe that approach to government is what has inspired most of us to enter politics, regardless of our political differences.  However, this country, this province has been dominated by an ideology which has put aside that fundamental responsibility and has focused entirely, to use the words of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), competitiveness, the profit mode, management, market economy, the free market approach to the extent where those who are most weak, who are vulnerable, who are powerless in our society today have no voice to their government, the government they elected to do precisely that.

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       Mr. Speaker, every day we are reminded all too painfully of the consequences of that decision, a decision by this government here in Manitoba and the Mulroney government in Ottawa, to basically have a hands‑off approach to those fundamental issues of economic and social equality and security.

(Mrs. Louise Dacquay, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair)

       Today to be faced with this recent study by the National Council of Welfare, the most horrible finding that just about one in every four children in the province of Manitoba is living in poverty; that, Madam Deputy Speaker, coupled with the other recent statistics indicating the high unemployment rate here in Manitoba with Winnipeg being, I believe, the second highest in terms of major centres in this country; those facts combined with the emerging news of new food banks springing up everywhere in all parts, not just in our urban centres, but throughout rural and northern Manitoba, I cannot believe that members opposite in the Conservative Party are not moved to reconsider some of their policies and directions based on the impact of their hands‑off economic policy in their own rural communities.

       I cannot believe that they can sit passively by while food banks spring up in Beausejour, in Selkirk, in Flin Flon, in Steinbach and so on.  Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) asked the question, do we want them to close these food banks?  We want this government to carry out its responsibilities and initiate policies and programs and legislation that will in fact address the poverty in all parts of our society, the economic devastation in our farm communities, the increasing number of people and families who are falling below the poverty line and losing all hope of taking advantage of these economic opportunities that are supposedly going to come some day whenever this hands‑off approach of this government reaps its fruit and its rewards.

       Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, that approach has been in effect for a good number of years, for certainly the three years that this government has been in office and for longer than that if one considers the over six years of Brian Mulroney hands‑off policies to our increasingly difficult situation in Canada.  If the statistics do not mean anything to members across the way, if the fact that over 22 percent of children live in poverty does not matter to them; if the springing up of food banks all over this province, particularly in rural Manitoba does not phase them; if the fact that over 10 percent of our population is officially unemployed, which does not consider for one minute the thousands and thousands of Manitobans who do not appear on those rolls because they have given up, because there is no work to be had, no training opportunities to take advantage of, then surely the impact in very human, personal ways makes a difference to this government.  Surely they are getting the calls, the cries for help from their constituents as we, on this side of the House, are.

       I do not know about members opposite, but I have a feeling of helplessness, of despair when I am approached by citizens in trouble and have no answers.  I was called not too long ago by a constituent whose first name is Harry, who had worked for 17 years in the steel fabrication industry.  He was laid off.  He is a proud individual, who said to me‑‑and I might add, Madam Deputy Speaker, a family person; a wife who had a little bit of part‑time work but not enough to make ends meet; two kids, young children, in school with many needs and demands for their own development, physical and emotional and mental well‑being.

       He tried everywhere.  He went to every related industry in the province and said that he was prepared to take less wages than he had been making.  He sought out counselling.  He looked for training opportunities, could find nothing.  Because of his pride and his years and years of working hard and providing for his family he felt that he could not turn to social assistance and experience a feeling, a belief, that is not unlike thousands and thousands of other Manitobans who would rather be working with dignity and enjoying some security than turning to city or provincial governments for assistance.

       That feeling led him to the conclusion that the only option for him was to leave his family, leave his wife and his kids, pick up without any planning and move to Alberta, operating under the myth that jobs were plentiful and that he would find work. He knew what that would mean for his family.  He knew that nothing was promised, but rather than live with that notion of not being able to work, as he had done all of his life, and rather than turn to social assistance, he was prepared to pick up, leave his family, say goodbye to his kids and go and find some opportunities elsewhere, opportunities that do not exist.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I tried to advise him that it was not his personal problem that had caused the situation.  He had not brought about this horrible circumstance, that in fact it was a systemic problem, that in fact it was a result of government inaction on economic policy, that in fact he had a responsibility to try to meet the needs of his family, and if the only way to do that was to turn to assistance for a time, then he should do so. He should not feel humility, degradation and lack of dignity by turning to social assistance because of the passive, hands‑off approach of governments of the day.

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       Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) talked a lot about our responsibility in terms of the economy and competitiveness, stimulation, getting things moving, without paying any attention to the human realities of a policy that puts all of their focus, all of its attention in that direction without regard for human life, need and dignity.  That is a major transgression.

       A second is that this government has chosen to use false economics to make its case.  This government and the Mulroney government has a brilliant strategy.  Together these two governments for the last six years or more have concocted the figures, have worked them over, have put thousands and thousands and millions of dollars into public relations campaigns to convince Canadians that our problems, our national debt, our deficit financing is all a result of excessive government spending in the areas of social policy.  That is a lie, that is a very big lie.  It has no basis in fact, and it is causing, I am told, misery and harm to our society today.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  This is the big conspiracy.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) sarcastically jumps in and suggests that this is a big conspiracy.  I would suggest to him and others that they take some time to do some research and get themselves up‑to‑date with current economic thinking.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I would refer the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to a journal that I am sure he will not just dismiss as left‑wing propaganda and ask him to consider it seriously.  That is the June 1991 issue of the Canadian Economic Observer, a very good analysis of spending patterns in this country since 1975.

       That study concludes expenditures on social programs did not contribute significantly to the growth of government spending relative to GDP.  Another quote, social program spending has not increased relative to GDP over the last 16 years.

       This study, Madam Deputy Speaker, does identify some of the areas where one can account for the increase in spending on the part of the federal government.  They particularly single out the fact that over those some 16 years, corporations benefitted from accelerated depreciation, lower income tax rates and write‑offs for inventories.  Exemptions to the old federal sales tax were introduced, and the Department of Finance estimated in 1979 that the cumulated effect of these changes and others was to lower federal revenues by $14.2 billion.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, the first thing I have asked this government to do is to consider the impact on human lives of their policies.  The second thing I have asked them to do is to consider the economic facts, the truth of federal government spending and the reasons behind our national debt situation and to stop once and for all blaming social, health and education programs for the present mess that this country is in.

       That is a red herring, a scapegoat, a myth, about reality in this country.  It is time that those notions were put to rest and this government woke up to the realities of the current situation, because if it does not, this government will not address one in four children living in poverty.  It will not address over 10 percent unemployment.  It will not address declining quality education and it will not address the looming crisis in our health care system.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, we do not have all the answers or the solutions to the new economic problems facing us now and looming on the horizon.  We do not, as a party, have up‑to‑date economic policies to address this current unfolding international situation that the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) speaks of, which has caused such devastation to our own economy. I speak specifically of the loss of over 260,000 jobs since the Free Trade Agreement was brought into effect.

       We have long‑term solutions and a general sense of direction to end some of those devastating policies, to try as hard as possible to stop the continuation of such policies and to come in the way of the extension of the Free Trade Agreement with Mexico.  We do not have all the answers to address the impact of what that dominant, international, corporate, elite agenda is doing, and we do not have answers if that kind of agenda is allowed to continue.  Madam Deputy Speaker, we are here in the interests of trying to work together to find some common ground to see if we cannot put aside some of our differences to address those concerns.

       There is a sign that this government is at least waking up to some of the statistics and some of the devastating impact of federal policies for the province of Manitoba.  I want to turn to the area of health care while the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) is here and to have an exchange in terms of some of the issues before us on that front.  I say this area brings just a sign of hope, because in fact finally this government is saying that the federal government has caused a problem in terms of health and post‑secondary education.

       Just a couple of weeks ago, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) indicated he was alarmed and indicated he had just woken up to a scenario that has been unfolding over a number of years, which this government has chosen either to ignore or not to believe.  We are not sure which it is.  The fact of the matter is the Minister of Finance did just wake up to that fact even though the Minister of Health has certainly had all the information before him for a good number of months. ‑(interjection)‑

       As an example, since the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) seems to question when his colleague the Minister of Finance woke up on the question of federal financing for health and post‑secondary education, I quote from the Free Press of November 29 when the Minister of Finance said:  "We're alarmed . . . I mean originally Bill C‑20 was sold as giving effect to their budgetary decisions to cap growth on assistance.

       "I can tell you I'd be absolutely alarmed and I am alarmed as I gain a greater understanding that this bill might give those powers to the federal government."  That is a response on November 29 to legislation that was introduced in June‑‑six months earlier.  I realize six months ago, when that legislation came out, the Minister of Health's department was not even keeping tabs on that and had to be reminded and told that federal legislation was introduced.

       We hoped on the basis of that information being provided to the Minister of Health he would have done his homework, informed his colleagues of the devastating impact of continuing federal policies on health care financing.

* (1200)

       This issue is not new, as I said, it has been with us for years.  It was certainly with us before 1989 and the 1989 First Ministers' Conference, when the Premier (Mr. Filmon) of this province said to the Prime Minister of Canada that on health services and health care financing your government has taken some promising steps, and that is after the 1985 and 1988 changes and cuts to federal transfers to the provinces under the EPF act.

       So we are having a little trouble, Madam Deputy Speaker, understanding exactly the position of this government on that issue and seek some clarification, and hope that for once this government will stand up to the federal government and show that it is serious about preserving medicare, because to date we have no evidence to believe that is the case.

       Now whether it is because this government is reluctant to appear to be in conflict with their federal cousins, or whether it is because this government is acting in complicity with a federal agenda of disentanglement, a concept I might indicate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) gave his name to. ‑(interjection)‑ The motive does not matter, the fact of the matter is that in a few short years medicare will be a memory and this government, by its inaction, by its agenda in complicity with the federal government's erosion of medicare, is responsible.

       Make no mistake that this government is responsible for the erosion of our most treasured national program, a program, more than any other program, which gives Canadians reason to be proud and feel that there is a distinct Canadian identity, a program which binds this country together in the face of all other difficulties, conflict and constitutional crisis.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I do not know the motives of this government for its silence and its inaction on our most treasured national program medicare, but I do know that if action does not begin now and this government is not prepared to take on this situation seriously, then we will see the death of medicare and we will see the end to a program that has guaranteed access to quality health care as a right, not a privilege.

       It is interesting when one looks at the Speech from the Throne and puts health care in that context.  That Speech from the Throne mentions a number of anniversaries ‑(interjection)‑

       Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Health is clearly agitated.  Something I have said has caused him to be disturbed. I hope it is the impact of federal cuts to health care and it is the fact that medicare in this country, as we know it today, is in trouble.

       The Speech from the Throne makes mention of a number of anniversaries, of special occasions, of commemorative events.  It is noteworthy that the Speech from the Throne makes not a mention of the 30th Anniversary of medicare in this country today.  In fact, the Speech from the Throne does not even mention the word medicare or the federal cuts or the whole issue of financing of health and post‑secondary education even though we are in the middle of a crisis.

       Even worse, health care constitutes about three or four short paragraphs in a very lengthy document.  Despite the fact that health care makes up more than one‑third of the provincial budget, there is no hint of a plan of action to deal with this serious crisis.  There is no sign that this government has a vision.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, we have been raising this issue of medicare and quality health care, universal access to medical services for the last two years on a consistent, persistent basis, so persistent and so repetitive that the Premier of this province has suggested that we are‑‑and he has made this very personal, that I am Chicken Little.

       The Minister of Health has questioned the fact that this has been a major issue in Question Period and Estimates.  I want him and others to know that the reason for that focus comes out of great worry and concern and comes out of the strong Canadian tradition that health care is a right, not a privilege.  It comes out of the well‑established perspective that the best health care services which are available are something to which people are entitled by virtue of belonging to a civilized country.

       It also comes, Madam Deputy Speaker, out of a worry about the future of this country and a belief that medicare is a unifying force, something that binds us together, something that gives us hope for the future.

       I had hoped, given some of the recent words of this government about federal policies and some of the expressed concerns about cuts in transfer payments, which this government knows will now mean the end of health care financing for this province at the turn of the century, this government would have taken its concerns to Ottawa in a public way, that it had taken advantage of the few opportunities that are available to any individual, any organization and indeed any government for trying to express that opposition and to seek change.

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       Madam Deputy Speaker, in our parliamentary tradition one such option is to make presentation, to make submissions, to appear before committees responsible for legislation.  That certainly was the case for Bill C‑20.  That bill, which not only extends the freeze to health care and transfer payments, also makes the suggestion that has alarmed our Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) here in this province, that this government will attempt to preserve national standards by withholding money from other cash transfers to provinces, whether that is assistance to farmers, whether that is inner‑city programming and whether that is in fact Canada assistance or equalization dollars.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       I think that fact has alarmed this government and has caused some worry and concern, but it did not show that concern by taking advantage of one of the only opportunities for making the case.  In fact, Mr. Speaker, it would have made a difference.

       My trip to Ottawa to express the concerns that I believe are held by a vast majority, an overwhelming majority of Manitobans rang on deaf ears.  The government in Ottawa did not even have the courtesy to have representation there for the group ahead of me, that was the National Students Union.

       Finally, a single Conservative member wandered into the caucus, into the committee room, clearly there to try to suggest something which is now probably a belief in the minds of all Canadians that this provincial government supports federal cuts to health care and the disentanglement concept when it comes to health care.

       They drew that conclusion, Mr. Speaker, on the basis of the fact that I was the only representative from Manitoba and the only representative from the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.  I believe it would have made a difference if this government had put some of those words that it has used in this Legislature over the last little while into a public show of concern.  I believe that we had a window of opportunity that was closed by this government's inaction, and I think that we will all pay the consequences for that.

       I am concerned that at the time Americans are finally coming to the realization that our system in Canada is a good one and worthwhile to look at our Canadian government and the Manitoba government is busy dismantling the best health care system in the world.  Nothing causes me and others on this side of the House more grief and alarm.

       I had the opportunity to visit some centres in the United States and be a part of a speaking tour on the Canadian health care system, and in the process had the opportunity to learn about the most devastating impacts of this free‑for‑all insurance company dominated health care system.

       I wanted to just conclude my remarks by passing on some of that information and hoping that it will make a difference.

       These are some of the stories I was told.  I heard of an individual who actually had to choose between buying necessary groceries and taking a sick child to a doctor.  I heard from hundreds of individuals who live in daily fear of having an accident or becoming sick.

       I want to ask the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and others to imagine being a nurse and having to turn people away from an emergency ward.  I want to ask them to imagine coming up with $150,000 in cash for a liver transplant, and to conclude by saying, let us not lose the best health care system in the world; let us work together to preserve medicare.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to call it 12:30?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No, okay.

Mr. Bob Rose (Turtle Mountain):  Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to take part in the Throne Speech Debate.  I find this one of the more interesting times in our Legislature as all 57 elected representatives take the opportunity to provide some insight into their philosophies and suggest some specific actions for the well‑being of our citizens.

       I should say 56 for, of course, Mr. Speaker, you do not have the opportunity.  However, your contribution is unique and it is equally important.  I doubt whether any of the rest of the MLAs could preside with the same combination of humour and dignity and fairness as you bring, and I congratulate you for mastery of a very difficult task.

       Despite some obvious differences among our members, I still remain convinced that all of us do have the well‑being of our citizens at heart, and that these differences are not so much in ultimate goals but in the path that leads to those goals.

       While the focal point of this debate is the throne speech, I do enjoy the opportunity to debate and to react to the thoughts expressed by other members.  While partisan politics, I suppose, discourage ready acceptance of another point of view, and while many people do think that the debate itself is a waste of time and trees, who knows what point of view may be altered slightly or what softening of our hard‑line position may take place as a result of these debates having in the long term an effect upon our citizens.

       I would first like to comment on the honourable member for Wellington's (Ms. Barrett) observation that the majority Filmon government is less cuddly than the minority.

       I look to my seat mate, the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), and cannot imagine how anyone of the opposite sex at least would not find him cuddly.  I admit that I was, just momentarily at least, my male ego was slightly bruised at the thought that perhaps someone might find the honourable Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), for example, more cuddly than I.  I can conclude, and I think she made the point very clear, that she was referring to the actions of the present government not we newly elected MLAs.

       It was an interesting observation I thought, because just 15 months ago, on the campaign trail, I heard the minority government described in a host of different ways, but never cuddly.

       A few years ago we built a garage on the side of our house. The garage that was there before was a well‑built garage, but it was inadequate and in the way of the proposed new garage.  We wanted it in the same place, hence requiring removal before the new project could begin.

       One day after seeding, my sons and I, with the help of a couple of other young ambitious fellows, set about to tear down the old garage.  Our tools were simple, a sledge hammer and a chain saw.  Our task was fun.  It required little thought except what of value might be saved.  Our satisfaction was substantial when by night we had levelled the structure and were left with a vacant area.

       The next step, building the new garage, was a different experience.  The crew was less enthusiastic, plans were necessary, decisions had to be made, and inevitably mistakes were made, some of them irreversible.  Tradesmen had to be employed for the finer aspects.  We became at the mercy of the butterfly‑like habits of tradesmen, lighting only long enough to attract your attention before flitting off to some other location.  The result was almost a year to completion.  In fact, it was longer if my spouse had not decided that my good intentions never were going to get the painting done and hired someone else to do it.

An Honourable Member:  How long did it take to tear it down?

Mr. Rose:  The tearing down was fast.  It was fun.  It was satisfying, but only momentarily.  The building part was slow, frustrating and fraught with error.  Despite the gnawing annoyance of mistakes made, the satisfaction is lasting because we are secure in the knowledge that not only will we benefit from our new garage, but so will future generations and those who follow us.

       What has this long boring story got to do with the throne speech, you might ask?  Well, nothing, except that the debate the last few days brought the experience to mind how much easier it is to tear down than it is to build.  Builders make mistakes, destroyers make none, but let there be no mistake, the satisfaction of an empty space contributing nothing is fleeting. The satisfaction of building, however imperfect, is long lasting and of value.

       I congratulate the honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) for what I am sure he considers a victory with the cancellation of The Pines project.  I feel sorry for him as well for the satisfaction will be short lived.  There can be no satisfaction in pointing to a vacant lot and saying, you know, there once was a service club who wanted to build a housing project for their neighbours, a project that would have created employment and enjoyment.  I worked diligently with my sledge hammer and my chain saw, and they finally gave up.  Is that not a beautiful vacant lot?

       Certainly one of the great philosophical differences in this Chamber is how to finance our common goal of a better Manitoba, not only presently but into the foreseeable future as well.  It is a debate that I follow with keen interest and a very deep concern, as do my constituents‑‑instant gratification for long‑range building.

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       Our government is criticized, even ridiculed, for trying to include all our citizens in the slow and arduous building of our economy, even though no matter what governments do it is ultimately the citizens who pay because they are the only source of revenue that a government has.

       Our government is criticized for trying to instill a positive attitude, even though we know there will always be negative people.  I am reminded of a friend who lived in a tiny trailer in the first years of marriage and they installed a new refrigerator in extremely tight and cramped quarters.  How many people did it take to put it in, I asked.  Three, he replied‑‑myself, one of my friends and my father saying, it will never go, it will never go.

       Perhaps if the challenge is not big enough of getting your economy going again with the excellent suggestions that our government is embarked upon, if that is not enough already perhaps we do need the opposition saying, it will never work, it will never work.

       What is offered as an alternative?  What tools are mentioned in their constructive criticism‑‑usually two, the sledge hammer of high taxes and the chain saw of unserviceable debt.  We know with those two tools and given enough time we can reduce the entire province to a vacant lot.

       I point, Mr. Speaker, to cross‑border shopping as an obvious tax revolt among our citizens.  We know how much cross‑border shopping does for our Manitoba economy.  I point to an approximate average per person interest cost a decade ago of $50, grown in 10 years to an average approximate current interest cost of $500 per person.  If that pattern continues, and some political philosophies insist that it should‑‑well simple arithmetic tells us that you can add a zero for every decade.

       By the year 2001 the average per person debt servicing cost will be $5,000, by the year 2011, $50,000.  Let there be no doubt this is no trick arithmetic.  Investment houses advertise to young people that a small monthly investment will build to a million‑dollar‑plus retirement nest egg, quite true.  Similarly small monthly borrowings will accumulate to a million‑dollar‑plus debt.  It has the same features as a geometric progression.  It can happen.

       I do not suppose even the strongest Tory supporter could have believed only 10 years ago that six years of sledge hammers and chain saws in Manitoba could have raised our debt servicing costs 1,000 percent.

       I take this very seriously, Mr. Speaker.  There is not room left for rhetoric.  Like all members of the Chamber I recognize the responsibility given to me by the electors.  Even if I do not have to look the electors in the eye 20 years from now I hope to have some grandchildren around to look in the eye.  I hope to be able to look those 20‑year‑olds in the eye and say, my legacy to you is not a vacant lot or a $50,000 annual interest charge but rather an opportunity to continue the long and slow and arduous task of building while living within your means.

       From time to time different opposition speakers conclude their gloomy predictions by saying, I hope that I am wrong for the sake of Manitoba and I believe they are sincere, just as I am sincere when I say I hope that I am wrong.

       I hope there is a great source of untapped wealth out there hidden in corporate tax havens or in the sock of some profiteering rascals, but I do not think there is.  Statistics do not show it.  Experience does not show it.

       The member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen), in her mostly thoughtful contribution to the throne speech, longed for a fairer tax system as a solution to all our woes.  It seems odd that when her colleagues had the opportunity they went after corporations, individual entrepreneurs and everybody else in sight with a tax on jobs.  That certainly put the corporations in their proper place.  The only problem was that job creators, like corporations and like entrepreneurs, began to think that their proper place was anywhere else but in Manitoba.

       Repeating over and over and over that the other guy should be paying more taxes is and always has been the politics of envy. It is and always will be good for nothing but a few votes at election time.

       While we are on the subject of corporations, Mr. Speaker, I note the honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale), in his contribution to the throne speech, took time out from creating vacant lots to read into the record selected statistics of Canadian companies, their profits, their contributions to the federal PCs and their Canadian tax contributions.  He neglected to point out that so‑called tax breaks to corporations are generally recognition by the government of extra contributions to society, such things as research and development or job creation or on‑the‑job training, et cetera.

       The inference of course is that if you donate to the PC Party, you do not pay taxes.  I will not even dignify that with a comment.  Let us look at the major contributors to the NDP as did the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) so factually, so eloquently and so tellingly.  The figures are in Hansard.  I will not repeat them here.  They leave no doubt, if there ever was any, about union support for the NDP, not necessarily the support of union members, because they do not often get the choice of where their hard‑earned union dues are directed when it comes to donations to political parties but rather the support of the union bosses.

       I suppose that is easy to understand because both the union and their political arm seem to believe that whatever they want is rightfully theirs even if it requires the sledge hammer of taxes on somebody else or the chain saw of debt on our children.

       I know, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Connery) put on the record PSAC president Daryl Bean's definition of a scab as I believe did also the honourable member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine).  It has the need for contingent, thoughtful consideration of us all, not for the purposes of union bashing, not for the purposes of taking advantage of the public's general impatience with strikes, but rather to bring us all to the awareness of the need for a thorough examination of our labour‑management relationships in this country.

       Stripped of all its extraneous material, the simple sin of three grandmothers with a desire to work, and an expression of concern over intimidation to their president was responded to by Mr. Bean‑‑and I will not add the quotation, because it has already been on the record twice.

       There is room to work on that quotation.  There is all kinds of room for witty remarks or rhetoric aimed at the opposition. Just as members of this Chamber joined earlier in the session in common cause against violence in our society, so I think we need to join together to examine our institutions and their relationships that apparently caused a national leader to respond so reprehensibly.

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       Yesterday, we had a thoughtful presentation from the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock).  I think among other things he was pointing out a need for us as legislators, and in a larger sense our citizens, to put aside ideology and thoroughly examine our advantages and disadvantages and goals and relationships.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose) will have 25 minutes remaining.

       The hour being 12:30 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday.