Friday, March 6, 1992
The House met at 10 a.m.
Ms. Becky Barrett (
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Malinda Zdrill, Laurie Cannon, Anne Katlmen 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. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
petition of the undersigned citizens of the
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
TABLING OF REPORTS
Hon. Harry Enns
(Minister responsible for Venture
Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, I would like to table in the
House today the 1988 and 1989 Annual Report of The
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Employment Creation Strategy
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, unemployment statistics released today have both good and bad news for Manitobans. Fifty‑two thousand‑‑[interjection] I know the Tories do not like balanced budgets because they do not have balanced responses, but perhaps we could have an intelligent debate on these numbers if the members will allow us to ask the questions.
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Doer: I notice the Premier is back and the decorum in this House has continued to go down.
Speaker, my question is to the First Minister.
There are 52,000 people unemployed in the
Of great concern to members on this side of the House has been the so‑called despair figures that we are seeing in the unemployment statistics. The member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) asked that question yesterday about the number of people who are dropping out of the labour force, and we did not get any answer back from the Premier or his Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson). There are 8,000 people who have dropped out of the labour force over the last 12 months. They have quit looking for work, or they have moved out of this province.
Speaker, my question to the Premier is:
For the 8,000 people who have dropped out of the labour force in the
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, it is always nice to be back to listen to the questions from the prince of darkness over there.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I remind the honourable First Minister that all members are honourable members. I would ask the First Minister to withdraw that comment.
Mr. Filmon: Mr. Speaker, I will certainly withdraw any comment that is seen to be offensive in this House, however true it may be.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to thank the honourable First Minister.
Mr. Filmon: The fact of the matter is that we get nothing but doom and gloom from the member opposite. When he talks about an intelligent debate on the statistics, that means that he can selectively draw the worst part of the statistics and concentrate on that as being what he would like to see here in this province.
Mr. Speaker, most Manitobans will take a balanced view on that. Most Manitobans will be happy that in February of 1992 we have the second lowest unemployment rate in the entire country. Most Manitobans will be pleased that on a seasonally adjusted basis, there are several thousand more people employed today than there were just a month ago.
Most Manitobans will be pleased that while the
manufacturing employment Canada‑wide dropped by 4.6 percent, this
province did not have a drop in its manufacturing employment, that in fact, as
a result of announcements that have been made just in the past month at
Versatile, at places like Advance Composite Structures, at other major
employers, that those who have been laid off are being recalled and that at
Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is, despite the fact that things are turning in a better direction, we are going to continue to work and work hard to improve the situation, to get more Manitobans working and to turn around this economy in a more positive vein, and every single thing that is in this coming budget will be designed to ensure that we keep on the path toward growth and improvement in our economy so that more Manitobans will be working.
Mr. Doer: Speaking of keeping on the path, the increase
in welfare and social assistance in the
would ask the Premier, in light of the fact that he is going to stay on the
path, the path of last year which has not produced the prediction of the
unemployment rate that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) made in this House
in his budget in any month since he produced and tabled that budget, will the
Premier have any hope in his budget for the 51 percent increase in people on
social assistance, some 67,000 last year, according to the
Mr. Filmon: Mr. Speaker, I realize that the Leader of the
Opposition wants to ignore the fact that during the last recession, there were
greater increases in welfare numbers year upon year when the NDP were in
government. He may not recognize that
throughout this country, in places such as
fact of the matter is that we obviously do not want that to continue to be that
way. In the interim, we are giving
increases in social allowances, greater increases than were given by NDP
The fact of the matter is that last year we also allowed them to keep their GST rebate and have done various things to improve the social allowances for those people who are handicapped, Mr. Speaker.
All of those things were designed to try and make it easier for those who, unfortunately, face that burden because we do not want them to be in those difficult circumstances.
As well, Mr. Speaker, what we are working on is to have the overall economy improved, and that is what all the measures that we are taking into account will do, unlike the NDP, who have raised taxes every time they have been in similar circumstances. We do not want to place a greater burden on the people in this economy, unlike the NDP, who have raised the deficit so that future generations will pay the price. We do not want to do that. We are going to carry on to improve circumstances.
Employment Creation Strategy
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I have a further question to the First Minister.
unemployment rate is continuing to rise in the city of
With the good news of the reduction of 5,000
people unemployed, it is still leaving us 52,000 unemployed in the
question is to the Premier. Given the
unemployment rate in the city of
Hon. Gary Filmon
(Premier): Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that
whenever investment in job creation takes place anywhere in this province, it
benefits the city of
fact, I recall seeing a survey that said that the investment, for instance, in
a hydroelectric project up north such as Conawapa would create 60 percent of the
this Leader of the Opposition is suggesting that we ought to abandon the rest
of the province and not look at the needs of rural
We are going to take a balanced approach. We are going to ensure that the economic benefits that accrue to this province will indeed be spread through all regions of this province as much as possible.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): Mr. Speaker, some months ago and over the last year, the public has expressed surprise and anger at the fact that this government has chosen to do some cross‑border shopping of its own.
MPIC had purchased furniture, the Department
of Education was asking teachers to go to
question is to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Can the minister indicate to this House what
specific steps the province will be taking in concert with groups like the
Chamber of Commerce to stem the tide of cross‑border shopping which has
Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism): I believe the honourable member would appreciate that the Chamber of Commerce has recently struck a task force to deal with this very issue. We met with them recently, and we are expecting feedback from them in terms of specific recommendations.
would hope he also appreciates some of the decisions that have been made in the
last several weeks by the federal government related to this issue because it
is an issue that is not only affecting
as a province also are represented on the national task force on cross‑border
shopping dealing with issues, the fundamental issues, the long‑term
issues of competitiveness, issues that, unfortunately, members across the way
have created, the problem that we are faced with today in terms of that
fundamental issue. We as a government
have said on many occasions that we are working to create the positive economic
Dept. of Industry
Trade and Tourism
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): Mr. Speaker, we are always‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Question, please.
Mr. Storie: Can the Minister of Industry, Trade and
Tourism explain why, after suggesting that when the Department of Natural
Resources used the
Hon. Eric Stefanson
(Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism): Mr. Speaker, I think a concern that was
raised some time ago was that a particular department not so much used the
mailing services of the
There are occasions where, I believe,
government departments and other organizations have utilized
Mr. Storie: According to the Chamber of Commerce, 3,000 of those taxpayers are unemployed today because of cross‑border shopping.
To the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, will he stop the practice of cross‑border shopping in his own department that he has condemned in others?
Mr. Stefanson: Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the honourable member is coming from. We have never, never indicated anywhere in our department, obviously, any support for cross‑border shopping. We oppose cross‑border shopping. We are doing all that we can to deal with it.
issue that the honourable member raises has nothing to do with cross‑border
shopping. In particular instances, the
mail might be trucked down through
Clearly, we are continuing to work with the Chambers of Commerce in this province, with communities in this province, with the private sector, with Manitobans, on that issue. Progress is being made through some of the decisions of the federal government, and we will continue to work with Manitobans on that issue.
Point of Order
Mr. Storie: Mr. Speaker, I neglected to table the document that I was referring to.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member does not have a point of order.
Repap Manitoba Inc
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, on February 27, we heard a great deal of rhetoric about the difficult financial circumstances faced by Repap. We were told that the restructuring was necessary. In fact, our Minister of Finance told us the restructuring was necessary, "given the incredible economic losses, the financial losses within the industry."
the Minister of Finance tell the House today why this company under such great
financial losses is capable of investing 26 million new dollars in the
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I am not privy to the corporate decisions made by Repap with respect to investing their funds generally and certainly not with respect to specifically making decisions with regard to other provinces.
do know that the
Mrs. Carstairs: Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to table an
article from The Globe and Mail business section this morning which indicates
exactly that kind of investment in
had a comment from the minister on the 27th which said, how are we going to
maintain the operation at Manfor if Repap is then forced into insolvency
because of this action? Well, Mr.
Speaker, it is very clear this company is not insolvent. If they can come up with $26 million to
Can the minister responsible explain to this House why Repap has been allowed to default on every one of its contract obligations when it obviously has money to invest in other provinces?
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, I am troubled with the attitude
the Liberals bring forward on this issue.
It tells me, particularly listening to the question put forward by the
Liberal Leader yesterday, that they are against commercial logging. She said so in her commentary yesterday. What is obvious is the Liberals are driven to
want to drive Repap out of the
Mr. Speaker, Repap has done everything that they were committed to do with respect to cleanup within the facility and within the grounds put on the schedule. Repap has been a model corporate citizen in The Pas community. Do not take my word for it; take the word for it from the community leaders in that place.
say to the member, if she is saying to the people of
Employment Creation Strategy
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs
(Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, but by just the slightest bit of coincidence, they are buying a log‑chipping
facility, which of course they were not prepared to honour in their commitment
in the province of
this minister explain why the contract in British
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, every assertion in the question put forward by the Leader of the Liberal Party is incorrect.
Firstly, right today, Repap, instead of owning
chipping facilities of their own, because they have contracted through Spruce
Woods, because of that, 60 to 70 people in the
More importantly, the Repap original agreement was a commitment to 1,200 jobs after a billion‑dollar investment. Of course, the restructuring will attempt and make its best efforts to work toward still the 1,200 figure as agreed to in the first agreement.
Gemini Reservation System
Mr. Daryl Reid
(Transcona): Mr. Speaker, reports out today indicate that
the Gemini Reservation System shared by Air
My question for the Minister of Highways and Transportation is: Can the minister tell the House today what impact this will have on the over 100 Manitobans employed in the airline reservation systems in this province?
Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, no, I cannot.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, since there are over 100 Manitobans employed in the Gemini Reservation, and the merger will lead to employee layoffs‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Reid: It is in the article, right there.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have also taken the opportunity to consult with members of the industry.
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. Reid: Since this minister does not know, what
assurances can he give to the people employed in these jobs that these jobs
will remain in
Mr. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, I will take the question as
notice and find out what the impact would be on people working in
Mr. Reid: Will this minister and this government notify
the federal government and the airlines involved that
Mr. Driedger: As I indicated before, I will try and get the
information to try and find out what the impact is going to be for jobs in
might indicate that this government has always been very conscientious of any
of these things, to see whether we can negotiate and work with them and try and
influence so that these jobs stay in
Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Manitoba Telephone System.
that Bell Canada has taken control over SystemHouse, will the minister cancel
plans to give the MTS billing contract to this firm, a move that would cost
Hon. Glen Findlay
(Minister responsible for the administration of The
terms of the Manitoba Telephone System doing work or contracting to have work
done, they will analyze the bids and look for the best bidder at the lowest
cost in order to protect our subscribers in the
Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk): Mr. Speaker, how much of the $100 million that MTS has allotted to modify network information systems, a move to attempt to compete with Unitel, will MTS spend this year, and what will be the impact of these expenditures on local rates?
Hon. Glen Findlay
(Minister responsible for the administration of The
program continues. At this point in
time, about 13,000 of those individual lines have been put in place in rural
I am very proud of that program. It is ongoing. It is up to speed, with the expectations year to year that were announced some four years ago, and it will continue in 1992.
Telephone Directory Contract
Mr. Gregory Dewar
(Selkirk): Mr. Speaker, will the minister assure the
House, in the upcoming contract for the telephone directory, that he will not
once again give the contract to the
Hon. Glen Findlay
(Minister responsible for the administration of The
last time around, it saved considerable money for the telephone subscribers in
Rail Line Jurisdiction
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Highways and Transportation.
Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications is currently
reviewing CN Rail's application to sell the main railway line between
Mr. Speaker, given this new phase of rail line abandonment which is being applied for by CN to sell these off and put them under provincial jurisdiction, is the Minister of Highways and Transportation supportive of this new phase of abandonment by CN Rail, to sell and put them under provincial jurisdiction so that the provinces will be responsible for maintaining these rail lines?
Hon. Albert Driedger
(Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, the position of this
government in terms of rail line abandonment is well known and well
documented. I might also indicate that
the TAC committee has at the present time been mandated by the Council of
Ministers of Transportation last September here in
This has been requested by the federal government as well. That study is underway right now, and I would anticipate that by the time they come back with their report a year from now, we will be able to see exactly what kinds of decisions will be made for the future.
Senate Transportation Committee
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Mr. Speaker, again for the minister, he is free to attend the Senate committee. Will the minister, will the government be making a presentation to this committee, given the enormous consequences that will flow from these main rail lines, these lines being placed under provincial jurisdiction if they are sold off privately? Is the minister going to make a presentation to that committee?
Hon. Albert Driedger
(Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, I indicated before that we
have a TAC committee that has been set up across the whole country. They are reviewing the whole aspect of rail
lines and ports across
Rail Line Jurisdiction
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Mr. Speaker, again for the minister, will the minister ensure that any privatized rail lines continue to fall under federal jurisdiction and that this is a condition of privatizing? Will he make that known to the Senate committee because, otherwise, this province is going to be left holding the bag, maintaining those lines when it is properly under federal jurisdiction?
Hon. Albert Driedger
(Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, I repeat again, I have
indicated that the position that
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, we were very pleased that at 4:30 yesterday, the Minister of Education and Training finally acknowledged that there were major problems in fairness in the government's funding model.
My question, Mr. Speaker, is what procedures has the minister put in place to monitor the situation to ensure that 50 teachers will not lose their jobs in St. Vital, teachers will not lose their jobs and taxes will not go up in Evergreen, the vocational programs in Morris‑Macdonald will not be cut, and the line‑ups for special needs students will not continue to grow?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to make that announcement yesterday. The announcement provided additional phase‑in funds for divisions which were experiencing in the first year of applying the funding formula some difficulties and concerns in their area. Having provided those funds, I now trust that the divisions will be extremely responsible in the application of those funds within their divisions.
Mr. Chomiak: I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Will the minister take another look at her own advisory committee report that recommended a four‑year phase‑in because of the serious difficulties in tax increases that will result as a result of the government's funding formula? They recommended a four‑year phase‑in‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mrs. Vodrey: At this point we have been focusing with school divisions on the first year of the phase‑in, and we have been talking with them about their anticipation of applying the funding formula in the second and in the third year. I think it is very important that the divisions and our department keep a very open communication. That is certainly my aim and the aim of this government.
Mr. Chomiak: My final supplementary is to the same minister. Can the minister assure this House that she will return to this House with a revised formula if things like 30 percent tax increases in Leaf Rapids and other school divisions continue to result as a result of that‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member's question is hypothetical and therefore out of order. The honourable member, kindly rephrase your question, please.
Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is: Does this minister have any idea of the kind of tax increases and job losses that are occurring as a result of her funding formula in the first 30 days of the funding formula, never mind year two or year three?
Mrs. Vodrey: I would like to remind the honourable member that by and large across this province the funding formula is in fact working very well. The funding formula, as I reminded him last week, was also the creation of interest groups in Education who sat around the table to develop that formula. It is working well, and I remind him again too of our government's increase in our commitment to Education of 3 percent. With that commitment, I trust that the boards will then act responsibly in the next few years.
Rail Line Protection
Mr. John Plohman
(Dauphin): Mr. Speaker, during the transportation talks
hearings, it became evident that the Minister of Agriculture had not ensured
I ask the Minister of Agriculture, since he so proudly endorsed this federal process, why he did not ensure that information was included on Churchill that would show the true savings and efficiencies to farmers of maximizing the use of Churchill. Instead, it was included in the first documents, Mr. Speaker, whereby statements were made that eliminating the rail line to Churchill, the facilities at Churchill, would be part of efficiency.
Hon. Glen Findlay
(Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker, farmers
Farmers cannot afford to pay those continued increased costs. There must be a major effort made to try to find efficiencies in the system. There was a major transportation task force some two years ago that looked at some efficiencies that could be had. The transportation talks process was set in place to allow all the stakeholders to talk about some of the realities of the system‑‑how do we control the cost, how do we keep things efficient.
Mr. Plohman: The minister did not stand up for Churchill‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Plohman: Mr. Speaker, why did this minister not ensure
Mr. Findlay: Mr. Speaker, it is rather amazing that this member does not want farmers to talk about information that is important to them. He wants to stamp out the ability of producers to hear about what is going on. All that information he has just talked about has been on the record for some time.
Mr. Plohman: Loss of Churchill will devastate‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Plohman: Will this Minister of Agriculture admit that
he has failed Manitobans by not standing up in the hearings for Churchill and
then not standing up with the issues of rail line abandonment which the
Mr. Findlay: Mr. Speaker, it is rather appalling that this member stands up and does not mention the 50 percent increased cost that the farmers paid at the farm gate. The farmer's value of a loaf of bread has shrunk rather drastically from 25 percent 10 years ago to 4 percent today.
He does not talk about that, and that is what the issue is all about, to reduce the costs that the farmer has to pay beyond the farm gate. He needs a better share of the commodity he is producing and selling. All the efficiencies the farmers gained in the system have been lost beyond the farm gate because of attitudes of that kind of member.
Foreign Domestic Workers' Program
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Mr. Speaker, the federal Conservative government's changes to the foreign domestic workers' program is setting up a system which makes these women even easier to exploit. We have a situation where these women are forced to live with their employers. They have no freedom of movement, and they are going to be at the mercy of employers who are looking for cheap child care and home care maintenance.
My question is for the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism. What has this government done and what has she done to show her opposition to this federal program, to the proposed program which is backward changes to immigration legislation?
Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson
(Minister responsible for Multiculturalism):
Mr. Speaker, I have met with domestic workers, and I have met with
members of the immigrant community and listened to their concerns about changes
in legislation. We are trying to work
with the federal government to ensure that all women in
Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired
Ms. Becky Barrett (
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member for
Ms. Barrett: Mr. Speaker, Sunday is International Women's Day, celebrated throughout the world, and I would like today to speak very briefly about International Women's Day.
I would like to remind honourable members that International Women's Day is a day where women and men throughout the world have an opportunity to meet together and discuss and celebrate the role of women in our society, the actions and positions that women throughout history have played in our society, to join together to think about our current situation and, as I said, celebrate the accomplishments that we have made.
It is also necessary, Mr. Speaker, to use International Women's Day to consider how far we as a society still have to go. We still have a long road ahead of us in the economic area, in the area of social policy, in the area of domestic violence and in the area of media. We have a current example of how some parts of the media still reflect on the status of women, and I refer directly to the latest cover of Maclean's magazine.
Mr. Speaker, again, on behalf of our caucus, I want to join with all women and all men of good will in celebrating International Women's Day and hope to see everybody out on the celebrations on Sunday. Thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? Leave. It is agreed.
Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for the Status of Women): Mr. Speaker, I want to join with all members of the Legislature in recognizing International Women's Day, which will officially be held on Sunday.
I know that there are many different women's groups throughout the province that will be holding their own forms of celebration. I know that the indigenous women today will be holding a luncheon to celebrate International Women's Day. We have indicated and sent invitations to all members of the Legislature inviting them to our celebration here in the Legislature on Monday to celebrate the day.
want to say to all women in
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member for St. James have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. It is agreed.
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our party, I want to join comments with the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) and the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson) in recognizing the good works of the groups that are involved in International Women's Day and its organization, both in the past, this day, and in the future.
I join comments, in particular with the last comments of the minister, which are that clearly there are remaining injustices to be dealt with, there are remaining problems, there are remaining barriers in the community. They are oftentimes, I think, for many in the community quite staggering, and people become disillusioned, but also I think it is important to look at where we have come. I think that is one of the purposes of this day, it is to look at the achievements that have been made. There have been many.
This community, this province has led in so many fronts, not particularly because of the results of any particular government. I think it is the result of the efforts of the community, and the community has come forward for decades and decades. I think we all wish the leaders in that community all the best in the future years and all the best on this celebration. I look forward to seeing them at the celebration that the minister will be hosting, I understand. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member for Selkirk have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. It is agreed.
Mr. Gregory Dewar
(Selkirk): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise
in the House today to recognize the achievements of Elsie Bear. Elsie has recently been awarded the Order of
the Buffalo Hunt,
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable Minister for Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey) have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. It has been agreed.
Hon. James Downey (Minister responsible for Native Affairs): Mr. Speaker, as well, I would like to recognize the contributions of Elsie Bear, and particularly recognize, and I appreciate the member's acknowledgement of the fact that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) of this province is the individual who wanted this done, to recognize the contributions of Elsie Bear. We on this side of the House in government want to express our thanks to Elsie Bear and her contributions to the Metis people and the aboriginal people of this province, and to the province as a whole for her contribution, her leadership role and determination to make Manitoba a better place to live for everyone.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, on House Business, I understand that Law Amendments committee last night completed considerations of Bills 5, 7, 8, and 46. Therefore, it will not be necessary for that committee to sit Tuesday evening next.
Mr. Speaker: I thank the honourable government House leader.
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 45 on the list of adjourned debates, second readings, followed by Bills 9 and 10 and thereon as shown on the Order Paper.
and Consequential Amendments Act
Mr. Speaker: On the proposed motion of the Minister of Urban Affairs, 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: Stand.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. It is agreed.
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today to speak on Bill 45.
I want to start my comments by indicating that the minister's department and his staff have been forthright and helpful in my understanding and communication to my caucus' understanding of this piece of legislation. It does become somewhat complicated‑‑I am going to suggest in my comments‑‑much more complicated than it need have been, but I do want to acknowledge that there have been very helpful discussions and meetings. The minister has made his staff available for those and for that I want to express my thanks.
This bill comes forward as a direct result of
some decisions which have been made in the last number of years regarding
Headingley and its residents and indeed property owners. Those events culminated, as we all know, in
November of last year, November 14 to be exact, when there was a referendum
held in Headingley on the issue of secession from the City of Winnipeg. Of
course, as we all also know, somewhat in excess of 86 percent of the voters in
that referendum voted to secede from the City of
(Mrs. Louise Dacquay, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair)
Madam Deputy Speaker, there is a history to this. The member for Concordia, the Leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Doer), knows that history well as the former minister. We had Mr. Cherniack in his report address the Headingley issue. This issue has been around for many, many years.
suggest and I join with the minister in his initial comments and his speech
that Headingley is unique. It must be
dealt with on that basis. There is no
equivalent in respect of the City of
Madam Deputy Speaker, that is the premise from which I start, and that is the premise from which the minister started, that is, the uniqueness of the Headingley situation and the uniqueness of the things which we put into place. We join with the minister in agreeing with the referendum to deal with that situation.
Getting to the genesis of the dispute between
Headingley and the City of
Madam Deputy Speaker, I think that many Winnipeggers probably feel aggrieved, most feel aggrieved, at the level of taxes they have to pay and the services they receive. No other area has had, I think, more consistent and more persuasive arguments than the residents of Headingley, and they have been recognized.
I think it is important to mention that they were recognized in the report done by Mr. Cherniack, and he said at that time‑‑the Cherniack commission, that was in 1986‑‑when he recognized those problems and studied them, he indicated that the western boundary of the City of Winnipeg and/or the eastern boundary of Headingley, as the case may be, should be the subject of an immediate study of the alternatives for precise boundaries.
The current member for Concordia (Mr. Doer) responded to that in 1987 by going forward with a study on the viable options for the future governance of Headingley. I do not second‑guess that decision. I think in the circumstances, given the uniqueness of Headingley, it was a correct decision that he made, and went ahead with that, but the natural result of that, when you start a process like that, you have to follow it through. You cannot do a study, get a result and ultimately not respect that result and the conclusions it reaches.
Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, we are
not privy to them, I am not privy to them, the City of
do not know if the minister himself was involved in trying to work out
something between the City of
The result of that process of course was the referendum. You cannot hold a referendum and then just use it as advice or say, that is interesting, I am happy, I know now how you feel. You are going to hold a referendum, you build up expectations, you force people to take sides and confront the issue, at the end of the day you have to respect the referendum. That is the bottom line, and anybody who goes into a referendum thinking that they can ignore or not deal seriously, concretely, with the results is fooling themselves and is not being honest or fair to the people who get involved in that process.
I do not dispute, we do not begrudge the decision which was made democratically by the people in Headingley.
Madam Deputy Speaker, that was November of last year. Today, the minister puts forward a bill to deal with the results of that referendum. In principle, our caucus has no quarrel with allowing the residents of Headingley to form their own rural municipality. We have crossed that bridge. I think all three parties in this Legislature have crossed that bridge, albeit with trepidation and with extreme concern for the future of the City of Winnipeg as an urban metropolis that is able to support the things we need as an urban metropolis, which are of course a social welfare net, police, fire, roads, all of the things that the city supports.
If we do not have all parts of the city pulling together to do that, we are not going to be able to do it. We cannot allow areas of the city to pick and choose and say, well, maybe I will be in with the city and maybe I will not. We went through that when this city became unified. We have had that debate and we have made that decision. We have to stick with it. It is in the best interests of every citizen in this city to stick with it.
If we have concerns with City Hall and how it is run and how much we are taxed, those are going to come and go. People are going to change. We changed the size of council. We changed the way things are run at City Hall. Those are fine, we can have that debate, but when people get upset with the city, we should not invite, promote the answer: let us leave the city. That is not an answer which we are prepared to do anything to accommodate or promote except in extreme situations and in extremely unusual situations, and that is the category which Headingley fits into in our view. For that reason we have gone down this road, and that reason alone.
think the wealthier parts of the city feel hard done by; they feel that there
is so much of their tax revenue that does not come directly back to them and
they think, well, if we just separated on our own, of course our taxes would go
way down, or we would get far more services.
There is some logic to that, but for the same reason that we have
equalization payments and schemes within this nation, we have a certain sense
of community and commitment to the larger urban centre, which is
party stands up foursquare in support of the unified cohesiveness of the large
urban metropolis of
So those are the premises that I start from. Let me now turn to the bill itself, because I do have some concerns, and the minister is aware of them. I have grave concerns, not about the principle, not about the object, but I do have very grave concerns about how that is being achieved. In particular, I do not intend to go through clause by clause, but it is my view, it is our assessment of this bill that it is far more than is necessary to achieve the object that we are trying to achieve in this bill.
We in effect set out here, it is my assessment and our view, a blueprint for secession from the city of Winnipeg, and I acknowledge that it is not unrestricted, but we put into place essentially a system whereby other communities‑‑this bill is not restricted to Headingley‑‑any other community that qualifies, and the only limitation in real terms is that it be a village or a town, to enter into this process which leads to a referendum and leads to secession.
do not want to do anything, as I have said, and I think this bill does, to in a
sense make it easy, lay out a blueprint, a road map for secession from the
city. We do not want to do that, Madam
Deputy Speaker. That is wrong for the
We know that there are already other peripheral communities within the city that are agitating. Certain communities have had petitions and they have groups formed to advocate this very type of action that the citizens of Headingley have taken, that is, secession, notably residents in St. Germain, notably parts of St. Norbert. These issues are there already. They are trying to link themselves to the Headingley experience.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to deal with them
fairly and honestly. I want to deal with
them, but I want them to know right now that we will go to the nth degree to do
what we can to ensure that their grievances are dealt with within the community
structure, within the city structure. By
way of analogy, if I can, I think the family of communities, that is, the city
of Winnipeg, if we are going to have a fight, if we are going to have a
dispute, if there are grievances, let us do it, but within the city. Let us not have as an option, or offer the
option, of walking out the door and of leaving and of getting out of the City
Well, the member for
Madam Deputy Speaker, there is no question in my mind, on review of this bill and having had the benefit of advice from the minister's staff and himself, that that is what we are doing. There is one place in this entire legislation that Headingley is actually mentioned, and I want to key in on that, because I acknowledge that is mentioned in one place, and that is at the proposed Section 38.5, which indicates that notwithstanding any agreement entered into by the City of Winnipeg after February 17, 1992‑‑and the key to this section is that date, February 17, 1992.
The purpose of that section is only to deal with agreements that have been entered into prior to or before the starting of this session, when this bill came forward in order not to allow Headingley or the City of Winnipeg to burden each other beyond that date with contracts they have entered into. That is the only purpose for that. That is the only part of this bill that ties into the R.M. of Headingley, and that is of grave concern to us, because what we want to achieve in this bill, no more, no less, is to achieve what the residents of Headingley set out to do and have asked for in their referendum.
Madam Deputy Speaker, let me quote the
minister's comments, because I look forward to his explanation and I look
forward to his amendments to achieve what he said he wants to achieve. He said, Bill 45 contains legislation which
will enable Headingley to withdraw from the City of
Now, the gist of all of those comments, and he recites the same historical events that I have, is that Headingley is unique, and he concludes, in fact, this bill does not allow for the creation of cities at all, this bill allows for rural municipalities, towns and villages only. That is true, Madam Deputy Speaker, but the fact is that towns and villages only does not restrict this bill to Headingley.
Madam Deputy Speaker, that is clear. As I have said, there is one section in this entire bill that ties it to Headingley, which does not specify as a date unique to Headingley. That would be reset in another case in the event that the residents of St. Germain or St. Norbert wanted to do the same thing.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the inevitable
conclusion of this legislation and these amendments will be, is going to be,
that the City of
The municipal board is looking at the boundaries right now. What should be in this bill is legislation which is adequate to redraw the boundaries once the municipal board has come down with its decision to deal with that, to deal with the issue of Headingley's administration, the need for an election in Headingley once those boundaries are known, to deal with the transition of power, of jurisdiction from the City of Winnipeg to the R.M. of Headingley, Madam Deputy Speaker, when it becomes a new R.M., which is anticipated January 1, 1993. Those are the things which this bill needs to achieve. It could be far shorter, far more specific and, in our view, far more‑‑and to use a word‑‑conservative in what it sets out to achieve.
Madam Deputy Speaker, in terms of the
legislative drafting of this bill, certainly small‑c, literal
conservatism would be very useful because largess in partitioning off the city
It strikes me, on looking at it, that really it needs to be rethought, because the fundamental principle which was obviously behind the drafting of this legislation was that we do not want to have to come back here and do it again; we want to put it in place for Headingley but also for future concerns. That was the principle with which this bill was drafted, and that was wrong. Therefore, I do not know that the bill can be saved in its present form. I think it has to be rethought. Now, I realize time is of the essence, but you know, the referendum was in November, and one assumes that the minister will have at his disposal the ability to deal with these things quickly in terms of legislative drafting.
would like to see a much shorter bill, a much more specific bill tied into
Headingley and dealing with what Headingley needs, that and that alone, Madam
Deputy Speaker. If other parts of the
periphery of this city agitate and get to the point that Headingley does, we
would not welcome that, but should it happen, if that happens, what is wrong
with dealing with it again in this Legislature?
Why should we not deal with it again in this Legislature? This goes to the heart of the city of
I do not want the Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council deciding that other communities will secede from the city. I do not want that. I want that to be back in the Legislature and us debating it, thinking about it and asking our councillors, why, why is this happening? How come these communities want to get out of the city? Why can you not deal with this internally and not risk the very existence of the city itself every time you have a community that is upset with you?
think we should throw the buck back to the City of
need the unity of the communities, and we cannot condone or participate, we
suggest, in laying out a blueprint for other secessions from the City of
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Madam Deputy Speaker, I notice with interest that the minister is in the Chamber. I am pleased to see him here and listening, taking a very particular and good interest in debate on this bill.
The minister and I go back a number of years at City Hall, when he was a city councillor. From time to time, I presented briefs before committees and before City Council as a whole.
What I recall from that was that, everything this minister was for, I was against, and everything I was against, he was for.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
Mr. Martindale: Not much has changed, says the member for
For example, I was opposed to the Sherbrook‑McGregor overpass, and the minister was‑‑I think we have a point of order here, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Point of Order
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert): I would like to bring to your attention that possibly the member could speak to the principle of the bill, and we could get on with the debate.
Madam Deputy Speaker: I thank the honourable member for raising that point of order. I would like to remind all honourable members that debate on second reading is to be strictly relevant to the bill under consideration.
* * *
Mr. Martindale: I think it is very difficult to separate the
Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst) from his history at City Council. I think it is very relevant; in fact, half of
the cabinet are former City of
We have numerous problems with this bill. We think that this bill was drafted with extreme haste, that it was not well thought out, that even enough consultation with the department was not given. We understand that the department was only briefed a week ago.
think that the bill is far too wide, far too broad in its scope. What the intent of it should have been would
be to deal with Headingley. Instead, it
allows the possibility for a number of Headingleys, if we could use that
example, that any part of
believe that the minister should not be given the power to adjust
know that more than half of the population of
Unfortunately, it seems that the affairs of
the city of
Now that some of these same people are in provincial cabinet, they are doing things which in the past they would have called it meddlesome and interfering in the City Hall's affairs. So it seems that their perspective has changed since.
I think probably some suburban members on the government side are following this debate with great interest. Sometimes people might be tempted to read or write letters, but on a debate like this, I think, members opposite who have suburban Winnipeg ridings that may even have some rural voters in them are listening to this debate with keen interest because they might even be hoping that this bill would apply to their area and that their area might be allowed to have a referendum and that part of their constituency might even be allowed to secede from the City of Winnipeg.
Of course, that is not unusual. I do not blame them for that. Everyone wants to be populist, everybody wants to be at the head of the parade and to do what their constituents want. Now sometimes that is kind of a narrow perspective‑‑[interjection] Well, the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) asked me if I ever do that. I can say in all honesty that there are numerous issues and numerous times in which I honestly disagree with my constituents, and I take flak on that.
It would be very easy to be populist and to be ahead of the parade on what I would call especially a number of right‑wing issues, but I do not do that. I take stands as all members in this House take stands and we get criticized for it. [interjection]
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale), to continue relevant debate on the principles of this bill.
An Honourable Member: It is irrelevant.
Mr. Martindale: Well, I think being populist is relevant to this debate because that is what some people have done, and that is why we have this so‑called Headingley bill in front of us. Because it was popular in a certain part of a constituency, they were doing what their constituents wanted them to do. I do not blame them for doing that.
We will be looking forward to hearing members on the government side add their comments to the record on this bill, especially the member for Assiniboia (Mrs. McIntosh). We are concerned that this bill gives the minister excessive and unacceptable power to write regulations that we probably will not see and will not be aware of. We will not know what is in them, but we are concerned that we will give the minister too much power.
are opposed to having referendums on boundaries. We do not think that is the best way to make
decisions in the interest of all people in
We know that there are people in those areas who were opposed to Unicity when it was brought in, but I think to unravel it at this date is too late, not wise and not in the best interests of all Winnipeggers.
example, it would seriously erode the tax base of the City of
Mr. Laurendeau: Why do you not just come right out and say it? Make the rich pay, right? Why do you not just come right out and say it? You are impugning the motive. Say it. Do not just impugn motive.
Mr. Martindale: Well, I think the member for St. Norbert is trying to encourage me not to be relevant to the topic at hand.
Mr. Laurendeau: I would never do that.
Mr. Martindale: The result would be that we would be left with the old City of Winnipeg or the old City of Winnipeg and some other suburban areas which would not able to carry the financial burden of the services that they would have to provide for that area.
fact, we already have that problem now, because we are losing people in the
inner city who are moving to the suburbs. We have empty lots; we have empty,
closed factories. More and more of the tax
burden is being shifted to suburban
You only have to look at how the boundaries change, provincial election boundaries, every ten years to see how we are losing population in the inner city. For example, Burrows constituency used to be entirely a north‑end constituency from the time it was first drawn up. After the 1989 boundary changes, the boundaries moved from the CPR being the southern boundary down to Notre Dame.
reason is that apartment blocks are being torn down, houses are being boarded
up, houses are being torn down, and we are losing population in the inner
city. I think it is not in the best
In fact, I think we should give credit to the Conservative government. They were the ones who signed the initial Core Area Agreement, when the Sterling Lyon government was in office back before the provincial election in 1981. They saw a need for that; they saw a reason for it. The reason was that the inner city was deteriorating, and so they were part of this effort to revitalize the inner city, an effort that I supported, although this is one of the areas where the minister and I were in conflict.
remember, the minister was opposed to changing the
Another problem that we have with this bill is
that other municipalities cannot have referendums in one part of the
jurisdiction and, therefore, neither should
believe that this bill gives the minister the power to determine final division
of assets of breakaway rural municipalities from the City of
The municipal board is an interesting body. I was once a member of the Manitoba Municipal Board. It is very interesting to sit‑‑[interjection] The member questions whether I was really independent. My Leader reminds the government that I used to criticize the NDP. In fact, I was very unpopular with them from time to time, because I used to have press conferences and criticize them.
However, I think we all know that the government appoints their supporters to government boards and commissions. I do not think anybody objects to that, except the Liberal Party of Manitoba, because we appoint people on merit, and it is normal for governments to appoint people who agree with their philosophic point of view to carry out the government's philosophy to which they were elected to put into action.
We know the municipal board is a quasi‑judicial body; it is at arm's length from the government. Nonetheless, the government appoints the members‑‑
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Urban Affairs): The government appoints judges, too.
Mr. Martindale: As the Minister of Urban Affairs says, the government appoints judges too. However, I think we would all agree that the judiciary is much more independent from government than boards and commissions.
also notice with concern that the minister has the power to regulate the
provision of services to the new rural municipality by
What would happen if
We are concerned that there is no plan for Headingley or any other breakaway rural municipality. We believe that Headingley should remain a rural type area and that this should be included in the act. I know that there is a Planning Act. I was briefed on it by department staff, used to be Municipal Affairs staff when I was appointed to the municipal board. One of the good things about The Planning Act‑‑I believe it was originally brought in by a Conservative government in fact‑‑is that in spite of changes in government, The Planning Act has by and large been followed, that the rural municipalities around Winnipeg do have planning and plans, and that there is an expectation that they follow those plans and that they not subdivide too much rural land, or that they not subdivide land inappropriately, and that they subdivide land close to where existing services already are.
What would happen at Headingley? Would the plan for the planning districts be followed? I am not sure. I guess I would like some reassurances on that.
are opposed to sections of this bill because it really looks like a dismantling
of Unicity, and we are concerned that this would contribute to urban
sprawl. The flip side of what I was
talking about before in terms of inner city depopulation is urban sprawl, that
people are moving from the inner city to the suburbs, but in fact the
we are concerned about anything that contributes to urban sprawl, and we think
that this bill might. It is not just
urban sprawl within the city of
other part of the "best world" that they want and they get is that
they probably pay a lot less in taxes, but they frequently use services from
adjoining municipalities‑‑in this case the City of
We are concerned that the minister was quite involved in the Headingley vote, applauded their vote, and permitted a referendum when there was no provision in the act for it. This bill is kind of an example of putting the cart before the horse. They had the referendum, now they are coming to the Legislature with a request for legislation to enable this to happen. [interjection] Well, we have some concerns about referendums.
Perhaps I should have consulted him before I
spoke on this bill. Sometimes we have to
speak with limited experience. Perhaps I should have had a briefing from the
minister before I spoke. I remember the
minister gave me very helpful advice once at City Hall. I was criticizing the CPR and said that they
had taken $9 billion profits out of western
I guess it is never too late to talk about this bill. We may get to discuss it in committee and speak on it in third reading, so it will never be too late to talk in person to the minister about the intent of his bill.
think, actually, the minister's record on strengthening the city and whether
his biases are in favour of the inner city or the suburbs is quite
interesting. We know that the minister
was opposed to the north
fact, one of the most interesting people, who lives in Headingley, who is a big
supporter of public access to riverbank land, is Mr. Ian Dubienski, who has
spoken at public forums on numerous occasions about the need to preserve
riverbank land in
An Honourable Member: Well, talk to him soon because he lives in Headingley.
Mr. Martindale: I know he lives in Headingley.
This individual that we are speaking about is
very knowledgeable about riverbank development.
He travels regularly to
We think that, above all, city development should be guided by Plan Winnipeg. We have recently had a review of Plan Winnipeg, and we hope that this Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst) is going to support it and that he is going to follow it because it is a very important process. It is one of the processes that involves a considerable amount of public consultation, because whenever Plan Winnipeg is revised, there are always public hearings. Members of public come and they make presentations as I did, not the most recent time, but the previous time that Plan Winnipeg was reviewed.
We hope that this Minister of Urban Affairs takes the Plan Winnipeg review seriously because we believe it follows a reasonable process. [interjection] Well, I try not to get involved in city issues anymore. What I mean is city issues at a local basis. I have been to City Hall, I think, twice in support of community groups since I was elected.
An Honourable Member: Yes, he used to live there.
Mr. Martindale: I used to practically live in City Hall as my colleague from Kildonan says, and in the year and a half or so since I have been here, I have only been back to City Hall twice, and I did not speak. I did not make a public presentation. I went in support of groups from my constituency because we have city councillors; in fact, there are two city councillors from the area that I represent. I think it is preferable that they represent their constituents at City Hall, that I as an MLA should not go and speak publicly at City Hall unless it is absolutely necessary.
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs): We speak publicly here.
Mr. Martindale: We speak here publicly on city issues, as the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs points out, and I think it is appropriate that we speak here on city matters. I think it is quite different when it comes to going and speaking at City Hall as an MLA. I think sometimes people may even resent that kind of participation. They may consider it interference, but when there is a local issue that has city‑wide implications, perhaps the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs was thinking of Rotary Pines, in which case, yes, I was involved in what in many ways was a city issue.
The reason I was involved was because of the airport, because the Chamber of Commerce was concerned about airport development, and because the airport itself, the general manager was concerned about the effects of Rotary Pines on the airport.
we know, the airport services not just St. James and not just the city of
An Honourable Member: Because you do not like seniors.
Mr. Martindale: Well, the minister is raising extraneous
issues, but I will not get into that. [interjection]
There were 22 applicants to that program, all of whom were groups that wanted
to provide funding, to provide housing for seniors, and we were not opposed to
that. In fact, there was an NDP program,
Seniors RentalStart, that we brought in in 1986 because we wanted to build
housing for seniors. Many of those
applicants were in rural
Point of Order
Madam Deputy Speaker: The honourable Minister of Urban Affairs, on a point of order.
Mr. Ernst: I have been sitting very patiently, Madam Deputy Speaker, for the last 20 minutes, half an hour, listening to the member for Burrows. I think on occasion during that 20 minutes, half an hour, he has strayed close to Bill 45, but not very, and not very often. I would ask you to call him to order and let him speak to Bill 45 which is before the House.
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): The member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) uses the term "silencer" and he is absolutely right when he is speaking to the member for Charleswood (Mr. Ernst) of wanting to censor the words from the member for Burrows. He was clearly on the topic of The City of Winnipeg Act dealing with planning, dealing with the lack of planning, dealing with the issues of developers. Clearly the member for Burrows was on the point of the bill and on the principles of the bill, however offensive the minister may find it.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The honourable minister indeed did have a point of order. I believe it would be helpful to the House if I were to remind all honourable members that on second reading it is the principle of the bill under consideration which is debatable, and when that bill is an amending bill it is the principle of the amending bill that is the business under consideration.
Mr. Doer: Excuse me, on a point of order, did you say that the member for Charleswood did have a point of order or did not?
Madam Deputy Speaker: I indicated that the honourable minister indeed had a point of order and I just read the rule that determines the relevance of debate on second reading of a bill. I had reiterated it earlier in the debate.
* * *
Mr. Martindale: Madam Deputy Speaker, I concur with your ruling but frequently comments by members on the government side make it into Hansard, and not to reply to the silly remarks that they are making is something that I cannot do, because it gets on the record frequently.
In conclusion, we would like to know where the capital region plan is that the government has been promising for the last two years. We are also concerned about changes without the basic regional plan that was recommended in the Cherniack report. We know that these reports are commissioned at great expense to the taxpayers. We think that when there are good recommendations in these reports they should be followed. [interjection] We would still like to see the basic regional plan that was recommended in the Cherniack report. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Doer: Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to make some few brief remarks on Bill 45 that is before us today in the Chamber, The City of Winnipeg Amendment, Municipal Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act, a very broad bill, dealing with a lot of issues, dealing with the whole city of Winnipeg, quite frankly, because it deals with sections of boundaries, planning, and the authorities that the government is taking from this Legislature and giving to its executive branch of government, the Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council.
Very clearly this is a broad‑ranging bill with many principles contained therein and the debate, therefore, should, as I believe, follow on the broad issues that are before this Chamber.
The whole issue of Headingley has been an issue that has been raised since Unicity, in the early '70s; was an issue that was dealt with in public hearings by the Cherniack Committee; was an issue that we dealt with in our white paper; was an issue, Madam Deputy Speaker that we caused to be studied separately, an independent feasibility study with the citizens of Headingley and with the City of Winnipeg, and is now before us in this Chamber in the form of legislation, but in legislation that has much greater omnibus powers than we ever thought would be coming forward into this Chamber dealing with the Headingley residents issue.
Tracing back a bit of the history, and I am
just going by memory, certainly Headingley was a unique area of the city of
has been an area that has been perceived to be outside of the traditional
boundaries of the city of
Madam Deputy Speaker, the Cherniack Committee
dealt with Headingley and really left it in abeyance. They identified the weaknesses of it being in
the City of
In the white paper that I produced, I quite frankly stated the truth when I said that we had a policy of trying to deal with suburban sprawl inside the city of Winnipeg, but we had an inconsistent policy as a province right throughout various administrations, whether it was the Conservatives or ourselves, in dealing with areas of municipalities that border on the city of Winnipeg. In other words, we did not have the kind of green space planning legislation that you would see in other provincial jurisdictions.
do not see a kind of co‑ordinated strategy between the major urban centre
and the so‑called green space, agricultural space, and other uses of
space adjacent to the city of
only remind the minister of his many speeches in the mid‑'80s where his
urban planning philosophy was well articulated to the people of
The member for Charleswood (Mr. Ernst) will know his own response to planning issues and his own recommendation to the Province of Manitoba in the mid‑'80s‑‑I think it was '85. His answer to any planning issues with the Province of Manitoba was: The province should have no role in planning anything in the city of Winnipeg, and the City of Winnipeg should have sole jurisdiction in planning anything dealing with the city of Winnipeg, including issues dealing with suburban sprawl, a two‑line, I think, proposal, if the member‑‑[interjection] One‑page proposal? Yes.
Even Alberta, even free‑enterprise Alberta, in dealing with a municipal planning act and an act dealing with Edmonton and Calgary and other municipal centres and dealing with things like airports, dealing with planning‑‑airports does deal with planning; Pines does deal with planning because it deals with airports. It is very germane to this bill, Madam Deputy Speaker, very germane to this bill, very important part of this planning concept, because when we move from the Pines, we can move to Assiniboia and referendums and separations, and no designation for planning under The Municipal Act for an international asset. So the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) was making some very cogent comments on this debate.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the former deputy mayor
of the City of
Madam Deputy Speaker, the kind of philosophy that says that wherever the
bulldozer will go we will follow is now the philosophy that we see contained,
articulated in the principles before this Chamber. That is not what Cherniack said. You know, I did establish a feasibility study
for Headingley, because I had a lot of sympathy for their situation for
receiving radically differential services from the rest of the city of
An Honourable Member: He complimented us.
Mr. Doer: That is right.
thought the feasibility study was well on the way, and we were going okay when
we met our early demise, a demise that is a long time ago, a long time ago,
many thousands of people who are now unemployed ago‑‑25,000 more
unemployed now than when we suffered our early demise. [interjection] It is better to be on an artificial high, I would
say to the member from
An Honourable Member: You should read some of the Freudian slips that say there is no Leader of the New Democratic Party.
Mr. Doer: We are a group of men and women, a team of
men and women who work together, collectively and equally, and we do not have
megalomaniacs. We will allow the people
Back to the bill, Madam Deputy Speaker. I was pointing out the member for St. James's comment. It is okay. On to the bill.
The member for Charleswood (Mr. Ernst) and I worked with this proposal, and now the Minister of Urban Affairs, and the proposal went to the former Minister of Urban Affairs. It seemed to have some balance to it. The Minister of Urban Affairs was discussing this issue with the City Hall, and they were back and forth on this issue. They were discussing the issues of services and benefits and boundaries.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to say to the
members opposite that when I was discussing the Headingley situation with the
members of the Urban Affairs Committee of Cabinet and the City of
see this in other provinces. The
planning policies that were established in
Madam Deputy Speaker, the question becomes,
how did this issue of Headingley develop into this bill that has the potential
to be a planning monster for the
city would have all the jurisdiction in dealing with city of
Madam Deputy Speaker, we see this bill now, the Headingley bill, but it has become much more than the Headingley bill. If we are dealing with Headingley, that is one issue, but if we are dealing with the delegated power that the City of Winnipeg is going to have delegated to the government of the day, then we say to the minister that we have to be very, very sure that this government is not following through on the kind of developer vision that we saw with the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst) over the years when he was deputy mayor and that we now see in this omnibus bill.
Madam Deputy Speaker, what we see here before
us is not a Headingley bill. We do not
see a Headingley bill. We see a major
bill giving the government of the day and the cabinet in their back room major,
major powers. If I read sections of this
bill, this bill gives this minister and the Executive Council, the Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council,
powers to establish areas for the city of
minister says it does not deal with the city of
This bill gives the Lieutenant‑Governor
powers to alter the boundaries. It
allows him to deal with any section of the city of
Madam Deputy Speaker, the minister nodded his head a minute ago when I said that any section of the city could do it if cabinet allowed it, and now he is nodding his head the other way.
If the minister had been sincere in only dealing with the Headingley situation, which had been isolated by the Cherniack committee, which had been isolated in a feasibility study, then we would be dealing with a very narrow issue, but we are dealing with a very broad set of powers being taken from this Legislature and, in essence, taken from the public in a lot of ways and moved over to cabinet.
There is no provision in this bill to have an
impact study of any of these decisions before they are made. There is no public study in this bill to show
what the impact will be both for the residents and for the rest of the city of
Even when it goes to the municipal board, again a board appointed by the Lieutenant‑Governor, the cabinet is not even required to go there. The Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council may refer the matter to the municipal board for its consideration. It may request the board to consider and make recommendations on the matters that it deems relevant in the proposed alteration.
Well, what about the public's right? Where do the public come in? If you were to take the wealthiest section of
the city of
that is the intent of the legislation, and I read different intent in the
legislation, and I have every reason to read it in, then if it is the intent of
keeping places like Tuxedo in the City of
What about the issue of municipal services? This government across the way, when they were in City Council, is we will let this city expand to support a population of 750,000 people for the year 1990. The province has picked up the tab for parts of the transit services, for capital costs for schools, for capital costs for hospitals, for operating costs for ambulance services, for all kinds of costs to the taxpayer in garbage collection, maintenance of roads, library services, et cetera, because the philosophy of members opposite was, again, wherever the bulldozer goes, we shall go too.
Madam Deputy Speaker, that is the reason why
we have inordinate taxes in the city of
have developed the city for the City of
Point of Order
Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister of Government Services): Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to put on the record that the member speaking now‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: On a point of order? Order, please.
Mr. Ducharme: ‑‑approved more changes, '86 to '88, Plan Winnipeg, than we made in the last four years.
* * *
Mr. Doer: Madam Deputy Speaker, I find it rather ironic that the member for Riel, the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), who opposed so strenuously the development in the west Headingley area outside of the city of Winnipeg, will now pass and vote for a bill, will allow for no such stoppage of development outside of the city of Winnipeg by the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst). The flip‑flop of the member opposite is quite remarkable, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Cholakis proposal, I believe it was‑‑
An Honourable Member: The prince of darkness is fearmongering.
Mr. Doer: Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, we are here to debate the powers of the cabinet. If members opposite who are in cabinet are not worried about the ways that their powers are delegated, so be it, but we are worried about the way you are delegating powers to yourself.
Madam Deputy Speaker, we want restrictions on your powers that you are giving yourself. If you do not restrict radically the powers that you are giving yourself to just be located in dealing with the specific issue of the Headingley issue, we will not only not vote for this bill, we will not only vote against this bill, but I assure members opposite this bill will not pass quickly through this Chamber. We have absolutely no desire to pass through this Chamber a bill that will give cabinet and a back‑room group of politicians tremendous power to determine the fate of Winnipeggers and the fate of our boundaries without absolutely any requirement that you have any planning semblance at all in this bill. We will not pass this bill quickly as it is presently drafted. I make that promise and commitment in an open public way so the members opposite will do some work over the weekend on this bill.
An Honourable Member: I am glad he is on record now.
Mr. Doer: I do not have anything to hide, Madam Deputy Speaker. The member says, I am glad it is on record. Well, fine. I do not think it does the public any service at all in our speeches to the bills to not only point out our opposition and to point out our timing, because I think the public has a right to know. The public has a right to know that because the minister tried to stuff so many rights into this bill that were not required and tried to delegate so many powers to cabinet, he will be the author of Headingley not having the timing that he has promised to them on the day of the referendum when he stood up in the Headingley chamber.
Deputy Speaker, because any group of public figures that are elected to deal
with city‑wide problems and challenges cannot deal with a specific issue
in an omnibus bill the way the minister has placed this before us in a very
quick timing way. The minister would not do it himself when he was in
opposition. He would not allow omnibus powers to be passed on to cabinet
dealing with the whole city of
I have some sympathy to the residents of Headingley having‑‑[interjection] Well, I started to study
and the Cherniack report identified the problem. We would have passed legislation dealing with
not only Headingley, but dealing with the green space urban sprawl outside of
the city of
should be honest about that and deal with that problem, because we have now a
real situation where we have thousands and thousands of zoned lots inside the
The whole issue of referendums is a double‑sided sword. Last Friday in this legislative hallway, the Premier of the Province of Manitoba (Mr. Filmon), in answer to a question from the media dealing with the Morris resolution, with the member for Morris, dealing with a referendum on the Constitution and the resolution that Vaughan Baird passed at the Morris constituency of the Conservative Party, the Premier of the Province of Manitoba said, and I quote: Well, we do not believe the referendums are a way to solve the political challenges that we have to make as government. We have to take into account both sides of every issue, and we have to make decisions that elected officials have to make. We were elected to make decisions. We the people of the Conservative Party were elected to make decisions and we will make those decisions, and that is why we will not support the referendum proposal by the members from Morris constituency of the Conservative Party.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
Then today, we get this sort of omnibus
referendum bill that is again determined by cabinet for portioning off the city
They seem to be on both sides. The Minister of Urban Affairs has stuck his finger in the air in the area of Headingley, an area that I might‑‑is it in your constituency? [interjection] Ah, most of the area of Headingley is in the constituency of the member opposite. Most of the residents live in the south Headingley area. [interjection] Well, our analysis is the majority of the residents in the Headingley proposal are in the minister's riding, but if you say it is only half, so be it.
Mr. Speaker, the government now can make such determination to develop the referendums. Look at the language in this bill‑‑without limiting the generality of the following, the minister may determine who can vote and who cannot.
are we allowing one member of Executive Council to decide who can vote or
not? What kind of powers does this
minister want? The provincial Elections
Act, the municipal elections act, the City of
This minister will sit in judgment of who can
vote and who cannot. Now it is a nice
concept perhaps for the minister, but I do not think it is a good concept for
the people of
Mr. Speaker, the powers of determining who is a qualified elector. Now why did the minister not give us the same qualifications for a referendum for only Headingley under The Municipal Act or under The Elections Act or under The Manitoba Act?
Speaker, what about the issue of spending money for referendums? Is there any control of who can spend money
for referendums? Has the minister not
studied the referendum in
Why, if he is going to have a referendum provision, does he not have some controls of spending money so we could have an equal‑‑
An Honourable Member: Okay.
Mr. Doer: Well, the minister says okay. Another ill thought out section of this bill, another deficiency of this act. The whole issue of who spends money and who cannot is a very important issue in any vote in democracy. Any vote in democracy should have controls over who can spend money and who cannot.
What about the issue of disclosure? No provisions of disclosure in this
bill. Now, surely the member opposite
who has been in the middle of controversies on disclosure and knows the issues
of disclosure at City Hall would want to deal with who is‑‑if you
have control of spending on referendums, you would want to deal with the issue
of disclosure. There are no disclosure
provisions, so you can have a group of people with millions of dollars,
developers say, that want to get a section of the city of
have a controversy over the last year dealing with one development in the city
Well, the minister shakes his head. Look at the bill. We have legal opinions too. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that your provisions are totally inadequate. Cabinet can decide or not decide who can vote, who can spend money, and whether there is going to be any disclosure.
This is one of the worst bills I have seen before this Chamber, and I am surprised at the caucus opposite, the cabinet that did not see many of the deficiencies of this bill. Who is protecting the public in the members opposite? Who is looking after the public? No one over there.
An Honourable Member: Come on,
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, the member says the municipal board. If he reads the bill, it is not required that the Lieutenant‑Governor will refer the bill to the municipal board. It says may‑‑may, Sir, not shall. It says may, so we are dealing with a bill that we were told is the Headingley bill. It is not the Headingley bill. We are dealing with a bill that gives dictatorial powers to the cabinet, absolute dictatorial powers to the cabinet. It allows them to decide the boundaries, it allows them to confirm the area boundaries of the city by regulation, it allows them to decide the inhabitants of a locality previously in a city or incorporated as a new town. It allows the cabinet to unilaterally decide a part of the city to be transferred, a part of the city to be transferred to an adjoining municipality.
It allows the cabinet to decide the division of assets. I mean, it is going to look like an Edward G. Robinson movie. The people in the cabinet will be divvying up the assets of the community with no public input. Do you like that idea, or are you going to amend that as another weakness of the bill?
allows the cabinet to decide or not decide whether to refer it to the municipal
board, and then it gives the power of referendums to the minister. The minister may, not shall, submit the
question. That means the minister writes
the question. The question could be only
to one part of the city. Does Tuxedo
want to separate and take all our high taxes away from the City of
could even write a question like, do the residents of Tuxedo want to separate
and therefore have lower taxes and not contribute to the rest of the City of
suggest to the minister he should study referendum experiences, because in the
United States‑‑if he wants to Americanize the city of
Speaker, this minister has given the people of
Mr. Speaker: The honourable Leader has unlimited time.
Mr. Doer: I will be concluding my comments on adjournment. [interjection] The former Minister of Education, who is now the Rural Development minister responsible for the other sections of this bill, the only cabinet minister in the history of the province to be put on probation by the Civil Service Commission, tells us now from his seat that we should get to the substantive parts.
Well, I guess he does not feel that no disclosure is not a substantive part. [interjections]
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.
Mr. Doer: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Okay, we will get on to the bill. These are very serious issues, and I know we enjoy the heckling across the way, but these are very important deficiencies in terms of this bill‑‑very important deficiencies.
say, Sir, to you in the Chamber, I say to the Chamber today, the six or seven
major, major deficiencies of this bill have to be resolved because if they are
not resolved, this caucus and the New Democratic Party will fight for the
rights of this Legislature to deal with boundary issues. We will fight for comprehensive planning with
financial impacts to all the taxpayers.
We will fight for a comprehensive approach to the City of
back‑room political powers that are contained within this bill, Mr.
Speaker, are absolutely unconscionable, absolutely unconscionable, and they do
not deserve the support of this Chamber, including the support of members
opposite. You should take another look
over the weekend at this bill, and therefore we will debate this bill on its
merit and there is not a lot of merit in this bill. Deal with Headingley, do not try to shaft the
total city of
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member has indicated that he has concluded his remarks; therefore, this matter will remain standing as previously agreed in the name of the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).
The hour being 12:30, the House now adjourns and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday.