Monday, February 24, 1992
The House met at 8 p.m.
Madam Deputy Speaker (Louise Dacquay): Order, please. Will the House now come to order.
honourable member for
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
know, in talking about how they say one thing on one hand and do another thing
on the other hand, Madam Deputy Speaker, what really gets most members of the
Chamber somewhat upset with the New Democratic Party is when they take that‑‑can
I use holier than thou‑‑attitude on a number of issues. I think the member for
Madam Deputy Speaker, it was interesting right after she made that comment. I believe there was some heckling from across the floor, and then she quickly tried to couch those comments by saying, well, for some, it is an educating process and we have to sensitize some, possibly even from within our own caucus. I think it is fair to say that, if there is any party in this Chamber that has a sexist attitude, it is the New Democratic Party. All we have to do is revisit a few of the speeches that some of the members, and I do not really necessarily want to point out any members, because I think without even having to say those names that the individuals inside this Chamber know who some of those people are.
would ask the member for
We have to believe that the Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party was speaking on behalf of the New Democratic Party when she said that they do not support that name.
her colleague who spoke right after, the member for
Deputy Speaker, that is something I am hoping the member for
guess I somewhat feel for the member for
would encourage the member for
It is not like, after all, we are debating the final offer selection or some philosophical point of view, Madam Deputy Speaker. You can approach this committee with an open mind, so that when there is someone before committee, whether it is a woman or whether it is a man, that the NDP caucus be open‑minded, that they listen to what they have to say, that the recommendation they are suggesting is not necessarily the best way to do it, that other individuals outside the New Democratic Party can come up with good ideas.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I would encourage very much so, that they do open their minds. I know that on Thursday we were prepared to pass it into the committee, and I do not necessarily want to hold it up, because I think, as the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) said, we want this bill to go into committee. [interjection]
The member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) asked me if I want unlimited time. I suggested to the Leader of my party that she could possibly designate me on this particular bill, but I found‑‑
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Mr. Lamoureux: Well, the NDP say leave.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to see the bill pass into the committee stage and would suggest to all parties, because I had made clear in terms of what the Liberal Party's position is on this, that we walk into the committee with an open mind, and if more debate is given and a better idea comes up from the committee stage, that the minister be receptive to any amendment.
does happen, Madam Deputy Speaker, we support what the women of the province
want. [interjection] The member for
am not going to take this opportunity to box myself in and sit inside the
committee and really not listen to what presenters might have to say, because
my mind in going into committee will be open to them. We will support what the women of the
province want. All indications were,
back at the committee stage, when the member for
The minister had a letter which I had read verbatim into the record earlier this afternoon. The indication from all of the different outside organizations, Madam Deputy Speaker, if they are all supporting it, well, I think we have a responsibility to live up to what those expectations from those outside organizations, women's organizations, are talking about. At times, and this is one of those issues I would suggest to you, the parties should be a bit more sympathetic. I know at least two are, but the NDP should also be a bit more sympathetic to what the women outside the New Democratic Party want. Hopefully, they will do that, they will not try to manipulate the committee in any fashion in order to try and force their amendment that they are going to be proposing.
the women of the province and the presenters feel that is the direction that
they want to go, Madam Deputy Speaker, let them take the opportunity to come
forward to make the presentations, because at least the Liberal Party will be
going to the committee with an open mind, and we will do what we feel is in the
best interest from the women. What the
women support in this province is what the Liberal Party will support on this particular
issue. I can only encourage that the New
Democratic Party do likewise and do what is in the best interest of the women
On that note, because I know they were wanting to pass it on Thursday, I will sit down and allow the bill to go to committee. Thank you very much.
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs): Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to add my comments to those that have been made already in this debate. I would like to begin by indicating that we on this side of the House support organizations and individuals being able to be called what they wish to be called. We support the name changes outlined in the bill, because the women involved want that change. We support their right and the right of all individuals and organizations to choose their own names, unlike the indication we have received from the official opposition who support choice, it appears, only when it is a choice acceptable to the NDP. I believe in the rights of individuals to exercise choice in their lives, unlike, as I made reference earlier, the official opposition which says it believes in choice and then advocates stifling all choices that are different from their choice.
Imagine that, Madam Deputy Speaker. Imagine the nerve of the minister that we do what the women want. Why, if we let them run amuck making their own choices, they may choose to do something other than what the NDP want.
Let me quote some other remarks made by the member for St. Johns in this debate, remarks which indicate her desire and that of her party to restrict choice for women, and remarks incidentally which I found personally offensive.
member said, and I quote from Hansard:
"We have seen every step of this way under the Conservative
do not mind them choosing the terminology "Ms." because we support
choice. We, however, are not accorded
that same courtesy in the other direction.
The member then says, "Clearly," says the member who does not
support choice, "Clearly, we have touched a sore spot when it comes to the
real intentions of this government. It
is a step backward. It is a move to
eliminate choice for women. We on this
side of the House," said the member for
That is what she said. She said, with her words she said she will defend choice. With her actions she revealed that she would restrict choice. They will defend to the day the right of the people to make choices, will they, Madam Deputy Speaker?‑‑except for my choice. I choose. The member is correct. I choose, and she is afraid to look at me when I say this, I choose to let my marital status be known by using the title "Mrs." That is my choice. I do not have to explain or justify or present rationale for why I have made this choice. It is my choice.
to the member for
support the member for
The main differences between that side of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, and this side of the House is that we say we support choice and we do; they say they support choice and they do not.
I would like to ask which side of this House is more open‑minded, which side of the House has no tunnel vision, which side of the House is a true advocate for choice for women. I think the record stands for itself; the comments in Hansard stand for themselves. We support choice; they do not.
me put this in a personal context. I was
the first woman to chair the St. James‑Assiniboia School Division Board,
at that time the second largest school division in the
colleague, the member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), was the first woman in
I could go on about the list of achievements on this side of the House, but I only have 40 minutes, Madam Deputy Speaker.
All I want to say is that there are just as many female MLAs on this side of the House as there are on that side of the House, and the people who voted for us voted for us on merit, on competence, not because they felt pressure to vote for us because of our gender. They had faith in our ability to get the job done. No one, no single constituent ever mentioned to me, in fact, no one has ever mentioned to me until the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) the other day that because I chose a title, which is my right and my choice, when I chose the title Mrs. instead of the title Ms. nobody has ever suggested that I am somehow unworthy or lacking in backbone or drive, or spirit, or intelligence, or in capability. [interjection] You know you have to consider the source of the comments.
listened earlier, Madam Deputy Speaker, to the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer)
and the member for
submit that the member for
Let me quote again from the member for Broadway (Mr. Santos), who expressed views that members opposite have never disclaimed. I am paraphrasing, Madam Deputy Speaker, because I do not have the Hansard here. I do not have the direct quote, but I do recall the intent of the quote, many, many quotes, but the one that sticks in my mind as being particularly offensive was the quote that went something like this: A man makes a decision to marry, and that is the last decision the man ever makes.
That statement and others of its ilk were left uncondemned by the members opposite, and I want to ask if that is how the NDP feels about partnerships, that in order for the male not to be dominating, the female must be dominant? Whatever happened to co‑operation, to shared responsibilities, to true partnerships? No, if the male is not to be dominating, then the female must be dominant. What about partnership?
How about the scandalous comments made by the former NDP cabinet minister, Andy Anstett? I am sure you all remember them. Those I do have here. Andy asked‑‑[interjection]
The member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) is burbling in his chair again, honking on and on in his self‑righteous way about all the things that we have done, but he does not want to hear what they have done. He does not want to hear. He wishes to have the record expunged of everything that they have done that shows they have a problem with sexism on that side of the House unparalleled in this Chamber.
When Andy Anstett, NDP municipal affairs minister, said this joke to the Manitoba Association of Urban Municipalities in convention, he told the story about a woman who was stuck in the mud on a country road‑‑[interjection] You do not want me to go down that path? The member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) does not want to go down this path again. I am quite convinced the member for Thompson does not want to go down this path again. When I stop hearing self‑righteous comments from that side of the House, we will not have to go down these roads again.
The joke went like this: It told the story about a woman who was stuck in the mud on a country road. She asks a man with a tractor to pull her out. The man says, you are the third pregnant woman I have pulled out of the mud today. The woman says, but I am not pregnant. The man says, you are not out of the mud yet.
What was the political commentary on this particular quote? Well, Frances Russell, the writer for the Free Press‑‑[interjection]
An Honourable Member: Who?
Mrs. McIntosh: Frances Russell, columnist for the Free Press. I know the members opposite do not want to hear this, but I am having to shout just to be heard over my own voice.
Some Honourable Members: We are listening.
Mrs. McIntosh: Thank you very much. Here is what Frances Russell had to say about the NDP. New Democrats, she said‑‑
An Honourable Member: I am glad you are quoting
Mrs. McIntosh: I am, too.
I am delighted to quote
Deputy Speaker, I really hate to have to bring these things up. When the member for
position is that we do believe in choice for women. One other comment that was made. When the member for
Someone I respected very much once said, my grandmother was a lady, my mother was one of the girls, I am a woman, and my daughter is a doctor. Women can call themselves doctor or reverend or minister or professor or Ms. or Miss or even Mrs. It is still allowed. Any of those titles are fine by me, and any of those titles are fine by the people on this side of the House. It is unfortunate they are not fine by members opposite. We wish the same courtesy was provided to all women by the member opposite and her colleagues who have not distanced themselves from her unfortunate and discourteous statements.
Madam Deputy Speaker, if the women's organizations wish to alter their name to avoid confusion, then I support them. The members opposite have made their intentions crystal clear. They have put on the record that they will not support this bill. They have put on the record that they will not vote to allow these organizations to have their names changed. They have put that on the record. They do not support choice. That is narrow. How narrow. How very sad.
Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship): Madam Deputy Speaker, I look forward to this piece of legislation going to committee and listening to the women who have clearly come forward to this government and asked for this name change. They have chosen for their own reasons to have a change of name so that, in fact, they could clear up the confusion that exists between the two organizations with the same acronyms and very similar names.
respect their choice to request a name change.
We as a government and, I know, the Liberal Party are supporting the women
in the community who have asked for this.
They have recommended to government a change of name and, Madam Deputy Speaker,
we will accede to their wishes. We look
forward to those women who come forward in the best interests of all
As we go through the process of public hearings on this issue, I do know that the majority of women who support this will come forward. In fact, we as a government will support their request.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question? The question before the House is second reading of Bill 5. Is it the will of the House to adopt the motion?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Agreed and so ordered.
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), to continue debate on second reading of Bill 10 (The Manitoba Hydro Amendment Act), standing in the name of the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes).
Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): It gives me pleasure to speak to this bill because I think it is a very important bill for all Manitobans and especially for individuals who live in the North, for the northern aboriginal people and for northerners and all Manitobans.
When this bill was introduced, it has raised in the funding of $150 million to $500 million for Manitoba Hydro, so if you look at the raising of funds to borrow and to spend, what would that tell you? I think it would tell you that it looks like it is really the Conawapa bill, in order to get the money through to start access in the construction of Conawapa. This bill deals directly with Manitoba Hydro and Conawapa falls under Manitoba Hydro, so I would like to address a few comments on Conawapa.
of all, when the Conawapa project was brought before the Public Utilities
Board, it was proven at that time, or it seemed to be economically sound at
that time with the figures that were presented to the Public Utilities
Board. That was before Manitoba Hydro
bought into Power Smart program and put more emphasis on the conservation of
energy. Now what we are seeing is that
Manitoba Hydro is starting to cut back or saving more power and is able to
reduce its power consumption all across
we initiated a resolution, we were looking at consumption of 6 percent
reduction in the use of energy and we were told, well, that is really
foolish. How do we know if it could be 6
percent, 2 percent, or if it could be 10 percent or 20 percent? No one can really answer that. We were talking about that during Estimates
at that time, and now we see where even Manitoba Hydro is coming out and saying
that, yes, we can conserve energy and, yes, we do not know if
everything went before the Public Utilities Board with the figures and
everything that they had, they said we need power in
A lot of those figures have changed. Why can we not have the real figures of today presented back to the Public Utilities Board and see what they say to us? We asked the minister during Question Period last week, I asked the minister, and he, and even the Premier (Mr. Filmon) had stated, we have the figures, we do not need to go back for hearings.
do not know if even
What we are saying on this side of the House is that we have rules and regulations to follow. We have the Public Utilities Board that gives directions to Manitoba Hydro, so let us take it to the Public Utilities Board with the information that we have today. If they say go ahead with it, and we meet all the requirements and barriers that are there for the construction of Conawapa, if we can overcome those, then let us go ahead with the project. I have no problems with that.
The other thing that we hear is the whole thing about the environmental assessment act. I hear over and over, and I have only been in this Chamber since September 11, 1990, and I am not sure what has happened in the past, but I know that I hear the government side say, well, what about Limestone? What about Limestone? Where was The Environment Act for Limestone?
If you go back in Hansard, you will see where it was the NDP that brought in The Environment Act in 1987. It was the NDP. Sitting here without knowing all of the past, I was sitting here and I thought, well, they must have brought the act in because they were so proud of the act, and they kept throwing the act at us. They said, well, what about The Environment Act, what about The Environment Act?
Then I realized, holy smokes, that is the first time since I have been here where the other side had really shown strong support of NDP initiative. I only learned this shortly after coming into the House, and I was very surprised, but it was a pleasant surprise. I am glad to see that if it is a good act, they will support it. It was proclaimed in 1988, and like I said, it is a good act. We are very, very proud of it. Let us utilize and use that act for the right purpose why it is there.
What happened to the board or the committee that was struck by the government, when the individuals who were concerned about the environment would have had their chance to have their say and the pros and cons of the whole environmental act? I was hoping, with those environmental hearings, that I would have heard and would have seen some aboriginal groups and organizations come out and state their opinion on it, and what they are concerned and worried about.
I was fortunate enough this past weekend to spend quite a bit of time with some aboriginal leaders. There is some concern out there. There is some worry, and they are wondering where all this is going. During Question Period I asked. During Estimates I asked again, and I was told by the former minister that the aboriginal people will be at the top of the list to consult and to meet with and to make sure that aboriginal concerns will be addressed. Aboriginal organizations and their leaders will be contacted and consulted with very closely. Madam Deputy Speaker, I hope that is happening.
stress to the government that it is very crucial, and it is very, very important
to make sure that the aboriginal communities and the organizations and the
leaders are not only consulted with but are brought in as equal partners to
discuss this, and to come to the right conclusion that will meet
When I start addressing aboriginal and northern issues and aboriginal concerns, one area that I am very concerned about, and we here on this side of the House. We have not heard a thing about it and I do not know when it will be addressed, but I hope the government will address it. It is the whole area of the potential training programs for northern and aboriginal people, to ensure that the preferential hiring clauses will be enforced, which is northern aboriginal people, then northerners. Those are the first two on the priority list. To ensure that those are carried through, you have to have a strong aggressive training program in place.
I was part of that Limestone Training Program, and I heard the former Education minister attacking that program. I can tell you, I have kept close contact with a lot of aboriginal northerners, and I know today that a lot of those individuals are still gainfully employed because of that training initiative. It is not a big pat on the back for the NDP party at that time or even now. It is for whoever is in government to take that initiative to address aboriginal issues and aboriginal concerns seriously.
we talk about training programs, those training programs should be open for all
northerners, and they should be delivered in northern communities and somewhere
in a northern area. I hope that this
government will reverse some of the trends that they have set since the last
election where some of the initiatives and some of the issues for northerners
and aboriginal people in the North, where they were moved from their own
communities to say, a bigger centre, into Thompson, have uplifted their
families and have gone into Thompson to further their own careers and to hopefully
gain employment opportunities, where some of those programs they could be in
their final year and bang, they are uprooted again, moved to
I think that is a drastic mistake for the government to be making. Also, if you look at how many people are in those communities and in those training programs;, and how much are the communities benefiting from families renting homes, buying their groceries, using movie theatres and attending hockey games? That is bringing money into the economy of those northern communities. They have been drastically hit, seriously. In the past we had cuts from Northern Affairs and we have cuts from other government agencies‑‑Department of Highways.
Those few jobs or the money that is coming into those pockets that are spent in those communities mean a lot. Getting back to the whole issue of Manitoba Hydro and Conawapa; I do not know why the government cannot come out and say, look‑‑or take it back to the Public Utitilities Board. For them to say, look, it makes financial, economic sense and that is why we should go ahead with it.
Even if it means that the only reason for building Conawapa today is to export power for sale. Even if they would come out and say that: to export power for sale, but how can you export power for sale when the agency that was out there negotiating and finding contracts for Manitoba Hydro has been‑‑poof‑‑disbanded? It no longer exists. Manitoba Energy Authority was the key player and was put in place to find markets for Manitoba Hydro, for consumption. Where is all that expertise today?
are no longer there. Who is out there
negotiating and seeking contracts for this government? [interjection] Well, it might
cost you $400,000 a year, but if you get a sale that will bring you a good
return and generate revenues for all citizens of
hear a lot of people say, to make money you have got to spend money. You do not get rid of a whole agency that is
out there doing a job for the government and then say sure, we have a contract
I do not think so. That is what people are saying, but we do not really know, do we? Nobody knows for sure. Everybody is guessing. I mentioned earlier, you hear all kinds of different numbers thrown at us, but nobody knows for sure. So let us find out what those real numbers are. Let us find out how much energy we are going to be saving with our conservation measures and conservation programs that we have in place right now.
Last year in Estimates, when we brought that amendment to state that Manitoba Hydro target 6 percent conservation, we were almost laughed out of that committee room. They said, what do you mean 6 percent? That is pretty high. That is really high. The members who were part of that committee will remember that very clearly. They said, you are way off your rocker‑‑6 percent. Now, I bet you if you went back and asked these experts, I bet you they will even tell you 10 percent is not out of the question. It is not out of the question.
we even went at conservation in a stronger measure than what we have today, who
knows how high we can get it‑‑15 percent, 20 percent‑‑we
do not know. How many government
buildings are there in
If you replaced all those light bulbs with energy‑efficient light bulbs, sure it will cost you a lot of money up front. Eventually, through the years, how much are you saving? You would save quite a bit‑‑quite a bit.
How much is Conawapa costing us? Thirteen billion dollars. Even what it is, that would be a lot cheaper measure than to build future dams. I do not have a problem with Conawapa. I was born and raised‑‑
An Honourable Member: Are you for it or against it, which way? Just tell us.
Mr. Hickes: Do it right. What we are saying is, do it right.
An Honourable Member: Are you for it, George? . . . you are getting pretty sore on that fence.
Mr. Hickes: No, no, I am not sitting on a fence anywhere. If the government would follow the rules and regulations that were put out, and we have the Public Utilities Board there to make sure that the economics outweigh, that economics are for the profit of Manitoba‑‑
An Honourable Member: You ignore that, eh?
Mr. Hickes: What is that? I did not hear you.
What we say with Conawapa is, do it right. That is all that we are saying is, do it right.
will speak for myself right now, that I would much prefer to see the building
of Conawapa or a dam then I would see where our neighbouring provinces would
have to build nuclear power plants. I do
not believe in that. I do not want a
thing to do with that. I have read about
it. I have seen some of the negatives
that happened in
An Honourable Member: Well, they do not know how to vote, George.
Mr. Hickes: Well, I am not going to get into that kind of debate because I am trying to be very serious here. [interjection] No, because I am very concerned because the North and Manitobans right now, we need jobs. We all know that, but you do not sacrifice the proper processes that are in place just to create jobs for the needs right now. We need to hear about the training programs. We need to hear that Northern preferential hiring clauses will be enforced‑‑
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Should we not give them an environmental licence first, George? Are you not a little ahead of things?
Mr. Hickes: I am talking about the whole idea. Environment, well, I have already mentioned that.
Mr. Orchard: Why do you want a training program for a dam you are against? Make up your mind.
Mr. Hickes: Well, if the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) would sit and listen, I have mentioned the environment and that gives me an opportunity. Maybe I will remind you again that in 1987 it was the NDP that put The Environment Act in. It was under 1988‑‑[interjection] No, it was shortly after Limestone. [interjection]
We learn as we progress. Who says today‑‑okay, like if you want to go back one year, what would your government and Manitoba Hydro say? We need Conawapa. We need to start it in 1993, because we need that power in the year 2000. Ask the same people today. That is only one year later. Ask the same individuals. What are they going to tell you?
An Honourable Member: We are going to ask them next year.
Mr. Hickes: Oh, no, ask them. Phone them up tomorrow and ask them. They will tell you‑‑[interjection] Of course it is going to change next year.
An Honourable Member: Well, there you go.
Mr. Hickes: That is the point I am making. That is the point I am making.
An Honourable Member: Well, there you are. You have made my point.
Mr. Hickes: You have made my point for me very well, thank you. When Limestone was built there was no environment act in place, and the NDP recognized that. All throughout the years past, under Conservative governments, under NDP governments‑‑no, I do not think there was a Liberal government‑‑
An Honourable Member: No, there has not been.
Mr. Hickes: No, I do not think so.
An Honourable Member: There has not been for a while.
Mr. Hickes: So under the NDP, even under Conservatives, nobody realized we should have an environmental act in place. It was the NDP government that recognized that in 1987, and it was proclaimed in 1988.
An Honourable Member: After the fact, in other words.
Mr. Hickes: What is after the fact? What is after the fact? There were dams built
in the '50s and '60s, and there will be dams built in the year 2000 and
something. So how can you say, after the
fact? How can that be after the
fact? How can that be after the
fact? When you recognize something that
is good for the people of
For a small example, I will give you what is right and what is wrong. I will give you a good example. Anti‑sniff bill, which is very important to the citizens in Point Douglas‑‑
An Honourable Member: That is getting a little bit off.
Mr. Hickes: No, no. I am tying the relevance to bringing in an act and proclaiming an act. So it is very, very relevant.
So the anti‑sniff bill was brought in over two years ago.
An Honourable Member: Where is it now?
Mr. Hickes: It has passed.
Are you going to wait till someone dies before you proclaim it? Sure it is‑‑
An Honourable Member: What does hydro smell like, George?
Mr. Hickes: You cannot smell it because it is very, very clean. That is why I much prefer it over nu‑‑
An Honourable Member: That is why you are not in favour of nukies.
Mr. Hickes: Oh, no. I support‑‑
An Honourable Member: Nukies?
Mr. Hickes: Oh, no. I support the development of dams any day. You can ask the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) who I know has been up north, and I know he has a lot of contacts within the aboriginal community. I saw that for myself. He has a lot of respect from those people. So do not sell him short.
When we talk about Conawapa‑‑[interjection] No, no. I am being very, very serious about this here. When we talk about the development of Conawapa, I do not know how many of you have been up north and have gone down that river.
An Honourable Member: I have.
Mr. Hickes: You have? Now, the ones that have been there, tell your colleagues how high those banks are. They are very high, and there will be very, very little flooding to do with Conawapa.
An Honourable Member: So you are in favour of it now.
Mr. Hickes: I always have been from Day One. I have never been against it. All I say is do it right. It has very, very high banks and there will be only a small area that will have any flooding in that. If you look at that area, I am not sure exactly how many acres it is. [interjection] If that. I think it is about 5 acres, but if you look at where that will take place, there are no communities there, I think, that is going to affect. If you look at the alternative to Conawapa, then that is where I would say look at it very, very closely.
An Honourable Member: Which one is the alternative?
Mr. Hickes: The alternative is on the Nelson‑Burntwood River‑‑[interjection] Yes, Wuskwatim. There is going to be a lot of damage in there if‑‑well, I do not know how you could do it, but if you start damming that one‑‑because it is an untapped river and the flooding that you are going to see is going to affect Thompson and the community of Nelson House. Then‑‑[interjection] Well, you raise the level and spread it out.
An Honourable Member: Is that what you want to do, George?
Mr. Hickes: No.
An Honourable Member: What do you want to do? How do you think it could be done? Tell us. You said do it the right way. What is the right way?
Mr. Hickes: What I am saying to do Conawapa, is the
process that was in place. It is
outdated information that we in this Chamber are dealing with right now, even
An Honourable Member: They had no policy when they did Limestone.
Mr. Hickes: I would not say we had no policy. [interjection] There was not an environmental impact in place. It was the NDP that recognized that and made sure that there was the Environmental Act put into place. Sure.
An Honourable Member: There was an environmental assessment.
Mr. Hickes: What is that?
An Honourable Member: There was an environmental assessment.
Mr. Hickes: There was?
An Honourable Member: Hydro did it.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Hickes: If you look at the past under the Conservative
government, they were going to raise the water level for flooding, for
you look at
An Honourable Member: Are we ready to start Conawapa this year?
Mr. Hickes: Well, if you would have had the environmental impact hearings and kept the committee in place to hear the people's concerns and you had gone through the environmental impact study, then you might have had a shot at starting it in 1993.
An Honourable Member: Are you going to go to those commissions and speak in favour of it, and say the truth?
Mr. Hickes: Look, we have our chances to debate in here.
When it gets out, let the public have their say and give them the proper funding. Do not limit their funding to, say, $1,000 a group or whatever like that. Let the proper people‑‑and I urge the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings) and the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey) to seriously, when they allocate dollars, to put together a proper‑‑what do you call that Jerry, when you go to the committee hearing?
When you allocate the dollars, to make sure that some of those aboriginal communities which are wanting to go to the hearings to give presentations, to adequately give them the funding to do that, because a lot of those people and those communities‑‑
An Honourable Member: There is not going to be any damage and you are going to give up millions of dollars now. Millions, right? No limit, right, George? No limit?
Mr. Hickes: I think the member does not know what he talks about.
An Honourable Member: Unlimited funding, George.
Mr. Hickes: I think if the member used any common sense at all, you would know that the first people that are going to be affected by any damage that those communities will encounter will be the aboriginal communities that go on the east or the west. If you knew what you were talking about you would know that a lot of those environmental assessment hearings are going to involve Bipole III. Those are the communities and those are the people that should have a right to be heard. They should be‑‑[interjection] No, no. Do not get carried away.
This issue here is too important for me, as an aboriginal, and as a former northerner, to get into a debate with the member. It is too important of an issue. When we talk about environmental impact hearings and the proper funding for those, I encourage, I really, really encourage both ministers to adequately address and support monetarily the aboriginal people, to give a proper assessment on their own behalf, so when they go into negotiations with the government they will know how much damage was caused. We do not know how much damage that will cause because you are going to hear from individuals, you are going to hear from boards, you are going to hear from tribal councils.
Even today as I talk about this bill, there are aboriginal people and organizations right now who are meeting about the Bipole III and the building of Conawapa. How can that benefit us and our communities?
We know, and the minister knows, a lot of these projects are for say eight or nine years, but what happens after? What is left in those communities after the construction is over? That is where a lot of these communities and aboriginal people will be telling the minister that we want to be able to participate after. We want training programs to get adequate careers for our people.
you look at Manitoba Hydro‑‑and I encourage any member in this
House to go to their big building on
you look at the
I think those are the kind of things that this government is going to be hearing from aboriginal people and aboriginal leaders in the future, because I think it is high time. We can talk about yesterday all we want, but I do not want to live in the past, and the aboriginal people whom I have spoken to do not want to live in the past any more. They said, we want to worry about what is in the future for aboriginal people who we as aboriginal leaders represent.
I had some good conversations this weekend with aboriginal leaders. I heard a lot. They made me listen, and that was great. I was glad to listen. They said, today is today, yesterday was yesterday. Now we live for today, and we live for the future.
When we are all gone, our children, are they going to say the same thing that I am standing here today saying, that Manitoba Hydro takes their resources from the North, and there is nothing or very little left for aboriginal people. Even linemen jobs, most of those jobs are in the North.
We took a little tour with the former Minister of Energy, who I thank for taking us up there, took the former critic for the Liberals and myself.
An Honourable Member: Where is he now?
Mr. Hickes: Who is that?
An Honourable Member: The Liberal critic?
Mr. Hickes: He is writing in the paper; he is a journalist. He took us up there. We had a tour of all the hydro stations and stuff. There were very few aboriginal people there, and yet it is right in Gillam. We have a reserve right‑‑well, it is only a stone's throw away from the site. There are a lot of good people there. You know, there is nothing to it, but the whole adequate training to make sure that people get adequate careers. You know, it has to start some day.
Even as we talk today, I lived in Sundance, and I worked on the last site as an employment counsellor. I had to deal with a lot of the people who were employed at that site. It is amazing how we have this preferential clause that I mentioned earlier. We have aboriginal first, northerners second, and yet, today, as I am speaking, I am still getting calls from people who are complaining about the hiring processes that are happening in Limestone as of today, and yet those preferential hiring clauses are in there. Let us enforce them; make it fair‑‑[interjection]
An Honourable Member: But you know what happened the first year during
the building of Limestone, the NDP brought in union workers from B.C. That is when they came. They established a
Mr. Hickes: They had to be. The first clause was northern aboriginal people; the second clause was northerners. Then you had union members brought in. There was no way that a union member from the south should be replacing a northern aboriginal person, because it is supposed to be the first hiring clause in that contract, and yet, today, the catering company is circumventing that system. I do not know how it is being done, but I hope somebody will look into it. I have had some calls from people that I had contact with in my last job, and they are saying, well, what can we do? I say, well, who is your minister? I encourage them to give the minister a call, because I am sure that he is a fair person.
A lot of times, those messages do not get to the minister. It might be worthwhile when the minister takes a little tour of his new responsibilities, to have a look and check out and see what is happening, and if there are any wrongs, correct them. If there are not, fine. A lot of times, you hear people complain, but if you dig further into the circumstances, maybe there is not that much ground for it.
Some of the individuals that contacted me, I know have the qualifications to work there. A lot of them have worked there in the past, and yet they were laid off and not recalled, and then yet other people were hired over and above. Maybe, it is because the project is sort of winding down, so people are kind of slacking off the rules, but I do not think that should happen. You have rules and regulations like we do here, anywhere else; they are there for us to follow. I think that we should try and follow them.
I would like to re‑emphasize the importance of training for northern people. When you have a project the size of Conawapa‑‑what was Conawapa going to take? I think it was about nine years. I think it is about a nine‑year project, and a seasonal project for a lot of the trades people. A lot of the people who work, say, six months out of the year will be recalled again. If you look at that nine months and looked at your carpenters or your electricians, the trades areas‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.
Is there leave to allow the member an additional two minutes? Leave.
Mr. Hickes: If we could utilize that project for the nine‑year duration to try and get more aboriginals their papers in carpentry and electrical and stuff because when the communities start getting higher amperage power, then they will have to rewire the houses and everything else and the communities will benefit greatly from them. I encourage the government to follow through on that and I hope it happens.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): I move, seconded by the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), that debate be adjourned.
Madam Deputy Speaker: It has been moved by the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), seconded by the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), that debate be adjourned.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): Yes, I was wondering if I might have leave to speak on this bill and allow it to remain standing in the name for the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie)?
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is there leave to allow the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) to speak to the bill, but at the same time allow the bill to remain standing in the honourable member for Flin Flon's name?
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Leave.
Mr. Ashton: Madam Deputy Speaker, I appreciate the accommodation from members across the way, actually for the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) in particular, who did have to leave.
An Honourable Member: You do not have that same accommodation when it comes from this side.
Mr. Ashton: Indeed, I think if the member for
What I did want to talk about tonight were a number of hydro‑electric related matters and specific current concerns. I realize when one is looking at a bill that is‑‑in a similar vein actually to some of the points raised by the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), because there are a number of issues that are of concern to people in the North related to Hydro, and I want to use this opportunity since this is a bill that does affect Hydro. I realize it could be argued whether it affects us directly or not, but I did want to raise them.
fact, this follows from discussions I had as recently as last Friday. I was in one of the committees that was
affected most directly by flooding, York Landing was another community, Ilford,
which indeed has had a strong connection in terms of Hydro over the years. I was in
As everyone is obviously aware, the next step we are waiting for in terms of Conawapa is obviously the environmental assessment. We also feel that there has to be the inclusion of settlement on the Northern Flood Agreement. I really believe the minister responsible for Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey). I am not sure if he is in a position really to say that is a policy of the government, but I am sure he would personally very much like to see that happen, a settlement of Northern Flood Agreement prior to any further developments in terms of Hydro. It is a very major symbolic matter for many northern communities, the five northern communities, three of which I have the privilege of representing in the Manitoba Legislature.
I want to express the particular concerns because this has been going on since 1977. The flood agreement was signed at that time, and I am not trying to blame one particular stripe of government or another particular stripe of government or, indeed, governments per se, because it is an agreement which involves the provincial government, the federal government, Manitoba Hydro and the signatory bands.
I am not trying at this point to lay blame, and I think if one was to look at it over the last number of years, what has happened with the Northern Flood Agreement, there has been very much a shift at different times in terms of who has been delaying what.
Most recently, the clear feedback from the northern communities involved has been that there were real problems with the federal government. I am sure the minister is aware of the particular concerns that had developed with the number of consultants who were acting on behalf of the federal government in terms of northern flood negotiations. Most recently, that has been the case.
I think, generally, there has to be an acceptance by all of us that it has gone on too long, and also, perhaps, to go one step further and recognize that many of the original concerns expressed by the aboriginal people may perhaps be more appropriate today, or recognized as being appropriate, than they were when the matters were originally raised.
One of the major concerns, in particular, is the extinguishment‑of‑rights argument that many bands have concerns about. They, indeed, are asking the question as to whether any settlement will be a final settlement, or whether, if there are further damages as a result of the flooding, matters that are unforeseen at this time, whether they will be able to have some recourse through the Northern Flood Agreement.
is important, because if you look at what has happened in
want to say, Madam Deputy Speaker, the bottom line is very clear, whether it be
in Split Lake, which has indicated that it is willing to go as an individual
band and settle, or whether it is the case of the other four northern flood
communities. They feel very clearly that
there has to be a settlement, that the wrongs of previous generations have to
be righted. Indeed, I am hoping that
will take place. I would strongly urge
the minister to do that, to meet with the chiefs. I know they have been trying to arrange a
meeting. I really believe it is
important. I met, as I said, last week in one of the communities, with the chief
in that particular community. They want
their concerns dealt with. I believe
there is an historic opportunity here to settle that. If it takes the fact that Limestone is next
in terms of sequential development, in terms of Hydro, then let us use it. Let us seize it as an historic opportunity to
right that wrong, because the history of hydro development in northern
development after development, we have seen‑‑first going back in
the late '60s and early '70s, in the further northern part of the province, in
which I have the greatest experience, and live in, and it certainly was the
I believe, after 10 or 15 years, the minister, I am sure, will recognize that for aboriginal people there is a different sense of time. For aboriginal people, 10 or 15 years is not a long period of time to wait to have their rights fully recognized. Another five or 10 years, another 15 years‑‑many of the flood communities have indicated that to me. They will wait as long as it takes until they achieve a settlement that they believe is fair.
I do believe that they also recognize, when they look at the situation facing young people in the communities, when they look at the continuing deterioration in terms of the trapping industry in their communities as a result of the flooding, of fishing that is still ongoing, the bottom line is, even though there is that different sense of time, I believe there is every degree of urgency in settling the Northern Flood Agreement. That is one of the key factors, I believe, that has to go into any further development in terms of Hydro.
There has been a lot of discussion back and forth tonight about Hydro policy. Madam Deputy Speaker, you will have to forgive me if I find it somewhat ironic in looking at what has been happening in the debate, because I remember previous debates on Hydro. I remember the minister, himself, who is very good from his seat in throwing questions and comments across the floor, some of the statements that he and his colleagues made in the mid‑1980s.
At that time there were very clear positions, the New Democratic Party obviously had reached an agreement with Northern States Power, moved ahead in terms of the development of the Limestone station. The Liberals were against it; they called it lemonstone. They have not changed their tune on Conawapa either. They may come up with some less graphic description, but let us look at that for just a sec. I think it bears looking into, the Liberal position, because now they are trying to set themselves up on Conawapa with very much the same sort of a one‑dimensional approach.
said, and I remember this because the Leader of the Liberal Party came to
Thompson, I believe it was in 1986, and said that Limestone would cost $5
billion by the time it was completed, because it had been projected to cost $3
billion and eventually it would cost $5 billion. Well, I have the quote in the Thompson
Citizen, where she stated very clearly it would cost‑‑and I realize
this may come as a shock to the member for
Now, what happened? Did it cost the $3 billion that it was projected to cost? Did it cost 2.5? Did it cost two? Well, actually it cost 1.5, 1.6, depending on the final estimates. Obviously, there are still factors coming in. It cost merely a third of what the Liberal Leader (Mrs. Carstairs) had said it would cost in Thompson in 1986. So much for Liberal arithmetic; so much for Liberal Hydro policy.
also remember the position of the Conservative Party in those days. I remember it because the member for
An Honourable Member: No. Who said that?
Mr. Ashton: The Premier and the then Energy critic, the
were arguing that if you purchase power from outside of the province, you would
not then need to develop Limestone as quickly, but look at what they would have
had happen. If there had been a
Conservative government elected in 1986, there probably would be no Limestone
or at least would not have been for a number of years after that. We would now be buying power from the States;
we would be buying power from
What happened following the development in terms of Limestone? Well, I indicated the cost factor was far lower than anyone had even estimated to begin with. In fact, the best part about the decision of the New Democratic Party government in the 1980s in terms of Hydro was the timing. It came at the end of the last recession; it came at a time when contractors were generally very hungry in terms of prices, and that is one of the reasons why it came in at such a low price in terms of that. In terms of the 1980s, I think that has to be put into perspective before some of these comments have to be taken any further.
The argument has been made, indeed, that there were no environmental assessments made of Limestone‑‑that is not true. What the argument should be, if the minister was to put it forward, which I do not believe he did at the time, but in retrospect of hindsight, that there was no independent environmental review process that we have currently in The Environment Act and, indeed, that is quite accurate.
I believe that the decision of the New Democratic Party government in 1987, which I believe was supported by all parties in the House at the time, to establish the need for an independent environmental assessment was the appropriate decision. It was living up to the changing times and the changing realization out there of just how serious potential environmental consequences could be. In fact, if one looked at previous dams which were often expedited for economic reasons solely, without concern for the environment, one might have had different decisions made, not only as to whether there would be dams built, but which dams were built and in which sequence. That was placed in 1987, as a new factor, which I believe reflects the current reality.
I want to address that for a second to see where we should be going in terms of Hydro policy. I want to use the two sequences that we are currently faced with in terms of the environment, the economics, various items. There are really currently three choices in terms of Hydro development: to have no Hydro development at all and to either look at reduced load growth which may or may not be the case or conservation or possibly, I suppose, purchasing other power, but I do not think that is being seriously looked at by anyone. So there is the option of no development, period.
other options currently, in terms of
bottom line is there would not be the same sort of impacts that took place, not
on Limestone, because Limestone itself also did not lead to significant impact
that way, but in terms of other areas.
There are other environmental factors that obviously an independent
assessment will look at. Concern has been
expressed about the impact on the river itself, the Nelson River and also
is also the environmental impact of the Bipole III, in terms of the impact to
the east side of
Now, is anyone on the Conservative side suggesting that we should ignore the environmental impact study in advance, regardless of what it says? I do not believe they are, and I know the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) suggests that is not the case. Indeed, that is what the New Democratic Party said: We have to have a fair and open environmental assessment. That is what we said we would do in 1987, and we have to pay attention to whatever the results are.
know in jest the member for
In the 1960s it was unheard of for people to say that there will be major impacts on the environment, on the aboriginal people. It was a cause celebre. It was not really something that was mainstream. Today I think that all Manitobans want to ensure that whatever development takes place in terms of hydro, it meets the conditions of an independent environmental assessment. Is there any disagreement on that in this House? I do not believe the Liberals would disagree with that, even if they are ruling out the development of Conawapa as they did on Limestone, if they accept that their position is now being adopted, obviously they would accept‑‑and I know they have argued that the environmental assessment should be in place.
So we are dealing here, running through again what we have to deal with in terms of making any decisions in terms of hydro development. What is the next fundamental condition that has to be met? That there be the demand for Conawapa, whether it be in terms of the export power agreement, and once again, the NDP have been involved in the preliminary negotiations, in fact some significant negotiations‑‑I know that for a fact; I was on the Hydro board‑‑and the Conservative government continued them. That agreement was signed with the previous Liberal government, but once again that is added onto the domestic demand, and I think the legitimate question has to be raised, given the recession, what the current domestic demand is. I think this factor, and this is where I disagree fundamentally with the Liberals, is the question comes down to more when Conawapa is built rather than if Conawapa is built.
An Honourable Member: That is what we would say.
Mr. Ashton: Well, no, the Liberals have said, do not build Limestone, do not build Conawapa. If we listened to the Liberals we would not have enough power to generate Manitoba's industries and homes if we had followed the choice of 1986, or else we would be importing it now, God knows from where, because there is not an excess capacity in this area.
That is the problem. The Liberals have an ostrich approach, putting your head in the sand and saying, no, we are against this, we are against this. That does not wash, and has not washed since the 1980s. They were proven wrong on Limestone, and I believe they are missing the point in terms of this as well.
There is one other factor I want to mention, Madam Deputy Speaker, in terms of demand factors as well. That is conservation, because conservation in many ways mirrors the whole debate on the environment, because there has always been a mandate for Manitoba Hydro and the provincial government to encourage conservation. The Liberals are wrong to suggest that has not been the case. That has always been the mandate, because Manitoba Hydro is both a utility that serves its customers and is also a utility owned by the public, so it is logical to have a conservation mandate.
The question has been in terms of the degree to which conservation has been a significant part of energy decisions. I would suggest in recent years there has been a growth in terms, not only of the concern, but also the type of technology that is available and the type of examples available from other jurisdictions, the United States being an obvious example where conservation is becoming a prime mechanism to conserve power, essentially to find a substitute for new power. That is particularly driven in those jurisdictions by environmental concerns.
is somewhat different in the
So those are a mix of factors that any government has to look at in terms of making decisions. I believe that in that particular circumstance, once again, it is not a question to my mind, currently under the knowledge base that we have now, of if Conawapa should be built, but when. Unless there is something that we do not know about the seriousness in terms of the environment, or indeed if there is not a major slowdown in terms of domestic demand in this province that makes the economics of the hydro sale, per se, in and as of itself, not sufficient to start Conawapa‑‑that is why I am surprised in a way that the government is being so defensive on a number of suggestions. Referring Conawapa to the round table, I do not think that is something the government necessarily has to worry about in any particular way, shape or form.
Other items I mentioned, selling the Northern Flood Agreement. I believe there is an honest attempt that exists among the parties right now to do so, but there has to be a push given to it, a recognition that that has to be a precondition for the further development of hydro. I believe that is the only moral if not legal precept that one can look at in terms of flooding.
I mentioned before in terms of the various economic factors again‑‑and once again, we are not going to build Conawapa if it is not necessary, but if it is necessary in terms of the demand, even if we accept the 10 percent conservation figures, if we cannot achieve that or if that is not sufficient, there is still low growth, et cetera. Those factors, I do not think in any way, shape or form lead to some of the exchanges that have taken place across the House.
The New Democratic Party is not the ostrich in the sand of the Liberal Party on hydro policy, but the bottom line is, we recognize the number of factors that are involved, and I actually would be interested to see which one of those factors the Conservatives would say we should ignore, come hell or high water. Which ones, which ones? Settlement of the Native land claims, in terms of the Northern Flood Agreement? The question of the environmental review? Should we say, who cares about the environmental review? Should we say conservation? Well, yes, we are encouraging conservation; indeed, the Conservative Hydro board, the Conservative government is encouraging conservation. If it leads to reduced demand growth, will we then turn around and still build Conawapa anyway?
The recession has taken a huge toll in terms of the demand for power. Is the Conservative government then going to turn around and say, well, we will build it anyway? I run through the entire list. The bottom line is they know that is not the case. They know that those are legitimate precepts in terms of Hydro development, and they also, I think, should recognize that some of the rhetoric that has taken place in this Chamber in the last little while ignores the reality of what is going on out there.
want to go one step further and point out just how immediate that is, because I
point to what the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) referred to earlier, in
terms of hiring. One of the problems that has been in existence with Hydro development
for the last 25 or 30 years in northern
Some of the changes that were put in place in the collective agreement had a major impact, but I say, Madam Deputy Speaker, to the minister that I am very concerned, and I do not blame him for this because he was not the minister responsible. I am concerned that the Nelson‑Burntwood Agreement was agreed to, the renewal took place with no notice to northerners, no consultation with northerners and aboriginal groups, no attempt to learn from the experience‑‑as we have done for the last 25 years, recognize it never worked the way it should, but if you work harder, the next time it would get better. I am concerned about that.
I am also concerned with what is happening in terms of training in terms of the Hydro situation, because the Limestone training authority, once again I will argue with anyone in terms of its efficacy. I believe it was an excellent attempt to improve training for aboriginal northerners and northerners generally, and the bottom line again is through cutbacks and changes in the structure of the Department of Education that has been wiped out, Madam Deputy Speaker.
are not just abstract concerns. I would
hope to be able to make the minister aware that these are ongoing concerns. I
have received more calls the last two months on hiring at Limestone currently
at the campsite, particularly in regards to the caterers, than I have in the
previous two or three years. I am not
again blaming this on the government. I
know that when we were in government, the same process used to take place, not
like the member for
Yes, there were people coming in from B.C., but not because of the unions. It was because of the contractors pulling people in from Revelstoke, B.C. The member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) will remember the many people who were brought in. Lo and behold, all of a sudden you would see about 10 percent of the work force used to work at Revelstoke, B.C. What was the common connection? The same contractor had worked in Revelstoke, B.C., and they manipulated the process for employment so that they could get their friends and cronies and connections and fellow workers from the previous dam site in.
Those are the kinds of things that also cannot be ignored, because Conawapa or any development that takes place without concerns for content will just become another political football if we do not get down to those grassroots concerns and make sure they are dealt with.
I wanted to express those concerns on the record today, Madam Deputy Speaker, not because I see this as the great debate on Hydro policy. I make this as merely a footnote, this bill, and affects the development in terms of Hydro rather peripherally. I do want the minister‑‑because he has a double responsibility here: he is the Minister responsible for Northern and Native Affairs, and he is also the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey)‑‑to recognize the reality of what the people in the North are saying in particular, and the day‑to‑day immediate focus they are having on concerns related to Hydro development. As I stressed before, the flood communities want settlement and indeed many other northerners do. Northerners want to see the kind of pressure that has taken place in the past for jobs and training.
You know, I would say that what we see mirrored in many ways in the discussions in this Chamber is really what northerners are saying. I would say most northerners right now in terms of Conawapa would say exactly what the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) said: Do it and do it right, and listen, and do not ignore those factors. Do not ram it through, listen to the environmental concerns, look at the demand, look at the training and education, look at the Northern Flood Agreement. That is really what any responsible government or any responsible Legislature would be doing.
I have no hesitation today to stand and urge the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) to listen to those concerns. I am saying the concerns were expressed as recently as this Friday, and I know he has been in many of those communities as well on a personal basis, and apart from my disagreements with the minister, I know he has heard probably many of these concerns before, because that is what people are looking for at the next stage in terms of Hydro development.
It is not a question, as the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), the new expert on Hydro policy, said before, yes or no. It is a question in this case of orderly hydro development. It is what all governments have supposedly stood for, for the last 25 or 30 years. I believe only the Liberals have really been the exception on that in recent years, in terms of their policy. It is a question of what is orderly hydro development. It is building dams when the demand is there; it is limiting or eliminating the environmental factors, if at all possible; and making sure that northerners and native people in the North, northern aboriginal people, are not going to simply be historic victims of previous flooding and previous environmental damage, but instead have the chance to be compensated, but also more importantly for all northerners, and aboriginals in particular, to benefit from whatever development takes place.
That is something I think that we can all agree on in this House. I argued strenuously back in the development of Limestone against many of the kinds of attitudes I heard at that time. I know the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) is aware of it, and I know that he had fights, I am sure, with some of the people in his own party, because I remember in 1986, 1987 and 1988 when there were many people opposed to the hiring policies at Limestone because they saw in it some way in which aboriginal northerners would be getting all the jobs and other northerners and other individuals would not.
We know that is not what happened. We know that it was an attempt to be fair, and it was a relatively fair process. I know that he probably‑‑because I have not seen him reject, as Minister of Northern Affairs or Native Affairs the basic assumptions of that hiring process, and I believe he supports that and would argue that, even with some in his own party, in the North in particular, who oppose that, or in Winnipeg as well.
know there are arguments even in this Chamber, because there were many concerns
expressed by Conservative members at the time about the hiring process, that it
might leave out people from
I will, in the next few days, be providing details to the minister on some of the specific cases. As I have said, I have received more calls, as has the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), the last couple of weeks, couple of months, on hiring than we had in the previous two or three years. I am hoping that he will look at that, and if necessary, sit down with the contractors and tell them that our commitment to northern hiring is not just a paper commitment, that it is a serious commitment. I hope he will do that.
I hope he will listen to the immediate concerns that are being expressed by the Northern Flood Committee chiefs. They wish to meet with the minister; I know they wish to try to move the process along further. Indeed, I hope that the minister will be responding by meeting with the chiefs, the Northern Flood chiefs; indeed, meet with them as soon as is possible, because they have very serious concerns. Not just, by the way, concerns that are criticizing the provincial government‑‑I referenced that earlier. It is not just the provincial government that can be blamed; the federal government, in particular, has been creating problems. So those are some immediate concerns.
the long run, as we get into debates in this House, let us not lose sight of
what we are trying to do here, which is to try and develop for the
In terms of the economic circumstances, I am not convinced yet of what the final outcome will be. I am not convinced that the government really is, because I do not believe they know from year to year what is going to happen in terms of projections. The economic circumstances may shift rather dramatically; but, if it were Wuskwatim we were dealing with today, Madam Deputy Speaker, I have said in this House that I would have serious problems, because Wuskwatim would flood the Burntwood River, it would create major flooding problems in Nelson House‑‑and I have seen the impact the previous flooding had in that community, as I am sure that the minister has. It would also have an impact on Thompson, but not in terms of an immediate impact on the livelihood of the people of Thompson.
So, if it was Wuskwatim, the balance would be so heavily against the environmental impact that I think we would have a difficult time in this province pushing ahead with that type of development. Ten years ago Wuskwatim would have been built, and the environmental questions would have been dealt with after. That is no longer acceptable.
I believe, the balance is on the other side.
I strongly believe that. The
balance on Conawapa is that the environmental impact is going to be relatively
minor. That is what the basic
assessments have said. So I am saying to
the former minister‑‑[interjection] Yes, the former minister, I
know, is aware of the fact‑‑perhaps he did not catch my
comments. I said that the environmental
impact of Wuskwatim is far more serious than the environmental impact of
Conawapa. Those are the two dams that
were next in sequence, and there were various different factors that led to
Conawapa being the decision that was taken, the next‑sequence dam. That was largely because of the
That is what I am saying. We have to recognize the reality of the 1990s in that sense and give fair chance to all those processes to take place. Also, and I want to just conclude on this remark once again‑‑once again to emphasize the fact that all these abstracts mean very little in northern communities if the jobs do not follow. I believe that there have been jobs in the previous numbers of years that have been the result of that kind of extra push, and I am looking to the minister.
I am not one, by the way, Madam Deputy Speaker, who sees this minister as having a conflict of interest necessarily by being Minister of Northern and Native Affairs and being minister responsible for Hydro development (Mr. Downey)‑‑not necessarily. It depends on which way he deals with it. I look at it as an opportunity here, because perhaps we can make sure‑‑and I think if the minister looks back at what happened in the '80s, one of the influences in terms of Limestone and Limestone Training was the fact that there were a significant number of northern MLAs and ministers who were from the North. There was the Limestone working group which travelled the North, and I realize the government does not have the luxury of having northern MLAs to do that in terms of its own caucus.
The minister who is responsible for that portfolio, I am sure, can perform that role, and if he can just bridge that gap between the big D Development, which in the past has had mixed blessings in the North, but is something that cannot be ignored in terms of northerners because of the complete lack of jobs in many communities‑‑and the situation is getting tougher all the time‑‑on the one hand, and the dream, the promise that always precedes any dam development, Madam Deputy Speaker, the hopes which are not usually realized. If a percentage of them are, it is an achievement.
I think is what the minister needs to do, what this government needs to do,
what any government would do. If the New
Democratic Party was to form government again, that is what would need to be
the key emphasis, is to make sure that this did not become strictly something
we debate in this Legislature, but whatever happens, if it has a positive
impact in terms of
So with those few remarks on this matter, Madam Deputy Speaker, I know it is still standing in the name of the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) and this debate will continue, but I appreciate the opportunity to put on the record some of the concerns of the many northerners I have talked to, and hope that we can perhaps have a more reasoned debate than we have had up to this point in time, because in many ways I think that is what is needed in the next step.
By the way, I do not envy the government. They are going to have to make some tough choices on Conawapa. They have already had to make some tough choices. It is not straight politics here. We recognize there are some tough choices they have to make, which everyone does in this province, and I look forward to an informed debate in this House on the Hydro development, on our environment, on the North, and the future of our northern aboriginal peoples, and thank the members for their accommodation in trying to give me the opportunity to place some comments on the record.
Madam Deputy Speaker: As previously agreed, this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).
Bill 11‑The Bee-Keepers Repeal Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), second reading on Bill 11 (The Bee‑Keepers Repeal Act), standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).
Some Honourable Members: Pass.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? Stand. (Agreed).
Bill 12‑The Animal Husbandry Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), to resume debate on second reading of Bill 12 (The Animal Husbandry Amendment Act), standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).
Some Honourable Members: Pass, stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? (Agreed).
Bill 14‑The Highways and Transportation Department Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), to resume debate on second reading of Bill 14 (The Highways and Transportation Department Amendment Act), standing in the name of the honourable member for Transcona (Mr. Reid).
Some Honourable Members: Pass.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question? Stand? Is it the will of the House to allow the bill to stand? (Agreed).
Bill 15‑The Highway Traffic Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) to resume debate on second reading of Bill 15 (The Highway Traffic Amendment Act), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton). Stand. Agreed?
An Honourable Member: Agreed.
Bill 20‑The Municipal Assessment Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister
of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) to resume debate on second reading of Bill
20 (The Municipal Assessment Amendment Act), standing in the name of the
honourable member for
An Honourable Member: Agreed.
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) to resume debate on second reading of Bill 38 (The Manitoba Evidence Amendment Act), standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans). Stand. Agreed?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Ten o'clock, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is it the will of the House to call it ten o'clock? Agreed.
Order, please. The hour being 10 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).