Thursday, March 5, 1992


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Terrence G. McCallum, Derek A. Sutherland, Gerald Levesque and others requesting the government show its strong commitment to dealing with child abuse by considering restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign.




Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member.  It conforms with the privileges and practices of the House and complies with the rules (by leave).  Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?

      The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth

      THAT child abuse is a crime abhorred by all good citizens of our society, but nonetheless it exists in today's world; and

      It is the responsibility of the government to recognize and deal with this most vicious of crimes; and

      Programs like the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign raise public awareness and necessary funds to deal with the crime; and

      The decision to terminate the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign will hamper the efforts of all good citizens to help abused children.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislature of the Province of Manitoba may be pleased to request that the government of Manitoba show a strong commitment to deal with Child Abuse by considering restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign. (Ms. Barrett)

      I have reviewed the petition, and it conforms with the privileges and practices of the House and complies with the rules.  Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?

      The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth

      THAT child abuse is a crime abhorred by all good citizens of our society, but nonetheless it exists in today's world; and

      It is the responsibility of the government to recognize and deal with this most vicious of crimes; and

      Programs like the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign raise public awareness and necessary funds to deal with the crime; and

      The decision to terminate the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign will hamper the efforts of all good citizens to help abused children.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislature of the Province of Manitoba may be pleased to request that the government of Manitoba show a strong commitment to deal with Child Abuse by considering restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign. (Mr. Chomiak)




Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I have a statement for the House with copies for all members and a copy of a working group report on breast cancer screening.

      When I became Minister of Health, I made a commitment that the most fundamental concern of my ministry would be to improve the health status of Manitobans and that I would see that resources were appropriately targeted to those Manitobans who were most at risk of ill health.  In that context, I recognized that women's health would be one of the highest priorities for my ministry.  That is why we created the Women's Health Directorate and why we gave women's health a high profile in the healthy public policy programs division of the ministry.

      I made another commitment that we would not simply keep doing things in the same old way.  We would not continue along the all too familiar pattern where planning for health care is distracted by emotion, by inaccurate information and by inadequate research.

      I am pleased to provide you with the Report of the Working Group on Breast Cancer Screening.  The work done by the Working Group on Breast Cancer Screening challenges the old approach and is based on sound scientific data, analysis and research.  This scientific data may make some people uncomfortable, but I have a responsibility to respond to the valid conclusions of scientific research.

      I made the commitment that the new initiatives and programs of the ministry would receive priority on the basis of the evidence for their effectiveness in terms of improving the health status of Manitobans.  I have attempted to ensure that I have received the best and most expert evidence‑based advice as the basis for reforming the health care system.  For example, that is why I established the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation and why I called together the high‑profile professionals to advise me on one of the most critical women's health issues, breast cancer screening.

      Every year, in Manitoba, over 600 women will get breast cancer.  Except for skin cancer, it is the most common form of cancer in women in Canada, and it is the leading cause of cancer‑related death in women.  It is a tragedy that directly and indirectly touches most Manitoba families.  As with many cancers, the cause and cure for breast cancer continues to elude researchers.  In this province, we are committed to do whatever we can within the resources and the appropriate technology available to assure the best possible protection against the incidence of breast cancer in women.

      One year ago, in January 1991, the ministry convened a working group to address the issue of breast cancer screening and to provide a report and recommendations to me on the advisability of instituting mass mammography screening in Manitoba.  The report of the working group is based on work conducted by an ad hoc technical committee struck in 1989 in response to events in other jurisdictions and in response to changing patterns of practice in Manitoba.  The technical committee had the mandate to assess and identify effective options for early detection of breast cancer.  The committee then turned its work over to the working group which was asked to look at implementation options.

      It should be emphasized that a mixture of clinical mammographies and screening mammographies is already occurring in Manitoba.  In 1991, while the working group was reviewing the evidence, there were over 45,000 mammograms conducted in Manitoba.  The working group was able to concentrate most of its efforts on consideration of the evidence for the effectiveness and risk of various options.

* (1335)

      The membership of the working group was carefully chosen to represent the best available expertise on breast cancer screening in Manitoba.  Several of them will be present today at 3 p.m. in Room 254 to go over details of the report, Mr. Speaker.  The working group was chaired by Sue Hicks, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Healthy Public Policy Programs and also the Director of the Women's Health Directorate.

      The rest of the working group consisted of 13 representatives from medical oncology, surgery, radiology, pathology, the Manitoba Medical Association, the University of Manitoba, Department of Community Health Sciences, the Women's Health Clinic, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Women's Health Branch of Manitoba Health.  Nine of the 13 members including the chairperson are women researchers, health educators, medical practitioners, health care providers or administrators.

      I will not read the list of membership of the committee, but I am sure all members of the Chamber would like to thank the dedicated professionals for their advice and the many hours of work spent on researching to present the report that I am tabling today, Mr. Speaker.

      This group has spent the last year intensively reviewing the current research on the benefits, risks and limitations of mass screening with mammography.  It has also looked carefully at mammography programs that have been established in Europe, the United States and in other provinces in Canada.  To date, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia have established mammography screening programs.

      Women themselves have been asking for clarification of the breast screening issues, and measures are currently underway to provide them with up‑to‑date balanced information about the risks, benefits and limitations of mammography screening.  The Women's Health Branch will work with women's health agencies and others in educating women about breast screening.

      Access to women who, in conjunction with their health care providers, choose periodic screening will be in no way affected by this report, and diagnostic services will remain available as usual.  We will place special emphasis to ensure that women who are in high‑risk categories will continue to have access to screening and diagnostic services.  What this working group has found is that many questions remain to be answered about the effects of mammography screening.

* (1340)

      The earlier optimism and hoped‑for benefits are not convincingly supported by the evidence at this time.  Women under age 50 do not appear to benefit from periodic screening with mammography in terms of reduced mortality, and the benefits to women over age 50 are still being determined.  The extent of problems that may result from mammography, such as false negative results and false positive results are just beginning to be understood.  We also do not know the risk from additional exposure to X‑rays posed by the screening.

      The working group has recommended that no program be established this year until there is further evidence of benefit to women from mass screening.  Studies such as the Canadian National Breast Screening Study in which Manitoba women participated are expected to provide important information on the issues in question.  These studies have been undertaken precisely because questions exist about the benefits and risks of mammography screening, and to proceed without benefit of their findings at this time would be premature and not in the best interests of women in Manitoba.  This report has the support of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation, and it is consistent with our government's approach to have solid supportive data before introducing new programs.

      I would like to announce action the ministry is taking in response to the report of the working group.  First, by summer, we will launch an educational campaign to educate women about breast cancer and to educate health professionals on the risks and benefits of the options available for breast cancer screening.

      Secondly, in addition, in conjunction with the Centre for Evaluative Clinical Sciences in Dartmouth, and based on the most recent medical research available and on the best available clinical expertise in Manitoba, we will produce a video on breast cancer screening and make it widely available to women and their physicians.  The video will contain the most up‑to‑date information on the risks and benefits of screening and will contain the kind of detail that will empower women to make informed choices about their own health.

      I will shortly announce the establishment of a breast cancer screening advisory group with appropriate membership to monitor evidence regarding breast cancer screening.  In particular, one of the first tasks of the group will be to review the results of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study which are expected to be released this spring.  The group will also continue to monitor and reassess the appropriate options for breast cancer screening and prevention so that we can take immediate action as new evidence becomes available.

      Fourth, the ministry will continue to support and encourage national and Manitoba research on breast cancer prevention, treatment and screening.  Few of us have not been personally touched by breast cancer, and all of us sense the urgency to deal with this tragic disease.  This government's commitment is to the health and well‑being of all women, and with this commitment comes the responsibility to ensure that health services for women are truly effective and based on sound evidence of benefit. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  I appreciate the opportunity to put some comments on record in response to the Minister of Health's statement on breast cancer, and I begin on behalf of our caucus by thanking the minister, this government, and the working group who have devoted considerable time delving into a most critical issue for women, that of breast cancer.  We appreciate the focus that this minister and this government have given to this issue, and we appreciate this update report.

      As the minister has said, this is a very scary issue for over half the population of our province and our country.  By the minister's own statistics, in 1989, there were 157 deaths and 655 diagnosed cases of breast cancer.  That is a very scary thought for all of us, Mr. Speaker, for all the women in this House, in this province, in this country.  By the minister's other statistics in our Estimates debates, he has indicated that one in 11 women in this country are struck with breast cancer.  That means one of us in this House can face that prospect at any time.  It is scary, and it needs urgent attention.

* (1345)

      The minister has indicated that he recognizes the urgency of the problem.  It is urgent because we are getting so many different mixed messages about how to detect, how to treat and how to deal with breast cancer.  The minister has appropriately addressed the mixed message we are getting.

      I, for one, was very concerned and took a very adamant position in Estimates that this government was breaking its promise reiterated in a couple of Speeches from the Throne about the need to have a breast screening mammogram.  I remember yelling from the rooftops and going after the minister like crazy about the lack of action on this issue.  He pointed out to me some of the studies that were coming in indicating that this technology may not be as foolproof and as sound a piece of technology as we had originally thought.

      However, there are still mixed messages out there, as the minister knows, and women like us do not know what to do in terms of getting tested.  Some reports have indicated that the breast screening mammogram has increased the chances of cancer among women by a considerable percentage.  Other studies show that the mammogram has, in certain age categories, improved or reduced deaths among women from breast cancer by 20 percent.  There is confusion and uncertainty, and a need to deal with it urgently.

      I trust that this minister's statement today will be backed up by resources allocated in next week's budget.  I trust there will be staff and resources pulled together to ensure this wide‑sweeping, massive education campaign to tell women about the need to get involved in self‑examination, to get good physical examinations on a regular basis and to study the relationship to diet, stress and physical environment.  I am concerned that this be done on an urgent basis, and I am concerned about a number of other women and health issues.

      The minister has addressed in the past the question of Depo‑Provera, an injectable contraceptive for which there are rumours that it will be imminently approved by the federal drug protection agency.  The minister has indicated he is prepared to fight that kind of approval, but we are asking him today if he will fight the use of that injectable contraceptive among vulnerable target groups in our population, right now in the province of Manitoba, when they are injected with this contraceptive for purposes of sterilization.

      We know that only about 3 percent of all medical research funds goes toward dealing with women's health issues.  That is a very small percentage for over half the population.  We have had the discussions before about what would be an appropriate allocation, and I would like today to use this opportunity to suggest that, for too long, the health of women has been treated as a very secondary second‑class issue, that in fact, many times, women have been treated as guinea pigs for the purposes of trying out and advancing certain products when it comes to contraception or breast implants.

      Everyone in this House knows full well the horror stories around the Meme breast implant and contraceptives like Depo‑Provera, where women have been used as guinea pigs.  We have a saying on this side of the House that, if men could get pregnant, perhaps a lot more money would be devoted to research into contraceptives.

      I would conclude by saying, once again, commendations and congratulations to this minister, and particularly to the members of his working group, who have put long hours into this very important issue of breast cancer screening.  We look forward to being updated with respect to this study, these inquiries and reviews.  We look forward to this issue being treated on an urgent basis.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to applaud the government for this step.  In 1988, in our campaign, and 1990 campaign, that was one of the issues.  During the discussion between 1988 and 1990, in all the Health Estimates, that was one of the major issues that all the parties discussed, and we asked the minister to look at the issue very carefully.

      I think we should learn from this very good example, that the data which has been given to us today‑‑and we do not have the time to review the whole process, but it is a good example that we should look at the data very carefully in terms of developing a major policy which is going to have a long‑term impact, and not just follow one example in one part of the world or the other part of the world and just jump on the policy conclusions.  This is a very important issue and is one of the examples where we can develop a long‑term policy.

* (1350)

      Also, how the health policy centre has been helpful in this issue, that again emphasizes the point that we must be very careful in health policies to develop a policy which will save us money in the long run.  This is one example which will not only save money, but most importantly, it will help more than 50 percent of our population.  I think it is a very serious matter that this cancer in women is one of the leading causes of death in this country.  For an industrialized nation to be worried about such a major issue and not do analysis, I think, is very sad, but now the governments are realizing, and Manitoba has taken the lead.

      I am sure the other provinces can learn from us, because we have data, we have individuals who have worked very hard, and they will continue to develop a policy which will help in the long run.

      Mr. Speaker, I would like to reinforce again that the other aspect which is very important in our health care policy is the education of the public and the education of this particular group, to teach them that we have this health risk problem.  Then each and every person knows the risk factors, and that can be dealt with in terms of health care professionals as well as through the Department of Health.

      The minister should take a positive stand.  They have taken in fact one part, to have a video developed explaining to the women of Manitoba how they can have access to a lot of services. I think we should also make sure that these services are not only available in Winnipeg but also in the North and other rural communities, because this procedure can be done in any community, and if you give advance notice, people can come there and have those procedures done.  We want the minister to make sure that each and every Manitoban has equal access to this good program, and we will continue to monitor and make sure that we are on the right track.

      Finally, I would like to pay our special thanks to the group in this particular section which has worked very hard.  They are very knowledgeable people, and they have no political bias, another good example of how the people of Manitoba can work together to achieve this very meaningful way to provide health care to our people.  Thank you.


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 St. John's‑Ravenscourt, thirty‑five Grade 9 students, and they are under the direction of Mr. Einarson.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey).

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




Clean Environment Commission Report

Provincial Park Land Usage


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Environment.

      The new Environment Act passed in 1988 or proclaimed in 1988 provided for a public process and an open process for licensing for all new proposed forest management plans in the province of Manitoba.  The government has followed through on the legislation with the Clean Environment Commission hearings and report that is now in the hands of the government and now before the public. There are a number of key recommendations in that report that have a great deal of significance for the people of Manitoba.

      I would ask the Minister of Environment, dealing with specific recommendations in the report, dealing with Nopiming Park and the recommendation asking the government to cancel all commercial forestry activity in all provincial parks in terms of a phased‑out way, whether the government is going to support that recommendation before the ministry, or is it going to act in a contrary way to the recommendations?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, the member is correct in stating that this report identifies an issue that has been in front of the public for a number of years in this province, going back to the time when he and his colleagues were the government of this province as well, an issue that is one that frankly this government welcomes a further debate on, and we look forward to an open discussion and a process that will allow public input on the policy issues that are raised around this particular recommendation.

      There were a number of recommendations regarding the future use of park lands.  Mr. Speaker, it is not an issue from which we intend to shy away from.

      I would remind the member of the process under which these recommendations are dealt with.  The director within the Department of Environment will deal with those portions of the recommendations that are the responsibility of the department. In the broader policy issues, we look forward to an open and public process of discussion and in fact, following very much along the lines that were recommended in the report.

* (1355)

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, we have had the open public process with the licensing process.  I would remind the minister that the Premier even got involved, Premier Pawley, in 1985, in the Atikaki Park, in stopping the logging that was granted by a licence in 1979, stopping the logging in that wilderness park and negotiating with the company for alternative wood supply outside of that wilderness park.

      The question is, Mr. Speaker, what is the government going to do on those major recommendations?  I recognize that they are broad policy issues, as the minister has indicated, but he has not told us today in the House where the government stands.

      I would ask the minister another specific question.  In 1989, I wrote the minister recommending a process of stakeholders' involvement in many of these licensing and monitoring processes. A similar recommendation has been provided to the minister in this Clean Environment Commission report, calling on the government to establish a stakeholders' advisory committee to not only advise the government and stakeholders on the various resources and issues at stake, but also to monitor the conformity of the company and the province to the terms of the licensing agreement.

      I would ask the minister, will he follow through on that recommendation, a recommendation, quite frankly, that has been before the minister for a number of years on dealing with forest management plans?

Mr. Cummings:  Mr. Speaker, I welcome the Leader of the Opposition raising that question because, as a matter of fact, that is a process that has been written into and used in a number of situations already in this province.  We have involved advisory committees in the Oak Hammock licence.  We have had advisory committees in relationship to operations with Repap, a number of examples where that type of process is used.  The member knows the process probably as well or better than I do.  I would think that he should recognize that to ask me to respond definitively to certain conditions that may or may not be in the licence as written by the director, a licence which, by the way, I am the appeal to.  It would probably be inappropriate for me to comment much further than that.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, if the minister is using the model of Oak Hammock Marsh and Ducks Unlimited, and the Repap project where they had chlorine bleach proposed, the last jurisdiction in the world to go ahead with a project like that, then we are in a lot of trouble in this province in terms of where we are going.


Clean Environment Commission Report

Provincial Park Land Usage


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  A final question to the minister responsible for the divestiture of Repap corporation.  Last week, the minister released terms of reference in this House, terms of reference quite a bit altered from the original terms of reference that the minister had incorporated in the contract he had negotiated.

      My question to the minister responsible:  Will he incorporate in the terms of reference and amend the terms of reference that he now has with the Repap corporation to include some of the recommendations in the Clean Environment Commission report that do impact on the Repap situation, specifically dealing with provincial parks and also dealing with stakeholders' committees, stakeholders' committees that include the inclusion of aboriginal people who are directly affected in the areas that are very, very crucial to this set of discussions with the minister and very much outside of the government's discussions right now?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister responsible for the administration of The Crown Corporations Public Review and Accountability Act): Mr. Speaker, what we will not do after the public dialogue leading to the government ultimately making a decision is, we will not forcibly expel cutters from one region and put them into another park like the former government did in 1985.

      Mr. Speaker, page 113 of Article 9 of the Purchaser's Covenant Agreement between Repap and the province spelled out that, and I will quote:  Manitoba reserves the right to withdraw certain areas within the forest managed licensed area.

      It stipulates a number of reasons why, or other uses, which Manitoba deems to be in the public interest.  That is part of the covenant that we have entered into with respect to the Repap agreement.  I would fully expect, as we are structuring the agreement, that certainly a commitment will be made to retain that element within a new agreement.

* (1400)


North American Free Trade Agreement

Manitoba Opposition


Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, in July of 1991, this government set down six conditions which the government said must be met before they would approve the entering into of a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico.  On February 17, when I asked the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) what the government would be doing if these six conditions were not met, he did not answer.

      Mr. Speaker, it has today become very evident that the six conditions outlined by the provincial government will not be met in the free trade discussions, that in fact Canada is prepared to give up, and the United States continues to ask for concessions that would open the free trade agreement and establish other conditions which would violate the principles set out by the minister.

      My specific question to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism is:  What specific action is this government going to take when it becomes evident that the free trade agreement will cost Manitoba jobs and not be in Canada's best interest?  What will they do specifically to highlight their opposition?

Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism): Mr. Speaker, firstly, I would like to correct the honourable member for Flin Flon that I did answer his question when asked in terms of what our position is, was and will continue to be.  We have said on many occasions that, if those six conditions are not met, we do not support the agreement.  That is what was tabled here at the House back in July of 1991, that we do not support a North American free trade agreement unless those six conditions are met.

      In terms of the one specific condition that he has referred to today in terms of the reopening of the Canada‑U.S. Free Trade Agreement, that is one of our six conditions.  It has been a condition to date of the federal government, if you listened to the Honourable Michael Wilson, that they do not support the opening of the Canada‑U.S. Free Trade Agreement because of concerns relative to particular industries like our cultural industry.  That is our position.  We have stated it on many occasions, and we will continue to state that, Mr. Speaker.


Impact on Manitoba


Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Well, Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question.  The question was:  What specific steps is the minister going to take if he opposes it?  Is it going to be a muted opposition‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Question please.

Mr. Storie:  ‑‑Mr. Speaker, or are they actually going to do something to protect our interests?

      Mr. Speaker, my follow‑up question is to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism.  Can the minister tell this House what he is going to do to protect the vegetable producers, in particular, who will be devastated by a free trade agreement with Mexico?  Can he tell us how many jobs will be lost as a result‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism): First of all, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the Manitoba position, it has been outlined in writing to the federal minister, Mr. Wilson; it has been put on the record on at least two occasions at federal‑provincial trade ministers' meeting, and probably, as a province, we have more often stated our position than any other province within Canada, and I want to make that clear.

      In terms of any trade agreement, there are some winners, there are some losers in terms of the adjustments that would happen to any economy.  Clearly, a major part of it is also one of our conditions, Mr. Speaker, whereby under any free trade agreement, there have to be the necessary adjustment provisions, and that would relate to any industry that is in any way negatively affected by a North American free trade agreement.

Mr. Storie:  Mr. Speaker, we are talking about justice.  A Canadian study‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Storie:  Mr. Speaker, my specific question was:  Can the minister tell the House how many jobs are going to be jeopardized by Canada's acquiescing to the U.S. demands and getting into this free trade agreement?  A simple question.  How many jobs?

Mr. Stefanson:  As the honourable member should know, and I would hope he realizes that, under any of these types of negotiations, there are a series of reviews that have been done by all different sectors, by all different industries.  Unfortunately, it is not a science; many of them point to different statistics. Some indicate that Manitoba and Canada might well be a net winner, even under a North American free trade agreement.

      We do have concerns.  We do not support a North American free trade agreement unless six fundamental conditions are met.  I have outlined those for the benefit of the honourable member on many occasions when we debated this under private members' resolutions, on two different occasions.  I outlined them for this House and for the honourable member, and I would encourage him to read Hansard so he gets them perfectly clear.


Forestry Industry

Sustainable Development


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, this government has been long on rhetoric on a policy of sustainable development.  The Clean Environment Commission's recommendations yesterday clearly are a blueprint for providing for sustainable development, particularly in the forestry industry.

      We have already heard earlier in this session that, despite this blueprint, the government will not commit itself to phasing out commercial forestry, it will not commit itself to ending commercial forestry in the park lands covered by the Repap agreement.

      My question is to the Minister of Natural Resources.  Will this government commit to a comprehensive, provincial forest policy consistent with the principles of sustainable development before any other forest management licences are renewed, including Repap's?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, for the sake of some 10,000 Manitobans whose livelihoods depend on commercial forestry, we would want to be very cautious about disrupting their lives in an economy that is already in some difficulty.  If I understand the honourable member's question correctly, my department is very much interested in looking at sustainable forestry in the province of Manitoba.

      My department, and more importantly, interested parties such as the Naturalists Society, The Wilderness Society‑‑Mr. Roger Turenne just a few weeks ago was in my office‑‑are well aware of the fact that senior officials in the department have been working towards putting together the necessary documentation and mechanics for extensive public hearings that will, I suspect, take place later on this spring, extend into the summer and perhaps the fall, that will address some of the very issues that the Clean Environment Commission report draws our attention to.

      I welcome that opportunity because there are a number of issues that need to be addressed, not least of them, one that I know that is near and dear to the heart of my Premier (Mr. Filmon) and to which this government is fully committed, our commitment to the Endangered Spaces Program here in Manitoba.


Nopiming Provincial Park

Wilderness Status


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  If the minister and if this government are truly committed to a sustainable forestry policy, then they will come up with a policy.  They will not commit in this House today to, in fact, establishing that policy.

      In light of his response to me, will this government commit itself to designating the northeast corner of Nopiming for wilderness status, given its commitment, he says, to the Endangered Spaces Program?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  I have just had the privilege of returning from Ottawa where I, on behalf of the Province of Manitoba, affixed my signature to a national forest strategy that indeed this province, along with all other stakeholders, worked very diligently for the last several years to develop.

      It was, by the way, a very encouraging ceremony, with all provincial forestry ministers present, federal government, Canada forestry present, a large number of‑‑I always have trouble with this bureaucratic term for it, I believe they call them NGOs, but it means nongovernment agencies or something like that‑‑other people there that were not directly affected.  A number of them, including representatives of the Canadian Wildlife Federation and others, affixed their signature to that.

      Manitoba, I might say with some pride, had a great deal in developing this policy.  I take this occasion‑‑a former deputy minister of my department, Mr. Dale Stewart, chaired the review committee that led to the successful signing ceremony that I attended yesterday in Ottawa.

      Mr. Speaker, these kinds of policies are ongoing commitments.  They began not just with forestry.  In fact, we began, and my predecessor, with water and soil, with my colleague with agriculture.  We are doing it with forestry.  This government is committed; this government leads the nation in taking the round table discussions seriously.  This province leads the nation in taking‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

* (1410)


Forestry Industry

Sustainable Development


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  One has to wonder how many trees were destroyed for all the paper that moved all around those tables during the signing procedures.  The problem is we wanted just a little commitment to a northeast corner of a wilderness park to get a designation so it would not be used for commercial logging, and we cannot get that.

      Well, perhaps we can get another commitment from the Minster of Natural Resources.  Will the government at least commit today to develop a comprehensive provincial forest policy consistent with the principles of sustainable development?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, it has been my experience, having been resource minister of this province on several occasions‑‑you know the one thing, the general public and particularly those who are, if you like, watchers of the environment, that concerns them the most is if governments do things without consultation.  I cannot talk about a cottage development in a park without being criticized if I do not take in the broadest consultation.

      Mr. Speaker, surely nobody on that side suggests that a fundamental alteration, a fundamental change in policy and in management should take place without consultation.  These consultations are going to take place, and what is important to know is that it is just not myself reacting to today's question. Mr. Roger Turenne of the Wilderness Society knows that to be a fact; Ms. Alison Elliot of the Manitoba Naturalists Society knows that to be a fact.  They have in fact been working with some of my officials since fall in developing the process that will lead to that broad public discussion that the Clean Environment Commission calls for.

      That will be the first order of business.  That will commence, I suspect, on or about May or June and no doubt will lead into the fall.



Funding Restoration


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance.

      According to Statistics Canada, the youth unemployment rate in Manitoba has increased dramatically to 16.8 percent.  As of January of this year, there were 17,000 unemployed youth in this province, an increase of 31 percent over January of last year.

      In view of the fact that this government cut youth employment programs in half last year, is the government now prepared to reinstate these programs to at least the 1990‑91 level? Specifically, will last year's $3‑million cut in CareerStart program be continued, or can we expect CareerStart to be increased to the $6‑million level of the previous year?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, budgetary decisions have been made, even before the question being put by the member today.  They will be announced in their complete fullness, Wednesday next.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  The 17,000 unemployed young people will be anxiously awaiting the minister's announcement, I am sure.


Northern Youth Corps Job Program

Funding Restoration


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Will this government reinstate the Northern Youth Corps job program that was killed last year in spite of the fact that unemployment levels in northern Manitoba are the highest in this province?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, one of my colleagues has helped me in my response to the member.  He will know that fully in six more sleeps.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  This is not a laughing matter with the 17,000 young people who do not have a job in this province.  Talk to their families, to the thousands on welfare in this province, and you are doing nothing about it.


Student Temporary Employment Program

Funding Restoration


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, is this government prepared to increase funding of the Student Temporary Employment Program this year in view of the fact that there has been a sharp increase in youth unemployment in this province to 16.8 percent?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, this is not a laughing matter.  I say to the member opposite, his questions will be answered fully.  Also, it was no laughing matter indeed when the former government applied a 2 percent tax against everybody that earned $11,000 and more, destroyed jobs and sent the youth in this province outside, and killed the business initiative in this province.  That was no laughing matter.

      I say to the member, if they want to look at the reason for some of the problems we have today, all they have to do is reflect on the decisions they made around the cabinet table from 1984 to 1987.


Domestic Violence

Bail Conditions


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.  Despite the Pedlar report, despite the fact the Crown has now opposed bail in situations of abuse and abuse victims and in spite of federal lack of action in this area, often abusers get out on bail.

      As a concrete suggestion, I would like to ask the minister: Will he not ask his Crown prosecutors, in cases of bail, that a bail condition be imposed on an abuser that requires daily reporting to probation officers in order to ensure a check on the abuser and to provide some comfort and security to the victim of an abuse?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, that is a suggestion that I have raised and encouraged upon prosecutors so that they could ask for such things in cases where judges feel that it is appropriate that accused abusers be let out on bail.  That kind of submission is available to the Crown, and we are aware of it.  We take that suggestion very positively and thank the honourable member.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that response.


Rehabilitation Programs


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  In conjunction with the Pedlar report, I am wondering if the minister can advise us whether or not the Crown has instituted any programs to deal with abusers in order to stem the tide of abuse in our society.

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):  By the Crown, I take it the honourable member means the justice system and the system that we have in general.  The Pedlar review does identify a need to deal with abusers while, at the same time, deal as well as we can with people who are victims of abusers.  In that regard, we are pleased with the performance of the Department of Family Services, under successive ministers in the last four years, with regard to funding for the shelter system, a very, very significant increase in funding over levels prior to our government taking office.

      Yes, indeed, the Pedlar report deals with going eyeball to eyeball, as it were, with abusers and making them responsible for their behaviour.  That includes things like sentences that include probation and counselling as a condition of that probation.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the same minister is along the same lines.  I wonder if the minister can advise me whether or not the working group has met and whether we can expect concrete actions in the form of programs, as recommended in the Pedlar report, in which there has been no action‑‑in abeyance basically on most of those recommendations since the fall of last year?

Mr. McCrae:  Mr. Speaker, I suppose the honourable member could say that there has been no appearance of action, but indeed a couple of days ago the working group met, the community advisory group will be meeting later this month, so we believe there is nothing stopping us from proceeding along.  There is progress which would flow from the Pedlar report.

      Just before I sit down, since the honourable member for Kildonan has shown an interest in trying to curb violence, I wonder if he could encourage his colleagues to take a stand with respect to the deplorable language used by Daryl Bean in dealing with people who choose to work during the week when‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

* (1420)


University of Manitoba

Student Food Bank


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, for four years now, we have been warning the government about the inadequacy of the student aid provided to university students in this province and other students in this province.  The situation has gotten so bad at the University of Manitoba that they had exhausted their emergency aid budget by November.  Their annual budget ran out in November, and students on the campus have begun to organize a food bank to ensure that other students have adequate food.  I think it is deplorable that we have reached a point in this country where food banks outnumber McDonald's, and that is the only alternative left to people.

      I would like to ask the Minister of Education if it is her government's policy to use food banks as an alternative to adequate financial aid for students?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, the conditions that students are experiencing are of great concern to this government and great concern to me as minister.  I was a student until I was elected to this government as well.  I know many of those students, both young people and also adult students who have come back to study.  The issues are of great concern.  I am raising the issue at a federal level as well to press the federal government, through the Council of Ministers of Education and individual meetings, to try and provide adequate assistance to students in Manitoba.

Mr. Alcock:  Raising the support might help, Mr. Speaker.


Department of Education



Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, will the minister assure the House that the $6.6 million underspent in her department was not in part taken from the Student Aid Program?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, I am reviewing the results of that with my department now, but as the member will know, that percentage within my department, which is an extremely large budget, was an extremely small percentage.  I am examining it at this point‑‑less than 1 percent.


Budget Student Aid


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Well, Mr. Speaker, 1 percent of $1 billion would provide a lot of aid for students in this province.  Will the minister ensure the House that the budget will contain sufficient support for students so that the opening of this food bank at the university will become unnecessary?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, I can say again that I am very concerned with the need for a food bank at the University of Manitoba and for any students who find themselves in that type of need, but the budget will be tabled next Wednesday in this House.


Department of Health

Employee Morale


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are very concerned about the loss of Dr. Margaret Fast from central decision‑making role within the Department of Health.  Margaret Fast, a reputable public health doctor and expert on communicable diseases, and a meritorious civil servant, her departure is indicative of low morale and chaos in the Department of Health as a result of a two‑person dictatorship at the centre and more than 45 study groups going about in separate orbit.

      I want to ask the Minister of Health:  What is he doing to stop losing the best and the brightest among his civil service? What is he doing to restore confidence and morale within this department?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, with all the respect I can muster, I am not taking advice from my honourable friend the New Democratic critic on this particular issue; on others, I will.

      Mr. Speaker, Dr. Fast is taking a position at Cadham Lab, where her expertise will be still contributed to the province of Manitoba.  In fact, one might be able to argue that, given the professional training that Dr. Fast has, her responsibilities at Cadham Lab will enable her to more appropriately focus her medical training, her public experience into the issue of sexually transmitted diseases from a position of prominence at Cadham Lab.

      Mr. Speaker, the emphasis on communicable diseases is not lessened.  In fact, with replacement of Dr. Fast in the slot that she vacated for Cadham Lab, we expect to double the team‑bench strength, having Dr. Fast fully and readily available from Cadham Lab plus the recruitment, we hope, of a competent professional replacement for Dr. Fast, who has contributed a significant amount of good to the public policy of Manitoba from her former position and we know will continue from the current position that she occupies.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Mr. Speaker, this is not an isolated incident.  I would like to ask the minister:  Why was action not taken to correct the problem of low morale and organizational chaos in his own department after Dr. Peter Cooney, with his position as Executive Director of Dental Services, not too long ago, out of concern as well for what was happening in the department, went to work for federal medical services?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, again, Dr. Cooney, I had a very close working relationship with him in his professional capacity.  He was an excellent director of the children's dental health program.  It is my understanding that the offer from the federal government was one that was very, very attractive, and in terms of discussions with Dr. Cooney, I accepted with regret his decision to move over there.

      I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that Dr. Cooney has very much appreciated the relationship and the working ability he had within the department.  He has given us the commitment that he will be available for whatever advice we may need, given his experience as director of the children's dental health program, and we intend to keep the lines of communication absolutely open with Dr. Cooney in the hopes that maybe, after finding the pastures may not be as green as one expected, we can welcome him back to the ministry.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Let me ask a final question pertaining to low morale, chaos and confusion in the minister's department.  It pertains to John Robson, a civil servant in the Department of Health who worked for this government for 29 years.

      I would like to know why the minister told this House that John Robson was being fired because of the melding of rural and urban facility executive director positions when now we see a new organizational chart for the department, showing the destination of those two positions‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to reply with the same rhetorical flourish, but you know how calm I am about these sorts of things.  If my honourable friend wishes to discuss the organizational development within the ministry of Health, I would be fully prepared to discuss that in detail when we discuss my Estimates.

      When we made the amalgamation last year of commission functions with departmental function, in trying to bring the system of health care delivery together for the betterment of patient care delivery services, it was unfortunate that there were a number of folded‑in positions which became redundant.  Mr. Robson's position last year was one of those, Mr. Speaker.  It is with regret‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Yes, once again, the minister did not hear that I said both positions were restored.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member does not have a point of order.  It is clearly a dispute over the facts.

* * *

Mr. Orchard:  As I indicated to my honourable friend, it would be my absolute delight that we share an open discussion in Estimates of the continuing process of making sure that Manitobans have the best ministry of Health in Canada.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Rent Regulations



Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, on the issue of rolled‑back odometers, the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs contradicted the RCMP and said there was no problem.  On the issue of fraudulent home repairs, the same minister said she could not do anything because she had not had any complaints.  On the problem of windfall profits for landlords, she says, I cannot do anything; my hands are tied; it is a complaint‑driven system.

      My question is:  What is this minister going to do as a result of provincial portioning of property tax assessment to ensure that reduced landlord expenses and taxes will be passed on to tenants?

* (1430)

Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):  First of all, I would like to correct an error in the preamble.  I will just correct the one, because I happen to have the Hansard right in front of me.  The member opposite said that I said there was no problem with odometers.  That is not what I said, Mr. Speaker.  What I said was‑‑I just happen to be reading it, very timely‑‑from our department's experience, we had at the time the question was asked, received no complaints.  In that sense, it was not a widespread concern of consumers to the government; however, the RCMP had a concern which we shared. That is what I said.  I did not say there was no problem.

      Since that time, Mr. Speaker, I should indicate that I have been in close communication with the RCMP on that issue, as we are in our department on a number of issues, including the home renovations that he referred to in his preamble.  We work in conjunction with the RCMP in numerous investigations, in co‑operation with them; we have then, we do now, we will continue to do so.  That is my answer to the preamble.

      In answer to the question‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Martindale:  How can this minister justify a tax break for landlords whose property taxes in Winnipeg will go down by 4 percent and, at the same time, sanction rent increases for tenants?

Mrs. McIntosh:  Mr. Speaker, this was a question that was asked the other day, which I answered the other day.  I will answer it again.  There is a system of appeals.  There is an ability to have the problem addressed in the subsequent year.  The system is complaint‑driven; it is driven by application, as are most of the laws in this country.

      If my house is broken into, I call the police.  I do not expect them to be standing at my door watching my house.  There are many, many, many thousands and hundreds of thousands of people in Manitoba who respond to the law by indicating they have had a problem and having the law enforcement officials take action on their concerns.


Consumer Protection Legislation

Government Support


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  The minister is saying she cannot or will not do anything, so I will.  Is the minister responsible for protecting consumers prepared to support a private member's bill in order to allow for rents to be rolled back in cases of windfall profits to landlords?  Will she support a private member's bill to amend the legislation‑‑

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

Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I will not answer the preamble on this occasion because I know Question Period is nearly over, nor will I address hypothetical questions.  However, I will say this:  my department, in landlord and tenant affairs and in all other aspects of my department, is concerned about an effective and workable marketplace wherein the consumer and the corporation, the landlord and the tenant, have a workable relationship that is fair to both parties.  I will examine any bill put before this Legislature to see if it meets my criteria of being fair and workable to all those concerned on either side of the marketplace.


Student Aid Clarification


Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, I would just like to add to my answer to my critic to give some further information so that the accurate information appears on the record, that my department for student aid overspent its budget by $600,000 for the third quarter.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable minister had ample opportunity to answer that question before.  Order, please.

      Time for Oral Questions has expired.


Point of Order


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would suggest that Hansard be reviewed, that the minister did not take the question as notice.

      There are many other opportunities for the minister to put on the record in terms of the information.  She could have asked for leave after Question Period.  There are other questions that need to be asked, and the government does not want to allow the questions to be asked from this side of the Chamber.  She should be ashamed of herself.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  On the same point of order, Mr. Speaker, we have just had the height of the ridiculous.  The members opposite asked a specific question on student financial aid.  The minister did not have it at the time.  She tried to rise and provide that same information.  She did so, and the members opposite hollered her down.  I say to the members, apologize for your actions.  The member has the right to answer questions.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  On the point of order raised, I had already indicated to the minister that she had had ample opportunity to respond to the answer.  Order, please.


Speaker's Ruling


Mr. Speaker:  Now I have a ruling for the House.

      On Monday, March 2, 1992, the Acting Speaker the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson) took under advisement a point of order raised by the honourable member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) during debate on second reading of Bill 9.  In his point of order, he indicated that comments by the Leader of the Second Opposition party (Mrs. Carstairs) made during Question Period on February 20 did not reflect what he had said from his seat about Dutch Elm disease funding.

      I have some concern that the point of order may not have been raised at the earliest opportunity.  However, more importantly, the honourable member for Emerson did not have a point of order. It may have been a dispute over the facts.  Let me quote from our rule book, and I quote:  "Points of order are questions raised with the view of calling attention to any departure from the Standing Orders or the customary modes of proceeding in debate or in the conduct of legislative business . . ."

      Beauchesne, Citation 322 states, and I quote:  "Points of order are justified when there is some flagrant misuse of the rules, but they are unfortunate necessities which should not be regarded as usual phases of procedure . . ."

      I would encourage all honourable members to restrict their use of points of order to the purpose for which they are intended.




Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call adjourned debate on second readings of Bill 45 and then call the other bills in the order as they are shown on the Order Paper.




Bill 45‑The City of Winnipeg Amendment, Municipal Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst), Bill 45, The City of Winnipeg Amendment, Municipal Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Ville de Winnipeg, la Loi sur les municipalites et d'autres dispositions legislatives, standing in the name of the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).

      Stand?  Is there leave that this matter remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  Leave?  It is agreed.


Bill 9‑The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable 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. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk):  I am pleased to be able to add my comments on Bill 9, The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act.  I believe the government first raised the notion of a new council in the 1991 budget.  In its attempt to present an image of action, it shuffled some existing cabinet committees and research organizations.

* (1440)

      This Innovation and Technology Council replaces the Manitoba Research Council and, of course, ironically, the Manitoba Research Council budget was cut by $700,000 in the 1991‑92 year. The net effect is an actual reduction in the support for research and development in this province.

      Why did the government do this?  Well, with a motive.  Again, there is an attempt to appear to be doing something, to be doing something for the 50,000 Manitobans out of work, for the record number of recipients of social assistance in this province, for an economy, Mr. Speaker, mired in failures of this government and the federal Conservative government.  The council is simply a public relations gesture to deflect from the real issues in this economy, and of course, that is the dismal state of our economic condition.

      Now I feel very compelled, of course, to relate some of those conditions to the House and to the members today.  I would like to start off with, of course, Selkirk and some of the conditions that we are faced with there.  One of the headlines in the paper:  Food bank posed for March opening‑‑and Selkirk will be the second rural area in the province to set up a food bank. Over the next two weeks, volunteers will be stocking shelves and developing a system for distributing and collecting of the food. The tentative plans will see the food bank open for two days a week and, of course, the individuals who will be using this service will be required to show their medical numbers to determine family size, make‑up and so on.

      This, of course, is just simply a Band‑Aid solution to the larger problem that we have in this province.  It is not really the solution to the problem.  It is a problem, of course, faced by all MLAs in this House, and more recently, I think, in ours‑‑I believe our case load has more than doubled in the last year as the economy deteriorates and as the government's response to the needs of these individuals diminishes.  For this reason I get calls from the Springfield riding, I get calls from Lac du Bonnet riding and from Gimli riding.

      Recently I received a call from a woman from a nearby municipality.  She was having trouble receiving short‑term social assistance, so I contacted the reeve of that municipality and asked the reasoning why.  He gave me the conditions of the council.  The rules state that there would be no assistance provided to anyone while they are waiting for longer‑term assistance.  I relayed that in Selkirk, of course, there is assistance at any level.  He said, well, this is not Selkirk and, as a matter of fact, we are interested in cutting our social services allowance by 20 percent.

      There is a real trend out there, I think, to be tougher on social assistance recipients as opposed to offering them broader assistance.  The reason why we have food banks, of course, is because of inadequate social assistance levels and the very high unemployment rate in this province, upward to 57,000 Manitobans out of work.

      Again, read beside that headline about the food bank, in Selkirk, Mandak Metal Processors are laying off 14 workers on February 14.  As the operations manager, quote:  We are seeing a slowdown with the railways perhaps more severe than other years.

      Soon, they hope, of course, that full production will be expected to resume again in the spring.

(Mr. Harold Neufeld, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

      I have a list of a number of small businesses which have closed in Selkirk in the last short while.  We have one of the first, I guess, Finesse, which is a women's clothing store; More Than Kitchens, which is a kitchen cupboard store in Selkirk; the Husky gas station closed, again, every one of these having two or three individuals work for them, all of them unfortunately out of work at this point; the Esso gas station; we had Riverside Furniture, which is a very old store in the Selkirk community, closed; we got Francines in the mall and one of the managers of the store was an old friend of mine, she was a single mother, and now unfortunately she is out of work; Nite Owl Foods store closed; Stepping Out Family Footwear closed, again in the mall, so we are finding two side‑by‑side stores in our mall in Selkirk have closed recently; Adi's Video store, Mr. Acting Speaker; Sports Card Fever; a coin‑operated carwash.

      I think one of the sadder closings of course was the closing of our Macleods store, which has been a mainstay in Selkirk for many generations.  I know that my grandfather, in the early '60s, was interested in buying this store.  On the weekend I walked into the store.  I knew some of the staff and, as I walked through the store, all the emptying shelves reminded me of all the empty promises of this government.  There was this young gentleman there, and I knew him from my previous visits to the store, and as we walked down the shelves, he relayed the message of his situation to me that he would be out of work in a very short time and, unfortunately, he does not see where else he can find alternative employment.  It left him in a very depressing state and, unfortunately, myself as well.

(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

      Last year on Bill 70 we debated, which was of course the freeze of public sector employees in our province.  I made some comments then to the Minister of Finance about how this would have a direct impact on the Selkirk economy, and I would not mind relaying some of the information again, the fact that the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) closed the school of nursing, which was a direct loss to the economy there in Selkirk of $3 million.

      The other problem, the Rolling Mills asked the employees of the mill to take a 10 percent cut in pay.  Fortunately, though, that did not occur, so we did not lose that additional revenue. Unfortunately, as I calculated then, there are 1,775, approximately, provincial government employees in the constituency of Selkirk.  It has been estimated that there would be a $70‑million loss to the province and to the provincial economy.  If you were to divide that by 48,000 employees, it works out to approximately $1,500 per employee.

      Again, that represents the loss of over $2.6 million to our riding, so we have the $3 million from the school of nursing, and we have the $2.6‑million loss by the wage freeze.  Of course, there is a magnifying effect of approximately 10 times.  I remember during the presentations to Bill 70, there was a presenter, and he represented a small business concern, and I asked him who shopped at his store, and he said, well, a broad range of the general public, of course.

      I said, would public sector employees be included in that, and he said, well, definitely.  I said, what do you think the factor would be on their ability to purchase service if their wages have been frozen?  Well, he said, very, very much in the negative way, obviously, so you can see that this is the case now in Selkirk with all these different retail outlets closing‑‑Finesse, More than Kitchens, Husky, Esso, Riverside Furniture, MacLeods, Francines, Nite Owl, Stepping Out, Adi's, Sports Card Fever, car washes.  Again, this government's policy is having a negative effect in the community of Selkirk.

      What I would like to do now is to talk again in a broader sense, on broader issues related to the Tory economic failures, and speak more about the Conservative agenda.  I have been reading an interesting book by Maude Barlow.  If I can find my notes, there are a number of points I would like to raise from that article.  There are seven points I would like to raise from that particular article.

      I will read the points and then I will address the points further.  Number 1, tie the Canadian economy by a free trade agreement to the most powerful economy in the world in which the corporate sector controls the government's agenda and an unfettered free‑market ideology is firmly entrenched.  Force economic restructurings; i.e., cut jobs.  Force alignment of cost structures; i.e., force down wages, weaken union bargaining power.  Force down labour laws and environmental standards. Force down taxes.  Force down government spending on social programs, et cetera.  Do it in the name of harmonization‑‑to harmonize means to Americanize.

* (1450)

      Just this week, all members of the House received this booklet, this ballot, from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.  I have mine here, and they have polled their members just recently this year, mandate 158.  Question No. 4 says, should Canada sign a free trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico?

      In Manitoba, they have Manitoba and they have Canadian results.  In Manitoba, 42 percent said yes; 39 percent said no; 18 percent were undecided, and 1 percent had no interest in this issue, so 58 percent of all the respondents of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business either said no or are undecided about further extending the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States to Mexico.

      Nationwide, 41 percent of the respondents said yes, but 43 percent of the respondents said no; 15 percent were undecided.

      Why would they change so dramatically?  Undoubtedly, this federation, four or five years ago when the Free Trade Agreement was proposed and debated, was a fervent supporter of free trade with the United States, but now all of a sudden they are no longer interested in supporting any free trade with Mexico.  Why is that?

      I think it is relevant again to quote a particular story or anecdote dealing with this specific issue.  I will talk about a boat manufacturer in Ontario, ACF Grew Inc., a Canadian boat manufacturer based in Ontario that had a reputation for quality and described in the trade as unquestionably the largest and the most successful manufacturer of power boats in Canada.

      The owner, Peter Francis, testified before a parliamentary committee in 1985, and he was not intimidated by taunts that opponents of free trade were weak and inefficient.  He saw clearly the real dangers of fighting the U.S. giants with their huge production, financial marketing and distribution advantages in the continental market.

      We are geared to a population of 25 million, he said.  The task of expanding to compete in a market of 250 million is staggering.  The Canadian powerboat industry was protected by a 15 percent tariff and a 71‑cent dollar.  Unfortunately, A.C. Grew Incorporated declared bankruptcy in the fall of 1988, an early casualty of the Free Trade Agreement.  Its rival, Doral Boats, again a Canadian company, the only way it could remain afloat, Mr. Acting Speaker, was to move to Clinton, Tennessee.  Since the free trade deal went into effect, 25 companies have followed this company into bankruptcy, the highest rate in Canadian history.

      Again, I would like to make some comments about free trade. Free trade was supposed to create jobs.  Of course, here is a quiz:  Free trade will create more jobs especially for our young people and put more money into the pockets of Canadian workers. The Economic Council of Canada predicts that free trade will provide 250,000 additional jobs.  That was a quote by Brian Mulroney in the election of 1988.

      Unfortunately, Brian was only out by about 700,000 jobs. When you look at the actual jobs that were created‑‑this is the monthly average‑‑in 1987, 40,000 jobs; 1988, 26,000 jobs; 1989, 13,000 jobs; 1990 there was actually a minus 7,500 jobs created. Eight hundred thousand jobs were created in Canada during the two years prior to the free trade, while only 37,000 jobs were created in the last two years.

      Tories said free trade will bring us jobs, jobs, jobs. Instead Canada has lost over 335,000 well‑paid manufacturing jobs between June of 1989 and March of 1991.  One out of every five manufacturing jobs has disappeared since the deal was signed and there is no end in sight.  Every day the newspaper reports new plant closures as industry after industry is battered by the effects of the Free Trade Agreement.

      Unemployment, of course, has risen dramatically to more than 10 percent, just under, and now it is probably approaching one and a half million Canadians who are unemployed.  In this province, of course, there are 57,000 Canadians unemployed.  A large portion of jobs lost are in the well‑paid manufacturing sector, and according to the Organization of International Cooperation and Development, manufacturing employment has fallen from 19 percent of total employment during the period before the deal was signed to 16 percent in 1991.  An increasing number of workers are confined to low‑paying, nonunion service sector jobs.  In contrast, the number of decently paid unionized manufacturing jobs is declining.  At the top end, a small group of professional executives has seen income rise dramatically.

      The federal and provincial Conservatives said that free trade would give a major boost to Canada's economy by creating a positive investment climate, and still we have high interest rates, dramatically higher than the Americans, perhaps the severest recession in the past 50 years, a massive shutdown of our manufacturing sector as more and more firms transfer their operations out of Canada, both to the United States and to Mexico.

      Business investment has fallen dramatically.  In 1988, the last year before the agreement was signed, investment rose 24.7 percent. During 1989, it rose by only 5 percent, while in 1990 it fell by 2.3 percent.  A further 6 percent to 10 percent decline is expected when the 1991 figures are known.

      The agreement was supposed to benefit our export industries because tariffs would be lower, giving firms easier access to the large U.S. market.  Instead, our current accounts balance with the U.S. has plummeted since the deal was signed from a surplus averaging $5.3 billion per year over the preceding five years to an average annual deficit of $1.5 billion over the first two years.

      Interest rates:  We have a particular issue right here in Manitoba dealing with free trade, a number of them of course.  We have the Morden plant, the Tupperware plant, we have the Varta battery plant that was taken over by a firm from the United States which promptly closed it down and shipped this operation down to the States in order to survive.

      Cedric Ritchie, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Bank of Nova Scotia‑‑and again I mention it is not too often you will be seeing us quoting a bank president here‑‑he said, there is no doubt that Canadian firms are adjusting to the Free Trade Agreement.  The problem is that too many are adjusting by leaving Canada.

      Arthur Donner was quoted again:  By early 1990, high interest rates have made a recession virtually inevitable.  The combined effects of the Free Trade Agreement, the high interest rates and the high Canadian dollar has decimated our Canadian economy.

      Michael Wilson once said, bilateral free trade with the United States is simplistic and naive.  It would only serve to further diminish our ability to compete internationally.  Of course, he said that when he was running.  He was challenging Brian Mulroney for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party, and he was echoing the eventual winner.  Of course, Brian Mulroney was saying the very same thing at the same time.

      Mulroney has lied to Canadians about free trade and its impact on social programs.  He said there is absolutely nothing in the Free Trade Agreement that will stop the Government of Canada from maintaining all its social programs, all its regional development programs; there is absolutely nothing; we are going to maintain all of our social programs; social programs are a sacred trust.

      Now, of course, you see the erosion of medicare.  We see the erosion of the federal transfer payments.  Does Canada in fact spend too much on social programs as Mulroney and the corporate elites in this country tell us?  Canada's social spending is actually slightly below average for the industrial nations. Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom all spend considerably more than Canada on social programs as a percentage of GNP.

      The Tories said free trade would benefit consumers by reducing prices‑‑what a misnomer.

      I will continue on with point No. 2, use monetary policy, that is, interest rates and exchange rates to speed up restructuring, to weed out weak companies, accelerate the loss of jobs and downrate pressure on wages by speeding up import competition and creating a recession.  Nothing will produce massive unemployment as fast as high interest rate policy combined with the policy to cut public spending.  High unemployment keeps wage demands low, also a high interest rate is a good way to transfer more wealth to those who have wealth.  In the name of fighting the deficit, use high interest rates to increase the deficit, focus public attention on the urgency to reduce the deficit as a smoke screen to hide the slashing of public spending.

* (1500)

      I have some quotes I would like to read to you from a Maclean's article‑‑some of the business elite in our country.  We have Douglas Peters, chief economist of the TD Bank:  "The first thing the government has to do is to say, 'Look, this recession is deeper and worse than we expected,' and then start to do something about it."

      Matthew Barrett, chairman of the Bank of Montreal declared: "Helping Canadians without work makes good business sense." Helping Canadians without work makes good business sense‑‑hardly a friend of New Democrats.

      We have Miller Ayre who is the current chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.  He was expressing his personal views when he said:  "The government has to face the fact that there are short‑term economic problems that have to be dealt with.  They cannot continually look to the long term for solutions."  He concludes with:  "Right now, there is a perverse logic that the sicker we are, the healthier we must be getting."

      In the Investment Dealers Association of Canada little leaflet that again all members received, it says here:  Federal and Provincial Financing, Budget Deficit (Surplus).  This is for Manitoba, in 1988‑89, the government was dealing with a surplus of $59 million, again the surplus that was left by the New Democrats.  The next year, $34‑million deficit; in 1990‑91, $334‑million deficit.  Again we just had indications from the Finance minister yesterday‑‑[interjection] Well, it states right there.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, we had an indication from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) yesterday that the deficit will be even higher than he initially projected.

      Number 3, bring in tax subsidies for high‑income earners in large corporations.  Say the purpose is to free our private savings and unleash the entrepreneurial energies of Canadian business.  Increase taxes for middle incomes and the working poor.  Where possible, do it through a mechanism such as inflation, de‑indexing of tax brackets.

      The National Council on Welfare calculated that by 1988, the tax bill for the working poor had increased 44 percent, while that of the wealthiest Canadians decreased by 6 percent.  In 1989, the latest year for which statistics are available, 118,000 profitable corporations paid no taxes on profits of $25 billion. Under the federal Conservatives, the federal revenue from corporate tax was half, from 17 percent to less than 9 percent.

      The most recent data that is available‑‑again, 15 Bronfman‑owned companies pay tax of less than 0.5 percent on a collective profit of $1.598 billion.  Power Corporation paid no taxes on profits of $214 million.  Xerox Canada paid no taxes on profits of $106 million.  Fletcher Challenge paid no taxes on profits of $119 million.  Montreal Trust paid 1.7 percent on profits of $80 million.  Repap Enterprises paid no taxes on profits of $176 million.  CP Hotels paid no taxes on profits of $47 million.  S N C Group paid no taxes on profits of $21 million.  Dominion Textiles paid no taxes on profits of $7 million.  Of course, all of these corporations are huge contributors to the Conservative Party, as I have declared several times here through different documents which I have raised.

      Point No. 4, cut back social programs, especially the universal ones.  Do it in the name of targeting those who need them most.  We just witnessed that with the federal government budget that was brought down just this past week where they have decided to cease universality of the family allowance program. We see this here in the government's where they have de‑indexed 55 Plus.

      Number 5, in the name of fighting inflation, strengthen measures such as sales tax and high interest rates.  Do this directly to public sector employees by imposing a wage freeze. That sounds very ominous.  We know that Bill 70 froze 58,000 Manitobans, public sector employees in this province.  I related earlier how this has negatively affected my own community in Selkirk.

      Number 6, privatize profitable public sector enterprises, deregulate, privatize.  We see this now and unfortunately I witnessd‑‑one of my own critic areas, of course, is the MTS telephones.  We have noticed that as our government begins to deregulate the industry, it allows the federal government to take over control of MTS.  At one time, they were radically opposed to the notion, but now, for some reason, they are responding quite favourably to the idea of the CRTC taking control of MTS.

      We have a quote from our Premier.  In October of 1989, he said:  Local phone rates are bound to go up if the federal government seizes control over the Manitoba Telephone System. There could be dramatic increases in the cost of basic phone service because of lowering of long distance rates for big consumers.

      We know now that the ministers, fortunately, have now changed their tune in supporting CRTC control over MTS.  Again, we have a document from Manitoba Telephone System, Competitive Preparedness for Message Toll Competition, which is a competition of long distance rates in this country.  Is this innovation?  I will quote from the article:  Message toll competition will have a significant financial and operational impact on the Manitoba Telephone System.  Capital and expense resources requirements are expected to increase dramatically while settled revenues experience a substantial decline.

      The following points summarize the impacts under the assumption of a competitive environment in 1994 framework: Network and information systems modifications alone will require an estimated $88 million to $89 million in additional capital expenditures.  Settled revenues are expected to decrease by $70,000 in 1998, dropping to an estimated $118 million loss by the end of 2002, assuming a competitive situation in the 1994 time frame.  This impact is especially significant because it relates to Telecom Canada's reference plan.  Expense requirements to accommodate a new competitive environment will consume approximately $25 million over the 1991‑1996 time frame with an estimated $1.8 million in ongoing expenses per year.  Expense requirements to accommodate a new competitive environment‑‑there is a Tory catch phrase there, competition.  It is going to cost the firm $25 million initially and another $2 million per year to compete with Unitel.

      We already know that the CRTC will probably this year grant Unitel its licence to compete with MTS and other publicly owned companies in this country.  Because of that, we know that local rates which have been subsidized by long distance revenues will now unfortunately increase.  All estimates are that it will only benefit nine out of 10 users.  One out of 10, of course, will benefit from it.  It has been stated time and time again, even the Premier (Mr. Filmon) mentions it, that the only beneficiaries of this will be the large corporations in this country. Recently, long distance revenues from the telephone system were reduced by 15.5 percent, and it is because of reductions in long distance calls.

      It seems like the only winners in this game are big business users who use long distance in bulk and competitors such as Unitel.  Bud Sherman, a former minister of the Crown, of the government, mentioned that nine out of 10 Canadians would end up paying more, paying higher telephone bills under competition. Only 1 percent, only one out of 10 will actually benefit from a competition in telephone rates.  This government seems inclined to support that‑‑when we remember what happened with Community Calling and the incredible outroar people expressed during that.

* (1510)

      So we have No. 7, bring in all these policies in the name of international competitiveness.  What exactly does that mean, Mr. Acting Speaker?  We have heard these terms mentioned before by this government.  We know just as I mentioned there before what it is going to cost for international competitiveness.  It is going to cost, unfortunately, the Manitoba Telephone System $25 million initial cost and $2 million per year to maintain apparently this Tory competitiveness, as they like to mention.

      I would like to make a few more comments about Manitoba's provincial economic situation, Mr. Acting Speaker.  I would like to compare our performance now with the performance of 1990, and it is evident, unfortunately, that Manitoba's economic performance was significantly weaker in 1991 than in 1990.  Of the 11 indicators reviewed, eight declined while three remained approximately the same.  The neoconservative policies of free trade, privatization, deregulation, high interest rates, issues that I have already touched upon in my presentation this afternoon, have had terrible results for the Canadian and Manitoba economies.

      The past few years have been characterized by high unemployment, bankruptcies, factory closures, escalating welfare rolls.  Manitoba's overall economic performance rate was negative 1 percent in 1991, which meant that there was a general reduction in economic activity.  Our province declined from 1990 to 1991. In comparison, the economy grew by 2.4 percent in 1990.  Our level of employment declined by 2.3 percent in 1991 from the 1990 total.  In other words, Mr. Acting Speaker, Manitoba lost jobs in 1991.

      On the other hand, the number of jobs increased by only 1.4 percent in 1990.  The unemployment rate for 1991 averaged 8.8 percent, up significantly from the 1990 average of 7.2 percent. Retail sales declined by 2.4 percent in the first 11 months of 1991 over the same period in 1990.  In 1990, retail sales showed zero growth from the previous year.  Obviously, the GST as well as the recession have had a negative impact on the retail sector in this province.

      Urban housing starts dropped by 36.8 percent in 1991 from the 1990 level.  This was the fourth consecutive year of declining activity and residential construction reflecting the poor economic situation and stagnated the population level, which resulted largely from the loss of people through interprovincial migration.  The value of building permits dropped by 22.9 percent in the first 10 months of 1991.  We experienced a 12.6 percent decline in 1990.  Farm cash receipts declined by 6.3 percent in the first nine months of 1991 compared to the decline of 6.1 percent in 1990.  Manufacturing shipments declined by 13 percent in the first 11 months of 1991 or the same period in 1990, while they actually dropped by 3.2 percent in 1990.  Average weekly wages increased by 4 percent in 1991, virtually unchanged from the 4 percent rise in 1990.

      Manitoba's situation as compared to the other provinces between 1990 and 1991, Manitoba's rank in economic performance: In economic growth we were fifth in 1990 and we were in last place in 1991.  Employment growth we were fifth in 1990, we were No. 8 in 1991.  Employment rate, well, we did see an increase in employment rate from four to three.

      Population net, interprovincial migration, we were seventh in 1990 and eighth in 1991.  Retail sales in 1990 we were ninth, in 1991 we were sixth.  Building permits, seven in 1990, eight in 1991.  Manufacturing shipments we were sixth in performance ranking in 1990, in 1991 we were tenth, we were in last place. In investment, Manitoba's rank‑‑[interjection]

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  Order, please.  Could I have those honourable members wishing to carry on a conversation in the loge‑‑at this time I am attempting to listen to the honourable member for Selkirk.

Mr. Dewar:  Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker.

      In investment we have 1990 we were fifth, in 1991 we were eighth.

      When you compare ourselves to the national average‑‑comparing the national average of economic performance with that of Manitoba is another way of assessing the relative position of our economy.  Of the 11 economic indicators only two, the unemployment rate and the farm cash receipts, performed above the Canadian average.  The remaining nine indicators indicated that Manitoba was performing below the Canadian average.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, in conclusion here, the economic data analyzed in the presentation revealed that Manitoba's economy has weakened considerably in 1991 compared to 1990.  Also Manitoba's economic position has worsened relatively compared with that of the other provinces.  Obviously, Manitoba has been hurt badly by the national economic recession.  Agricultural incomes have suffered from depressed world grain prices while our mining sector has also experienced low global prices for output.

      Coupled with these policies have been the federal and government deregulation and privatization initiatives that have caused further loss of industry and transfer of activities out of our province.  Both rail and trucking transportation have suffered in recent years.  The federal government's CNR has been moving jobs out of this province to Alberta.  Sounds like the lotteries commission moving jobs from here to Stettler, Alberta. Free trade has tended to lessen east‑west traffic from north‑south patterns.  Manitoba's role in transportation has unfortunately lessened over these last few years.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, hence Manitoba is undergoing structural changes with long‑term negative consequences.  The Conservative government of Manitoba has no economic plans, just the smoke and mirrors, the Innovation and Technology Council, that is just a shifting of cabinet committees.  The Conservative government of Manitoba has no economic plan or course of action, Mr. Acting Speaker, to deal with the erosion of our industries and of our economy.  Thank you.

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Acting Speaker, I reflected for a period of time about what my comments would be on this particular bill because I think it is significant, although I get the distinct impression that I have heard it all before and that I have been this way before.  I reflect back until the 1960s, which was my first involvement in actually politics, and up through the '70s and into '80s and into the '90s, we see the restructuring of the restructuring of the restructuring.  We had the development fund, and we saw the fiasco with CFI and other developments, and I really get this sort of deja vu impression about this particular bill.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, in trying to determine how I would deal with this matter and precisely how I would in general terms deal with a bill of this nature, I thought of what would happen if I were to do my regular door knocking, if I were to go to the door and ask my constituents, who are the source of all knowledge for us here, I would ask my particular constituents to reflect on this bill.  I get the distinct impression that I would get‑‑although I did not do it on this particular point during my regular door knocking this week‑‑my impression is that I would get the response from my constituents, what is the big deal, and what is it all about?  Somehow, I think they would say the same thing that I said.  Have we not heard all of this before?

* (1520)

      Then I reflected on, Mr. Acting Speaker, and thought that one of the reasons I am having trouble in dealing with this particular bill, is that it has so many unanswered questions. Not only do we have the element of something that we sort of heard before, and we have this credibility problem, I suggest, with respect to Tory governments and economic development in general, so we have that particular position out there.  As well, I think of grave concern to me is the fact that there is a whole raft and a great series of unanswered questions with respect to this bill.  I would like to illustrate some of the questions I have with respect to this bill.

      For example, what is the plan and what is the general objective of this particular‑‑I mean, I have read the objectives, Mr. Acting Speaker, I have drafted legislation.  I know what you put in objectives, and I actually read the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) comments in order to get some understanding as to what the objective and the plan is for this, but he failed to articulate it, and the bill fails to articulate it.  There are unanswered questions.  What are the parameters of this particular organization, this particular bill?  Where is it supposed to fit in, in terms of the Manitoba economy?  There are no parameters It is not enclosed in anything.

      What are the general goals?  Well, we know the goals are economic prosperity.  We know the goals are an attempt in this economy to try to get people back working, and I believe members on that side of the House are attempting to do that.  I do not agree with the method by which they are choosing to do that, but Mr. Acting Speaker, I believe they are trying to do that. Clearly, that would be a goal.

      Where is the end point, Mr. Acting Speaker?  In dealing with problems of this kind it has been my philosophy that you start from your objectives and your goal and you work backwards to see how you would achieve it.  That is a basic principle of problem solving, I suppose.  What are the goals of this particular bill? What are the objectives we are trying to obtain other than an Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act?  They are not there, which is why it lends itself to political criticism, which is why it lends itself to members on this side of the House quite rightly suspecting political motivations and being quite suspicious generally about where this bill is going.

      Where are the other examples of councils and projects of this kind?  Are there other examples?  Are there successful experiments?  Are there states, are there provinces, are there countries that have innovated, that have utilized something like this, and what has that achieved?  That is not articulated.

      What was the data that initially prompted the change to move from the former research council to this new body?  Upon what empirical basis did the government make this decision?  There is a cynical side of me that suspects, given my experience of dealing with the Department of Education, that there is no empirical basis, that it was more like sitting around a cabinet room and kind of saying‑‑okay, Mike, what should we do now?  And this is what we are going to do.  We are going to restructure and set up a new council.  There is a cynical side of me, Mr. Acting Speaker, that thinks that.

      There is an idealistic side of me that says perhaps there is a plan, perhaps there is data, perhaps there is empirical evidence and a whole series of documentation that says this is the way we should go.  If that is the case, I would like to see it.  Members on this side of the House would like to see it. What was the basis upon which this program, this plan, was adopted?

      Does this relate to Winnipeg, to Manitoba, to rural Manitoba?  What is the interaction?  What is the relationship to the North, Mr. Acting Speaker?  Where does this all fit in?  Is there a different emphasis in some areas?  Is there a different emphasis in other areas?  Are there particular regions that are being addressed?  Are there not particular regions that are being addressed?  Nothing in the bill, more questions than answers. That is what, again, causes members on this side of the House to react almost instinctively to any initiatives of this government.

      We get the distinct impression that the old ship of state is kind of adrift, Mr. Acting Speaker, and that it kind of moves this way and it moves that way, but that it is listing quite a bit.  I just want to take that analogy a little further, and when it is listing, the deck chairs kind of get stumbled about, so what you do is‑‑hey, what are we going to do about this economic problem?  What are we going to do about 57,000 unemployed?  Let us rearrange those deck chairs.  Let us all shift them around.  I know it is a tired and old analogy, but the current of my thoughts was along the analogy of the ship of state, Mr. Acting Speaker.  Members on this side I think quite rightly are suspicious of the motivations of this government with respect to this particular bill.

      Another question is, why was the $10 million chosen that was chosen and was adopted?  Why was that particular amount chosen? What is the future of it?  Is it meant to expand or contract? Where is that fund going?  Every time you see in any kind of legislation a fund to be established, at least in my experience, that is what you key it on in terms of the management, the control and the accountability.  I guess the question I have is, why was that chosen?  Again, no answers.

      I peruse the comments of the Premier (Mr. Filmon).  I desperately am listening through one ear to the comments of the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) to try to obtain some kind of acknowledgment or some kind of response to these question but, alas, no response.

      How were the members chosen?  Why were those members chosen? I do not want to criticize the 29 members who make up that body; there are some very outstanding citizens, but I do not know why. In fact, I have to admit to a particular bias, Mr. Acting Speaker, in areas of this kind, that we see a retreading of the same individuals generally over and over again in terms of these committees.

      The same individuals over and over again are used, be it on Winnipeg 2000 or be it other task forces, and I begin to think that maybe there is a problem.  I mean, we have seen nothing happen in this economy in the last four years.  In fact, we have seen a regression of this economy in the last four years, and now we are turning to the same people that we have turned to in the last four years to give us some kind of answers, some kind of innovation.  For that reason, I am a little bit suspect as to how, and I would like some indication as to how and why those particular members were chosen.

      Further to that, I would like some information as to why‑‑you know, the list of members on the committee does read of a who's who of CEOs in leading companies in Manitoba.  Again, I know some of these individuals.  They are outstanding individuals.  There is no reflection on these individuals' talents or ability, but from my experience, individuals of this kind, people at this level do not have a lot of time nor energy to devote to tasks of this kind.  These individuals are on a myriad of bodies, they are on a myriad of councils, and they are on a myriad of boards.  I am not sure if they really have the opportunity to chance‑‑

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  None will be so near and dear to our heart as this one.

Mr. Chomiak:  No, question.  The Minister of Natural Resources indicated, there is no issue more near and dear to their hearts, but you know, when they are pursuing their own individual enterprises and their own individual interest, I get the impression that they may not have perhaps the time and energy to devote the kind of gray matter that is required to devote to this kind of a council.

* (1530)

      Just by way from my own perspective, again no reflection on these individuals, but perhaps second‑level people in their organizations, the research and planning types, the analysis types, perhaps some of those individuals should have been put on the council, not those.  I dare say that perhaps individuals, not just‑‑we chose the head of organizations including labour organizations.  Why not some individuals just who operate small businesses?  Why not some individuals just with ideas and why not some individuals just from x, y and z constituency?  Surely they have as much to contribute as those individuals.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, one of the other areas that concerns me is where is the interlinkage between this particular body and organization and the federal government, or in fact international bodies?  If there is anything we have learned, and certainly the federal government constitutional initiatives are in that direction‑‑and by the way I do not agree with many of them‑‑but surely we have learned that there has to be some interaction, increasing interaction between governments at various levels, et cetera.

(Mr. Bob Rose, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

      I do not know in this bill where the linkage and the interaction is, so there is another basic question.  As well, Mr. Acting Speaker, I ask, what are the criteria by which this organization and by which this particular council will be judged?  What are we looking for?  That ties us back in to the original lack of goals, to the original lack of objectives that I indicated earlier on were a concern of mine.  What is the basis by which this organization will be judged?

      Fundamental to any kind of economic development and restructuring, Mr. Acting Speaker, and to anything in our society is the question of what will be the public input into this particular organization and to the particular developments.  Now, certainly the public has access, and the public has input through members of the Legislative Assembly, but I have already illustrated that we receive very, very little by way of information.  There is very little in the report.

      There is very little that can be gleaned even reading between the lines of the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) speech.  We have heard very little from the government's side as to what this organization is all about.  So I am very, very concerned about public input, about public accountability, about the accountability of the public to fund into organizations of this kind.  Because if there is anything we have learned recently in our political history, it is that accountability is a basic requirement in any kind of allocation or expenditure of the public funds.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, I could go on with question after question after question.  In fact, I have spoken now for a good deal of time on my concerns regarding the question, but just let me end this portion of my comments with a couple of other questions.  That is, what are the target industries?  Are there any target industries?  Are there any target groups of industries?  Is there any target geographic area that is being looked at by this council, by this particular industry?  Is there any kind of critical mass that is being developed?  Is there any kind of target industries?  Are there any linkages of industries to other industries that it is supposed to look at?

      I noted that the Conservative government in its 1990 election platform kind of targeted industries and targeted sectors of the economy.  Of course, those have been eroding away so rapidly and have been falling so badly in the last several years that we have heard very little from the government in that area other than the job losses that have occurred.

      So, Mr. Acting Speaker, understandably, for political purposes, the government did not want to lay its ducks on the line, no pun intended‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Unlimited numbers of ducks.

Mr. Chomiak:  Its unlimited number of ducks, Mr. Acting Speaker, with respect to the target industries.  Still it is a very, very open question as to where are the target industries that this particular body is going to address itself to.  In the final analysis, with respect to the questions on this bill, it is just too wide open, too few controls, too few questions answered. That causes grave concern for two members on this side of the House with respect to the body and to the bill.

      I guess another concern that I have with respect to this bill, and I know that we are not to deal with specifics, clause by clause, in the bill because we will have opportunity to do that, is the question of the fund.  The fund is available for the government to give grants to organizations.  This government and others have fallen into the trap that these kinds of grants only go to the large organizations and to the large companies, to the large organizations which, frankly, should be capable of raising the capital, if they are so successful and if they are such innovative kinds of entities and organizations.

      Ironically, these Conservative governments tend to give government grants and giveaways to these large corporations which should, theoretically, if the philosophy is to be followed, be able to raise that capital on the open market.  They fall into a trap time and time again of providing grants and loans, usually forgivable, to organizations like this.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, there is a rhetorical refrain we hear all the time, that small business is the main generator of jobs in the economy, et cetera, et cetera.  I wonder if the emphasis will be on those small businesses, those real generators of jobs and wealth in the economy, or will it be to the large corporations, the large companies that the Tory governments increasingly and continually provide giveaways to in the old fashion.  That is a concern not only because of the people I represent in my constituency but because we see what is happening in Manitoba, the strangling and the squeezing out of those businesses and the very fundamental change that has occurred in our economy as a result.

      One of my pet points that has come up recently, that has really been forgotten with respect to these large grants to companies, Mr. Acting Speaker, is we end up with these large corporations sort of doubly indemnifying them, that is doubly providing them with benefits.  First off, we train people for the work force, et cetera, and when these industries say, well, we do not have the proper workers, train them again, we go back and give the industry a grant to retrain them, something that industries and companies in other jurisdictions, most notably Europe, do on their own, but something which we, in this province and in this country, have failed to do.  So we say, okay, sure, we will take back those workers, we will retrain them.  Oh, you do not have to pay anything to retrain them, we will do it.

      Consequently these large entities, these large companies, get double grants.  They get grants in large forgivable loans that come in the first instance, and then when their workers are not trained‑‑in fact it is a triple grant‑‑by the public system the way that they want, they come back in the system and we pay again.  We give them another grant to retrain their workers, so it is my concern, with these so‑called business managers and these so‑called individuals, who were supposed to understand the workings of business and the economy.

      They do a rather shoddy, slip‑shod job of dealing with our tax dollars, and it is a grave concern of ours with respect to this bill.  This bill has no plan.  There is no general direction.  We cannot fit this bill in, I suppose, because the province has no coherent economic plan, a coherent economy strategy, with which to fit this bill in.

      Is this the economic strategy?  I ask, is this the plan?  Is this council the generator and the main generator and the thing that is going to lead us out of the recession?  If it is, it is too little, it is probably too late, but if this is it, then let us know.  I suspect it is, and if this is the economic plan that is going to save our province and save our economy, if this is what the government is proposing, somehow is going to make us lead in Canada this year, then we are in serious, serious trouble.

      It is a very serious problem for the province.  You know, there is a philosophical question that I want to diverge on.  It is funny how this government sort of shifts back and forth. Remember, it was no grants to companies, then it was grants to companies, then it was no involvement, one day no ownership, the next day 24 percent ownership in Linnet.  When you get that cork floating on the ocean, you get that kind of response, and you get that situation where one day it is the Research Council, and the next day it is the Economic Innovation and Technology Council, maybe in another year we will hear an announcement of something else.

      Members on this side of the House have spoken quite accurately about the redirection of money, previously directed from the Research Council, into another one.  I guess that is one of the reasons why we, on this side of the House, have concerns about the rhetoric, and about how this might appear to be more of a PR gesture than anything else, because we see money withdrawn from one area and reintroduced with much fanfare, and more bells and whistles in another area.

* (1540)

      I suspect we will see a lot of that next week in the provincial budget.  In several days we will see money taken from one hand and given out with another hand, and saying, hey, look everybody, look at what we are doing now for development.  There is nothing wrong with that except state it clearly and be upright and be forthright about it.  Do not play politics with it.  I guess that is one of the reasons why members on this side of the House are again concerned about this bill and the direction that it is taking us, Mr. Acting Speaker.

      The government says that innovation is the cornerstone of economic framework of the province in the 1990s.  I mean, what does that mean?  Again, I have to come back to basic questions and fundamental questions.  What does that mean?  What is the direction?  What is the basis?  What is the context it fits in? Where are the studies?  Where are the sectors that this should proceed in?  Where are the ailing industries?  Where are the traditional industries that are having trouble, that need new innovation?  Where are the industries that might have future and potential growth?

      Are those outlined in here?  Do we have any concept?  Have we heard anything from the other side that identifies that?  No, Mr. Acting Speaker.  All we hear is that innovation is the cornerstone.  It is much like the other rhetorical phrase we often hear, that competition is the key.  We do not know exactly what they mean by that, but they keep saying competition is the key.  We see no flesh tied to that particular course of action.

      This rush toward understanding and dealing with technology and innovation is something that has clearly been identified, but again, what is missing in terms of this rush to it, Mr. Acting Speaker, are the goals and where we should be proceeding.

      Let me perhaps illustrate by way of example what I am trying to outline in terms of my criticisms of this particular bill.  We hear over and over again, Mr. Acting Speaker, that we need technical training, we need professional training.  We have a myriad of programs.  We have programs offered in some institutions, we have programs offered in other institutions, we have some that have withdrawn here, some that are there.  We do not even have something as basic as an inventory, Mr. Acting Speaker, of what programs are available, what the waiting lists are, what opportunities are provided for you, whether there are jobs available once you get this training in the first place.

      We do not even have the basics, and we are talking about doing all this technical innovation.  We are talking about developing these jobs when we have not even identified what they are.  We have not identified the training that is necessary, and we have not even provided the public with the means to obtain that, Mr. Acting Speaker.

(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

      I get very frustrated when I hear this refrain and this constant reference to technologically innovative or being innovative or being technologically advanced, specifically along the lines of training, Mr. Acting Speaker, and the basis upon which it is made.  We just do not know.

      It is because the government has not done its homework, Mr. Acting Speaker.  It is because the government does not really know, and that is why the public perceives that the ship of state is adrift, and that is why we on this side of the House recognize that the ship of state is adrift.  That is what causes great concern in a bill of this kind.

      Let me illustrate again, Mr. Acting Speaker, by way of example, in dealing with the whole area of training and the whole area of training individuals and programs, we do not even know the Department of Education, the number of students we have or the dropout rate.

      We talk about vocational programming and technological training, that there are 300,000 jobs in this country that go unfulfilled because the training is not there.  We have not identified what that training is, where it can be obtained, who should be providing it, who should be taking it.  It really strikes me that, frankly, the government does not know where it is going.

      It brings out a bill, it reconstitutes another council, another committee, Mr. Acting Speaker, another organization that is somehow going to tell us what we are going to do, and where we are going to go.  I am happy to hear the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) is with me on this entirely.

      One of the things I like about the bill, Mr. Acting Speaker, and unfortunately it is not in the bill, but I picked it out from the comments of the Premier (Mr. Filmon), in fact the press releases of the Premier, that they are going to adopt a co‑ordinated approach of government departments.  Now I do not know if members on that side of the House have heard my broken record references time and time again to the co‑ordinated approach that must be taken in many areas of government, but I have done it constantly with the Minister of Education.  I am happy.  I welcome the initiative to co‑ordinate the approach of all departments.  In fact, I would like to see the government go much further.

      I will use the opportunity, since I am talking about the co‑ordinated approach, to urge the government to respond to an initiative in that area, which was a joint presentation of the Manitoba Teachers Society, the Manitoba Association of School Trustees, the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents and MTS to the government of Manitoba to adopt a co‑ordinated approach and a co‑ordinated strategy by December 31, 1991, to education programs and delivery of services to children. Unfortunately, Mr. Acting Speaker, even in this area, which is probably more readily identifiable than the co‑ordinated approach that one could take for the Economic Innovation and Technology Council initiative, even in that limited educational area the government has not met that guideline.  It has not met that deadline, and again does not know where it is going.

      Having said that, at least the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) in his press release indicated that there was going to be, and there is, a council or board I guess of ministers of those government departments that are working together in this area.  I actually welcome that co‑ordinated approach and co‑ordinated initiative, and I would urge on the government in fact that they go much further in this area, because it is an area that clearly‑‑the time of pigeonholing problems and pigeonholing things approach, the one department versus another department versus another department, are over.  It is my viewpoint that approach to problems is something that perhaps was sufficient in the 1930s, in the 1940s and the 1950s, but it is not appropriate to the needs of today.  I welcome that approach, Mr. Acting Speaker, and I hope that it works.

      You know, as we talk about economic development and economic innovation one cannot help but comment about the devastation and the terrible effect that the economic recession, and I dare say the Tory policies or lack thereof, is having on rural Manitoba. I have mentioned on numerous occasions the 57,000 unemployed, but that does not even‑‑and I do not want to lecture the government on this‑‑[interjection]‑‑although I am being encouraged.  That is only the tip of the iceberg.  That does not deal with the human toll, the devastation it is having.

      While I am on that point I will again repeat, there is not a street in my constituency that I have door knocked on in the last two years that I have not met a family, and it is usually several families, that there is unemployment.  In 20 years of door knocking and campaigning politically, I have never seen that. Now I was not around in the 1930s, Mr. Acting Speaker, but I expect that is sort of akin to what happened then.  There have been people in my constituency that have had their homes foreclosed and lost through no fault of their own.  That is the human toll that cannot even be reflected or cannot even be articulated in this Chamber.

      I diverged, Mr. Acting Speaker, but I return to the effects of what is happening in rural Manitoba.  I have to indicate that the government's decentralization plan has not had any significant‑‑that has not been felt in rural Manitoba.  On my tour of rural Manitoba, in my discussions with people in the education community, they keep saying to me, what is this government going to do for rural Manitoba?  Why have they cut programs in distance education?  Why are they letting our schools close?  Why are they not funding education in rural Manitoba equitably?  Why is a school division on one side of the boundary able to offer a program and a school division on the other side is not?  They are asking that; they asked that of me.

      They asked why the government has forgotten rural Manitoba. They hear the press conferences.  They know about all of the offices that are going into the constituency of the member for Roblin‑Russell (Mr. Derkach).  They are saying, why have we been left out?  That was strikingly brought home to bear on me during my tour of rural Manitoba.

* (1550)

      I sincerely hope that what is happening, and the government's lack of any kind of real initiative in rural Manitoba, will not continue in this act.  The act will deal with all of Manitoba and do something, not only for rural Manitoba, but an area that has been just as hard hit, and that is the North, where I also had occasion to visit.  The effects that the government's policies had in the North have been nothing short of a disaster.  I hope that the government, in the context of this bill, even though it does not answer any questions, at least will address some of the concerns and some of the problems occurring in rural Manitoba and are occurring in northern Manitoba.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, as you can see, I have a lot of concerns about this particular bill, and I want to reflect a little bit on something.  One of the things that we always forget when we talk about technology and innovation is something that is our basic resource.  I know it is trite to say, but it is our people.  One would hope that the strategy tied in with this will address that resource, will tie in with the education and training strategy.

An Honourable Member:  Indeed, it will.  You can take that as a given.

Mr. Chomiak:  The Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) has indicated to me that that is a given.  I certainly hope that it is the case.  I certainly hope that it is tied in with the training policy and the initiative that should be undertaken, and not just for those that qualify under federal government programming, but many, many thousands that have fallen off have no means and no ability to qualify, because they are hurting.

      I hope that it has something to do with that, because the best investment we can make, if we have to invest that 10 million in people, then that is where the 10 million should go‑‑that is where it should go.

An Honourable Member:  David, when you hear the budget next Wednesday, you will burst out with applause.

Mr. Chomiak:  I just hope, Mr. Acting Speaker, that when the budget is announced, as the minister indicated, it does not induce in me a seventh, another sleep, when it is introduced.

      I spoke earlier about the linkage in what would appear to be another shortcoming of the bill, the linkages between the federal government and its international activity and how we are going to co‑ordinate that.  I have to comment that a part of the difficulty, of course, is that the federal government is supposed to have a strategy and an initiative of this kind too.  We all know, and even members on that side of the House will agree that the federal government and the Conservative government strategy has been a disaster for this country, it has been a disaster for this province.

      Part of the credibility problem that this government has, in introducing a venture of this kind, is the fact that the federal government said, talk the same show.  They talk the same act, and we did not see any results from this government.

      I have limited time, Mr. Acting Speaker, and I have many topics to touch on.  One of the points I wish to urge the government to consider, and I know they will be scrupulous and that careful scrutiny will be paid to my comments by all members on that side of the House.  I am sure around the cabinet table the lights will be burning late at night as they read my comments.  I hope the government just does not forget some of the traditional industries which have been the basis of this economy like they have forgotten the transportation industry in the city of Winnipeg.

      I hope that the government, in looking at new technical innovations and new developments, does not forget some of our traditional industries which are still viable and take some stands on them.

      The transformation we have seen in the economy in the city of Winnipeg in the last 15 years has been quite dramatic, and there has been very little recognition I think by members on that side of the House that there are things which can be done.  The federal government at least recognizes that, but they transferred jobs to Edmonton.  When I speak specifically of the transportation industry, the transportation industry is doing fine in Edmonton, Alberta, unfortunately at the expense of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the province in general.

      I think the government has to take a look at that and has to take a very serious stand, because it is one of the bases of our economy, as well as the whole area of manufacturing, which I will not probably have the opportunity to get into.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, I think I will basically close my comments now just by taking it back to where I started.  There are too many questions that are unanswered about this bill.  It is very unclear to me what they want to do.  I am very concerned about the accountability with respect to the fund.  There are a good deal of questions that require answers, and in fact the fact that these questions exist unfortunately may doom this enterprise right from the start.

      It appears to be, at least on the information which has been provided in the bill and provided from my reading of the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) speech, that if these questions have not been fundamentally dealt with before the introduction of this bill, before the establishment of this council, that it might be seriously hindered right from the very start.

      I urge members on that side of the House to address some of these questions, table some of the information, table some of their economic analysis upon which they are going to proceed, outline for us the objectives.  Then perhaps we could deal with some of the real difficulties that are occurring in this economy, Mr. Acting Speaker.  Then somehow we can deal with getting the Manitoba economy back on its feet, providing the kind of amenities to the people of Manitoba that the people of Manitoba deserve.

      Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker.

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Mr. Acting Speaker, I move to adjourn the debate.

An Honourable Member:  Seconded by whom?

Mr. Santos:  Seconded by the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett).

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).


Bill 10‑The Manitoba Hydro Amendment Act


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 Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).  Stand?  Is there leave that this bill remain standing?  Leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  Agreed.

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  I really appreciate the opportunity to speak on Bill 10 today, although I think I should start off with a little history lesson and maybe start off by renaming this bill.  This bill, I think, should be called the "let us re‑elect a Conservative government in Manitoba" bill.  That is what this bill is about, Mr. Acting Speaker.

* (1600)

      Now, I am not as long in the tooth as some members in this House.  I have not been in this House for as long as, for example, the member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans), but I have been in this province as long as he has been in this House.  I recall a time when there was a Conservative government back in the '60s that won a mandate and served four years and came close to re‑election.  In order to facilitate that re‑election it built a dam.  It built the Kettle Rapids dam.  In fact, I was up north working on that very project.  They won re‑election.  They won a second mandate, and they went on to govern for four more years.

      Now, they did not build a dam in that second mandate.  The Schreyer government came in, it served its four years and then prior to its next election it built a dam.  It built the Long Spruce dam and it won a second year.  Then it left, and in came the Lyon government.  What did the Lyon government do?  Or what‑‑[interjection]  It did not build a dam.  That is right.  It did not build a dam, and it did not get re‑elected.  In comes the Pawley government, and the Pawley government‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Built a dam‑‑

Mr. Alcock:  ‑‑built a dam, and got re‑elected.

      But now, prior to the re‑election, prior to the fall actually of the Pawley government, the then opposition party said, no, we have a plan.  We have a plan for Manitoba.  We have an economic plan that will allow us to change the economy in the province, revitalize the economy in the province.  We do not need to rely on the outdated policies and actions of the NDP government, because we are good businessmen, we know how to get this economy going.  After four years, what do they want to do?

Some Honourable Members:  Build a dam.

Mr. Alcock:  Build a dam.  Mr. Acting Speaker, it is unfortunate but true, that the only economic stimulation that has been effective in this province in the last 30 years has been these massive hydro development projects in the north of this province.  It is unfortunate that for those same 30 years, we have had the promise of great benefit from all of this expenditure in the northern part of this province.

      We have always said that this would provide us with a cheap, renewable source of energy, that would allow us to build a manufacturing and development infrastructure in this city and others in the province that would carry this province into the next century.  The unfortunate and unavoidable fact is that has never happened.  As soon as the expenditure tails off, as soon as the construction of the dam is over with, this province once again goes into a very serious economic decline, because no government, on either side of this House, has had the vision to invest those profits, to reinvest in this province in a way that allows the other sectors of the economy to gain some of the vitality that the construction and manufacturing sector will have when this dam comes on stream.

      The question before us with Conawapa is, at what price?  If there was a strong economic case to be made, that we needed that power, and it was in our economic best interest to spend $5 billion next year, I would stand in this House and say, let us build this dam; but all of the evidence we have suggests that we do not need to build this dam for a few years.  We will have to build it eventually, but we do not need to build it now.

      We do not need to carry the investment and financing costs of that dam.  We do not need to inflict the additional damage on the environment.  We can take the time to look at what the conservational alternatives are.  We can take the time to look at the long‑term needs of this province, and we can build that dam at a time that is more appropriate to the needs of this province.

      What does this bill ask us to do?  This bill asks us to grant nearly a 225 percent increase in the borrowing authority granted to Manitoba Hydro.  That is on top of an increase in The Loan Act.  We gave them authority to borrow $500 million in The Loan Act that we passed in the last session of this House.

      The question is, and the fear that I have, is that the government is going to ignore the environmental processes that are before us, is going to ignore any of the economic data that is before us, is going to ignore any of the analysis that has been put before the government on the need for this dam at this time, and go ahead with it, because like every government that has won a second term in the last 30 years, they need this dam to get re‑elected.  I think that is the wrong reason to do it. Every election for the last 30 years has been a "dam" election, it seems.

      What they are asking for in this bill is authority to increase Manitoba Hydro's ability to borrow without the scrutiny of this Legislature, $500 million, a half a billion dollars. With a half a billion dollars in operating authority dealing around the fringes, putting in the roads, putting in some of the infrastructure, putting in some of the preparation work for Conawapa, they can make the final decision on Conawapa much more difficult by simply raising the stakes.  I think that is wrong.

       (Madam Deputy Speaker in the Chair)

      We saw them go before the Public Utilities Board with incorrect information.  We have also seen them faced with a situation where they have the opportunity to renegotiate the deal with Ontario, and they will not take advantage of that.

      Why would a collection of sound business people with good economic experience, people who have met a budget‑‑as the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Connery) always tells us‑‑why would they look at the numbers, become aware of what the financial implications of this proposal are, this dam is, and still go ahead with it?  What could be their motivation?  There is not an economic rationale for it; there is not a need for the investment at this point, so what could be their rationale?  No businessman who has met a payroll or otherwise would spend money he does not have to spend, or buy equipment in advance of his need‑‑

Mr. Edward Connery (Portage la Prairie):  If I did not buy carrot seed, I could save all that money, but I would not have carrots next fall.

Mr. Alcock:  But if you bought carrot seed‑‑now, the member for Portage la Prairie uses an interesting example.  He says:  If I did not buy carrot seed, then I could not have carrots next fall.  Yes, that is true, but he would buy the carrot seed in advance of his need to plant them.  He would not buy carrot seed to plant a crop 20 years from now because his seed might not be any good 20 years from now.  That is what they are doing here. It is not the building of the dam.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I think that the government needs to reconsider its intentions relative to Conawapa, and it needs to take the very good advice that has been offered by a variety of people in this Chamber on all sides of the House.  It needs to make the proper, sound economic decision rather than allow its own political ambitions and its own failures with the economic management in this province, to drive it towards a decision that is not going to be in the best interest of the people of this province.

* * *

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Madam Deputy Speaker, as previously consulted with the government and the NDP, I was going to ask for leave to revert to Bill 45, to put a few comments on the record, if there is leave of the Chamber.

An Honourable Member:  Which bill were you talking about?

Mr. Lamoureux:  The City of Winnipeg, the one you want to pass by Monday or Tuesday.

* * *

Madam Deputy Speaker:  As previously agreed, the second reading of Bill 10 will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.


Bill 45‑The City of Winnipeg Amendment, Municipal Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  Does the honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) have leave to revert to Bill 45 to permit the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) to speak to the bill?  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I thank the House for granting me the leave.

      The government has put in a request from the oppositions if we could possibly start debating Bill 45 in the hopes that we could pass the bill into at least the committee stage, hoping for Monday or possibly Tuesday.  We are going to do our darndest to ensure that we can have a couple of speakers.  That is why I thought maybe I would speak today to this particular bill as opposed to waiting the next couple of days, because I know my colleague from St. James (Mr. Edwards) is going to be speaking on the bill tomorrow and we will likely have a speaker or two on Monday.  We hope that Bill 45 will be on the top of the Order Paper so that, in fact, we can get a number of concerns that we have on the record.

      We have a lot of concerns regarding Bill 45.  It is suffice to say, Madam Deputy Speaker, that this is a piece of legislation that should have been introduced last December.  We have a number of concerns regarding the bill.  In a nutshell, this is a bill which has a lot of flaws in it.  It is flawed to such a degree that it would probably be best to start over from scratch and to have it more of a Headingley bill, as opposed to a City of Winnipeg bill, because it is fraught with a number of concerns.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I think that everyone inside this Chamber would acknowledge the fact that Headingley is in a very unique situation.  There are not very many communities such as Headingley that have the same type of circumstances that have caused the concerns that have come up over the last little while.

* (1610)

      In fact, the Cherniak report had recommended a number of things that the City of Winnipeg needed to do in order to facilitate better relations, if you will, with the townspeople and the residents of the Headingley area.  So I think it is given to say that Headingley is very unique, and the minister acknowledged that quite extensively in his remarks.  I do not contest that, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      In fact, we had agreed wholeheartedly with the referendum that the government had put forward and a very strong message was sent to the government, in fact, to all political parties in the province, that Headingley overwhelmingly decided that they wanted to go their own way.

      Because there was a commitment from the government and, I know, from the Liberal Party to the referendum, we have to live up to that commitment, Madam Deputy Speaker.  We concur with the thought that the municipal board is now to go over and come up with recommendations in terms of a boundary, and we support the fact that they are the ones that are going to be coming up with the recommendations.

      We have some questions in regard to how is Headingley going to be established as a rural municipality.  Because I do not have the expertise, as my colleague for St. James (Mr. Edwards) does, I am not going to go too deep in terms of the secession and some of the technicalities of it, Madam Deputy Speaker.  I do not want to embarrass myself primarily, but because it is such a very sensitive issue.

      There are some very potential problems that come out of this particular bill in the way in which the bill is being presented before us.  It is a bill which is saying, in essence, it is coming up with a strategy, or not necessarily a strategy‑‑it is making statements within the legislation, that promote the secession of other areas of the city of Winnipeg.  As Headingley is unique, there are other unique communities in the city of Winnipeg.  There is a lot of concern in terms of what potentially could be done outside or in other areas of the city, areas like St. Germain or St. Norbert, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      What we have done in this particular piece of legislation is, we have allowed the government to really plan the course of the future of the city of Winnipeg in different areas of the city. We do not necessarily want to be promoting that.  We do not want to promote St. Norbert or St. Germain from leaving the City of Winnipeg.

      What is important here is that we have to do what we can to ensure that the problems that are in the different areas of the city, whether it is St. Germain or Transcona, whatever the area might be, and if they feel that there are some injustices, natural injustices, that are there that are leading to the debates of seceding from the City of Winnipeg, that we should be doing what we can to encourage, to resolve some of those issues, so that in fact the city can stay together.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, it was a number of years ago back in the early '70s in fact when we heard all of the arguments for and against the need to have a unicity.  We saw which arguments had in fact won out. [interjection] The Minister for Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) points out that Headingley should not have been in there.  I think that the residents of Headingley have come to that conclusion and, because of the commitments, as I say, from all of us that we should have to live into those commitments.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, we should be looking in terms of what it is that we can be doing to reflect on the debates that were brought forward back in the early '70s as to why the city needed to become one urban centre and the benefits of having one urban centre.  Now if there are areas of the city that feel for one reason or the other that it is in their best interest to secede from the City of Winnipeg, then we need to be sitting down, particularly the department needs to be sitting down with those communities and going over what the issues are in an attempt to try to alleviate the concern so that we do not see the City of Winnipeg breaking up.

      That is why, when we look at this particular bill, what it does is, it leaves it too wide open.  I think it would have been more appropriate to have this bill dealing strictly with the municipality or the future municipality of Headingley.  Even a name change could likely be justified for having that.

      As I say, we believe that the bill needs to be rethought completely and, in fact, redrawn.  If at all possible we will do whatever we can as the third party of the Chamber to ensure speedy passage of such a rethought‑out bill.  We are not too sure if the amendments that we would want to propose or could possibly propose would address the concerns that we have.  I believe, Madam Deputy Speaker, that a majority of the people, both in the city of Winnipeg including the Headingley residents now, that they too would have the same kinds of concerns that we have.

      A bill that we are really looking for should provide only what is necessary for the secession of Headingley, such as the redrawing of the boundaries for elections to occur in the rural municipality or what it would take for the rural municipality to come into force, that there should be something there for the transition of powers to the rural municipality from the City of Winnipeg.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, those are the things we believe any bill that allows Headingley to secede should be addressing, that it does not need to be as thorough as it is being proposed from the government, that as the bill is currently read many would read that it is in fact an invitation for many residents of different communities to apply for secession.  That causes a great deal of concern to all of us, at least in the Liberal Party, and I would argue to a great number of the constituents that I represent and to the other constituents that the minister represents.

      The bill is too wide open.  The bill needs to be changed in a very major way, and I would encourage the minister to rethink the wording, the fundamental structuring of the bill itself, and to do what ultimately he feels is in the best interest of the city of Winnipeg as one urban municipality, not in terms of how a government, whether it is this government or any future government here, might be able to facilitate future secession.

* (1620)

      This bill in large part, Madam Deputy Speaker, takes out the debate of any future secession for some of the communities within the urban city line away from this Chamber.  I believe that is wrong, because at least as an opposition party we had an opportunity when we made a commitment in terms of the referendum and a commitment to live up to the results of the referendum.  At least we have an opportunity to put our comments, our debates, on the record, because the bill is required.

      If other areas of the city, and I made reference specifically to St. Norbert or St. Germain, were to decide that they want to go in this same direction, we are not convinced that the government of the day, whatever stripe it might be, would be obligated to bring it back to the Legislative Chamber.  That is in principle where I personally disagree with it wholeheartedly, because any debate that would see the potential demise of the City of Winnipeg causes a great deal of concern, Madam Deputy Speaker, to each and every individual, not only in the city of Winnipeg but in the province of Manitoba, because it has an impact on all of us.

      We have infrastructures that we have to maintain and, as I say, I am sure I cannot speak as eloquently as our member for St. James (Mr. Edwards) will tomorrow if the bill is introduced at that time or brought first on the Order Paper, and we are anticipating that it will, but suffice it to say that this bill does need to be changed.

      I did want to get those very few comments on the record and to encourage the minister to, in fact, take very seriously the need for any future debate on secession, however minor it might be, that that debate should be inside this Chamber, that it should not be within the confines of a cabinet room.

      We will be seeking those types of assurances from the minister once we go into the committee stage.  If the minister is unable to assure us of that commitment, then I would hope that the minister would give serious consideration to changing the legislation in its entirety if necessary.

      I believe it is safe for me to say that we will, as the Liberal Party, facilitate or do whatever we can to ensure that the residents of Headingley achieve what it is that they are trying to do, because we did make a commitment to it as a third party.  We are willing to live up to that commitment, as the government itself is doing but, by doing that, let us not in any irresponsible or unintentional way take the debate outside of this Chamber from any potential other community or group of residents that might want to secede from the City of Winnipeg in the future.

      We have a major role to ensure that the City of Winnipeg stay together as one, and I believe with this restructuring of this particular piece of legislation that we can achieve that and to assure the minister that he will have the support of the Liberal Party in the changing of the bill that would make it more a Headingley bill than a City of Winnipeg, that will leave it wide open and would take the debate outside of this Chamber, something that we could not support.

      The debate of the future of the City of Winnipeg is within this Chamber when it comes to secession.  The debate was in this Chamber back in '72 when we brought it together.  Let us keep the debate here.

      As a closing remark, I would say that we do want the residents of Headingley to have what they have justifiably fought for and we had concurred with.

      On that, Madam Deputy Speaker, I thank you and thank the House for allowing the leave for me to speak on Bill 45.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  As previously agreed, this bill will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).


Bill 12‑The Animal Husbandry Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion, the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) to resume debate on second reading of 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).

An Honourable Member:  Pass.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.


Bill 14‑The Highways and Transportation Department Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion, the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) to resume debate on second reading of Bill 14 (The Highways and Transportation Department Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur le ministere de la Voirie et du Transport), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

An Honourable Member:  Pass.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.


Bill 15‑The Highway Traffic Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion, the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) to resume debate on second reading of 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).

An Honourable Member:  Pass.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.


Bill 20‑The Municipal Assessment Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion, the honourable Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) to resume debate on second reading of Bill 20 (The Municipal Assessment Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'evaluation municipale), standing in the name of the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).

An Honourable Member:  Pass.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.


Bill 21‑The Provincial Park Lands Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) to resume debate on second reading of Bill 21 (The Provincial Park Lands Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les parcs provinciaux), standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).

An Honourable Member:  Pass.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.


Bill 22‑The Lodge Operators and Outfitters Licensing

and Consequential Amendments Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) to resume debate on second reading of Bill 22 The Lodge Operators and Outfitters Licensing and Consequential Amendments Act), standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).

An Honourable Member:  Pass.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  I would like to take this opportunity to put my comments on the record regarding the Bill 22, The Lodge Operators and Outfitters Licensing and Consequential Amendments Act.

      Several of my colleagues and one member of the third party have already spoken on this bill, on the general outlines of this bill and what we are concerned that it will do for the tourism industry in the province of Manitoba with particular emphasis on lodge operators and outfitters.

      I would like to begin my remarks, Madam Deputy Speaker, by putting this bill in the larger context that we in this House have been talking about for several years now, that is, the larger economic context.  The economy of our country, and most certainly the economy of our province, is in very bad shape.

      We have been attempting, largely without success I might add, to convince the government that the government must take some specific proactive actions in order to give the economy of Manitoba a boost, in order to give the people of Manitoba some hope that their government is responding to the needs of all Manitobans including the needs as we have mentioned very extensively in this House of the 57,000 unemployed Manitobans, as today was mentioned during Question Period, the 17,000 unemployed youth of this province, an enormous increase over past years.

      We have been asking the government to act.  We have been asking the government not to just study and consult and establish groups and round tables and advisory committees.  We have been asking the government to actually take action to facilitate the recovery of the economy of the province of Manitoba.

      Tourism in the province of Manitoba is one of those industries which has not reached its capabilities.  I believe all members of the House would agree that our tourism potential has not even begun to be tapped.  We talk about the 100,000 lakes that Manitoba has.  We talk about the clean air. [interjection] We talk about the 102,000 lakes that Manitoba has‑‑I stand corrected, my honourable friend for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae).

      Madam Deputy Speaker, we do have many natural resources in this province, natural resources that can be used very effectively as tourist attractions that can be used to bring more people to the province to enjoy what we have to offer in the area of natural beauty, natural wonders, one might almost say.  The potential is vast and largely intact.

* (1630)

      In the city of Winnipeg, we do have very well‑known attractions.  We have Folklorama.  We are renowned throughout Canada for the quality and number of our restaurant facilities. Our Convention Centre has been, up until recently, one of the best in the country.  The Convention Centre is older now and needs to be upgraded, but it is still a major positive attraction of the city of Winnipeg.  Yes, the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) is nodding his head in agreement.

      As someone, on a personal note, who has organized at least four major events in the Convention Centre, I have only the highest praise for the Convention Centre facilities and the staff.  I have heard it said that Manitoba has lost conventions in the past, because there are newer and larger, more state‑of‑the‑art convention centres in other areas in the upper Midwest and throughout the country, but we do have an excellent facility here.

      We also have, Madam Deputy Speaker, one million people, and people that visitors have stated on many occasions have proven to be one of our best tourist attractions.  The hospitality and the kindness and the openness of the people of Manitoba is legion among the people who come here from other provinces and other countries.  Our potential resources are enormous.  We have not done enough to utilize those resources to enable us to truly become a destination of choice for tourist and recreation dollars to the extent that we might have.

      One area of our province, the central and northern part of our province, is the area of the province that relates most closely to Bill 22.  The largest percentage of lodge operators and outfitters perform their livelihood in the central and particularly northern areas of this province.  They are justifiably concerned, as are all members of the province, certainly all business people in the province and all residents of Manitoba, with the impact that the economic recession has had on their operations.

      They are justifiably concerned, many of them, with the impact that Bill 22, if passed unamended or without certain major clarifications, will have on their ability to operate first‑class facilities that will attract, not only the people who have come to their lodges before, but will enable them to attract an ever‑increasing number of people to their recreational facilities.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, Bill 22, in the beginning talks about the resource‑based tourism industry of the province, and that it is in the interests of all Manitobans that these resources are conserved and maintained in a sustainable manner, so that the industry can continue to be a vital part of the Manitoba economy.  We, on this side of the House, may have some concerns with the rest of the bill, which we will get into when we are in third reading and are able to go clause by clause, but we would not disagree with anything that is stated in the first part of the bill.  As a matter of fact, it states very concisely what I have just stated before, that Manitoba's natural resources are and should be a source of sustainable and increasing tourism revenue and recreation facilities for all Manitobans and for all people who come from other parts of the country and the continent and the world.

      The member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) put on the record several days ago comments and statements and personal examples of his having talked with lodge owners, with his having participated as a member of a northern constituency, and also as a person who is out for a good recreational experience with the northern lodges and with the northern lakes and beauty of the north of Manitoba.

      I, Madam Deputy Speaker, have had the opportunity to spend a fair bit of time outside the city of Winnipeg and in the northern parts of this province and can from my own personal experience attest to the beauty and the magnificence of the natural land that we have been given and for which we must remain accountable.

      We do, on this side of the House have some concerns about the general outlines of the bills.  While we need to expand and enlarge our tourism facilities in the province of Manitoba, with particular emphasis on these facilities outside the Perimeter and perhaps more emphasis outside the communities of the southern and central part of the province which do have a fair amount of publicity and activity taking place in festivals and activities that each area puts on very successfully every year, we need to look in the context of Bill 22 at our northern lodges and outfitters.  We need to spend a great deal of time and energy and resources on promoting those lodges and those outfitters, those recreational activities which have proven to be so successful to date.  However, the major concern that we on this side of the House are expressing on second reading of this bill is the impact that this bill will have on those lodges and outfitters, particularly in light of the fact that the licensing and regulations and regulating and rating of these lodges will now be done by the Department of Natural Resources as opposed to being continued as a part of the Industry, Trade and Tourism department.

* (1640)

      On the surface of it, Madam Deputy Speaker, it may appear to be a very small, insignificant, administrative, housekeeping measure.  However, as we have found to our chagrin on many occasions with this government, things that on the surface appear to be innocuous, simple and not very important often have enormous implications when you dig a little deeper.  When you think about actually implementing the changes that the government anticipates, it becomes clearer and clearer time after time that there are additional problems that on first reading might not have been apparent.

      One of the major concerns that we on this side of the House, and concerns that have been expressed by lodge owners in the change of mandate from the Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism to Natural Resources, is the whole area of accountability, of expertise, of the ability of the Department of Natural Resources to be able to undertake the role that this bill will require of it.  We must look, Madam Deputy Speaker, in the context of the Department of Natural Resources.  This government has consistently cut back the resources available to the Department of Natural Resources.  We have discussed in Estimates, and in the House have had question after question in debate after debate, that concern.

Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Did they answer your questions?

Ms. Barrett:  My honourable friend from St. Boniface asks if they have answered the questions, and I think he and I would agree on the fact that they have not only not answered the questions, but whether they attempt to answer them directly or not, they manage more often than not to skirt the issue, to skate around any straightforward answers.  When we do get information through Estimates, et cetera, we find out that in actual fact the Department of Natural Resources is being cut back in numbers of staff, in resources allocated to the requirements of that department.

      Now I ask you, Madam Deputy Speaker, in that context, in the context of a need for good solid statutes and regulations dealing with this important tourism industry, and in the context of the fact that this government has over time cut back very severely on the ability of the Natural Resources department to do even the jobs that it had been assigned to it before Bill 22, how can we have any sense of security in the ability of this government's Department of Natural Resources to be able to undertake what Bill 22 will require of them?

      They have cut back, Madam Deputy Speaker, on the people who clean the provincial parks.  They have cut back on the people who groom cross‑country ski trails.  They have cut back on the people in the Natural Resources department who have been attempting to make our tourism industry an effective, positive part of our economy of the province.

      How can we then count on them to be able to provide what is essential for the lodge owners and the outfitters of northern Manitoba?  What is essential for the lodge owners and outfitters of northern Manitoba is a sense of security, a sense that the people who are coming to assign them their licences, assign them their rating, know what they are doing, have the training and the background to be able to do that very important duty, and have the time to be able to fulfill that important function.  We have absolutely no sense on this side of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, that should Bill 22 be implemented there will be additional resources put into the Department of Natural Resources to enable them to perform the functions that have been so capably performed by the staff in the Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

      We would ask, is the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) prepared to move those staff years that are currently now providing that licensing, rating, and regulation of the lodge industry in northern Manitoba to the Department of Natural Resources?  Have they consulted with each other?  Do they know the impact this Bill 22 will have on the staffing requirements of both of their departments?

      If past history is any indication, Madam Deputy Speaker, regrettably the answer to those questions is most likely to be no.  This government appears to make changes to bring out new initiatives, minimal though they may be, without consulting among themselves and without an understanding of the global context within which these changes are being implemented.

      The current members and staff of the Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism who deal with the lodges and outfitters in northern Manitoba license, rate and regulate those tourism lodges and outfitters.  They also have as part of their responsibility the promoting of tourism, fishing and hunting camps.  These duties require a great deal of training, require an understanding of what goes into the determination of a rating of a lodge.

      The rating of a lodge in northern Manitoba is a very important function, Madam Deputy Speaker.  A five‑star rating for a lodge in northern Manitoba has a very large impact on the amount of money that the lodge owner can charge tourists who come to use the facility.  The average expense for a week of fishing or hunting at a lodge in northern Manitoba, a five‑star lodge in northern Manitoba, is, as the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) has pointed out earlier, $1,700.  That is not an insignificant amount of money.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

      Mr. Speaker, a tourist who comes from somewhere outside the province of Manitoba or even outside the country to northern Manitoba anticipating staying in a five‑star lodge had better have five‑star accommodations or that person will never come back again.  Not only will we lose that person's repeat business, but we will certainly lose the word‑of‑mouth advertising which is the lifeblood of this industry.

      Can we count on Natural Resources staff, who are totally overworked and understaffed now, to be able to take on those additional functions?  Will there be training?  Will there be a guarantee on the part of this government that additional staff years will be put into the Department of Natural Resources to undertake the provisions of Bill 22?  Will it just be a transfer of staff years from Industry, Trade and Tourism with the people in those positions just going from one department to another? Then one would ask, if that were the case, why change at all? Why have Bill 22?  Those things will become clear, I am sure, as we move into committee hearings and debate on third reading.

      The other side of the equation is not only the Industry, Trade and Tourism people who currently have the expertise and for whom these jobs are part of their mandate, but it is the Department of Natural Resources.

      As I stated earlier, the Department of Natural Resources is already understaffed.  The Department of Natural Resources now has a mandate to ensure that licences, laws and regulations are enforced as they respond to fishing and hunting, not as they respond or are a part of or look at the lodges or the accommodation or the facilities, but just that the regulations governing hunting and fishing are observed.

* (1650)

      These are two very different parts of the tourism industry in northern Manitoba.  It just does not quite compute at this point, Mr. Speaker, as to the need for this change.  Again a question could be asked, will the conservation officers who are now under the Department of Natural Resources require to ensure that licences, laws and regulations are enforced as regards fishing and hunting?  Will those conservation officers be trained?  Will they be required to do both?  Will they be required not only to do their Natural Resources duties but will they also be required to go in and do the very detailed analysis and rating required of a solid star‑rating program?  We have some very serious concerns in that regard.

      I would like to put on the record several other areas that we have a great deal of concern about that I hope the government will be able to address to our satisfaction as the legislative process goes forward.

      What has the government done in the way of consultation regarding this Bill 22?  The government has said that it is in response to our concerns.  Members of the government side have stated off the record that the lodge owners want this legislation.  We know for a fact, having consulted a number of lodge owners, that they have very serious concerns about the legislation as it has been drafted.  We would like to know what the consultative process was.  Did the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), did the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) actually consult with lodge owners and outfitters about the specifics of this bill, about the implications of this bill, about who actually will be implementing this bill before they made this change?  We are not at all clear, Mr. Speaker, on this point and have some very serious reservations.

      Mr. Speaker, consultation for this government has often been used as a reason to help them avoid decisions, to help them be seen to be doing something without having done something.  I have put on the record several examples of ostensible consultation that has been undertaken by this government that has, in fact, turned out to be a method whereby the government is able to hide behind its very high degree of inaction.

      Mr. Speaker, there is a role for consultation in the legislative process.  We are asking this government to inform the House as to that consultation process, if any, that was undertaken before Bill 22 was presented to the House. Consultation, if it is used properly, can help in making good legislation and in making good governing decisions.  As I have stated before, we are not at all clear on this side that that process has been undertaken.  We will look forward very much to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) sharing their consultative processes with us.

      Another major area that concerns us in Bill 22 is the large amount of discretionary power given to the minister in this bill.  We will, as I have stated before, be making those concerns very clear as we get into third reading where we can go clause by clause.

      The member for St. James (Mr. Edwards), several days ago, put these concerns on record where he talked about the granting of larger and larger amounts of discretionary authority to the government itself, which is something that we on this side of the House are very concerned with as well.  I will only give the House one example of where that has taken place.  Where you have enormous amounts of discretionary power in the minister, in the administration, in regulation, rather than in statute, you do not have accountable government.

      Accountable government requires statutes brought before the Legislature that can be debated, that go to public committee hearings, that can have a full airing.  Manitoba is unique in that it requires these public hearings for every law that passes this Legislature.  It is a very democratic process, one that we highly approve of and encourage.  However, if you have a statute that gives enormous discretionary powers to the minister through regulation, then you circumvent that democratic process of public hearings, of a public accountability, of public votes in the House on bills.

      This is something that the government has done in many, many cases.  One that particularly stands out on this side of the House and in the community at large, and that is the government's high‑handed, undemocratic use of The Child and Family Services Act when it recentralized the Child and Family Services agencies through regulation.  Over a weekend, it implemented this decision which had clearly been underway for many months without public consultation, without going through the legislative process, without allowing the public and the community and those most concerned with this issue an opportunity which should have been theirs by right to participate in a debate and a discussion.

      The government's behaviour in only this one case, if it was only this one case, would be cause for alarm, but there are other instances where the government has been high‑handed, undemocratic and uncompassionate.  Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that when we allow decisions to be made more and more by fiat, by regulation, by the ministerial good will, then we are running the risk of losing one of the main tenets of democracy and that is the ability and the responsibility of the governors to be held accountable to the governed.  The minute we start doing that, we are losing as a citizenry.

      Bill 22, Mr. Speaker, with the enormous discretionary power it gives the minister, the enormous power it gives regulations, is very much of concern to members of the official opposition. We will be speaking at much greater length on this issue at committee hearings and third reading.

      I appreciate the opportunity to have put my concerns on the record.  Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:  As previously agreed, this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).

      Is it the will of the House to call it five o'clock?

An Honourable Member:  Five o'clock.

Mr. Speaker:  Five o'clock.  Okay.  The hour being 5 p.m., time for Private Members' Business.

* (1700)






Bill 25‑The University of Manitoba Amendment Act


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).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave that this matter remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  It is agreed.


Bill 31‑The Municipal Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry), Bill 31, The Municipal Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les municipalites, standing in the name of the honourable member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave that this matter remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed.




Bill 16‑The Health Care Directives Act


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs), that Bill 16, The Health Care Directives Act (Loi sur les directives en matiere de sante), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Bill 16.  This bill is about the dignity of individuals in the health care system.  This bill is about the reform that is intended to put people first.  Bill 16 will give people the right to control their own destiny in health care.  It will also allow a person to make his or her wishes known before the person is too sick to speak for himself or herself.  It will also allow one to appoint a trusted person to act as a proxy to make decisions after one is incapacitated and unable to speak for himself or herself.

      These rights of self‑determination have existed for a long time in the unwritten common law.  However, Bill 16 will affirm them and make them more clear for the first time in Canada.  It will also protect physicians from prosecution resulting from the carrying out of an individual's clearly expressed wishes, and it will give people more peace of mind and security in the knowledge that their wishes will be obeyed.

      Mr. Speaker, I was deeply troubled recently to watch the young woman in Quebec known as Nancy B. being forced to fight in court simply to assert her right of self, simply to maintain her dignity.  Throughout her struggle she demonstrated her dignity and won the sympathy of the entire country.

      Bill 16 confronts situations like that one, but it also deals with less dramatic situations as well.  The concept is a very simple one.  You can put down on paper your wishes, and the document will be used to determine what treatment you will receive if you are too sick to speak for yourself.  Mr. Speaker, that can cover a wide range of different instructions, as any individual can choose what is desired.  The key is individual choice and individual free will.  It is a fundamental principle in a free society, and it is time to entrench it in the law that governs our health care system.

      Mr. Speaker, we have seen more and more cases in the news recently about people struggling to assert their right of self‑expression in the health care system.  It is an issue that should not be avoided any longer in the political sphere and the legislative sphere.  Bill 16 will help deal with the problems we have seen in many jurisdictions before they occur.  It will empower people to decide for themselves, and that is precisely what the recent controversies have been about.

      I would like to mention some interesting survey results from a recent issue of Family Practice magazine.  A survey was conducted involving Ontario family practitioners and the topic of living wills or the health care directive.  Eighty percent of the physicians surveyed said that they favoured the use of health care directives; 89 percent said that health care directive legislation would encourage them to discuss health care directives more openly with their patients.

      This Ontario survey underlined the fact that the living will issue is about more than a law.  However, while it is true that doctors have to be protected from prosecution for carrying out the wishes of the patient, the directive has to be recognized as valid by the law.  We also have to focus on education.  Education of both health care providers and the general public is very essential.  If we adopt legislation for our health care directors, we will also have to make every effort possible to inform people about their options and their rights.  We also have to work to ensure that the physicians are aware of the facts about the living will and they are aware of the advantages for their patients and for themselves in the use of living wills.

      Mr. Speaker, this bill will also help many other individuals to decide the outcome of their treatment and also help us to make a decision as a lawmaker that at times patients and their families do not want to carry out certain forms of treatment in their terminal stages, so the patient can have the final say that will give them the dignity and also it will help to save millions and millions of dollars.

      Mr. Speaker, we hope that we will get support from both the government as well as from the NDP to have this bill go to the committee stage and ask the individuals who are going to be affected by this, the physicians, the patients and the other interested organizations.  I have taken that opportunity to send the bill to the various organizations and we will be very open for any suggestions.  It is not a permanent one.  We can improve upon this and we welcome any suggestions.

      Thank you.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 18‑The Franchises Act


Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar), that Bill 18, The Franchises Act (Loi sur les concessions), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Maloway:  Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise today to introduce this bill into the House, in fact a bill that I think is long overdue in terms of being on the statute books of this province.

      In fact, franchise legislation, the whole area of franchises, is a recent phenomenon.  It has only been the last 20 to 30 years that franchises have come into their own in a big way.  In fact, more and more people are buying franchises as the time goes by. I do not know what the exact statistics are, but I do know that because of the proven ability of franchises to be more successful on average than a regular business venture, there is a tendency for people to gravitate towards them, also the selling point, that they have that proven record and that there is a formula that one buys with the franchise.  In other words buying the whole package, essentially a turnkey operation, provides more incentive for people to be buying franchises.

      Having said that, we have to recognize that what we have in terms of regulations in this province in the whole franchise area is just the law of the jungle, it is buyer beware.  What you have are people who have worked all their lives as school teachers and truck drivers and other occupations reach retirement‑‑and I run into people like this all the time.  As they reach retirement many of them consider early retirement.  In that process, many of them think of getting involved in a business, and a franchise comes to mind.

      What you have is a situation where people are taking early retirement.  They are taking their retirement income essentially and using it to kick‑start a business proposition.  Although the failure rate is not as high as normal businesses, it is still high.  We find growing numbers of people two or three years into a franchise and losing all of their retirement savings, and that is something that is going to happen even under franchise legislation.

      What we are trying to do is lay down the ground work, the guidelines to have a consistency in the franchise business.  When you consider the amount of money that is involved in here and how much of a person's savings can be involved, you will understand how important this act is for people in this province.

      Let me tell you some of the things that franchise companies have been found to do in this province and do not do, by the way, in Alberta where they have a franchise act.  In Alberta, the Alberta franchise act requires franchise companies to have consistent contracts.  What you see in Manitoba and other provinces without regulation is different contracts for different people.

* (1710)

      We had a case not too long ago with a company called Travel Smart.  It was written up in the paper where the person operating that franchise essentially sold the franchise for whatever he could get for it.  He would find one person, and the more gullible people would pay him $100,000 for the franchise, whereas people who were maybe a little more careful would get that very same franchise for $30,000 or $40,000.  In other words, he set his fees based on the ability of the person and willingness of the person to pay.  We say that is wrong, that franchise legislation has to have a consistent price for those franchises.

      Another area that is important is to have a proper defined territory.  In Alberta that is the case.  A franchise company operating in Alberta has to have a‑‑when you buy a franchise you are given a defined territory.  In unregulated provinces, like Manitoba, it is quite possible for a franchise company to sell multiple franchises in your area.  If you buy a franchise in St. Vital, you may find that half‑a‑dozen more get sold in that same area when you were hoping to have the area to yourself.

      Another major area of concern is that franchise companies in Alberta have to file a prospectus with the Securities Commission.  In fact, when you look at franchise operations, one of the ways of determining how good that franchise operation is is if they are operating in Alberta.  If you ask the franchise operator whether he has or she has an Alberta licence, and they do, then you know that they have gone through all of the processes and all of the hoops of satisfying the Alberta legislation.  If the franchise company avoids Alberta, which a lot of the shakier ones will do, then it is a clear sign that they may not be as trustworthy or able to fulfill their promises as those who are registered in Alberta.

      Now, what the prospectus process does is to require the company to sit down and spend some money and draw up its offering, its game plan similar to securities, the Securities Commission's requirements in this province when one is selling securities in this province, or any other province for that matter.  It is the same process that takes place in drawing up a prospectus.

      Another major area of concern for franchise, particularly new franchise people, is the prospect of losing one's money because the franchise company does not honour its up‑front promises. Franchise companies in a number of businesses have been known to make promises, such as a promise to spend a million dollars in advertising in Manitoba in the first year, and then reneging on that promise when they did not sign up as many franchisees as possible.  In Alberta, that is not possible.  In Alberta, if the company makes the promise, if it goes so far as to make the promise, then it must honour that promise.  If it promises to spend a million dollars in advertising, then it must honour that promise.  If it does not intend to spend the million dollars, then it should not make that promise to start with.

      Another element here is the fact that the franchise fees are put in trust.  We feel that is very important.  In Alberta, if you make a promise to spend money in such a way to your franchisees, then you must put that money in trust with the Securities Commission, so it is held there.  That money only goes to the franchise company when those promises are fulfilled.

      I know of an Ultracuts franchisee who was very, very pleased that that was the case, because he ran into some problems in Alberta.  He is in Alberta, and he pointed out to me that, had it not been for that legislation, he would have been at the mercy of the franchise company.  Because of that legislation, the requirements that the parent company put the money to back up the promise in trust saved him a lot of grief that he would have had, had he not been in that Alberta situation.

      I have mentioned that all franchises in Alberta must have a protected area.  I mentioned that they had to have a consistent contract, and, with that consistent contract, there is a lot involved in the franchise contract.  So I will just get into a few of the elements of the contract, but some obvious ones are the following.

      The cash investment requirements.  Once again we have the Travel Smart situation here in Winnipeg, where different cash requirements were taken from different people.  In Alberta, it is a consistent price.  A McDonald's franchise is $50,000 or a half million, or whatever it is, it is consistent.  It is the same price for Mr. Speaker as it would be for anyone else in the province.  That is to prevent a franchise operator from essentially gouging prospective purchasers, and gouging prospective purchasers and gouging people who may not have the wherewithal to make a proper decision.

      There are guarantees in the contract in terms of the type of equipment, the type of fixtures, the type of royalties.  A franchised company cannot take three percent of the gross sales from one operator and maybe five or six percent from somebody else, based on what the market will bear.

      There are other very alarming examples here in Manitoba to give us an idea as to why we require this legislation.  In fact, I might point out that the former minister, not the current minister, but the former Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, November 22, 1990, in an article in the Winnipeg Free Press, said that he was considering franchise legislation in Manitoba.  Well, at least, to give him credit, he was considering it.  This minister is not even doing that, and this was 1990 that they were supposedly considering it.

      Mind you, he went on to say further on in the article that he did not have a lot of faith in the legislation, so that would indicate his position, in reality.  His position seems to be that he would have to have an army of inspectors to enforce the legislation.

      Let me tell you why the government should not only consider franchised legislation but should in fact introduce and enact franchise legislation, if not simply pass our bill.

* (1720)

      I have here articles going back a couple of years when we have one person by the name of Frank Massey, who has quite a history in this province of selling franchises.  Here was a man who had a company called Technithon.  It was a computer consulting company.  He was taking $7,500 from people, promising them that they would earn $5,000 a week.  He was to provide them with a computer and software and different type of training and a minimum client base of 10 clients.  He had a number of businesses.  One of them was called Conex, which, in his case, is very appropriately named, Golden Leaf Insurance, and others.

      In this computer operation, I do not believe that more than one or two people upon giving him the $7,500 ever did see a computer.  None of them got the 10 customers that they were promised, and, in fact, they all lost their money.  These are people of modest means, most of whom had to borrow the money to put up this $7,500.

      This man also had a company called Telalert where he would sell smoke alarm systems.  Once again, he was charging $2,500 for those franchises.  You can see that we are not talking about businesses of $100,000 and big‑time operators like the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Connery) who could afford $100,000 and lose it and not worry about it.  We are talking about small amounts, $2500 here, and we are talking about people by and large who had to borrow the $2500 to sell these Telalert alarms.

      As it turned out, most of these alarms were alarms that were bought from the United States, that were out of date, so they were not up to today's standards to begin with.  In fact, when the sales people went out and sold them they had to buy them from him at very inflated prices.  They sold them to people.  They sold people monitored alarm systems which in fact proved not to be monitored at all.  In fact, he was charging people $20, $30 a month for the alarm charges, and in fact he was not providing any alarm monitoring whatsoever.  These are just some of the escapades that this particular gentleman has been involved with over the years.

      Mr. Speaker, I could go on and on.  I have a very thick file.  In fact it is getting thicker all the time, and the thicker it gets, the more I would think this government would be inclined to listen, but this government is not inclined to listen to this.  This government has no interest in protecting the consumer.  This government has proven it time and time again that they are prepared to let people lose money on franchises‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member's time has expired.

Mr. Jack Reimer (Niakwa):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer), that debate be now adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 27‑The Business Practices Amendment Act


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) that Bill 27, The Business Practices Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les pratiques commerciales), be now read a second time and referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, we thought we will try it again.  We have tried this bill twice, two sessions ago.  One was in 1990, and at that time the government did not approve of the amendments, but our amendments were also supported by the NDP at that time.  This bill will address many issues in the business act.

      One of the main areas in this bill will give the directorate of business practices a stronger mandate.  We think that the directorate is an important tool in the ongoing battle against exploitation of consumers and should have a stronger mandate possible.

      The Business Practices Act as it now stands says that the directorate may refuse to mediate or investigate a complaint on several grounds, including the catch‑all reason for refusing to act, that is to quote from the act, for any other reasons.  We do not believe that there is a huge number of reasons why the directors should refuse to act on consumers' complaints.  There are only a few reasons and they should be spelled out in this act.  The present act does that, but then it adds the catchall phrase to give the director nearly unlimited discretion to refuse to take action.  We want that changed.

      We also want to have a stronger and a clearer mandate for the director.  The director should be able to choose not to act on a complaint if the matter is clearly not in the jurisdiction of the provincial government or if it is immediately clear that the complaint is groundless.  This should be very clear in the law.

      Mr. Speaker, the other major aspect of Bill 27 is the protection of employees acting in good faith who accidentally and unknowingly commit an unfair business practice as defined in The Business Practices Act.  The act, as it now stands, contains a reference to such a situation.  It says that when a person is charged under the act, one of the factors to be considered will be, well, the person simply made a mistake, or the unfair business practice is the result of an accident.  This only applies to the penalty to be imposed after the person is found guilty.  We must insert this consideration for the employee acting in good faith before he or she is found guilty.

      Mr. Speaker, this bill will ensure that we have an effective protection of Manitoba's consumer, while at the same time we can avoid putting innocent employees at risk.  We hope that this time the government will think seriously in light of the recent home renovation scams and come to its senses and support our amendment.

Mr. Jack Reimer (Niakwa):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson), that debate be now adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 50‑The Beverage Container Act


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), that Bill 50, The Beverage Container Act; Loi sur les contenants de boisson, be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this house.

Motion presented.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce The Beverage Container Act in second reading today, so that I have the opportunity of explaining in more detail the intent and purpose of this bill.

      Mr. Speaker, we have begun more and more frequently to talk about the three Rs of good environmental practice.  They are to reduce, reuse and recycle.  I believe that The Beverage Container Act in its form that we have presented here today in fact does all three.  It seeks to reduce the amount of litter that we have watched throughout our province as a result of people throwing away bottles and containers because there has been no deposit paid on them, and therefore there is no deposit payable when they return them.

      This legislation also meets the criteria of reuse, because when those bottles are presented back to the companies that have produced them, many of them can in fact reuse those same containers.  We believe it also meets the criteria of recycle, because the recycling aspect is for those containers that cannot in fact be reused, can be recycled.

      We know there are some products for health reasons that cannot be reused, and that is appropriate, but then they can be recycled.  So this beverage container legislation that we propose to this House does meet the criteria of reduce, reuse, and recycle.

      As I was preparing some notes to speak today, I thought back on my days of summer cottaging on Grand Lake in Nova Scotia, and remember often that as one of six children, who quite frankly did not get allowances because there was not any money to give six children allowances, one of the ways in which we got some spending money was to return bottles to the local store.  It was always quite a contest between my brothers and my sisters as to which ones were going to get the 2‑cent bottles, and which ones were going to get the 5‑cent bottles.  It often was based quite frankly on who was bigger, and who could carry the most amount of big bottles, as opposed to small bottles.  Because I tended to be the fifth of six children, I usually ended up with the 2‑cent bottles rather than the 5‑cent bottles.

* (1730)

      It was a practice that‑‑let us be honest‑‑we did because we knew there was a value in having that bottle possibly returning to us some cents.  We have watched this happen with beer bottles in the province of Manitoba.  More and more people do return their beer bottles, because they paid a deposit on them and they get cash for them.  In fact, we even have organizations that would raise monies via using the deposit system to get monies into their organization.

      It makes sense to want to have deposit on containers.  This is not the first time this bill has been ready for production. It was ready in our first session as the official opposition, but that was the year the government came forward and proposed a Manitoba soft drink recyclers proposal.  We thought that was legitimate as an experiment, but, Mr. Speaker, it is an experiment that has not met with the success everybody hoped it would meet with.  That is no criticism of the government; I think it was a valid experiment to try.

      The reality is that in this province, even the most wildly optimistic know that only 50 percent of the soft drinks are in fact brought back for recycling, and that is a very optimistic figure.

      In Alberta, where legislation similar to this Beverage Container Act exists, between 80 percent and 90 percent of beverage containers are returned.  That means there is 40 percent better coverage in that province by appropriate legislation than we have here in the province of Manitoba.

      It is regrettable the experiment did not work, but we have to accept the fact that it did not, and we have to move on so that we have a piece of legislation that will guarantee that containers that have within their contents soft drinks or juices, iced tea or iced coffee, can be returned and will in fact not add to the litter problem presently throughout all communities.

      Our young people today, particularly those in schools, welcome the opportunity to reduce, reuse and recycle.  I think any of us who have watched the emphasis placed on these things within our schools are struck by the fact that children are really leading the way in terms of a new way of thinking about the world that they live in.  They have had to teach us many things.  It is in teaching us many things that they have shown, I think, a very clear path to solutions in this area.

      They do not understand, when I talk with them, that Manitoba does not have similar legislation to other provinces.  They do not understand why a Pepsi bottle has on it, this is what happens in B.C. and this is what happens in Alberta and this is what happens in Saskatchewan, but does not say anything about what happens in Manitoba.  Nothing is said about Manitoba because, quite frankly, it is the only one of those provinces that does not have legislation that will ensure that something happens when they return that particular bottle.

      Young people are telling us that we must change.  They want a world that, quite frankly, is in as good shape as their parents inherited it.  Quite frankly, our track record is not very good between ozone depletion and litter and environmental damage, we are not going to give to our young people the same kind of planet that we inherited.

      I think it is time to learn directly from them.  It is time to implement this legislation.  I welcome the support of the government and the New Democratic Party in ensuring that we have this kind of positive beverage container legislation in the province of Manitoba and that we do it with some dispatch, so that our young people will know that their efforts in recycling, their efforts in reusing, their efforts in reducing will in fact, meet with the approval of their peers and is recognized through the passage of this legislation.

Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  I move, seconded by the member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 51‑The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), that Bill 51, The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'assurance‑maladie), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak on this very important bill.  I think this bill, basically what it will do, we have a Canada Health Act that was enacted in 1964 and later on affirmed in 1984.  There are five basic principles of the Canada Health Act.  They are:  comprehensiveness, universality, portability, accessibility and public administration.

      So far no province in this country has those five basic principles entrenched in the law.  That is one reason that each and every province does have its own definition of what is the accessible health care system.  That is why we can see disparity between the provinces of British Columbia, Newfoundland, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, all the provinces.  The federal government has done a dishonest job, because they have given us a law, but they have not given us the funding.

      They have not given us the funding to fund that kind of program.  If we have these five basic principles entrenched in our law, then each and every province, specifically I am talking about Manitoba, would have more power to tell Ottawa that we have your same principle.  Why cannot you fund our health care system the way you were supposed to?  Last year they passed this bill, Bill C‑20, and this bill will eventually eliminate any transfer payments within 10 to 15 years.

      Basically, we may have a law in this country, but we will not have the money to fund our programs.  That is why I think it is very essential, if we have those five basic principles affirmed in our Manitoba law, then we can tell the federal government, look here, you have your law, we have our own law.  We are simply carrying out your principles, and you set up the standard.  Now why do you not pay for it?

      I think that is the reason here.  That is why we are stressing that this will give some more power to a province to argue to have more funding.  It is not an issue of any single political party.  It could have been brought by anyone of us, but we are simply asking that each one of us has a responsibility to tell the people of Manitoba that we are all serious about our health care system, and if we are serious about the health care system, we must abide by the five principles.

      To abide by the five principles, we must have a law so that nobody, no Health minister, not this or the other Health minister, can ever touch some of the essential services.  I think that is the issue here, and that will give people some hope that eventually, maybe, we can save the health care system, which at this date looks, the way the federal government is going, that it is going to be dead in about 10 to 15 years time.

      Mr. Speaker, there is a perception in this country that we have one of the best medicare systems in the world, and that may or may not true.  We may have in definition one of the best systems, but in a practical sense we do not have, because the federal government is shrinking from the responsibility to fund our health care system, as they have outlined in their own law. I am repeating again and asking the members of this House, please consider it on a noncritical basis and see that we could send a strong message that the Minister of Health and this government is serious to protect our health care system.

      I think after that then we can debate the issue of what are essential services.  I think that is the next point.  Eventually, people are going to discuss what is the acceptable level of health care services, what is the minimum level of health care services.  I think eventually people have to discuss that.  It is going to come.  It does not matter how long we wait.  Eventually each and every party, not only in the province, but all across this nation, has to come up and tell people how we are going to carry out all these principles that I am talking about.

* (1740)

      It is going to be a very difficult task.  As long as we have a common base that we have these five basic principles and we can define them, what is accessible, what is the minimum level of acceptance of the health care system, that will probably lead us into another direction.  It will be a major debate how we are going to fund.  I think the funding part could be helped to some extent by this, but the most important thing is to give real meaning to the five basic principles.

      I want to talk about something else as I start initially.  I think each and every party, and we have been debating this for almost four years, have to tell people of Manitoba if we truly believe in this principle, then how are we going to fund, how are we going to even fund the basic necessities of the health care system?  That, I think, is very crucial.

      I mean, we can all talk about the best medical system we have, but eventually we are all paying for it.  We are trying our very best to tell, in our own way, to the people of Manitoba, it is not free, we taxpayers are paying for it, so less use is more effective.  Let us educate people that when you go and see a doctor or go to the hospital, it is costing money.  It is not free.

      I think as long as that message is getting across, I think people want to start realizing that this is a very, very expensive system.  In our own ways, it is very expensive.  I do not think anybody can argue against the fact that with our population growing at the rate of 6 percent for the last 10 years, and we have funded our health care system by more than 180 percent, that something has gone wrong.  We want, from our point of view, the people to know that we are serious about the five basic principles, but at the same time let us look at each and every issue very carefully and see what is a necessity, what is a luxury.

      I think that issue is going to come.  It may not be a very critical problem, but if any one of us who deals with the health care system is serious, and I personally feel very strongly and I have repeated that many times, that this Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and this government is serious in many ways.  Anybody in their shoes has to make major decisions, so that is why we do not want them to make any decision or a knee‑jerk reaction, because it does not serve any purpose at all.  You can set up a system today, you can ask a number of questions, and tomorrow things are going to change.  That is why a solid policy direction has to be developed.  When you are developing the policy, you must tell people that we have to make some choices.  Those choices are going to be tough.  It may not happen in this four years, but eventually it is going to happen.  No question that any political party, any person in this country can say, well, this is a free lunch.  We are paying through our noses.  This is a very, very serious matter.

      I was talking to one of my constituents who has lived in this country for more than 75 years, a second generation, and he was telling me in a very‑‑he gave me an example.  He said, when you go to a dentist you go to buy something, you know your bill, but when a patient is going to have access to service, why should that person not know how much taxpayers are paying on his behalf?  I do not think there is anything wrong with that.  I think that is why we are stressing the education of the public is very essential, because once they start realizing how much it is costing probably they will be more cautious.  I am not saying that it will stop all the difficulties, but we have to go one step further and that is the education of the public.

      I know the minister is listening very seriously, and I know it is a very risky, slippery slope.  You have to be very careful because political parties can come and say, well you are going to have to stop our access to the health care system.  That is not the issue here.  The issue is your taxpayers must be told how you are spending money.  They must know exactly so that they will remember when they go home, so that when they go and have access to other services they will tell, look here, I had this test done and it cost that much last time.  Can you make a phone call and find out?  Those are the minor things.  They are very minor things, but I think it will save a lot of money in the long run.

      Let people think that this is a very important issue.  I think after the Constitution this is going to be a major issue of health care in this country.  I do not think any politician can stand up at his seat and tell they are going to save it until major changes are made.  Major changes will only be made if people can have the courage and also take political risks for a short term, but please think of the taxpayers who are funding our health care system so that eventually we can save for the next generation.  I think that is the issue.  I would like the members to think very carefully and also consider that.

      Let us work first on these five basic principles, entrench them in our law and then start working on issues of what is a necessity.  What are the services which can be done in a different way?  What are the services we can deliver in a more cost‑effective fashion?  I think the issue of bed closing, a political issue, which was very popular in the '80s, is gone. Bed closing is not a risky thing as long as you are doing it properly.  I do not think anybody can stand in this House and say if one or two beds are closing you are going to shut down the health care system.  That is absolute nonsense.  It does not work.  If you have extra beds they are going to be occupied no matter what the reasons are.  So we have to be very careful.

      I think that is why, as we have said many times, this minister has two or three years more left, and he can do very well as long as we can keep a bifocal policy, short term, but also continue to develop a long‑term policy, keeping in mind the five basic principles.  I do not think we should deny anybody primary access to the health care system.  For some of the services, if they have to go, probably they would go eventually anyway, so why not take a bold step and tell the taxpayers that this is your tax money, and we are spending it this way.  They should know it.  I think they have the right.  If I was not in this House I would have never learned those things, but it is very painful when people are paying so much taxes.  Some of them are saying, I do not go to the doctor's office, why should I pay?  Those questions are coming.  I think they are going to be coming more and more because people are fed up.

      It is very essential that we continue to work toward a long‑term policy but also keeping a few things in mind for the short‑term things that are going to change.  I mean there are going to be a few problems but keeping in mind the five basic principles.  We do not have a problem with that.

      I think it is very, very healthy that we are dealing with the issue.  That is why I think we are asking that when we get calls from our constituents or organizations, we are asking them, please ask us what we will do differently and how we are going to fund that.  I think that is the issue.  Thirty‑five days of campaign does not do a damn thing.  It is very short‑sighted.  We can fool people‑‑politicians have done that for years and they will continue to do it‑‑but on this issue we must be very, very careful.  It may be risky for a short while, but people will realize in the long run that this is probably the best thing we can do.

* (1750)

      We have no problem with that in terms of telling publicly when things are right.  I do not think anybody in their right mind would think that any minister, any government would like to harm anybody.  The issue is how you are going to fund.  As long as we can continue to find the necessity in the medicare system and keeping, as I said earlier, the five basic principles and try to understand how we are going to spend the taxpayers' money effectively, we may have a chance to survive.  Otherwise, I think we should say goodbye to the health care system.  It is going to eventually die a death which is going to be very, very painful.

      We hope that in the next federal campaign each and every party would let the people know what their stand is on the medicare system.  That is why I think the Reform Party's stand is just zero, because their policy is if everyone functions‑‑there is no way that their policies are going to ever be respected by the majority of Canadians.  It is not the case.  We have a certain basic principle in a society and a nation, so those have to be kept in mind.  All three parties will see how they perform.  If our federal party or other party‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member's time has expired.

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  Leave?  Leave is granted.  The honourable member for The Maples is granted leave to close his opening remarks.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.  I will just take a couple of minutes.

      I would again urge all members in this House, please think very carefully when you are demanding or you are asking things for health care, so that at least if we have to save the essential services in keeping with the spirit of the five basic principles, then I think we will do some service.  Otherwise, we will be doing a disservice to the people of Manitoba.  I would hope that eventually there will come a time in this country when we will have ministers of Health who will have at least a four‑year mandate.  It is very sad to see, it is very disturbing to see, ministers of Health coming after six months and one year; they cannot do health policies.  They cannot do anything.

      So we have a minister who has been here four years.  We hope that he stays so that people who at least have understanding can develop a policy for the long run.  We may disagree with him on many points, but at least we have a continuity of the policies. It has been happening in many, many provinces; ministers are being changed right and left.  You know why?  First of all, they do not know what they are doing; second, they do not have the courage and conviction to change the system.  They want the jobs, and they have to serve themselves.  I think we have a responsibility and an especial example in Manitoba to serve the taxpayers.

      Mr. Speaker, I will end by saying again that I will request each and every member in this House to support this bill so that this government can have more power to deal with the federal government, so that they can tell them:  You have your five principles given to us; we have the same principles‑‑why can you not fund our health system on an equal basis?

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, there are a number of bills that are being introduced on behalf of the Liberal Party and private members' hour, and this is the single bill that I feel most concerned in terms of this being an issue that a majority of Manitobans would like to see addressed.

      The bill will entrench the five basic principles of medicare as established in the Canada Health Act.  Every one of us inside this Chamber, no doubt, at one point in time, has stood up and has talked about the importance of medicare, of our health care services that we have in Canada.  Mr. Speaker, every one of us is an honourable member, and we take each other at our word when we stand up and we talk about the positives of our health care system.

      What the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) has offered us is an opportunity to do something that is very positive, because I really and truly believe that there is not one member inside this Chamber who would oppose a bill of this nature.  All it really is doing is reinforcing what all three political parties have said in past elections, what parties say in between elections.

      Mr. Speaker, I know that at times it is difficult to get private member bills through the Chamber, but in the spirit of co‑operation I would encourage the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to give it very serious consideration.  In fact, the bill is worthy of the support of this whole Chamber; we have seen bills go through this Chamber; and all three political parties can take some credit for what has been done.  It is not only private member bills; we only need to look at government bills. Contrary to the Attorney General, I like to take some responsibility, some credit for the drinking‑and‑driving legislation as amended.

      I would like all members of this Chamber to take some credit for the passage of this particular bill, because I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that health care is the No. 1 issue of my constituents.  I have consulted my constituents in many different forms, and the one message that has come out in very clear terms is that health care is the No. 1 priority.  Number 2 and No. 3 have switched, I must say, between job creation, deficit control and education.  The No. 1 concern has been health care.

      I believe this particular bill will alleviate a lot of the concerns of the constituents that I represent.  I can assure this Chamber that by supporting this bill they will be able to alleviate the concern of all Manitobans, because I believe that my constituents really do reflect the majority of all Manitobans.

      There are some very positive things that can come out of passing this particular bill.  I know that I do not have very much time today to speak on this bill, and I will continue my debate later on, the next time.  Hopefully, Tuesday or whenever it is called up next I will be sure to speak to it.  I would like for members of this Chamber to think about this bill very seriously‑‑it is a very high priority for us‑‑and to at least speak on the bill.

      There has been somewhat of a tradition in the past that bills be introduced and then they be adjourned and they somewhat die on the Order Paper.  I would encourage all members of this Chamber to stand up and speak, because I can assure you all of our members will speak on this particular bill if at all possible.  I would encourage all members of the Chamber to stand up to speak to it so that we can see‑‑or better yet, Mr. Speaker, have representatives from all three political parties speak on it, allow it to go to committee and then allow everyone an opportunity to speak once again to it on the third reading.

      I sincerely believe that it is definitely in the interest of all Manitobans and all of us who are elected here to see a piece of legislation such as this go through the entire process and be proclaimed, because the five principles are based on public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility.  I do not believe one member in this Chamber would say no to any of those five principles.

      Having said that, I would suggest to you that this is one of those bills which each and every one of us could in fact support, and it is only a question in terms of good will.  So I will ask, Mr. Speaker, that all members of this Chamber look, read through this bill‑‑it is very short but to the point‑‑and it will alleviate the concerns of a majority of Manitobans when it comes to‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The hour being 6 p.m., when this matter is again before the House the honourable member for Inkster will have nine minutes remaining.

      The hour being 6 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned till 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday).