Tuesday, March 3, 1992
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
Ms. Becky Barrett (
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Karen Kulik, Natalie Monkman, Servillena Beltran and others requesting the government show its strong commitment to dealing with child abuse by restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign.
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Steven Hay, Randy Maxwell, George Williams and others requesting the government show its strong commitment to dealing with child abuse by restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill 18‑The Franchises Act
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Concordia (Mr. Doer), that Bill 18, The Franchises Act; Loi sur les concessions, be introduced and the same be now received and read a first time.
Mr. Maloway: Mr. Speaker, Manitobans have lost large amounts of money buying franchises in various companies over the last few years, everything from $5,000 for alarm franchises to $8,000 for computer franchises up to $100,000 for travel franchises.
This bill will do several things. One, it will require the franchise companies
to file a prospectus with the province.
It will require that monies paid up front by franchise buyers will be
kept in trust until all the promises of the franchise company are made good on,
such as advertising and other things. It
will provide that franchises would have a protected area, a consistent
contract, because that is a major problem in the business. With the consistent contract, there would be
consistent requirements for cash investments, guarantees in terms of their
equipment, fixtures, royalties, fees and other conditions. It is hoped that this bill will address a
growing problem in
Motion agreed to.
Introduction of Guests
Mr. Speaker: Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the
attention of honourable members to the gallery, where we have with us this
afternoon, from the
On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you here this afternoon.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Ducks Unlimited Headquarters
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, recently I was listening to a Manitoban who was stating that he and his family, when they were down at the Minnesota State Fair, received a number of pamphlets and material opposing the Ducks Unlimited complex in Oak Hammock Marsh.
It appears to me that, when one starts to
look at the list of organizations across
I would ask the Acting Premier: What impact will this growing negative international
fight against the Ducks Unlimited complex have?
What impact will it have on the thousands of people who rely on tourism
Hon. Glen Cummings (Acting Premier): Mr. Speaker, actually I think the Leader of the Opposition has overlooked the fact that this facility will very likely become a tourist attraction.
Certainly he is overlooking the fact that this marsh has been expanded, that the facility being built there is to provide education, education being one of the key reasons that we can bring people from other areas, people from within the province to look first‑hand at the opportunities to, close‑up, see the action that is being taken in that marsh and gain an appreciation for the real attributes that we have in that marsh.
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, it sounds like the same kind of answers we had on chlorine bleach a couple of months ago from members opposite, total inability to predict the future and therefore to predict the future markets. That is what we see from members opposite in terms of dealing with issues in front of them.
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of
the Opposition): My question is to the Acting Premier. Given the fact that organizations right across
Hon. Glen Cummings (Acting Premier): Mr. Speaker, again the Leader of the Opposition is wrong. He is trying to spread fear and innuendo regarding this project in the jewel of the marshes of this country. It is pretty obvious to me that he has no appreciation for the fact that people want to be able to have access to view the activities that are going on there. He is overlooking the fact that some 80,000 people per annum visit that marsh today. He is overlooking the fact that this will become a major attraction, a major educational centre. I think that the type of comments that are coming from the Leader of the Opposition are the very type of comments that drive people away from this province.
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, the members opposite told us we
were fearmongering when we said that we should not proceed with chlorine
bleach. Let the records show who was
right and who was wrong on predicting the future in this province. It is not the members opposite. If you look at the list, The Manitoba
Naturalists Society, the conservation federation of
Federal Environmental Assessment
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): A further question to the minister, the Acting Premier.
We have seen the recent decision on the
I would ask the minister, will this
project now require, under the
Hon. Glen Cummings
(Acting Premier): Mr. Speaker, as is his
wont, the member will look at the
Conawapa Dam Project
Public Utilities Board Referral
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): I have a report commissioned by Hydro on the long‑range, demand‑side management plans which demonstrate its ability to conserve more than twice as much power as originally thought before the PUB hearings. The demand‑side projections help explain why the need for Conawapa in the projections was off by some 12 years and why the government must re‑examine the plans for Conawapa, as it has with Repap.
I would ask the Minister of Environment, has he received and reviewed this report which would recommend from an environmental point of view that they would update Hydro's conservation plans and refer the Conawapa project back to the PUB?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Well, Mr. Speaker, the member totally overlooks the range of figures that were provided in front of the Public Utilities Board. As the ultimate regulator responsible for licensing, I suggest it would be inappropriate for me to comment much beyond that.
Ms. Cerilli: Can the Minister of Environment explain why this report, which was tabled on November 2, 1991, was not part of the PUB hearings and why this demand‑side management study was not done before those hearings, which would have been the environmentally responsible thing to do?
Mr. Cummings: Mr. Speaker, the corporation is constantly upgrading its demand, its load and dealing with the conservation side of its responsibilities. As I have said earlier, I will take the details of the question as notice for the minister responsible.
Conawapa Dam Project
Public Utilities Board Referral
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): In keeping with the government's constant queries for suggestions, I would like to ask the minister if he will recommend, based on this report that the demand‑side management projections give, to develop an incentive program for the senior officials with Hydro so that we can see the implementation of some of the demand‑side management programs which will fulfill these projections.
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Well, Mr. Speaker, I think the members opposite will have an opportunity, once The Loan Act is tabled in this House, to ask certain questions with respect to the conservation programs associated with Manitoba Hydro and indeed their programming over the next year. There is a component, significant component, I might add, that will be directed toward incentives and rebates, and indeed to the development of the plan.
As a matter of fact, today in Treasury board, I had an opportunity to see the global funding that is going to be directed toward conservation efforts. It is significant, and I can assure the member that she will be happy with that information once it is tabled.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister responsible for the Constitution.
Yesterday, the Premier (Mr. Filmon)
Will the minister tell this House if this
government is in favour of bilateral negotiations between
Hon. James McCrae
(Minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will recall
the responses made by the Premier to her questions yesterday in regard to
this. She will recall the Premier indeed
made the point that
Among those, of course, is the position
Mrs. Carstairs: I can only assume, therefore, that this
government is quite happy with a bilateral negotiation between
Mr. McCrae: Of course, it would be our wish that
I do not take the honourable member's
preamble as she would put it, in the sense that I believe firmly that
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs
(Leader of the Second Opposition): I think
the principle is that we should all be treated equally, and we are not if we
enter into bilateral negotiations between the Government of
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the aboriginal community indicated their pleasure and their delight at the recognition of the inherent right to self‑government in the Dobbie‑Beaudoin report. They also raised a very serious concern, and that concern is that there is now going to be discussions about the devolution of powers, that powers will be moving from the provinces to the federal government and from the federal government to the provinces.
Will the constitutional minister tell me
Hon. James McCrae
(Minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs): I think that
Of course, with respect to aboriginal issues, aboriginal issues affecting aboriginal people in this country, it is going to be important to receive the input of aboriginal leadership and ordinary, if I can use that word, aboriginal people across this country.
Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (
The most important issue facing towns and municipalities as they prepare their budget for the upcoming year is policing costs. A committee of urban and rural councillors has been struck to discuss this issue, and they have completed their report in which they made five recommendations of how the issue should be addressed. The minister has had this report since January but has not taken a position.
Can the minister provide us with a copy of the report and tell us when he is going to take some action and make some decision on these recommendations?
Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development): Mr. Speaker, I thank the critic for her question. I would like to say that I received the Charlie Hill report about a week after I was appointed Minister of Rural Development. At that point in time, the report came to me without the signatures of the participating MAUM or UMM officials, which raises some concerns about whether or not they had completely endorsed the report. As a result, I thought it was only fair that municipalities throughout the province would have some idea as to what was contained in the report.
We have now circulated an executive summary of the report to municipalities, and we have asked for their responses to the options and the recommendations that have been made by the committee that was put together to study policing costs in this province. Once those recommendations or responses are in, Mr. Speaker, we will be in a position then to move forward in terms of implementing some of the report's recommendations.
Ms. Wowchuk: Mr. Speaker, one of the difficulties people in rural municipalities and towns face is that this government changes their Minister of Rural Development every session and then‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Ms. Wowchuk: I would like to ask the minister, if he is not going to take action on this report, will he meet with the committee and councillors and give them some assurance that he is not going to change his mind after they prepare their budgets, which they are doing right now? They do not want to face the same thing they did‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Mr. Derkach: Mr. Speaker, I have met with both executive
groups, both UMM and MAUM. We have
discussed this issue, and I think the critic of Rural Development was at a
Ms. Wowchuk: Mr. Speaker, I was at that meeting, and the people were certainly disappointed. If they cannot take steps on this report, how can this government proceed with a proposal to change policing boundaries? They say they have to consult on one, but they have not consulted with municipalities on changing the boundaries. Have you told municipalities what the impact is going to be? Are they going to have‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Mr. Derkach: Mr. Speaker, I think the member is just
alluding to some of the difficulties that we face out in
Ms. Jean Friesen
(Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, the
concrete results of this government's funding of post‑secondary education
are that the doors are closing for young Manitobans. In just one faculty at the
My question for the Minister of Education and Training is: What programs or plans does she have in place for those students across the province who will now be denied access to university?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, the issue of a university education for Manitobans is of great concern to this government. I will remind the honourable member that we as a government have had to set priorities. We have asked school divisions to set priorities. Universities have also had to set priorities in line with what can be offered within the financial limits.
Ms. Friesen: Mr. Speaker, what action has the minister
taken to deal with the additional 20 percent increase in student fees anticipated
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Speaker, as the member said in her statement, it is anticipated. We do not yet know the results of the budgets, and we have not tabled our budget in this House at this time.
Ms. Jean Friesen
(Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, will the minister make the
commitment today that she refused to make last week, to restore the more than
10 percent that her government cut from community colleges last year and to
reopen at least those opportunities for
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, as I said last week in response to the question, the range of training opportunities and educational opportunities for Manitobans are very important to this government, but we will have to wait until our budget is tabled in this House to make any commitments.
Health Care System
Licensed Practical Nurses' Role
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.
Last week I asked the Minister of Health
some questions regarding the future of LPNs in
Last week the minister indicated that the unemployment rate for the graduating class of LPNs at St. Boniface was 19 percent. Mr. Speaker, according to the association, there is an unemployment rate of only 1 percent for this particular class.
Is the minister going to stand behind his
information, or is he going to correct his record and tell the people of
Hon. Donald Orchard
(Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, my
honourable friend raises a very important issue. The information that I provided to the House
last week, when this question on the future of LPNs came up, was information
that I had about the employment status at graduation from the St. Boniface
Subsequent to that, I have been informed that the association has tracked some 19 of the 22 graduates from the March 1991 graduating class of Practical Nursing at St. Boniface. All 19 of those are employed whether it be full time, part time or casual. The three that they cannot locate to complete the 22 graduates may well be out of province. Both pieces of information appear to be correct.
Mr. Cheema: Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell us why he stated that he had no knowledge of the recommendation of the board of the St. Boniface Hospital that they close the LPN program when, according to LPN Association, the deputy minister of the Department of Health was present at the meeting of the 27th of November '91? At that time, the hospital director stated that he will be making their recommendation.
Mr. Orchard: Mr. Speaker, I have never said that I was unaware of that being an issue for discussion at St. Boniface, including at the board level. I have never made that statement. My honourable friend better be a little more accurate. What I have said, though, and this is‑‑[interjection] I have never said to my honourable friend in answer to any question that I was not aware of the discussion being at St. Boniface. As a matter of fact, yesterday, in answer to the question of the official opposition critic, I said, I know the issue has been discussed at St. Boniface, so do not try to confuse the issue.
What has not been presented, Mr. Speaker, to myself and to my deputy minister is any request to close the school, and until they do, I cannot comment around whether they will in fact ask for that to happen or not. Until I have that request from a hospital, I surely cannot be expected to react to a hypothetical question.
Mr. Cheema: Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell this House
when the decision regarding the moratorium on LPN training at Red
Mr. Orchard: I would hope that kind of information can be
made available and the moratorium issue at
The purpose, Mr. Speaker, is to exactly
remove the uncertainty around moratoriums at
Mr. Doug Martindale
(Burrows): Tenants in
What is the minister responsible for the Rent Regulation Bureau doing to ensure that increases which cannot be justified are rolled back and the savings passed on to the tenants?
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the way in which the policy works is this: The landlord gets an approval of, say, 5 percent because he has had a tax increase. The tenant can appeal that. The bureau can approve that. If the tenant feels it is too high, the tenant can appeal. If, during the course of that appeal, the landlord has his taxes reassessed and put down, then the department at that time has the right to move the rent increase back to the appropriate level. Once the appeal is made, that is it. However, it is picked up again in the next year when the rent application considers the fact that the previous year he got money back from taxes.
Mr. Martindale: Will the minister direct her staff in the Rent Regulation Bureau to enforce the act when subsequent applications are made, instead of having the director say, we are thinking about it and worrying about it? What direction will this minister give so this does not happen again?
Mrs. McIntosh: Mr. Speaker, our policy is as I have outlined. If there was a refund or a change in the tax assessment as the result of appeal on tax reassessment, it is picked up the next year and the adjustment made the next year.
Special Needs Funding
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The problems with government chronic underfunding of education is not helped by the government's publication of inaccurate information.
Can the minister clarify why the
department and herself persist in stating that special needs has increased by
42 percent this year when this is impossible, since special needs funding
totalled $51 million last year and the increase of 42 percent would equal $22
million, which is beyond what the government is giving to the total public
education system of the province of
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, there is most certainly an increase in the area of special education funding. The figure of 42 percent is very important because it signals money that is available very specifically for the area of special education, and it signals this government's commitment to that special need.
Mr. Chomiak: It is a pity the figure is wrong. It is not 42 percent.
I am asking the minister my supplementary. When will this government live up to its promised commitment of funding 80 percent of the costs of special needs rather than the less than 50 percent that it is funding today?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Speaker, we are attempting to meet commitments to all Manitobans within the amount of money that Manitobans presently have and can afford to pay for education.
Mr. Chomiak: My final supplementary to the minister is: While she reviews these commitments, I wonder if the minister could undertake to inform me why she is going to 64 percent of the funding of private schools and special needs remains at 50 percent or less?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Speaker, the funding for independent schools has not yet been announced, but I would like to remind my honourable friend that any funding for independent schools is for operational only and does not include capital.
Luxury Cab Proposal
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the honourable member have a question? Kindly put your question.
Mr. Lamoureux: My question to the minister is: Does this government endorse the decision made by the Taxi Board to increase the number of taxis on the road?
Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate to the member that we have a Taxicab Board which has been appointed, and it is a quasi‑judicial board. That Taxicab Board has the right to make all kinds of decisions. They have gone through a very difficult two years of having hearings and trying to address some of the concerns within the taxicab industry. They have made some decisions, and it is within their jurisdiction to make those decisions.
Mr. Lamoureux: Why did the government not indicate that we should have upgraded, if they want luxury cabs, 40 of the current cabs to luxury? Mr. Speaker, we do not deny that the public want‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Mr. Driedger: I think many people will take exception to the statement that the Taxicab Board has shafted the industry. Let me just indicate, Mr. Speaker, that I think it is approximately 40 years that we have had 400 licences within the province, and it has never changed. In the hearings that the Taxicab Board undertook, they felt by the response that came in that there was a demand for a special upgraded cab within the industry within the city.
When you consider the increase in population from the time that we had 400 licences there to the population that we have right now, the Taxicab Board felt, based on representation made to them, that there was a requirement for an elite cab.
There were 32 elite cabs, and eight are for specially handicapped people.
Mr. Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary: Why is this government undercutting the market price of a taxi licence by selling the permits for only $100 when the licence holders can sell their very same licences today for between $45,000 to $50,000, turning a quick profit over to whom?
Mr. Driedger: I find it interesting that the member raises the questions here. If he has had concern on the taxicab industry, he should have maybe appeared at the hearings and put his views forward at that time. That is what the hearings were all about.
Mr. Speaker, I made a mistake three years ago when I personally got involved with the taxicab industry. It was not within my jurisdiction to do so, and that has been corrected. The Taxicab Board has their jurisdiction. They have had their hearings, made their decisions, and I support that.
Health Care System
Licensed Practical Nurses' Role
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
I would like to ask‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Point of Order
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to ask the honourable member to withdraw that statement. We are all honourable members; at least Beauchesne says we are, and we are to be treated in that fashion. I think that that statement was most unkind to the Minister of Health, and I would ask that the member withdraw that.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw that word. It was just in my memory, so recently planted there by the Minister of Health yesterday.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to thank the honourable member
* * *
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Let me just ask a straightforward question. What is the policy of this government when it comes to the profession called licensed practical nurse? Does this government support the notion of a mix of nursing professionals, including the RN, the LPN and the aide, or is this government moving in a direction that is counter to every other province in this country?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): No, Mr. Speaker, and yes.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: I am beginning to regret withdrawing the word obfuscation‑‑[interjection]
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Considering that the decision, with respect to the school at St. Boniface General Hospital, is being made as a result of a budgetary squeeze being placed on the hospital by this government's budget‑reduction exercise, would this minister convey to the St. Boniface General Hospital that there is some flexibility in the $19‑million‑budget‑reduction exercise of this current year and the $20‑million‑budget‑reduction exercise of this coming fiscal year so that they can make decisions‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Orchard: Mr. Speaker, on careful reflection to my previous answer, I may have had to reverse the order or else the questions.
I want to tell my honourable friend that, when she is talking about flexibility around the budget, that is exactly the process that has been in place for some 15 years, including when my honourable friend sat around the cabinet table making hospital decisions. That flexibility, Mr. Speaker, demands of the hospital administrators that they manage within their budgets, as allocated by government, and without deficits, as I explained to the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), and I will explain for the critic for the New Democratic Party, because she was at the cabinet table when the Pawley administration made that decision. I tell you, we agree with it.
Now, Mr. Speaker, in terms of dealing with the issues of staffing complements and the mix of staffing on the various wards of hospitals throughout the province, we have said that that is a management decision that the administrators must make to assure quality patient care. I would hope that within those management decisions, there should and ought to be room for all disciplines of trained nurses in the province of Manitoba, because I think then one can accomplish both the budgetary exercise as well as the patient care that all Manitobans want to see continue.
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns): Mr. Speaker, is the action being considered at St. Boniface hospital to close the School of Practical Nursing and to lay off LPNs related at all to the difficult situation the hospital has been placed in by this government who has directed the St. Boniface hospital and the Health Sciences Centre to consider the impact of closing 250 beds?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, the hospitals are being asked to manage within budgets, budgets which have increased year over year, in last year's case, not by the $19 million that was requested in addition to the increased funding we provided. What we are attempting to do with the Urban Hospital Council, with individual hospitals, is to develop care for the patient. There are examples, as is tabled in the Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation report, which clearly indicate that there is a more appropriate regime of care for the patient not dependent on institution, that it may well be in community. That is what my honourable friend has been urging me to do.
Northern Health Care
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): Mr. Speaker, of all the unfair and insensitive actions this government has taken, one of the most insensitive has been the application of the $50 user fee for Northern Patient Transportation, particularly as it affects remote northern communities such as Ilford, Thicket Portage, Pikwitonei and Wabowden.
Since those communities are now asking the government to have physician services provided since many individuals in those communities cannot afford the three‑days‑a‑week train service to travel to Thompson, stay overnight for a couple of days, be faced with hundreds of dollars of bills just to have access to a general practitioner, will the minister now withdraw the $50 user fee and provide fairness to all northerners?
Hon. Donald Orchard
(Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I realize my honourable friend
has raised this issue time and time again. Let me background the decision by government
around the $50 consumer contribution toward transportation. Everybody in
My honourable friend from his seat says
not to pay accommodation. Is he asking
the taxpayers to do something he did not do and pick up accommodation? Of course, he is not, because all Manitobans,
if they have to stay overnight, must pay the accommodation themselves whether
it is in
Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.
Ms. Becky Barrett (
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? Leave? It is agreed.
Ms. Barrett: Mr. Speaker, today is the second day of the second annual National Social Work Week. As a social worker myself, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to the thousands of men and women in Manitoba and across this country who have found themselves in a wide range of occupations and jobs under the general heading of social work.
For over 100 years, these men and women have been providing assistance to individuals, families and communities in need. The names and the job descriptions may have changed over time, but the basic value that everyone in our society has the right to the best life they can lead has framed social work as a practice, and I as a member of that profession take a great deal of honour and respect in that basic value.
Today, social workers are found in virtually every town, region and city in our province working in a wide‑ranging number of organizations, providing services to Manitobans literally from cradle to grave, both in their work time and in their volunteer time after their working hours.
I would like to put on the record just a
few of the agencies and the organizations and the areas in which social workers
provide service to our citizens of
Finally, I would like to congratulate
again the thousands of social workers in
Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne): Mr. Speaker, might I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? Leave? It is agreed.
Mr. Alcock: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with the
In thanking the profession for honouring him in this way last night, he made a point that I think is worth repeating. He spent the time just talking about those people that have contributed to his life, about his wife, his children and the people he works with and his colleagues. He said he looks forward to a day when the people who do the work in this community helping other people get the kind of recognition that we afford to the rock stars and the movie stars.
He looks forward to a day when a child care worker can walk down the street and have people stopping them, recognizing them and thanking them for the work that they do. It is a profession that knows only too well the underside of our communities and has people who have devoted themselves to try to make this truly a gentler, kinder, friendlier community to live in. I think they deserve the support of this House. Thank you very much.
Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services): Might I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable minister have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? Leave? It is agreed.
Mr. Gilleshammer: Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice and the voice of the government to the congratulations offered to social workers as they celebrate National Social Work Week this particular week.
Obviously, we have a tremendous network of social services across this province, as referenced by one of the previous speakers, where we have so many, many social workers working with families in crisis and disadvantaged children. I can say that my understanding of the very, very difficult work that they do is enhanced every week in this position as Minister of Family Services. I have nothing but the highest respect for those front‑line social workers who day after day have to deal with the crises that face Manitobans.
I am aware that Clay Wotherspoon was honoured last night at a ceremony for his tremendous contribution to social work in the 30 years that he has worked in that field, and I would like to add my congratulations to him and say it is a much deserved recognition of the career he has had in helping others.
On behalf of the government, I extend my
best wishes to all social workers for their contributions in
Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson): Mr. Speaker, might I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? Leave? It is agreed.
Mr. Penner: I take some pleasure in rising today to recognize the tremendous effort that was put on by a group of people in the southeast part of the province over the weekend.
There was a snowmobile ride sponsored by
the Minnesota Trailblazers and the Manitoba Snowmobile organization, and it was
organized by Margaret Arndt from
The effort that was made in bringing these snowmobile people together was in recognition of the opening of a trail that was opened a year ago to connect the network of Minnesota‑North Dakota snowmobile trails with the Manitoba snowmobile trails and afford the tourism industry and the hospitality industry in that southeast area an opportunity to present a hospitable atmosphere to all those snowmobilers that travel back and forth across this province.
I pay tribute to all the organizers and all the people who were involved and congratulate them for jointly, between our two great nations, sponsoring a ride such as this, not only to demonstrate our friendliness, but in fact to promote tourism in both countries.
Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could make some committee changes.
I move, seconded by the member for Niakwa
(Mr. Reimer), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments
be amended as follows: The member for
Lakeside (Mr. Enns) for the member for Arthur‑Virden (Mr. Downey); the
Mr. Speaker: Agreed?
An Honourable Member: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed and so ordered.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. James McCrae (Acting Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, would you be so kind as to call the bills as they are listed on the Order Paper beginning at page 2, Bill 9.
Bill 9‑The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act
Mr. Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable the First Minister (Mr. Filmon), 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 honourable member for the Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans). Stand.
Is there leave that this matter remain standing?
An Honourable Member: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. It is agreed.
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to people in the House, including the Attorney General regarding Bill 9. I have just spent a few minutes reading over the provisions of Bill 9, and it seems to me that this bill is very much part of the government's smoke and mirrors program. Essentially, when you are really not sure of what you are doing, you come up with a diversion, come up with smoke and mirrors to try to convince the public that in fact the government is doing something.
I think there is a consistency here with what this government is doing in this vein over the last couple of years when they brought in the ozone depleting substances measures and environmental legislation and so on. There does not seem to be much more than lip service paid by this government in this area.
I guess it does make some sense because traditionally Conservatives have been not known to be overly sensitive to things such as the environment, ozone depletion and generally new ideas. It has not been one of their fortes.
We have a different version of a Conservative government here. We have, I believe, a version that has taken a page out of the Bill Davis handbook on how to stay in power for as long as possible. While they may not be actually doing anything constructive in these areas, they want to convey to the public, they want to convince enough members of the public that in fact they are progressive, in fact they do have a concern about these issues. I think this Bill 9 is just another example of this effort by the government to basically approach the problem with window dressing.
I look across at a government that is very tired. It looks to me that it is very directionless, it is aimless, it has lost its way. I think what we have here is a government that is on the way out. All governments go through different periods. They come in with the initial period of euphoria when they win, and they are very excited about things they are going to do. There is a limitless horizon in front of a new government. We saw that with this government. They went through that particular period in their existence, but those days are long gone now, Mr. Speaker. This government is, in many respects, getting into a stage of premature aging. It is going bald prematurely on us, and we see from month to month the changes in this government and how the members are becoming very disheartened about where the government is headed.
That is to be expected in many, many respects. All parties run into this problem after they have been in power for a little while, when they find that some of the problems are more complicated than they originally thought, but then other problems set in and the problems are peculiar to how one solves a particular problem. This is what this government is really coming to terms with right now. They have to come to grips with the realization that they do have limited power, not only that but how they are going to deal with the limited power they do have. Which road are they going to take?
You have the faint‑of‑heart people in the caucus over there and in the cabinet over there who are interested in half measures and are interested in smoke and mirrors and fleeting popularity. Then you have the other people in the caucus who are perhaps a little more serious, perhaps want more than just half measures and are there out of a policy desire and wish perhaps to take a more extreme position. Of course, at this point it is debatable as to how well they are doing in the grand scheme of things.
What happens with all the activity that produces a bill like Bill 9 is that all that activity reduces the government into basic inertia, in that nothing really happens. The government is trying to deal with what is essentially a worldwide problem, and it is not really a major player in this worldwide problem. It is trying to deal with it using old methods. Even the Chamber of Commerce, at this point in our history, is realistic enough to propose that governments cease giving big grants to private businesses. The Conservatives themselves, the ministers in this government, many of them recognize the futility of having one company basically barter one government off against another, and how futile that is.
In fact, companies which do not want to partake in that bartering and government monies are really left at a disadvantage, and they are wondering why. They would be silly not to take money if it is being offered to them. So perhaps governments across the country have to make decisions, and that is that they will stop giving handouts to businesses. I think that there is a good sign when the businesses themselves are saying, let us stop doing it because it is counterproductive. Not only is it counterproductive, but it also leads to problems within those business communities themselves because no business person wants his competitor to be given an unfair advantage by the government. The quickest way to lose support is to be giving money to one competitor in one field at the expense of everyone else in the field.
So there is a fundamental question here that has to be solved, that has to be solved by governments of all stripes, in all jurisdictions. This government has been no more successful than others in resolving that question, as to whether or not they are going to keep giving money out to private enterprise and under what terms they are to give it out to private enterprise.
This innovation council essentially
continues along the same vein here. In
the bill there are references to supporting economic restructuring through
innovation and development and commercialization of technology so as to enable
There is talk of a number of companies
which are moving to the
This particular person, who was profiled on this show, seemed quite attracted by the $4‑an‑hour wage rates that he was looking forward to in California, but he was complaining that the Californians were not taking care of him in the manner which he was used to being taken care of. I think that points to perhaps just a problem with a peculiar business attitude this particular person had, and which I am sure is shared by a lot of other people, because when you realize that this story was not just a case of this guy leaving Canada to set up shop in Florida, but in fact, what was he leaving here in Canada?
I guess what I really want to say is that
if business people want to leave this country so bad, then perhaps we should
let them go because some of them are probably better off gone than having
stayed here. Nevertheless, he was
painting a picture that he was now in
You know, little do the public know that this particular person is going to Florida because he could not make it up here, because he had used the Canadian system and abused the Canadian system as much as he possibly could, to the extent that he finally went bankrupt. He left a lot of people, Canadians, living here in this province with debts that they are going to be stuck with.
I think it is quite convenient and incredible for a so‑called rugged individualist who lived beyond his means in Canada, who ran up debts in Canada through poor management and improper foresight, ran his business into the ground, left a bunch of Canadian suppliers owing him money and then abruptly leaves the country citing high taxes and a bad business environment. This person will have a problem no matter what business environment he is involved in.
I predict to you that this person, if he
continues on the way he is, will end up going bankrupt in Florida, and then
what is he going to do? Is he going to
blame himself? No, he will blame the
He now is suggesting that somehow the
(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
I think the point is that there is a peculiar attitude to some people in the business committee that, in fact, the world owes them a living, and that all is fair in securing the sale, in running the business, that if they can get breaks‑‑they believe in free enterprise, they preach a free enterprise line and they want the government to keep their hands out of the business, but on the other side of the coin, they are the first in to try to get as much money and guarantees as they can from the public.
Over the years, these businesses, and we all know them in Canada here, have set up shop, polluted the environment, polluted the rivers in northwestern Ontario and then abruptly shut down, leaving the enormous cost of the pollution cleanup on the backs of the taxpayers.
What, in the final analysis, did we really get out of this plant that was set up? It was set up with taxpayers' money. It was run as cheaply as possible, no pollution controls, and now years later, when all the ore is taken out of the ground and shipped to The States or wherever it was shipped to, the workers now are unemployed. The pollution is still there in the ground, and millions and millions of dollars have to be spent to clean up the pollution. In fact, by and large, the workers more than likely in many cases are sick and have been poisoned by the pollution that the plant has given out, Mr. Acting Speaker.
There is a major amount of hypocrisy in the business community in this country, and I was very hopeful that when the Chamber of Commerce last year made the statement that it thought that the provincial government should cease to give handouts to businesses‑‑and I am sure the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) was grateful to hear that because I know that the Minister of Finance is a fiscal conservative‑‑when the Chamber of Commerce said that they would appreciate the elimination of grants to private business, I would have thought that this minister would have been happier than most of his colleagues. It is about time that the Chamber of Commerce has taken such a responsible position in that vein, and I only hope that the government listens to it and pays some attention to it because that whole process had to stop.
It is impossible to be caught in a situation similar to a cat chasing his tail, when you are trying to barter with different companies for jobs here and there, and the jobs end up going to the largest bidder. There is always someone who has a bigger pot of cash who can attract these jobs, and in fact the jobs become uneconomical.
I believe if we take a look through most agreements that governments of all stripes have signed with some of these private businesses, I think we would find these jobs were bought at tremendous cost. The jobs were bought at perhaps more than they are worth, certainly in the case of a mine in the '50s where the long tail of pollution is still with us today. I mean, the cost there, we bought ourselves a much, much serious problem.
Nevertheless, what does this government
intend to do vis‑a‑vis the North American free trade agreement with
Now three, four years later, we are seeing
the results of this agreement, and I think his attitude still is, well, it is
better than no deal at all. Think of
what things would be like if we did not have this deal, and that seems to be
their position. With respect to the
trade deal involving
If Winnipeg was negotiating a free trade
deal with Thompson and you were looking for a level playing field‑‑because
that is what they keep talking about is a level playing field‑‑and
you were trying to construct a trade deal with Morris or a trade deal with
Thompson you would have to be more than level.
It would have to be a tilted playing field to make it equal. Because if you have a level playing field
Why we felt, why our negotiators, why the Conservatives felt that somehow a level playing field was going to give us, little Canada with 26 million, 27 million people, an equal playing field to compete with the United States is just beyond me. We would have had to have an agreement that would have been viewed as heavily biased in our favour in order for us to be on a level playing field, but that throws out the idea of a level playing field being the operative approach here.
Mr. Acting Speaker, another section of the bill talks about financial services being targeted at levering innovation. Well, that is just more of the same. I hesitate to call the Premier "Premier Moonbeam" here, but I am just not certain what he envisions here, whether this is part‑‑
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Order, please. I would like to remind the honourable member that all members are honourable members and we will refrain from using that type of name‑calling in the House.
Mr. Maloway: Mr. Acting Speaker, I did not realize that Premier Moonbeam was a derogatory comment‑‑
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Order, please.
Mr. Maloway: I will withdraw and listen to the admonition of the Acting Speaker.
Mr. Acting Speaker, I am still very unclear as to what sort of financial incentives they are planning‑‑he is planning, because after all this is the Premier's bill, Bill 9. I am wondering what sort of financial incentives he is planning on targeting and at the levering of innovation.
I mean, clearly from here, he is planning to use money from this innovation council as seed money to bring in more money. I mean, the theory works solidly in financial circles at times. When the market is good, people can borrow a dollar and perhaps buy securities, $2 worth of securities for $1. Then if the value of the securities goes up, they simply sell, pay off their debts, and they have made a profit.
Well, that is the philosophy behind
leveraging, but I do not know how the leveraging is going to work so well in
this area, because he is talking about a potentially tremendous amount of money
here for research and development. I do
not believe that this government is capable of being able to select areas that
are going to produce really good results.
The history of this sort of activity would tend to indicate otherwise,
because it is provinces like
Most of you are familiar with the Sprung
greenhouse in the Maritimes where they were growing gigantic cucumbers or some
type of strange cucumbers. It is this
sort of weird‑‑I guess perhaps it is not a weird idea because, with
all due respect to the person who invented this cucumber process, perhaps the
system would have worked somewhere. The
fact of the matter is, it was not taken by any
Well, that is the kind of activity that this minister, this province is going to attract for this leveraged innovation. We are going to see ideas like this come forward. There was a case a while back in southern Manitoba where Dara Wilder, I believe, a man running a company I believe from B.C., was turning pulpwood into sugar, or something like this, and this was in fact being sanctioned by the federal tax department.
The federal tax department was giving tax shelter credits for people who invested in this thing. Do not tell me that this will never happen. I have seen, over the years here, both when the NDP were in government, when the Conservatives have been in government, it does not matter which party is in power, the fact of the matter is that loony ideas get put into practice by all governments. I mean that is a fact.
I would be very, very cautious about
letting the member for
I have a fear, I have a real deep‑seated fear that the member for Portage la Prairie is somehow going to get his hands on these levers and will end up in charge of our space program, and we are going to be in major league troubles if that happens.
The government is doing all it can right
now to keep that member for Portage away from digging ditches out in Portage la
Prairie and damming rivers and doing all sorts of things that he wants to
do. He wants to remake the map of
It is all this government can do is to stop him from doing this mega project that he is promoting right now. We are hearing a lot about it over here because I think he is doing some unauthorized sales of this idea. Perhaps an idea like this has a chance of getting somewhere with cooler heads, and not too many weird ideas.
Having said all of this though, I have to tell you that, and this harkens back to what the government, when I said the government was involved in a smoke and mirrors caper here, the fact of the matter is that they have reduced the contributions, the financial contributions, to the research and development sector. What they have really done is simply, through smoke and mirrors, brought in a new bill, called it The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act, and they have simply replaced an existing body that was there before and reduced its financial contribution.
I am sure the Minister of Finance (Mr.
Manness) lays awake at night dreaming up all these smoke and mirrors, thinking
how can we do more with less, how can we move the peas in among the shelves
here and make it look like we are really doing something, that we are really
concerned and spend less money doing it.
I have to give him full credit.
They have come up with some real winners, some real winners here, over
the last couple of years. Like I said, as long as they keep it away from the
Mr. Acting Speaker, I guess at this point I should ask you how much time I have left.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Ten minutes. [interjection]
Mr. Maloway: Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker. Well, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) is not trying to encourage me to use up my final 10 minutes. You know, when the Minister of Finance encourages me not to, I feel that I must. [interjection] That is right, I am a contrary guy, and the Minister of Finance and I have been on radio shows the last couple of elections talking about the economy and so on, and making predictions about how many seats parties were going to get.
I know we were quite shocked to find the number of Liberals that arrived here back in 1988. That was a prediction that neither one of us were too accurate in making as to those numbers, but other than that I have always had respect for the Minister of Finance's abilities, and I know that he is one of the major players over there on that side of the House, some would say the de facto leader of the government.
Others might say other things‑‑it is hard to say‑‑but I know that he has a very difficult time dealing, as any Finance minister would, with financial circumstances and a lack of will and a sense of direction over there in the government. The government is a very tentative government.
The government is scared that it is going to make that one mistake, and I tell you it will happen. They are so terrified of making that one mistake that drops them those 10 points in the polls from which they will never recover. They know the mistake is out there. They know it is there somewhere right now, maybe they even know that we know about it, but they are waiting for it to drop.
They are hoping that it is not going happen, and so far they have had a pretty enormous spring of luck. [interjection] You, the government. The government has been very, very lucky over the last three years, but even they know that as the wrinkles increase and the lines increase that it is only a matter of time before the whole thing starts to fall down the chute.
Anyway, I have made several statements here that the government should quit giving out grants willy‑nilly to private businesses, that the Chamber of Commerce has finally taken some type of a principal position in the last year and asked the government to stop giving them money, and the government should listen to that and quit handing out handouts to business.
As a matter of fact, businesses do not like handouts being given to their competitors. I know that Mr. Acting Speaker would certainly agree with me that in the petroleum business, if one garage owner were to get a grant who happened to be a competitor of his when he was formerly in the business, he would not have been happy. He would not have been happy to have that person have an unfair advantage over him. It is self‑defeating to get involved in that section.
Now, if it is kept to industries where there really is not competition locally, then perhaps one can make a better argument for some sort of government assistance. In other words, if it is a one‑of‑a‑kind type of business, then an argument can be made. If there are already competitors operating here, those competitors will find the market. They do not have to be primed by government incentives and government grants and so on.
We have also seen that the idea that
somehow businesses are flocking to the United States as an answer to high
taxation and other problems up here, that that is beginning to crack. In fact, it is not that the proposition is
not as good as what the media have made it out to be. Witness the person that I mentioned to you
who said when he went to
Of course, what he did not say, and what
we could clearly see was that he had an attitude problem, an attitude typical
of a lot of business people in this country.
His attitude was, this country owes me a living. His attitude was, I live on
So they run their business into the ground here in Canada, they leave the country, literally leave it, house and mortgage foreclosure, American Express chasing them for 9,000 bucks, the moving company has not been paid. These rugged free enterprisers, these rugged individualists who do not believe in government handouts, right?‑‑who run their business into the ground here in Canada, say they are leaving because the taxes are too high, when it is incompetence on their part and then they head to the United States. Then they have got the gall to bitch down there that things are not right for them, that they have not got immediate bank loans. I am telling you, it is an attitude. It is an attitude that some of these people have.
So do not necessarily believe that somehow
businesses are going to be leaving here for better climates. They may leave here, but in actual fact when
they get down there, they may realize that things are not so bad here after
all, that there is a value to having proper social systems. I know of businesses in the States that are
concerned that their employees do not have proper health care, because the
business has to factor that into the cost of their costs as well in the
So it is a lot of false economy, a lot of false economy to be looking at those $4 an hour wages and thinking that somehow you are going to be able to head down to the United States and somehow everything is going to be going in your favour because, quite frankly, let me tell you this, that if you cannot run your business in Winnipeg, if you cannot run it here, you tell me how the hell you are going to do any better in Florida? Explain that one to me?
Clearly, when a person has got $9,000 in American Express bills that they have not paid and a house triple what they need, surely they could have sold the house and maybe lived in more modest circumstances. They did not have to run up all those debts.
An Honourable Member: Is this a business recommendation?
Mr. Maloway: I am basically, to the minister, trying to
explain that the press will oftentimes make it sound as though these business
people cannot make it in
In fact, this guy is complaining about the
Anyway, Mr. Acting Speaker, I sense that my little light is flashing, and it is time for me to conclude and come back another day.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): As previously agreed, this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): I will also be speaking to Bill 9, which I have just recently had a chance to go through. It seems to me that this is this government's desperate attempt to look like it is doing something.
This government has a problem; they have a definite revenue problem. They have gotten themselves into a situation where they have made a commitment that they are not going to increase personal taxes. We have a federal government which is hand over fist clawing back on transfer payments and, at the same time, continuing the Conservative monetary policy approach of decreasing taxes to corporations which, in my way of thinking, would be the greatest source of revenue this country has, which I am going to talk about a little bit of where under all the years of government we have had in this country and in this province, mostly in this country though because this is a federal area, they have allowed all of this money to escape from being part of public revenue.
Serious concerns about the bill are around the way it is going to affect the Manitoba Research Council, and I am sure the people at the research council are not impressed with this bill. It is interesting that we already have a research council which is supposed to make available to small businesses and industry some of the technology and expertise they would need so that they could innovate, and there is some benefit to having that supplied by government. I would hope that would continue. The concern would be with this new council that the Premier is going to set up. From seeing what they do with other boards and committees that they establish, my big question would be, who is going to be appointed to this?
Is this going to be a council that is going to be lopsided, where we will not have a fair distribution of all the people who should be involved in economic discussion? Are we going to have people there from the voluntary sector, which makes up a huge part of our community and contributes extensively to work that is done in the economy? Are we going to have people there from labour? Are we going to have people involved in this council from the social services sector? That is one of the concerns that I would have about this kind of initiative.
One of the easiest ways of dealing with the problem that the Premier seems to be trying to deal with with this bill‑‑and that is to increase the research and development in Manitoba‑‑would be, I would think, to simply legislate, to simply legislate that companies of such‑and‑such a size making such‑and‑such a profit have to start investing something into research and development in this province. I do not know if that is something that this council might recommend, is that we simply start seeing some of the industry and companies in Manitoba start putting some money of their own into research and development, rather than coming to the government to do that.
The government, unfortunately, is not going to be able to have research and development carried out at the universities and colleges like we would like to because of the cutbacks from the federal government. I do not think it would be impossible for governments to start legislating that industry start putting some money into that kind of research and development, which we know would go a long way into making us more productive.
One of the things I wanted to talk about a little bit too is it would be interesting if this council is going to sit down and take a good look at which areas of our economy would be better served by having Crown corporations and which would be better served having private industry manage those sectors. It seems like the government's choice and what they are doing with Linnet, that company, that there would be an opportunity for a body like this to take a look at that decision and to give us some suggestions if that is going to be the best approach to have our sensitive data controlled under.
A number of the other members have talked
about the approach of government that adopts the monetary policy that this one
is adopting, and I wonder if with this council we are going to see more
situations like we saw with MacLeod Stedman where we are going to have
companies that they say we are trying to attract here. We have to give up our standard of
living. We have to see our environmental
laws compromised so that we can attract all these industries here. It never seems to happen that they do what
they say they are going to do once they get here. Over and over again we see that they want to
have guaranteed loans so that they can expand.
They need to have government money so that they can do any kind of
development, and there never seems to be any conditions on that money, that
they maintain a certain amount of service or remain in
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
I have some interesting information here related to federal and provincial personal and corporate taxes, direct taxes. It is interesting to see that very recently, just since 1986, we have seen personal taxes go up from $85.3 billion to $112.8 billion. The corporations have gone from $14.4 billion in 1986 to $15.3 billion in 1989. One of the interesting things I always talk about with people is how we have seen this change since around the '50s. If you go back to the '50s, corporate and individual taxes paid were about equal, 50‑50. It has only been since then that we have seen this shift where we find this horrible imbalance where individuals in this country are paying this incredible percentage greater of taxes.
Another chart I have here, Mr. Speaker, is
corporate profit subsidies and taxes in 1984.
These are a little old, but still I can rest assured, I think we can all
know that things have got worse and not better.
Before‑tax profits were $57.2 billion and with federal and
provincial income taxes there was $12.6 billion. Government subsidies around that time were
$8.4 billion. We can see that there has
been to this point a very low rate of affected corporate tax paid in
Another interesting thing we always hear
talked about is the wonderful economy in
Another interesting thing here is we can
compare to some other countries in
A couple of the areas that I think that we need to have more research and development in first of all are going to be signified by the demographics in our population. We are heading to a point where we are going to have a huge number of senior citizens who are going to need services, are going to need people to care for them, and to me that is where we should be having some of our research money being spent. The question is going to become, who is going to pay for that kind of research? We are going to have to develop a better system for these people to have the kind of affordable aids that they will need to get around. They are going to need housing where they can live and have the kind of support they need. To me this is a significant area where there should be a lot more research and attention being paid to, is this social trend that is going to take place with having a greater number of senior citizens in our society and a far fewer number of young people and people working in the work force. I wonder if that is something that this council would be going to address, and the implications that that is going to have.
Another area is the whole area of
environment. One of the meetings I had
recently was with Atomic Energy
To me, this is an example of where we have
missed the boat in
This government is going along and developing a kind of council that is going to authorize even more grants to private industry. They are forgetting about the kind of revenue that is generated for, to stay in government coffers, on some of the kinds of developments that were being done under the Manitoba Data Services or the Manitoba Research Council that were generating money for the public treasury in Manitoba.
When I started talking, I was referring to the problem that this government has with revenues and how desperate they are to be seen as doing something, to be seen as having any kind of leadership in this province, and what they seem to be really good at is developing committees like this which, in effect, end up doing a lot of public relations. It would be interesting for us to tally up all the government councils and groups that they have developed that are putting out a lot of material, things like in the sustainable development unit.
I read an interesting little pamphlet the other day, or booklet the other day, Environmental Tax Incentives. One thing that struck me was the very cautious wording in that document. It looked really good. It was on recycled paper, green ink. I would challenge the government to start implementing some of those kinds of suggestions in there, where there would be some, again, revenue generated, other than just sending out the booklet and making it look like they are doing something.
I fear that that is the same kind of thing that we are going to have with this group. It is going to be another round table that is going to spend. You know, the Round Table spent some $400,000 on putting out these quite nicely coloured purple booklets that were so vague and took up people's time in filling in surveys. In effect, we see that the Round Table will not consider any substantial issues that are going on in Manitoba, like developments that are being proposed, like Conawapa, where there are significant economic and environmental considerations to be made.
I have another paper here, called
A trend towards service jobs has two important consequences. The full‑time, well‑paying jobs predominate in the goods sector but not in the service sector. In services there is a sort of job ghetto where the hourly rates are‑‑there are fewer hours, with an average 28 hours per week as compared to 38 hours per week in the goods sector. Again, we would hope that this kind of bill is going to address that and we would see some recommendations.
One of the other areas this covers is, specifically, the whole issue of privatization, which not only reduces the quality of public services, it reduces the quality of new jobs available to Canadians. As we are getting all geared up and going along with Conservative policy, all that we ever hear is that we have to try and attract industry to come here. We see what we are attracting, the kinds of jobs that we tend to attract.
The other issue that comes under this is that these kinds of industries tend to be nonunionized, and there is a significant problem with people then not being paid a living wage, a wage which they can live on. We have a problem in Manitoba where more than 50 percent of those who are living under the poverty line are actually working and are part of that group that are becoming known as the working poor. With the kind of policies of trying to keep corporate taxes down to attract industry here, we tend to have those kinds of jobs. We see that the gap between the lowest and highest paid has increased sharply with these kinds of policies.
I am just reading this. This is a very interesting paper. I would encourage‑‑I would might just have to table this paper. I would encourage the members opposite to have‑‑
One of the other things I was reading
recently, and I wish I had brought that book with me. It was a book called The Betrayal of
Canada. Mel Hurtig wrote it, and I was
hoping that this document might have some of the same kind of information where
it explained how foreign ownership that comes and sets up business and industry
I will get something else here. Here is something that is interesting. The other facts that we should note with respect to this bill, and we see this government's real commitment to research and development, is the Manitoba Research Council last year had a budget cut of $700,000. That seems like it is pretty incongruent with the commitments‑‑
An Honourable Member: Incongruent?
Ms. Cerilli: Incongruent, yes‑‑with the sentiments the minister is claiming to have with announcing this bill.
I ask the Speaker how much time I have left.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member has 14 minutes remaining.
Ms. Cerilli: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I will look for some more of my charts from these wonderful documents I have.
Go to the bill. [interjection] We have lots of material here. [interjection] Sure it is. I have lost my train of thought.
An Honourable Member: This is your time. If you cannot debate the bills during your time, when are you going to debate them? Go ahead, call it six.
Ms. Cerilli: Well, no, do not call it six o'clock. [interjection] Are you sure?
An Honourable Member: If you want to, it is government bills.
Mr. Speaker: As previously agreed, this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for the Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).
Mr. Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), Bill 10, The Manitoba Hydro Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Hydro‑Manitoba, standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Mr. Speaker: Stand. Is there leave that this matter remain standing. Leave. It is agreed.
* * *
Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): It gives me pleasure to speak to this because these are government bills, and I always thought it was the responsibility of the government to keep the House running and continue government process. I am pleased to be able to speak to this‑‑
Point of Order
Hon. James McCrae (Acting Government House Leader): Just for my own identification, could you tell me, Your Honour, which bill we are debating just now.
Mr. Speaker: I was just getting clarification on that. We had already agreed to have Bill 9 remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans), at which time I called Bill 10. [interjection] I had already called Bill 10, and we were discussing Bill 10.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader): Mr. Speaker, in fairness to the member from Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), his intentions, he had thought that there was will on the government to call it six o'clock, and he had full intentions on speaking to Bill 9, and we would be willing to give him leave in order to go back to Bill 9, so he can, in fact, speak.
Mr. McCrae: I do not know whose idea this was about calling it six o'clock. It is not six o'clock, and we have two full pages of bills that are there for honourable members to pass or to debate or whatever, and we are only actually still on the first one on the list, so I do not quite understand that. In any event, we would be happy to give leave to the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes).
Mr. Speaker: Is there leave of the House to allow the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) to revert to Bill 9?
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave? It is agreed.
Bill 9‑The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act
Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to thank the opposition House leader and the second opposition House leader for giving me leave to speak to this very important bill, because when you are dealing with The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act, it could have a lot of positive impacts and also it could have some negative impacts.
This is very consistent with the
Conservative cousins in
What are the future industries of
Manitobans? The future industry of
Manitobans has to be first and foremost.
When you go into new innovation and new ideas and new job opportunities
is the whole area of training, to ensure that your youth and your citizens of
Today, as I speak, we have 57,000 people
The members that make up this committee, there will be 35 in total with the government people and government appointees. I wonder how many of those appointees will be drawing honorariums for every meeting they attend and taking money away from the youth that could be benefiting from those dollars. If you looked at the cutbacks we had in education by your last budget, we had a reduction of a mass amount of dollars.
We heard tuition fees in
How can the government sit there and say,
we are doing the best we can for
Many people believed
My colleague from Elmwood was talking
earlier about this businessman who had this great invitation from
(Mr. Jack Penner, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
When we talk about innovative ideas that is a whole‑‑the old research council had in place, let us look at some of the jobs that we are losing, because my colleague was talking about this individual. This individual had moved his whole operation from here in Winnipeg, and those are manufacturing jobs that we lost, and now we are saying, well, we need to find new scientific employment opportunities.
Why did we not work a little bit harder to
keep those jobs here? If those were a
hundred jobs that company moved to the
An Honourable Member: Spend, spend, spend.
Mr. Hickes: It is not spend, spend, spend, because those 100 people who lost their jobs, who is looking after them? I bet you if you looked at it, either they are on unemployment insurance or they are on social assistance. [interjection] That is right. If we spent a little bit of money to keep those jobs here we would have saved a heck of a lot more than what we are paying out in U.I. and social assistance. How do you mean by spend, spend, spend? That is save, save, save; that is not spend, spend, spend. If a person is working and holding a meaningful job then that person has their days filled and they feel better about themselves, so you do not get the spousal abuse and the alcohol and drug abuse that all ties in with it.
When we talk about innovative new ideas, let us look at some of the innovative new ideas that we have right in our own backyard and start protecting some of those. When we heard the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) in the last budget, it said we just have to stand aside, because the private sector will create all kinds of jobs. The private sector has new ideas. Is that not what that council is all about, to put the brains of business, labour, aboriginal people, agricultural leaders, labour leaders to go into an equal partnership, to come up with some innovative jobs that we need here in Manitoba?
The government said, stand aside, we will
stand aside, the companies will create all the jobs and nobody will
suffer. We will be the first one out of
the recession. [interjection] No, it
said 1991, the next quarter we will be out of it. We will be the first province out of it in
One of the big things that I heard talked
about in the last budget, which was very important to me, because I am
originally from the North and I know how bad it is in northern
If you looked at northern
I know that the industry right now is suffering. It is on a rebound, from what I have heard, and from the stats that I have read, that the trappers are lobbying and putting together their own ads and trying to sway the antifur people. Apparently, it is working to some degree. I personally hope that it picks up, because in my culture fur has always been very important.
When I was a child, I remember going to school wearing a caribou coat and mukluks. That was the way we dressed. It was not dressed for show, it was because that is the warmest thing possible, you know, and very durable. If it rebounds, I hope that we will consider looking at setting up a manufacturing and maybe even a nice big sewing centre tied in with that tanning plant right in northern Manitoba somewhere, because that will create a lot of jobs. Those are the kinds of things we have to look at.
The announcement I was going to speak a
little bit about was the whole space project for Churchill. It had a lot of fanfare when it was
announced, and now the community is wondering if it will be or will not
be. I personally hope it will be,
because it has a lot of potential there.
The community of Churchill at one time used to have about 6,000 people
living there. It used to have the army,
navy, air force, and it was a thriving, thriving community. Now you go up there, it fluctuates anywhere
between 800 people and 900 people. That
is a heck of a drop. If you took that
percentage and applied it to
Churchill has a lot to offer. When I was growing up, there used to be ships
that would come in to take grain back, but when they were coming in they used
to bring liquor and cars and other products that were made over in
It is not only jobs that benefit people
from Churchill, because a lot of the individuals that used to come up there and
work at the harbour board and the grain elevator, they were from all over. There were some from
That is the kind of stuff that we really should be looking seriously at when you look at that innovative centre. To me innovation means new ideas‑‑and even to shore up some existing ideas, to expand some ideas that are in place.
I think that is what this, to me anyway, whole bill is all about. I could rant and rave and be negative and talk about this, but I do not want to do that because there are some good things which could happen out of this. It all depends on what happens now.
We have had different committees and different organizations that were put together by, not only this government, all governments. A lot of times, yes, they were just window‑dressings, and there was just public relations efforts, and nothing really came about. This time around, I am hoping that something positive will happen. It does not matter what political stripe you carry.
We know what is happening out there, and I am sure you do, and so do the Liberals. There are 57,000 people out of work that need jobs‑‑as simple as that. If we could find jobs for them, however, we could do it. I have to get back on the whole education because that is the whole key, otherwise, like our youth today, they struggle through school, and they try to save enough money to go back to university for the next term.
It is getting harder, and harder, and harder to find jobs for our youth because right now, the way the economy is, they are competing with adults who have much more experience. Right now, a lot of people will take any job that comes around just in order to try and make ends meet. So, right now, it is not only students competing against students, some of them are competing against their mothers and fathers, and so it is very difficult.
The cutbacks in the ACCESS programs, when you look at the whole idea of your Economic Innovation and Technology Council, they are not only going to be addressing the educational needs for employment opportunities say per se in Winnipeg or a lot of the bigger centres, a lot of those students, especially aboriginal students, who were attending these ACCESS programs, a lot of them would have gained employment opportunities through aboriginal organizations and within their own aboriginal communities.
With the whole drive right now by aboriginal leaders and aboriginal people of the wish of aboriginal self‑government, that should create a lot of employment opportunities for aboriginal youth and aboriginal people. If that ever comes about‑‑some day it will, I do not know when‑‑but if it does come about, if you are an aboriginal person and if you have a marketable skill or any experience in management, counselling, teacher, doctor, lawyer, what have you, you will be signed up so fast, because the opportunities will be there.
You know, like we even talk about a new justice system for aboriginal people. Well, if that comes about, who will be the judges? Who will be the lawyers? Who will be the magistrates? Who will be the counsellors who will have to deal with offenders?
That is the kind of thing that I think this bill could be looking at seriously and addressing. I have a hard time when, like when I was reading this bill here where it says, support economic restructuring through innovation and the development and commercialization of technology. What does that mean? That could mean anything. It could mean like what my colleague was saying. It could be a body that just hands out grants to companies and manufacturers and say, well, here, we will give you X number of million dollars and you should create X number of jobs.
I think it should go a little beyond that. There should be something that looks at getting our youth trained and employed. That way when you do hand out say a million dollars, maybe a little of that could be set aside for new research and development far in advance so that we could say that we will need 20 rocket scientists, for example.
(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaking, in the Chair)
That way when the youth who are attending
universities, when they do have a choice of which avenue they want to go, some
of them might start enrolling to become a rocket scientist if there is a job
opportunity at the end. A lot of the
youth would love to stay home. They
would love to stay here in
A lot of the Tories, as Liberals, as NDP, we all have families, we all have children, and I know I would like to be close to my children and my children would like to be close to me. I am sure that goes for everybody in this House. Nobody has that special tie or commitment. I am sure we all feel that same. I think if we made it easier for our children to accomplish that, I think that should be the goal of all parties, not just who is in government. [interjection] Well, I do not think that is a right‑wing comment. I think that is just a common‑sense comment.
Some of the other things that we could be looking at, you know like, we talk about cost; it costs government so much money. I heard one of my colleagues from across the way, who was yelling spend, spend, spend. At lot of the time, to spend a little money, you save a lot in the end. [interjection] No, no I did not mention any names. I just heard it from someone, I do not know who it was, but sometimes you spend a little, you save a lot, you know, because of the whole‑‑
An Honourable Member: That is not good management.
Mr. Hickes: Well, it is not good management but sometimes it makes common sense.
An Honourable Member: Good management is common sense.
Mr. Hickes: Well, if you look, for example, at one bill that we have been trying to get proclaimed, Bill 91, the antisniff bill. Without that bill being proclaimed, city police or any law enforcement, if they are not able to put in stronger measures to stop people from abusing drugs‑‑a good example was my colleague on the steps, you know. Somebody attacked him. Someone attacked him right on the steps.
Maybe that individual is coming to the steps of our Legislature and saying, hey, maybe it is time to do something about us sniffers. We want help. Maybe that was the message. I do not know, but if we continue letting people abuse Lysol and glue and sniff, how much more does it cost us in the end when we have to hospitalize these individuals, keep them in hospitals or mental institutions, keep them incarcerated? How much does that cost? It costs a heck of a lot more than what it costs us to proclaim a bill that has already been passed in two years.
The other thing that I hope will be part
of what this whole committee will be looking at is when we talk about
innovative ideas, the aboriginal community in
I have not heard too much more, but I have heard that it is very close to being accomplished again. I hope it does, because that is very innovative. It ties in directly with what the committee should be looking at and dealing with, because then we are talking about jobs. That is what this committee is all about, to create employment opportunities and educational opportunities to meet the demand for those new jobs.
Mr. Acting Speaker, that is why I hope this committee will seriously look at where is that CP station and where is it going, because that will be like an umbrella for all aboriginal people to mix ideas and to share ideas, and through that, once they get the agencies in place‑‑you are talking about social workers; you are talking about management people; you are talking about clerks. It could be anything. They can even set up their own little research group. It could be in the education area; it could be in the health field area; it could be any area you want, because those are the kind of ideas that we need to hear, not only from government ministers or government‑elected people. We need to hear what the people out there‑‑a lot of the time the people out there have some good ideas. A lot of our elders and seniors have been through a lot, and a lot of times they come up with some darn good ideas, because they have seen, and they have experienced a lot, and a lot of them are more than willing to share with us, because that is the only way we are going to progress.
Another good example was yesterday, during
Question Period‑‑well, it was not yesterday, it was Friday‑‑about
the Cross‑Cultural Counselling Unit.
That whole unit, that whole initiative could be expanded even
further. That could be expanded
further. It does not have to only stay
Now why could not an idea like that
expand? We could set up a training
centre and use the individual counselling unit and the individual model, how
they were able to accomplish that, and set up some specialized training
programs, and bring people in from
Utilize the resources we have. That is innovation. It does not always have to be big, millions of dollars, mega‑projects, all the time. Sometimes you bring people in and you have a team that will do the instructing and pass that knowledge on. Then they could go on and work wherever they are going to. Look how many jobs that would create if you just looked at our 10 provinces and two territories. Even if you looked at five for each, because the bottom line, and we hear it over and over and over, whether it is federal or provincial taxes, it comes from our pockets, so if we are able to help other provinces and even to charge a small fee to create revenues for ourselves in Manitoba, why not?
There is nothing wrong with that, because
the more you share your knowledge, the more other provinces will share theirs
with us. That whole emphasis, the
Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) went down to
It could open a lot of doors for us
here. I have seen ships, personally
The Minister of Highways and
Transportation, he will gladly share that with you. He knows that. When you go over to
An Honourable Member: It is a long way once you get to
Mr. Hickes: What is that?
An Honourable Member: A long way from
Mr. Hickes: Yes, you would have to do it by wheelbarrow‑‑you are right. When you ship grain‑‑and then also those countries manufacture stuff. Those countries manufacture goods that we could use here, so we could bring those back.
When you look at the whole community of Churchill, that would benefit from that. You look at the whole rail line. Something has to happen with that whole rail line going up to Churchill. I hope the minister will address that council and say, hey, look, here is an idea that you as a committee could be addressing to create employment opportunities and to ensure that people in the North have an opportunity, not just short‑term projects, but long‑term employment opportunities.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Acting Speaker, it cannot just be the private sector that will create all the jobs. It cannot be. You have to have a good combination from all sources. The private sector can create some. Governments can create some. Governments do not have to create all the jobs either. You need a blend of both.
When I talk about that rail line‑‑I
first mentioned it with the space board up in Churchill‑‑you will
not have that research station there if you lose the railroad tracks. It is as simple as that. You cannot fire a rocket from wherever they
make them to
There is even talk of creating about 200 jobs alone with that space board. That is the figure I have heard. I have talked to some people in the community, and that is the number that they were looking at, around 200 employment opportunities. Those 200 employment opportunities are not going to be labour positions. There are going to be some positions that are going to require very highly advanced scientific knowledge.
Where are we going to get that expertise from? Do we have it here today? I do not know. I doubt it. We are probably going to have to bring some people in from NASA or some other rocket stations throughout the world, and then we should look at innovative training programs for people to train. It says right in here where the government can put consultants on contract. It says right in this bill, put consultants on contract. If you use that model, say, for instance, if you put together a program where you wanted to train‑‑I do not know, you have 200 positions, you might need 50 advanced people with scientific knowledge, you might want to hire some consultants on say a two year, three year, or one year, whatever it requires for people to get that knowledge, hire them as consultants. Then when you recruit your graduates from university or what have you to go into these programs, that way they will get on‑the‑job training conducted by experts in those areas. Then when you go into a contract, it has to be made very clear that you are training an individual to replace you when your contract expires.
A lot of people will not have a hard time
with that, because a lot of people whom you would hire on a consultant basis
could be borrowed or seconded from other provinces or other governments in
It says right in the bill, to share knowledge and share technology. If you went into an agreement, say for instance it could be Alberta, and if you brought in some people with expertise and they were on a two‑year secondment, they could come up there and train people in Manitoba right in, say, Churchill. Once they had the skills‑‑they should have the skills in two years. Once they have attained the level, then they would be hired by the research station, and then the individuals would go back to whatever they were doing because the secondment would be over.
All that stuff cannot happen unless you have a strong, strong commitment from all levels of government. You have to have a strong commitment for that to happen, because otherwise what you will have is the same thing we have today. You will have our side yelling at the government side, the government side yelling at our side and at the Liberals, and nothing gets accomplished.
There has to come a time when we have to look at what is best for Manitobans, not what is best for us as a party, what is best for you as a party, what is best for all Manitobans. I have heard many, many times from the other side of the House, condemning us or condemning me at times because some of it was directed at me about Daryl Bean. [interjection] It does not matter. I will bring it up because I want to make something very, very clear. Daryl Bean spoke for Daryl Bean. He did not speak for George Hickes. Most of my colleagues‑‑I would say 100 percent of my colleagues‑‑think the same way. They do not share those same ideas. Nobody has the right to make those kind of statements.
Even on the same hand‑‑
An Honourable Member: Somebody like that should resign, do you not think?
Mr. Hickes: If you look at the party you support, the party I support, the party the Liberals support, there have been people all along in history who have made silly, silly statements that we do not agree with‑‑
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Mr. Acting Speaker, I am sure that the government side would be prepared to allow the member leave for a couple of minutes if he wished to finish his comments.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Is there leave for the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) to complete his speech? Leave? The honourable member for Point Douglas has stated he has completed.
As previously agreed, this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), Bill 10, The Manitoba Hydro Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Hydro‑Manitoba, standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr.Storie).
Stand? Is there leave that this matter remain standing?
An Honourable Member: Leave.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Agreed.
Bill 11‑The Bee-Keepers Repeal Act
The Acting Speaker (Mr.
Laurendeau): On the proposed motion
of the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), Bill 11, The Bee‑Keepers
Repeal Act (Loi abrogeant la Loi sur les apiculteurs), standing in the name of
the honourable member for
Is there leave that this bill remain standing?
An Honourable Member: Leave.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Agreed.
Bill 12‑The Animal Husbandry Amendment Act
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), Bill 12, The Animal Husbandry Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'elevage, standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).
Is there leave that this matter remain standing? Agreed, and so ordered.
Bill 14‑The Highways and Transportation Department Amendment Act
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), Bill 14, The Highways and Transportation Department Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur le ministere de la Voirie et du Transport, standing in the name of the honourable member for Transcona (Mr. Reid).
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): I am pleased today to rise to add my comments on Bill 14. Bill 14 is an amendment to The Highway Traffic Act and it is not long in its length, but it is not short in what it is that it is trying to accomplish for The Highway Traffic Act or the minister's department.
It seeks to bring about changes that will allow the minister's department to change the way the government conducts its business. With that, I refer, Mr. Acting Speaker, to the fact that the government currently has to use Orders‑in‑Council to dispose of their properties. I would like to start off by thanking the minister for the explanations that he has provided on his bills.
I know that many of my colleagues here seek to have the same opportunities of explanations for the other bills that are before us in the House, but unfortunately the Minister of Highways and Transportation's colleagues have refused to undertake that activity. I realize that the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) is continuing a practice that was started by the previous NDP Minister of Highways and Transportation, Mr. Plohman. I believe that is a good practice and it should be continued and I hope that the other ministers that are in the House here, today, listen and adhere to the practice that the minister is still continuing.
With Bill 14 that is before us, it seeks to change the level from $5,000 to $25,000 that the minister has to seek Order‑in‑Council for, for disposal of public property. There are many forms that public property can take as far as‑‑[interjection] To some it may be pocket money, but to others it is a vast sum of money for those who are not quite so independently wealthy. It is changing the level from $5,000 up to $25,000 for disposal of public assets that the minister has to apply for Order‑in‑Council. I am not sure why the minister wants to have that much control. I am sure there is a reason for it [interjection] The minister indicates that it is in keeping with Government Services, and that may be the case.
(Mrs. Louise Dacquay, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair)
I look back on some of the Orders‑in‑Council over my short term in office and the items that have been disposed of by Order‑in‑Council and the values of them. I think that may be one of the reasons why the minister wants to increase the level of discretionary property disposal. I look at the Orders‑in‑Council dated October '91, where there was a one‑and‑a‑half‑storey residence, 2,300 square feet, that was disposed of as a public asset, and it was put out to public tender. I had asked the minister prior to this point if he would bring forward some information on the public tender process so I could have a better understanding of it.
I am sure that the minister is still undertaking to seek that information for me and that he will bring it forward at some later time so that we can educate ourselves on that matter. With this one‑and‑a‑half‑storey residence‑‑2,300 square feet is a sizable dwelling. It was put out to public tender, obviously, and the highest bid received that was indicated was $16,700 for a 2,300 square foot home. That is a pretty good value for those who are purchasing by this public tendering process. Of course, the people then have to add that infamous GST to that and the provincial sales tax as well, and then they have to relocate it off the government property, Crown lands, and move it to their own private location. I understand that aspect of it.
There are other costs involved, but I am sure that even with those other costs involved, looking at the value of a 2,300 square foot home by today's prices, even a used home I am sure would be in the $150,000 to $200,000 range. There is no doubt these people got good value for their purchase‑‑[interjection] No doubt the minister is very nervous about questioning some of the Orders‑in‑Council, and when we start to talk about the discretionary powers that the minister has and how he can dispose of public assets, I can understand his nervousness.
One other Order‑in‑Council that was disposed of just recently was in January of this year. It was a three‑bedroom diplomat mobile home, obviously a fair size‑‑
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): With low mileage.
Mr. Reid: Low mileage, as the member for Elmwood says. This was as well disposed of for a very reasonable value, $7,800.
An Honourable Member: Reasonable, that is dirt cheap.
Mr. Reid: Maybe for some that would be considered dirt cheap. The minister talks about having to relocate this property to other areas and that there are those costs involved plus the services that have to be connected, but $7,800 is a reasonable value I would think. You must remember though that on top of that the people who are purchasing this public asset or what was a public asset, have to pay for that GST. Now that tax on‑‑probably almost a comparable to what the original cost was, so there is a doubling of the cost if you tack on the GST, and then there is the provincial sales tax on top of it. There is a fair amount of money that these people have to expend. The list goes on and on.
Another Order‑in‑Council that
was signed by the honourable minister in October of 1990 for one six‑room
single‑family dwelling located in the city of
An Honourable Member: How much did it go for?
Mr. Reid: How much did it go for?
An Honourable Member: Do not keep us in suspense.
Mr. Reid: I will not keep the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) in suspense. The consideration for purchase was $25,200, another very good value.
An Honourable Member: For what?
Mr. Reid: For the purchase of a 1,138 square foot home,
single‑family dwelling. There are
bargains to be had from this provincial government as they dispose of public
assets in the
An Honourable Member: I am going to take a closer look at this.
Mr. Reid: The minister, I am sure, has other Orders‑in‑Council that are on the records. If we went and did our digging, we would find more of these bargains that Manitobans have purchased from the Department of Highways and Transportation.
I have to question why the minister‑‑I mean, he is already giving away bargains to Manitobans‑‑wants to raise the limit? Why would he not set that $25,000 limit down to $10,000 to change the Order‑in‑Council process?
There are also other changes in this bill, and how it is going to affect the Highways and Transportation department. The minister has indicated over some time that the department purchases various pieces of property throughout the province for expansion of the highway systems, in improvement of the highway systems and yet do not have a need for that particular piece of property.
It is my understanding that this bill will give discretion back to the department and to the minister to allow this land to be temporarily leased out and used, whether it be for farming use or for other uses in the communities where this property is located. I think that is a good step. I think if this land is sitting unused and if there is a chance for our farm producers in the province to utilize that for productive means, I think that allowance should be made for these people.
There is no understanding in this bill how the government is going to undertake the lease arrangements and what kind of remuneration they would expect in return for the leasing of this property. I take it that the minister will provide that for us at some other opportunity to keep us aware of how this lease arrangement is arrived at.
There are several other areas in this bill that bear discussion, but I would like to talk a bit about transportation in general and how it impacts upon the Province of Manitoba in the Highways and Transportation department. There were some questions that have come before us in this Chamber over a period of time dealing with transportation in the province and in particular the taxicab industry.
We have asked questions in this House, and we have written letters to the minister questioning the decisions of the Taxicab Board. We have had meetings with the Taxicab Board members to find out the reasons why they make certain decisions. We have had correspondence from many Manitobans who are involved in the taxicab industry.
An Honourable Member: What do they think of this government?
Mr. Reid: They are quite concerned, as I am sure the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) knows, about the way this government has treated them in their particular livelihood and the industry that they rely so heavily on.
The government has undertaken various
hearings throughout the
Now, looking at the state of the economy
I find it discouraging that the Taxicab
Board would then‑‑on the minister's behalf obviously, because it
was the minister who would set the policy for that‑‑continue to go
forward and press at this poor economic time to further dilute the taxicab
market in the city of
The questions that have been raised in the
past are many and varied. When the
studies were done, before this decision was brought forward to implement these
new taxicabs, it was shown that there were some 400 taxicab licences in the city
Some of those questions were raised again
here in the House today and have been raised by myself and our party in the
past. That is the fact that the current industry members who are issued these
taxicab licences in the city of
The current government, by the policy that
was brought in by the Taxicab Board, has allowed the members of the industry,
of the limousine business, to make application to the government for the right
to own and operate executive cars on the streets of the city of
We have questioned the minister, and we
have questioned the Taxicab Board on this for a number of months now. We have attended the meetings of the Taxicab
Board when they were revisiting the decision to implement these new vehicles,
these executive vehicles, onto the streets of
We listened to the presentations that were
put forward. Some of these presentations
were very explicit in that they were not going to be in direct competition with
the current taxicab industry in the city of Winnipeg, but there are others who
were going to allow their rates to float where possible, who would and could
put themselves in direct competition with the taxicab industry. That would take away business and business
opportunities, something that I thought this government supported and obviously
does not, for business people in our province and in our city of
With the recommendations that were brought forward by the Taxicab Board, the minister's department had shown that had the new executive car authorities been purchased for the full price that is currently charged to the taxicabs themselves that those monies could have been taken and invested into a fund that would have been able to provide benefits for the current members employed in the industry. The minister's department did not see fit to implement that charge, and now it leaves the current industry members without any means of a benefit program.
The argument that was used for not charging that was that they were afraid that they did not have the legislative authority to charge that fee. Now the minister knows full well that he could have introduced a bill in this House that would have given him that authority to do so. He chose not to do that. He did not want to aggravate or irritate those who obviously support his party. I believe that is the reason why he did not choose to implement that full fee level.
This benefit fund that was supposed to have been set up as a result of the extra fees that would have been charged for these new vehicle authorities could have created an accident and sickness program for themselves, for the members of the industry. It could have created many other benefit opportunities. These members who are employed in the industry rely on that level, that $50,000 fee level, as their investment in their business that they hope that they will be able to recoup out of their business when they decide to move out of that employment. That is their nest egg. That is their pension for the future.
By the minister's department not charging that fee to those new executive cars, he has taken away that opportunity from these people in the future. I think it is something that his department should revisit in the future and see if we can implement the recommendations that were in his own Taxicab Board's reports, not just cherry‑pick from the one's that were there that are suiting his needs for the present time.
There are many other recommendations, of course, that were in here in the Taxicab Board's study. The way the minister chose to implement those recommendations obviously was his department's decision.
One of the decisions that we did agree on was the implementation of vehicles that would allow access for people with disabilities in our society. That is one of the positive lights that I can see from the recommendations that were implemented.
The disabled people for too long have not had accessible taxicabs to allow them to move about freely in our society as they would like to. By the implementation of these 10 new vehicles into our community, I think that will give our people with disabilities greater opportunity to be mobile.
Of course, that may not totally address the concerns that were there, and there were other recommendations that could have done that. There are several organizations dealing with the concerns of people with disabilities, and some of them made presentations at the committee hearings. They were quite concerned on how their concerns were listened to by the board.
Some of the concerns they had were the opportunities where those that operate the accessible taxicabs would actually come out of the vehicle themselves to assist the disabled people to either get into or get out of the vehicles and to make sure that they got safely to the dwellings that they were being transported to before the taxicabs would be driven away.
I hope that this will be part of the regulations for these accessible taxicabs that the minister will set down as these new licences are issued. The Taxicab Board has obviously made their ruling just recently, and there are going to be some 60 new additional licences put into circulation for these premium taxicabs, executive cars and accessible taxicabs.
It is also my understanding from the report that the department is also considering expanding the number of authorizations that are issued. I think the minister has to look seriously at the fact that this could further water down the business opportunities for those who are employed in that segment of the industry, as well as the fact that it will also take away business opportunities for taxicabs.
The criteria that was used to select or to justify the implementing of these vehicles was based on surveys that had been done by the Taxicab Board in the minister's department. The justification they had used was that they had received surveys back indicating that there would be a 20 percent increase in ridership if the government allowed the Taxicab Board to go ahead with implementing these licensing authorities.
Now, the minister has hung himself out there. If this 20 percent increase in business opportunities does not come forward and does not materialize, I believe that the minister is going to see these executive car owners banging at his door asking for a lowering of their fees that they would charge; they would put these vehicles in direct competition with the taxicab industry. I believe in these difficult economic times we find ourselves in in this province, that we are going to see those people coming to the minister's door and looking for the opportunities to lower their rates to attract more business clientele and more regular travelling public, more members of the travelling public.
There are several other recommendations that were in the report. One of the concerns that I had from the decision that was made from the Taxicab Board was that with the opportunity for these new individuals, some new and some currently in the limousine business, who have now been issued the executive car authorities. They have the opportunity to purchase these licensing authorities for some $100, and it will give them the opportunity, over a period of time, to dispose of these licensing authorities for the full market value. From that, I mean the $100 value that they were currently obliged to pay to the Department of Highways and Transportation versus the $50,000 fee that one could dispose of these to other people who wish to get into that form of business.
I think that is an unfair advantage that is being given to these new participants in the transportation industry. I do not think the minister should have allowed his department to undertake or give this unfair advantage to one segment over another. We have drawn this to the minister's attention for some time. He refuses to act on that, and it is unfortunate that he chooses to do that.
Many other recommendations that come forward‑‑of course, the current industry is very upset at the way the minister has handled this and his Taxicab Board has handled this. We have had numerous meetings with the taxicab industry over this matter. We have attended the public meetings; we have attended the court hearings.
The industry members, themselves, are now in a position where they have to place themselves in direct competition with the limousine industry and the executive cars that these people own. That means they are going to have to purchase, obviously, full‑sized vehicles. They are going to have to have them air conditioned. They are probably going to have to have cellular phones in them to allow the business clientele, who are riding in them, to communicate freely as they travel about.
This will mean more expense for these people who are employed in this industry if they want to remain viable and competitive. More expense will mean they will be in a precarious position of being able to survive.
I hope the minister has listened to the comments that we have put on the record on behalf of the taxicab industry today, and that he will recognize the role he has to play in preserving an industry that we already have in this province that is running through some difficult times today.
We have received correspondence from those who are employed in the industry, and they feel that they have been discriminated against. There are obviously only short‑term gains that appear will be made to serve the travelling public in the city of Winnipeg, and the long‑term consequences of this will mean members who are currently employed in this industry will be forced out of this industry.
The correspondence we have indicates that the Taxicab Board, by the studies that they had done, should have kept their word, and they should have implemented all 31 of the recommendations.
There are other areas of Highways and Transportation, of course, that will be brought forward in Bill 15, and I am sure in other bills that the minister will bring forward in the future.
The minister talked sometime ago in his comments‑‑I am not sure if it was on Bill 14 or Bill 15‑‑about bringing in an omnibus bill that would update the overall Highway Traffic Act. I was wondering why the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and why the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) have not corresponded or have not communicated with their own constituents in their own portions of the province. I ask specific questions to deal with the seat‑belt legislation.
An Honourable Member: Oh, yes, did he duck the issue?
Mr. Reid: The Minister of Health has continued to duck the issue; he will not even return the phone calls of his constituents.
It was interesting to note that, when the New Democratic government brought in that legislation‑‑and it was, I believe, good legislation; it protected the lives of many Manitobans, the travelling public in Manitoba‑‑the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) did not support that piece of legislation and now when his constituents call to talk to him about that, he refuses to answer their phone calls. Now what kind of representative is that who will not even return the phone calls of his constituents about a very important issue like seat belts?
An Honourable Member: He could be vulnerable in the next election. Watch out.
Mr. Reid: I think he could be very vulnerable. Now, I am not sure if it is going to be the Reform Party or some other party that will challenge him for that, but, obviously, his seat is vulnerable.
I quote from the article in the Scratching River Post of February 17, 19‑‑
An Honourable Member: Scratching River Post?
Mr. Reid: Scratching River Post, that is the centre‑of‑the‑road
political newspaper that reports accurately the facts as they see them in the
I will quote, Madam Deputy Speaker, for the benefit of the members of the House here: Politicians ducking the seat‑belt questions, provincial Health minister Don Orchard and Highways minister Albert Driedger appear to be avoiding commenting publicly on the controversies surrounding mandatory seat‑belt legislation.
Now I wonder why that is. To go on, it further states: Two recent studies attacking the mandatory seat‑belt legislation, Mr. Orchard has not returned repeated phone calls by a Post reporter; Mr. Driedger's assistant returned a call last week saying the Highways minister was very busy and would likely have nothing new to say on this subject.
It goes on to say and I quote: Mr. Orchard was the most vocal opponent of mandatory seat‑belt legislation during public debate of 1983, prior to enactment of Manitoba's new law in 1984 by the New Democratic Party, NDP government. Mr. Driedger, the Minister of Highways and Transportation, opposed the mandatory seat‑belt law, citing constituents' concerns.
It is funny how the roles change when you go into government and something that you were so dead set against and opposed to at the time becomes a policy that you are going to support. It is obvious that two ministers sitting opposite support the seat‑belt legislation; otherwise, they would have taken the necessary steps to fulfill their constituents' wishes and retracted that legislation.
Unfortunately, that would have been to the
detriment of the travelling public in
It goes on further to state in the article, Madam Deputy Speaker, that according to Hansard, the official record of debates in the Legislature, Mr. Driedger told the NDP in 1983, the seat‑belt law would come back to haunt them. The Minister of Highways and Transportation said that. Now, in 1983 the minister looked into his great crystal ball and he saw that it would come back to haunt somebody, but he was a little bit unclear on who it was going to come back to haunt. It goes on‑‑
An Honourable Member: We should bring those speeches back to him.
Mr. Reid: I think that would be a great idea. I think we will have to resurrect a Hansard on the debate on that, and maybe mail it out to the constituents of the two ministers opposite and make their constituents aware of the position they took then versus the position they are taking today. Then maybe their seats would be in jeopardy.
It goes on further to state, Mr. Driedger told the Post in January just prior to the release of the Levine‑Basilevsky study which claimed seat belt use increased the risk of death and injury in daytime multi‑vehicle accidents, Manitobans have become accustomed to wearing seat belts and there is a wealth of international research which proves seat belts save lives and reduce injuries. A total change of position over what he had said in 1983. Now I have heard of the Liberals flip‑flopping on other issues in the past, but I think that this has to be a direct challenge to the flip‑flop Liberal position that has been taken over the years. Now we see the flip‑flop Tories flip‑flopping on various issues, versus to when they were in opposition to when they are in government.
Personally, I believe that seat belts are good legislation. I used seat belts myself even before it became legislation in this province, and I must say for the record that I have had my personal health protected by seat belts. They have saved me in some of the unfortunate accidents that I have had in my earlier days. I highly recommend seat belt use. I hope that the minister‑‑
An Honourable Member: We will have to check your driver's‑‑
Mr. Reid: Madam Deputy Speaker, the minister raises an interesting point that he is going to have to check my driving abstract in his Department of Motor Vehicles. Well, I bring to the minister's attention, if he checks my abstract he will find that I have five merits on my licence. This is not bragging, but just clarifying for the minister's benefit that should he check my driving abstract, he will find those merits on my licence. Of course, those five merits come in quite handy when it comes to Autopac time, and how it reduces our premiums a substantial level. I recommend for those who do not have merits on their licence that they work toward achieving those merits.
Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister of Government Services): You can have five merits and not get a discount on your Autopac. If you had an accident last year, five merits, you do not get a discount. It is not just merits. You better get that clear. You can have five merits and an accident, no discount.
Mr. Reid: The Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) indicates, because he does have some experience in Autopac matters obviously in his other experiences of life, we will call them, he is accurate in the comments that he has made there, and I stand corrected on that [interjection] I recommend that the minister, when he drives home tonight, he does use his seat belts, and that he continues to defend at every opportunity the use of seat belts.
There are other areas of transportation that are very important to us in this province, and I had the opportunity yesterday to put some comments on the record about the state of the industry in the province, transportation industry in our province here.
The transportation is struggling to
survive in our province, and we have seen a continual decrease in the numbers
of job opportunities and employment opportunities for the residents of
When I talked about the rail line yesterday, the bayline to Churchill, I was serious when I was mentioning my comments to the minister that this may be our last opportunity as a province to ensure the long‑term future for that bayline. By putting forward our position in our meetings with the federal Minister of Transportation a week and a half ago, and the minister's apparent acceptance of these proposals, the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), indeed the government in general, has this one opportunity to make some investment in our future.
With the federal government's position over this period of time and intransigence in willing to deal with this subject, unless we undertake this partnership arrangement, we stand to lose, and probably in a very short period of time, this bayline.
There is a lot at risk‑‑and I talked about this yesterday. The government very much wants to see, I am sure, this rocket range program take off‑‑and I do not use that term loosely‑‑in the northern part of our province and the economic spin‑off opportunities it is going to create for us throughout the province, not just in the North, but in our communities in the southern portions of the province as well.
If we had this $120 million invested in our province, and the creation of 200 to 300 jobs plus the 1,000 to 1,500 spin‑off jobs that could come about as a result of this investment, I think it is something that the government has to pursue very seriously, not only from the point of view from the rocket range itself, but from the point of view that we have to preserve and enhance the service that that bay rail line serves for all of the residents of northern Manitoba.
If we do not undertake to have that investment from us, if we do not put our money forward on the table, the federal government is not going to take us seriously here in this province. We have to make that investment. It is a very minimal amount of investment that anyone could ask; $3 million per year over a three‑ or four‑year period is not a major investment in this province based on the budget that we have. When we look at $110 million for capital programs in this province under the Highways and Transportation department, a $3‑million investment out of that capital spending is not a large amount, and yet it would preserve and enhance the service and job opportunities for many Manitobans. I believe $3 million is a very modest price to pay to generate the economic wealth and the over 1,000 job opportunities that could come about as a result of this.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
I once again call on the minister and his
department and the government to look at this investment opportunity. That includes the economic and innovation
council fund that the bill is currently going before the House, Bill 9. If the minister cannot see fit to free these
funds from his capital spending program in Highways and Transportation,
possibly the government can seek out these resources from another fund. I believe it is a major investment for the
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that we look forward to the opportunity to discuss Bill 14 when it moves to committee stage. We will be asking the minister to provide us with certain opportunities on the leasing conditions that are attached to any of the Orders‑in‑Council and the way the public properties are disposed of in the province.
Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?
Mr. Steve Ashton
(Opposition House Leader): Mr. Speaker, I move,
seconded by the member for
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, I was wondering if there might be willingness of the House, and I refer to the acting government House leader, to call Bill 11. It was stood earlier, but there may be willingness to pass it through.
Mr. Speaker: Is there leave of the House to bring forward Bill 11 again? That is agreed.
Bill 11‑The Bee-Keepers Repeal Act
Mr. Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), Bill 11, The Bee‑Keepers Repeal Act; Loi abrogeant la Loi sur les apiculteurs, standing in the name of the honourable member for Wellington, the honourable member for Wellington.
Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington): Mr. Speaker, I cannot tell you what a pleasure it is to stand here at this moment in this House to speak‑‑albeit briefly, not my normal practice in this House, I understand, but albeit briefly‑‑on The Bee‑Keepers Repeal Act.
On a serious note, we have had several of our members speaking on this act and sharing some concerns that they have with the act and with the implications it has, or is responding to as far as marketing boards are concerned. However, I do feel and we do feel that we have had enough discussion about this bill in the House and are prepared at this time to pass it to committee so that the members of the public will have an opportunity to share their concerns on this bill as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is the House ready for the question? The question before the House is second reading of Bill 11, The Bee‑Keepers Repeal Act; Loi abrogeant la Loi sur les apiculteurs. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Agreed?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed and so ordered.
Bill 15‑The Highway Traffic Amendment Act
Mr. Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), Bill 15, The Highway Traffic Amendment Act; Loi modifiant le Code de la route, standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).
Some Honourable Members: Stand.
Mr. Speaker: Stand. Is there leave that this matter remain standing? Leave. It is agreed.
Is it the will of the House to call it five o'clock?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: The hour being 5 p.m., time for Private Members' Business.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): Mr. Speaker, do I have leave to change the sponsorship of some resolutions?
Mr. Speaker: Does the member have leave?
An Honourable Member: No.
Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, just for clarification, I was wondering if the member who denied leave for this party to change a name after it has granted leave to members of that party to change names for the member for Crescentwood would clarify. I am not sure if I heard him. If he could put that on the record I would like to‑‑
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader): Mr. Speaker, do I require leave to put it on the record? If there is leave, I will be more than happy to put it on the record. I just do not want to start off‑‑there is leave?
Mr. Speaker, I would be more than happy to explain what had taken place. The government House leader had approached myself‑‑or actually I approached the government House leader and requested that the resolutions standing in the former member for Crescentwood's name be transferred into some of my colleagues' names. The government House leader then told me that that would be fine, but in order for him to agree to that, we would have to agree to having the member for Turtle Mountain's (Mr. Rose) resolution on the postal services brought to the top of the Order Paper. We said, we do not have any problem in allowing leave for that to happen.
Now that the government wants to transfer some resolutions, I think it would be most appropriate to suggest in terms to at least the second opposition, because we had given something in return for it, that they‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This appears to be a matter that House leaders can discuss amongst themselves.
Leave has been denied to change the sponsorship.
DEBATE ON SECOND READINGS‑PUBLIC BILLS
Mr. Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock), Bill 25, The University of Manitoba Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Universite du Manitoba, standing in the name of the honourable member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render). Stand?
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Stand?
Order, please. I will call it one
more time. Bill 25, The University of
Manitoba Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Universite du
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Mr. Speaker: Is there leave that this matter remain standing?
An Honourable Member: Agreed.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. It is agreed.
The honourable member for Thompson who has 10 minutes remaining.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): I appreciate the opportunity to speak and the leave that was granted previously. Without reflecting on a previous matter, which would be out of order, I can indicate that there are times, particularly in private members' hour, when we operate as much by leave as by the rules per se. While we do not always agree, on this particular occasion, I know we have indicated our willingness to help expedite matters in private members' hour as was just done on this bill, and as I think could have been done in terms of the resolution the Conservatives were mentioning earlier.
I hope that the people reflect on the role of private members' hour, because I think at times we tend to forget that and treat it as simply the three parties hour, and I really think that is a mistake. When we are dealing with a bill such as this, certainly, I would assume this reflects the views of the mover of the bill. I know traditionally caucuses have supported bills, and there is a role for caucuses. I do not disagree with that, but this is the type of bill and, in fact, many of the type of matters we are dealing with, I feel do not really require us to view this in quite as competitive a manner as we do, that there have to be three different positions on each and every matter before private members' hour.
I would point to other jurisdictions, Mr. Speaker, where there are provisions in place to ensure that bills such as this or some of the resolutions that were referred to earlier in terms of private members' hour where there is a clear opportunity for members of the Legislature to vote on those particular bills, not every bill but a certain percentage of the bills. The House of Commons does that on a regular basis, both in terms of public bills and also in terms of resolutions.
I find it unfortunate that practice has fallen into disuse in this Assembly in the last number of years. In fact, when I was first elected, there were still times when bills were voted upon. It was assumed that at the end of session, when there was discussion and negotiation about the resolution of a session, the completion of a session, that there would be some bills and some resolutions passed through the representative mixture usually of the parties.
Mr. Speaker, I would suggest the government should consider that in terms of this bill this might be one of the bills that could be considered in terms of being voted upon. I know some of our members have some bills, particularly in the consumer area, where we would like to see them come to a vote. I think it is important that this private members' hour regain some of the validity that it has had in previous years, and that we all attempt, in this session at least, to put aside some of the adversarial relationships we have in terms of being members of three different political parties. If there is a bill that makes sense, pass it; if there is a resolution that makes sense, pass it. I would point that we have made the start with at least one resolution, despite a rather inauspicious start with some of the wrangling and the battles of the press releases that took place, over postal rates for rural newspapers.
The bottom line, Mr. Speaker, is we were able to pass it in the end. Perhaps we should look in terms of bills such as this particular bill. Perhaps we should put it to a vote. Even if it was put to a vote, for example, and there was disagreement on behalf of the various members of the House, it would at least show to people that private members' hour is important and that the business of private members is important. That includes not just opposition members‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I appreciate the remarks of the honourable member for Thompson but, as I have indicated previously, I believe his remarks would be better used at a meeting with House leaders. Therefore, I would ask the honourable member for Thompson to keep his remarks relevant to Bill 25, The University of Manitoba Amendment Act.
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, I was merely attempting to say
that this was the type of bill that should be considered for passing because it
is important. It should at least be
given the opportunity to go to a vote regardless of who moved it. In this particular case it matters not to me
that it was moved by a member of another party.
I think it is of sufficient importance.
I outlined some of the reasons during my last comments, because I have
had the opportunity of being a former president of the
Indeed, it was a sad day when I had to
come down in front of the Legislature with 4,500 students and demonstrate
against the likes of the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) in his previous
reincarnation as a member of the Sterling Lyon government. Mr. Speaker, history is repeating
itself. We hear talk again of 20 percent
tuition fee increases, of major cuts to different faculties at the
What disturbed me the most today were the statements made by the Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey) in Question Period that these are simply a matter of internal priorities. They are starving the education system, and now they are saying it is a matter of internal priorities.
Let us understand one thing, Mr.
Speaker. When it comes to the
I realize that Young PCs are becoming rather rare on campus nowadays, Mr. Speaker, and I realize that they were concerned perhaps about preserving an endangered species‑‑we have talked about that‑‑but they had no right to go and appoint a member of the Young PCs over the appointment of the democratically elected University of Manitoba Students' Union representing the students of the University of Manitoba. They took patronage and pork barrelling and nepotism, the arts in which they are very good at, to its ultimate form, in the form of the appointment that led to this bill being introduced.
We now have a new Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey), and I would suggest that this minister has the opportunity with this bill to put behind this government some of the pork barrelling‑‑if I can use that word‑‑the patronage, the nepotism, that we have seen in the Department of Education and educational institutions as brought in by the former Minister of Education.
If she really wants the universities to be
able to make decisions internally, and what she was talking about earlier
today, how can she then turn around and use the
When we were fighting the Sterling Lyon government, when we had student representatives on the board, we were not denied the opportunity to make that appointment by the then Conservative government. So whatever happened to fair play on behalf of this Conservative government? Is this Conservative government really only concerned about finding new patronage appointments? Could they not have invented some other place to appoint this particular individual?
In fact, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) says he has a number of constituents here today, and I welcome them to the Legislature. I wonder if they realize what this government has been doing at our educational institutions. If they do pursue their studies at university, would they want some crony of the government, some Young PC crony speaking for them, or would they want a democratically elected representative of the students speaking for them? I know whom they would choose: the democratically elected representative.
I conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying on this particular bill, this bill deserves to go to a vote. Let not the government stand this bill. Let not the government speak it out on the Order Paper. Let this bill go to a vote so that we can vote not only on behalf of our constituents in this Chamber, as we do on every vote, but particularly send a message of hope to the universities, to the students who are facing tough times, to let them know that they will at least not have this government deny their democratic right to have representatives on the Board of Governors as the previous minister did. They will rectify it by passing this bill.
Mr. Speaker: As previously agreed, this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render).
SECOND READINGS‑PUBLIC BILLS
Bill 27‑The Business Practices Amendment Act
Mr. Speaker: Bill 27, The Business Practices Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les pratiques commerciales.
Are we proceeding with Bill 27?
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Mr. Speaker: Stand.
Bill 31‑The Municipal Amendment Act
Mr. Neil Gaudry (St.
Boniface): I move, seconded by the member for
Mr. Gaudry: Mr. Speaker, first I would like to welcome you back, see you are in good form in the Legislature and wish you well in the upcoming session.
Mr. Speaker, I stand to speak today on
Bill 31, The Municipal Amendment Act.
Bill 31 deals with the definition of residency in the summer resort
Mr. Speaker, last year the government introduced legislation which made a number of modifications to The Municipal Act. Most of these changes were improvements, and they were intended to meet the needs of those most directly affected by The Municipal Act.
Mr. Speaker, however, the change to Section 45(2) which defines residency for the purposes of eligibility for election was ill‑advised. It changed the residency requirement that stood for many years in the act from two months in any year to two consecutive months in any year.
Mr. Speaker, one of the resort municipalities impacted by this residency requirement change is Victoria Beach. As in other municipalities, the majority of property taxpayers are summer residents who own cottages. Many of them spend a very significant amount of time in the municipality, but still do not qualify under the two consecutive months rule. The change introduced last session disqualifies them from running for election to the local council.
Mr. Speaker, it is well known that resort municipalities often experience some tension between the interests of year‑round residents on one hand and cottagers on the other hand. Provincial legislation should help to reconcile the different interests and provide a framework in which different groups can work together for the benefit of the entire community. Tres bien, merci. [interjection]
However, Bill 18‑‑well, he is not doing his job, so I figured I would do it for him. [interjection] Mr. Speaker, I visited his constituency last week and I was well received. However, Bill 18 of the last session which changed the residency requirement failed to do that.
Mr. Speaker, we in the Liberal Party do not believe that different interests can be accommodated by preventing some of them from being represented in elected bodies. That is against all democratic principles, and that is what has happened as a result of the amendment last session. [interjection]
Well, I go in his constituency also, and I am well received in that one, too.
Mr. Speaker, and to the member for Roblin (Mr. Derkach), he should know that I visited his people, also. I was well received there also. He is quite aware of that. He did not do his job, so I did it for him.
The principle of no taxation without
representation has brought about revolutions, as those who pay attention to
history well know. I do not think we
will see a revolution in
That right has been taken away from many people in summer resort municipalities. Of course, there has to be some practical limitation on who is eligible because of the unique nature of summer resorts, but that practical accommodation existed in the law before the government's changes. It was a reasonable definition, and it had stood up in the courts. It was a compromise which helped to accommodate different interests.
The requirement of two‑months residency to be eligible to run for office in summer resort municipalities should have been left as it stood. Our bill will restore it. This, therefore, leads me to conclude that, in the interest of basic democratic principle, Bill 31 will correct the flaw that was inserted into The Municipal Act in the last session. The amendment to Section 45(2) was the result of inadequate consultation by the Conservative government.
As we found out in our committee debate of Bill 18 in July of 1991, it was apparent that change was made on recommendation of one particular resort council, and other councils were not canvassed to determine their positions. The council of Victoria Beach did indeed come forward and oppose a change, but the then Minister of Rural Development ignored them. Hopefully, the new minister will not do the same.
An Honourable Member: We hope not.
Mr. Gaudry: No, because I know he will do a good job; he will support the bill. He graciously admitted that there may have been an oversight in the consultation process. He offered an apology but stubbornly refused to consider changing his course. This was a case of poor consultation and poor lawmaking.
There was opposition to this provision, but the minister claimed there was none. The Liberal Party, in that committee meeting last summer, urged the minister to reconsider, but he refused. He offered apologies, but he did not offer a correction of the problem. He refused to listen to the presentation of the Victoria Beach Council, and he refused a suggestion of the Liberal members of the committee. Our Bill 31 will correct these errors made by the minister last year.
The present bill will remove the word "consecutive," restoring the previous requirements of two months. I beg the members of this House to support this bill. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that debate be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 50‑The Beverages Container Act
Mr. Speaker: Are we proceeding with Bill 50, The Beverage Container Act; Loi sur les contenants de boisson?
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Bill 51‑The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act
Mr. Speaker: Bill 51, The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'assurance‑maladie?
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Res. 6‑Workforce 2000
Mr. Jack Reimer (Niakwa): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer),
WHEREAS Workforce 2000 is a program designed to assist business and industry to meet their training needs; and
WHEREAS Workforce 2000 is aimed at upgrading and retraining people in both job specific and generic skills to cope with the introduction of new skills, equipment and processes; and
WHEREAS Workforce 2000 will work closely with the community colleges, especially through their market‑driven training program, to provide appropriate training for industry.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba support the efforts being made to work with industry and the workforce to proceed with programs that are responsive to the needs of the work force.
Mr. Reimer: Mr. Speaker, this gives me a great deal of pleasure to stand up here today and talk about Workforce 2000, because in the last few days we have sat on this side of the House and listened to the members opposite talk about, particularly speaking to Bill 9, The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act, in which they have chastised and berated this side of the government for their lack of initiative, and lack of direction regarding trying to come up with some sort of formula for retraining and education in Manitoba.
This government has responded. In fact, back in October of 1990, the Premier
(Mr. Filmon) announced Workforce 2000.
This was a program that was to be phased in over a three‑year
period. I would like to give you the background on this Workforce 2000, because
Work force training and human resource planning are essential to ensure that Manitobans have the skills required to fulfill the needs of the businesses and industry. Education and training have been identified by a majority of businesses and labour leaders as the most important factors in improving competitiveness. Employers must play a role in the training of their employees as it is at their best interests.
Government's role in developing the human
resources of our province is to act as a catalyst in encouraging business and industry
to increase their investment and their involvement in the training of the work
force. Workforce 2000 is
The program has four major components: training advisory and brokerage services, private sector training incentives, industry‑wide human resource planning, and province‑wide special courses.
As a background and further exploration on the various four points that I just pointed out, regarding the training advisory and brokerage services, the Workforce 2000 program recognizes that an educated, a well‑trained and a flexible work force is the key to competing in the intensely competitive marketplace of today's society. Through training, business and industry are able to improve productivity by developing the skills required in the workplace.
Workforce 2000 will work with industry, business and with labour to provide the training advisory and the brokerage services to ensure that effective training has taken place. Workforce 2000 works with private firms, especially small‑ and medium‑sized firms, to assess their human resource needs and develop training strategy. The program will provide assistance to employers and groups of employers in training needs assessment, training plan development and training evaluation follow‑up.
Workforce 2000 assists
Also, under private sector training programs, there will be cost‑shared financial incentives available to encourage private businesses to increase their investment in training. These work‑based training programs include retraining, upgrading and entry level training. The priority skills of training are in the areas of high‑demand occupations and skill shortage areas, as well as the introduction of new techniques, equipment and processes. The program supports job‑specific skill development geared directly to the firm's operations and generic skill development on broadly based transferable and transportable skills.
Workforce 2000 also has a payroll tax refund that will be available to private sector goods‑producing firms that are paying the payroll tax. The refund will cover workplace training costs related to improving the generic skills of their employees.
With the industry‑wide human
resource planning, I would like to point out that the Workforce 2000 program
recognizes that training and skills development are a critical part of
To put all ills and all responsibilities in perspective, we must take into account that management must have the facility to change, management must have the will to change, management must have the direction to see that working within all parameters within labour and the private sector that changes can come about because of the fact that, as mentioned, in today's competitive market there must be analysis of which is the best and most productive way of bringing about the goods and the services that are required.
There is a responsibility that management recognizes that any type of confrontational attitude or confrontational atmosphere with labour is not going to be conducive to the change and introduction of the skills that are required to meet the demands.
This program looks at that type of redirection. It gives the emphasis on working together with the government and business to try to bring about a co‑ordinated effort to bring about the best skills training, and the best way to go to market to bring about the product or the services. There is a responsibility not only for labour to recognize the benefits, there is a responsibility for management, and the ownership of business to recognize that there has to be a co‑operation and a co‑ordination between all levels to achieve the ends that we need in today's competitive environment.
We have to look only in the papers at all times, and we see we have the unfortunate situation and the hard times that we are being faced with, but at the same time, we must look at the challenges ahead, and the fact that if there is a retraining program for the existing employees so that they meet the needs that are coming forth, it gives them an opportunity to be better in tune with what may be happening in the very near future. The training of the individuals, the training of the work force in all industries is necessary from time to time, and it gives a better perspective and a broader initiative for people to strive for something better.
The redundancy, sometimes in the work force, can be overcome by the fact that when there is the availability of training, when there is the availability of advancement, when there is the availability to strive for new frontiers, if you want to call it, and to have the ability to do this, it makes for a better and a more cohesive work force within all parts of the sector of Manitoba and indeed in all of Canada.
Anytime there is a training program that is put forth, it has to be looked at in the objective sense of how it is going to help the economy, and how it is going to help, more importantly, the individuals.
The assets of every company, and the biggest assets of all companies, are the people who are working for it. With the recognition that this work force is the most valuable part of that commodity in that business. With the training that we are proposing under this Workforce 2000, it gives an emphasis and a direction for both management and labour to sit down and see how they can best address the change. Change is something that is not necessarily bad from time to time. We say, because things change we lose the good old days, if you want to call it, because change makes things different.
Change can be change for the better. Change can make things better. Change can make things easier. Change can make things safer not only for the work force, but for all individuals that are involved with that business, so that we have to look at the change and availability of training in a positive manner and not as an infringement or a cutting back of anybody's work or anybody's position within that company. I feel that with the Workforce 2000 program and the availability of a funding that goes directly towards existing businesses with an existing work force that are being forced to look at a change that they may not be ready for, it gives them an avenue and a window of opportunity to look at it and to be ready for the challenge.
We know too well that if we look back within our own personal situations‑‑I can recall my grandfather, who did not know what an airplane was, and my father, who did not know what television was, and now I as a man have been exposed to the computer. So just as things come about, each one of them is not a bad situation.
The program promotes an industry‑driven incentive to address the training needs in this strategy. There are three sets of initiatives that are part of the strategy. One is to determine the impact of technology and the changing skill requirements within specific sectors. Two is to identify priority training activities and provide brokerage of necessary training and provision of cost‑sharing programs. Three is to support and update the delivery of courses in new and changing technologies.
In addition to the job‑related
The course skills training will teach basic skills such as reading, writing, computation, communication, problem solving, creative thinking, teamwork and leadership. The training for the trainer will be a course to develop the skills of the workplace trainers.
Just in summing up, Mr. Speaker, I realize there is a strong force in the room here to move this forward because of the fact that, as was put forth by the members of the opposition, training and the training of individuals is of high priority, not only on their side, but on this side.
I look forward to a unanimous passing and consent on this referendum, and I thank all members for their support on this. Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for presenting Workforce 2000.
Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to address this resolution because it seems the government is saying one thing and doing another. With this resolution, if you look at the whole idea of Workforce 2000, it looks like the government wants to privatize training. That is what it is all about.
If you look at training programs that were
cut, if the government really wanted to make sure our youth and citizens of
When I heard the member talk about reading, writing, comprehensive skills, leadership training, those are the exact emphasis of a program that I am sure some members are aware of, called New Careers. That is how New Careers conducts their training programs. They tie‑‑[interjection] What is that? That is good; I am glad to see that, but how come there was $1.6 million cut from last year's budget? Why? Instead of taking that $7 million into private businesses' pockets, that $7 million could have been utilized a lot more if it had been allocated to colleges and the ACCESS programs where the expertise is already in place. It is already there.
You talk about qualified instructors, training the trainer. There are lots of trainers who were laid off with community colleges. Where are those individuals working now? They had the expertise. [interjection] They did not have the expertise? The former Minister of Education is laughing. There was expertise in training.
If you are a trainer, you can adjust your training skills to train in various courses. When I was employed with the New Careers program‑‑I was employed with them for 12 years‑‑when you had an instructor who instructed, say, adult correction officers, that same instructor could be transferred over to train recreation workers because they had the teaching skills. That is what you learn.
An Honourable Member: If you are going to need a barber, you need a barber instructor.
An Honourable Member: To teach you diesel mechanics.
Mr. Hickes: Now, you are talking about apprenticeship trades. When you talk about specific apprenticeship trades, the colleges were delivering those programs. They were delivering the barbering courses; they were delivering the auto mechanics; they were delivering the heavy equipment mechanics.
An Honourable Member: You said they can train anybody.
Mr. Hickes: I am talking about, when we talk about the specifics that the member mentioned‑‑reading, writing, comprehension skills, and leadership training. Those are the skill areas that New Careers teaches.
When you talk about your labour‑intensive
and your apprenticeship training, yes, you have to specialize in there, but
those community colleges were already doing that‑‑they were already
doing that. So why were all those
individuals laid off, and then turn around and give $7 million to private
businesses to do exactly what the colleges were doing? Does that make any sense? [interjection] Yes, but you can hire
trainers to train whatever you want. So
if you want specific training in, say, jackhammer repair, if there is no one
skilled out there, how can you deliver that kind of training? [interjection] Well, if there are jobs
there and the company says, we need 12 jackhammer repair mechanics and there is
no one in
An Honourable Member: You would go to the company and they would provide the training to the individual.
Mr. Hickes: That is the point I am making. A lot of these companies have expertise in their given area, whether it is in the trades area or the mining industry, but they are not trainers. That is the difference.
The community college instructors are
trainers. They are there to deliver
training programs. How do you think we
got auto mechanic training programs, plumbers, electricians, secretarial,
clerical? Why? Because there was a need out there, so people
got trained in those specific areas, and they were delivered by the community
colleges. What is wrong with community
An Honourable Member: I did not say there was anything wrong.
Mr. Hickes: Well, why do you want to lay off a whole bunch of staff from community colleges and privatize training? The private industries are there to make money, to do the work. They are not trainers.
An Honourable Member: They create the jobs.
Mr. Hickes: They create jobs, guaranteed, but once they are trained from a community college, they can fill those jobs.
An Honourable Member: You had better be sure that the linkage is there, that you have the right training.
Mr. Hickes: The New Careers program that I mentioned tied that directly in. They tied in exactly what the job roles would be.
They would do a task analysis, and if you were the one who was selected to go to S.I.R., if you needed A, B, C and D, and if you only had A, they developed a specific course that included B, C and D to make sure that you were qualified to do that job. That is already in place‑‑it is already in place.
Why does it take $7 million to do something that agencies are already doing? Expand those agencies. How much do you think it is going to cost when you take a consultant to go in and consult with a company and do an evaluation and say, okay, this individual needs A, B, C and D? How much do you think that consultant will charge that company that is getting money from Workforce 2000?
They are not going to do it for nothing. Government employees, whether colleges or New Careers, that is exactly what they used to do. They would go into an agency or a company and define A, B, C and D. The government employee, who was already employed by the government, would develop a training package to suit that company's needs.
They have been doing it for years. Business skills, they have already done. If you look at New Careers for an example,
you talk about business management. New
Careers has delivered for the
They have been doing an excellent job until a lot of them were laid off so private companies could benefit from that. Even if you look at your whole apprenticeship training program, how many individuals go through the whole year of training? What happens is a lot of them go in for a month's training program for a level. They will take a level course in a community college. They go back and work for the company for the whole year until they get 1,800 hours, and then they go to the next level.
What are you inventing here? I do not know, because all that has already been happening. What you are doing is, you are taking money that should go to public colleges and public training programs and giving it to private companies, who, you will probably be paying, probably could be $10 an hour for an individual, and that individual in turn will probably get minimum wage out of that. They are saying, well, we need the rest of it to do private training because we are training that individual on the job. Does that make sense?
Who is lining the pocket? If you have 10 employees who are getting $4.70 an hour, and the company is getting on top of that, say even $5 an hour, that is pretty good profit. How much actual on‑the‑job training goes on? [interjection]
That is exactly how the businesses will operate. I have seen it done. I have seen it done. I have worked on various programs‑‑[interjection] That is exactly what this is saying‑‑privatized training.
The person who is taking this training program will not benefit that much from it. The private company will benefit the most. That is who will be lining their pockets.
We have private training programs, and you
heard the outcry when a lot of the programs were cut from community colleges,
and they were saying the reason we cut these programs is because you can go to
An Honourable Member: Approximately the same.
Mr. Hickes: No, they are not the same. They are not the same. No, it costs more to deliver private training than it does to deliver out of the community colleges. There were some individuals who had told me personally that some of the tuition went up to $3,000 from about $1,000. Is that fair?
These students are having a hard enough time to raise $1,000 for their tuition fees, and now we are going to let the private training programs charge them two, three times as much.
I am sure a lot of these so‑called trainers who are working for private training programs, they would not be getting the same benefits as the government instructors. With government instructors you get a decent pension, you get a decent hourly rate, you get the government holidays. What do private trainers get? I bet you they would not get the same hourly rate. How about benefits? What do they get for benefits? They would not be the same as government.
Yet you say, we are serious about giving opportunities to the youth and to unemployed Manitobans. I saw one of your market‑driven training programs delivered in Thompson with Inco. That was supposed to initiate aboriginal people getting hired on with Inco. You know who benefited from that training? It was the existing employees that were already working for Inco. There were no new aboriginal people hired from that.
That was the whole idea of market‑driven training when it was first started. The existing staff were upgraded. Those existing staff‑‑
An Honourable Member: Did they move to a better salary?
Mr. Hickes: Oh, I do not know about a better salary, but that initiation‑‑
An Honourable Member: Well, evaluate the whole thing before you criticize.
Mr. Hickes: It was initiated to bring on new employees of aboriginal nature.
An Honourable Member: Do not condemn it until you know the whole story.
Mr. Hickes: I know the whole story. I was up there, I saw it.
An Honourable Member: You said you did not know if they had an upgraded‑‑
Mr. Hickes: That is not the point. The point was that you were supposed to hire
new employees, new employees that were aboriginal. That was the point, but the company did not
do that. They used the money to upgrade
their existing staff. That is not what
it was supposed to be used for. That is
the point I am making. When you talk
about expanding training, like you were just saying, because we want our youth
and the citizens of
If you are serious about youth and Manitobans getting adequate and proper training for jobs, why in the world would you cut $1.6 million from the ACCESS program and the New Careers program? It says, and you could talk to anyone, in 10 to 20 years, the highest labour pool and resources will be the aboriginal people. Where do the aboriginal people access their training? It was through the ACCESS programs and New Careers programs.
That is the kind of training programs that most aboriginal people had a chance to go to. Is your government serious about aboriginal people getting adequate training program and job opportunities? Some of you will say yes, but if you were serious would you cut $1.6 million that directly affects aboriginal people? That is what the ACCESS program is all about.
If you look back in history and talk to the aboriginal people that are now doctors and lawyers, social workers and teachers, ask them how they were able to obtain and be where they are today. I will bet you anything you want that 99 percent will say it was through the initiative of the ACCESS program. Is that helping aboriginal people? Is that advancing aboriginal causes?
Is that a commitment to aboriginal people? [interjection] No, but I deal directly with aboriginal people, because I hear and I see and I associate a lot of my time with aboriginal people, and I hear that every day. How come the government does not care about us?
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
First, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make reference to the resolution in terms of, what we have is a government that has introduced a program known as the Workforce 2000. A member looks at the program and saw fit to bring it forward in the form of a resolution and to pat on the back the minister responsible for the program itself. In thinking of that, had there been more requests within the resolution for enhancements, or some sort of direction about the program itself, I believe then, maybe, my opinions might have been somewhat different than what they are.
What comes to mind is there are literally hundreds of programs that government has. Are we to conclude by seeing a resolution of this nature that it is virtually endless in terms of the numbers of resolutions that could come forward saying that this is a resolution that endorses what in fact the government is doing? I have some concerns with that, Mr. Speaker. There are programs, a number of programs, some of them no doubt all three sides of the house would support. Other programs, you might not get that same type of support. For the member from Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), I am sure his intentions were good in the sense of trying to bring what he feels is a program to debate inside this Chamber. I would like to have seen the debate on an issue of this nature possibly come up through debate on the throne speech. I believe it has been debated fairly extensively, this particular program, and in particular through the Estimates process.
I do not really see any change to the program that the member would like to suggest. The only thing that I read into this particular resolution is that this is a good program, and the minister should be patted on the back for it. Mr. Speaker, I think that the member from Niakwa could have had the same effect had he written a letter to the minister and said to the minister that you have a fine program. It would have likely had the same effect.
Having said that, you know our work force is really an issue to every Manitoban. We have numerous unemployed, well over the 50,000. The things that are on all of our minds is how do we prepare our society to be able to compete in a very competitive world climate? Mr. Speaker, when we look at the government's record in terms of retraining, or if I can back up, if we look at the Free Trade Agreement that was entered into‑‑the reason why I say it is because there was a report that was released, a Conservative report that said: adjusting to win.
Mr. Speaker, that would have been part of the argument no doubt in terms of introducing a program such as the Workforce 2000. There are many other things that could have been done in order to live up to that Conservative report regarding free trade, and the free trade is only one aspect of what is happening in the world.
Albeit that there is a role no doubt for the private sector, there is also a role for the government to ensure that retraining programs‑‑and the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) spoke in terms of the CareerStart Program which has pros and cons. There are many different programs, Mr. Speaker, that we could be debating inside the Chamber to find out, to draw hopefully, some sort of conclusions as to whether or not the government in particular, or if there are ways that we can encourage the private sector to enter into so that the retraining of Manitobans, of our work force, would in fact be a very high priority.
Mr. Speaker, the government itself‑‑I
know the member for St. James (Mr. Edwards) has often referred to the
commitment to the work force in retraining of 2 cents for every worker. I do not believe that is a strong enough
commitment from the government, that they need to commit more than 2 cents per
worker towards the retraining. The
member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) made reference to the cut in our ACCESS
program, a cut to our colleges. Albeit
they have brought in a program to, in their view, curtail, to assist the workers
They have also done a lot of damage to the
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member will have eight minutes remaining.
The hour being 6 p.m., this House now adjourns, and stands adjourned till 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).