LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF
Wednesday, May 6, 1992
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Gerald Swanson, Ronald Gottfried, David Cassidy and others requesting the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) consider a one‑year moratorium on the closure of the Human Resources Opportunity Centre in Selkirk.
Mr. Speaker: I have reviewed the petition of the honourable Leader of the Second Opposition (Mrs. Carstairs). It complies with the privileges and practices of the House and complies with the rules. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
The petition of the undersigned residents of
WHEREAS the Kimelman Report (1983), the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (1991) and the Suche Report (1992) recommended that the province establish such an office reporting directly to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, in a manner similar to that of the Office of the Ombudsman; and
WHEREAS pursuant to the Child and Family Services Act Standards, the agency worker is to be the advocate for a child in care; and
WHEREAS there is a major concern that child welfare workers, due to their vested interest as employees within the service system, cannot perform an independent advocacy role; and
WHEREAS pure advocacy will only be obtained through an independent and external agency; and
WHEREAS the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) has unsatisfactorily dealt with complaints lodged against child welfare agencies; and now
THEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that
the Legislative Assembly of
* * *
I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar). It complies with the privileges and practices of the House and complies with the rules. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
The petition of the undersigned citizens of
WHEREAS the Human Resources Opportunity Office has operated in Selkirk for over 21 years providing training for the unemployed and people re‑entering the labour force; and
WHEREAS during the past 10 years alone over 1,000 trainees have gone through the program gaining valuable skills and training; and
WHEREAS upwards of 80 percent of the training centre's recent graduates have found employment; and
WHEREAS without consultation the program was cut in the 1992 provincial budget forcing the centre to close; and
WHEREAS there is a growing need for this
program in Selkirk and the program has the support of the town of
WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that
the Legislature of the
PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Mr. Bob Rose (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources.
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): Your Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources presents the following as its Third Report.
Your committee met on Thursday, December 6,
1990, at 10 a.m. in Room 255 of the
At the December 6, 1990, meeting, Mr. Brian Ransom, Chairperson, Mr. Robert Brennan, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. Ralph Lambert, Executive Vice President, provided such information as was requested with respect to the 1990 Annual Report and business of the Manitoba Energy Authority.
At the May 5, 1992, meeting, Mr. Charlie
Curtis, Chief Executive Officer, provided such information as was requested with
respect to the 1990 and 1991 Annual Reports and business of the
Your committee has considered the Annual Reports of the Manitoba Energy Authority for the years ended March 31, 1990, and March 31, 1991, and has adopted the same as presented.
All of which is submitted.
Mr. Rose: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), that the report of the committee be received.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill 82‑The Farm Practices Protection and Consequential Amendments Act
Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker, I would like to move, seconded by the Minister of Rural velopment (Mr. Derkach), that Bill 82, The Farm Practices Protection and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi sur la protection des pratiques agricoles et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois, be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.
His Honour the Lieutenant‑Governor, having been advised of the contents of this bill, recommends it to the House, and I would like to table the message from His Honour.
Motion agreed to.
Introduction of Guests
Speaker: Prior to
Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of honourable members to the gallery
where we have with us this afternoon from the State of
On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you here this afternoon.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Free Trade Agreement
Employment Creation Statistics
Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, in 1988, the Premier of
Since that time, Mr. Speaker,
The Premier promised this province, based on his empirical studies, between 10,000 and 15,000 new jobs because of this proposed agreement. I would ask the Premier whether tomorrow he will be sharing with the Premier of Quebec the successes and failures of the Free Trade Agreement. Can the Premier share with us today how many jobs have been created, based on his promise in this Legislature in 1988?
Gary Filmon (Premier):
The Leader of the Opposition does not choose his times for questions
very delicately, given the presence of our American friends in the gallery, Mr.
Speaker. I say that I can neither give
him figures as to job losses nor job gains that are specifically as a result of
the Free Trade Agreement with the
Every figure that he gives with respect to increases in unemployment can also be given with respect to American cities, with respect to European cities, with respect to cities throughout the world. If he is trying to make some argument based on those figures, I say that the figures do not tell the story, Mr. Speaker.
North American Free Trade Agreement
Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the Premier
that the eminent senator from
A further question to the Premier. Right now, Mr. Speaker, we have reports out
In light of the fact that this will affect,
through United States and
Gary Filmon (Premier):
Mr. Speaker, yes, this government has operated in a sense of looking at
an issue with an open mind and looking at an issue with respect to the benefits
and the concerns of the people of
Well, Mr. Speaker, we do not operate from that
kind of blind ideology. We do not
operate from that embracing of ignorance that the Leader of the Opposition
does. We have put down six conditions
under which we say an agreement would be beneficial to the people of
Doer: I would
remind the Premier that it was he who stated clearly and unequivocally, and we
have the tape from the Leaders' debate in August 1990, where he said no to a
free trade agreement with
Now the Premier has produced an
"empirical" study on the basis of
Mr. Filmon: The Leader of the Opposition does not seem to understand that an international trade agreement is not within the jurisdiction of this Legislature or this provincial government. It is totally‑‑[interjection]
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Filmon: We have
been asked for advice by the Government of
We recognize, Mr. Speaker, what the Leader of the Opposition obviously cannot understand, and that is, the final decision is totally within the purview, totally within the jurisdiction, of the Government of Canada‑‑[interjection]
Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition
still cannot understand. Our six
conditions are put as advice to the Government of
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the First Minister.
The AJI report said, quote: Racism played a part in the shooting of J.J. Harper and the events that followed.
Partially for that reason and for a variety of other reasons, two eminent judges in the report recommended that an independent body should investigate all instances of serious police action and/or shootings.
Early this morning, tragically, the RCMP were involved in a shooting. While no one suggests that this shooting was not justified under the circumstances and does not appear to be racist in nature, Mr. Speaker, nonetheless, the Medical Examiner has called for an independent investigation of the RCMP shooting.
I would like to ask the Premier: Will he immediately move to set up an independent body to investigate matters of this kind in line with the recommendations of the two judges from the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, you know, I regret that the critic for the opposition is attempting to prey on and utilize an unfortunate death as‑‑
Point of Order
Mr. Chomiak: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. He is imputing motives.
On a matter of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker, the Premier is implying motive on the part of this member. I suggested a scenario yesterday to the Premier of an event just like this. The Premier ignored it, and tragically, it occurred last night‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member does not have a point of order.
* * *
Speaker, I did not ignore yesterday's question; I took it as notice. The Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), as the
member knows full well, is representing
Point of Order
Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader): On a point of order, our rules are very clear that members should not cast aspersions or attribute unworthy motives to other members, Mr. Speaker. It is quite within the normal traditions of this House for the member to have asked a very serious question, to ask it based on an actual event and other events that have occurred, to ask the government for action. The First Minister has no right to attribute any unworthy motives to our Justice critic for fighting for justice in this province.
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): On the same point of order, certainly no aspersions were cast, and furthermore, I heard the words of the Premier, the First Minister. He said it was unfortunate that the member opposite chose to put the question in the fashion that he did. Certainly that cannot be out of order. Every member of this House has an opportunity to pass their personal view as to why somebody opposite has made a presentation of their question or indeed their answer. The First Minister has done that; nothing is out of order, Mr. Speaker, and I hope you would rule in that fashion.
Mr. Speaker: On the point of order raised, I will peruse Hansard, and I will return back to the House with a ruling.
Independent Investigation Request
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, I will again address my question that I asked in the first instance to the Premier. I did not have to put in the preamble, and I could have left it without the preamble describing the circumstances, but I was afraid the Premier was unaware‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Chomiak: My supplementary to the Premier is: What will this government do to implement the recommendations of the Medical Examiner who, in this case, independently recommended that a separate body investigate the shooting that occurred last night?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, because this matter falls within the purview of the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), I think it is only fair and reasonable that he be involved in any recommendation or decision with respect to this item. As soon as he is able to return to the province from his duties as Constitutional Affairs minister, I know that is a matter that he will want to deal with.
Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Report Recommendations
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): I would just like to ask the Premier one final question.
Why has it taken 10 months for the government to respond to a recommendation that was put down 10 months ago and could easily have been implemented and could have prevented a lot of this kind of duplication and ad hockery having to occur on the part of this provincial government, which has not moved on any recommendations, basically, in this report?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, not only has this government given a comprehensive response to the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry and undertaken to implement and address many of the recommendations of that inquiry, but we have proceeded toward implementation of those recommendations by setting up consultative mechanisms. I, myself, met about a week ago with representatives of three of the major aboriginal organizations in our province and then last Friday with the Manitoba Metis Federation, to discuss the implementation phase of the recommendations that we have undertaken to address. We are indeed addressing those recommendations. I know that the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) will want to further address the specific question that the member has placed.
Mental Health Care
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.
Mr. Speaker, today the Urban Hospital Council
released its final recommendations on the Mental Health Services in regard to
My question is to the Minister of Health. We spend $212 million on Mental Health
Services each year, 87 percent of that is spent on institutional care and only
13 percent on community‑based care.
We are only dealing with 21 beds at the
Can the minister tell us when we will finally see a complete package of mental health reform to make sure that the changes that the minister promised in 1988 and 1990 will be met and people can have some comfort that we are seeing major changes in the mental health system?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable friend for the question, and I fully acknowledge the consistency with which he has approached the process of reform of the mental health system.
I think it is fair to say, Sir, that today's
report‑‑that I have accepted from the Urban Hospital Council with recommendations
specific to the acute patient bed capacity at
Mr. Speaker, I and my colleagues in government will very, very diligently consider the recommendations of the Urban Hospital Council. I simply indicate to my honourable friend that we will accept them if we believe that we can successfully achieve, in this case, a successful move from institution to community with full provision and protection of quality services to those mentally ill Manitobans currently accessing the inpatient services.
Urban Hospital Council Mental Health Care Recommendations
Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):
The minister's deputy minister is the chairperson of this
Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell this House
which recommendation the minister is going to accept because these are the
recommendations that the minister has been talking about for the last two years
that we want to see? The people in the
area of the
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, clearly I have indicated that in other opportunities when questions have come up about how we will handle recommendations from the Urban Hospital Council, I do not intend to take a great deal of time accepting this report and advancing government's decision around the report.
My honourable friend will be aware that there is estimated a nine‑month time period, in which if government were to accept and implement this recommendation, that we could reasonably expect to have the alternate services in the community and at other areas of service delivery in place so that we can test the system of providing services in the community which were formerly provided in an institutional setting.
Mr. Cheema: Mr. Speaker, according to the minister's own wording, the vital consultation has been done for four years. Many committees have been set and the Regional Mental Health Council has been actively involved, and the minister has been in touch with this committee through his Deputy Minister of Health.
It is very important‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Cheema: ‑‑that the minister and this department must send a clear message.
Can the minister tell us finally which of these 12 recommendations are not acceptable, because that will clearly send a message‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Mr. Orchard: Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what I intend to clearly enunciate after consultation through government process with cabinet and caucus colleagues, because this is not a decision of the Minister of Health. This will be a decision of government, hopefully fitting the pattern of reform that this government has endorsed in discussion papers in 1988, an action plan in 1992, and in the ongoing process that we believe in as government that services can be shifted from institution to community.
Mr. Speaker, I simply indicate to my
honourable friend that if this government has comfort that these
recommendations fit the policy directions that we have endorsed and advanced
and have substantial support throughout
Health Care System Reform
Judy Wasylycia-Leis (
The paper released today on psychiatric services we saw last January when the minister released it as a final document of the Urban Hospital Council group. We saw that same document last October when it was first part of a letter that the deputy minister disseminated.
Mr. Speaker, we would like to know: When do the photo opportunities, the repeat performances and the paper chases end and the action begin?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the process that government is on, and that is exactly the consistent approach of consultation in the community and acceptance of plans for change in the community that we have embarked upon consistently, diligently, with the advice of experts across the length and breadth of the community providing and receiving health care services.
I only ask my honourable friend in the New Democratic Party to be consistent in her advancement of positive recommendations when we make them, instead of trying to, from time to time, play both sides of the issue, depending on who is listening.
Urban Hospital Council
Specialty Nursing Recommendations
Judy Wasylycia-Leis (
please. The honourable member for
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: My second question, Mr. Speaker, relates to the study on specialty training for nurses.
I would like to ask the minister, since he had the final report of this working group at least since January of 1992 on specialty nursing, why did he not act then so that the internationally renowned emergency nursing program could have been saved and could have been put on track for the beginning of this coming education year?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I do not know how to do this nicely, but my honourable friend‑‑and you realize, Sir, my honourable friend, I have an image to protect. My honourable friend simply has not presented accurate information to this House.
The task force investigating both specialty
nursing training and psychiatric bed closures at
Now, Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend says I had the report since January. That is false, Sir. The task force reports have been at the Urban Hospital Council, and today, Sir, the Urban Hospital Council‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Point of Order
Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Minister of Health to withdraw that comment, because in fact it is imputing motive and it is contrary to his own January 15 press release‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member does not have a point of order. It is a dispute over the facts.
* * *
Mr. Orchard: Yes, I am going to respond to the question, Sir.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable minister has responded to the question.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: All I can say, Mr. Speaker, is the ego has landed.
Order, please. The honourable
Health Care System Reform
Judy Wasylycia-Leis (
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, it becomes abundantly apparent with every yelling match my honourable friend gets in, the extreme dilemma that I have in trying to soar as an eagle when I am working with turkeys.
My honourable friend the critic for the New Democratic Party has offered, from time to time, to work with government, Sir, but every time government develops an agenda of action and a plan with some process, some consultation to it, my honourable friend then says, well, you have taken too long to consult. Then, from time to time, when we make a decision, my honourable friend stands up and says you have not consulted enough.
Mr. Speaker, it is a little difficult to get
consistency from what this working arrangement my honourable friend was wishing
to provide to me as Minister of Health and the people of
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the honourable minister's remarks were not attributed to anybody, but I would ask all honourable members to pick and choose your words very carefully for the watching public.
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
On February 25, the Minister of Consumer Affairs boasted to the local media that there was no problem with odometer tampering in this province, directly contradicting the RCMP, who at that time had already charged one person with six counts and announced that further charges were pending. In fact, the RCMP stated that there was a very serious problem, so widespread that some officers now spend more time under the hood of suspect cars than at their desks. Today, a further 21 charges were announced‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Kindly put your question now, please.
Mr. Maloway: Could the minister tell the House whether she still disagrees with the RCMP on this issue?
Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, the jurisdiction of odometers is more in my department than Consumer and Corporate Affairs. We both have a role to play in this.
I want to indicate to you that we have had dialogue with the RCMP who have raised the concern with us that that seems to be an ongoing and escalating problem. By working together, myself, together with the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and the Minister responsible for Autopac in terms of developing certain proposals, we want to bring forward eventually to try and deal with the problem.
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): Now that the Minister of Consumer Affairs has been cut off‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for Elmwood, kindly put your supplementary question now, please.
Mr. Maloway: My supplementary to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs is: If the minister is now concerned about this issue, will she release the RCMP report on odometers that she has been sitting on since February?
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs): Yes, Mr. Speaker, I must clarify, first of all, that I was not cut off at the knees. When I received the RCMP report which I had requested when the issue came up many months ago, that report was prepared and forwarded to me. The RCMP in that report indicated suggestions they had that fell under the purview of my honourable colleague, the Minister of Highways and Transportation, not as the member for Elmwood has indicated, under the purview of The Consumer Protection Act which he is trying to amend which is not the act the RCMP want amended.
Therefore, I have turned the report over to the Minister of Highways and Transportation who is the lead minister, because odometers correctly, as he points out, do come under his jurisdiction.
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): My final supplementary to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) is this. Is the minister sitting on this report in an attempt to hide its contents? Can the minister confirm that the report outlines‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, I think it is offensive the approach that the member has taken here. He has raised legitimate questions. We have tried to answer that and want to indicate the accusations of hiding a report‑‑it was not a report. It was a letter that was sent to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, and we are working with that.
I would suggest that the member straighten out his facts before he makes accusations in this House.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, we have worked very hard in this party at trying to support the Minister of Health and other ministries, when they have moved toward a co‑ordinated approach to prevention, because we believe that, in the long term, will do more to cut costs in health care than any other single decision made by this or any other government, no matter what political stripe.
Mr. Speaker, I am becoming increasingly
concerned that there is not a co‑ordinated approach being taken in the
cabinet of the Premier with respect to prevention. We have study after study, one today out from
Will the Minister of Health please tell this House how he believes the decision being taken by the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) to cut the food budgets of those living on social assistance will maintain a quality of health, let alone lead to its deterioration, which all the studies would indicate it will do?
Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, without accepting any of my
honourable friend's preamble, I simply indicate to her that we have
significantly increased the budget and the rates for social assistance in the
Speaker, it is very clear that the City of
Will the Minister of Health tell me how that is consistent with good nutrition and prevention of major health problems?
Speaker, at a time when inflation is less than 2 percent and food costs in
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Warnings
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, obviously the Department of Family Services and the partment of Health are not working in a co‑ordinated way to guarantee good nutrition.
Point of Order
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, I am not wanting to make a big issue of this, but I would ask you to refer to Beauchesne 409, Rule 12. It says, "Questions should not anticipate a debate scheduled for the day, but should be reserved for the debate."
Mr. Speaker, I indicated to the House leader of the Liberal Party (Mr. Lamoureux) that Bill 70, the basis of the question put forward by the Leader of the Second Opposition, will be scheduled for debate today. It is a small point, but nevertheless it is in keeping with our rules.
Mrs. Carstairs: Bill 70 deals with a one‑tier system. The decision, not in legislation, that will be made by the cabinet deals with the rates. That is not part of Bill 70. We have no difficulty with the one‑tiered system in Bill 70. What we have difficulty with is a government making a decision to roll back monies for food.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader): On the same point of order, Mr. Speaker, many similar questions similar to the question asked by the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) have been asked and have been ruled in order previously. The government House leader is correct if he is talking about debate taking place in terms of Question Period. Obviously, that is not according to our rules. Indeed I believe the questions asked by the Liberal Leader were certainly in keeping with the general tradition of fairly general questions that relate somewhat to Bill 70. Certainly, it is an implication of Bill 70, of capping of rates, and we will get into that debate. It goes further into the question of policy in terms of welfare rates generally and the co‑ordination between the two departments. In that sense the question was, I would suggest, totally in order.
Mr. Speaker: On the point of order raised, I had no way of knowing that the honourable member's questions, indeed, were anticipating debate on Bill 70. Yet I still do not know if the honourable member's questions focus in directly on Bill 70. So I would simply ask the honourable Leader of the second opposition party to rephrase her question slightly.
* * *
Mrs. Carstairs: Mr. Speaker, let me ask a third question which does not in any way shape or form touch on Bill 70, so that the sensibilities of the House leader will not be affected.
Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister responsible for the Liquor Control Commission.
In terms of prevention, one of the serious issues is fetal alcohol syndrome. The cost of looking after such a child in the health care budget can amount to $21 million over a lifetime.
Can the minister tell me why she has not been willing to accept the suggestion of this party to put signs in Liquor Commission outlets warning pregnant women that drinking during a pregnancy can create fetal alcohol syndrome?
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister charged with the administration of The Liquor Control Act): Mr. Speaker, I share the member's concern about fetal alcohol syndrome. It is something that has been discussed with the people at the Liquor Control Commission.
We do have pamphlets available on fetal alcohol syndrome, which I understand will be made available in the liquor stores so that those who come in to purchase liquor can be made aware of that particular syndrome and the effects that alcohol can have on pregnant women.
The idea of posters has been looked into. It has not been totally discarded. The effectiveness of posters versus other forms of education is something that is being discussed.
I thank her for her interest on that very serious topic.
Annual Water and
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Mr. Speaker, there is much concern about the province about this government's regulation of water treatment and drinking‑water safety. Yet this government is withdrawing its involvement in the training of the operators that monitor and regulate the lagoons and sewage treatment in the province.
They are eliminating the program without ensuring Manitobans that there is going to be any replacement system.
In light of this, I would like to ask the minister: What system is being put in place to ensure that mishaps are prevented as much as possible from ensuring that operators are properly trained?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Mr. Speaker, the answer that I gave yesterday was correct, and I would like to re‑emphasize that answer. I have just double‑checked with my department and the next water and waste water school is definitely not cancelled.
The Department of Environment is anxious to work with the association. We have suggested that we will provide the expertise. We will provide personnel to help with the programs, but because it is being run through the association we have asked that the association do some of the organizing that is behind it, and there will be a waste water school.
Water and Waste Water Management
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Will the minister also respond to the concerns of the association by moving toward, as other provinces in the country have, a certificate program in a community college or other educational institution to ensure that these operators are properly certified?
Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Mr. Speaker, in fact that is one of the
options that we are discussing with the association. We would like to see a certification program
in this province, possibly at the
Ms. Cerilli: I would ask the minister who is going to be involved in developing the new system that is being put in place in this province, and will there be any involvement of multi‑stakeholders' expertise from universities, other people in the industry, so that we do not have a select‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Mr. Cummings: Obviously the member has been talking to someone in the association who is moving very much in the same direction we are, because all of those questions, I believe, the answer is yes.
Repap Manitoba Inc.
Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas): My question is for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness). Over two months ago the minister announced that the provincial government deal with Repap would be renegotiated after Repap had expressed some very serious concerns about the viability of the original plans.
While September 1 is the deadline for those negotiations to be finished, residents of The Pas are becoming increasingly anxious.
My question is: What is the status of those negotiations? Can the minister report to the Legislature and the people of The Pas today as to what progress has been made to date?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I can report there have been two meetings as between representatives of the provincial government and senior principals of Repap. Certainly we have developed a significant framework towards renegotiation, and I ask the member and all Manitobans to watch carefully the developments and also to give input from time to time.
It is very important to the well‑being, not only of the province but certainly of The Pas and district, and I would hope that we would have the support of the members opposite and specifically the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) to work towards an agreement that is acceptable to all.
Certainly the economic well‑being of the district which the member represents significantly depends upon an agreement that is acceptable to all.
Lathlin: Could I
also ask the minister if he has also met with the communities of
Speaker, we have met with the bands of The Pas and
Once some definition can be given to that
particular part, that time I think would be a better time then to include the communities
Civil Service Positions
Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas): Mr. Speaker, since there have been major layoffs in both the public and private sectors in The Pas, I will again respectfully ask this government, through the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that as a matter of urgency to listen to the people of The Pas and place a moratorium on layoffs in the public sector in The Pas.
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I know what it is the member wishes, but this government, unfortunately, cannot provide a moratorium to decisions within any area of government, indeed, with any region of the province.
Budgetary decisions have been made and they impact, of course, on a number of departments, and we will expect the implementation of the impacts. But let me point out, it seems to me that the impact on individuals, as a result of our last budget, is less than 30 people.
So the impact‑‑[interjection] Sorry?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Manness: Nobody said 30 in The Pas‑‑30 as a result of the budget across the province, 17,500 Civil Service, Mr. Speaker. So I would have to say that the impact is not going to be significant in any region of our province, Mr. Speaker.
So I say to the member, I do not think a moratorium as such to address the specific region of The Pas would not satisfy the decisions of government which indeed have been supported by the members of this House by way of the support of the budget.
Mr. Speaker: The time for Oral Questions has expired.
Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):
Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock),
that the composition of the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural
Resources be amended as follows: St.
James (Mr. Edwards) for
I move, seconded by the member for St. James
(Mr. Edwards), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Economic Development
be amended as follows: The member for
Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): Mr. Speaker, do I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
This morning at a ceremony at Air Command
Stonewall native Lieutenant Allan McLeod was flying his biplane over enemy territory when he was attacked by eight triplanes. McLeod's piloting skills allowed his observer to shoot down three of the attackers. At one point, the 18‑year‑old climbed out on the wing of his plane in order to keep the flames from his plane away from his observer. He managed to bring the aircraft to a rough landing.
Despite being wounded five times, Lieutenant McLeod dodged heavy machine gunfire from the ground to pull his observer from the wreckage. Allan McLeod was wounded again by a bomb blast and finally collapsed once he knew his observer was safe. The teenager arrived home to a hero's welcome September 30, 1918. Ironically, he died six weeks later of influenza.
Today I rise to salute the memory of a
* * *
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): Mr. Speaker, may I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow Dr. Henry Friesen will
be honoured by his colleagues and all Manitobans. For the last 19 years, he has been the head
of the Department of Physiology as well as a Professor of Medicine at the
Dr. Friesen is an internationally known
medical scientist and educator. He is a
Mr. Speaker, during his distinguished career,
Dr. Friesen has held numerous university positions as well as serving on
national and international committees.
He is currently completing a two‑year term as the president of the
National Cancer Institute. Dr. Friesen has more than 400 publications to his
credit and has received many honours for his research. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of
Canada, and was named an Officer of the Order of
On behalf of my colleagues in the Legislative
Assembly and myself, I would like to extend my best wishes to Dr. Henry Friesen. Also, I am sure all Canadians and all the
members of this House will join with me in wishing him all the best and also saying
that he has done very good for the people of
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
Mr. Speaker, I have to join with my honourable
friend the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) in recognizing Dr. Friesen. His
contribution to health research in
It is deserving recognition for Dr.
Friesen. He has been a very, very
excellent‑‑I am not looking for the word‑‑defender is the
wrong word‑‑advocate of
I join with the member for Maples (Mr. Cheema)
in congratulating Dr. Friesen. I simply
also say that it is yet another example of southern
Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, might I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
We would like to add our congratulations to
Dr. Friesen and to wish him well in his new position. I think one of the important things that we
should recognize, that his achievements recognize, is the role of universities
in research. Dr. Friesen, in particular,
has brought tremendous honours to the
We recognize, too, in his translation to a
position to the director of the national research council for medical research,
that this is a very important position, not just for
Edward Helwer (Gimli): I
move, seconded by the member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine), that the
composition of the Standing Committee on Economic Development be amended as follows: The member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render) for
the member for St. Rose du Lac (Mr. Cummings); the member for
I move, seconded by the member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources be amended as follows: The member for Assiniboia (Mrs. McIntosh) for the member for Morris (Mr. Manness). [Agreed]
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): I move, seconded by the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Public Utilities be amended as follows: the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) for the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), the member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar) for the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).
Mr. Speaker, I also move, seconded by the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Economic Development be amended as follows: the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) for the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin). [Agreed]
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, before I give the listing of
bills on House Business, I would like to announce that the Standing Committee
on Private Bills will meet Tuesday, May 12, 10 a.m., Room 255, to consider Bill
Mr. Speaker: I would like to thank the honourable government House leader for that information.
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, would you call the bills in the following order: for second reading, Bills 76, 79, 80 and 81, followed by adjourned debate, Bills 9, 10, 12, 15, 21, 43 and 70?
Is there a willingness to waive private members' hour?
Mr. Speaker: Is it the will of the House to waive private members' hour? Leave? No? Leave is denied.
Bill 76‑The Pension Benefits Amendment Act
Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, I would move, seconded by my colleague the honourable Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), that Bill 76, The Pension Benefits Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les prestations de pension, be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.
Mr. Praznik: Mr. Speaker, I certainly enjoy this opportunity to lead off some debate on this very important piece of legislation. Firstly, let me say that the contents of this bill which amends The Pension Benefits Act were largely the design of the Manitoba Pension Commission who were asked a year or so ago to undergo a very thorough review of our pension legislation, which they have conducted with much public consultation and consultation with the various interest groups in the pension community.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure it is no surprise to many members of this House that private pension plans in this province are indeed facing a very critical time. A growth in regulation of those particular plans over a number of decades, combined with other options for saving for retirement, have led to the situation today where we have seen a dramatic decline in the number of private pension plans registered in our province.
In 1988, there were approximately 850 plans
registered with the
I am advised by our staff and the Pension Commission that plan wind‑ups are some four times greater than new plans being registered, and the vast majority of that decline has come in the area of private pension plans. In fact, a concern that I have as minister, that unless we are able to overturn this trend in the pension community within a very short period of time the only pension plans that will be operative in our province will be those in the public sector.
Mr. Speaker, the pension plan has been a tremendous vehicle for allowing people to set aside wealth during their earning years for and to allow it to be saved, protected from taxation, and to allow them to draw it in their retirement years. In fact, I think most members of this House would agree that if we look at how far we came in the last 20‑30 years in developing pension plans‑‑and I would like to congratulate all those who worked toward those changes and promoting pension plans and negotiating them at the bargaining table‑‑we see today a retired community in our province, indeed throughout the country, that is far better off because of their pension plans than any other time, I would think, in the history of our province and country, senior citizens have been.
The object of the Pension Commission's work was to re‑examine our regulatory scheme to update it, to ensure that the pension product that was on the market or could be on the market was a product that people looking to get into pension plans were prepared to purchase and to organize.
Let me not understate that problem where we
have seen this continual decline in the number of pension plans. We have in
Mr. Speaker, the member opposite raises the
issue of RRSPs, obviously in the federal area of taxation. We cannot address all the problems of
taxation and pensions, but I think it is incumbent upon us as legislators to
have a Pension Benefits Act in
Mr. Speaker, just again by way of background,
the Pension Commission of
A series of letters went out to, again, interested parties in the pension community enclosing the revised document, and the Pension Commission held another round of opportunities for people to make submissions on the revised document. Over 22 formal written submissions were received in response to the revised document.
Mr. Speaker, the highlights of the proposals that we are bringing forward to the Legislature at this time are several, and I would like to take the House through them at this particular point in my remarks. One vehicle, the first highlight would be the creation of life income funds. This legislation proposes that members of plans be of defined contribution or money‑purchase pension plans, and Manitobans with pension funds in locked‑in RRSPs have this vehicle of a life annuity from an insurance company. Retiring members would be able to purchase a life income fund from any approved financial institution.
The objective of the life income fund is to give members of these plans more control and flexibility over their retirement capital up to age 80, after which they must purchase a life annuity. Again, this gives people the option of using another vehicle in which they have some control over how their dollars are invested as opposed to the current legislation which does not allow for this vehicle.
Mr. Speaker, another very important set of
amendments in this legislation are the provisions that allow for jointly
trusteed pension plans, and I think for members of this House who follow negotiations
in collective agreements the desire to have a jointly trusteed pension plan and
the multi‑employer pension plan are absolutely critical. We have seen in
This is a particular area‑‑I know in the health care sector they have been awaiting these amendments, and various unions that do a lot of work in negotiating pension plans, particularly in smaller workplaces, and want to be able to see this vehicle created to bring pensions into those smaller workplaces where a stand‑alone plan would not be practical simply because of the cost of administration, this vehicle will allow that to happen, Mr. Speaker.
I point out that in multi‑employer plans this bill provides for some limitations on initial liability on contributions, which I think make them attractive to employers. They also allow for a 50 percent employer and 50 percent plan member trusteeship of those plans. So in our legislation we allow in these joint trusteeship plans and multi‑employer plans for that kind of participation by plan members. I think that is very important as people gain more and more control of their affairs, which is something I believe is desirable by all members of this House.
Mr. Speaker, another important point in this legislation is increased protection of member benefits. This act contains some proposals for the Superintendent of Pensions to be given more authority to order actions necessary to protect the benefits of plan members and to ensure compliance with legislation.
I know in my experience as minister responsible for this act, it has been one particular occasion where the trustees of that plan, both a union representative and a company, had made errors in actuarial calculation such that the remaining members of that plan had lost their benefits.
The power to ensure that that would not happen was not there with the Superintendent of Pensions. This legislation provides that power for protection which is so important. I am pleased to say that the plan sponsors and trustees were able to negotiate a refunding of that plan out of their own funds and accepted that responsibility. Very happily, the members of that plan will be able to continue to receive the benefits in which they contributed.
Another very important aspect of this
legislation, particularly in terms of building a national unity and ensuring that
we as Canadians are able to do business and be employed across this country
without undue hardships and regulation across provincial boundaries, is the
provision for the government of
Mr. Speaker, I think this particular issue is
of great benefit to companies doing business in
Another particular issue, which is, needless to say, I think, a difficult one to deal with, that this bill will address is the opting‑out provisions of mandatory credit splitting. This act is being amended to permit separating couples who agree in writing to opt out of the mandatory requirement to divide their pension benefits.
I would have the House note that, prior to deciding not to divide their pensions, the bill proposes that both spouses must demonstrate that they are fully informed of the consequences: (a) by receiving independent legal advice; and (b) by obtaining a statement of the value of the pension benefit from the pension plan administrator.
This amendment will serve to provide individuals with an increased level of discretion and flexibility while at the same time maintaining the protection of credit splitting for separating spouses who decide that he or she does not want to opt out. Again, I would point out to the House that it requires the mutual agreement of the separating parties. One alone cannot force the removal from the credit splitting.
I would remind members of this House of some of the difficulties that have been experienced under our current legislation. The most obvious one is where we have spouses whose pensions are in different jurisdictions. I know some members of this House who were members of the last Legislature sat in committee with myself when the Honourable Gerrie Hammond was minister. We remember presentations from couples, where in one particular case the wife had a pension which was under Manitoba jurisdiction and was required to split it with her other spouse, while the husband's pension was in federal jurisdiction and did not have to be split.
Currently, what our law does in those kind of situations of different jurisdictions is take three‑quarters of the pension benefits and give them to the spouse who is in federal jurisdiction, leaving one‑quarter of the combined benefits to the spouse who is in provincial jurisdiction. That was exactly the type of inequality in division that the framers of the original act, I am sure, did not want to see happen.
Those people who are in split jurisdictions have that problem, and not only were they at that committee, but I know they lobby members, all members, of this House on a regular basis. They certainly have, I think no one can deny, a valid point. So that is one anomaly in our legislation that has to be, I think members will agree, addressed.
Another area, of course, is where two spouses in provincial jurisdiction have reached an agreement, have divided their assets, and want each to keep their pension plan. Our current legislation only allows them to do it if their plans are within 20 percent. Needless to say, the inclusion of a major family asset like a house, which certainly has a value in retirement, Mr. Speaker, which normally would enter into those calculations, we do not allow for that if the difference in their pension plans is over the 20 percent.
I can tell members of this House, we have had a steady demand from people who are in that situation who are outraged that our legislation prevents them from doing what they would like to do with their assets. I would remind honourable members that even under The Marital Property Act, where we split assets in our province, the 50‑50 division is only with reference to value. It does not determine which specific assets will go to whom, but simply that there must be a 50‑50 division of the value accumulated during that marriage.
How that value is split is up to the parties. Whether one party receives the marital home, or some other cash, or what have you, is up to the parties. So these changes bring our credit splitting into line with, I think, our other marital property legislation and give people the freedom where they jointly agree, where they mutually agree, to make the decisions about the division of their assets that best suit them.
I know, Mr. Speaker, this is a rather sensitive issue for some. I recognize that, because there certainly is the fear and the concern on the part of some that a spouse, one particular spouse, may be forced into making a decision about giving up some claim to the other spouse's pension, if a threat is made of a continual battle over custody or some other aspect.
I would remind honourable members that when we are striking legislation, we cannot always protect everyone from difficult decisions and from those types of situations. All this requires to ensure that the credit splitting does in fact take place, is for one spouse not to agree to do it.
Mr. Speaker, I know there is always the argument of pressure, but those arguments could also be made under The Marital Property Act when you are debating as to which assets a spouse will get in their 50 percent of the value. If one particular spouse wants to keep the house and threatens a legal battle over custody or another issue in order to maintain a certain property, that can happen now. We do not have a legislative remedy to that. There is only so far that we can go, ultimately, without impeding the greater right of people to make decisions about their own property and assets.
Mr. Speaker, one other issue that I would just like to raise before I close my remarks has to do with the actuarial surplus asset payouts. This bill will end, obviously, the moratorium imposed in 1976 which restricted surplus refunds to employers. The moratorium was introduced to give the government of the day time to develop guidelines and legislation respecting this very complicated issue.
(Mrs. Louise Dacquay, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair)
The current legislation before the House proposes to deal with the issue of actuarial surplus assets as follows: No surplus assets will be paid out of pension plans unless the Pension Commission is satisfied the employer has legal entitlement; otherwise, the employer must obtain a ruling from the Court of Queen's Bench establishing entitlement.
I again would remind members that the first principle here is to give effect to what the original document said determining the ownership of surpluses. If the document determined the surplus is owned by the employees, then it would not be paid out to employers. If the document determines that the surplus is owned by employers, then they certainly have a legal right to it.
This legislation also proposes to prevent future disputes when there are new defined benefit plans created, that before that plan is registered, specific surplus ownership must be determined in all governing documents to the satisfaction of the commission. Furthermore, the sponsors of the plan must demonstrate that a majority of plan members have consented to the surplus ownership arrangement, and also the plan sponsors must provide, in the plan document, a mechanism for resolving future disputes regarding disposition of surplus assets.
So what we do in essence is allow the intention of the existing document to go forward, whatever that may be, and require that in all future pension plans the ownership of surplus assets, and I am talking about defined benefit plans, be clearly determined before the plan be allowed to be registered.
I certainly look forward to the debate on this issue, and I am sure we will have a number of presenters before the committee. Thank you.
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), that debate be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): I
move, seconded by the member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway), that the composition of
the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources be amended as follows: the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) for the
Motion agreed to.
Bill 79‑The Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act
Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): I move, seconded by the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), that Bill 79, The Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi sur la protection des voies publiques et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.
Mr. Driedger: Madam Deputy Speaker, I just want to indicate to the critics that I have spreadsheets here that I will be making available to the critics right after my remarks.
Under The Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act it gives me great pleasure to present to you Bill 79, The Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act. This act will replace the existing Highways Protection Act. The intent of the new act is to consolidate control of access and development adjacent to departmental roads under one act and one authority to create a simplified, streamlined and more efficient government process.
Following from this, the act proposes to redefine the mandate of the Highway Traffic Board by transferring many of its current highway protection responsibilities to ministerial jurisdiction and have it function primarily as an appeal body for those matters. The new act will accord the board a broader mandate and a more vital role to play in protecting the rights of property owners while ensuring the safety of the travelling public.
Finally, the new legislation will clarify and standardize the issue of compensation with respect to the closing of legal accesses.
Under the existing act, the Highway Traffic Board has the authority for designated, limited‑access highways, controlling access onto these highways and approving structures in adjacent controlled areas. This includes the authority for establishing and removing control lines adjacent to highways and controlled circles at highway intersections by regulation. The board has the power to close existing access and order the removal of unauthorized access and structures.
In accordance with statutory requirements, the board holds hearings on almost every matter coming under its jurisdiction, including applications for access and structures. This requires sending out hearing notices, publishing and advertising the notice in the Gazette and newspapers and waiting 10 working days before the application can be heard. All decisions of the board with respect to applications are appealable to the Public Utilities Board.
As Minister of Highways and Transportation I also have the authority to designate a limited access highway by declaring it to be a provincial trunk highway under The Highways and Transportation Department Act. This process occurs by regulation without hearings, without board input, without being subject to appeal, and in reality has created most of the limited‑access highways in the province. Similar to the powers accorded to the board with respect to access and structures, the department act provides me with the authority to control access and structures on all departmental roads other than limited‑access highways. Like the protection act, the department act has a permit system for access onto departmental roads and structures within controlled areas. The issuing of permits by my department occurs without a hearing and cannot be appealed.
Not only do we have two parallel systems, the two acts overlap and interact in a very complex way. This is evident in the duplication involved in the designation of limited access highways, the removal of common law rights of access, the dual regulation making capacity of the board and the cabinet to achieve the same objectives and the overlap in the approval mechanisms. This creates an anomalous situation whereby approval of access and development by the board under The Highways Protection Act is subject to my approval under the department act. Similarly, should the board remove controls or limited access status from a highway, the department act automatically reinstates access and structure controls.
Under the new act all provincial trunk highways and provincial roads requiring access controls will be designated limited‑access highways by cabinet regulation. This is consistent with other provinces. However, the act does enable me, as minister, to refer any proposal for establishing additional controlled areas which circles to the traffic board for hearing and recommendation.
Further, in the interests of eliminating the confusion resulting from two parallel systems, expediting the process of applying for permits, responsibilities for access and development control will be consolidated under my authority. This will not only significantly improve service to the public but will result in considerable cost savings to the government.
As I mentioned earlier, the board is required by virtue of the act to hold hearings in almost every matter coming under its jurisdiction. This includes permits for advertising signs which are basically straightforward and noncontentious. The board travels out to the area affected by the request to hold these hearings and, if required, to conduct on‑site investigations. This results in a very lengthy and costly process.
In many instances, the hearing is unnecessary, but required under the present act. To give you some indication of the number of these hearings each year for the past several years, the board has held over a hundred advertised hearings rendering decisions on approximately 600 permit applications.
Not only is this a wasteful expense, it is inappropriate use of the talents of these dedicated and competent board members. In addition, the time required to process requests for permits is exceedingly lengthy. This has become increasingly frustrating to the public who expects, and rightly deserves I might add, speedy replies.
Furthermore, with the dual system we have now, it is highly confusing to the public as to where they should go to apply for permits. There are many instances where individuals have made application to one authority only to find that they have to initiate the process again because the highway did not fall under the first jurisdiction.
All of you are familiar with our highway system. Judge for yourself as to whether you know which provincial highways are administered by the Highway Traffic Board as opposed to the department. This is the situation we are seeking to correct.
I am pleased to advise that through the proposed legislation we are according the Highway Traffic Board a far more vital and valuable role to play in protecting the interests and safety of all Manitobans by establishing the board as an appeal body for departmental decisions respecting access and development.
Although the board's primary function will be that of an appeal body, the board will be responsible for off‑premise advertising signs which include approximately 10,000 illegal signs currently in the controlled areas along highways.
Recognizing the difficulties associated with these signs, the new act grandfathers illegal signs for a set period of time. Specifically, it enables owners of illegal signs to apply for a sign permit within six months of the proclamation of this act. The owners, obtaining such permits, will be able retain their signs for a period of three‑and‑one‑half years before they must apply for a new sign permit and comply with the regulations respecting signs.
In addition to its responsibility for off‑premise advertising signs, the board will still retain its authority under The Highway Traffic Act for establishing speed zones, approving the municipal bylaws respecting speed zones, approving traffic control devices and other specified responsibilities.
Additionally, the board will be delegated the responsibility for authorizing municipal bylaws permitting the operation of an off‑road vehicle on a roadway or shoulder through consequential amendments to The Off‑Road Vehicles Act proposed by this bill.
I am most pleased to report that the proposed new act provides greater protection of the rights of property owners by recognizing a property owner's right to indirect access onto his land. The present act removes all common law rights of access onto limited access highway and effectively landlocks land adjacent to a highway where permits are denied.
The legislation before you corrects this injustice by only restricting the right to direct access onto limited access highways. The new act remedies other deficiencies in the current legislation. For instance, the new act excludes access development and sign control on municipal roads as this duplicates powers granted to the municipalities under the planning and municipal acts.
It is interesting to note that while the present act accords the board the authority to designate municipal roads as limited access highways, only one mile of road was ever designated as such since The Protection Act came into force in 1965.
Another important feature of the new act is that it clarifies and standardizes the issue of compensation with respect to the closing of existing legal access. Essentially it provides for no compensation to be payable in cases where a legal access is closed if another access exists or an alternative access is provided. The new act also includes other highways or roads that connect with limited access highways as a procedure for a municipality requesting public road connections should not be the same as an individual land owner requesting access onto private property.
The act provides that these approvals will be through my written consent as Minister of Highways and Transportation. This provides for a much simpler approval system for public roads. Other essential features of the new act is that it allows for the classification of provincial highways based on their importance. These classifications will simplify and standardize the approval of access and setbacks for different types of developments and signs. You will also be pleased to note that we will be prohibiting certain signs in controlled areas such as the flashing signs which pose a hazard for the travelling public by distracting motorists.
The proposed legislation also provides for better enforcement provisions and simplifies the procedure for ordering the removal of the legal accesses for development by eliminating the need for costly and time‑consuming show‑cause hearings which are presently required under the act. Further, it enables the department to more readily recover its costs of removing an illegal access or development should an owner fail to comply with an order without having to involve the courts. Another important improvement over the present act is that the new act enables me as Minister of Highways to require an owner to remove or remedy a development in a controlled area that is unsightly or dangerous.
We have chosen to introduce a new Highway Protection Act rather than amend the existing act, given that the present act poses considerable interpretation difficulties and is so intertwined with the department act that simple amendments were not achievable.
Although I have touched upon the many benefits as I have gone along, I would like to briefly summarize them for you. First and perhaps foremost, it will consolidate parallel activities under one authority and provide for a simplified, streamlined, a more efficient government process. This consolidation will clarify and simplify the process for the public and significantly reduce application response time from the current 60 days to approximately 25 days. This will undoubtedly be welcomed by the public. As indicated earlier, it will accord the Highway Traffic Board a more significant role and enable government to put their talents to better use. Further, it will result in substantial cost savings through the elimination of notices, newspaper advertising and board hearings. Last, but certainly not least, it will expand the rights of property owners by eliminating the potential for land locking as well as expanding the appeal process to all decisions relating to access and development.
To conclude, I am confident that through this legislation the interests of all Manitobans will be best served. A clause‑by‑clause explanation of the provisions of this act will be made available, as I indicated before, to the critics for their consideration. Thank you.
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans), that debate be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 80‑The Dental Association Amendment Act
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Northern Affairs r. Downey), that Bill 80, The Dental Association Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Association dentaire, be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.
Mr. Orchard: Madam Deputy Speaker, I just have a few speaking notes here that I want to share with my honourable friends.
The Dental Association Amendment Act is intended to repeal and replace discipline provisions in The Dental Association Act. The new legislation will update obsolete discipline provisions and procedures governing dentists, and in this area bring their act into line with current standards and legislation covering self‑governing professions such as the Manitoba Dental Association.
The legislative amendments in this bill will introduce a two‑stage investigation and hearing process into the MDA's discipline procedures. They will require the Manitoba Dental Association to have a complaints committee as well as a formal inquiry or discipline committee. The complaints committee will investigate complaints and determine if they are serious enough to warrant a formal hearing. If a hearing is required, it will be conducted by the formal inquiry committee.
Madam Deputy Speaker, this two‑stage
process is considered desirable in matters of professional discipline. It is the norm in other health discipline
A very important part of this bill is increased protection of the public and increased public participation in the dental disciplinary process. This is accomplished in three ways. First, the bill will permit a complainant who is not satisfied with the decision of the complaints committee to appeal the decision to a new appeals committee. Second, the bill requires that a layperson be appointed for every hearing of the formal inquiry committee. The Minister of Health is given power to appoint a roster of laypersons from which the MDA may appoint lay representatives to other committees. Third, the bill requires that discipline hearings be open to the public, except in certain narrow circumstances.
These provisions are similar to those used by
Madam Deputy Speaker, this legislation also repairs defects in The Dental Association Act concerning the MDA's disciplinary powers over its members with respect to maintaining professional standards.
In 1990, the Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled that the MDA lacked the authority to order dentists to upgrade their skills or supervise their work or conduct inspections and audits. These additional powers are among the range of disciplinary orders the association will be able to make under these amendments when a dentist is found guilty of professional misconduct or incompetence.
This brief outline covers the major points in
this bill, which we believe will benefit
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), that debate be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 81‑The Optometry Amendment Act
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that Bill 81, The Optometry Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'optometrie, be now read a second time and referred to a committee of this House.
Mr. Orchard: I rise to introduce, for second reading, amendments to The Optometry Act that will make possible a more appropriate complaints and discipline procedure in Manitoba's optometry profession than is allowed at present. The changes we are proposing will permit informal resolution of a complaint, without the need of a full and formal inquiry. In particular, they will provide a complaints and disciplinary procedure that will protect the rights of the public.
At present, on receiving a complaint, the discipline committee of the Manitoba Optometric Society must hold a full hearing into the matter. Under the amended legislation, the registrar would be able to refer the complaint to a complaints committee. The committee could try to resolve the matter, but will have the option of referring it to the disciplinary committee, in which case a hearing would be required. In addition, a complainant will be given the right to appeal a decision of the complaints committee that no further action is required.
Madam Deputy Speaker, we have further safeguarded protection of the public and strengthened public input into complaints and the disciplinary process. The bill says the complaints committee and discipline committee shall each have one lay member, someone who is not a practising optometrist.
In addition, the bill requires that discipline
hearings shall be open to the public except in certain narrow circumstances. These
open hearing provisions are similar to those used by the
The changes in this bill arise from discussions with the Manitoba Optometric Society, which found their current complaints and disciplinary procedures too restrictive and expensive. Because the procedures are contained directly in legislation and not in regulations, these amendments are necessary. For the information of the House, the changes have been drafted to make optometrists' disciplinary procedures as close as possible to those for pharmacists in The Pharmaceutical Act.
Finally, this bill will change the name of the society to Manitoba Association of Optometrists, consistent with terminology used in other professional legislation. Madam Deputy Speaker, I commend this legislation to all members of the House and would encourage its speedy passage.
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans), that debate be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
DEBATE ON SECOND
Bill 9‑The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on second reading of Bill 9 (The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act; Loi sur le Conseil de l'innovation economique et de la technologie), on the proposed motion of the honourable First Minister (Mr. Filmon), standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).
Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake): It is my pleasure to be able to rise today and speak to Bill 9, The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act. I would like to thank my appreciative fans over on the other side for the opportunity to be able to speak on this bill this afternoon. I will be the last speaker on this bill as we here on this side of the House would like to see this bill go to committee as soon as possible to have the people of Manitoba come to committee and express their views on the, perhaps, as some of my colleagues have mentioned, window‑dressing type of a bill that this government seems to have been introducing over the many years.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I in my short term here in the House have watched and listened to the government on the other side produce different bills, different economic development bills and committees and doing things to stimulate the economy as they say, but I would like to make comments on The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act relating also to some of the other economic developments that this government has, so called, produced.
An Honourable Member: What other economic developments? Tell us.
Mr. Clif Evans: Well, there are again window‑dressing produced bills, but nowhere in the last year and a half nor in the last two years have I seen any movement toward an economic development for not only Manitoba, rural Manitoba, and federally and in Canada.
An Honourable Member: Do they have a plan?
Mr. Clif Evans: Well, they say they have plans, but we shall wait and see how these plans and so‑called boards and different groups are meeting to stimulate our economy. I feel that the only stimulation that has occurred in the last two years and even further, the last four years of this government has been in place, is the stimulation of job losses, of economic downfall for this province, for manufacturing to drop, businesses closing, 60,000 people unemployed.
The Economic Innovation and Technology Council that the First Minister is developing, I wish to say and as other colleagues have indicated, that the members that the Premier has put on the board, I feel and we feel here on this side that the people that are on the board are more than capable, are some fine, fine people. I do not think we have a problem with that. The problem that we perhaps have on this side of the House is this board, as it is going to be in place. It is going to make the decisions as such, but are they going to be able to make the decisions for it, or are they going to get interference?
Is this board going to be a board that when they have insight, they have some planning, they have things that they want to do, things they want to produce, things that they want to show the government direction to go, or are they going to get interference in that manner? Are they going to get interference from the government side, or is there going to be a, I guess, free rein to this board? Are we going to see some direction that this board is going to take?
Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, with the
introduction of this bill we see that this board as such is going to replace
the Manitoba Research Council. We wonder
if this government is so set on setting up councils, research technology for
With economics, and on the topic, I would like
to make comments regarding the rural
They promised this. They have the Rural Economic Development board
here. They want to do this, they plan
this, but rural Manitobans, especially northern rural Manitobans are still waiting
for some action to be taken by this government.
The Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), has introduced the REDI
program that I will comment on in a few minutes, but over the long haul, what
have we in rural
In my mind, to be strong rurally or even
urbanly, what I have noticed over the past two years in my travels throughout
the province and in my constituency especially, is that the development in
They need jobs like everyone else. They do not want to be on social assistance like we have now in this province, but I feel that the government at present should‑‑and with this act and the council that they have instituted and the Economic Development board council that has also been implemented‑‑I feel that they should work and use the finances that are available for these boards as such, $10 million here, $1 million here, a couple of million dollars here and there.
The people of rural
There are important, important issues in rural Manitoba economically that I would like to see and hope to see, that we are not having a walk, as a member mentioned, you know, whistling‑past‑the‑grave type of a situation. We need, and I say to the government, rural Manitobans need that support and support from boards such as this that the minister has instituted to develop. The First Minister during campaign, I remember very, very well, came to Interlake, came to Riverton promising this and promising that. Now, I have yet to see those promises come across.
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): What were those promises in Riverton? Tell me.
Mr. Clif Evans: Well, we can debate that another time. I can sit down with the Premier.
Mr. Filmon: I can shoot you down, on record.
Mr. Clif Evans: On record?
Mr. Filmon: Sure.
Mr. Clif Evans: Madam Deputy Speaker, the Premier, when in Riverton, came to Riverton and said to the people in Riverton, yes, we will assist you in the extension of your hockey arena, promise No. 1. Nothing done about it. The Premier said while he was in Riverton, we will do everything that we can to assist in certain economic problems that we have. They are still waiting for him.
Mr. Filmon: They have you as a representative and you cannot do anything.
Mr. Clif Evans: Madam Deputy Speaker, that may very well be as the typical low‑road attitude of this First Minister. It is not the fact of who the representative is in any area; it is what this government is doing about anything in this province, which is absolutely zippo. So, it does not matter where your commitment, where your promises, not mine‑‑
Mr. Filmon: You were too busy taking the strippers out of your hotel.
Mr. Clif Evans: Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, again the First Minister, as usual, taking the low road, taking the shots as usual. That is fine. At least we here on this side do not go traipsing around the country in a one‑paddle canoe going in circles and doing nothing. All we are doing now is just speaking about the economics in the province, that is all. Now, the Premier is being‑‑well, I do not know exactly what word to use without being unparliamentary. I was wanting, and being the last member to be speaking on this bill, to be a little positive about this.
An Honourable Member: Well, I am waiting.
Mr. Clif Evans: Well, keep waiting, just as the people in this province are waiting for you to do something, but you are doing absolutely nothing as I mentioned.
Madam Deputy Speaker, if I may continue on the
economics in rural
Mr. Filmon: It has nothing to do with this bill.
Mr. Clif Evans: It does. It does.
Mr. Filmon: The rating program is not in this bill.
Mr. Clif Evans: No, the rating program is not in this bill, but what is in Bill 9? Another committee, another board? Another window dressing, as has been indicated? There is nothing, nothing, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I do not think that anybody on this side of the House would like to see more than a performance, and a good performance, and a performance for the people in this province, and waiting for this performance from the government presently. That is all we are waiting for on this side is for some action.
Madam Deputy Speaker, as I have indicated, my comments, I did want to make my comments fairly, fairly brief to the fact, and the Premier, as usual, wants to egg on situations to make himself look decent and good. Well, I am afraid that the people in this province see the Premier for what he is, and Bill 9 will be an opportunity for this First Minister to do something about this province's economic situation‑‑take this away, take that away. I urge, and, as a representative, say to the First Minister that we will, in fact, be on the lookout and watching and hoping that through Bill 9 and through the economic board that something is going to be done, so that the board and the government does something for the people in this province, not just a flip‑flop and saying, okay later on we will do this and do that and maybe we will do this, and we will decide to have another board later for another $10 million.
Now the idea is there, the funding, $10 million. We say $10 million is a healthy amount of money to put through for something like this, and I agree, but I am also concerned as others are, is the $10 million just going to be a one‑time shot? Is it going to be something that we are going to be looking forward to over the years, so that the board can do the job, so the government can do what they say they are going to do? Is the money just going to be a one‑time shot? Is the money going to be over a period of years? Are we going to get some sort of lead from the government as far as the funding for something like this and the funding for other programs that the government in place has decided to put in?
I would like to go back again to the economic rural development programs that have not been in place, and hopefully the REDI program will do something for the rural Manitobans in this province, regardless of who is the representative, regardless of who the Premier likes to chide or shoot darts at when the time comes, and egg on, as I mentioned before.
I believe it is time, and it does not matter,
it is time that the government in place acted responsibly and acted on behalf
of the people of
An Honourable Member: Ask 60,000 people out there.
Mr. Clif Evans: True, ask 60,000 people. The minister throws his usual low‑ball shots, but does not like the fact that somebody is saying, somebody is showing, something to him. He does not like it; if it does not suit him, he does not like it. Well, I do not think anybody wants to throw low‑ball shots across the way.
Let us do something while you are across the way. Let do something while you are in government‑‑while, and I say while you are in government. For how long of a while is yet to be seen, Madam Deputy Speaker.
I would like to just say to the First Minister‑‑
An Honourable Member: Again.
Mr. Clif Evans: Again. That we here‑‑and the assistant deputy premier, just settle down a bit too. I would like to see something worthwhile coming out of Bill 9 and the economic board and an innovation and technology council. I would like to see something positive coming out of it. We all would.
We are giving you the opportunity, or you are trying to take the opportunity, to build up the province as you so say is going to come back. We are still waiting. But let us just remind the Premier (Mr. Filmon), let us remind him of all the projects that went aside. Let us remind of the unemployment in this province. Let us remind him of the trade deficit. Let us remind the Premier of the economic, I guess, the economic ladder that he is always proud to say his government in place has performed.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the people in Interlake,
the people in all the other constituencies, northern
I know that the First Minister can remember some two years, two and a half years ago when we came to his government from the Interlake requesting that his government look at the natural gas going from Gimli and north into northern Interlake and in other parts of the province. Why?
We came to the government because we in the Interlake and in other parts of northern Manitoba and constituencies who felt that with natural gas, with study as such‑‑we are still waiting for results‑‑the opportunity is there for the Premier (Mr. Filmon) to enhance the economic well‑being of northern Manitobans. We are still waiting.
Madam Deputy Speaker, everything else is in place there. The rural development boards, the people in Interlake and the people in Gimli and others are ready and are waiting. They have projects that they want to proceed with. They have funding; they are even working on their own funding to get this done, but how long are we going to wait?
I say to the First Minister, I would like to see some positive things coming out of this. I hope that I do not have to, or anybody else on this side of the House has to get up a year or two years from now and say, and reading through Hansard, the same thing again about the issue here, the act going down, that something else. We want to see something positive here. That is all we are asking.
Madam Deputy Speaker, on closing, I would just say to the First Minister that we are waiting. The track record that he has shown me and shown us and the people of Manitoba is not there, but we say, but I say, that the Premier has the opportunity with this board and the other and the council, the finances, the people in place that he has. He has the opportunity to enhance this province's ability for economic development and for any other problems that we do face right now. It is there. We are saying and I am saying to the Premier, let us see it happen, let us see it work.
Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr. Filmon: Madam Deputy Speaker, I am assuming that I am closing debate, if there are no others who wish to speak?
Some Honourable Members: Agreed.
Mr. Filmon: I am very pleased to be able to close debate and pass Bill 9 along to committee for consideration and public input to the establishment of the Economic Innovation and Technology Council. I must say that I am‑‑I should not say I am surprised because I am never surprised at the New Democratic Party representatives taking a narrow partisan view of any particular issue that comes before this Legislature.
You know, I think that the member for Interlake embarrassed himself and his predecessor a great deal by his closing comments in which he talked about the fact that the Interlake is waiting for economic development, waiting for natural gas, waiting for all sorts of development initiatives.
What he is admitting is this sad and total failure of his New Democratic colleagues in government for most of last two decades, because during those two decades they were represented totally during that period of time by one Bill Uruski, who was a member of cabinet in both Schreyer and Pawley administrations, and his successor is now admitting that he was a total failure, that he did nothing for the Interlake and that they are wanting for‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Point of Order
Mr. Clif Evans: On a point of order in regard to the First Minister's comments. Not once did I make any remarks toward the previous member of the‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for Interlake does not have a point of order. It is a dispute over the facts.
* * *
Mr. Filmon: Madam Deputy Speaker, by virtue of his acknowledgement that the Interlake is waiting for all of these things, he has admitted the failure of the New Democratic Party in government. His predecessor, who was a cabinet minister in two administrations for over two decades, did not do a thing for his area. You see, that is the point that the New Democrats now acknowledge, that they have done zero for their constituents and zero for the regions of this province that they represented over two decades. [interjection] Well, that is exactly the same thing that could be said about the northern part of this province which New Democrats have represented for the better part of two decades and have done zero for. That is the kind of thing that happens in this Legislature.
Yesterday, we have the member for Flin Flon
(Mr. Storie) on the record acknowledging that Snow Lake does not have the ore body
to carry on, when his administration was in government for most of the past two
decades and did not do anything to find an additional ore body or additional
ore. In fact, they brought in policies
that totally worked against exploration and development initiatives and
investment in northern
Well, I might say, on a more positive note, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the Economic Innovation and Technology Council fulfills the day‑to‑day requests of the Leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Doer), to broadly consult all sectors of the economy, to bring to the table labour as well as management as well as the technologies as well as business people and investors, to get them together, the brightest and best minds in this province, developing strategies for the future economic growth of this province.
An idea that the leader of the New Democratic Party has called upon this government to implement is being implemented as a result of Bill 9, and his party dumped all over it. So, it just shows the total absence of strategy, the total absence of knowledge, the total absence of direction on that side of the House, where they take an idea that has been fostered and recommended by their Leader and they dump all over it. Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, that is the kind of rag‑tag group that we are dealing with in the New Democratic caucus. We understand why they are getting absolutely nowhere when they can take a good idea, an idea that their Leader has espoused, and dump all over it.
This council represents not only consultation, not only a broadly representative group of capable people, including labour‑‑and I might say that labour representatives have been attending the early meetings of this council, have been publicly stating to their colleagues and others that this is a good idea, that it is resulting in plans and development strategies for this province that will be positive for labour, that will create investment and jobs over the term of the future, and will be a very good vehicle by which government policy can be influenced for positive results by way of economic development. All of these things have been coming through very clearly as a result of the early meetings of this council.
I met to welcome all the members who have been
appointed to the council, and I was very, very impressed. We have, certainly, the first string when it
comes to the
That is of interest to all of us. All of us want to see a stronger
economy. All of us want to see more
investments. All of us want to see
growth, targeting of the various strategic areas that
Madam Deputy Speaker, they may want to crawl under the carpet now and try and get out from under the things that they have said, but they are on the record. Their criticisms belie their comments about wanting to help in the economic growth of this province. They show how shallow and insincere their leader is when he offers to have their party's co‑operation on matters of economic growth and investment. That is how shallow they are when they just want to use this for their own narrow partisan purposes and dump on the efforts of some of the most capable people in this province.
The fact of the matter is that the Economic Innovation and Technology Council is made up of some very, very capable and bright, knowledgeable people. They are going to be very instrumental in developing for us the strategy for economic growth that will see this province continue to strengthen and grow in the '90s and beyond. They are the people who will make a major contribution through their efforts and their advice to government, and we welcome this board and this council for its potential and indeed for the tremendous efforts that they will put in to the future growth of this province.
I recommend the passage of this legislation to all members of the Legislature as a signal to all sectors of our economy. The labour people who are represented on this board, the business people, the professionals, the people with experience in so many areas, the academics, for the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen), who are on this board and have a great deal to contribute towards economic growth‑‑give them the signal that they are wanted and that they are supported on a nonpartisan basis and that their efforts will be listened to and will be utilized for the betterment of the people of this province, and I recommend it for passage in this House, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question? The question before the House is second reading of Bill 9 (The Economic Innovation and Technology Council Act; Loi sur le Conseil de l'innovation economique et de la technologie). Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? [Agreed]
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on second reading of Bill 10 (The Manitoba Hydro Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Hydro‑Manitoba), on the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).
Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin? [Agreed]
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Madam Deputy Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise and speak on Bill 10. Bill 10, of course, is a relatively short bill, but I believe that is not an indication of its importance to the people of this province. It has, I think, significant importance.
It reflects a philosophy and approach by this government towards hydro, towards northern development, towards hydro development which I think bears commenting on and bears thorough debate in this forum as well as the province at large.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the bill specifically, of course, gives the borrowing authority to Hydro a significant increase from $150,000 to $500,000‑‑[interjection] Pardon me, $500 million. I missed those last three zeros. As the minister says, he is in the big leagues. We are all in the big leagues. More aptly, Hydro is now in the big leagues. Hydro has a borrowing power of $500 million.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to take a few moments to review just exactly where it is that this government intends to lead the people of this province and specifically on the issue of the $13‑billion Conawapa project. I hear the minister indicating, excellent program. If only he could convince the former Minister of Energy and Mines of that, then he would have some credibility on this side of the House, but he cannot even do that. There is not solidarity inside the cabinet of the government itself on this issue. How can he expect the members of this House to have confidence when he says the deal is an excellent deal?
Madam Deputy Speaker, looking back just a few years, just a few years back when Limestone was being proposed and the tables were turned, we can remember back when the New Democratic Party member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) was the minister when they were proposing Limestone, and we can remember specifically the many quotes made by Conservative members leading up to the Limestone deal.
Specifically, Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to quote the statements of the‑‑
Point of Order
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert): Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order. The honourable member is swaying off a little bit on relevancy. Nowhere in this bill does it mention Conawapa or Limestone. This is dealing with the loans, and I would ask you to bring the honourable member to order.
Mr. Doug Martindale (Deputy Opposition House Leader): Madam Deputy Speaker, on the same point of order. I believe that it is the practice of this House that the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker have always given great latitude to members to speak on bills. I would hope that you would allow the member to continue in the same vein. Thank you.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader): Madam Deputy Speaker, I do not even believe great latitude would have to be given. Everything that the member for St. James has said has been fully in order.
I would suggest to the member for St. Norbert that he should realize the bill that he is talking about is borrowing money for hydro development, and the member for St. James is talking about hydro development.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. In my opinion, the principles of the bill, having perused the bill, are the borrowing powers for Hydro. In my opinion, the honourable member's remarks were somewhat relevant to the bill and there is not a point of order.
* * *
Mr. Edwards: Madam Deputy Speaker, as I was saying, it was just a few short years ago that the tables were turned when Manitoba Hydro was heading into building the Limestone project‑‑[interjection] I am talking about, for the member's edification on the other side, Hydro. Admittedly, I am going to talk about what Hydro has been doing with the monies that it has been allowed to borrow and gain from sales of power in this province. That is a legitimate topic, given the fact that this government wants to increase their borrowing power to $500 million.
Madam Deputy Speaker, what has led us to the
point today is a strategy of Manitoba Hydro supported by the then NDP
government, now the Conservative government, of a megaproject development in northern
Mr. Filmon indicated in the Winnipeg Free Press, March 20, 1985: It would not make sense to proceed with Limestone based on the possibility of future sales. March 8, 1985: The government's NDP promise on the Limestone project is all paper projections. What they are doing is to jack up our hydro rates and make the province unattractive to investment.
Those were his comments at the time.
The member for
They commenced construction in the spring of
1985, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I want to read from the Manitoba Hydro‑Electric
Board's 36th Annual Report for the year ended March 31, 1987, which indicates‑‑and
keep in mind that construction started in the spring of 1985‑‑that
in January of 1987 Manitoba Hydro applied to the National Energy Board for a licence
to export 200 megawatts to the Northern States Power Company. In February of 1987 an agreement was signed
with the Minnesota Power and Light Company and negotiations continued‑‑and
this is as of the Annual Report from the end of 1987‑‑on a power sale
and diversity exchange with
The fact is that even on the admission of the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) in his recent comments on this bill, February 24 of this year, the NDP were an abysmal failure in pushing ahead Limestone when they did and they sacrificed‑‑and there is no question that some benefited in the North from the training programs and such and so forth. There is no question about that.
The issue is they sacrificed the potential. They sacrificed it on a very, very large scale, Madam Deputy Speaker, and sacrificed an opportunity which will not quickly come again. I want briefly to comment on and review the member for Point Douglas' (Mr. Hickes) comments of February 24.
First of all, I commend him for being so candid in his comments because he was, and those of us who were here to hear his comments will recall that. He indicates: "I, for one, am not against building Conawapa, and I do not think anybody on this side of the House is against Conawapa."
He is quite clear about that on behalf of the New Democratic Party at the time. He then goes on to say: "Getting back to the whole issue of Manitoba Hydro and Conawapa; I do not know why the government cannot come out and say, look,‑‑or take it back to the Public Utilities Board. For them to say, look, it makes financial, economic sense and that is why we should go ahead with it. Even if it means that the only reason for building Conawapa today is to export power for sale."
That is his comment at the time. If it is export and export only, so be it; let us build it. That is the member for Point Douglas' statement, Madam Deputy Speaker, a statement, I might add, which flies directly in the face of what was Bill 16 put forward by the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) in the spring of 1988, that ill‑fated session from the New Democratic Party‑‑Bill 13, The Manitoba Hydro Amendment Act, which said in Section 16.1: The corporation may enter into a contract for export for the supply outside Canada of power generated in Manitoba only if the power to be supplied is surplus to the reasonable foreseeable demands of Manitobans and other purchasers in Canada.
But, no. The member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) disagrees with that, with his own party's bill prior to their demise in 1988. He says, whatever the cost we do not need to worry about Manitobans' needs, we will do hydro development for export sale and export sale only. One assumes that he is speaking for his party when he says that. He is, after all, the critic. [interjection]
Well, I am going to read the rest of it. The member for Point Douglas says, read the rest of it. I will be pleased to go through just some of the choice highlights of the rest of his comments. He indicates on the issue of environmental assessment, do Conawapa, just do it right. He says that again, just do it right. Well, what does "right" mean to the member for Point Douglas. He says, we need to do an environmental assessment. Some honourable member, it does not say which one, quite astutely points out that the NDP, when they built Limestone, did not do an environmental assessment. Too bad. They had been in power for many years, brought The Environment Act in, that is true, a year after‑‑in fact, I am sorry, two years after they had started construction on Conawapa they finally brought it in in 1988.
Madam Deputy Speaker, he says, specific on the issue of the environment, that it was in 1987 that the NDP first put The Environment Act in. He is a little bit out on that. It was 1988 actually, and in fact it was just before they were defeated. He said, his quote: "We learn as we progress."
A fine time to have learned that an environmental assessment should be done, two years after they have started Limestone, the biggest development in this province, certainly during their tenure if not in the history of the province, with the largest environmental impact of any project in the history of this province. They learn as we progress. I would change the word "progress." I am not sure. Clearly, they did learn something. Progress, I think, is another issue.
He says, yes: "When Limestone was built there was no environment act in place, and the NDP recognized that." Good point. Clearly, they recognized that The Environment Act was not in place. That is why they started it, and that is why The Environment Act came in after they had gone well down the road to completing Limestone.
The member for Point Douglas goes on, another clear statement: "Oh no. I support the development of dams any day."
"So you are in favour of it now," one honourable member says. "I have always been from Day One. I have never been against it." There is a carte blanche in effect from the member for Point Douglas to build, whatever the cost, Madam Deputy Speaker. He says that one of the other advantages of building these dams is that it creates employment and training opportunities for northerners. That is clear; that is an opportunity which rarely comes into the hands of any government, to have that type of development with those kinds of dollars involved, clearly in an area that needs, deserves, those kinds of training opportunities.
The member for Point Douglas talks about the need for those in Conawapa, Madam Deputy Speaker, but he does not deny the disgraceful performance of the NDP with respect to training of northerners and aboriginal peoples in the construction of Limestone. He does not deny that.
What he says is, Madam Deputy Speaker: "If you look at Manitoba Hydro‑‑and
I encourage any member of this House to go to their big building on Taylor
Avenue and take a walk through that building and tell me how many aboriginal
people work in that building‑‑where does Manitoba Hydro get their
resources from? Is it from the
South? No, it is from northern
"If you look at the
Madam Deputy Speaker, did the NDP ever do that? Did they ever populate Manitoba Hydro's offices with aboriginal people? Did they ever populate the Manitoba Hydro Board with aboriginal people? No. They had an opportunity. They were building Limestone. Did they do their job? No, they did not do their job.
He says in his pivotal quote on training: "When we are all gone, our children, are they going to say the same thing that I am standing here today saying‑‑" That is February of this year. "‑‑that Manitoba Hydro takes their resources from the North, and there is nothing or very little left for aboriginal people?" That is the legacy, Madam Deputy Speaker, of the New Democratic Party by the admission of their critic on their legacy in the last years in this province.
The fact is the member right. He stood in his place as he said he did in
February of this year and he said, it is a disgrace what has happened to
They were not Manitobans, but they were here to take the jobs, and he, in fact, admits that as well. Again, I appreciate his candidness on this issue. He says: "They had to be. The first clause was northern aboriginal people; the second clause was northerners. Then you had union members brought in." That is the admission of the New Democratic Party. To my knowledge, that is the first time that has been admitted in print. For that, I think we all have to thank the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) for putting it on the record and telling us how not to do hydro development in the future.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the fact is that we must look very carefully and cautiously at this type of development, not just because of the dollars involved, but because of the environmental cost that is at stake, both human and physical on the social and physical environment in northern Manitoba, as well as the need for Manitobans to carefully, and with the view toward stewardship of our resources, provide for future generations.
Madam Deputy Speaker, with respect to the further comments of the Conservatives at the time that Limestone was built, and then I will leave this, I want to note that the Premier said October 12, 1984, that: Our objection is to the attempted early start‑up of the Limestone without any apparent justification. We suspect that it is a bad judgment based on historical analysis of what happened to hydro rates in the 1970s. If Limestone is being started a year or two before the necessary time, it could result in massive and unwarranted increases in our hydro rates.
Well, that was about Limestone‑‑now to Conawapa. Conawapa was being talked about by Manitoba Hydro and the New Democratic Party at least as early as 1984 by my recollection and my review of Hansard in the House. Madam Deputy Speaker, it is important to note that the first projection for the need of the power from Conawapa was that it would be needed by Manitobans in 1997. That was the first indication that we received that the power would be needed, and that was the first projection that was made. Then it moved to 1999.
When this government took office, it had moved to the year 2000, Madam Deputy Speaker‑‑[interjection] The former Minister of Energy and Mines is correcting me, and I am willing to consider his objection, because he knows and he has a reputation for clarity and honesty in this House. He says I am off on that, perhaps it was 1999, when they came into office. In any event, it went to 2000. Then, it went to 2001.
At that point, it is my advice and my
information that the negotiations with
So we have a commitment to
The result of all of that was, in front of the
Public Utilities Board, that the Conawapa project was approved. It was approved because‑‑and it
is true that the Public Utilities Board did take into account the swing in the
If one looks at the records and one looks at
the documents that were supplied to the Public Utilities Board, they were of the
view that Manitoba may not need the power in 2001, but that they would need it
in 2005; and 2005, keep in mind, is when that extra 500 megawatts comes into
play. They said
Madam Deputy Speaker, the former Minister of
Energy and Mines and, I believe, the Public Utilities Board may say that
Conawapa may not lose large amounts for Manitoba. They may say that, but what they will not say
is that we have in any way maximized the resource in northern
We came to this House, based on the commitments, the statements from the former minister, that could he rethink this, could he renegotiate this, he would want to. We came to the House and said, look, here is an opportunity. You have a legal opinion saying the deal is binding. Here is a legal opinion saying maybe it is not so binding.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I am not here to say which one of those would necessarily win the day in a court of law. I am not here to say that. What I am here to say is that the government has yet to release to us the full legal opinion that they had and has yet to tell us on what basis they are not using the opportunity to renegotiate with Ontario Hydro which we gave them.
It was the only leverage they had to try and salvage the opportunity and the potential of that deal, and they are squandering that. Why? I believe out of straight political opportunism. They want this to go ahead. They want it to go ahead for their political schedule, Madam Deputy Speaker, and as important as that, they could not stand to have an opposition party look like it was giving them a hand to do the right things for Manitobans. That is the fact.
The fact is that it would hurt their pride to say, even though they beg for good ideas all the time, that they could use what was given to them, what was solicited by this party and given to them, which was leverage from an Ontario law firm‑‑because this may well be litigated in Ontario under Ontario law‑‑that they could use that to go to Ontario and say, things have changed in this province; we want to push it back; we want to renegotiate. The fact is that would be the smart thing to do, Madam Deputy Speaker. [interjection]
Madam Deputy Speaker, the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) says, what if we change our mind? Since 1986, the projections for Manitobans' needs for this power has done nothing but go further and further back. Has it ever come forward? No. It started in 1997; it went to 1999; it went to 2000; it went to 2001; it went to 2005 and now to 2012. The fact is if the member for Point Douglas can read the trends of history, that by the time we actually build this thing, it may be well beyond the year 2012 that we need this power. If anything, one should be able to predict that, if there is going to be a change, and when Manitobans need it. That is the fact.
There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by using the opportunity, the only opportunity that this government has now. It must act now to use what leverage it has to renegotiate that deal in the best interests of Manitobans. It is not doing it for the most petty political reasons which do nothing to distinguish it from the people it criticized in the early '80s, the New Democratic Party, for abusing what is always going to be a short‑term economic boost.
If you spend $13 billion, you are darn right it is going to help the province. You are darn right it is going to create an economic boost, and that is for the first 10 years. Once it is built, the fact is that to keep the‑‑[interjection] Madam Deputy Speaker, the member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson) seems intent on saying something to me. I will be pleased to listen to his comments on this bill in due course. I notice he has not said anything yet, and he does not say much on any bill, but I always look forward to his comments because they are so few and they cost the taxpayer of this province so much. There are so few of them, Madam Deputy Speaker. I hope I prompted him to speak on Bill 10, because it is a very important one.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the fact is that the New
Democratic Party, if they left any legacy in this area, left us the legacy of
how not to develop hydro in northern
They have increased the borrowing power of
Hydro. They have consistently shown that
they want to build before they think, before they do the full environmental
review. They tied themselves into a
contract with penalty clauses which means that they and Hydro will have a
vested interest in making sure that they get the right result in the
environmental process. It is an inherent
conflict of interest for them to be locking themselves into those penalty
clauses while, at the same time, being the proponent. It simply does not fly, and the people of
The candidate for
Did they listen to him, Madam Deputy Speaker? No. Do they listen to what their own former minister the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) put forward in Bill 16 in 1988 in this House that Manitobans' needs should be the starting point for hydro development in the North? No. The member for Point Douglas, their critic says, build, build, build at any cost, any time, I do not care. That is his message to the members of this Legislature. Forget about the real cost in the long term to this province. Forget about the abysmal failure of the NDP in the northern training programs. This government is repeating that scenario. [interjection]
The member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson) has now managed to spit out the words that he has been trying to get out for some time, and he says he wants an opinion, Madam Deputy Speaker. Had he been listening, had he been reading the opinion that was tabled in this House, he would know that there is only one way to go in order to serve the best interests of Manitobans. That is to take the opportunity which is here now to renegotiate that deal. The member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld), the former Minister of Energy and Mines, has recommended that course of action. I agree with it. Seize the opportunity. Renegotiate this deal so that we have the long‑term interest of Manitobans protected, because the NDP did not.
The NDP squandered that opportunity and has
created a legacy of waste of the opportunity which was open to them. The member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) was
employed in Sundance dealing with the training programs. In his own comments, he talks about the
despicable lack of sensitivity and of long‑term results for the people of
This government is repeating that same scenario. It is time to think first and build later.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): It is with great pleasure that I rise today to take a few minutes to address Bill 10. In fact, Madam Deputy Speaker, in beginning, I was very interested in the comments just made by the member of the Liberal Party who appears to have taken heart to comments made by that great Conservative MLA from the past, one Abe Kovnats, who said, when you are in opposition you can have it both ways.
I think we can add to that now by saying that the Liberal Party with its seven seats believes that you can take that one step better; that you can in fact have it all ways; that there are more than two ways to the argument. The argument that seems to fit is the one that they will take.
The Liberal Party has very little prospect of having to deal with coming to power in this province and having to deal with this situation that we are going to have to deal with Conawapa in the next couple of years. So I suppose that it is fair that they can make irresponsible charges and irresponsible statements and expect that in fact they could get away with them, because in fact they will never be called to account for their statements on this issue.
I might remind the member for St. James (Mr.
Edwards) that it was a predecessor of his, the last Liberal Premier in this province,
D.L. Campbell, who in fact brought in electrification to this province and took
Manitoba, some would argue, out of the Dark Ages into a period where we had
rural electrification in this province and where we had electricity on the
farms. Is the member for St. James
suggesting that somehow he and his Liberal Party are going to take us, a la
Just yesterday, Mr. Kevin Kavanagh, the former president of Great‑West Life, evidently chided the Liberals in committee for their totally irresponsible position on the Conawapa issue. Mr. Kavanagh is somebody who the Liberal Party would normally pay some attention to. When Mr. Kavanagh would call, the Liberal Party would be quick to respond and listen to what he had to say. Obviously, they have fallen off the rails a bit with respect to the advice he may have been giving them.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I must say that the whole attitude, the whole political attitudes of society have actually changed, and I think for the better, over the last couple of years. In fact, it is a fact that 20 or 30 years ago there was a common disregard for the environment, and I think that all parties of all stripes, of all ideologies across this world, pursued development because they were coming out of a situation where in fact there was no development, and any development to them seemed like an improvement.
After a certain level of development had been achieved, and perhaps a certain level of overdevelopment had been achieved in certain jurisdictions and certain countries, it has become clear that with this development in place, that we have now seen that where there is an action, there is a reaction. Where a development has taken place, where automobiles have been produced, what we have found over a period of years is a reaction against that. The reaction is not only the clogged streets and so on in the case of the automobiles, but the pollution and so on that is engendered.
There comes a point where, in fact, unfettered development of anything, be it automobiles or hydro dams or what have you, can lead to a situation where a pollution problem can develop, and that is essentially the situation that we are trying to face at the moment on a world‑wide basis. How do we in the future have development, have rational development which is necessary for continued development of society, but do it on the basis that we do not harm our environment?
I think that should or probably does cut across all party lines, that no one in this Legislature in today's environment, in today's day and age wants to see development just for the sake of development. So the question rises, then what are our definitions of development at all costs, and it is fine for previous speakers to take whacks at the previous government and say, well, you did not do this environmental study correctly and you did not do that study correctly. In those days, who did? In those days, on a world‑wide basis, it was development for development sake, and years ago the governments of the day allowed pulp mills across the country to set up shop and, in the case of the Kenora area, to pollute the waterways, pollute the fish, and the taxpayers were forced to clean up the mess that occurred after that.
That sort of development today is passe. Governments of all stripes‑‑the Conservatives tend to take a little harder look at these things and be a little more reluctant to be brought along the environmental path, but even they too are now paying some attention to developmental questions and are not as trigger happy as they once were.
Now, there are some exceptions to that. We have argued that the minister in charge of the Oak Hammock Marsh debacle has been a little trigger‑happy with the bulldozers, and we will criticize when we see instances such as this happening. No doubt this government, because of its large influence from the developers‑‑and let us not kid ourselves, it is still very much under the influence and control of the developers‑‑it will have a tendency to involve itself in development schemes with a secondary glance towards the regulatory rules, and we do not expect a Conservative government to be as concerned with the environmental controls and so on as we would expect from a social democratic government. Those are our expectations.
But having said that, I will say that this is where the role of the opposition comes in. It is our role to remind the government and to prod the government and make certain that the government develops in a very responsible way and does not take any short cuts and so on that would allow us to have a boondoggle on our hands. I think that they probably secretly appreciate that as well.
In this particular case, the government is going through the environmental stages that it now must go through and we, quite frankly, feel that, in light of changing circumstances‑‑and circumstances have been changing rather rapidly; we are finding out things today that we did not know six months ago.
With the greater attempts at conservation that we are finding today over the last couple of years‑‑because after all, to the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), I think he will agree with me that, in fact, in 1986‑87 there was not anywhere near the recognition of the need for conservation that there is today on the part of all parties.
So, today governments across the country are suggesting that somehow we should look at conserving electricity as opposed to developing. The Manitoba Hydro used to run ads promoting the consumption of hydro in this province. So it is comforting to know that the hydro utility in jurisdictions now across the world are taking the initiative to encourage conservation which, in some respects, is against their interests of selling more power, and that these companies are suggesting that conservation can save money and can save the environment.
This is a good sign; this is something that we want to encourage. In the context of that I think it is important that the government revisit the environmental process to make absolutely certain that this deal makes sense, because the more we delve in, the more time that goes by, the more water that runs under the fridge in this case; we are beginning to see that perhaps this deal is not as good as it may have looked ten years ago. [interjection]
The Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) from his seat basically agrees with what I have been saying, and that is that in the past years hydro developments were required because‑‑
Point of Order
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs): Madam Deputy Speaker, I do not want the member to put something on the record that is not accurate. I do not agree with what he is just saying.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The honourable minister does not have a point of order; it is a dispute over the facts.
* * *
Mr. Maloway: What I said is that the hydro developments in the 1970s were required because there was an increasing demand for hydro power, and it was in a time when we did not necessarily know or understand any negative aspects of hydro development. So in the context of the 1960s and the 1970s, surely he would agree with me that the developments were necessary.
Is the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) saying now that somehow the developments of the '70s were not required? Is that what he is saying? I am saying no. I am saying that he agreed with our government in the 1970s and '80s that those developments were required because there was an increasing demand.
We are in a different environment in today's day and age that requires better examination of the projects, and what we are asking him to do is make certain that these studies are done and that the project be proceeded with in the context of the need for the power and in the context of what some of the shortcomings might be to hydro development.
The minister should be aware that perhaps 10 years ago, when the environment was not the issue that it is right now, in fact, the environmental questions were not something that were of major concern. The question of the mercury leaching from the ground and harming the fish and so on was not something that was of a high priority in those days. The question of the ozone layer being affected was not a question. In fact, I do not believe it has been entirely established at this point as to whether or not it is a material concern, but what we are going to find as we replicate dam after dam in the province, we may find that we have built ourselves a Pandora's box of problems here and so we are asking the government‑‑Madam Deputy Speaker, I found my notes on the question of the mercury.
On the question of the mercury, I am informed
that the mercury leaches out of the soil and that leached mercury becomes toxic
to the fish and in fact the whole food chain.
These were concerns that were not paramount 10, 15 years ago, and they
have come to the fore now, so these are concerns that this government has to
take into account before it proceeds full bore on the hydro development. The question of the rotting vegetation from the
frozen bogs‑‑[interjection] Well, the Minister of Health is making
comments from his seat, but what I would like to refer to him is that in areas
of the province where we have permafrost, when the flooding occurs the
permafrost thaws and the thawing, particularly in the James Bay area and so on,
has released methane gas which has an effect on the ozone layer. So I say to the members opposite that they
have to consider these issues and these are issues that were not necessarily at
The members opposite can criticize all they want, and the member of the Liberal Party can criticize all he wants the actions or the lack of action of the previous government, but it is drawing a long bow now, because we are now four years away from that government. We are now four years along where this particular government has led us down the road where we are 10 out of 10 in all the provinces in economic indicators, and they are certainly running out of any type of good news that they could possibly buy support or convince people to support them in this province, so I can see them being somewhat edgy.
Madam Deputy Speaker, Bill 10 itself in fact increases the borrowing authority of Hydro from $150 million to the $500 million, and this money is to be used for Conawapa‑related developments, studies and roads, I am told. The minister shakes his head.
The question is, Madam Deputy Speaker, as to whether or not the hydro is needed. I do not deny that the hydro will be needed at a certain point in our involvement. Because no matter how much effort we make to conserve the electricity in this society, no matter how much the Liberals drive us back to the Stone Age and cut off the lights, even the Liberals cannot possibly force us into a situation where we are going to have massive decreases in power consumption in this province and where we are not going to require this hydro development.
The point is that we are going to need this development. The question is when. That is really the question here as to when we are going to need this, and even the former minister, the member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld), takes issue with the government on the question of the timing as to when this development is needed.
You know, the members opposite make light of the timing of this, but they should be aware of the value of money and the time of money. [interjection] The Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) is obviously not aware of the banker's rule of 72 in which you can judge the time effect, the time lapse of money. The minister should know that one only has to take the interest rate or the number of years and divide into 72 to arrive at the other. So, if the member is trying to find out how much his money will double at 8 percent, he divides 8 into 72 and finds out that his money doubles in nine years and vice versa.
The members opposite would do well to learn the banker's rule of 72 because it will serve them well in their deliberations as to when money should be spent, because the fact of the matter is that if this power is not required until the year 2012, then that is 11 years before the power is required, Madam Deputy Speaker. You know, if you were to divide even 10 into 72, to make the figures nice and easy, money would double in 7.2 years.
So essentially, money that the minister is spending 11 years before he has to is going to be a major cost to the taxpayers of this province. This is on the part of a government that literally rants and raves about fiscal responsibility, about how it is so careful with the taxpayers' money and how it is concerned about saving money for the taxpayers, and here to win, to give it an advantage for the 1992 election. It is basically going full speed ahead on a project that is being purported to be needed about 11 years after they originally thought it was due.
Now, if that is not slavishness with an eye on the next election, I do not know what is. They are going to build this dam and spend money 11 years earlier than they have to, to save their political skins in the next election, and the skins are pretty thin right now. The polls are showing that they are dropping. I am sure they are very concerned about this. They only have the 30 seats. They are doing their utmost to alienate some of their members right now.
So I do not blame them for wanting to get Conawapa underway, because the sooner they get in underway, the sooner they can give the impression that the economy is turning around, that they are, in fact, doing something for development. They can create this illusion that something is happening to give them this sense in the public that they are putting the province back to work.
Now, I do not have to give them their election '92 campaign. They have already worked out this scenario. This whole campaign, this whole Conawapa campaign is designed around the centre piece of the 1992 election. So if there were studies that came out now that showed it were not due until 1998 or the year‑‑well, if there were studies out right now that showed that it was not usable or we did not require the power for another 10 years, they would have to come up with some other idea to argue that it had to be built now because without Conawapa, they do not have an election. Without that, they do not have any possibility of winning in 1992. They know that people do like, and governments do like, toys. Megaprojects are part of the government toys.
We all know that in 1988, the federal
government, which is great at making announcements in advance of the election campaign,
announced megaprojects right across the country. They announced
I predict that with this government, too. I cannot believe that they are totally irresponsible, so I can see them starting the program, attempting to win the election on the basis of Conawapa in 1992, and if they are successful, then having to cost the taxpayers a tremendous amount of money, because then they will have concluded that they are in fact building it too soon, and that they will lower the rate of development in it and even out the development over a longer period of years.
In the final analysis, what we will end up doing is we will probably have Conawapa closer to when it is due, but the political considerations of the government will dictate that an enormous amount of money be spent early on in an effort to give them that little bump they need to try to take them into the next election.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I have my doubts whether that is going to be successful in the long run that they are going to be able to campaign on that successfully, because the way the trend is going here, I think, we are finding conservation‑‑I think that when we look back at the last couple of years, we are going to find that our efforts at conservation across the country are perhaps going to be more effective than we, in fact, anticipated they would be.
I believe that what we are going to find is perhaps more room and more surpluses. There is the potential for more surpluses, greater surpluses than we originally thought to be available to the public in terms of hydro. That scenario will make it even more difficult for this government to follow through its election scenario for Conawapa, because what it is finding itself‑‑it may have to delay the election for a year; it may have to go right to 1993 because it may not‑‑[interjection] Yes, as a matter of fact, it may have to abolish the next election for a couple of years so that they can time this Conawapa build with the next election, because that is what this whole Conawapa project has been built upon, the re‑election of the Tories 1982. They know, Madam Deputy Speaker, without that that they are dead ducks, that there is no hope for this party, and that the Conawapa is the only hope.
Now, they will argue that their thoughts are
pure, that they have no intention of trying to bamboozle the public into supporting
them for another term based on Conawapa.
They will use all those arguments, but I think the public attitude has changed
somewhat. I do say that the attitude has
changed somewhat, but the public might still want the development. They do not want to move back, as the
Liberals would have them move, back into the 1930s and '40s before electrification. They do not want the Liberal option, Madam
Deputy Speaker. They reject the public
That particular public may be more sympathetic to the holding off of the Conawapa. But I can tell you that the native groups on the reserves up North want the development. They realize that hydro development has provided enormous benefits for people on the reserves in this province.
I would like to send the Liberals‑‑I would like to see the seven Liberals if they can get‑‑
An Honourable Member: Six.
Maloway: The six
Liberals. I would like to see the six Liberals
when they are not out trying to save their necks in Crescentwood, I would like
to see what is left of the Liberal Party go up and tour northern
I say it is an attitude that has just come
about with the Liberal Party because they have been polling recently, and if anybody
has been talking to a Liberal in this House, they know the Liberals are
polling, because they are trying to make the best out of a very bad situation
for the Liberal Party in
The members in the Liberal Party are jumping ship. In fact, their recent convention had 200 people at it, I believe. Their nomination people had a hundred, I think it was, and half of them were paid to be there. The Liberal Party, Madam Deputy Speaker, is heading back down very fast from whence it came, back to its 6 percent, back to its no seats in the Legislature. So it is fine for the Liberal Party to be self‑righteous and try to get a few votes here in Crescentwood to save what is essentially a sunk ship and try to build themselves up as a party that has something to say that is relevant on this issue.
I think that at the end of the day, the
northerners will not be standing with the Liberal Party and supporting their
views. At the end of the day, any thinking people in
What they are going to do, I believe, is support a party that provides a rational argument, a rational assessment of the issues involved here in the hydro debates, and I think that while they may agree with the government to a large extent on this issue, I think that there is a fundamental reluctance on the part of the electorate in this province to go too overboard with the Conservatives. We have seen that in past elections when they had nothing holding them back. They had a free run to the goal post, and yet the Conservatives could not come through. They could not come through. The public would not trust them with a free rein on the province.
I think it is still there, Madam Deputy Speaker. I think there is a reluctance to give the Conservatives a free hand, and I think the public looks at the opposition. They look to the NDP for us to make certain that this government allows the development of Conawapa on a rational basis, that they are reined in, that they are allowed to proceed very carefully, that the proper studies are followed and that this is not used as nothing more than a public‑relations gimmick and a gimmick in the 1994 election to get this government re‑elected.
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
I think that those are concerns that the Crescentwood voters are concerned with right now, and that there is some benefit for the Conservative government here to take heart with some of the comments we are making and be careful in how fast they move on this effort.
We have to look at the damage to the environment. Years ago there may have been some lack of concern in that area, and perhaps just plain lack of understanding because perhaps the evidence was not available at that time, but today many, many more people are concerned about the potential for the environmental damage. Even if the environmental damage is minimal, even if all the studies have been done, the fact of the matter is that history of our society is such that no matter how much study has been done, there is always the potential for things to be missed, results to be improperly analyzed and an incorrect assessment to be made of the true effects to the environment that this damage can cause.
The people in northern
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that the people up north, the people in this province trust this government to proceed on a project of this magnitude on their own. I think that they look to us for some leadership and direction on this issue. With that, I am prepared to let this bill go to committee.
Mr. Downey: Mr. Speaker, I wish to close debate on Bill 10.
Mr. Speaker: Was there leave to allow this matter to remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman)? Yes, I believe there was. Leave had already been granted to have this matter remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin.
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. It appears there is a willingness to move this bill along. Would the House want to rescind leave for this matter to remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman), so that this bill can move along? [interjection] Yes, okay, so this bill, therefore, I would ask the question‑‑
Kevin Lamoureux (
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I was just going to ask the House if there was a willingness of the House to rescind leave, and I was just going to ask the question. We will do this again. Order, please.
For the benefit of the member for
An Honourable Member: There may be a move to call it six.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the will of the House to call six o'clock? No? Okay.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
ADDRESS FOR PAPERS REFERRED FOR DEBATE
Speaker: On the
motion of the honourable member for
THAT an Address for Papers do issue praying for:
The text of the formal opinion requested from the Department of Justice by Health department officials on whether there is anything that would interfere with enforcement of The Public Health Amendment Act, Statutes of Manitoba Chapter 62 (formerly Bill 91), also known as the antisniffing legislation, standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik). Stand?
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Mr. Speaker: Is there leave that this matter remain standing? [Agreed]
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): Yes, I have leave to speak on‑‑
Mr. Speaker: No, you do not need leave, no. Leave has been granted to have this matter remain standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).
Mr. Storie: Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed somewhat, I have to say, that this Address for Paper continues to stand in the member for Lac du Bonnet's (Mr. Praznik) name. Clearly, we have been asking this government for some answers for a long time. I cannot understand, quite frankly, the reluctance on the part of the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to deal with this issue.
Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that is putting at risk the lives of literally dozens of people in Manitoba‑‑dozens of people. The Minister of Health is charged with the responsibility of protecting the health of Manitobans. Not only has the minister refused to act on a bill that was passed, I believe unanimously by this Legislature, and to date, we have seen only stonewalling by the Minister of Health.
Mr. Speaker, what is the minister being asked to do? What is this House asking for? It is asking for some sort of opinion from the Justice department, from the Minister of Health, other legal opinions, as to why this bill cannot be proceeded with, why we cannot have regulations under this bill protecting the lives of children across this province.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), who is seemingly immune to criticism from time to time, is going to be faced, in fact, is faced right now, with the prospect of knowing that because of his inaction, young people have died and are ruining their lives today by sniffing and abusing substances which we are making available on a regular basis, which we need not be making available on that kind of a basis.
Mr. Speaker, one has to ask the question, why is the government stalling? Why is the Minister of Health refusing to act? Why is the government now apparently delaying a simple request to share the information upon which this government is basing its delay? The Minister of Health has said on a number of occasions that this cannot proceed because of complexities, because of uncertainties about how it would be enforced, because of some legal technicalities about the nature of the bill and the obligations it imposes on others, particularly retailers. Well, all we are asking is for the Minister of Health to share this information.
Clearly, we want to be responsible. The member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis), when she introduced the bill, wanted to be responsible, sought the advice and counsel of Legislative council, sought the advice of members of this House. The debate was quite extensive, and we passed the legislation.
Manitobans have a legitimate right to ask the question: If this Legislature considered this matter important enough to pass a private members' bill, which is quite unusual, why does this Legislature not find it important enough to introduce this piece of legislation, to draft the regulations and to begin saving lives by preventing the abuse of these substances that are being sniffed?
Mr. Speaker, there are literally hundreds,
hundreds of abuse counsellors in the
I do not know how many people in this Legislature have seen, as I have seen, the impact, the effect, of someone who is sniffing. It causes permanent mental impairment. It causes, in many cases, permanent physical impairment, a deterioration of motor skills. It is one of the most debilitating things that can happen to an individual, so we are not simply talking about some esoteric piece of legislation dealing with whether this "i" is dotted or that "t" is crossed. We are not talking about protecting property. We are talking about protecting the health of individuals.
Mr. Speaker, I do not see a great deal of
attention being paid to this matter. I
see the members opposite, including the Minister of Health, engaged in
conversation, other conversation, when we are talking about something that is
within his control and jurisdiction. We
are talking about the lives of kids. We are
talking about kids as young as five years old involved in sniffing substances
which could be controlled by the
Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), I ask the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey), I ask the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) to go to our schools today‑‑inner city schools, schools in other parts of the province, in remote communities‑‑and visit the schools and talk to teachers who are seeing the results of students who are sniffing substances, solvents, hair spray and other products, which could be controlled in a much more efficient and effective manner in the interests of our children.
If the Minister of Health will not get interested, perhaps we can convince the Minister of Education to get involved in this, because the kind of impairment that sniffing causes in young children is irreversible. The kind of impairment that it causes creates failure throughout the school system. It ensures a life of poverty and despair‑‑is the only word I can use.
The teachers in this province, the abuse counsellors in this province, representatives of the Alcoholism Foundation of Manitoba know the importance of this legislation. This legislation had the support of virtually every group involved in counselling when it was introduced. It had the support of the Minister of Health. That was more than two years ago.
The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has to carry on his shoulders, not only the knowledge that he did not act when he could have acted, but the knowledge that lives have been sacrificed because of his inaction, because of his unwillingness to take chance.
Mr. Speaker, we have passed legislation in this province before that was not perfect. We have passed legislation before that has been challenged on the basis of the Charter of Rights and on other legal basis. What is the dilemma with passing legislation that is not perfect? Let us get the message out there that we want to do something on behalf of our children, on the behalf of the people who are abusing this substance, on the behalf of the people who are damaging their lives, their physical health and their mental health unwittingly. Why can we not act to protect those people‑‑a legitimate question.
For two years we have waited for action on the part of the minister. Now it appears that we are going to have to wait two more years to get any justification from the minister, and this minister wants to pretend he is somehow the saviour for health, that he is doing a competent job. This is not incompetence; this is negligence. There are some people who would say, given the consequences of what we are talking about, that it is criminal negligence because it is damaging quite clearly the health, physical, mental and otherwise of individuals in the province of Manitoba, and it is damaging them on the basis of something that can be controlled, something that can be done, only the government refuses to act.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know the exact legal definition of criminal negligence, but if the consequences of our failure to act are not criminal negligence, I do not know what is, because lives are being ruined as we speak in this Legislature. Lives are being ruined. Young children are going to go without the benefit of an adequate education because of the consequences of substance abuse, things that could be prevented.
I do not understand and I do not think
Manitobans understand the minister's silence, the minister's reluctance to
act. After two years of waiting, we
believe that it is time for the minister to respond. This motion was introduced some months ago
now, asking for the kind of information which would give us some understanding
of why the delay, some basis for tolerating this delay any longer, but the
Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has not been straightforward with the people
Mr. Speaker, it is unconscionable. For a member as sanctimonious as the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), it is unbelievable. Someone who stands and lectures people on a daily basis about their role and their responsibility, for him to ignore his role and responsibility in this callous and incompetent way, is totally reprehensible.
The Minister of Health will sit there with a smug look on his face. He will deny any responsibility for answering this order, or for doing the more responsible thing and implementing the legislation that is within his jurisdiction, and at least trying to prevent the tragedies that are occurring on a daily basis on the streets of Winnipeg and in the back lanes and in the schoolyards across the province as people destroy their lives with substances that are made available all too readily in our society.
So, Mr. Speaker, we are at a loss. We are at a loss to know where to turn. We have no willingness on the part of the government to act, and no willingness on the part of the government to provide the information which would give us some sort of basis for understanding their motives.
What are the Minister of Health's (Mr. Orchard) motives in refusing to act? How can his colleagues, who know the consequences of not doing anything, sit there so passively and not request the minister or demand the minister respond? How could the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey), who is responsible for the education of our children, sit there knowing that substance abuse is going on and the Minister of Health refuses to act? How can the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), incidentally, whose department is going to pick up the costs for repairing the lives of the people who are being damaged, sit there knowing it is going to cost the province millions and million and millions of dollars to maintain these people's lives because of the damage they are doing to themselves?
Mr. Speaker, we are all losers in this. There are no winners in this type of delay. The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) looks incompetent or callous, at best. The Ministers of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) and Education (Mrs. Vodrey) do not look any better, because they are not acting in the interests of our children, and incidentally, some young adults, primarily, who abuse substances by sniffing.
It is incomprehensible, this kind of stonewalling from the government. Who are we protecting by not acting? Are we concerned because some retailer who might want to sell a can of Lysol or a can of some other substance to sniff, shoe polish or whatever, is going to lose a sale? Is that what we are concerned about? We are concerned because some retailer might lose five cents on the sale of a product that could damage a child's life? Is that what we are delaying for? If so, I would like to hear the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) say that.
Mr. Speaker, what is the delay about? Why can we not have some information, some response, some indication that there is a light on over there in the ministry of Health, in the Minister of Health, I should say?
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) apparently may be paying more attention than he pretends. I only hope that something that I have said, or something that others may have to say, in reference to the fact that this Address for Papers remains on the Order Paper will spur him to some action, because there are consequences, very, very serious consequences for continued delay. If the Minister of Health does not have the intestinal fortitude to take on whatever boogeymen are out there preventing the implementation of this legislation, then perhaps he should do the honourable thing and pass on the responsibility to someone who will.
I look to the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), I look to the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) for some leadership on that side, and heaven knows there is impossibly little leadership ability over there, but hopefully someone will take the leadership away from the ministry of Health and do something on behalf of the children whose lives are going to be affected by substance abuse and particularly sniffing.
We cannot just stand in the Legislature and use words to defend these people's lives; sometimes we have to act, and if action means offending some retailer, offending the manufacturer of some product, then I say, let us offend them. Let us protect the interests of these children by removing these products from the shelves, limiting access to these products, and let us do it now. Let us not continue to delay, and delay and obfuscate this matter until somebody else dies or someone else's life is ruined by substance abuse. Mr. Speaker, something has to be done.
Mr. Speaker: As previously agreed, this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard).
An Honourable Member: Six o'clock.
Mr. Speaker: Six o'clock? Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock?
Some Honourable Members: No.
Mr. Speaker: No. Okay.
Res. 19‑Manitoba/Russia Agreement
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), that
WHEREAS the government of Manitoba recognizes the importance of co‑operation between the peoples in the name of peace and progress, aiming at the enhancement, the further improvement and development of the relationships between Canada and the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics; and
WHEREAS the government of
WHEREAS the government of
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba record its full support of the Manitoba/Russia Agreement on Economic, Environmental and Cultural Co‑operation.
Speaker, this agreement was signed in
Mr. Speaker, I guess my microphone is not working because the honourable member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) is having trouble hearing me. I think we might have to have them check the system, or it is possible that his hearing aid failed‑‑I am sorry.
The agreement was signed for the Russian
republic by the minister of the economy and the deputy chair of the council of ministers,
Mr. S. Sacharov. This agreement was the
culmination of a series of meetings held over several months, which had been initiated
by the activities as the Natural Resources Institute at the
Mr. Speaker, for some time, the institute had
been studying methods of co‑operation for the development of northern
areas. This had also been a high priority for the former U.S.S.R. Through
discussions with the Soviet Academy of Sciences, a number of lecturer exchanges
have been arranged, which ultimately led to several delegations from northern
In May 1991 a delegation from Manitoba
Association of Region Development Corporations met in
Mr. Speaker, this draft formed the basis for a
formal agreement encompassing the economic, environmental and cultural co‑operation. This agreement represents a milestone in government's
efforts to strengthen
This gives us the benefit of moving into an
area of the world where there has been no economy. The farming industry throughout the U.S.S.R.
has had problems over the years of having their product even get to
market. There is a very poor
transportation system throughout the
We, as Manitobans, will be able to aid the former U.S.S.R. in their transportation needs in the future and bring to them new updates to their farm implements through the industries here in our province. We have the farm implement industry here in our province that will be able to aid them throughout the process, not only with the tractors and the augers and the rest of the storage facilities that are required for the former U.S.S.R., but a number of other new technologies that are required for other industries to grow through this agreement.
This agreement will also give
This agreement identifies several priorities that will be targeted with co‑operative initiatives to enhance and establish direct links and increase exchanges between the relevant partners under this agreement. Among the priorities are: the development of new and expanded trade opportunities; additional scientific and technical exchanges in areas of mutual interest; enhanced contacts on resource and economic development priorities including agriculture, research, forestry, mineral development, hydroelectric generation, transmission and northern development; joint efforts to expand transportation and communication links including improved air service and including the expanded use of the Port of Churchill.
Mr. Speaker, as we are all aware‑‑we
have now an agreement with the U.S.S.R.‑‑we will be seeing some
U.S.S.R. ships coming into the
At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like to give some other members an opportunity to speak to this.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this particular resolution. I must indicate some disappointment that once again the government members of this House have again failed to recognize the role of this Legislature and the role of private members' hour.
It is very unfortunate that on a matter that we can achieve surely some nonpartisan agreement, we have a resolution before this House, introduced by the private member opposite who talks about WHEREAS the government of Manitoba, WHEREAS the government of Manitoba, WHEREAS the government of Manitoba, and then only talks about the Legislature in the final result, in essence, trying to suggest that it is only the government that has these concerns and that somehow the Legislature is just supposed to rubber‑stamp what the government is doing in terms of the agreement, and that is the role of private members' hour.
That is not the role of private members' hour. That is not the role. The member should have introduced a resolution that made it very clear, in terms of the WHEREASes, that these statements, which everyone in this House can agree with, should be attributed to the Legislature of Manitoba. This is not a rubber stamp for the Cabinet. It is not the rubber stamp for the government, and it is about time that government members realized that and stopped distorting the purpose of private members' hour.
I say that, Mr. Speaker, because we are
This government has lost sight of the role of the Legislature and seems to view our role as rubber‑stamping the role of this Legislature, elected by every citizen of this province, every citizen, Mr. Speaker, and that we all speak, all 57, on behalf of matters involving the province of Manitoba, not just the 30 members opposite who happen to temporarily occupy the position of government in this province.
I want to say that I hope that this government
is not going to try and give lessons on politics to the new
I want to say to the members opposite, please
do us one favour. In contacts with the
Russians, please emphasize trade. Please emphasize the Port of Churchill, in
fact, the port itself has been fighting for that; but please do not give them
any suggestions on how to run their economy.
This is the government that is tenth out of 10, dead last in
I say to the government opposite, and
hopefully to the representatives of the new
I say those comments because it is unfortunate
again that the private members' hour role has been lost and that members opposite
have not seen what we should be doing in here.
What we should be doing is not talking about the government of
This is private members' hour, and I want to know from backbenchers on the government side when they are going to start standing up to other people who are obviously saying, no, you go in there and you say what a great job the government is doing and the great job the government is doing, which is pretty difficult I realize that. I realize that it is a pretty difficult, onerous task for members opposite, but why cannot we see resolutions that deal with the views of the private members on that side and the Legislature, not the government?
The government has a thousand‑and‑one
ways of dealing with legislative matters.
It has ways of dealing with matters such as this. We do not need that kind of resolution, Mr.
Speaker, and the sad part is it distracts from the very real fact that we have a
tremendous opportunity in establishing relations with former republics in the
We have many people from the former eastern
republics. We have a natural sense.
This is where the language, the culture in
(Mr. Ben Sveinson, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
I know we have had exchanges between a number of Russian cities and Thompson. I must say, they felt quite at home in Thompson. They felt quite at home. This was from an exchange from a mining town in Siberia‑‑a great deal of similarity. I am sure they would have felt at home this May 1, Mr. Acting Speaker, when we had snow and sub‑zero degree temperatures in Thompson. It is partly that similar lifestyle, similar economic base, with a reliance on natural resources and, in particular, mining that makes it important. So that is the second reason why we need to establish those connections.
The third reason is because we have the
In the days in which the
That port is the closest maritime port to many
of the ports in the Baltic, in northern
The sad part is, for those three reasons, we
have that natural connection with
I have said publicly, and I will say again, that I believe the Manitoba/Russia Agreement is an excellent first step. I believe it should be supported by all members of the Legislature. That is the kind of resolution we should have seen before us.
We have to move quickly, Mr. Acting Speaker. I say we have six months or a year, and I say that in terms of this province, this country, and I say it in terms of western countries. If something is not done within the next six months or year to ensure there is a stable economic situation in the former republics, they will turn their back on democracy, and they will turn, if not back to the old system, they will turn instead to a system that more resembles an ultranationalist, a fascist type of government, if you wish.
They will turn their back on democracy. When one looks at the history of
I am disappointed, by the way, with the role
of the federal government. I do not
think they have been getting in there quickly enough and dealing with the
obvious connections that we have, and I wish they would be working more closely
with provinces such as
I say that if we move quickly, we can provide the Russians with what they want and what they need. They want technical advice; they want exchanges; they want economic trade, but they are willing to recognize that it has to be established on a pilot basis, so there is a great deal that they want to do.
I have talked to people who have gone directly
I heard an excellent suggestion made, for
example, by the head of the Northern Manitoba Economic Development Commission that
has been set up by the government. He
made an excellent suggestion at the recent Hudson Bay Route Association meeting
Let us do that right now, open up that kind of office space. It would not cost the government that much additional money. There may be even surplus office space that could be given in terms of a government building. Let us open that up as a first step to say that we are willing to work with you, and we are willing to shoulder some of the cost to do that, because in five and 10 and 15 years, we are going to see those initial contacts lead to significant trade.
Those are the kind of first steps we need. The second kind of thing is to encourage the kind of exchanges that have taken place in Thompson, encourage it in terms of other cities, encourage the kind of process I saw last year when I know the Premier (Mr. Filmon) and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) and, I believe, the minister responsible for Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) were in Ukraine, were in Russia and talked to officials and signed this agreement. That is positive.
You will notice that no one ever criticized the government, the Premier or anyone else for being there. No one suggested that in any way, shape or form it was a junket. We all recognized it was important for the province, Mr. Acting Speaker, and I would encourage the province to do that further in terms of, not just cabinet ministers, but other civic officials, business leaders, anyone who can have anything to offer in terms of trade and contacts with the Russians.
If we do not move now in the first six months to a year that it is available, what is going to happen is that we will miss a golden opportunity.
I want to say that I am going to propose an amendment to this resolution, and it is not to alter what I think was the intent of the member opposite. I say that, Mr. Acting Speaker, because I really wish to see private members' hour returned to what it was supposed to be, an opportunity for all members of the Legislature to speak and not simply talk about the government and rubber‑stamping what the government has done or opposing it.
I agree with what the government has done in terms of the Manitoba‑Russia Agreement‑‑the provincial government. I would encourage it to do more. I am very clear on that, and that should be a statement from the Manitoba Legislature.
That is why, Mr. Acting Speaker, I would move, seconded by the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans),
THAT the resolution be amended by deleting the word "government" in the first line of the first "WHEREAS" and substituting "Legislature", by deleting the word "government" in the first line of the second "WHEREAS" and substituting the word "Legislature" and by deleting the word "government" in the first line of the third "WHEREAS" and substituting the word "Legislature."
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Sveinson): The amendment is in order.
Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources): Mr. Acting Speaker, I rise to speak to this resolution, partly prompted by the somewhat incredible remarks of the member who has just spoken, the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).
I will deal with them briefly, but in general what this resolution in its original form asks the Legislature to consider is the promotion of trade and commerce. Wherever trade and commerce flourishes, it is inevitable that peace, prosperity, well‑being and freedom and liberty follow. I say that very sincerely because that is germane to other debates that we hear in this House. That has to do with our trading relations with the United States, potentially a large trading relationship with Mexico, not to say that there are not some serious concerns, serious disruptions, people will not lose jobs, industries will not suffer, but surely with that shining example of the economical miracle that the coming together of Europe constantly provides for us, as being one of the strongest well‑looked‑after peoples of a given region, that example should always encourage us that we are moving in the right direction when we talk about enlarging trade and commerce with countries around this globe.
So, Mr. Acting Speaker, by all means, I do not see any reason for any members being anything other than enthusiastic in their support for this resolution. The honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), and I heard him, I think other members heard him right, is that the people of the Soviet Union‑‑I will rephrase that‑‑the people of that evil Soviet empire, and Ronald Reagan was right when he called it thus, not because I said so, but just because of the terrible, heart‑rending stories that are now emerging from the orphanages of that country, from the total economic chaos of that country, from the plight of the workers in that country, from the reality of the sacrifice of the citizens of that empire. There was no exaggeration, there was no distortion in anybody referring to that as an evil empire that we saw collapse so dramatically in these last few years.
Yet the member for Thompson says that those
500 million people have nothing to learn from this government. Where has he been? What do you think they are crying out
for? What do you think they are sending
people around to us for? They have everything
to learn from this government, from any other government that has enjoyed the
prosperity, the well‑being in the free world, whether it is our country,
whether it is
But surely for the member for Thompson to say that those people, Mr. Yeltsin and company, or the people in Poland, or the people in Bulgaria or Hungary have nothing to learn from the way we conduct our affairs in a free and open society has to be the most ridiculous statement ever said in this House.
An Honourable Member: You are not the whole democratic system.
Mr. Enns: Ah, but we are part of it. Then, Mr. Acting Speaker, allow me, if the honourable member wants to make some comparison because we are in a recession, because we are not growing at 5 percent or 10 percent, because we are comfortably housed with the best medicare system in the world, because our children go to school, because we drive on good roads, because our farmers grow more food than we can eat, he is saying that we have nothing to teach the people of the Soviet Union, who are going hungry, who we have to ship food to, whose medicare system, well, there is none, whose family care services‑‑have not any of us watched the heart‑wrenching series on how that system looked after unwanted children, how that system looked after orphanages?
I ask the honourable member, had she not watched, and she is saying that our Family Services minister is not‑‑
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Sveinson): Order, please. I am having trouble hearing the honourable Minister of Natural Resources. If other members would like to carry on conversations, please do it in the loge or out in the hall.
Mr. Enns: More specific to the resolution‑‑then the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) makes another truly remarkable statement. I will forgive him because he does not have the immediate, I suppose, connections to that evil empire as some of us do.
My one remaining living aunt still lives in
that empire, in
He is right, he is absolutely right. But this landscape would be strewn with the bodies of hundreds of thousands of Canadians who if they resisted going up there were shot on their way up there. Once up there, they would have been enclosed with barbed wire, with dogs and‑‑
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Sveinson): Order, please.
Point of Order
Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader): Yes, Mr. Acting Speaker, I am rising on a provision of our rules that does allow members to clarify terms or statements‑‑
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Sveinson): Order, please. Is this a point of order?
on a point of order. You would care to
check Beauchesne on our rules, to clarify a statement that was made, and in
this particular case the member should have listened. I said the country of
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Sveinson) Order, please. The member did not have a point of order.
* * *
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
Mr. Enns: I ask them to read "The Gulag" by Solzhenitsyn. I ask them to read these stories. [interjection] No, the honourable member is saying though that he is chastising our government for not acting like the Russian government in making sure that we had a hundred thousand people in Churchill. That is what you said, and I will read Hansard to you. That is what he said.
So, Mr. Speaker, [interjection] Never
mind. The honourable member shows his
ignorance one more time. We are not
talking about the last 100 years. Eighty
years ago the
But I would hope that in the final analysis they will approve it, and they will send the right message. But let us not be fearful, or let us not keep quiet about the fact that our systems with all its failings is 10 times better, nay, 100 and 100,000 times better than what has been foisted on the Soviet people under Soviet Russia and what is still being parroted by some on the benches of honourable members opposite.
So, Mr. Speaker, it is with some considerable
pride that we offer this bridge of trade and commerce through our
Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne): Mr. Speaker, there are occasions in this House where honourable members, in attempting to make a point, will perhaps overstate their position. We have just seen two examples of that.
Mr. Speaker, this is a good resolution. This is a resolution that calls upon us in
this Chamber to support an agreement that has been signed between the
government of this province and the new country of
The point that the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) was making, I think, was a very valid one, and I think his subamendment is a very good one. He is saying, when you bring forward a resolution in private members' hour, you bring forward that resolution on behalf of this Legislative Assembly, not on behalf of the government, and you do not expect this Assembly to support government policy. I believe that the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) sees this as a friendly amendment and is prepared to support this amendment. I believe, if we are careful with the time, we in fact will be able to vote on this resolution as amended and pass it.
Because what is being asked for here is for
this Legislative Assembly to endorse a very creative agreement between Russia
and Manitoba that enhances exchange and does some of the things to correct some
of the wrongs that the member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns) mentioned. I have some good friends, both in
So, Mr. Speaker, with a very few remarks, I would like to simply say to the member for St. Norbert that I appreciate his bringing it forward, but I hope that members on the government side of this House have learned a lesson today. I hope that, in future, when we see them coming forward to this House asking for the support of this Chamber, they will listen to the words of the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) and see that these resolutions are constituted in a way that allows this Assembly truly to support them.
I am going to sit down, because I know the member for St. Norbert, as the mover of this resolution, will like an opportunity to close, and I believe there is a willingness on the part of the Chamber to pass this resolution as amended.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?
Mr. Laurendeau: Mr. Speaker, I can recognize the amendment brought forward by the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) as a friendly amendment, because I do look at the government as the Legislature as a whole, because I consider the opposition as well as the government side to be a government as a whole. So I will accept it as a friendly amendment.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable Minister of Urban Affairs.
An Honourable Member: Jim, sit down. We passed the question.
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Urban Affairs): I want to speak to it.
Mr. Speaker, I am surprised, quite frankly, at some of my honourable friends here in the Chamber who would suggest for a moment that I should not speak to a very, very important resolution, the one that deals with trade, the fact that we as a province are the first province now to enter into an agreement with the Russian republic.
We should not forget, Mr. Speaker, that the Russian republic, the largest of all of the republics in the former U.S.S.R., is the most closely aligned in terms of geography, climate, kind of industry, agriculture, things of that nature, with Canada‑‑very, very similar in nature to our country.
We have an opportunity, I think, Mr. Speaker,
through this agreement, to further the interests both of
That is the last thing on your mind. It is not a question of democracy. It is not a question of communism. It is a question of being able to feed your family, to be able to eat, to be able to live, at least exist in a reasonable manner and not the manner in which they may well come to if assistance and aid and so on are not reached with that country.
So, Mr. Speaker, there are very, very
important elements. I am proud, quite
frankly, that my colleague the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr.
Stefanson) and our Premier (Mr. Filmon) have taken the initiative, gone to
So, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to put those few words on the record with regard to this very, very important agreement. With that I will conclude.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): I appreciate the comments made by the member for Charleswood (Mr. Ernst), who of course urged us not to act in haste. Each member has a right to speak to this.
Despite the apparent unanimity on this issue, Mr. Speaker, I just want to put on record that the amendment that was introduced by my colleague has been acknowledged as a friendly amendment. I am assuming that means, before we proceed to a vote, that the government members are accepting that amendment as a friendly amendment and that, in fact, we will see support for the amendment on this motion when it comes to a vote.
I just want that to be on the record. That is the expectation. It was a friendly amendment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?
Some Honourable Members: Question.
Mr. Speaker: The question before the House is the amendment as moved by the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton). Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment? [Agreed]
The question before the House now is the resolution as moved by the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? [Agreed]
Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock? The hour being 6 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday).