Friday, December 13, 1991
The House met at 10 a.m.
TABLING OF REPORTS
Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the 1990‑91 Annual Report of the Manitoba Farm Mediation Board.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
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.
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
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.
Mr. Ernst: This bill is the bill necessary for the
remedial action to deal with the City of
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.
* * *
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.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to thank the honourable minister for the clarification.
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
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
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.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
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.
National Welfare Council of Canada has just reviewed child poverty in our
country and has determined in its statistics that
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.
ask the Premier (Mr. Filmon) what action is his government going to take to
change the situation where
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.
the member is well aware, the proportion of Native children in
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
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
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
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
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.
Mr. Doug Martindale
(Burrows): Mr. Speaker, there is ample evidence that the
recession is over, the depression has begun.
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
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.
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
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
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.
First Ministers' Conference
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Mayor Norrie of
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
Despite the fact that the entire country is in
are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, but more
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
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
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
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
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.
Speaker, I will just repeat again that driving up taxes to the second highest
Repap Manitoba Inc.
Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (
question is to the minister responsible for Repap: When can the people of
Hon. Gary Filmon
(Premier): Mr. Speaker, I might remind the member for
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.
Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (
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
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
Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (
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
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
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
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
Hon. Harold Neufeld
(Minister responsible for The
Order‑in‑Council substantially allows the Ontario Hydro to enter
into an agreement with
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.
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.
Speaker, since the latest projections are now that
Hon. Harold Neufeld
(Minister responsible for The
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Call Management System
Ms. Becky Barrett (
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
Mr. Speaker: The time for Oral Questions has expired.
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
Speaker, citation indexes are only one way of measuring research excellence,
but they do reflect well the professional recognition accorded to the
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
* * *
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
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
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
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
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.
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
we can find unanimity in approaching the Constitutional questions here in
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Acting Speaker, there is one other issue.
My colleague, I know, the honourable member for
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.
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
Acting Speaker, I appreciate the concern that my colleague from
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
I thank the honourable members for their attention.
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
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.
Speaker, every day we are reminded all too painfully of the consequences of
that decision, a decision by this government here in
(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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
am concerned that at the time Americans are finally coming to the realization
that our system in
had the opportunity to visit some centres in the
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 (
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.
would first like to comment on the honourable member for
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
The hour being 12:30 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday.