Friday, March 13, 1992
The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Daryl Reid
(Transcona): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of
Bev Funk, Mike Poirier, Claudia McIvor and others requesting the Minister of
Justice (Mr. McCrae) to call upon the Parliament of
Mr. Dave Chomiak
(Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of
Joan Lloyd, Grace Parson, Elaine Shenback and others requesting the Minister of
Justice call upon the Parliament of
Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Winelda N. Gardner, Fatima Costa Soares, Rieta Hildebrand and others requesting the Minister of Justice to call upon the Parliament of Canada to amend the Criminal Code to prevent the release of individuals where there is a substantial likelihood of further family violence.
Hon. James McCrae (Minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I have a statement for the House.
Speaker, for the information of honourable members, I would like to table
copies of a summary of the multilateral constitutional review process which
federal and provincial ministers agreed to in
The agreement provides for, first, a time frame for discussion which aims at a consensus by the end of May. This is not much time, but it is twice as much or more as an April 15 deadline would have meant.
Second, a commitment that no government will take unilateral actions during this period. This means the federal government will not be tabling its own response to the Dobbie‑Beaudoin report, at least for now.
Third, a ground‑breaking step for First Nations. While reserving the right to meet on a government‑to‑government basis, the ministers invited aboriginal representatives to be full participants in the agreed upon constitutional review process, and they have accepted.
Fourth, a balanced mix of ministerial and official discussions and public reporting of progress to ensure that elected representatives keep a close eye on the process and the public is kept informed.
Fifth, provisions for First Ministers' discussions later in the process when the needed groundwork has been done.
process agreement was supported unanimously by the Government of
believe it is accurate to say there was complete agreement that a return to the
table by our colleagues from
Speaker, yesterday's ministers' meeting was also a useful forum for reminding
the Government of Canada and the larger provinces that the aspirations of the
smaller provinces need to be addressed as well.
The first question at yesterday's press conference was on the need to
strengthen the equalization provisions in Section 36. That too was a notable precedent and one
which I hope will not be overlooked or forgotten in
Thank you very much.
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of
the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the
ministerial statement made by the Minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs
of all, all members of this Chamber want to work toward a renewed and united
were a little concerned with the lack of progress at the meeting. The meeting generally achieved a delay of a
couple of weeks‑‑that is important, I would say, a couple of weeks‑‑and
an important agreement on aboriginal participation, but apparently spent very
little time talking about the substance and the content of our disagreements
across this country. Mr. Speaker,
certainly substance is going to be very important as we move along on the issues
that are facing Canadians in a renewed
at the points that have been raised by the Minister responsible for
Constitutional Affairs (Mr. McCrae) in his statement today, his first point
that the deadline has been moved from April 15 to the end of May‑‑that
is only 10 weeks away, Mr. Speaker. That
is not a lot of time to deal with the various visions and to articulate the
various proposals that have come forward from many public sessions and hearings
across the country dealing with their sense of
know that people are happy to move the Prime Minister off his former deadline
to a new deadline, but I suggest that the people of
On the second point, the minister's note that unilateral action should not be taken by any government and certainly the federal government should not be tabling a response, I would note again that the Quebec Assembly did table a response to the Dobbie‑Beaudoin report, and they have to some degree disagreed with many of the sections of that report formally in their Legislature.
the third point, of groundbreaking news for First Nations, we applaud the
ministers responsible for that issue. We
noted that Premiers Rae and Ghiz and ministers of other provinces were working
very hard to get aboriginal participation, and we applaud
was one of the weaknesses of the last process.
All of us who were in
The mix of people, Mr. Speaker‑‑we applaud that process and the ultimate First Ministers' meeting, with the groundwork being done‑‑of course is important.
Today we would also like to say that we have offered before and we will offer today our co‑operation with the government, with the government ministers, with all parties in this Chamber and all members in this Legislature. We have not yet had a meeting of the all‑party task force since the Dobbie‑Beaudoin report has been tabled. We have not yet met on the issue of even process which ultimately will be impacted on all of us in this Legislature potentially as the months and weeks tick away toward the date that the ministers have agreed to.
I again offer to the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) our co‑operation with you and our ability to work in a consensus way with you, and the offer we made to you two weeks ago stands today.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs (Mr. McCrae) for presenting this report to us today and to indicate that I too share some concerns, as I think the government shares concerns, about the time frame that we have been squeezed into and the lack of time even by the end of May to perhaps come up with some kind of consensual position in that space of time.
I am and remain concerned about the lack of presence of
am also concerned by early news reports, and I hope that the minister can clarify
this, that some provinces were opposed to the full participation of our
aboriginal peoples and that only
Mr. Speaker, I think we must realize and recognize that there cannot be a
position that does not have the participation of the
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill 54‑The Consumer Protection Amendment Act
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Concordia (Mr. Doer), that Bill 54, The Consumer Protection Amendment Act (Loi sur la protection du consommateur), be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.
Mr. Maloway: Mr. Speaker, this bill is designed to protect
and limit security deposits on large items purchased in this province. Over the past number of years, Manitobans
have placed deposits on goods and never received these goods. Approximately 16 Manitobans lost at least
$53,000 when a
The bill will only affect large purchases and require deposits of over $500 to be held in trust. Sellers will be prohibited from requiring deposits of more than 20 percent, and holding deposits to 20 percent of the purchase price will limit the potential loss for the consumer while still providing small businesses with the protection that they require.
In the case of the sunroom builder, consumers were enticed by offers of discounts to pay the entire amount up front in an effort to save 10 percent. This bill would prevent that. Companies should not have to rely on consumers' deposits to operate their companies. Businesses should have enough working capital through lines of credit at the bank and credits with their suppliers.
Mr. Speaker, in addition, currently consumers have deposits held in trust when they buy houses in this province. Why should they not have the same protection for large consumer items?
Motion agreed to.
Introduction of Guests
Mr. Speaker: Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the
attention of honourable members to the gallery, where we have with us this
morning from the Red River Community College 60 students. They are under the direction of Gayle
Ross. This school is located in the
constituency of the honourable member for
On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you here this morning.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Health Care System
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, we have been raising the issue of our economy throughout the last number of weeks since the session has been called. My question is to the minister responsible for the Economic Development Board of Cabinet, the Premier.
Yesterday, after repeated questions in this Chamber and after repeated comments in the media, we had the head of the Health Sciences Centre confirm that they are looking at a staff reduction of between 300 and 500 employees, and not all these people can be picked out through reduction; therefore, there would be some layoffs.
would ask the Premier, can he articulate or outline to the people of
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I would say firstly that this government has given a 5.7 percent increase to the health care budget in this province, a very substantial increase of over $100 million more than last year despite the difficult circumstances we face. I believe that translates into more money for hospitals to the tune of about a 5 percent increase overall to hospital budgets. That is three times the rate of inflation.
have given him comparisons to the havoc that has been wreaked in
I would like to refer him to an article that indicates what
Mr. Speaker, is what happens when you get New Democratic policies wreaking
havoc on the health care system. They closed beds in
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Premier for again not answering the question in the Chamber. If the Premier thinks that 300 to 500 positions being lost at one hospital is insignificant, well, just continue to trivialize the economic plight and plight of patients in this province.
Premier is now head of the Economic Board of Cabinet. Its secretariat now gets
some close to $900,000 in this new budget.
We know the secretariat is very good at providing pool sound and pool
lights and flags and public relations kinds of gimmicks for any announcement
the government is going to make. What we want to know is does it have any
analytical capacity at all in terms of the economic impact of decisions this
government is making on the people of
I would ask the Premier again a very simple question. Given the fact that this secretariat answers to him‑‑this $850,000 secretariat now answers to him‑‑how many jobs are going to be lost in the health care field with the decisions that have been made by this government, and what is the economic impact on Manitobans?
Mr. Filmon: Mr. Speaker, to begin with, we regard all areas of employment in this province as being important to us. That is why we increased expenditures in health care by 5.7 percent, three times the rate of inflation which should allow hospitals and health care units in this province to employ the people that they ought to in order to do their job.
The fact of the matter is this Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) talks about pool sound and pool light. He is so concerned with his 10‑second clip that he is a better expert on the media than the people sitting up there. He is the one who in the 1990 election campaign debate was out there throwing off his jacket and showing people around him how tough he is. He is the one who is so concerned with his image and his media presentation that he hires experts from outside the province to coach him on how he should deliver his lines in a debate, how he should dress and all of those things.
Mr. Speaker, this Leader of the Opposition is a disgrace. He is knocking an attempt to bring together all of the resources of government to put them behind the most important thing that we do in government, and that is to attract investment and job creation, a co‑ordinating function that is being provided by the Economic Development Board that has been lauded by people such as Apotex and many others, saying that we are doing a better job than most provinces in the country in attracting investment right now.
Mr. Doer: If I thought taking off my jacket was going to bother the Premier so much, I may have thought twice. He is still worried about it two years later.
With all those Tory youth outside picketing away in front of the debate site, it was tough to get through those people, I remember.
Mr. Speaker, for the second time in a row, the Premier did not answer the question on how many jobs will be lost in the health care field‑‑a very simple question.
Speaker, a further question to the First Minister: In Brandon today, and the chief of medical
staff probably put it more accurately than anyone in this Chamber could, Dr.
William Meyer said, the provincial government is not being honest with the
people. He went on to say, the people
and public of
ask the Premier: Will he just put the
facts on the table about how many jobs will be lost, and what will the impact
be on patients so that we could have a debate on the basis of the facts, not on
the basis of the Premier foaming away at the mouth instead of talking about any
facts in terms of the people of
Mr. Filmon: The fact of the matter is that our budget will
provide for a number of increases of jobs in health care because it provides
for construction of new facilities such as personal care homes, large increases
to home care which will provide employment for more people in those areas that
are providing service to the people of
Mr. Speaker, what I object to from the Leader of the Opposition is not the fact that he took his jacket off in the debate, it is the fact that he is always such a phony, Mr. Speaker. He‑‑
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Point of Order
. Jerry Storie (Acting
Opposition House Leader): I think the people
Mr. Speaker: What is the point, please?
Mr. Storie: Mr. Speaker, our rules prohibit that kind of
personal attack. The First Minister is
engaging in a kind of personal warfare to avoid answering very serious
questions. What the people of
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member does not have a point of order.
* * *
Mr. Filmon: Mr Speaker, I will apologize to the Leader of Opposition (Mr. Doer) for calling him a phony. The fact of the matter is that the shallowness of his approach to this budget and to government in general is not unnoticed by the public, and when it comes to honesty, the public still remember the NDP shredding files so that the public could not really know what was going on at MPIC, could not judge whether or not honest answers were being given by their ministers. The public has not forgotten. The fact of the matter is that‑‑
Mr. Storie: Would the First Minister quit lying?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I would ask the honourable member for Flin Flon to withdraw those comments. The honourable member for Flin Flon has the floor.
Mr. Storie: Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of principle. The First Minister put on record something that clearly‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I have asked the honourable member for Flin Flon to withdraw his remarks.
Mr. Storie: Mr. Speaker, I am asking for some fairness.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I am asking the honourable member for Flin Flon to withdraw his comments, please.
Mr. Storie: Mr Speaker, I am prepared to withdraw those remarks‑‑
Mr. Speaker: I would like to thank the honourable member for Flin Flon. Unqualified.
Point of Order
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I did not hear the withdrawal from the member. It was a conditional withdrawal. To a government House leader, it is a very serious matter. I ask the member to provide an unqualified withdrawal of the remarks that he made. He has offended the responsibility, indeed the rights and the dignity of all members of this House, and I have not heard an unconditional withdrawal from that member. I ask you to call for that.
Mr. Speaker: On the same point of order.
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker is the arbiter of these decisions. Mr. Speaker has accepted the statement from the member from Flin Flon. The matter is closed; we should proceed with Question Period.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. On the point of order raised, the honourable member for Flin Flon did withdraw, and I did accept the honourable member's withdrawal.
* * *
Mr. Filmon: The fact of the matter is, this government, in this budget, has increased health care funding by 5.7 percent, has passed along to the hospitals of this province more than a 5 percent increase, and that includes increases to Brandon General Hospital and every other hospital in this province.
matter how the New Democrats want to portray that, that is a record that far
exceeds any other New Democratic administration, and I have already read what
they are doing in
Health Sciences Centre
Operating Room Closure
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
(St. Johns): Mr. Speaker, while we are on the topic of
honesty, let us ask about this government's record and the fact that we have
doctors and health care professionals in this province now saying this
government is not honest with the people of
Mr. Speaker, we have learned from the Health Sciences Centre that the facility cannot meet the 160‑bed target imposed by this government without looking at closing one or more of its eight operating rooms. I want to ask: Is the minister prepared to accept the likely outcome at the Health Sciences Centre of closed operating rooms, and will he tell all Manitobans how much longer they will have to wait for necessary surgery?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend and, indeed, the Health Sciences Centre are going to be dealing with a budget increase of 5 percent this year, below what they requested, but significantly above the inflation rate, as has been indicated by the Premier (Mr. Filmon) this morning.
us put a little context into the issue, since my honourable friend wants to,
from the comfortable position of opposition, suggest more spending, but in the
reality of government where New Democrats are in government, they ask for more
management, as is happening in
importantly, let us put into context what New Democrats do when they are in
office in this province. Let us revisit
1987‑88, the infamous year when my honourable friends, the critic, the
Leader, ordered the closing, unilaterally without consultation and discussion,
of hospital beds in
What it was, Mr. Speaker‑‑and I want to tell you what the figures were‑‑inflation was 4.2 percent; revenue growth was 19.2 percent; and they gave 7 percent to the Health‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Is the 160‑bed reduction at the Health Sciences Centre based on rated beds, which would mean about a 15 percent reduction, or is it in addition to the 61 summer bed closings that were extended to March 31 of this year, which would mean a total of 221 beds being cut or about 20 percent of all set‑up beds at the Health Sciences Centre?
Hon. Donald Orchard
(Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, over the
next budget year and the next budget year, over a two‑year program, those
answers will emerge. There is no
question that as in
kind of reform process is exactly what my honourable friend advocates. That will be part of the reform system that
is ongoing in
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Mr. Speaker, if all of these bed cuts and budget reduction targets are part of a thought‑out long‑term health care reform plan, why is the whole process shrouded in such secrecy? Why is it so hard to get straight answers from this minister? Why can you not‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Orchard: Mr. Speaker, I want to deal with secrecy, lack of consultation, underhanded tactics in government, because my honourable friend in cabinet knew all about them. That is exactly what they did when they unilaterally, without consultation for budgetary reasons, ordered the closure of some 119 beds in the health care system without consultation in Brandon, and then the guru for Brandon East, the lead cabinet minister, went underground and disappeared for the next eight weeks so he did not have to answer for the decisions of that government.
Speaker, that happened, and I want to give some figures to my honourable friend
for Brandon East. While he, as minister,
was cutting beds in
Who is treating health care appropriately, the member for Brandon East who disappeared, went underground and AWOL, or this government?
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health, the honourable member for Brandon East‑‑if the honourable members want to carry on this conversation, you can do so outside the Chamber. The rest of us want to carry on with Question Period. The honourable member for Osborne has the floor. Order, please. Are we going to get on with this or not?
Seven Oaks Centre for Youth
Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne): Mr. Speaker, for the four years that I have been in this Chamber, I have been calling on the government to close the Seven Oaks Centre for Youth. The concerns I felt about that facility, as someone who ran it for two years some years ago, are best expressed by Ms. Colleen Suche in her report on the independent review of reporting procedures in children's residential care facilities, in which she states that children with destructive, violent behaviour who have a history of gang or cult involvement and known sexual offenders are placed with some of the most vulnerable children in the system.
Now, I would ask the Minister of Family Services if he has done as Ms. Suche has recommended and created an independent board to immediately take over the management of that facility and begin work to close it.
Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services): Mr. Speaker, the member will recall, I am sure, that the Ombudsman has recently done a review of Seven Oaks Centre and has brought some recommendations to government, which government is acting upon. We also have the Suche report which was brought before us in recent weeks, and at the present time, we are dealing with that within our department.
Mr. Alcock: Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why his consultant says about his new system that the system seems to have lost sight of the fact that it exists to protect children?
Mr. Gilleshammer: I want to assure the member‑‑and
he did reference the fact that he was a part of the system during the 1980s,
and I dare say, probably no employee of government during the 1980s had a
greater opportunity to make an impact on the child welfare system in
I made some announcements last June, we were the only people, I think, who were
talking about reform. We are bringing in
a Child Advocate. We have legislation
that is going to be tabled in this House in the near future. We have put in place a process to have a
management system, an automated system.
We are bringing in other legislation as well to improve the service that
vulnerable children in
Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne): I am glad the minister referenced the Child Advocate. We have been concerned that the minister wants to have the Child Advocate reporting to the minister. Will he implement the recommendation by Ms. Suche that the children's advocate report directly to the Legislature, not to the minister?
Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services): Mr. Speaker, the legislation that I refer to is on the Order Paper today. We will be tabling it in the Legislature next week and look forward to the debate and the member's input on that legislation.
Employment Creation Strategy
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin
Flon): Mr. Speaker, in the government news release
dated March 11, issued with the budget, the Minister of Finance said the budget
calls for renewal of optimism. Several days before the budget was released, 32
jobs at Catelli moved because of free trade and other reasons. The day the budget was delivered, 450 jobs in
The Pas were being lost, people were being laid off. The day after, lumber merchants said there were
50 jobs at stake in the
Mr. Speaker, when is the Minister of Finance and when is this government going to get beyond PR exercises and public relations efforts and get to work in creating employment for the 52,000 people who are unemployed and the hundreds of people whose jobs are still in jeopardy because of the inaction of this government?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the member's preamble. I reject most of it, particularly one element where he says that 250 jobs were lost in The Pas region. [interjection] At where?
An Honourable Member: Layoffs.
Mr. Manness: Layoffs. Mr. Speaker, I cannot help the fact that there was an explosion in the pulp mill last week. I would say that this was an act of God, and I was told by Repap that there are quick attempts to try and rectify that situation.
I am certain there is a difference in philosophical approach to the way we go to government. I can tell you that tax increases during the former administration totalled $820 million; increased retail sales tax from 5 percent to 7 percent by the government previously; they introduced an increased payroll tax, 2.25 percent of payroll, $230 million attack on the disposable income of businesses and indeed of individuals; personal net income tax and surtax of $230 million, an attack on disposable income of individuals; increased corporation income tax from 15 percent to 17 percent.
Speaker, if the member, as I said yesterday, wants to look at some of the
reasons and the problems as to why there is a slowdown in the economy not only
We have done the right thing. We are following the right path. The members opposite, their path would lead to ruin.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): If the government is following the right path, why are businesses failing? Why do we have the highest unemployment‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. Storie: Mr. Speaker, the same budget is being called a
failure by business and industry, economists at the
the minister indicate whether he is prepared to change or revamp some of the
programs he claims are being put in place to spur a recovery when the
economists at the
Hon. Clayton Manness
(Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I will
take my lead as to the reaction certainly not from the opposition in this House
and certainly not from economists, particularly at the
Mr. Speaker, I too am trained. My discipline is in economics. I listen to the feedback coming from others and I can tell you and members opposite that in the five years that I have brought down budgets, my office has had the least number of calls this time around as far as negative reaction. I can count the negative reaction on one hand.
It says to me, given the muted attempts by members opposite in their questions and indeed their representation on the Budget Debate, that this budget, given the circumstances, given the lack of revenue growth that the province has, given the fact that we have tried to increase spending in the manner we have within the social envelopes, Mr. Speaker, that this budget was balanced and fair under the circumstances and has been well received by Manitobans.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin
Flon): Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Industry,
Trade and Tourism or the Minister of Finance explain why after cutting some
$700,000 from the Manitoba Research Council and after learning that the federal
government is about to change the mandate of the National Research Centre and
eliminate support for particularly the manufacturing sector but small business
as well, can the minister explain why the government has made no moves to
either support small businesses through its own initiatives or urge the federal
government not to abandon the manufacturing sector in the
Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism): I have to clarify some of the things that the honourable member mentioned.
this issue in terms of the institute for medical biodiagnostics first surfaced,
we received some concern, certainly from the opposition parties‑‑the
Liberal Party issued a press release at the time‑‑and we indicated
that all of the indications were that in fact it was going to be located here
would hope that most of the members, certainly the honourable member for Flin
Flon, should realize that there is an existing facility at the building on
the honourable member has taken the time to read the budget, which I hope he
has, he will notice that the Manitoba Research Council funding is going from
some $2 million to some $2.75 million to meet the very needs of our
manufacturing and business community here in
Ms. Jean Friesen
(Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, this evening we are going to see
the last graduating class in the Core Area Initiative, one of the most
important and successful of all Core Area Initiative programs which provided
training, jobs and indeed new hope to many thousands of families in the city of
would like to ask the Minister of Urban Affairs to explain to the House why,
when the City of
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister
of Urban Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the member for Wolseley is
incorrect in her preamble. We have for
the past number of months been attempting to negotiate an agreement with the
We hope that within the next little while that we are able to conclude a satisfactory agreement, one that is satisfactory to us and to our two partners.
Core Area Initiative
Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, in view of the absence of any program now, I would like to ask the Minister of Education who is advising the displaced core area families to apply to community colleges, whether she is directing Red River Community College, for example, to expand its affirmative action, its youth pre‑employment programs, the life skills and the language programs which were crucial to the success of the Core Area Initiative programs.
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that my colleague the honourable member in charge of Urban Affairs will be looking forward to negotiating where possible a new agreement, and then I will be happy to deal with the community colleges and their programming.
Core Area Initiative
Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Education then, will she tell the House what she is prepared to do now at community colleges for students who no longer have the Core Area Initiative, who no longer can get into community college programs? What is she going to do for those displaced people in the inner city now?
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Urban Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the question of education for disadvantaged people in the inner city has been well treated through this government's tenure and the tenure of the previous government through the two Core Area Initiative programs.
Most Core Area Initiative programs were not mutually exclusive to any government. It was started under the Sterling Lyon government; it was continued under the former Howard Pawley government‑‑unlike like some of the statements that have been coming from the members opposite of recent times, that they were the soul saviours of the inner city.
Mr. Speaker, in terms of a new agreement, we are I believe very close to reaching a new agreement. In addition to that, we have taken existing core funds in order to extend the Core Area Initiative training program for another two months until we can finalize this current agreement. No one is going to be left in the lurch.
Clean Environment Commission
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment. The Minister of Environment himself has said on many occasions, sustainable development is a philosophy that is supposed to permeate all levels of governmental activity and governmental decision making.
Unfortunately, we have seen a fact that has been recognized by the Chamber of Commerce recently, that this government appears to believe that sustainable development is a term that can be assigned to an institute, a cabinet committee and then forgotten. The hallmark of sustainable development is assessing the environmental impact.
My question for the Minister of Environment is: Can he explain the cuts to the CEC, the Clean Environment Commission, given the major water diversion plan supported by this Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) that is going to be coming before that commission? Can he explain how the cuts to the CEC have anything to do with sustainable development?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the member probably is trying to make a direct connection between dollars allocated and whether the philosophy of interjurisdictional and interdepartmental co‑operation is in fact intact.
The projection of the costs that will be incurred by the commission is what is reflected in the budget. While the member would like to categorize that in some other way, what we have done is reflect the realism of the costs that we expect to have. I think that he has perhaps overlooked the fact that we also have regulations that will allow us to recover monies from proponents in terms of the cost of that assessment.
I want to assure him and assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this in no way reflects on the ability of the commission to do its business. In fact, it will be doing an even better job than it has been.
Mr. Edwards: Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why the Clean Environment Commission budget is being cut just days after it has issued a round condemnation of this government's parks and forestry policy?
Why is this government sending that regulatory body and other regulatory bodies the very clear message that, should they dare to criticize the government and come down and criticize its policies, in particular forestry in this case, they can expect punishment from this government?
Mr. Cummings: Mr. Speaker, I have high personal regard for the member opposite, but he is badly mistaken and I am sure did not intend to make a joke of his comments, but we also have to reflect reality.
There was a considerable flurry of activity precipitated by myself and a number of proposals that were referred to the Clean Environment Commission. The reflection in the budget is the workload that we anticipate for the commission. He should know, and certainly we have made it very clear that we will support the commission with necessary costs.
This is, however, the projected number of hearings and costs associated with them and I believe it is very realistic.
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Finally, for the minister: Can the minister explain how cutting program expenditures on endangered species, nongame management, cutting in half the habitat enhancement fund, cutting the energy conservation program by 30 percent, Mr. Speaker, yet expanding the Conawapa project, has anything to do with sustainable development and this government's alleged commitment to environmental assessment prior to construction in this province?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Mr. Speaker, again, the member tries to equate a budgetary figure to a number of matters that are spread across government, a number of responsibilities which need to be handled efficiently, that need to be handled with input from all of the various sectors. For him to somehow indicate that we will not have any expenditures on Conawapa in terms of assessment, in terms of the responsibility for bringing forward all the information, then I have to wonder where his thinking is at.
Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Energy and Mines.
We see and we read every day about the progressive actions of provinces and countries right across the world in conserving energy. I would like to ask the Minister of Energy and Mines what his government's plans are in the whole aspect of energy conservation for Manitobans.
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines): Mr. Speaker, the energy conservation programs are basically being handled by the utility itself and not by the department.
Mr. George Hickes (Point
Douglas): As we are all aware, consumption of energy
through Manitoba Hydro is less than 50 percent of total consumption across
Will this minister commit that money back so that we can use energy conservation strategies not only for hydro, but for other nonrenewable resources?
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines): Mr. Speaker, these kinds of questions could be more fully answered during the Estimates process, but I indicated that it would be the utility that is in fact carrying out the energy conservation programs.
We, through our policies, have no difficulty in supporting energy conservation of whatever type it may be. Energy conservation is just good policy.
Mr. Hickes: My last question is to the same minister.
Did the minister refer the cuts to the Round Table on the Environment before he recommended them to the cabinet?
Mr. Downey: Mr. Speaker, the round table plays a very meaningful role in a lot of areas. The decision that he has asked as to whether it was referred to the round table, the answer is no.
Legal Aid Services
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, we have seen a cutback in resources to Legal Aid and, consequently, the rights and the opportunities for many Manitobans to receive a fair justice approach may be in jeopardy.
Can the minister outline whom he consulted and what groups he talked to before the most recent change in the Legal Aid tariff structure, because the minister probably knows that the last Annual Report of the Legal Aid Society of Manitoba warned about more cuts to the system that could jeopardize the system? Can he advise whom he consulted with before he made the changes?
Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, the honourable member would know from looking at the budget that it was necessary to make extremely difficult choices so that money could be made available for health care budgets, social service budgets, education budgets.
In spite of the fact that the Legal Aid Society of Manitoba is facing a shortfall of $800,000 from its contributions from the Law Foundation of Manitoba, in spite of the fact that the federal government has capped its contributions to Legal Aid at a certain level as of 1989, this government was able to provide $1.3 million additional to the Legal Aid program. That to me indicates a commitment to the poor in this province and to providing them with the much needed legal services.
Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.
Introduction of Guests
Mr. Speaker: I would like to draw the attention of honourabale members to the loge to my left, where we have with us this morning Mr. Mark Minenko, the former member for Seven Oaks.
On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you here this morning.
Mr. George Hickes (Point
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member for Point Douglas have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
An Honourable Member: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. It is agreed
Mr. Hickes: Mr. Speaker, I rise to show my appreciation and commitment that individuals have shown because tonight will be the graduation ceremony for Administrative Support Training Program and Sheriff's Officer II Training Program under the Core Area Initiative.
Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be able to congratulate these individuals because the program has graduated many successful people who have overcome their struggles and they are committed to advancing their lives. There are 14 aboriginal women who will graduate from the Administrative Support Program. Two women and six men of aboriginal ancestry or visible minority will graduate from the Sheriff's Officer II Training Program.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate also the Justice Department which will be looking at hiring these individuals. I had the opportunity quite some years ago to work and train individuals for adult correction officer training program, and out of these, there were 12 graduates. I met an individual about a year ago who informed me that out of the 12, there are still eight working in the correction area.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate these individuals for working extremely hard. These individuals who will be graduating tonight, I would just like to make a little quote from one individual who said: I always thought of working for the government, but did not believe I had enough training. I was on social assistance for approximately two years trying to get into training programs. I never thought I would make it this far.
That is a response of a person who is very, very proud of coming out, who has always been either on unemployment insurance or social assistance, which these individuals came from and now will be employed by the governments and hopefully other agencies and will support their families and also pay taxes and give to revenue sources for Manitoba.
I would just like to take the quick opportunity to name the individuals, because I think it is very important that they are named. Sheriff's Officer II Program: German Barroso, Brian Halvorson, Dawn Henry, Ron Majors, Patrick McMahon, Russell Robert, Julie Rosteski, and Darren Baker.
The 14 graduates of Administrative Support, and I will name them very quickly: Caroline Alphonso, Anita Chartrand, Esther Ducharme, Tara Fagnan, Tanis Gregory, Jacqueline Hart, Alice Koben, Sharon MacIntyre, Dawn Miller, Lynn Ranville, Julia Robson, Darlene Settee, Bonnie Woodford, and Charlotte Chester.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our side, I would like to congratulate them again and wish them well in their chosen careers. Thank you.
* * *
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member for St. Vital have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?
Some Honourable Members: Leave.
Mr. Speaker: Leave. Agreed.
Mrs. Shirley Render (St.
Vital): On March 12, 1992, an agreement was signed
tripartnership is the first of its kind in
Mr. Speaker, this is a partnership for the education of our youth, and this partnership is an investment in our future. I salute the shakers and the movers, the creative and hardworking individuals at Glenlawn, the Vic and Royal Bank for taking the lead in finding alternative solutions which will help today's students become learned, capable and responsible citizens.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Mr. Speaker: On the adjourned debate, the third day of debate, on the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness),
THAT this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
And the proposed motion of the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) in amendment thereto:
THAT the motion be amended by deleting all the words after "House" and substituting the following:
(a) by the government's own projections, economic
(b) this below average economic performance will lead to continued unacceptable high unemployment, increased numbers of Manitobans on social assistance, more and more discouraged workers leaving the labour force and further reductions in our province's services for people; and
(c) this government refuses to take action to fight the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
this government has thereby lost the confidence of this House and the people of
standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Health who has 28 minutes remaining.
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, in discussions late yesterday with the Leader of the second opposition party (Mrs. Carstairs), I indicated that I would try to complete my remarks in 20 minutes. Sir, you can give me a signal in case I get carried away, because I could certainly spend the full time allotted, because the issue of health care, and the issue of health care provision in this nation, is such an important topic that it deserves a full and honest debate, lacking with some of the rhetorical flourish and some of the‑‑how would I put it genteelly?‑‑yelling and screaming that goes on occasionally around health issues.
Mr. Speaker, the accusation is made by the official opposition of inadequate funding, and I say the "official opposition" because they have been unique in that criticism. Let us analyze that, and let us try to understand what they mean by inadequate funding.
When we talk about inadequate funding, what do we mean and how are we linking that accusation to what is happening in the rest of the world, and to the very important and key question, that is, is our funding the main contributor to improved health status among the citizens of our nation? Emerging research, Mr. Speaker, is saying that spending in the formal health care system is not the main cause of increasing longevity and better health status amongst the western industrialized nations. In fact, a growing body of research is saying that our health status improves in direct correlation to the wealth of our nation, and that it is in fact influences beyond the formal spending on health care which improves the health status significantly in western industrialized countries. The reason is that there is a growing body of thought that the best health program is a job in a growing and vibrant economy.
best social program is a secure job is because it is proven so often in
economies that are growing that do provide those secure jobs with relatively
high incomes to the citizens of their nation.
is telling us that we better rethink in a very significant way our drive and
our commitment to high‑tech medicine that we are being driven into in
Because again, what has been proven where nations have improved their health status of their citizens, they have done it through provision of services beyond the formal health care system, such as clean drinking water, effective sewage disposal, better diet, better housing‑‑all of the underpinning social amenities that we take for granted in this country and in North America and the free world. But those are all products, not of a health care system with increased spending, but of a vibrant economy which has created the wealth to enable the individual citizens of that country to buy better water systems, buy better sewage disposal systems, buy better diet and food, buy better housing and buy better recreation for a more perfect lifestyle.
the economy and the provision of secure jobs is important, how ought we to
approach that, Sir? Today's economy is
going through a tremendous shift because we are facing global competition. The world has shrunk. We are no longer competing in
Sir, when we compete globally, how do we survive, how do we create the jobs that can allow our citizens to buy the amenities in life that improve their health status, as a growing body of expertise would say, in a greater amount than our formal spending on health care? How do we do it?
Again, we only are going to accomplish secure jobs that provide good economic returns to the individual citizens of our country when we can produce goods that can be effectively and competitively sold on the world and global market.
that, Sir, is the challenge we face.
want to deal with that from another standpoint, because this brings us right to
the nub of the issue when it comes to health care spending. Do you realize, Sir, that according to 1989
OECD statistics that in 1989 the United States of
(Mrs. Louise Dacquay, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair)
might recall that five years ago Lee Iacocca, President of Chrysler
Corporation, made the statement that in a Chrysler car there is more health
care cost in the price of that car than there is steel. What was Lee Iacocca saying to the people of
was happening to them on the world and global market in 1989? They were losing sales. The mighty giants of the automotive world in
the United States‑‑Chrysler, Ford, General Motors‑‑were
losing sales, and to whom were they losing those sales? To
off the mark, if I can put it in the bluntest terms possible,
cannot afford in North America to become fortress
An Honourable Member: No.
Mr. Orchard: The answer, and my honourable friend from Broadway said it correctly, he said no, because he is right, and there comes the challenge of inadequate funding as alleged by the New Democratic Party.
We are going to have to come seriously to grips with this issue because we know we cannot afford the treadmill of increased spending that we are on in our health care system. The former Minister of Health Larry Desjardins said that constantly. It seems to have fallen on the deaf ears of an NDP in opposition today.
Now there are going to be changes in the health care system in this province, and they are going to be significant. I look forward to the debate in Estimates, because we will have an honest and open debate I know between the Liberal Party and ourselves. I only hope and encourage the New Democrats to bring some of that same honesty to the debate.
The health care system is going to change and change significantly from our reliance on institutional care to community‑based care. We have a program on track in mental health to do just that. We will have a similar program on track as we have decisions emerging from the Urban Hospital Council to do just that.
What I want to emphasize in this changing health care environment is that we as government and we as elected people in this Legislative Assembly must put one individual central to our decision making, and that one individual is the patient. We must assure ourselves that the patient receives the appropriate needed care in the appropriate environment.
Now that may well mean that is not in our teaching hospitals. It may well mean it is in the community or in a long‑term care facility or in a rural hospital.
You know what, Madam Deputy Speaker? If we can make that shift with the patient, we will provide equivalent quality service, we will provide the needed service to the individual, and if we approach it appropriately, we will do it at less dollar cost to the taxpayers.
Is that not what we should be aiming for? I want my honourable friends in the New Democratic Party to stop adhering to the traditional power structure of the health care system, where the bed is the symbol of power, where the threat of loss of professionals is the second symbol of power, where the unions are the third symbol of power adhered to by this current New Democratic Party in opposition, because those symbols of power do not have an attachment to the improvement of health status that all of us should be committed to in delivering health care services to one million Manitobans.
are talking old‑think when you attach your power to the presence of a
bed, to the influence of a physician group, to the influence of union care
deliverers. You are in old‑think.
Old‑think will destroy the medicare system quicker than any other process
known to this Legislature and known to
Forgotten in those old‑think policies is the important person of the individual requiring care. That is the person we are obliged to craft our policies around. Forget the old‑think and get into the new wave of reform in health care systems as they are doing in other informed jurisdictions.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to close by making reference to my honourable friend's press release from the New Democrats where she talks about inadequate funding, and for further information, I can contact her and get further information. While I am requesting the further information as offered by my honourable friend the New Democratic Health critic, in January 31, 1992, press release. When my honourable friend says there is inadequate funding today‑‑and she just agreed from her seat‑‑would you care to tell me at your earliest opportunity what adequate funding would be, how much more money would you put into the system?
Now, my honourable friend says she will do that. Then the second question I want in terms of further information from her is where does that money come from? Does it come from Education? Does it come from Family Services? Does it come from higher New Democratic imposed taxes, from higher New Democratic imposed deficits? Where does the money come from?
third thing I want my honourable friend to tell me when she provides her
further information is, why did you not do that when you were in
government? As I have explained in
Question Period this morning, in
in the last budget my honourable friend presided over, revenues grew by 19
percent, funding to
I want to tell my honourable friend, secondly, when I ask you for further
information, if you are so smart today from opposition, where you are saying it
is inadequate funding, explain how 5 percent increase in funding to hospitals
in Manitoba is less adequate than a 1 percent increase in funding in Ontario
where you have a New Democratic Party government and tell me the same answer
when it is in B.C. and when it is in Saskatchewan. Because again, if you say
my honourable friend makes these statements, I want further information. How does she square her position in
opposition to the position taken by New Democratic Party governments in
the honesty to tell the Manitobans how you are going to do it. Do not create the false illusion, the false
hope that you will solve all the problems of health care with more money,
because you are wrong. Ask Larry
Desjardins as the previous Health minister in your own party, and he will tell
you that you are wrong. Ask Frances
Lankin, the Minister of Health in
stated it often, and I will state it again, from the comfortable position of
opposition, New Democrats advocate more spending, but from the reality of
government they demand more management.
All I am asking from New Democrats, and particularly the member for
Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to close with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, because I think it is most appropriate to this debate. The only thing that does not make this quote appropriate today is the language, because, well, it does not conform with our status of nonsexist language, because it refers to men only, but the appropriate message is there. Abraham Lincoln said: You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they should do for themselves.
That, Madam Deputy Speaker, is a lesson that I wish my honourable friends from the New Democratic Party might consider seriously before they falsely try to raise the expectations of Manitobans from the comfortable position of opposition.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Madam Deputy Speaker, Manitobans are feeling the brunt, unfortunately, of an enduring and bleak recession. On three different occasions, we have been told that we are on the brink of getting out of it. We have even been told on occasion that we are out of it. The reality is, we are not out of it.
Manitobans were hoping in this budget that a little bit of sunshine would brighten their very dreary time. They were hopeful that there would be jobs on the horizon. They were looking for some light at the end of the tunnel, but that light, if there is any, is very dim indeed.
The government should be congratulated for some elements of this budget. As I go through, I will point out those aspects which, quite frankly, we felt that they needed and should have been congratulated on. But the other aspects of the budget cause us grave concern.
The Liberal Party, as I think all parties of this House, want what is best for Manitobans. We believe that Manitobans want jobs. The Minister of Health spoke about that just a few minutes ago when he said that the best indication of good health seems to be a job. We know that Manitobans want to be able to support themselves and their families, and they want ready access to high‑quality health care services when they do need it. Manitobans want an educational system that will prepare our children to compete with the best in the world. They want an environment that is protected from the effects of pollution and exploitative development. In other words, they want, and they deserve, a quality of life that reflects the values that they hold.
I do not think that any of us in this House disagree with that. We were very pleased, for example, in this budget with the official announcement that there would be an office of the children's advocate. We have been supporting that call for a number of years, but where we are very saddened is that the government has made it a branch of the Department of Family Services.
Colleen Suche, in her report, has indicated what many have advocated in the past, that this office should report directly to the Legislative Assembly. Otherwise, we have someone investigating the investigators in an incestuous relationship. That is not in the best interests of our children.
were also pleased when we noted that there would be no new taxes for individual
taxpayers, but we are pleased that there will not be another Tory tax. After all, it has been their Tory cousins in
We were pleased that the government has at last given some lip service to the idea of economic incentives, but we have waited very patiently for this government to provide some leadership during this long and devastating recession, but then Manitobans have become used to lots of long waiting lists. They wait for surgery, they wait for speech therapy, they wait for Pharmacare rebates.
perseverance and patience demonstrated by Manitobans in the face of high record
bankruptcies and unemployment should be commended. Groups of this province have taken out ads
urging us to buy
have shown government how to do it, but, unfortunately, we do not see the same
reaction from government in responding to the individual promotion of
example, we believe that instead of the Finance minister giving tax holidays to
businesses headquartered in the East, we wonder why he did not give a tax
holiday to Manitobans. Why did he not
suggest that Manitobans get a 3 percent reduction in provincial sales tax for
three months to encourage people to spend in
Liberals agree that social services must be a priority consideration during a recession, but we have to question if the sincerity in the remarks is followed through. We wonder if the Finance minister is not once again playing a game in his handling of the deficit.
Madam Deputy Speaker, he claims credit for keeping the deficit in line, but the deficit is not in line. The deficit is some $531 million, a record rivalled only by the deficits racked up by the New Democrats, yet he insists that he has the deficit under control. It is hard for me to believe that the minister will hang his reputation on something that, quite frankly, is not valid, and we wonder if he is going to find himself with another job some time in the future. Perhaps he will go on the stage as a magician with the hand quicker than the eye.
The minister is taking $201 million of his rainy day fund, so he says, just as he said last year he would take $125 million, but he never did it. He was fortunate that some larger than expected federal equalization payments helped him, but we also note the cuts in programming; and, if he wants a very specific example, I will tell him, like the program that has been cut to parents with multiply handicapped children for respite care. That is a real cut under this government, and it is causing, unfortunately, great pain to those families and may well result, and I hope not, in those parents looking back to institutional care for those children. That would add immeasurably to the costs of this government.
Madam Deputy Speaker, we are encouraged with some signs that the Finance minister has woken up. I was amused to hear the Premier (Mr. Filmon) call the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) the other day Rip Van Winkle. I am afraid my caucus had been thinking that that was a name that could have been much more appropriately given to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness).
Manitobans deserve leadership with some vision. When the Finance minister was asked, on a CBC interview, after he had handed down his budget, what innovations were contained within that budget, he replied by saying that this was the fifth year in a row that taxes have been frozen. Well, with the greatest respect to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that is not innovative. Perhaps, on second thought, he would like to come up with something that was innovative, but that was not it.
Even if the minister had a real economic plan, it would take courage to implement that strategy. The Finance minister has not shown us that courage. He has said, well, let us let the market decide. What he really means is that big business, the ones that make the largest contributions to the Conservative Party, will control the market.
minister continues to cling very tightly to the trickle‑down theory, as
does a drowning man to his life buoy. So
he gave the corporations tax breaks, but those tax breaks amounting to some
$30.5 million, if in fact they are ever exercised, will not, in our opinion,
produce jobs. There is no quid pro quo,
and the result is that the red ink on their bottom lines‑‑and we
know that their corporations are suffering from bottom lines‑‑may
get a little less red, may even go into the black, but the thought that they
might create some jobs is not a high priority, unfortunately, on their horizon
right this moment. It is particularly
not going to be high on the priority list for companies that are not even
headquartered in the
Manitobans deserve a Finance minister, we believe, who has the courage to act, but we do not see that courage.
Deputy Speaker, as we all know, we do not live in a free market economy. We live in a mixed market economy. In
only have to compare what is going on in the world south of the border. Leave our country out of it for the moment,
and compare with what is happening in the
sorry state of affairs is exemplified by the fact that
there was a decrease of 2.3 percent in
the figure we find most frightening, which I have raised in the House before,
is the unemployment rate affecting young people between the ages of 15 to 24,
and it has grown by alarming rates. The
tragedy is that far too many of them, the best and the brightest and the most
talented, are choosing to leave the
Since January of this year, we have heard a litany of jobs lost: Standard Aero, 35 employees; the Dominion of Canada Group, downsizing its Winnipeg office; Canada National Railways, threatening to move its Winnipeg offices; Boeing has laid off 200. Yesterday it was Inland Cement with another 40. No, those job losses cannot be blamed on the Minister of Finance. It might be easy to try and do that, but they cannot be laid at his office door. These were decisions made by corporations. Unfortunately, I see nothing in this budget that will stimulate them to make contrary decisions in the future.
Madam Deputy Speaker, this province will not truly improve its economic situation until it is prepared to invest in research and development. On the whole, the I, T and T segment of the budget looked impressive at first glance; however, when we examined it further, the disappointment really did await. For example, the industrial development segment saw only a 1.7 percent increase, while the health industry development initiatives saw a decrease of 11 percent. We can hardly expect the economy to turn around with that kind of a commitment.
It seems that this government is willing to cut in all areas except the salaries of its own managers and administrators. At the same time as 300 civil servants are being given pink slips, management and administration of Executive Council received an increase of 6.75 percent. In the area of intergovernmental relations, the only expenditure which rose was the salaries of its employees, while other expenditures remained exactly as they were. So it appears that the top of the heap is the group which will be most benefited by this government.
The government is again returning to its habit in times of crisis of striking committees. Once again, we have had the announcement of an Economic Development Board of cabinet, a board that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) is not even a member of. We had that announcement last September, and yet we have not seen any announcements of creativity or innovation coming from that cabinet committee. What we did see, of course, was an increase in salaries for that committee of $466,000.
the Liberal Party agrees that economic development must be a priority, it
appears that this government's priority is job creation for its friends. The government's lack of support for getting
Manitobans working is truly deplorable.
In this day and age, where each individual is having to learn new skills
in order to compete in the market, and we all accept that, we have watched
grants and respective post‑secondary career development and adult
education cut. Education and training
assistance funds, under PACE, were decreased by 30 percent. What happened to Job Training for Tomorrow? Well, it was a line on the budget, but it is
not any longer. It disappeared just like
the Tories' commitment to the workers of
It disappeared just like the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) election promise to establish a training advisory and brokerage service, his promise to establish cost‑shared training programs with business, his promise to develop a province‑wide strategy for planning and training initiatives, and his promise to provide labour enhancement skills training.
of that is nowhere to be seen in this budget, despite commitments of just two
years ago. What is in store for
It is not on the line for budget for health care that we do not find it; we do not find it in the level of commitment to bold, new initiatives, which we would like to support, but they are not here.
People are worried that the real agenda of the Conservative government is to take the easy way out and to develop a two‑tiered health care system. Well, that is not the Liberal agenda, and we would like to hear it said very clearly from this government that it is not their agenda. We have seen enough of their agenda with its lack of boldness. Madam Deputy Speaker, it is time to be brave. It is time to confront the structural problems the system is plagued by.
The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) just finished addressing them, but he has not done anything about them. The system is plagued by inefficient allocation of resources. It is mired in unnecessary expenses and outdated ways of thinking. We have heard the minister say this, and we agree with him, but he does not turn it around.
The Liberal Party, since 1988, has been advocating many elements of a positive and progressive agenda. We have called for the expansion of outpatient care and day surgery facilities. While the minister has acted in small ways, he has not done it in the dramatic way that is going to be necessary. That would help us address the deplorable waiting periods for elective surgery while, at the same time, bringing down costs.
have been calling for greater centralization of the most expensive high‑technology
equipment to cut costs and create greater efficiency. We have advocated a program to help immigrant
doctors receive accreditation in
Madam Deputy Speaker, a Liberal budget would have marked a much more profound shift of health care services into the community. Now we do not hesitate to acknowledge that there are some encouraging first steps. We are pleased to see that the government has finally listened and placed some desperately needed resources in home care and personal care homes in particular.
We have to question how deeply committed this government is to community‑based care when its $54‑million increase to hospitals literally dwarfs all other increases. The mix has to start to change.
The goal of community care is more services out of the hospitals, but that will take a more determined effort than we find in this budget, and I want to again give some very specific examples.
The Health Services Development Fund exists to encourage reform, but with a $4‑million budget, it is going to have great difficulty meeting those fundamental reforms.
Reaching out to individuals in their communities is a vital element of any community‑based health care strategy. Disease prevention and health promotion are integral parts of the concept, and the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) just finished talking about that, and he said, by the way, in an article published in the Medical Post, and I quote him: Health care consumers have lost their empowerment to direct their own care because they have not been informed of what alternate choices there are.
We agree with the minister, absolutely. He went on to say: We currently do a lot of things but without sufficient public communication.
Again, we agree with the minister, but that is why we do not understand what happened to all kinds of budget lines. We do not understand, for example, why the health public policy line still droops. We do not understand why there was a cutback for women's health initiatives. We do not understand why the funding of external agencies for delivering those cares in the community have been slashed. We do not understand why health promotion was slashed, and in the area of healthy child development, the external agencies were cut by 23 percent.
We agree with the rhetoric of the Minister of Health. What we do not see, unfortunately, is the substance, the substantive changes necessary.
If Tory rhetoric about community‑based health care policy is taken seriously, then we must see monies assigned to those areas which will genuinely change the system. What we saw, unfortunately, was the centralization which will only empower the minister and his officials and not individuals in the community who are essential to community‑based care.
Deputy Speaker, our belief in the superiority of the Canadian model of
universal health care is what leads us to reject the band‑aids and quick
fixes. We in the Liberal Party are
unshakably committed to the principles of medicare. That is why we demand that the Conservative
We will not take the easy road of opposition and score cheap points as, unfortunately, our colleagues in the New Democratic Party have done. We will not wail and holler about every single cut to a bed if we see corresponding dollars being put in community programming. We would suggest to the official opposition that they failed miserably in meeting the changes to a reformed health care system. It was not there.
Unfortunately, we do not see the level of commitment in the Conservative Party either, and so we will continue to try and encourage them to be bolder, to be more creative, to be more innovative, so that the health care system can meet the needs that are so desperately required.
Madam Deputy Speaker, once again we see the poor, the young and the elderly as the victims of this budget. These groups are the most vulnerable in our society. Here we see, unfortunately, the game plan once again.
Income supplement programs received a 1 percent increase, an increase which does not even begin to offset the cost of living, an increase which is merely for appearance sake, so that the government can say to these groups, well, your line has been increased in the budget, but they will not tell the elderly receiving the 55 Plus supplement or the working poor receiving CRISP that they are actually going to have fewer real dollars in their hands as a result of this budget.
Other chronically underfunded areas include the community living program, which is responsible for respite care to deal with disabled children. Speaking of social problems, Madam Deputy Speaker, leads me to the subject of domestic violence.
When examining the budget, I cannot find any new monies for new programs to meet the Pedlar report. I can find additional funding for shelters; I can find some for conciliation. I cannot find any dollars that will go into implementation of new recommendations of the Pedlar report. I look forward to perhaps in the Family Services discussions finding out just where those new dollars are going to come from. Those who are down on their luck in this province will also receive no helping hand.
A perfect example of this was the decision last year to recentralize the Child and Family Services budget. We lost six agencies that were delivering care, and the cost to this government of recentralizing was $400,000‑‑$400,000 which could have gone into the care of children.
One way the Liberal Party of Manitoba envisages social support is in the form of a guaranteed annual income, a universal guaranteed annual income. We believe that that is an approach to dealing with those who live below the poverty line, to those who are forced to live on social assistance programs. It would truly show the poor of this province and this country that they too contribute something to society and that they should not be penalized simply because they are poor.
Seniors of this province have been poorly treated over the past few years. Last year, in the Tory budget, the 55 Plus program was deindexed. This saved the government very little, but it inflicted damage on many seniors with fixed incomes. Again, we see a continuation of that this year.
You know, we have the shell of a Seniors Directorate. We saw even that shell receive only salary increases this year. Since the last budget, the only thing that we can point to from the Seniors Directorate at a cost of $100,000 is the production of a video on elder abuse. That is a very expensive video, Madam Deputy Speaker.
The Tories will praise their establishment of this directorate, but there is no point in having the directorate if the directorate cannot reach out and help seniors. If they are not given the financial resources to do that, then it is indeed an empty shell.
The only time we seem to pay some attention to seniors is on Seniors Day, when they are all invited to the Legislature and they are offered sandwiches and lemonade, and then we tell them to look after themselves for the other 364 days a year.
I think of the future of the youth of this province, I shudder. Special employment programs divisions, which
provided services for students and unemployed youth, has seen an increase of 1
percent. These are for the youngsters
who have the highest unemployment rate for young men in all of
The Human Resources Opportunity Program took a cut, as has the Employability Enhancement Program. They were cut by 11 percent.
This is the same government that tells us that our economy must become more competitive. Well, Liberals recognize the need for competitiveness, but we also recognize that the base for competitiveness is skills training.
A prosperous future for our children lies in a vibrant education. A vibrant education comes‑‑
Hon. Harry Enns
(Minister of Natural Resources): But we do
not want our children's children paying the debt,
Mrs. Carstairs: The Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) talks about the fact that the people of the future cannot be burdened with a greater debt, and they are running a $531‑million deficit.
For years the government promised to address the inequities of the public school system, but all their formula has done is to increase the downward line of support of the province to the public school education system. They used to fund, in 1982, some 78 percent of the costs of public school education. They now fund, as of last year, some 68 percent, and it will probably be closer to 65 percent as a result of this budget.
Madam Deputy Speaker, they have ignored essential basic issues like the movement of migrant students. They have disadvantaged schools because they have not included in this formula a definition of how one provides for children who move into the school during the school year. Five school divisions have declared states of emergency. All of them are looking to cut jobs, mostly teachers' jobs, without, I might add, corresponding decreases in student enrollment.
If you cut teaching jobs when there is a decline in student enrollment, then there is some equity, but we are watching school divisions forced to cut jobs when they have increasing student enrollment, and that will not bode well for the future of education.
The minister says she talked and consulted. Well, the reality is‑‑I believe the minister knows full well, and if she does not know full well, I would suggest she speak to her predecessor‑‑that the new formula came from government to the committee. It did not come from the committee to the government.
Let us look at the record of this government's warmth and concern for the well‑being of our children. We had a minister from the Department of Education last year cut adult high school bursaries, telling these individuals on May 16 that they should go the Department of Family Services and access student social allowances. On the same day, the Minister of Family Services was announcing a cut in those same programs to support students.
I know of a similar situation occurring now within the Department of Family Services and the Department of Education. The Department of Family Services is telling parents of school‑age children who require access to speech and occupational therapy and who have in the past been getting that service from the Department of Family Services that they would have to go to the Department of Education. On the same day, as I am getting that information from the Department of Family Services, I get a letter on my desk, from the Department of Education, telling those parents to go to the Department of Family Services to get access to those services.
once again, we find no co‑ordination between what the Department of
Family Services is doing and the Department of Education, and the victim is the
child in desperate need of the services.
For yet another year, this government has proved to be the grim reaper
for post‑secondary education.
While there have not been cuts in funding to universities, the
Universities Grants Commission has been funded at or below the cost of living
since this government came into office.
As a result, the universities have been forced to raise tuition. The cumulative effect of that at the
It seems, once again, the universities will be forced to look at a 20 percent increase in fees for the academic year 1992‑93, along with cuts to staff and courses, which directly impacts on the quality of education that our young people will receive.
is even more precarious, however, in our community colleges. Hardest hit has been our northern community
Society is the real loser in the end because citizens not properly trained and educated will not be able to meet the new economic challenges they are going to face. With the present funding trends, Manitobans will become hewers of wood and drawers of water rather than the intellectual and technological innovators that they could be.
Let us take a moment to examine the attitude towards those who have come into our province as immigrants with respect to language training. We saw 160 turned away last year. We saw $75,000 slashed from the budget, and we do not see any of that money being restored in this budget. We know that the Winnipeg School Division does not have the resources to meet the needs of those requiring language training.
Tories have stood up in this House and proclaimed that they were the party that
fought for the rights of multicultural groups.
Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, we just do not believe that that is true. We have watched a promise for a multicultural
act and we hope we get it in this session, but we have not got it yet, and we
have not seen any action on real multiculturalism. What we have seen is the
stripping of the multicultural council of its funding responsibility; we have
disdain is not restricted to multicultural groups. The minister speaks of labour. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) says
they are committed to labour. Madam
Deputy Speaker, in January of 1991 alone, in the month of January there were
57,000 people unemployed in
Last year they were so concerned about labour adjustment that they funded it by two cents a worker. We did not think it could get any worse than that, but it did, because this year they are going to fund it by one cent a worker. This government, unfortunately, shows its contempt for workers at that kind of adjustment strategy, and we tell them in all sincerity that their rocky road of relationship is not going to get better with that kind of an attitude.
think it is important for us to look at the energy portfolio. Madam Deputy Speaker, the Liberal Party has
spelled out its objectives with regard to energy. We have said very clearly that our agenda is
threefold, that it must do the following three things: It must meet our energy needs here in
We are asking the government for that kind of commitment, but we have not seen it yet. We have real doubts that these three conditions are going to be met, and if they are not going to be met, then we want to know what is their justification for spending $5.8 billion other than the 1994 election campaign.
We are deeply disturbed that this government does not accept its responsibility to meaningful guardianship over our natural resources and the environment. It should be the role of government to channel this public will into positive action by taking the lead on energy conservation, for example, but we see no evidence of such leadership in the budget. We do not even see any action by the government itself in terms of reducing its own consumption of energy through energy efficient audits or energy efficient lighting or energy efficient motors, all of which have proven conclusively to pay for themselves in energy savings.
Madam Deputy Speaker, Tory budgets keep adding evidence to prove that the politics of the megaproject and not the responsibility for the environment is what drives their energy policy. Last year we saw the budget transfer of staff responsible for energy conservation from the government to Manitoba Hydro. This year we see an even more extensive withdrawal from the field of energy conservation. Conservation programs with respect to buildings and transportation have been wiped out of this budget.
Overall the budget for energy programs has shrunk by nearly 6 percent, and that includes an increase for co‑ordination of the Conawapa project. The specific budget line for energy conservation suffered a 31 percent cut. That is not responsible environmental management, Madam Deputy Speaker. That is an abandonment of responsibility and an abandonment of the sacred trust of our environment and our resources.
Above all, we must not let the political maneuvers of this Conservative Party and the former New Democratic Party undermine responsible energy policy. Responsible leadership too is essential for economic development and a corresponding commitment to environmental integrity and sustainable environment.
For four years we have heard grand pronouncements on the environment by this government, and for four years we have seen no action. Sustainable development has been the government's rallying cry and, like many governments and large corporations around the world, it is redefining the principles of sustainable development as set out by the Brundtland commission to meet an economic and not an environmental development agenda. After four years there are cabinet committees, department committees, subcommittees, commissions, task forces, all talking about sustainable development, but where is the action?
Many European governments and corporations recognize the value of environmental integrity and long‑term planning and structure both their governments and corporations accordingly, and they are, tragically, getting the jump on us in terms of developing clean technology. Unless we react quickly, we will be forced to buy our environmental technology from abroad instead of developing it here.
The forestry industry is just such an example. Canadian forestry corporations spend less on research and development than both European and, indeed, American competitors. The result is that many of our old mills are being mothballed because they are uncompetitive.
December Maclean's magazine rated
With all these signals about the problems with government forestry policy, we thought the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) would want to move to correct these problems, but he has allowed the budgets to be cut yet once again. The Clean Environment Commission is learning just what happens when it tells government something it does not want to hear.
The Liberal Party has been on the record as supporting the Clean Environment Commission. It has got us into trouble, particularly with the New Democratic Party on occasion, because we have supported process, but we continue to support process. We want to see some action as a result of the recommendations now given by the Clean Environment Commission with respect to forestry. As we have respected them in the past, we will respect them in the future, and we ask the government of the province, who has respected them in the past, to also do so in the future. We really want an answer and not unfortunately the answer we got today. We want to know the real reason why the Clean Environment Commission was cut by 12.7 percent.
This government has grand schemes for water diversion which may not be environmentally sound because they have not been examined environmentally. So the Clean Environment Commission needs to have the staffing required to do that kind of an examination. The minister said today they are going to have less work to do. Well, I would suggest to the Premier (Mr. Filmon) that they are going to have much more work to do, and I do not know how they are going to do that work with an almost 13 percent cut in their budget.
The government did take a hesitant step in the right direction with its announcement of its alcohol beverage container recycling program, but there is already a very successful alcohol beverage container program in place run by the brewing industry. We do not understand why it simply just does not adopt that for liquor bottles.
government knows that there is a bill before them at the present time called
the beverage container act. We believe
that it has the right ingredients, the right mix to make it a positive addition
to the environment of the
Deputy Speaker, for three years, the Liberal Party has made the renegotiation
for the Core Area Agreement one of its main priorities. The City of
In other matters, we see the elimination of provincial grants for riverbank development. Well, we long realized that the only riverbank development they were interested in was The Pines, and now that that has disappeared, then obviously so too has their commitment to riverbank development.
Deputy Speaker, while the government is turning its back on the city of
We are concerned that this will also happen in this new economic diversification proposal. That indeed would be a tragedy if new monies that have been earmarked for rural development are also earmarked on the basis of what constituencies are represented by government members, which individuals are‑‑
An Honourable Member: Do you not feel comfortable with Leonard?
Mrs. Carstairs: The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) asked me if I did not feel comfortable with the minister of municipal affairs or Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), as it is now called. I have to suggest that, no, I do not have a great deal of comfort. Unfortunately, I watched him dismantle the education system, so I cannot say that I have a lot of faith in what he might do to the Department of Rural Development.
We believe that the lottery‑funded rural development economic initiative program announced could be useful, could be indeed very useful, but again our concern is that it will not be used as a new form of patronage to curry votes. We are eagerly looking forward to this initiative and hope that we will not be disappointed.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the cornerstone of rural development remains, however, agriculture, and while there are major increases for GRIP and NISA, there is the same disturbing lack of vision in the Agriculture budget because it tends to focus in other aspects on tinkering in the short term rather than on long‑term strategies.
One of the issues that has been faced by our agricultural community and is also of major concern to our environmental community is the degradation of our soils. We are well aware of that. We know it exists, and so with dismay we watched funding being cut to the Soils and Crops Branch of this government, an agency of government that should have been looking toward the enhancement of the soils for future generations.
The sustainable development concept is not one that is separate and apart from the real world. It is resource driven, and it is shown clearly also in the future of agriculture. The government trumpeted its land and water strategy, but then promptly ignored it when the positive media reaction had been achieved, and we have not seen any follow‑up in that strategy.
We have also failed to develop a strategy in this province on the farming of marginal lands. All government programs are geared to putting every square inch of land into agricultural production, and we know that this is not a valid concept, that it is costly to the farmer and it is costly to government. This leads to an increased cost to everyone and government support programs, unfortunately, do not differentiate between marginal farmlands and productive farmlands. A policy that discourages farming on marginal lands and returns it to its natural habitat is needed. This budget fails to address this problem, and this inaction will have long‑term negative implications for agriculture in the province.
remember sitting in opposition as a lone member and listening to the then
critic for Agriculture decry the lack of support for research. One of his first actions as the minister
responsible for Agriculture was to increase the
in this budget he went back to the bad old days; in fact, in real money,
considerably less than was given by the New Democratic Party to agricultural
research at the
the recent First Ministers' Conference on the Economy, the Premier (Mr. Filmon)
made the case for increased capital spending on infrastructure to get people
working and to improve the long‑term economic prospects of the
country. With that kind of buildup, we
were looking for some real capital investment in the
of investing, the government in fact has failed. He wants us to believe that he has a
commitment to capital spending. This is
the commitment that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) called for on the national
stage. Unfortunately, what he says in
In addition to the below inflation increases to new capital projects, there is a 3.4 percent cut in the maintenance program for our highway system. That is $1.9 million less being spent on the upkeep of our most vital transportation infrastructure.
Madam Deputy Speaker, my party and my colleagues in this House waited eagerly for a budget that would have a positive impact on the economy. We kept hearing from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) that there would be some market‑driven training programs. We kept hearing that there were going to be increases in some capital expenditures. We kept hearing that there was going to be a shot in the arm to get the economy moving again.
Unfortunately, on balance, we do not see it in this budget. Yes, there are some good things in this budget, but the minister's game of moving things around, his crying poor at the expense of the working poor, disabled children and other vulnerable members of our society is completely unacceptable. The long‑term damage to our health care system because of its lack of innovation and to our education system cannot be overlooked. It was a time for courage, but just like the Wizard of Oz, I am afraid we had a cowardly lion.
Therefore, I move, Madam Deputy Speaker, seconded by the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock),
THAT the amendment be amended by adding thereto the following words:
And further regrets that:
(a) this government has failed to adequately invest in education and training as witnessed by the cuts to Keewatin Community College and the cuts to Education and Training Assistance and its failure to restore the drastic cuts the community colleges received in 1991; and
(b) this government has failed to address the employment needs of many Manitobans by reducing funding for special employment programs including, youth programs, employability enhancement and the Human Resource Opportunity Program; and
(c) this government has failed to live up to its commitments to the most vulnerable in society by granting below inflationary increases to 55 Plus and CRISP; and
(d) this government has failed to provide capital stimulation by cutting highways maintenance and by providing below inflation increases to highway capital projects; and
(e) this government has failed in its commitment to promote sustainable development by cutting funding to the Clean Environment Commission, making further cuts to forestry and silviculture and by eliminating energy conservation programs in the Department of Energy and Mines; and
(f) this government has failed to provide adequate resources for community health development with its cuts to external agencies under healthy public policy programming; and
(g) this government continues to obfuscate the government's financial statements with its continued use of the fiscal stabilization plan.
Madam Deputy Speaker: I have reviewed the amendment and the amendment is in order.
Mr. Gerry McAlpine (Sturgeon Creek): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by honourable Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), that debate be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is it the will of the House to call it 12:30? Agreed? (Agreed)
The hour being 12:30 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. on Monday.