Friday, February 28, 1992
The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): It is my duty to inform the House that the Speaker is unavoidably absent and, therefore, in accordance with the statutes, I would call upon the Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Dacquay) to take the Chair.
Ms. Becky Barrett (
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): Madam Deputy Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Wilf Betts, Adele Betts, Paul Danter and others requesting the government show its strong commitment to dealing with child abuse by considering restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign.
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Madam Deputy Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Shannon Walesiak, Cindy Hamlin, Darren Solmundson and others requesting the government show its strong commitment to dealing with child abuse by considering restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): I beg to present the petition of M.L. Taronno, S. Gordon, Val Werier and others requesting the government consider restoring the former full funding of $700,000 to fight Dutch elm disease.
Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): I beg to present the petition of Jean Hunter, Stella LeJohn, Joan Rogers, and others requesting the government consider restoring the former full funding of $700,000 to fight Dutch elm disease.
PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Mr. Bob Rose (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Development): I beg to present the report of the Committee on Economic Development.
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): Your Standing Committee on Economic Development presents the following as their First Report.
Your committee met on Thursday, February
27, 1992, at 10 a.m., in Room 255 of the
Mr. Dale Smeltz, Chairperson, Mr. Ray West, Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Ken Robinson, Vice‑President, Finance, provided such information as was requested with respect to the Auditor's Reports, the Consolidated Financial Statements and the business of A.E. McKenzie Co. Ltd.
Your committee has considered the October 31, 1990 and 1991, Auditor's Reports and Consolidated Financial Statements and the business of A.E. McKenzie Co. Ltd. and has adopted the same as presented.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Mr. Rose: I move, seconded by the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), that the report of the committee be received.
Motion agreed to.
TABLING OF REPORTS
Hon. James Downey
(Minister responsible for The
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs): I am pleased to table the report of The Trade Practices Inquiry Act, and I am pleased to submit the report required under Section 114(4) of The Insurance Act.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill 57‑The Consumer Protection Amendment Act (2)
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): I move, seconded by the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), that Bill 57, The Consumer Protection Amendment Act (2) (Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur la protection du consommateur), be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.
Mr. Maloway: I am very pleased to introduce Bill 57 to deal with a problem in this province with odometer rollbacks in used cars. I am sure that all members in this House will agree that this is both a timely and necessary bill and, over the past week in particular, it became widely known that consumers had been at risk due to the actions of a few unscrupulous salespeople.
This legislation has been requested by the RCMP among others who want more power, both to prosecute those found tampering with odometers of used cars and to make it clear that such activities will not be tolerated in this province.
We know regrettably that the RCMP has said that it is a widespread problem, and it will not go away by wishful thinking.
Point of Order
Hon. James McCrae (Acting Government House Leader): Madam Deputy Speaker, I would hope the honourable member would remember the rule about the introduction of bills that it is not the time for making a speech. It is a time for a very brief description of what the bill is. It has gone beyond that limit already.
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the point of order, I would draw the attention of the House to Rule No. 85. It indeed is a point of order. When a bill is introduced by a member upon motion for leave, the mover of the motion may make such an explanation as will enable the House to understand the purport of the bill, but the explanation is to be brief.
* * *
Mr. Maloway: In conclusion, I would like to encourage all members to support the passage of the bill, and I look forward to the support of quick passage and support from this government.
Motion agreed to.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Madam Deputy Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education and Training.
Madam Deputy Speaker, another 50 teachers face unemployment which is in addition to the 300 positions lost last year and just adds to the 57,000 unemployed in this province. It is ironic that at the awards for exceptional children that I attended the day before yesterday, of the eight divisions receiving awards, more than half are going to have their funding cut absolutely by this government and its formula.
Will the minister acknowledge the
difficulty with the formula, something the former minister would not do, and
the difficulty it is perpetrating on the
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to start by saying that we are very concerned about the quality of education in this province, and that the funding formula which has been instituted was in response to the fact that divisions had felt the previous formula was not working. The previous formula required a lot of patch‑ups, so in the development of this new formula, stakeholders were in fact the ones who sat around the table and did develop it; and, by and large, in this province, it is working.
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): My supplementary question for the Minister of Education and Training, Madam Deputy Speaker: Can the minister indicate in the first 60 days of this formula, which is already a failure in its first 60 days, what the percentage increase is to St. Vital School Division versus the percentage increase to private schools this year?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey
(Minister of Education and Training): Madam
Deputy Speaker, we have not yet announced any funding for independent schools
in this province. I would like to remind
the honourable member that this government has provided a total 3 percent
increase in Education, which looks very good, compared to the 1 percent increase
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Madam Deputy Speaker, my final supplementary to the same minister: Will the minister consider taking some of the millions going to private schools, 11 percent last year and probably 10 percent this year, and channelling that money into the public school system to try to deal with the difficulties incurred by St. Vital, Evergreen, Intermountain and the various school divisions which are suffering under this funding model?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Madam Deputy Speaker, I think it is very important for the member to know that we are working together with school divisions to look at the issues which they are facing at this time.
Cross-Cultural Counselling Unit
Mr. George Hickes (Point
Douglas): Madam Deputy Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard). The Cross‑Cultural Counselling Unit at
This pilot program was funded through the Core Area Initiative for one year, but that funding runs out today. The cross‑cultural unit is now looking for emergency bridge funding of less than $50,000 while they are searching for new budget sources.
My question to the Minister of Health is: Will he provide that bridge funding so that the program can continue to provide community‑based, culturally sensitive mental health services consistent with his government's stated policies?
Hon. Donald Orchard
(Minister of Health): Madam Deputy Speaker, about a year and a half
ago, or maybe it is two years ago now, I had the pleasure of being at
As I stand today, I do not have the
opportunity to provide any more information other than that we (a) are aware of
the problem, and (b) are undertaking discussions with
Mr. Hickes: Will the minister personally meet with the people involved with the program so that he can gain a full understanding of the services that are provided through this innovative program?
Mr. Orchard: Madam Deputy Speaker, I realize there is a danger in having precrafted questions which have to be used, regardless of the first answer. I indicated to my honourable friend from Point Douglas that 18 months ago or two years ago, I do not know exactly the date, I in fact met with a number of the people who were volunteering to provide services in that program. My honourable friends in the opposition want instant solutions to everything.
I have indicated to my honourable friend that earlier this month the department was brought in to this discussion because we were made aware at that time that the Core Area funding would be ending and terminating without any opportunity apparently from Core Area Initiative to continue with this pilot project funding. Those very discussions are ongoing right now without resolution as I stand today.
Mr. Hickes: Madam Deputy Speaker, will the minister live up to the commitments that his government has announced over and over to community‑based mental health services and the provisions of services to new Canadians in their language of origin by committing today to provide funding for the program to continue? Yes or no?
Mr. Orchard: Madam Deputy Speaker, I realize that probably
My honourable friend must appreciate that
the government of
In terms of being brought into the
discussion earlier this month with the funding ending tomorrow, I believe, the
government is attempting to deal with the issue. I do not have a resolution. Madam Deputy Speaker, we have only been working
Conawapa Dam Project
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs
(Leader of the Second Opposition): Madam
Deputy Speaker, yesterday the Finance minister (Mr. Manness) indicated that
change was a fact of life and that the Repap deal was being renegotiated
because of structural change in our midst and changing economic
conditions. Well, when
In light of the government's recognition that things have to be renegotiated in changing times, will the Minister responsible for Hydro now agree and now initiate negotiations with Ontario Hydro with regard to renegotiating the contract on Conawapa?
Hon. James Downey
(Minister of Energy and Mines): Madam
Deputy Speaker, as has been indicated by the Manitoba Public Utilities Board,
the agreement that is signed between Manitoba Hydro and Ontario Hydro is good
for the people of
Repap Manitoba Inc.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): It is obvious that the government is not prepared to take any initiative. They only respond when corporations demand that they take initiatives.
On February 21, Madam Deputy Speaker, a
lawsuit was filed in the Court of Queen's Bench, The Pas, between Hendrickson
Mechanical & Structural Co. Ltd. and
Repap Enterprises Inc. and Repap
Can the minister responsible for the environment tell this House today if a government environmental inspector was on site at the time of the cleanup to, one, ensure that the cleanup was done properly and two, that the government was getting value for the $3‑million bill that it paid?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker, we worked very closely in designing the making sure that it was done correctly and to standards. The second part of the question, yes.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Madam Deputy Speaker, can the Minister of Environment tell the House today if the movement of the Bunker C tanks to a new location was paid for by this government? At the time they were moved, did they have on file a copy of a testing result which showed that the lines going in and out of the tanks not to be leaking?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): No, I cannot answer specifically to that question, Madam Deputy Speaker. It only goes to demonstrate the enormous amount of cleanup that has to be done at that site. The Bunker C for sloppy management practices for the full history of that plant allowed, just simply from sloppy practices, the pollution of an aquifer which we may never be able to clean up.
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Madam Deputy Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Environment.
Last week the government's Sustainable Development initiative was criticized by the Chamber of Commerce as merely a public relations tool. Today I have another Chamber of Commerce report on the government's Waste Reduction and Prevention initiative stating that once again there does not appear to be in place a mechanism whereby targeted materials may be collected, recycled, and the process funded.
My question for the minister is: Will he take action on the confusion surrounding recycling of glass bottles, as this report states, and ensure that recycled glass bottles do not just pile up or end up in landfill sites?
Hon. Glen Cummings
(Minister of Environment): Madam Deputy
Speaker, the member raises a point that is one of very considerable concern to
myself and to this government, because not only is the issue of recycling
important the issue of developing markets to deal with the recyclables. It is only within the last two or three weeks
that we have seen a very severe critique of the blue‑box program in
The concern that we are dealing with‑‑and
we have a program in place where we are waiting to deal with the City of
Ozone Depleting Substances Act
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Will the minister also respond to the criticism in the report that the ozone‑depleting substance regulations are largely symbolic, and immediately strengthen the enforcement mechanism to go along with this act?
Hon. Glen Cummings
(Minister of Environment): Madam Deputy Speaker,
the member is now getting on very thin ice.
The regulations that the
Ms. Cerilli: See how all those refrigerators and air conditioners are going to be collected.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. Please put your question.
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Madam Deputy Speaker, will the government also take action on its own report on the recycling of newspapers to ensure that newspapers are properly recycled and do not also end up in the landfill as we are currently seeing?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Madam Deputy Speaker, newsprint recycling is one of those issues where we keep expecting the price to rise to $60 or $80 a ton just around the corner. Unfortunately, because of the world economy and because of the impacts on demand and the type of print being able to be recycled, we are approaching a real market growth as de‑inking plants come on stream. We expect to see a new de‑inking plant looking for newsprint within a very short period of time.
I put that on the table, Madam Deputy
Speaker, because the ability to recycle newsprint material in this province
will be there and will be in place as soon as we can access the markets. As I
stated earlier, we have a proposal on the table to work with the City of
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Madam Deputy Speaker, a year ago the Minister of Housing (Mr. Ernst) abolished 98 locally controlled housing authorities, fired 600 volunteer board members, and now the axe is about to fall on 195 housing staff who will be laid off.
Can the Minister of Housing tell the House and tell those staff, assure the staff, that the process will be fair and explain why people have to reapply for their own positions?
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Housing): Madam Deputy Speaker, the people of Charleswood elected me to this House to effectively and efficiently manage their affairs and spend their money as efficiently as possible. I think that fact has escaped some of the members opposite in terms of dealing efficiently and effectively with the taxpayers' money.
With respect to the Manitoba Housing Authority, that is exactly what we were doing, spending their money efficiently and effectively, a lot more so than was done in the past. We are not perfect here in this House in terms of those kinds of programs, but we are working toward that, and we intend to continue to work toward that.
Mr. Doug Martindale
(Burrows): Can the Minister of Housing then tell
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Housing): Madam Deputy Speaker, I am not familiar with the exact circumstances of that issue. If the member wants to provide me with the information, I will look into it.
In general terms, Madam Deputy Speaker,
the expectation is that with the realignment and restructuring of the Manitoba
Housing Authority, the taxpayers of
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Ernst: Madam Deputy Speaker, the taxpayers of
Mr. Martindale: Madam Deputy Speaker, paying a contractor $50 to replace a $1.19 fuse is not efficient, is not going to save this government money.
Can the Minister of Housing explain how contractors are going to provide the personal kind of service that staff and former volunteer board members provided? Do you realistically expect that they are going to check on senior citizens, that anyone is going to take responsibility for them, especially in small rural communities?
Mr. Ernst: Madam Deputy Speaker, under the
Health Sciences Centre
Knee and Hip Replacement Surgery
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): Madam Deputy Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.
Patients in need of hip and knee surgery continue to wait for their operations. We have recently heard from a patient who has been confined to a wheelchair for the last year because she is unable to have a knee operation and she needs that operation now.
On January 14, the Minister of Health called his quick response team into action and asked it to investigate the freeze on knee and hip surgery which his department, through Health Sciences, has placed for three months. Madam Deputy Speaker, it is more than 43 days today.
Can the minister tell us why his quick response team has not provided us with a report? If he has a report, can he table that in this House today?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Madam Deputy Speaker, I have the report. I intend to release it Monday pending the receipt of two more pieces of information that I thought would be relevant for the discussion around the report.
Let me correct my honourable friend on one small point. The Health Sciences Centre made the decision to not proceed with any more elective surgery in either hip or knee replacement, not the province. I do not want my honourable friend to leave the wrong impression that we ordered that. That decision was not ordered by the province.
I know that my honourable friend will be aware that already this year, in the first nine months of the year, the Health Sciences Centre had undertaken the same volume of services as they did in the previous 12 months. I am also informed, for my honourable friend's information, that any urgent or emergent replacements of knees or hips are continuing at the Health Sciences Centre.
The specific case my honourable friend referred to, if it was urgent or emergent, could be dealt with.
Mr. Cheema: Madam Deputy Speaker, the decision was by the Health Sciences Centre. I will correct that.
Can the minister tell us why he would not release the report today so that we, as members of this Assembly, can also make a judgment, because the patients are waiting and they are suffering, and it is costing taxpayers more money to keep them in the hospital and in the community?
Mr. Orchard: Madam Deputy Speaker, I indicated to my honourable friend that I hope to be able to release the report on Monday, pending receipt of two additional pieces of information that I requested after having received the report yesterday.
I realize my honourable friend is anxious to have government's response. I will be pleased to provide that for my honourable friend, but I do need two additional pieces of information that I think he, as a critic, would be asking me for. In anticipation of that, I want to be fully informed so that I can more fully inform my honourable friend and Manitobans in terms of the circumstance at the Health Sciences Centre.
Mr. Cheema: Madam Deputy Speaker, can the minister tell us, or assure Manitobans who are waiting for this surgery, as of his initial assessment from the report, can he at least assure us that the surgical procedure will resume as of Monday?
Mr. Orchard: Madam Deputy Speaker, that assurance was given by the Health Sciences Centre in announcing their decision, in that any emergent or urgent surgeries in either hip replacement or knee replacement would be ongoing. My understanding is that those urgent and emergent procedures are ongoing.
As I indicated to my honourable friend in my previous answer, should the circumstance that my honourable friend described be deemed urgent or emergent, that surgical procedure could be undertaken today.
Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (
Can the Minister of Housing explain why he
has decided to move the office to Roblin and how he expects to adequately meet
the needs of approximately 200 housing units in the
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister
of Housing): Madam Deputy Speaker, the question of
districts for the Manitoba Housing Authority was looked at long and hard. In the
In doing that, there are about 600 units
overall in that
Ms. Wowchuk: Roblin also seems to be located in an area that has an imaginary line around it for appointments and jobs.
Can the Minister of Housing tell this
House how many jobs will be lost in rural
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Mr. Ernst: Madam Deputy Speaker, there were 98 housing
authorities in the
When you look at the fact that, in the
case of the Parkland West region,
Ms. Wowchuk: In light of the hardship of this decision,
the hardship which has been caused to the community of
Mr. Ernst: Madam Deputy Speaker, as I have indicated to the member today, several days ago, in correspondence over a past period time, the rationale for locating the office where it is proposed to be located is extremely reasonable and the most efficient location within that district.
Confiscated Liquor Disposal
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): Madam Deputy Speaker, over the last few years, the amount of liquor that is being confiscated by police forces in the province has increased dramatically. I have learned that the RCMP are about to pour some $25,000 worth of confiscated liquor down the drain.
I want to ask the minister responsible for the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (Mrs. McIntosh), can she tell this House how much confiscated liquor and beer, the value of that liquor and beer in total, is being poured down the drain? How many taxpayers' dollars are being wasted by this current practice?
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister charged with the administration of The Liquor Control Act): Madam Deputy Speaker, I will take that question as advisement, check the figures, and get back to the member.
Liquor Control Act
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): There is another problem which police forces have been raising with the minister for many months. Madam Deputy Speaker, my question is, given that this minister has the right, under Section 147 of The Liquor Control Act, to resell confiscated liquor, will this minister explain to the House why she is allowing hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue from booze poured down the drain disappear through this government's fingers? Is that efficiency?
Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I think the question is more an evidentiary matter, and not a matter for the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh). I, too, will obtain some information about this, and inform the honourable member.
Point of Order
Mr. Storie: Madam Deputy Speaker, the minister responsible for the Liquor Commission (Mrs. McIntosh) unquestionably has the authority to resell unopened confiscated liquor. It is not an evidentiary matter at all. It is a matter of government policy. Are they going to allow hundreds of thousands of dollars to be poured down the drain when they could resell this unopened liquor? That is the question. It is not an evidentiary question at all.
Madam Deputy Speaker: The honourable member for Flin Flon does not have a point of order. The question was directed to the government, and the government may indeed decide which minister shall respond to the question.
* * *
Mr. Storie: Madam Deputy Speaker, for the third time in a week this minister has refused to respond‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. Does the honourable member for Flin Flon have a final supplementary question?
Mr. Storie: My question is to the minister responsible for
Given that she has the power, will this
minister now put in place a policy that will collect revenue for the
Mr. McCrae: Madam Deputy Speaker, we will ascertain if indeed, as the honourable member suggests, ministers of this government do have such powers. That is not acknowledged by me today, but we will look into the matter.
Dutch Elm Disease
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs
(Leader of the Second Opposition): Madam
Deputy Speaker, earlier this morning I presented, along with the representative
for Wolseley, a petition with respect to the funding for Dutch elm disease and
the restoration of that funding. Two
backbenchers, the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) and the member for
I would like to ask the First
Minister: Is this the policy of the
government of the
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Without accepting any of the preamble of the question from the Leader of the Liberal Party, obviously the program has been in place to cut up and remove diseased trees, trees that are already diseased and dying. I will look into the matter and have the matter responded to by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), under whose jurisdiction it does come so that he can engage in a full discussion with the Leader of the Opposition.
I would say, Madam Deputy Speaker, that this is an area in which the Leader of the Opposition should be debating the issue when Estimates are brought forward on the expenditures of this province, so that she can debate the authorities and the various rationales that are presented with respect to Dutch elm disease and the money that is spent on the removal of diseased trees.
Mrs. Carstairs: Madam Deputy Speaker, would the First Minister tell us if he is in agreement with his colleagues on his back bench that the money spent on Dutch elm disease is a lost cause?
Mr. Filmon: Madam Deputy Speaker, as I said earlier, I accept none of the preamble of what the Leader of the Liberal Party has said.
Mrs. Carstairs: Madam Deputy Speaker, will the First Minister
undertake to have discussions with the members for Emerson (Mr. Penner) and
Mr. Filmon: Madam Deputy Speaker, last time she said it was a lost cause; then she says it is a waste of money. She changes her story every time she stands up.
I invite the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) to debate this issue in Estimates of the Department of Natural Resources where she can obtain, from the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), all of the rationale and all of the explanation as to what money is being spent with respect to Dutch elm disease.
Impact Cultural Programs
Ms. Jean Friesen
(Wolseley): Madam Deputy Speaker, the recent federal
budget proposed many cuts which are going to affect Manitobans. Amongst these are the Cultural Industries
Development Fund, cut by $600,000; Telecom
I would like to ask the Minister of
Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson), before she threw her
support behind this Mulroney budget, did she determine the impact of these
severe cuts on the
Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson
(Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship): Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to make it
abundantly clear in this House today that this government has supported our
cultural industries in a very major and significant way. We will continue to support our cultural
industries and our cultural institutions in the
Ms. Friesen: Madam Deputy Speaker, to the same minister, I
would like to ask: Has she determined
the impact for
Mrs. Mitchelson: Madam Deputy Speaker, we will, over a period of time, be analyzing the impacts of what the federal budget has done to culture in our province. As I indicated in my first answer, our commitment is strong. We believe and support our cultural industries. We believe and support our cultural institutions and we will continue to do so.
Property Rights Proposal
Ms. Jean Friesen
(Wolseley): Has the minister asked for a legal opinion on
the implication for
Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship): I will bring information back. I have not asked for a legal opinion, but I will get information and bring that back to the House.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.
Mr. Gerry McAlpine (Sturgeon Creek): May I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Madam Deputy Speaker: Does the honourable member for Sturgeon Creek have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? Leave has been granted.
Mr. McAlpine: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise today to express
my sincere congratulations to a student who attends
Danny was awarded for his progress in independent living skills. This progress in life skills has not come easy for Danny who has had a series of illnesses including a stroke, triple bypass surgery, or any of the other children in special needs programs across this province. Each day these children face challenges, and I am pleased that the Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children recognizes their outstanding achievements.
As the MLA for this area, I am truly proud of him and the other students and wish to congratulate them for their strengths and courage in facing their daily challenges. Congratulations also must go to the teachers who work so diligently and the parents for patiently dealing with these exceptional children. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. James McCrae (Acting Government House Leader): Would you be so kind as to call firstly, Bill 38 on page 4 of the Order Paper today and the remainder of the debate on second readings as listed on the Order Paper. Thank you.
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; Loi modifiant
la Loi sur la preuve au
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to see this legislation before the House. We have wanted some reforms to The Evidence Act in prior years, both with respect to witnesses under the age of 14, as well as with respect to those who have been in the past, I think, in some cases, unreasonably denied the ability to testify in court because of a mental handicap.
Madam Deputy Speaker, in that vein I am pleased to see this legislation. Let me say at the outset that our party looks forward to this going to the committee stage and having a full and frank discussion of the particulars. It is not a long bill, but as I have said with others, I think it is significant, and I think it is an important step forward.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I think as one and there are a few, perhaps not that many, but a few of us here who do spend quite a bit of time in court, I can tell you that in my view, the better course of action is to allow the judge of the day to decide the weight of the evidence, rather than to not hear the evidence at all. I think that to deny someone the ability to testify simply and solely based on age is unduly restrictive.
Of course, in child abuse cases and other cases like that, it is particularly important to have the evidence before the court. Now that does not of course prohibit defence counsel or opposing counsel in any given case from attacking the weight that is to be attached to that evidence. That is fair game to expose that someone testifying maybe does not know the full import of the oath that they take before they testify. That is fair, but to say that the evidence cannot be heard at all, it does I believe provide a carte blanche restriction of the evidence before the court which is not always reasonable and I think not always in the best interest of justice.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I do have some concern which I want to draw to the minister's attention, and that is with the indication that the proposed Section 24(5) which indicates that the burden of proving that there is an issue as to the capacity of the underaged person or the mentally compromised person, the burden falls on the party that challenges that. I am not sure that is appropriate. I look forward to some discussion on that point in the committee.
It strikes me, and the general rule of evidence is that he who puts the evidence forward has the burden of proving that this evidence is coming from a competent witness. It is up to the party putting the evidence forward to prove that. This shifting of the burden, shifting of the onus, I have some concern about. I do agree that we should pull back from the restrictive nature of the exclusions, the evidentiary exclusions, and that is what is being achieved here.
With respect to the shifting of the burden, I must say I do have some concern about that. That is really my only concern with this legislation, but I would like a full and frank discussion at the committee stage on the shifting of the burden which is the last section of this act, Section 24(5), because my concern is that the party that would challenge will not have sufficient or adequate evidence or as much evidence as the party that is putting forward the evidence, and rightly so in the normal course.
As I have said, the party that puts the evidence forward has the burden of showing that he who testifies is competent to testify. I do not know the particular reason that the minister is shifting the burden in this case, but I look forward to his explanation at committee stage.
Madam Deputy Speaker, with that caveat on our approval of this bill going forward to committee, we welcome this lessening of the standards for testimony from witnesses under the age of 14 and those who may be mentally compromised.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question? The question before the House is second reading of Bill 38. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Agreed? Agreed and so ordered.
Bill 6‑The Denturists Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable
Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), second reading of Bill 6 (The Denturists Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les denturologistes),
standing in the name of the honourable member for
Is it the will of the House to permit the bill to remain standing?
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Leave has been granted.
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): Madam Deputy Speaker, on this Bill 6, which is a very straightforward bill, and in principle we support this bill, I think this will bring the regulation of the denturists into line with other health care professionals. We consider it a progressive step.
The minister has told us that he has the assurance from both the associations, and they are in support of this move. We believe that the partnership between the health care professionals and the Legislative Assembly will help not only the professional community, but the interests of all Manitobans. In fact, the minister is removing himself from the authority which is in line with all professional bodies. I think that will help in the long run.
What we would like to see at the committee stage are any questions or any further suggestions from the association so we can improve the bill. I will just end my remarks saying that we will let it go to the committee stage, and we will be open for any comments. In principle, we support this bill.
Madam Deputy Speaker: As previously agreed, this bill will remain
standing in the name of the honourable member for
Bill 9‑The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable First Minister (Mr. Filmon), to resume debate on second reading of Bill 9 (The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act; Loi sur le Conseil de l'innovation economique et de la technologie), standing in the name of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? Is it the will of the House to permit the bill to remain standing? Leave?
An Honourable Member: Leave.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Leave has been granted.
Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin): Madam Deputy Speaker, I wish to put a few remarks on the record on Bill 9, The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act. [interjection] The Highways minister made a remark. I say that maybe he wants to offer that advice and warning to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) when he is speaking, as opposed to myself.
In any event, Madam Deputy Speaker, The
Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act seems quite clear from our point
of view. It seems quite clear that the
First Minister, the Premier (Mr. Filmon) is engaging here along with the many
other activities of his government with more window dressing, more PR to leave
the impression, to create an aberration that in fact the government is
innovative and is doing something innovative to create jobs and to ensure that
We believe that in fact this is just what I said, an attempt to leave the impression that the government is doing something, and it is simply a reshuffling of dollars, and as a matter of fact cutting of dollars for research at the same time. Really, there is nothing substantive.
My speech today will attempt to determine and to demonstrate, I should say that point, that in fact this is little more than window dressing. It is being done for the purposes of creating an illusion that something substantive is taking place in the area of innovation and technology in this province when in fact it is not taking place at all.
I think we can look, first of all when we make this supposition, this assertion that in fact the government is creating an aberration. If we look at the issue of sustainable development, the issue of sustainable development was one of the major so‑called initiatives of this government, and it has been basically a shell, a shell game. There has not been a lot taking place under sustainable development. Even the government's friends in the Chamber of Commerce say that there is nothing happening, that it is a PR game. In fact we agree, that the government has talked a lot about sustainable development and done little, so their track record is demonstrated there probably as good as any place.
The water management initiative that they talked about, they sent out all kinds of fancy brochures and papers about the water management initiative that they were going to undertake. In fact, it has just petered right out. We do not hear anything more, no substantive action. Nothing has happened with the water management and conservation initiative. Again, the track record is consistent there with the sustainable development so‑called initiative.
Madam Deputy Speaker, we can look at the rural economic development of cabinet, that committee, the Rural Economic Development Committee of cabinet was allegedly set up to stimulate economic development in rural areas and create opportunities for economic development in rural areas. In fact that did not take place. Nothing happened as a result of that committee of cabinet in the economic development.
While it was much touted, the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) announced this Rural Economic Development Committee of cabinet in the first couple of months that the government was in place after 1988. It had all the rural ministers on this committee. Nothing happened. We did not see any results from that committee. They did not present any reports to the Legislature. When questioned during Estimates, nothing was forthcoming from the ministers as to what in fact they were doing on that committee, if anything, for rural economic development. They are again, consistent with the assertion that I am making today, that this is nothing more than a PR effort by the government insofar as innovation and technology.
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Plohman: Madam Deputy Speaker, there are a lot of meetings taking place, one significant one is taking place while I am attempting to make my very important points on this bill. I would ask your assistance in that matter.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. May I please ask all honourable members to engage in their private conversations either outside the Chamber or in the designated loges.
Mr. Plohman: Madam Deputy Speaker, I very much appreciate your intervention there to assist in bringing some order to this House. It was very timely.
I want to go on with the contention and the assertion that I am making here that the government is doing little more than PR with this Bill 9. I have demonstrated in the remarks that I have made so far that the examples I have given with sustainable development, with the rural economic development of cabinet, the water management so‑called initiative, that in fact the government has been engaged in a lot of PR activity to create an illusion that something is happening.
They have also demonstrated that they are
not committed to major economic development initiatives in rural
There again, we see the evidence that this
government is not committed to economic development in the rural areas and is
creating an illusion with this bill that they are going to be at the forefront
of technology and innovation in this province. They also demonstrated that lack
of commitment by their cutback at the
The Manitoba Research Council, which in
fact is being restructured now to be called the Economic Innovation and
Technology Council, was cut back in the previous year, 1990, by some
$700,000. The year ending 1991, that is
last year, pardon me, the current year, it was $2,714,000. It was cut back for
the 1991 fiscal year ending March 31, 1991 to $2 million, so there was a
$700,000 cut, an extremely significant cut in the Manitoba Research Council
before undertaking this act now to destroy the Manitoba Research Council
completely and to replace it with the Innovation and Technology Council, which
of course as we are saying is merely window dressing to leave the impression
with the people and the public of
As well, the Information Technology Branch and program in the Department of Industry and Trade was cut back significantly in the 1991 year as well, a 10 percent cut in Information Technology under Industry, Trade and Tourism for the 1991 year, so again, major reductions there.
Technology‑‑we are talking about technology and innovation here. There have been cutbacks in those areas in the last couple of years by his government, so we fail to see that there is any consistency in their approach, any genuine desire to expand the activities of the government in this area. We are very suspicious that indeed they intend to do anything with this Innovation Council, which is being set up by way of this act, other than to create the illusion that I have talked about.
We see the results of this government's
inaction as well with 57,000 people unemployed, record numbers, Madam Deputy
Speaker, in this province‑‑57,000 people unemployed, a 13‑percent
reduction in 1990 over '89 in manufacturing shipments‑‑a 13‑percent
reduction in manufacturing shipments.
Thousands of jobs have been lost in
In many areas they distanced themselves
from the federal government. They said,
well, we are not like those guys. That
is not us. We are Manitoba PCs. We are not part of this Mulroney bunch that
is so insensitive. We are kind of
special here in
In the area of free trade, they did not worry about distancing themselves. This was obviously the right policy by Conservatives, and they supported the Free Trade Agreement. The information, which has come in over the last couple of years since free trade was implemented on January 1, 1989, now we are three years into it, shows that in fact free trade has been worse to us than ever imagined in terms of jobs and in terms of its impact on our economy.
Insofar as jobs lost,
I would think the Minister of Health (Mr.
Orchard) would stand up and he would say, you know, I wish to apologize to the
opposition for supporting that Free Trade Agreement. I realize I was wrong. I realize that you were right on this side of
the House. Now I want to set the record
straight and let my constituents know that I no longer will be an advocate of
the Free Trade Agreement. The evidence
has been presented. I agree with it. It is bad for
We see that 435,000 well‑paid
manufacturing jobs lost. We also see
that manufacturing employment in
Insofar as the economy, since the Free
Trade Agreement, some may say it is a coincidence, but I would say the evidence
is clear that the Free Trade Agreement has contributed to the recession, the
deepest recession, high interest costs and the deepest recession, most severe
in the past 50 years in this country, and a massive shutdown of the
manufacturing sector as more and more firms transfer their operations to the
In 1988, the last year before the agreement was signed, investment rose 24.7 percent. During 1989, it rose by only 5 percent. That was the first year of the Free Trade Agreement. These are figures that the members of the Conservative caucus and cabinet should really be listening to, when you consider that investment in 1988 rose by 24.7 percent in manufacturing, and during 1989, it rose only by 5 percent, and in 1990, it declined by 2.3 percent, and it is expected to decline in 1991, once we get the figures, a further 6 percent to 10 percent, when these figures are known. That is the devastating legacy of the Free Trade Agreement.
When these members of this government
continue to support the Free Trade Agreement, they are doing so knowing that
they are supporting a policy that has dramatically hurt the Canadian economy
and particularly the
The members opposite like to talk about
The government here is a mirror image of
their federal counterparts. In 1984, the
National Research Council building was under construction in
At that particular time, the government
came in and said, no, the private sector is going to do all the research; we do
not think there is a role there for the federal government. They went ahead, completed the construction,
with great reluctance, of the National Research Council building in
It has been a failure, because the
government did not have the commitment to research in the public sector which
is absolutely necessary in this country, especially at this time and age where
patent protection is ensuring that private companies are going to be able to
develop certain processes and products and then keep a monopoly on them for so long
and make huge profits on those products recovering by many times‑fold
their research costs, so it is important to have the public sector involved,
and yet the government of
We say this is a PR exercise, this particular act. There is no doubt about it. Let us look at the duties of the Innovation and Technology Council to see in fact whether that bears out our contention that this is a PR exercise or whether in fact there is something substantive that is going to be done by this new council.
We look at the government news release that was put out on November 8 when the Premier announced this. He went through a number of things, the committee of cabinet and the Economic Development Secretariat, all part of this illusion that they are creating, that there is something going on. Then they went to the economic innovation development council and described what the objectives are going to be, the objects of this new council and what it was going to be doing.
If you look at it, there is nothing there that is going to provide any substantive action. The new Innovation and Technology Council will provide a forum for consultation and dialogue, a forum, more talk. That is one of the functions of this new council, not action oriented and testing and research that will actually result in new products, but they are going to act as a forum. They are going to recommend a course for action. It is kind of a study, a think‑tank here as opposed to something that was going to actually undertake substantive work in research.
They are going to sponsor personal
exchanges and recommend means for encouraging private‑sector investment,
much like the federal government said was going to take place in 1984 when they
reluctantly completed the construction on the National Research Council
The description of the work that is going
to be undertaken by this new council bears out what I have been saying and that
is this is little more than a PR exercise, an effort to create an illusion of
something taking place in technology innovation by this government, nothing
substantive. I think undoubtedly we will
see more as a result of this inaction by this government as a result of this
simple PR effort on their part, more of the same kind of failures that this
government has provided us with over the last couple of years. Even as late as yesterday with the SEA Inc.
There is massive confusion in the
department. They do not know what kinds
of things could be available. On the one
hand, they say the government will not get involved in joint ventures, then
they take 24 percent of the ownership of Linnet Graphics, so they were in fact
deviating from that principle. There is
a confusing message being sent out there to potential investors and creators of
jobs in this province. Yesterday, we saw
that in fact this opportunity for 200 jobs in
We saw a similar response from them with
regard to the Piper aircraft issue, too little too late to get into the whole
area, much later than other provinces had initiated some contacts with
Piper. In fact, they are perhaps the
last ones in, with very little chance of achieving any kind of successful
endeavour here in the
I can say that the town of
The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) realizes that what I am saying is absolutely correct, that his colleague has fumbled the ball, and that perhaps as he sat around the cabinet table he contributed to that fumbling. Now he is upset that I would even raise it here. We do not want to talk about those kinds of things, the failures of this government. That is not nice to talk about. We should talk about the successes; but, unfortunately, Madam Deputy Speaker, if I was going to talk about the successes of this government, I would not have more than five minutes, maybe a two‑minute speech. That would be about it and obviously a very short list.
An Honourable Member: Talk about Tupperware.
Mr. Plohman: Tupperware, and the Minister of Health's Tupperware in Morden is one casualty. My Leader has pointed out the fact that the Minister of Health lost the Tupperware plant with all of the jobs that were created there when that firm moved into the Morden area, that that has been lost as a casualty of the Free Trade Agreement. The Minister of Health is very silent on that side of it, because he knows that he, in supporting the Free Trade Agreement, was working precisely against his own constituents and the people who were employed at the Tupperware plant.
We see the failures of this government in
attracting new industry, and we see the failures insofar as business that has
been lost to
What is really happening in the whole area of food processing and agriculture products processing in this province? Where is this government taking and showing initiatives? What is taking place here, other than window dressing and setting up this new technology council, innovations council that they talk about?
Have we seen any movement, any success in the whole area of rough fish processing, for example, a tremendous opportunity because we produce so much rough fish in this province, commonly known as mullet or sucker or carp. A few of those species can be prepared in such a way that they are a very tasty product and yet this has not materialized. It is because the government is cutting back in funding. In 1990, they cut back by $700,000 in the Research Council. Now they are replacing the Research Council with a technology and innovation council. It is just playing around with names, create an illusion that something is happening.
The Minister of Environment (Mr.
Cummings), the member for Ste. Rose, knows that the Eddystone fish processing
was one initiative that had been on the books for some time. Testing was going on at the Research
Council. Nothing has taken place
lately. I have not heard a thing about
any developments here. Where is that minister now and this government following
through to ensure that the rough fish in Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba
have a market, that there is an opportunity to sell this for human consumption,
not only for cat food and for other food that might be sent to
There is a tremendous market if the product is developed. I have tasted it. I have eaten that. I have canned rough fish myself, and it is very much like salmon. It can be used in sandwiches‑‑excellent tasting. There are patties [interjection] yes, that can be made, fish patties from sucker and mullet as well, excellent products‑‑
An Honourable Member: How about carp?
Mr. Plohman: And carp. Before they were cut off at the knees, the other thing the Parkland Regional Development Corporation had been working on was the tanning of the skins of these fish. They make excellent exotic leathers, just like snake skins and crocodile skins that could be used for fancy belts and purses and shoes and so on, a tremendous product. I have seen it. There is a tremendous opportunity there.
There could be total utilization of these fish. They even use the waste products for enzyme production. The whole fish could be used, but this government has not followed up in this area of research where there could be a huge number of jobs. [interjection]
The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) makes light of this issue, but he knows, if he has read any of the information or talked with the people involved, that in fact there is a tremendous opportunity for job creation in rural areas around our lakes where we produce so much of this fish but do not have a market for it at the present time. Why is this government not moving?
Now he is going to blame it on the previous government. I mean, that is getting a bit tired. We are talking here four years that he has been in government now. Man, time flies, does it not‑‑four years and this minister has dropped the ball, fumbled the ball on that along with his colleagues. [interjection]
Yes, indeed we were moving forward in government. This government dropped it and discontinued any further research. Where is it? Let them stand and defend their action on fish processing in this province since 1988, in the last four years. Let them stand and defend it. I would like to get a progress report from the Minister of Environment and the member for Ste. Rose du Lac (Mr. Cummings) who has those lakes adjacent to his constituency, the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) who likes to talk about how great they have been doing.
There is the issue of alfalfa processing
in the Interlake area, one of the major requirements. In the
Why is this government not moving ahead quickly to provide those opportunities, to work in concert with those communities, so in fact those developments can take place if they are really interested in economic development in our rural areas, in research and innovation? They have a bill here that talks about innovation, technology, but they are not taking action.
I say it is window dressing, it is PR, it is creating an illusion hopefully to get them past the next election. That is all they want to do is create an illusion, like they did with sustainable development, but it is petering out before they even get to the election. People have now recognized what it is and called it what it is. The same with the water management strategy that they talked about, the same with the Rural Economic Development Committee of cabinet which went nowhere.
The Premier (Mr. Filmon) has been
announcing various, what he calls, initiatives for the last four years, and
then when nothing happens, he announces another one. He takes that inaction right into the next
little carcass that is sitting there, and he says, now these guys are going to
do something. It goes from one to
another, musical chairs, nothing happening‑‑[interjection] Yes,
things were happening. The Information
Technology Branch of the department was set up when we were in government. There were tremendous things happening in
This Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) knows he has presided over the worst disaster in agriculture in this province in the history since the Dirty Thirties, so he has nothing to be proud about either insofar as his initiatives in the area of agriculture. He does say that we should not talk about that anymore. Let us not talk about that anymore; it is all rosy in the future. We shall see how rosy it is, and we have it on the record the minister is predicting all kinds of things at this time. We will see, and we will also find out from this minister whether that kind of statement of encouragement is sufficient for those people facing foreclosure and bankruptcy, facing quitclaim.
The members who are sitting around bragging about GRIP should know, if they had been out there, that in fact people are very concerned about the inequities in GRIP. They need major changes to GRIP. They are not saying throw it out completely. They are saying we need improvements and changes. The minister knows that.
He knows he was wrong on many counts, but he has not told you people that. He has not told his colleagues that he was wrong on a number of areas in GRIP, because he does not admit his mistakes. He just has a policy, you do not admit that you made a mistake with regard to GRIP or NISA or whatever it might have been. So we know that he is going to try, hopefully quietly bring in these now and say, yes, minor little improvements needed here. Meanwhile his colleagues are going to think that he made a perfect program in the first place because they are insulated from those complaints. We know they are there, the minister knows they are there and we hope it will be improved.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I deviate somewhat from this bill. I have been talking about processing and innovation and technology. In agriculture it is a very important part of our future in terms of new products, processing and processes that can be developed. We are hoping that this minister‑‑and we will see in the next budget whether there is a major increase in research spending by this government, because in fact the public sector must lead the way in that area. They cannot leave it all to the private sector.
With the patent protection, as I said earlier, that they have now given to them by Conservatives, they will continue to rake off profits far beyond their development costs, far beyond what is reasonable and rational.
An Honourable Member: Do you believe in a partnership?
Mr. Plohman: Yes, we believe in partnerships and joint
ventures. That is what we want this
government to initiate, because right now, as we saw with the SEA Inc. in
Let us hope that they are developing it now. Let us hope that they have learned and that in fact this innovations council and this research council will in fact be something substantive rather than just another hollow shell so that the government can say, yes, we are doing something‑‑a PR exercise, an illusion. Let us hope that is more than that. We will be watching very carefully, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Thank you very much.
Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): Madam Deputy Speaker, may I have leave to make a committee change?
Madam Deputy Speaker: Does the honourable member for Point Douglas have leave to make committee changes? Leave has been granted.
Mr. Hickes: I move, seconded by the member for Dauphin
(Mr. Plohman), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments
be amended as follows:
Motion agreed to.
* * *
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Madam Deputy Speaker, it is an honour to speak on legislation before this Chamber, Bill 9, The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act.
I guess it is fitting that I have the
opportunity to speak on this bill today during this period this week when one
recognizes the fact that a federal budget was produced by the Conservative
government, their eighth budget, and we see the Conservatives, unlike their
position in the 1990 election now where they were bashing the federal
Conservative government and quite accurately pointing out the inadequacies of
the federal Conservative government, doing a hallelujah chorus to the Mulroney
government and their economic vision of this country without any recognition of
the devastation that the economic policies of the Conservative government have
The hallelujah chorus was loud and strong from ministers opposite in Question Period on Wednesday because, Madam Deputy Speaker, in spite of all their public relations electioneering, the smiling person in the canoe, when you come right down to it, the members opposite are all sizzle and no steak when it comes to the economy and they are ideological Conservatives when you scratch the surface. It is very clear again with this bill and their policies and articulations of this last week.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the Conservatives
have introduced a bill with the usual fanfare that has brought us previous
bills in the past of totally a public relations content without any substance
at all in terms of what it means for the
The Attorney General wants to continue to defend‑‑the second largest cutback in any of the budget lines last year was in the education ACCESS programs in the university section of the budget.
I know facts do not mean anything to Conservatives, but they are important to Manitobans. I would suggest to members opposite the more and more they get bunkered in this Chamber and the more and more they feel they are under siege, the more and more they are losing touch with the people of Manitoba and the more and more they should be calling an election to get back in touch with the real people of this province. Perhaps they can get in touch by a good healthy term in opposition again, because they have certainly lost any vision and any innovation and any technological development that would go with the government‑in‑waiting. They have become tired before their time. They have become stale before any other government in the history of this province, and it shows every day with their lashing out at people in the hallways and in this Chamber. They are a stale, tired government that only can produce public relations gestures in forms of bills that are sponsored by the Premier (Mr. Filmon).
Madam Deputy Speaker, this is very
consistent with their Conservative cousins in
Madam Deputy Speaker, the federal Conservatives, supported by their cousins opposite, went out with that message in the 1984 election and defeated overwhelmingly the discredited Liberals because they got soft and out of touch with the people and they were not taking Canada into the next century. Many people believed that Canada had to become more and more relevant in a technological way and that we had to invest more and more in innovation and technology to be competitive on a changing world environment.
Madam Deputy Speaker, at the time the Conservatives came into office in 1984, the research and development grants, the amount of money spent on research and development in Canada, was quite a bit lower than the United States, quite a bit lower than the Japanese, quite a bit lower than the West Germans. The government promised to change that equation, but in every successive Conservative budget the Conservative governments reduced dramatically the level of support to research and development.
Now, as we look in 1992 in Canada, the eighth budget, that the members opposite sang the hallelujah chorus to this week, produced by the Mulroney government, the level of percent of spending in research and development as a percentage of the GDP is less than when they came into office in 1984 and less than what they criticized the Liberals in terms of their record under the Trudeau‑Turner government that was defeated overwhelmingly in 1984. Nineteen ninety‑two again represented cuts to the science council, cuts to the economic council, 22 independent agencies, some of which produced independent innovative advice was cut by the federal Conservative governments and applauded by members opposite with their answers in this Chamber on Wednesday. This is a very similar pattern‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Doer: I wish members opposite would solve the
Madam Deputy Speaker, getting back to the
research and development record of the Conservative government in
Madam Deputy Speaker, what is the record
of the Conservative government opposite?
In the last budget, we saw major cutbacks in the Research Council of
Manitoba. The decisions these people
make are absolutely opposite to the rhetoric they give us in this House. It is very similar to the Mulroney government‑‑say
one thing and do another; smile in a canoe and then cut back everywhere in
It is the record of this government now,
and it is starting to come through to Manitobans. That is why they are discredited, that is why
they are sitting in the bunker, that is why they are losing touch with the
people. They cut back in Industry, Trade
and Tourism. They cut back the grant by
10 percent in the last budget. Do they
want Manitobans to work smarter? No,
they cut it back. They also cut back
$700,000 to the Manitoba Research Council, a council that provides
technological infrastructure to
You know, the Latins used to say, and the
member for west
Madam Deputy Speaker, this is very similar to another bill we had in this House, the Environmental Innovation Fund. We said then‑‑in fact, it was the same member, the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), that quite accurately pointed out, point by point by point, how this bill was only a public relations gesture. He pointed that out chapter and verse. If you go back in Hansard, he pointed it out very specifically how there was no necessity to produce this bill, and it was only an attempt to get a headline, a successful attempt I might add, because it did get a headline in the papers. It was only an attempt to get a headline, not an attempt to do anything innovative on the environment.
Madam Deputy Speaker, members opposite
said, no, no, this is not public relations; this is really innovation. You know what happened? We got a copy leaked to us, written by Mike
Bessey, the member for
So who was right? The member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) supported by the Conservative Premier's (Mr. Filmon) own advisors, Mr. Bessey, or the government opposite who was giving us wind and, as John Diefenbaker said, wind and rabbit tracks but nothing more? Smoke and mirrors, wind and rabbit tracks, all the old traditional sayings from old traditional Conservatives about PR versus reality.
It is too bad members opposite whose
parents, relatives and friends were very supportive of John Diefenbaker do not
remember some of the words of John Diefenbaker, because they would not be
bringing in public relations puffery after they have cut back on technological
innovation in the province of Manitoba.
They would not try to foist that kind of hypocrisy on the people of
Madam Deputy Speaker, this is very similar to the environmental bill, but if it was not just Mike Bessey being critical of the government and their innovation funds and their environmental policies, and if it was not just the NDP, what happened last week? Their friends in the Chamber of Commerce came out and said, the round table chaired by the Premier (Mr. Filmon) is nothing more than a public relations exercise that lacks any credibility at all.
Again, today, the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) pointed out in another document from the Chamber of Commerce that all the government's action is wind and rabbit tracks. Again, there is no substance to them, there is no reality to them.
Why do I mention the round table in connection to this bill? I mention it, Madam Deputy Speaker, because anytime you see the words of the Premier attached to anything that says innovation, you will find eventually an analysis that the innovation is not really an innovation, it is only public relations, nothing more and nothing more for substance in this Chamber.
The Premier (Mr. Filmon) introduces a bill
just like he chairs the round table, and what we see is, again, blue ribbons,
blue whistles and no substance for the people of
I think back, Madam Deputy Speaker, to past premiers and what they would think of a premier that was just putting in hocus‑pocus in the name of a bill after he cut back the Research Council, and I say, shame on the legacy and the Office of Premier coming from members opposite that they would trivialize such an important issue of technological innovation.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the government's
technological and innovation record is well known to the people of
The private sector revenue is reduced by
45 percent in their own budget, a disaster, the worst record in
What do the members opposite give us? They give us a press release creating an economic council chaired by the Premier, an economic council, again, that is just a public relations exercise, Madam Deputy Speaker, because I will go over a couple of specific examples of where this economic council has been, nowhere to help the people of Manitoba, including the community of Portage la Prairie.
Madam Deputy Speaker, 51 percent increase
in welfare‑‑the highest number of increase is 51 percent in the
Let us look at specific projects in terms of innovation that is available on the benches opposite. I mean, if we could see the removal of cobwebs from some of the ministers' offices, that would be a great enough innovation for us, Madam Deputy Speaker, because there are too many people sitting back on their plush velvet seats over there, and no initiative at all going on in terms of developing the economy of this province. [interjection] Actually, they were a long time ago. [interjection]
The member for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae)
makes his comment. What is the increase in unemployment in the Westman
region? What is the increase in
I know the member for Brandon West is
getting a little exercised, and I would too, because the people from Brandon
West are starting to recognize the dismal economic record of the Conservative
Party, and the absolute inaction of the
Madam Deputy Speaker, I can see I have the attention from the member for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae), and he should be nervous. He should stay in this Chamber and worry about his seat, because Sherry Decter‑Hirst is coming after the member for Brandon West, and I am confident she is going to defeat him, based on the economic record of the Conservative government in the next election whenever the government has the courage to call an election in this province.
Let me talk for a moment about some specific projects. What better place to start than the Repap Corporation? What kind of economic capability do we see opposite‑‑and I address this to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) and the Premier (Mr. Filmon), what kind of economic forecasting do we see available on the Conservative benches? Perhaps, there has been too many people who have inherited money and not worked for it. What kind of forecasting do we see from members opposite? If anybody takes offence from that, it was not a serious comment; I withdraw it. I withdraw it; I saw some people coming right out of their chairs. I do not want that to happen.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the Repap
Corporation, we signed a deal‑‑well, it is like a Monty Python
skit, is it not? Remember that skit, you
were lucky, Linda. I was born in a shoe
box. Let us get back to the topic. The Repap Corporation‑‑remember
John Turner and Brian Mulroney arguing about who came from more humble
upbringings in the '84 election? I drove
a truck, said Brian Mulroney. John Turner
said, oh, that is nothing; you were lucky.
I was in
Madam Deputy Speaker, let us look at the economic forecasting ability of members opposite. [interjection] I have no sad stories to tell, I am sorry. I never danced with Princess Anne like John Turner.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the Repap Corporation‑‑and this is a very important point. The Repap Corporation, besides all the disagreement we have had with members opposite, really points out a deficiency in the government's capacity to understand and predict future markets. We were saying from Day One that there would not be a market for bleached products, because the whole world was changing and therefore the whole marketplace would be changing. There was a greater awareness of people and therefore a greater awareness of corporations not to proceed with outdated bleached kraft products because chlorine and dioxins were going to become a major environmental issue and the public, who is way ahead of corporations and public policy making, would stop buying their products and would stop buying bleached kraft products. We predicted that three years ago.
Where was the government opposite that bragged about their big expansion based on chlorine bleach? Was nobody looking at the future? Was nobody looking past one or two years? What if that plan had gone ahead and now we would be closing it down? We thought that there would be no market for chlorine bleached products, and we said so.
Do you know what happened, Madam Deputy Speaker? The Conservatives in 1990 and the Liberals took out ads in The Pas community, great big full‑page ads, condemning the NDP for standing up against chlorine bleach. I have the ads from the Liberal Party and I have the ads from the Conservative Party. The Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) also said‑‑and she had more nerve than‑‑I better not say anything, I do not want her to get up. Some people like debates, and some people‑‑anyway, I will say that the Liberal Party said to the NDP, you could not reopen the deal. She was with the Tories down the line, campaigning in The Pas for the chlorine bleach, campaigning down the line and taking out ads against the NDP.
I do not know how people could get up in the House yesterday after they had taken the same position as the Conservatives and then criticize them in Question Period the next day after they had taken the same position. I do not understand how they can do it. I guess that is why they are Liberals, Madam Deputy Speaker, because they can do that.
There is a lesson here. The lesson is that there is no economic and innovative technological forecasting going on in the government opposite. You would have made the biggest economic blunder since the CFI disaster that the Conservatives signed in the late '60s. You would have proceeded with an absolutely disastrous project that would be closed down because there is no market for chlorine bleach and bleach kraft products. Madam Deputy Speaker, when the company said yesterday that we missed the window, they should say that the Tories and the company missed the boat because they did not predict the future market. I say to members opposite, if you cannot predict past one or two years on changing markets in the world, you are lacking a very major capacity in your own caucus and your own cabinet and in your bureaucracy with your own advisers, because you almost made the biggest economic blunder since Sterling Lyon and Duff Roblin signed the deal with Kasser in 1968 for the CFI enterprises, ironically in the same community.
You really better take stock across the way of what kind of capacity you have in your caucus because you almost made a $500‑million blunder, something you criticized us for criticizing.
Madam Deputy Speaker, you would have been
a lot better off listening three years ago to members opposite because you
would have been in a lot better position to negotiate with the Repap
corporation some of the issues that were important to Manitobans like the
You are going to be negotiating with a company now that is so weak because they could not predict the marketplace, that is so weak, Madam Deputy Speaker, that every time you put something on the table they find objectionable, they will say, we are walking away from this deal, and what recourse do you have.
I suggest to you that you are sorely deficient in predicting the future. If you cannot predict the future, you will not produce jobs and opportunities for Manitobans.
Repap is very instructive. Besides being a one‑day wonder in Question Period yesterday, it is a lot bigger issue for members opposite in terms of their absolute hapless capacity to deal with the future world.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I could go on on
MacLeod Stedman. I could go on on the
Piper aircraft. Why was
An Honourable Member: Bankrupt company.
Mr. Doer: Madam Deputy Speaker, the member opposite says, bankrupt company. Why is it a bankrupt company? It is because of the American liability laws. It is because of the unfunded liabilities that have to go into cases that are before the courts.
Do they just read the press releases and not do any other investigation? Maybe that is again the problem for members opposite. They read these press releases that are sent to them from their central communication bureaucracy, and they do not roll up their sleeves and hustle‑‑no hustling. [interjection] Well, I hope we do. I hope we see them.
Madam Deputy Speaker, why does the member
Madam Deputy Speaker, what about the CN
transportation issue? Here we have this
great big economic council announced by the Premier (Mr. Filmon). The Premier is chairing this economic
council, and he has had three press releases about chairing this economic
council. One of the largest issues of
jobs at risk for
Did the Premier join the minister of Transportation meeting with the chair of CN? No. Did the Premier meet with the minister responsible for Transportation, Jean Corbeil? No, they will not even walk down the hallway. For hundreds of jobs, they will not even walk down the hallway. Did the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) come to that meeting? No. Did any other of these illustrious members of this council who are paraded before the Chamber of Commerce about once a month come down the hallway? They were all in the building. They were all in a cabinet meeting. I checked, you were all here. You did not even walk down the hallway‑‑wind and rabbit tracks, wind and rabbit tracks in terms of this council announced by the Premier, because you will not even go down the hallway for the hundreds of jobs that are at risk in Transcona, in East Kildonan, in Elmwood, in The Pas, in Dauphin, in Churchill, in Point Douglas, and I could go on in every constituency.
When hundreds of jobs are on the line, oh, the members of this economic council do not want to get involved. They may get a bad news story that they could not win the fight. They do not like getting involved.
Madam Deputy Speaker, when the last
dispute was taking place between CN and
The former Premier Pawley got in a fight
with the CN Board of Directors, got in a fight with the federal minister of
Transportation. All the moves that were
proposed to go to
There is no sense having an economic
committee of cabinet chaired by the Premier if it does not have a backbone and
will not get involved in a fight. At
least the member for
You know what the Premier's Office
says? Oh, do not get involved in this
fight, you may get a bad news story out of this. It will not look good in our media imaging. Our overall communications strategy will not
be followed, so leave the Minister of Transportation (Mr. Driedger) out there
by himself. The Economic Council, paraded around Chambers of Commerce, does not
get involved and support the minister, and the minister knows this. The minister does know this. [interjection] I
remember one Friday, the only talk about hitting was coming from the member for
I would say that the announcement made by the Premier (Mr. Filmon) in terms of the individuals who are involved, I have a lot of respect for those individuals. I want to say on the record that our comments on the government's strategy on the economy are in no way a criticism of the individuals who are on that commission. I want to thank each and every one of those members of that commission which was announced by the Premier for agreeing to sit on that council because I think they are credible people, they are good Manitobans, and they are Manitobans who want to help our economy.
We have called on a real partnership and a
real economic summit as a forum for business, labour, government, education,
and farmers to work together. Why is
this government afraid to have a real partnership in a real balanced way with
all sectors of our economy? Why is this
government afraid to have a partnership with all groups and have an open public
summit, open to the public and open to the media, with all the major players in
the government and the economy of
In 1982, there was an economic summit
which was held in
Why is this government afraid to have an economic summit? Why do they not have people from all sectors in a balanced way in an open forum to discuss our challenges, our opportunities and some of our weaknesses together? Why are these things just media opportunities?
The economic summit which was held in Portage la Prairie was a two‑day event‑‑Madam Deputy Speaker, the Leader of the Party has unlimited time, as you know, so I will be speaking longer than perhaps your two minutes‑‑[interjection] I beg your pardon. Does not have to give notice, only a designate.
Madam Deputy Speaker, why does the government not have an economic summit with all players in our economy? Why is it just having a one‑hour photo opportunity with these credible people? Why do they not get more of a balanced representation and sit in a room for a couple of days with all the media and the public attention focused to give them some ideas? Do not the 57,000 people who are unemployed right now not deserve something besides a photo opportunity? What are you afraid of? Why will the government not have an economic summit for the 51 percent increase in people on social assistance? I suggest to members opposite that economic and technological innovation is not a public relations press release, it is real work and the desire for real consensus with all partners in an equal way in our economy, not a photo opportunity. We would like to see a real format for real innovation.
I had the pleasure of attending an
economic summit in 1985. I had the pleasure of attending an economic summit in
'82. I had the pleasure of sitting down
with Kevin Kavanagh. I had the pleasure
of sitting with the former head of Molson's in
Fifty‑seven thousand people deserve more than just what you are going to think you are going to do. They deserve some recommendations. The crisis is upon us now. It is not going to be solved by a press release. It is not going to be solved by the Premier (Mr. Filmon) standing up here with a bill. It is going to be solved by some consensus with all our partners. I would suggest to members opposite, respect the individuals you have attracted to it, expand it to be more balanced and develop a summit immediately with business, labour, government and agriculture in equal partnership in an open forum. You obviously do not have any ideas of your own. You obviously do not have any economic forecasting ability.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I would suggest to members opposite that they make this format real, give it real substance and do not have this continued public relations exercise. Give it some real decision making; give it some real recommendations. Do not treat it the same way as you treated the Round Table on the Environment. Do not have, two years from now, the same criticism from bodies like the Chamber of Commerce that this is nothing more than a public relations exercise. Learn from your mistakes so that we will not have to live your mistakes again and give it a real forum.
I would also say, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the funding issue is quite curious. First of all, if the government was serious about reducing the deficit, they should not have taken the sale of Manitoba Data Services and placed those assets in the Fiscal Stabilization Fund. Those assets were developed over a number of years and they should have gone toward the past deficit. They should not have been used again for Conservative public relations.
Secondly, if you wanted to have an ongoing
fund for technological innovation, you could have used the $3 million operating
profit of Manitoba Data Services, $3 million a year profit or surplus to fund
this economic innovation centre rather than sell it away at a bargain basement
price and have no revenue coming into the
I will refer members opposite to the $3‑million and $4‑million profit that was made in the last four or five years with the Manitoba Data Services, more than the amount of money that you got back for your payment of $20 million and it could fund this corporation.
I would also say to members opposite, you
cannot cut community colleges and technological courses in community colleges
and talk about innovation and technology.
You cannot cut Access programs and talk about R & D. You cannot cut research and training and
innovation, Madam Deputy Speaker, in your budgets and talk with any credible
way about the whole issue of adopting our
Madam Deputy Speaker, we of course support
partnership. We were the first
We obviously, as the originators of a
forum of partnership, will support initiatives of the Conservative government,
albeit weak initiatives and public relation initiatives, we will obviously
support forums and would not vote against those forums. We need something from the Conservative
government opposite, Madam Deputy Speaker, rather than their step‑aside
mentality on the economy that was articulated in their budget and has been
manifested on the people of
We see a real innovation function. We see real partnership and we do not see all
of the components of a real partnership in this bill. The intent is public relations, the reality
is something a lot less than what the Economic Council of
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to add my comments to those of others on Bill 9 as we debate it here in the House today.
I will pick up where my Leader has had
some discussions about the impact of lack of government action in the
We have not seen any statement by the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) to criticize the decision of the company to move in this direction. We have seen no action on the part of this government to protest the way the CN Rail has handled these layoffs and the fact that they are solely impacting upon the province of Manitoba and in particular the community of Transcona.
The minister should have at least stood up
and indicated his position in opposition to what the railway is doing to
In Bill 9, the government proposes to set
up an economic development structure that will hopefully lead towards
improvement of the economic situation as we find it in our
We have some projects that are currently ongoing in the province now that I am sure would relate to this particular piece of legislation. I talk particularly about the space port in the community of Churchill. I had the opportunity to ask questions of the Premier earlier this week about the actions of his government to take the steps to ensure the long term future of the province of Manitoba in the areas of the space port as well as the port facilities itself in Churchill. The minister was noncommittal in the way he answered the questions that were placed to him at that time and would not give us a long‑term commitment of his government to play a financial role in the future of Churchill and indeed the North of the province of Manitoba.
At the end of last week, one week ago I
had the opportunity to attend meetings in
The one other area that we put forward as a recommendation was that there was a potential, since we have and currently still do find ourselves in a position of stalemate in this province because of the inaction on the part of either the railway, the federal government or the province of Manitoba to take any initiative to rectify this situation, we find that the federal government would be unwilling unless there was a partnership arrangement, to deal with this situation. We proposed a partnership arrangement to break this stalemate, and the federal Minister of Transport took seriously our concerns and looked favourably upon that proposal.
That is why at the beginning of this week
we asked the Premier (Mr. Filmon) of this province to seriously consider a
partnership arrangement that would allow
It is my understanding looking at the purport of this bill that this is the intent of this bill, Madam Deputy Speaker, and yet when there are viable opportunities for the province to become involved in, the province refuses to take that action and to seize that initiative. I suppose I might have been asking the wrong person when I was asking the Premier to undertake those partnership opportunities. I suppose I should have been talking to Michael Bessey. That probably would have been a better person to talk to. Obviously that person is involved with the secretariat for the Economic Development Secretariat. Maybe Mr. Bessey would have been in a better position to answer my questions.
This council is supposed to deal with
various issues of economic development for the
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) will have 35 minutes remaining.
The hour being 12:30 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. on Monday.