Monday, May 11, 1992


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Sharon Shewchuk, Dana Cooke, Dennis Still and others requesting the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) consider a one‑year moratorium on the closing of the Human Resources Opportunity Centre in Selkirk.

Mr. Elijah Harper (Rupertsland):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Robert Wavey, Dennis Anderson, Cindy Arthurson and others requesting the government show its strong commitment to aboriginal self‑government by considering reversing its position on the AJI by supporting the recommendation within its jurisdiction and implementing a separate and parallel justice system.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Merika Graham, Darlene E. Frederickson, Coralee Refvik and others requesting the government show its strong commitment to dealing with child abuse by considering restoring the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign.




Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, I have a statement for the House.

      In May 1990, my honourable colleague the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism (Mrs. Mitchelson) released Manitoba's policy for a multicultural society.  As we begin Multicultural Week 1992, I am pleased to continue our government's tradition of support and understanding of Manitoba's cultural mosaic by introducing Multicultural Education, A Policy for the 1990s.

      Understanding, accepting and building on our cultural and racial diversity is crucial to our economic, social and community success.  As the Minister of Education and Training, as a Manitoban and as a Canadian, I am proud to introduce this policy which will play an important role in building our province and bringing together all Manitobans.

      The multilingual, multiethnic composition of our province is clearly reflected in Manitoba's schools.  Our public education system has set broad goals that emphasize the importance of meeting the educational needs of all students.  I am confident that all of the members will agree that it is essential that our educational system be responsive to the cultural and linguistic diversity that characterizes Manitoba schools, post‑secondary institutions and our communities.

      The integration of multicultural education within curriculum areas acknowledges the need to prepare all students for life in a multicultural society.  Integral to the school program are those educational objectives that recognize the various cultural forms, assist students to develop and to retain a personal identity through an awareness of their own cultural and historical heritage and to develop an understanding and respect for the cultural and historical heritage of others.

      The Multicultural Education Policy that I am introducing today affirms the continuing commitment of Manitoba Education and Training and reaffirms our government's commitment to the multicultural ideal.  This policy also reflects our government's dedication to building awareness in schools of the cultural and racial diversity of our province.

* (1335)

      The policy on multicultural education is founded on three guiding principles:  education for full participation in society; education for cultural and linguistic development; education for intercultural understanding.

      As is recognized in my department's five‑year strategic plan, Manitoba has, over the past decade, experienced fundamental changes in its economic, cultural and social dynamics.  Manitoba is becoming increasingly diverse in terms of culture and language.  Our province's multicultural tradition and the steady rise in our immigrant population presents unique challenges to Manitoba's education system.  We recognize that each of us has a right to equal and meaningful roles in Canadian society.

      The education system must prepare our young people to achieve effective participation.  Effective language programs, cultural awareness programs and the identification of community resources, to name a few, are the keys to our goal of full participation of all students.  We in Manitoba have always recognized cultural pluralism as a positive force in our society.  The Multicultural Education Policy underscores our commitment to the philosophy of pluralism and to the reality of pluralism in Manitoba.

      Integral to this commitment is the provision of instruction in both English and French and opportunities for heritage language study.  Programs that promote and support cultural development in areas other than language study are equally valuable.

      The principle of education for intercultural understanding recognizes that education should assist students in developing self‑esteem and a strong sense of personal identity.  This can be achieved through positive portrayals of their cultural and historical heritage.

      Multicultural education will assist students in developing an understanding and respect for the cultural and historical heritage of others.  I believe this knowledge will assist our young people in dealing with stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and racism.

      As part of this policy, I am pleased to note several initiatives which will support our objectives of full participation, cultural and linguistic development, and intercultural understanding.  Professional development programs and in‑service sessions for teachers and administrators will concentrate on multicultural, intercultural and race‑relations education.  Instructional materials will be monitored and evaluated according to guidelines which identify bias and stereotypes.

      I also anticipate the September release of four companion documents to this policy:  a policy for heritage language instruction; a funding policy for language programs; race‑relations guidelines for schools; and guidelines for multicultural library services.  These documents will further strengthen and enhance the objectives and principles set down in multicultural education, a policy for the 1990s.

      As the Minister of Education and Training, I am proud to introduce this policy.  I believe that it will provide a solid foundation to assist our schools in meeting the challenge of multicultural education throughout the province and assist Manitobans in preserving and enhancing our province's multicultural tradition.  Thank you.

* (1340)

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, as the New Democratic Party critic in the area of Education, I welcome the opportunity of rising to speak to this statement that has been tabled in the House by the minister.

      Although any number of critics and any number of members on this side of the House, and any individuals on this side of the House, could quite aptly rise and speak to the whole question of multiculturalism and the whole approach that successive governments in this province have taken, an approach that has been generally consistent‑‑[interjection] and I notice there are comments from the Premier (Mr. Filmon) on the opposite side of the House‑‑except recently we have heard more statements and less actual positive action from members opposite in terms of policy.

      I note that we have been promised, for example, a bill from this government.  We have been promised it and promised it, and we are still awaiting the passage, in fact, the introduction of this bill, Mr. Speaker.

      Having said that, there is no question that it is in the area of education that the whole approach to multiculturalism and racism and attitudes in general must be dealt with, Mr. Speaker, because it is in the playground and it is in the classroom, where most of our characteristics are developed and grow and evolve. It is in the playground where we can deal with some of the difficulties and problems that are occurring in our society, can remedy them, and it is in the playground where some of the best examples in our public school system are found about the whole policy that we have adopted in this province for the past 100 or 150 years.

      It is in the playground where we have had kids come together of every background, every religion and every race to work together to build this province.  It is in the playground in our public school system where some of our most tolerant and most beneficial aspects of life in this province, in this society, have developed.

      We, on this side of the House, do welcome many aspects of this policy announcement, Mr. Speaker.  We agree wholeheartedly with the comments of the minister that education is for the full participation of society; something, unfortunately, that has not been achieved necessarily by all.  The whole question of access, access to education for all and equal access to education for all, remains just a goal in this province of ours.

      We do welcome the announcement of this policy, and we look forward to the release of the companion documents to which the minister has made reference.  We hope that, through the development of a policy like this and policies similar to this, all members of society in Manitoba can feel fully participating in our culture, our background, and our heritage in this province so that preschool children, be it the Abinochi program or be it any other program, will have access to their language, their culture and their heritage to develop and to contribute more to our society, where we will see access for all and where we will see aspects of racism and other difficulties that clearly are occurring in our society dealt with right in the playground, right in the classroom, right at the start where our young people enter the Manitoba mainstream in general.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) for taking what we believe is a positive role in terms of the educational component of our society when it comes to dealing with multiculturalism.  Mr. Speaker, we have been very disappointed with the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson) and some of the actions that she has taken‑‑if only she would recognize some of the efforts that the Minister of Education has put forward.

      I would suggest to you that in fact the foundation of combating racism or addressing the needs of the multicultural society is to look in on reports such as the report that the minister was giving on combating racism.

      The Minister of Education has recognized the importance of education; the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism has not.  Time after time, we have asked this minister to provide every member of this Chamber an opportunity, a day for cross‑cultural awareness, and she has failed to do that.  Mr. Speaker, this minister has politicized multiculturalism like no other minister in the history of this province, and we have asked the minister to bring forward the multicultural act.  Rumour is that we might see that multicultural act, but last week that is all it was, nothing but talk.  The Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson) has not taken, as the Minister of Education has demonstrated, the high road in dealing with multiculturalism.

      Again, I commend the Minister of Education on taking the initiative on this particular program.  I suggest that she talk to the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship and educate her on the importance of acting on multiculturalism, not just giving multiculturalism in the province of Manitoba lip service. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

* (1345)

Mrs. Vodrey:  I am also pleased to table the Multicultural Educational Policy for the 1990s for the House today.


Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of all members to the gallery, where we have with us this afternoon, from the James Nisbet School, twenty‑eight Grade 5 students under the direction of Rose Nowak.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema).

      Also from the John Pritchard School, we have seventy Grade 9 students under the direction of Mr. Wayne Sigurdson.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson).

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




Health Care System Reform

Government Strategy Release


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Over the last six months, we have had a series of deliberations that are resulting in potential massive bed cuts in hospitals being announced informally throughout our health care system.

      We have had chaos in terms of where the government is going, in terms of health care decisions, Mr. Speaker, of potential cuts and massive cuts which are offset by government responses of: There is a so‑called reform package coming; there is a so‑called reform announcement coming from the government.  They have said that for week after week and month after month.

      We, in fact, have asked the Premier (Mr. Filmon) questions on this issue, March 13, 1992, in this Chamber, to ask him:  What is the plan?  Is there a plan?  Will you please make it public?

      Today, we have received a letter from the Manitoba Health Organizations, which are the health administrators in this system, calling out for the same thing that the public and the patients and the health care workers are calling for, Mr. Speaker.  They are saying that there is a general feeling that the plan is incomplete and requires consolidated presentation. They talk about the frustration and the lack of knowledge of what the government's specific reform direction is.  They call upon the government to let the public know and let the administrators know what is the so‑called government reform package.

      I would ask the Premier today:  Will he instruct his Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to immediately let us know and let the public know what the so‑called reform package is today to offset the massive cuts that are being announced informally throughout our health care system?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, there have not been any informal announcements.  There has been speculation, there have been rumours fueled primarily by the health critic for the New Democratic Party.

      Mr. Speaker, I would say that is not something that we on this side want to have happened.  We have said that there will be indeed a plan that will be unveiled that will provide a full and complete review.  I would say that is the kind of planned, orderly approach that this government always takes, unlike, for instance, in Saskatchewan, where in their budget last week, they just simply announced that they were going to cut overall funding to hospitals by 1 percent next year and 2 percent the following year.

      We have continually increased our funding to health care.  In fact, this year in the budget it is three times the rate of inflation, the increase.  That is the kind of approach that we are taking.  We are also working on an overall plan, a plan that will be unveiled shortly by the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), a plan that has been the product of extensive work collaboration, co‑operation and consultation, and will in fact give the basis for future discussion with members of the health care community and members of the public at large.  We believe that kind of balanced, planned approach is what is warranted, Mr. Speaker, and we look forward to the unveiling of that plan so that the Leader of the Opposition can work on factual information instead of the speculation that seems to fuel his questions each day in the House.

Mr. Doer:  I will table the letter from the health administrators, a group of people who are as close to the government on the so‑called plan as anyone.  You can understand why nurses and patients and others are so concerned about the lack of a public plan from this government and lack of leadership from this government.  They are basically saying, in a diplomatic way, that this government's health care reform package is in a state of chaos, and they are absolutely frustrated by the lack of any announcements by this government.

      I would ask the Premier:  Will he instruct his Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard)‑‑obviously, if they are making decisions to cut beds, they have what they say to be the other side of the coin, a so‑called health care reform package‑‑to announce forthwith the so‑called reform package, if indeed there is one, for the patients and people of Manitoba in our health care system?

* (1350)

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I just inform and remind the Leader of the Opposition that in Ontario they are announcing bed cuts of up to 4,000 with no plan, just simply budgetary chops‑‑gone.  In Saskatchewan, they are chopping 1 percent on health budgets this year, less than last year, by 1 percent, the following year another 2 percent‑‑no plan, just a straight cut.

      Mr. Speaker, that is not the approach of this government. There will be a well‑considered plan that will be produced and laid on the table for the discussion of all members of the House, and I look forward to their input when that plan is unveiled by the Minister of Health.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, I have a set of minutes from the ministerial council on nursing education, where the chairperson, Professor T. Anderson, states in two places in the minutes that there is a prevailing uncertainty as to the future of development in Manitoba's health care services because of the numerous special committees and task forces.  He goes on further to say, and it is his personal opinion, that the current state of health care inquiries, communications between different bodies and the need for suitable process for the eventual consolidation on all reports, has raised serious concerns about the health care system and where it is going in the province of Manitoba.

      Will the Premier who has stated weekly, along with his Minister of Health, that there is a so‑called reform package instruct his Minister of Health to release it so that the cutbacks and the massive bed reductions that are going on in some of our health care facilities‑‑[interjection] Well, the Minister of Health from his seat may want to talk to the nurses at the St. Boniface Hospital.  They will know who the fool is and who are the people really caring for our health care system.

      Will the Premier put everything on the table so that, as the health care administrators have stated, we can all discuss the impact of the various decisions that the government is making on our health care system?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, when we want to talk about foolish statements, we will just look at the preamble of that Leader's question.  When he calls an increase in funding to hospitals in excess of 5 percent this year, in excess of three times the rate of inflation as a cutback, that is a foolish statement indeed. By comparison to his New Democratic friends and colleagues who are chopping from one year to the next, reducing the funding by 1 percent this year in Saskatchewan, reducing by a further 2 percent next year right across the board to health care, reducing by 4,000 beds, it is estimated, in the province of Ontario, that is the kind of unplanned approach that is being taken by New Democrats.  This government will indeed put a plan on the table to be unveiled by the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) forthwith, in due course.


Health Care Facilities

Operating Budgets


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, we have been hearing the words "forthwith, in due course" for the last 52 hours in Health Estimates.  The anxiety and concern in our hospitals and our communities is real.  The Premier need only talk to patients and families of patients and staff in our hospitals.  It is not fueled by the New Democratic Party.  It is being fueled by a very secretive approach to a very serious issue, and that is the future of our health care system.

      I would ask the Premier if he would, given his comments today, call then upon the Minister of Health to table and provide for all of us the actual budget going to each hospital in the province of Manitoba, and the government formula for cutbacks to the beds of at least two of our urban hospitals.

* (1355)

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, with all the respect I can muster, I have to disagree with my honourable friend.  All of the speculation around the health care system is fueled by New Democrats, period and paragraph.

      Mr. Speaker, it is fueled by New Democrats governing in Ontario, where the hospital system is in the kind of chaos my honourable friend would like to allege exists in Manitoba.  The speculation around health care nationally is fueled by New Democratic government decisions in Saskatchewan, where they are reducing the funding, not increasing the funding.

      Mr. Speaker, we have been around health care expenditures for 52 hours already.  My honourable friend not once has commented on how she rationalizes a statement of cutbacks with $102 million increased spending this year over last year, $53 million of which goes to increase the funding of hospitals in the province of Manitoba.

      Mr. Speaker, little wonder people are confused when New Democratic arithmetic in Manitoba calls $102 million increased funding a cutback.


Mental Health Care Facilities

Bed Closures


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Since the minister wants to set the record straight, I am giving him the opportunity now.

      Would he clear up the confusion about cuts to psychiatric beds, since last Wednesday he tabled a report recommending the closure of the psychiatric ward, 21 beds, at Misericordia Hospital?  At the end of this past week, we have learned that 24 of the 115 beds being proposed to be cut at St. Boniface Hospital are in the psychiatric area.  Would the minister tell us what is the final total?  What will be the impact on‑‑

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

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, again, my honourable friend the New Democrat is in a little bit of a policy dilemma.  My honourable friend has a fixation in mental health in psychiatric care on the number of acute‑care beds.  Now if one was to follow New Democratic Party policy, one would never replace services with budgets from the acute‑care side; in other words, the budget to fund the bed moving to the community.  You would never do that if you were a New Democrat, because they have this fixation on beds.

      Yes, Mr. Speaker, a recommendation came forward:  21 beds at Misericordia Hospital to be considered by government under the conditions completely consistent with the Mental Health Reform Report tabled before all members of Manitoba, January of this year, which says that over a period of five years, we shall move budgets from institutions to community to provide better services to those needing care.  Has my honourable friend ever for once considered care to the individual with her fixation being solely and entirely on beds?


Health Care System

Reform Consultations


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, you can see why anxiety among hospital staff is almost at a fever pitch according to Mr. Rod Thorfinsson‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  Question, please.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I would like to ask the Minister of Health if he will at least respect and respond positively to the words of the chairperson of the Manitoba Health Organization board, Mr. Myron Musick, in the letter that my Leader just referred to and, in the spirit of co‑operation and the desire to facilitate change for the achievement of a more effective health system, meet with‑‑before he announces a health care reform strategy or in conjunction with that announcement‑‑the Manitoba Health Organizations, Manitoba Council of Health Care Unions, the Manitoba Medical Association and organizations of the other health professional organizations.  Would he at least do that?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, when I avail myself of that letter‑‑I do not know whether it was addressed to me or not‑‑when I take a look at that letter and review its specifics, I will provide my honourable friend with a response.

      Mr. Speaker, I want to tell my honourable friend that the Manitoba Health Organization has been very, very much a part of the system‑wide reform, the planning, the underpinning of change in the system.  They have been very much partners with this government in terms of difficult negotiations and fully aware, as the Manitoba Health Organization is, of the rather dramatic changes in provinces around the country of Canada.

      Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend might be interested to know that they consider their relationship with the government of Manitoba to be a much closer working relationship than exists in most other provinces.  If my honourable friend wants to dispute that, maybe my honourable friend ought to get her facts straight.

* (1400)


Health Care System Reform

Meeting Request


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

      The problems in the health care area are not unique to this province and any specific government in this country.  There is a growing concern, a real concern that people want to know what the definition of health care reform is in this province.  I will simply ask the minister now.  It has been for a long time now that everyone is questioning in terms of a nonpolitical basis. If the minister wants to keep that kind of attitude, then he has to tell us two things.

      Can he tell us when the health care reform package will be released so that all these letters, all these rumours can be stopped?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated to my honourable friend, going back six weeks ago when we started the Estimates process, I was embarking upon a discussion paper, an action plan which would take Manitoba's health care system into the '90s and into the year 2000, and as soon as that document was available, it would receive wide‑spread discussion, wide‑spread critique.

      I look forward to that opportunity, because a number of initiatives will be accomplished.  First and foremost, it will bring an action plan for discussion to avoid all of the rumours that my honourable friends the New Democrats love to feed on, but more importantly, it is going to require members of the opposition political parties to stake their ground.  Do they believe $102 million more to the health care system in Manitoba in a background of a reform process is appropriate, or should we emulate Ontario or Saskatchewan, for instance, to find out what NDP health care policy is?

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that each and every member of this House has a serious concern.  We are not questioning the consultation process.  That has taken place for a long time, as of 1971 in some areas.

      The question is basically, can the minister tell us‑‑or will he make a commitment to release the package in front of all the health organizations, make sure they are at the same table?  That way, no organization can blame any government or anything.  It is very important to have that package released on a nonpolitical basis to have the support of the political parties, to have that reform take place in Manitoba.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, the intention is to undertake a very wide circulation of the discussion paper, action plan when released, because it is important for each of the individual components as far as professional caregiving, the institutional level, long‑term care, the community health sector and the citizens of Manitoba to have some sense of direction for the health care system.

      In the past, we have been plagued, Sir, by the narrow individual facility, individual professional, individual discipline within professions coming to government with a narrowed focus and asking for immediate reaction.  That has led to a system that does not communicate, is not co‑ordinated, and we inherited that four years ago.

      Mr. Speaker, today the system is much more understanding of its complete ability from institutions through the community to deliver needed care.  That discussion paper will demonstrate how we can meet the challenges of the future.  Those who say it will not work will have the opportunity to say what will work, rather than simply come and say, your plan is no good, give us more money.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, the question is again simply:  Can the minister tell us‑‑to have his health care reform, which he thinks and we believe is a realistic one, and that is what we want to really believe in the long run, to achieve the goals of this government and the people of Manitoba, people have to have a plan.

      Can he at least give a time frame when the plan will be released so that we can have some comment on that plan?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I hope to have it tabled publicly in the very near future.  I would have liked to have had that two weeks ago.  I would have liked to have had it a month ago because then my honourable friend the New Democrat would have had to all of a sudden start taking some positions.  My honourable friend the New Democrat would have had to make a decision‑‑is Manitoba's approach to health care, funding the system, providing needed care, better than the Ontario one or the Saskatchewan one or the Nova Scotia one or the New Brunswick one, to put it in context?‑‑instead of, as my honourable friend the New Democrat has done, criticized everything that is happening anywhere in the province of Manitoba.

      It is going to be very enlightening, Sir, to have opportunity for my honourable friends the critics to take a position and to let the people of Manitoba know where they stand because they are going to know where we stand.


Assiniboine River Diversion

Irrigation Purposes


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  We are concerned that people are being misled in terms of the Assiniboine diversion.  Another report from 1988, entitled the Assiniboine South‑Hespeler Area Study, describes a proposal that is very similar to the diversion being proposed currently, and it clearly describes the Stephenfield Reservoir being used to provide enough water storage to accommodate irrigation.

      I would like to ask the Minister of Natural Resources how the minister explains the similarity of these two proposals and claims the current Assiniboine diversion is not for irrigation.

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I would invite the honourable member to ask that kind of a question during the consideration of my Estimates.  It is the one that would provide the opportunity for greater information.

      The issue before us is one that is not being proposed by my department as such but by a number of municipalities that have come together in the southern part of the province under the corporate title of the Pembina task force group, and they will be making their position known to this government.

Ms. Cerilli:  To the same minister:  Why, if this diversion is not for irrigation, is our caucus being lobbied by farmers claiming that there will be benefits for irrigation in the southern area of Manitoba?

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Speaker, my understanding of the proposal is that there are not irrigation components involved in the request made by the Pembina task force group.  It is a request to provide domestic, municipal and residential water only.


Employment Creation


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  To the same minister, when asked previously about this proposal, the minister claimed that there would be some 20,000 jobs created by this diversion.  Can the minister explain what those jobs might be in, if this project is not for irrigation?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, it is probably a question better asked of my colleague the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), or indeed the minister of trade and technology.

      I am very pleased and proud to indicate to her, should she travel that district, that the communities of Morden, Winkler, Altona, Carman, just to name a few, are probably the most productive communities within our province in rural Manitoba.  It is their indication that adequate municipal water supplies would greatly enhance their overall job creation capacity over the next decade.


ACCESS Programs

Funding Reductions


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, on February 21 of this year the Minister of Education said, and I quote:  "We have not wavered on our commitment to access" education.  As the member for Fort Garry, I am sure she also takes a particular interest in the role that the University of Manitoba has played in the development of ACCESS programs which have become internationally acclaimed.

      I would like to ask the minister why she has cut the provincial funding this year to four programs:  to ACCESS North, cut by 12 percent; to the Medical Program, cut by 4 percent; to the Pre‑Medical Program, cut by 11 percent; and to the ACCESS South Program, a cut of 31 percent.

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, I will be very happy to talk about the details of funding to programs in the Estimates process, but I would remind my honourable friend that we, as a provincial government, have not wavered in our support.  In fact, we have also reinstituted the ACCESS program in the area of engineering, which she forgot to mention.

* (1410)

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Speaker, the federal funds have remained constant, and the government is now cutting provincial funds.

      Will the minister confirm that the implication of this government's plans to systematically reduce provincial support for ACCESS has been a 23 percent reduction in students over the last four years, a rate which, if it continues, means that by the year 2001‑‑

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

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the honourable member again that we, as a provincial government, have maintained our commitment to the ACCESS programs, and some of the reduction which she notices is through reduction of federal funding through the Northern Development Agreement.

      I would like to tell her again that we continue to be committed to ACCESS as a method for individuals to attend post‑secondary education.

Ms. Friesen:  Will the minister acknowledge that by the year 2001, 25 percent of Manitoba's new labour force will be aboriginal and it s now that we must train the teachers, the social workers, the doctors, the dentists, the people who are needed for self government?  This is an inept policy.  Will she reconsider it?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Speaker, we recognize very fully that the aboriginal Manitobans would and should have significant opportunities over the next few years.  As a result of that recognition, we do continue with our ACCESS programs.  We do continue with increased funding and programming at our community colleges.  We do continue with our very specific commitment in the area of New Careers, training and opportunities for aboriginal Manitobans to become fully involved in the Manitoba work force.


Federal Trade Tribunal

Manitoba Cabinetmakers


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, some two months ago, the federal trade tribunal mentioned that Manitoba cabinetmakers were subject to an inequitable application of federal tax policy.  In fact, they stated that the alleged error in this instance can, in the view of this tribunal, be directly attributable to Revenue Canada.  The result would appear to have been an inequitable and unjustifiable application of departmental policy to the industry in one region of the country.  That inequitable application cost three Manitoba businesses more than half a million dollars.

      I asked the Premier some three weeks ago if he was prepared to take action and make representations to Ottawa to see that this problem could be corrected.  To date, nothing has occurred, and I would like to ask the Premier why he has failed to act.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I said that I was awaiting response from the Finance department as to their interpretation of exactly what the tribunal ruling meant on the issue.  I have yet to deal with the matter.

Mr. Alcock:  Well, Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Premier could tell us:  Why, when he has known about this or his department has known about this for more than two months, when I asked him a question nearly three weeks ago, they have still not managed to come to a decision?

Mr. Filmon:  When you are dealing with legal reviews of a complex situation, Mr. Speaker, in which the matter was not settled in favour of the appellant‑‑the matter was in fact not settled at all‑‑then we have to know whether there is any legal basis for any action on our part.

Mr. Alcock:  Mr. Speaker, we are not asking the government to go to court.  We are asking them to make representations to their federal cousins.

      Why have they failed to even call the minister of revenue?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I indicated that we were reviewing the matter, and that continues to be the case.


Child Poverty

Federal Minister's Statements


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, since unveiling his federal government's brighter futures action plan for children last week, the federal Minister of Health and Welfare has stated that poverty is not an issue for Health and Welfare, that poverty is not children's reality and that his government voted for a resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000, because frankly, it would have been political suicide not to.

      What has‑‑this provincial government and particularly the Minister of Family Services‑‑been their response and the answers to this cynical, politically motivated series of statements to the urgent problems facing Manitoba children and families?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, the federal minister has been touring the country and visiting with groups in the Maritimes, in Quebec and Ontario.  He was in Manitoba last week and, I understand, is going to be in British Columbia this week to talk about the restructuring of the child benefits and also the new child development initiative.

      The child development initiative was unveiled last Monday. All provinces and groups within the province are being given an opportunity to look at how the $500 million is being allocated in the areas of prevention, promotion, protection, partnership and a special fund to spend on reserves to deal with some of the many needs that aboriginal families and children face.

      We in Manitoba, at the officials' level, are entering into discussions with the federal Department of Health and Welfare to see how we in Manitoba can maximize the benefits of this program.


Child Development Initiative

Per Capita Policy


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Given that the federal Minister of Health and Welfare has stated repeatedly that the benefits will flow out of this program and the monies will be on a per capita basis, has the Minister of Family Services, in his negotiations with the federal department, told the federal government that this per capita policy will place more children in Manitoba at risk, which already has the highest percentage and per capita of child poverty in the country?  Has he said this will not do?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Yes, I have.  The question was asked of the federal minister, on what basis these funds will flow.  One of the criteria is population. That is understandable.

      Secondly, he is very aware of the situation in Manitoba and, in my brief meeting with him, has made the case that there are special needs in Manitoba because of the number of children, and particularly aboriginal children, who are overrepresented in the child welfare system, as well as the health system and other areas of provincial jurisdiction.

      I am given to understand that special consideration will be given province by province as departments and government are able to make their case with the federal government.

      We have instructed staff in our department to move quickly to present the Manitoba case and, as I indicated in my answer to my first question, to maximize the benefits for Manitoba.


Federal Transfer Payments

Government Strategy


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  What assurances can the Minister of Family Services give to Manitobans, particularly Manitoban families and children who live in poverty, to ensure that Manitoba will not, as a result of the continuation of a federal government's offloading through EPF freezes and capping of the Canada Assistance Plan monies, lose upwards of $500 million over the next five years, which is likely to happen if the federal government does not stop this erosion of the services, which is exactly the amount of money the federal government complete program would put into the entire country?

      Manitoba is going to lose that money‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  This government has taken a strong stand on federal transfer payments and will continue to do so.  I specifically took a stand on the social allowance monies that flow into Manitoba.  At one time we did have the support of honourable members opposite.  They have since changed their minds on that.

      I can assure her that we will continue to work with the federal government and put forward the Manitoba case.


Home Care Program

Service Reduction


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health.

he minister continues to boast about increases to home care spending.  We hear about health care reform, but quite frankly, people are very nervous about this minister's reform if the cuts to home care are any indication of what is coming.

      Can the minister tell us why services to most people are being eliminated in the Swan River area, as they have been in Dauphin, Ethelbert and other areas?  Does the minister not feel that cleanliness and proper food preparation are part of health care and allows people to stay in their home rather than in expensive institutes?

* (1420)

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend brought this issue to Estimates one Monday night when we sat in this very Chamber and she sat rather graciously in the chair of the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).  We discussed this issue.  My honourable friend knows that there are not cutbacks in the home care budget.  There is $7 million more this year.  There is $5.5 million more expended last year with more services.

      My honourable friend persists in saying that we are cutting home care and its provision of needed services.  That is not right, Sir.  Mr. Speaker, what is happening is, where there are alternatives for routine housecleaning or meal preparation, such as Meals on Wheels, which is part of every community through Support Services for Seniors and other funding mechanisms, where those programs are available to seniors, then the seniors access them, we provide home care for the needed nursing, support care, orderly care and other areas of need to maintain independent living in the homes.

      My honourable friend's language around cutbacks is incorrect, as explained to her some two weeks ago, Sir.


Services List


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, the record is very clear.  Services are being cut and cut.  I want to ask the minister if he will table a copy of information provided to seniors when their home care is being cut.

      During Estimates, he indicated a list of services in the communities were provided to clients, and we have not been able to find a copy of that list of services provided to clients.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, each community has a different array of services.  In Dauphin, for instance, where the Support Services to Seniors funding program provides community resource council, they provide Meals on Wheels, they provide friendly visiting, they provide driving to the hospital or doctor's appointments, they provide driving services, chauffeuring services to take seniors to social events, church, medical appointments.  That varies community by community.

      If my honourable friend wants to know what sort of community‑supported programs there are in Swan River, which she did not ask for two weeks ago, I will attempt to provide that to my honourable friend.  In the Swan River valley, they do provide a number of supportive services by volunteers, by other individuals in the community to maintain the independence of seniors.


Private Services


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, seniors are not provided with any information when their service is cut.  I want to ask the minister:  Does he agree with the advice that his staff are giving clients, that they are told they should hire privately; if they cannot afford to hire privately, they can go hire a high school student?  Is this what he calls reform?  Is this what he wants his staff to tell people?  His staff tell clients that when they get sick, they can call them back, but that is the only support they will get.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I am getting a little sick and tired of my honourable friend's blanket accusations.  If my honourable friend provides me with the name of one of my continuing care co‑ordinators who said just such a thing, I want to tell you that it is beyond the policy of home care.  My honourable friend will not provide any name because this is a phantom allegation designed to blackball every single person in delivering home care‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Point of order, Mr. Speaker, our rules are very clear, and indeed all members of our caucus follow it, that matters raised in this House are matters that are known to be facts, according to members of the opposition.

      If this minister does not know what is going on in his department, he should not make accusations, because the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) is speaking out on behalf‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member does not have a point of order.


Child Guidance Clinic

Audiology Program


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health.

      On April 24, when we asked this minister about the cut of the $43,000 audiological program to Child Guidance Clinic, the minister said, inside and outside the House, that the good Tory government managers would look after it and that there were alternative programs in place.

      Why did it take two months for Department of Health officials to finally visit the clinic to see that the program that it was offering is being cut in the first place?  Why did it take two months for his own department to visit and find out what program was being cut and would supposedly be offered by the Department of Health?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend failed to deal with the accuracy of the information that I provided some two weeks ago.

      There are four audiology clinics in our hospitals in the city of Winnipeg:  Concordia, Seven Oaks, Victoria and, I believe, Grace.  I am not certain about Grace.  In addition to that, Health Sciences Centre has a sophisticated audiological program. In addition to that, so does St. Boniface.  In addition to that, physicians have the opportunity for preschoolers to screen their hearing as the baby is there for general check‑ups and well‑being.

      There are alternatives to that service.  In a time when all of our finances are being stressed and taxpayers are saying they do not want to be loaded with taxes, as they are in other provinces, we ask for co‑ordination of services throughout the system and, when alternatives are available, that they be used rather than parallelling and duplicating funding program after program throughout the system.

      That is something my honourable friend fails to come to grips with because those alternatives are there, Sir.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the same minister is:  Is the minister aware that 5 percent of all kindergarten children who are tested fail the prescreening testing and, at the cost of even a minuscule amount, a few of these students who do not get tested and do not get discovered would be long saved by allowing the $43,000 grant to continue at the Child Guidance Clinic?  Is the minister not aware that the loss of this will result in more expenses to the government and greater costs to the taxpayer‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I do not accept my honourable friend's foregone conclusion that without this $43,000, the whole program collapses and fails.  That is not accurate, Sir.  There are alternatives in place.

      I believe, if my honourable friend were to follow the budget increases to Winnipeg School Division No. 1, he might find a rather significant increase this year compared to last year.  If, as my honourable friend says, this is the greatest priority in Winnipeg School Division No. 1, they might be able to find $43,000.  That is not the issue.  The issue is, there are alternative available services in four community hospitals in the city of Winnipeg, in both teaching hospitals in the city of Winnipeg, amongst our community services through the Department of Health, as well as physician offices.  How many more alternatives does my honourable friend want?

Mr. Chomiak:  My final supplemental to the same minister:  Will the minister therefore answer what I asked for in the first question?  Why did it take two months for his health officials to go out to the Child Guidance Clinic to see what program they were replacing, what program they supposedly had alternatives for? Why did it take two months for‑‑

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

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, it may well be they were invited to go two months later.  If my honourable friend is now saying that some visitation of staff is predicated on the policy where he has not yet acknowledged there are significant alternatives available to preschool children in the city of Winnipeg to protect their hearing, to detect it when they have a marginal loss or otherwise, my honourable friend simply wants to carry on funding every program without analysis of what alternatives are available in terms of the streamlining of service provision and to assure that we do not duplicate service provision throughout the system, that we make effective use of existing resources in hospitals, teaching community and community services and in physicians' offices, Sir.

 Mr. Speaker:  Time for Oral Questions has expired.




Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Oui, Monsieur le president, est‑ce que je peux avoir la permission pour une declaration apolitique? [Agreed]

       Monsieur le president, premierement, laissez‑moi vous feliciter et vous remercier pour la fin de semaine que nous avons passee ici dans la chambre avec l'Association internationale des parlementaires de langue francaise.  C'est avec plaisir et enthousiasme que je demande aux membres de cette auguste assemblee de se joindre a moi en felicitant l'honorable juge Alfred Monnin qui a recu samedi dernier la decoration de l'Ordre de la Pleiade et le grade d'officier, decerne par l'Assemblee internationale des parlementaires de langue francaise.

       La Pleiade, ordre de la Francophonie et du dialogue des cultures est l'ordre prive de l'Assemblee internationale des parlementaires de langue francaise.  A vocation internationale, elle est destinee a reconnaitre les merites eminents des personnalites qui se sont distinguees en servant l'ideal de la cooperation de l'Association des parlementaires de langue francaise.

       J'aimerais aussi souligner que la conference de l'AIPLF qui a eu lieu du 7 au 10 mai dernier, a aussi marque l'entree officielle de la section du Manitoba au sein de cet organisme international.  Mes felicitations a vous‑meme, Monsieur le president, comme premier president de la section manitobaine.

       Monsieur le president, il serait trop long de meme essayer d'enumerer les possibilites et les richesses offertes par l'AIPLF, mais j'aimerais tout de meme sensibiliser les membres de cette chambre parlementaire au but primordial de cette organisation, qui est de favoriser les initiatives de toute nature pour le rayonnement de la langue francaise.

       Monsieur le president, permettez‑moi de conclure en souhaitant une tres longue vie a l'AIPLF au Manitoba.  Encore une fois, merci pour l'accueil manitobain que vous avez donne en fin de semaine.  Merci.

* (1430)


r. Speaker, may I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?

Mr. Speaker, firstly, allow me to congratulate you and thank you for the weekend that we just spent here in the Chamber with the International Association of French-language Parliamentarians.  It is with pleasure and enthusiasm that I am asking the members of this august Assembly to join with me in congratulating the Honourable Justice Alfred Monnin who received last Saturday the Decoration of the Order of the Pleiade and the rank of officer awarded by the International Assembly of French-language Parliamentarians.

Mr. Speaker, the Pleiade, which is an order of Francophones and of cultural dialogue, is the private order of the International Assembly of French‑language Parliamentarians. Having an international vocation, it is intended to recognize the eminent achievements of persons who have distinguished themselves in service of the AIPLF's ideal of co‑operation.

I would also like to note that the AIPLF conference, which took place from May 7 to 10, also marked the Manitoba section's official entry into this international organization. My congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker, as the first president of the Manitoba section.

It would take too long even to try to enumerate the possibilities and riches offered by the AIPLF, but I would like to make members of this House aware of the fundamental objective of this organization, which is to facilitate initiatives of any type toward the development of the French language.

Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to conclude in wishing long life to the AIPLF in Manitoba.  Once again, thank you for the Manitoba welcome that you gave to this organization during the past weekend.  Thank you.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Could I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

       Je voudrais ajouter mes mots a ceux du depute de Saint‑Boniface (M. Gaudry) et exprimer combien c'etait un honneur pour moi de participer aussi a quelques evenements cette fin de semaine a l'Assemblee regionale americaine de l'Assemblee internationale des parlementaires de langue francaise.

       Comme le depute de Saint‑Boniface, je voudrais vous feliciter, Monsieur le president, pour votre role majeur dans cette conference, qui a contribue au succes de cette neuvieme assemblee ici a Winnipeg.  Je voudrais aussi remercier les membres de votre bureau pour leur aide et aussi Bev Bosiak dans le bureau du greffier, et aussi Kathleen Brown du bureau du protocole du Gouvernement du Manitoba.

       Comme le depute de Saint‑Boniface, je voudrais souligner deux evenements tres importants cette fin de semaine.  D'abord c'est la ceremonie de remise d'une decoration de l'Ordre de la Pleiade a l'honorable juge Alfred Maurice Monnin.  C'est un evenement tres important pour le Manitoba.

       Surtout je voudrais souligner le fait que nous sommes maintenant officiellement membres de l'AIPLF.  Cette fin de semaine, nous avons ete installes comme la section manitobaine de l'Association internationale des parlementaires de langue francaise.

       J'imagine que nous sommes tous, dans cette chambre, fiers de cet evenement, et encore, nous voudrions vous feliciter, Monsieur le president, pour votre role tres important dans ce developpement.  Merci.


I would like to add my words to those of the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) and express what an honour it was for me also to participate in a number of events this weekend at the American region assembly of the International Assembly of French‑language Parliamentarians.

Like the member for St. Boniface, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, for your important role in this conference which contributed to the success of this ninth assembly which took place here in Winnipeg.  I would also like to thank the members of your office for their assistance, as well as Bev Bosiak of the Clerk's Office, and also Kathleen Brown from the Manitoba government Protocol Office.

Like the member for St. Boniface, I would like to note two very important events this weekend.  Firstly, there was the ceremony of the Order of the Pleiade, which was conferred upon Honourable Justice Alfred Maurice Monnin which was a very important event for Manitoba.

Above all, I would like to note the fact that we are now officially members of the AIPLF.  This weekend, we were installed as the Manitoba section of this organization.

I imagine that all of us in this House are proud of this event, and once again, we would like to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, for your very important role in this development.  Thank you.

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert):  May I have leave, Mr. Speaker, to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

       Il me fait plaisir aujourd'hui, Monsieur le president, de dire quelques mots.  Laissez‑moi commencer par vous complimenter pour votre role cette fin de semaine.  Cela a bien marche et je veux dire merci aux membres de votre bureau aussi, puis a Bev, de nous avoir aides pendant la fin de semaine.

       Monsieur le president, pendant la fin de semaine, nous, les membres de la l'Assemblee du Manitoba, ont eu la grande visite des parlementaires de l'AIPLF, des parlementaires du Quebec, de l'Ontarion, du Nouveau‑Brunswick, de la Nouvelle‑Ecosse, et meme de l'etat de Maine.  Le secretaire‑general de l'AIPLF etait la.

       C'etait la recompense d'avoir pris soin de nos Francophones, parce que c'est de cela qu'on parle:  la protection de la culture, la facon de vivre, et la raison d'etre.  Les organismes de la langue francaise etaient aussi la.  Je veux les feliciter d'avoir ete capables de dire leur mot ici dans la chambre.  La dialogue avec les communautes francaises est importante et je pense que c'est cela qu'on a reussi cette fin de semaine.

       Monsieur le president, aussi a cette occasion, l'honorable juge Alfred Maurice Monnin a ete decore de l'ordre de l'AIPLF au grade d'officier, et je suis fier que tous les membres de l'Assemblee du Manitoba ont pu etre la.  Merci.


It is a pleasure for me today to say a few words.  I would like to begin by complimenting you for your role during this past weekend.  It went very well, and I also would like to thank the members of your office, and Bev, for having assisted us during the weekend.

Mr. Speaker, during this weekend, we the members of the Manitoba Legislature had a great visit from parliamentarians of the AIPLF, parliamentarians from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and even from the state of Maine.  The secretary‑general of the AIPLF was present also.

This was our reward for taking care of our Francophones, because that is what we are talking about:  protection of culture, way of life and raison d'etre.  French‑language organizations were also present, and I would like to congratulate them for being able to put forward their words here in the House.  Dialogue with French communities is important, and I think this is what we succeeded in having this weekend.

Mr. Speaker, also on this occasion, the Honourable Justice Alfred Monnin was decorated with the rank of officer of the AIPLF, and I am proud that all the members of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly were able to be there.  Thank you.

* * *

Mr. Gerry McAlpine (Sturgeon Creek):  Mr. Speaker, do I have leave for a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

      Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to pay tribute to a group of students at Sturgeon Creek High School who were winners of the team provincial handball championship this past weekend. They were winners over the St. John's Tigers team.  The team is now planning its strategies for a United States western regional handball tournament in early June.

      The team consists of coach, Mr. Kopchuk, and players, Marshall Patterson, Kris Kendall, Randy Ball, Ryan Murray, Shane Graff, Jade Young, Shawn Auger, Jordon Koll, Brad Templeman, Bill Schmitt, Ritchie Miller and Darrin Moore.

      Mr. Speaker, I am sure all members will join with me in congratulating the Sturgeon Creek High School handball team and wishing them well as they set out to bring recognition in representing our province and the city of Winnipeg.  I am sure they will represent us well, with the true sportsmanship and friendliness that Manitobans are noted for.  Thank you.

* * *

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Do I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

      Mr. Speaker, on a much sadder note, I would like to perhaps ask all members of the Legislature to join with me in expressing our condolences to the family members, the friends of the people who have already died in the Westray mine accident in Nova Scotia.

      Mr. Speaker, I represent a mining area and the people in Flin Flon are all too familiar with mining tragedies, although I have to say, nothing, thank goodness, compared to the scale of what happened at the Westray mine.  I am often reminded of a conversation I had with the previous member for Flin Flon, Tom Barrow, who grew up in Springhill, Nova Scotia, the site of another horrific mine tragedy.  He expressed, as a miner, most eloquently, the fear that miners have of the kind of catastrophe we have seen at Westray, that mine accidents are not uncommon.  I think that as the community struggles through this, as the individuals who have had family members and loved‑ones die, struggle to put their lives back together.

      We are a long way away, but I think we share the sorrow at what has happened and certainly hope that some of the other members of the mine crews who are in the mine at the time may be rescued.  I would like to say that on behalf of all of the miners in my constituency, at a minimum, and I hope I am saying what is on the minds of members in the Legislature here and in other Legislatures across Canada.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Might I also have leave to speak? [Agreed]

      I would also like to indicate my own sorrow with the events that have taken place in Nova Scotia.  I, too, represent the community of Thompson, a mining community.  I have had the opportunity to work underground at Inco for a brief time, but a long enough period of time to understand the kind of risks that miners take on a regular basis, even with modern technology, modern safety and health mechanisms and, of course, recognizing as well that coal mining in particular, which was the case in Nova Scotia, is particularly dangerous, even in comparison to hard‑rock mining.

      I think it is important that we pass on our condolences to the families of the deceased in Nova Scotia, our hope that there will be some survivors, and perhaps our rededication and commitment to ensuring complete attention is paid to workplace safety and health, particularly in our mines which continue to be one of the most hazardous workplaces.

* (1440)

      I think it is important that we in this Chamber rededicate ourselves to ensure that this kind of event does not happen in Manitoba, recognizing that there have been mining fatalities. While they have reduced over the years, I know I have had a number of people I have known personally die in mine‑related accidents.  That is the reality of mining, and I think we have to rededicate ourselves once again to ensuring that we recognize exactly what is happening in Nova Scotia and try and make sure it does not happen, not only in Nova Scotia, but right here in Manitoba again.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Committee Changes


Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  Mr. Speaker, I have some committee changes.  I move, seconded by the member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Private Bills be amended as follows:  The member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) for the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Connery); the member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson) for the member for Assiniboia (Mrs. McIntosh). [Agreed]

* * *

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Speaker, before I announce House Business, I wonder if members would grant me leave, too, for a nonpolitical comment. [Agreed]

      I would like to join with our two colleagues opposite who represent constituencies in which mining is a major employer.  I, too, in the Lac du Bonnet constituency have a mine operation at TANCO.  I think all members of this House, our thoughts go out today to those families in Nova Scotia who are living with the knowledge that their loved ones have been killed in this accident or with the anxiety of not knowing the final result for those who are still trapped in that mine.  I think this type of event again goes to underline for us the importance of safety in our mines and for safety to be an ongoing concern for all involved in that particular industry.

      I have the honour as Minister of Labour of being responsible for our Mines Inspection Branch, and I think there has been a long history in this province going back over numerous administrations, indeed I think it has been the intent of this Legislative Assembly to ensure that efforts have always been made to have, as safe as possible, mines in our province.  For those, and I know in the member for Thompson's (Mr. Ashton) constituency, the member for Flin Flon's (Mr. Storie) constituency and my own, who are involved in mine rescue units, their ongoing training and efforts for the day they hope never comes, this type of event, again underlines the importance of their work, the importance to avoid accidents and the importance of being able to respond when they do happen.

      So I join with my colleagues, as I am sure all members of this Legislature do, in continuing to support the efforts of miners, of unions, of employers and the mine safety branch in working towards safe mining conditions in our province, indeed across the country.


House Business


Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, with respect to House Business, I would now like to move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair, and that this House resolve itself into a committee to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.

Motion agreed to, and the House resolved itself into a committee to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty with the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) in the Chair for the Department of Health; and the honourable member for Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) in the Chair for the Department of Education and Training.

* (1500)



(Concurrent Sections)




Mr. Deputy Chairperson (Marcel Laurendeau):  Order, please.  Will the Committee of Supply please come to order.

      This afternoon this section of the Committee of Supply, meeting in Room 255, will be resuming consideration of the Estimates of the Department of Health.

      When the committee last sat, it had been considering item 5. Health Services (a) Administration:  (2) Other Expenditures, and a motion moved by the honourable member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis).  The motion reads:

      THAT this committee condemn the Minister of Health for failing to provide full and complete information on hospital funding, thereby allowing bed cuts to proceed on an ad hoc, disjointed basis in the absence of a comprehensive plan and without the benefit of public input.

      Is there any further debate on the motion?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, before we move on with debate of the Estimates, I want to indicate that about this time a week ago, 12 hours ago, I agreed to my honourable friend the member for St. Johns' request (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) that we deal with all of the line.  I have staff sitting here wasting time day in and day out.

      I want to indicate to my honourable friend that from passage of this motion on, we are dealing line by line as we always have been.  We will not be dealing with any issue until the staff gets here to deal with the issue, if that is necessary, but we are going to pass lines before we move on.

      I have had it with the time‑wasting tactics of my honourable friend, because it is abusive to my staff who sit here not able to carry out their regular duties on the whim of the New Democratic critic who does not know whether she is coming or going from one day to the next.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  Is there any debate on the motion?

Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, can I have a copy of the motion?  I think I misplaced it.

      I just want to tell the member for St. Johns and the other members of this committee that I will not be supporting this motion on the basis, and I am going to explain why.

      First of all, as we have discussed and we said from the beginning, the funding for the hospital has to be based on the health care reform and some of the other consultation processes which are taking place.  We are asking and urging the minister to come up with a reform as soon as possible, but keeping in mind that the reform must be a full package.  If that means a further delay of another day or two, but we need an approximate date and time, so that the people of Manitoba should know what is going to happen with the health care reform.

      I also had the copy of the letter from MHO, that was on Thursday.  I had it and I did not want to proceed with only one group, because there are a number of other groups who are equally concerned about health care reform.  I think it will be very detrimental to the health care reform process if the package is not being at least first in this building.  The taxpayers should have the first say before anybody else.  As long as the consultation has taken place, the minister has to explain to us and in fact to the ad hoc member of his own caucus.

      It is not something that is going to be taken very lightly, this will cross the political boundaries.  No question, the health care package will cross the political boundaries.  Keeping that in mind, I would simply ask the minister to come up with a package and give us an approximate time or date if this is possible at this stage, and have an open consultation process continue to follow the same policy, but leave the package here. Then a review has to take place and some of the tougher decisions will be made, and I think they should be made.  In that regard, we have no problem.  Certainly, I want to make it very clear I am not supporting this motion from that point of view.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Shall the motion pass?  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

An Honourable Member:  Yea.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  All those opposed, say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  In my opinion, the Nays have it.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  I would like to call for a recorded vote, Mr. Deputy Chairperson.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  I would like to remind the honourable member she needs two members to ask for the recorded vote.

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Radisson, oui.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  A formal vote has been requested.  This committee will recess, and we will go to the House for a formal vote.

* (1510)

* * *

The committee took recess at 3:10 p.m.

After Recess

The committee resumed at 4:16 p.m.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  When we were last sitting we were discussing item 5. Health Services (a) Administration:  (2) Other Expenditures $71,200‑‑pass.

      Item 5.(b) Hospitals and Community Health Services:  (1) Salaries $32,015,900.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I have a number of questions in this area, and I would like to begin by noting that contrary to the impression left by the minister prior to the vote that we were jumping all over the place in this set of Estimates and causing great inconvenience to himself and his staff, I think the records should show that by and large we have not moved beyond the whole area of services and hospitals and community facilities.

      I know that we have made that request at the outset of this section of Estimates, however, we have not yet had an opportunity to skip all over the place in Estimates.  In fact, we have been consistently and persistently raising questions pertaining to health services as a general topic area and specifically hospitals and community health services.

      I would like to know, to begin this section of Hospitals and Community Health Services, if the minister at this point is prepared to provide us with details pertaining to the budget allocation for each hospital and community health facility.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I realize my honourable friend, much to the embarrassment of the NDP, is now trying to backtrack on the fact that I have had staff here till one o'clock last Monday night in anticipation of what my honourable friend indicated might be the opportunity to finish these Estimates.

      I had one staffperson who sat here until one o'clock dealing with the ambulance service.  Not one single question was asked. That happened on Thursday.  That individual will not be here tonight because he lives out of town, and I am not going to abuse that person's evenings by having him sit here and listen to my honourable friend prattle on, so that is why we are moving line by line.

      Which line are we on?  Planning and development of programs, establishes funding support levels, I presume that is the line we are at?

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  That is correct, Mr. Minister.

Mr. Orchard:  Then I will answer any question my honourable friend wants to deal with in terms of salaries for that line and Other Expenditures.

* (1620)

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Let me just, before I proceed with some more questions, indicate to the minister that he can check the record to have this verified that the opposition's questions have been short, there has not been a lot of time taken up with long speeches.  But every time we have asked very short questions, we have had very long answers.  I think if anyone wants to talk about prattling on and using up the time of the House and playing games, then I think they only have to look as far as the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), and he only has to look in the mirror to understand what has been happening in this Estimates process.

      We have many questions.  I have been very serious about asking questions for information.  You will know, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, that the lack of answers led to a frustration about a month ago, April 16, which forced me at that time to put forward a motion requesting that this committee ask the minister to come forward with details about the budgeting process as it pertains to hospitals and the whole health care reform agenda.

      If we had information then, we would not still be here today asking questions about more news from hospitals, more rumours, more worries about what is happening.  We have said consistently that if we had the benefit of the information that the minister is working with, if we had the benefit of the plan of this minister and his officials, then we would not be here asking the same questions over and over again.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I am wondering if the minister could give us the breakdown‑‑and I am going to repeat a question I have asked in the past‑‑in terms of beds being moved within our hospital system, beds being transferred from different facilities to other facilities, so that we can end the speculation, as the minister has wont to call it, so that we can end the fear and anxiety in our hospitals.  I simply ask for a breakdown of that formula, the government formula, for the 240 beds apparently to be cut from our two teaching hospitals, where those beds are being transferred to, what beds are being cut from the community hospitals, where those beds are being transferred to, what beds are being cut in total from our hospital system and how resources are being moved into the community.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, since we are going line by line, my honourable friend might want to pose those questions, and I will provide as much information as possible when we reach line 7 in the Estimates in which the increased spending of $53 million to hospitals is budgeted, an increase from $892 million last year to over $946 million this year.

      If my honourable friend wishes to ask questions regarding how we are expending $32 million of salaries, I would be pleased to answer those, as they pertain to the planning process, as they pertain to the general direction of care delivery in the province of Manitoba and the role and function that $32 million worth of salary costs undertake to provide those services.  I would be glad to answer my honourable friend's specific questions regarding this salary line.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I will be happy to ask questions I have asked in the past on that very theme and for which I have received no answers.

      Let me start by asking the question I asked last week, which is the evidence somewhere in these Estimates to indicate there is in fact a movement from hospitals, from institutional health care to community health services.  Could the minister indicate, in terms of this line that we are on, how staff, how resources are being allocated to achieve these general principles and goals that the minister enunciates, and where there is evidence that in fact we are seeing the beginning of a real health care reform agenda and real movement where patients' needs are met and quality of health services is maintained?

Mr. Orchard:  I think that would become abundantly evident with the total operating expenditures of $1.792 billion being expended and adding to that $57 million worth of capital expenditures and some of the significant increases.  For instance, in community care, $7 million more this year than last in the Continuing Care Program.  I think that those initiatives ought to demonstrate to my honourable friend that the resource is going to support increased community care.

      I might indicate to my honourable friend that had I followed the advice of the New Democrats I would have not put more money into the Continuing Care Program, I would have put it all into the hospital system, because that has been the sole fixation of my honourable friend, that a $53‑million increase in budget to hospitals that I am asking approval for, for this fiscal year, I believe my honourable friend, on behalf of the New Democrats of Manitoba, is making the case that that is not enough.

      Well, I hope that we get a little more definitive response from my honourable friend of what should be enough to hospitals, since that is her only fixation in these Estimates.  But we are putting $7 million more into home care to enhance service opportunity in the community.  Is that good, bad, in between, wrong?  Because if the New Democrats would care to suggest that is wrong, I would take that advice very seriously.  I doubt if I would follow it, but at least I would know what my honourable friend stands for or alleges to stand for at this time of 4:25 on May 11.  That may change tomorrow, who knows?  But at least I would have some indication where my honourable friend stands at this moment in the shifting sands of policy creation by the NDP.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I remind the minister that these are Estimates for the Department of Health, for the Minister of Health to provide a sense of his direction and his plans for health care.  The minister is wont to, over the last 50 hours or more, at every turn, with every question, twist it around and suggest that he is not required to answer the question and that the whole sole purpose of being here is for the opposition to put their positions on record.

      Well, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, you know the purpose of Estimates is for the opposition to get information about the government's spending plans.  So much as I would love to sit and go into lengthy diatribes and have all kinds of friendly debate and discussion about my views, my personal leanings, my party's philosophy as opposed to this minister and his party and his government's policies and philosophy, this is not the time nor the place for that kind of dialogue or diatribe.

      What it is the time for is the minister to provide some answers to some questions.  I asked, and I will ask again, where in this set of Estimates are we to glean from the pages and the numbers before us, a movement along the health care reform lines that the minister has touted and along the lines that many advocate?  I am certainly one of them, have always been one of them.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the minister has been very diligent about distorting every question we have asked.  That has been no different when we have asked questions about changes in hospital budgets and reductions in beds.  Our job is to piece together this information so we have a better understanding of where the government of the day is leading health care, and so that we can offer our best advice and our most constructive criticism.

* (1630)

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, that has not been possible, because we do not get answers to basic questions.  We are not privy to details.  We are not treated with respect in this supposed democratic Estimates process which has traditionally and historically been a time for members of the Legislature to ask questions and for the government of the day to provide responses to those questions.

      If the minister is not prepared to answer that kind of a broad question since it may involve several lines, and I know he is only going to go line by line in this new rigorous less‑than‑flexible position, or inflexible position let me say, so perhaps we are not going to get very far asking those general kinds of questions.  If he is not prepared to answer that general kind of question, perhaps, we can begin with something very simple and that is, is the information on page 71 of our Estimates book under 5.(b) by and large the information that was contained under Community Health Services of the previous Estimates year‑‑and I am comparing Estimates books‑‑or if it is not, what lines constitute the new line Hospitals and Community Health Services, so I can make some precise comparisons?  As you will know, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, it is not possible for us to simply look at this book and compare the Estimates for the year ending March 31, 1993, with the Adjusted Vote in '91‑92 since many adjustments took place to the point where there is often little comparison between the Estimates we agreed to last year and the Adjusted Vote for the last fiscal year.

      I am trying to find the details of our previous Estimates process that constitute this new line, Hospitals and Community Health Services.

Mr. Orchard:  I missed the question, but I will indicate to my honourable friend that under the line we are now discussing, there are Salaries, nine SYs for Managerial, 648 1/2 SYs for Professional/Technical, 141 and six weeks for Administrative Support.  There is a provision for term staff of approximately 12 SYs plus 44 weeks.  There is a provision in the Salaries for severance and vacation pay, something that is always budgeted for.  There is a provision for overtime; there is a provision for standby because sometimes staff are on standby.  There are shift and weekend premiums.  There is staff turnover allowance.


Point of Order


Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  We are all capable of reading, Mr. Deputy Chairperson.  I did not ask the minister to read the Estimates page, I asked him for some specific information.  If he is not prepared to do that after making a stink about sticking to this Estimates process on a line‑by‑line basis, then why does he not just say so and say that he does treat this whole process as a charade‑‑

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

* * *

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, my honourable friend last year made the same kind of accusations my honourable friend is making this year.  I guess maybe in terms of trying to bring together Hospitals and Community Health Services so that they operate not as separate and autonomous lines of spending which has been the tradition up until last year's reorganization, that they work in a more co‑operative, communicative fashion so that you are not narrowed one day dealing on one line with hospitals alone, and then on the next day with community‑based services as provided through regional services.

      I know that that concept is foreign to my honourable friend even though from time to time she claims that the NDP support that kind of integration of service, communication, reorganization of the department.  I guess, maybe we should not have staff involved with hospital spending talking to staff involved with regional services.  I mean they should not communicate, according to the NDP.  Now that we have put them together in this, my honourable friend cannot understand why. This is a strange sort of an approach.  You might recall, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I asked‑‑


Point of Order


Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, on a point of order.  I at no time suggested this was a strange approach.  I asked for the elements of the previous Estimates process that constitute this new line.  I did not add any kind of subjective judgmental terminology around a very straightforward objective question.  That is my question.  That is what I would like an answer to.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The honourable member did not have a point of order.

* * *

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, here is the dilemma we have.  We do not know what my honourable friend really believes in because you might recall during the course of my honourable friend's last remarks, and I am going to review Hansard carefully because my honourable friend made something to the effect that we really believe in changing and shifting the health care system, I believe she meant from institution to community, and I said, pardon me, because I had not heard that before.  Because all I have heard from my honourable friend in the last‑‑well, let us just deal with the last 12 hours since we have had this great flexibility.  The majority of the questions from my honourable friend have been on hospitals.  During the 52 hours we have been here, the vast majority of my honourable friend's questions have been on hospitals, a sole and intense fixation on hospitals.  On the bed is the power symbol.

      I understand that my honourable friend may not have a plan that she can put forward or any kind of a philosophical underpinning that the New Democrats in Manitoba might have in approaching debate on the Health Estimates.  I understand that.

      I will even give my honourable the opportunity to say, okay, give us time and as opposition New Democrats, we will come to grips with that and we will eventually understand the system and maybe present something that is logical, that is understanding.

      But a given that my honourable friend does not like what we are doing in these Estimates‑‑well, maybe my honourable friend will not now, but there is a member of the New Democrats still in the crowd here.  Maybe my honourable friend, who is remaining, representing the New Democrats might be able to indicate, if you do not like these Estimates in the Province of Manitoba, then give us a little hint as to which provinces health care spending we ought to follow, whether it be any province from Newfoundland to British Columbia?  If you find one that is doing closer to the job that you think we should be doing in Manitoba, let us know. We will take a look at that province and see what elements you think we should try to incorporate into our health care planning in Manitoba.  That is in terms of general approach on policy.

      The second thing, if New Democrats cannot come to grips with a position for Manitobans to view in Manitoba, then maybe they could just give us a little hint as to which province from Newfoundland to British Columbia they believe more closely emulates their desire and belief as to what is appropriate in health care spending.  Would it be Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick?  Might it be the Province of Quebec, the Province of Ontario, the Province of Saskatchewan?

      I mean, let us hear which one is more appropriate, then we get a little better semblance as to what it is they do not like about our spending in this province right now with $102 million more to spend this year than last, increase in community support programs through the Continuing Care Program, increase even in hospitals.  Not as much as they want.  Not as much as my honourable friend's the New Democrats would give the hospitals, but certainly an increase.

      So, you know, even if they cannot lay out their own ideals and their own philosophy and their own understanding of the health care system, even a little hint as to which province most closely emulates where they come from as New Democrats would be helpful, because I am at a loss to understand where the New Democrats come from in Manitoba.

      Earlier on, about 35 hours ago, the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) said, when I mentioned, well, do you like the way they do this in Ontario or this in Saskatchewan or this in British Columbia, her statement was‑‑and I will remember it very carefully‑‑well, we do not always agree with what New Democrats do when they are in government.  Well, that is pretty obvious, because when New Democrats are in government they do things entirely different than New Democrats in opposition.  I mean, that is a given.  That is the inconsistency they have to come to grips with.

      In the absence of my honourable friend, the critic‑‑

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  At this time, I would like to remind all honourable members that it is unparliamentary to refer to the presence or absence of any member.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I apologize for that slip. When my honourable friend the New Democratic Party critic decides that she wishes to address those very pressing issues, I would be more than pleased to listen.

* (1640)

Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  When we started the process of discussing the Department of Health with this commission at that time, first there was a so‑called agreement that we may come back for four to six hours and discuss the whole thing, because we did not have the package.  So I followed that, at least the word of the committee, and now 12 hours or 14 hours later on, we are still discussing something we really do not know, which direction the questions are coming and which direction the Department of Health is going to be moving, because it is really unfortunate how things are happening.

      I think somebody could write a very good book in terms of the politics in health care.  I think the last 14 hours will give them good material to write.  I think the way it has been happening is very unfortunate.  Certainly, I would ask the minister that, can he tell us when approximately the health care reform package will be released and will they make sure that the public is first notified, because today there was some question in terms of MHO wanted a consultation, but I think other than MHO there are other people who are interested in turn?

      Many other organizations are interested and above all, I think the people of Manitoba are interested.  They want to know how the health care reform is going to impact on them.  I think the package should be released in the Legislative Assembly first and then the other groups should have a say.  If you are going to deal with each hospital on a day‑to‑day basis and they will all come up with their demands, but who is going to be protecting the health care of every Manitoban?  I think it is very important, very essential, as we said today, that the health care package must be dealt with in a fashion that we can have at least meaningful discussion.  I would ask the minister again to address that issue and not to be sidelined from the basic principle that the health care belongs to the people, not to individual groups.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I do not have it with me, but the letter that was flaunted around today by the Leader of the New Democrats (Mr. Doer) trying to leave the impression that the MHO was not willing to work with government, et cetera, is not an accurate reflection of MHO's position.  Correspondence came into the office Friday laying out MHO's approach to reform of the health care system, and I am just getting those letters brought down.  I left them up in the office.

      I am going to give my honourable friend a copy of the MHO letter of May 8 because it is significantly different in its tone and impression, and would be much more difficult for my honourable friends the New Democrats to say, well, you know, they do not want to work with government, et cetera, which is not the case, because MHO has had a quite close working relationship with government over the last four years.  We have not always agreed, and we never will‑‑that is not the nature of the beast‑‑but where we have disagreed, it has been on the basis of shared information, so they know where we are coming from.

      To leave the impression, as the New Democrats tried today, that MHO is not interested in working with government on system‑wide reform is wrong.  The observation made by MHO in terms of the need for as wide as possible consultation around the health reform directions and discussion paper is a very, very valid suggestion.  They are not the only people who have made that suggestion.  My honourable friend the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) has been making that suggestion for six weeks now, and I do not disagree.  We are going to do that.

      The paper, when available, will have a very, very wide circulation.  I intend to undertake meetings with various organizations and groups to present the essence of the paper and to try and create a greater understanding of where the direction of government is in terms of reform of the health care system.  I have also had some meetings with the leadership of some of those very organizations in the past ten days wherein I have indicated that this major paper is coming down and will be part of a very wide public consultation.

      I indicated to the leadership of these organizations that my expectation is that they will be the significant players in the discussion.  I also offered the caution to them, as I have offered today in Question Period to my honourable opposition critics from the NDP, that I am quite prepared to listen to their opinion of what is inappropriate or wrong with the process that we are undertaking, but I will not accept it in isolation.

      If what they believe we are proposing is the wrong thing to do, I want them to propose what they believe the right thing is to do.  If I heard correctly, that is exactly what the critic for the New Democrats just five or ten minutes ago said that she would do on behalf of the New Democrats, that they would put down their position.  They would offer a critique of our proposal and our plan and offer what they would do instead.  I think that would be most refreshing to see and to hear.

      If there is one thing that bothers me about the discussion paper and its completion and its public presentation is that I did not have it available six weeks ago at the onset of these Estimates, because I think it would have been just absolutely ideal to have it here.  When I indicated the direction on capital program, I also said that by then we would have the discussion paper available and we can have a three‑, four‑, five‑, six‑hour debate on both of them after they are made available to the public, because I am interested in listening to the observations, the critiques, the criticisms of where we can improve the process and make it work better.  As in the past, I have suggested changes‑‑or accepted changes suggested by others, my honourable friend the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) being one.  That is not unusual.  That will be a natural process of change and evolution in the system that we will adhere to.

      My honourable friend the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) said, we do not know where government is coming from.  All you have to do is read the opening remarks in Health, 53 hours ago, and the general direction of moving services with the patient to provide more appropriate, more cost‑effective, lesser cost care.

      But still the appropriate care for the individual is the general reform direction we are taking, and it was spelled out in rather significant detail‑‑in general terms, I will admit‑‑in my opening remarks; no secrets, no hidden agenda, a very definitive explanation of where the system can and will go.

      I am absolutely looking forward to the debate that will emanate when we have the opportunity to make our discussion paper and our action plan public and with wide circulation to get feedback as to what is right, what is wrong, what needs to be changed and how it can be changed.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, in fact, I had the copy of the MHO stuff, I received on May 5.  When we went through the copy, I found something which I was very pleased they were offering, and this said:  In the spirit of co‑operation and desire to facilitate the changes and for the achievement of a more effective health care system, the board of directors of MHO urges you to convene a special meeting of the health care providers and the stakeholders.

      I thought that was a good suggestion.  I am even asking the minister to go one step further.  We said from the beginning, get each and every health care provider at the same table when you are releasing the package and ask them to comment at one time. It is going to be very easy for each and every organization to work for themselves.  They have to work for the health care people of Manitoba.  That is why we have consistently said the policy has to be released in front of each and every person possible, and that means that all the health care providers then.

      The best way is to release it is through this House.  We are in session now, and I think that is one good opportunity for all of us to put our comments.  It was said earlier that this is not the place to debate, and I disagree.  This is the place to debate, because in 54 hours you have to tell exactly and at least in some direction where you are coming from.  Questions are very easy to ask, but to implement some of the policies on behalf of the taxpayers is very difficult.

* (1650)

      Simply we are asking the minister and urging him again to follow the advice he is getting from all people in terms of the health care professionals and the health care groups and the taxpayers and each and every person.  The letter was self‑explanatory.  It is very clear.  I am sure that, when the MHO is going to read what happened in Question Period, they will be very disappointed, because I think they are trying to co‑operate, they are trying to send the right message.  When the messenger is not being right, I think that is the problem.  I want the minister to expand the issue of health care reform to the other groups so that they could have advance warning what is coming.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, my honourable friend and I have had fairly substantive discussions on this issue.  I am going to give my honourable friend a copy of a May 8, 1992‑‑[interjection] the May 8 one, from MHO?  I do not think you have that, because it just came into my office on Friday.  It is addressed to myself.

      The covering letter says:  "In November, 1991, as part of a planning exercise, the Board of Directors of Manitoba Health Organizations acknowledged the challenges facing the Canadian and Manitoba health system, and the associated need for our organization to strengthen its leadership role to foster appropriate change.

      "In April, 1992, the Board adopted a series of position statements concerning its values as a basis for decision‑making in matters pertinent to health system reform.

      "On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to share MHO's Position Statements on Health System Reform as an indication of our intention to take an active part in working towards improved system reform.  Chairman of the Board."

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I am going to take the liberty to table this, because it puts a significantly different light on the issue compared to the April 28 letter, because I would not, in any way, shape or form, want to have the impression remain, as alleged by the New Democrats in Question Period today, that MHO does not want to co‑operate with government and does not have ideas around helping government and working with government.

      I think my honourable friend, even the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis), might be enlightened by the most recent communication with MHO. [interjection] Yes, good.  Did you find that slightly different?  My honourable friend has the May 8 communication.  Does my honourable friend not consider that to be a substantially different tone than the one she tried to paint in the House today?  Now, mind you, I know it is not up to my honourable friend to answer any questions.  That was a rhetorical question.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  I have a lot of sympathy for the member for St. Johns having to sit and listen to the double speak of this minister for so many hours.  Just as an example, a little earlier he talked about how at the beginning of the Estimates he had gone into very specific details, in general terms, more than a little confusing.  Certainly, he displays his ability to avoid answering questions, certainly in the questions I have heard here at committee today.

      He also can misinterpret what other people have written to him and what other people have said to him, and his latest twisting of the MHO letter is perhaps the best example.

      The MHO were never saying, we are not interested in working with government.  What they are saying is, we cannot work with this minister.  This minister is not prepared to listen. [interjection] Yes, that is what they are saying, and I have talked to other people, people who have served with the MHO who have said exactly the same thing.

      So I mean, it is rather a leap of rhetorical logic or something to say that somehow MHO is not interested in working it when it is completely the opposite.  It is the minister, they are saying, who has not put a plan in place which would allow any of the health care providers to respond in any kind of coherent fashion.

      This minister has misled and misinformed the Legislature and health care providers across the province.  There is no better example than the $50 user fee.  It relates very much to this section, because one of the objectives of this branch is to ensure that efficient and appropriate patient care is delivered across the total breadth of the province.

      When I asked questions the other day, the minister said in his first answer, well, of course there has been a reduction in the use of the Northern Patient Transportation Program because there are not as many physicians in rural and northern Manitoba. Then he said, well, of course, the reason that the outcomes and so forth in rural Manitoba were worse than the provincial average is we do not have as many specialists.  Then he turned around and boasted because the province had more doctors, he claimed, in Thompson.

      The fact of the matter is that the Northern Patient Transportation Program was implemented without any consultation with any major health care provider, without consulting the users of the Northern Patient Transportation Program or the communities that it affects.  It is just one small example of a direction taken by a stubborn minister who has subsequently refused, despite the best evidence he has at hand.  Despite the best efforts of people to convince him that the policy is wrong, he has steadfastly refused to correct his mistake, and it is a mistake.

      It is rather ironic and ludicrous to hear a Minister of Health say, well, yes, I know that people in Winnipeg use the health services twice as often, but I think what we should do is take the people who use it half as often and penalize them, make access for them more difficult.  That is the ticket.

      How that can be consistent, how that can be logical is beyond me.  I have been in this committee before, and I have asked the minister previously to tell me with whom he consulted to develop this genius of an approach to health care policy.  Who did he consult with?  Did he consult with the northern health task force that he created?  Did he ask them what the impact of a $50 user fee would be?  Well, no, it is not apparent that he did.  Did he ask any of the other myriad of task forces that he put together how they viewed it?  No, I do not think he did.  Does he appear at this point to be willing to contemplate changing the policy based on the fact that the number of people using the system is declining despite the increase in virtually every other area of health service delivery in the province?  No, he is not prepared to move.

      So, how can you expect MHO or any other group to have much faith that consulting with this minister is going to lead to any kind of enlightened change?  The fact of the matter is that this minister has his own agenda and he is trying to hide it very cleverly behind a whole series of task force reports that are pending.  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, what we need to know is what the plan is.  That is what was asked today.  That was what was asked by MHO, and that is what has been asked by members of the committee who came forward before the Estimates process.  I guess that is my question as well.  Can the minister tell us today whether the Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation or any other group in the research and planning area of the Department of Health are evaluating the impact of the Northern Patient Transportation $50 user fee?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I know that information will not necessarily change my honourable friend's approach, but I would just like to share some information with my honourable friend so that he might more appropriately understand the chart that he referred to on page 46 of the MHSC annual statistics.  My honourable friend might be made aware that Winnipeg at 14,741, and I believe that is services per 1,000 population, that includes services billed and paid to private labs.  There are significant numbers, my honourable friend having been around the cabinet table would appreciate, of private labs offering those services in the city of Winnipeg, and every service is then billed as a separate service.

      There is a private lab in Westman.  There is a private lab in the Interlake which accounts for, I would have to assume, those two regions being above the other regions for which there are no private labs, and what happens in terms of the services throughout Eastman, Parkland, Norman Central and Thompson is that LAXes, the provincial laboratory service, as part of the hospital budget is undertaking those laboratory testings, and they are not billed as separate services.  They are part of the global budgets of hospitals.  Therefore, if you were to pull out of the Winnipeg, Westman and Interlake the number of services billed at the private labs you would have a much lower figure and a much more comparable figure.  So, I simply caution to my honourable friend that given that information, he might want to reconsider that this chart proves his hypothetical case that Winnipeggers are accessing services at twice the rate of northerners.  That is not accurate because some of the services are laboratory services billed separately‑‑

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The time now being 5 p.m. and time for private members' hour, I am interrupting the proceedings of the committee.

      The Committee of Supply will resume considerations at 8 p.m.




Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Order, please.  Will the Committee of Supply please come to order.  This section of the Committee of Supply is dealing with the Estimates for the Department of Education and Training.  We are on page 41, Bureau de L'Education Francaise 4.(a) Division Administration.

      Would the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  I have some items to table as a follow‑up to our previous discussions in Estimates.  The first is information on the Distance Education and Technology Branch, the List of First Year University by Distance Education Sites.

      The second is Distance Education and Technology Branch, the Names and Locations of Programs.  The third is Distance Education and Technology Branch‑‑I am sorry, these are the same names, educations and programs.  I beg your pardon, that is the same.

      The third is a listing that was requested.  Members of the Student Support Branch's names, and we have also provided the background of those individuals employed, as well as a list of their job descriptions.

      Also, I have Material to be Tabled from the BEF Division, which is a breakdown of the grants offered through the bureau; also rules and regulations governing the grants for French language education, a summary of the grants given in 1991‑92 to school divisions for French language programs, a summary of grants forecasted for 1992‑93 to school divisions for French language programs and a summary of funds to be received from the Department of the Secretary of State under the Canada‑Manitoba Agreement for Official Languages in Education as indicated in the '92‑93 detailed Estimates.

      That completes the items that I had said that I would table.

* (1450)

Madam Chairperson:  Item 4.(a) Division Administration:  (1) Salaries $108,500‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $22,200‑‑pass; (3) Francophone Schools Governance $40,000‑‑pass.

      Item 4.(b) Curriculum Development and Implementation:  (1) Salaries $815,300‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $146,100‑‑pass.

      Item 4.(c) Educational Support Services:  (1) Salaries $263,800‑pass; Other Expenditures $64,400; (3) Assistance $1,056,200‑‑pass.

      Item 4.(d) Official Languages Programs and Administrative Services:  (1) Salaries $414,800‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $345,700‑‑pass; (3) Assistance $486,000‑‑pass.

      Item 4.(e) Library and Materials Production:  (1) Salaries $380,500‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $124,400‑‑pass.

      Resolution 29:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding $4,267,900 for Education and Training, Bureau de l'education francaise, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      5. Post‑Secondary, Adult and Continuing Education and Training (a) Executive Administration:  (1) Salaries $193,400.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  We are coming to a whole new section of the department, post‑secondary education, and both the Liberal Party and ourselves have appointed separate critics for this.  I think perhaps that should be noted in Hansard, and I wondered if perhaps the minister might take this opportunity to introduce the members of her staff since, in a sense, it is a new critic coming on?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I thank the member for the opportunity to introduce my staff on the post‑secondary side.  I would like to start with John Carlyle, who is the Deputy Minister of Education and Training; Dominique Bloy, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister of Administration and Finance; Paul Goyan, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister of Post‑secondary Adult and Continuing Education and Training; and Peter Dubienski, who is the Acting Executive Director, Program Analysis Co‑ordination and Support Branch.

Ms. Friesen:  I would like to thank the minister for that, and to start by putting on the record, I think, some of the concerns that we have about post‑secondary education, perhaps to indicate for the minister's staff the direction that we will be taking over the remaining hours for this department.

      I think everybody in Canada recognizes the dramatic changes that there have been in post‑secondary education or at least in the problems that are facing post‑secondary education across the country.

      There are and have been some dramatic population changes in the West, particularly both in the composition of aboriginal and nonaboriginal populations and also in increasing immigration of people whose first language is neither English nor French.  Both of these pose new challenges, I think, for the post‑secondary education system in particular.

      Coupled with those kinds of population changes, I think we also have a long‑term reduction of funding from the federal government and every province has faced that.  I would judge it also in political terms.  It is a Conservative government which has chosen unilaterally to reduce the funds and which has left problems for every provincial government across the country.  It is particularly important in both health, and of course, in post‑secondary education.  So I think that is a second area where I think everybody recognizes that we face similar changes.

      Thirdly, obviously the changes in the international economy and the effect that has had upon Manitoba's industrial and agricultural base, again that poses a challenge particularly for the post‑secondary education facilities of this province.

      The recent surveys at the national level of university policies and of college polices, I think, also have some implications for Manitoba.  We would want to be looking, when we get to the UGC lines, at some of the implications of the Smith report and of longer term issues for the universities and the province.

      So I would suggest to the minister that the kinds of things we will want to be looking at in the universities area are the university‑government relationships, some of the issues of accessibility, of quality, of teaching and of research, and of a number of the other issues that the national survey raised.

      I think this is the opportunity, outside of Question Period, to discuss some of the minister's longer term policies for the universities of the province.

      For the colleges, I think Manitoba faces many problems in the development of its college education.

      Some of the ones that we would like to look at with the minister again, outside perhaps the confrontational nature of Question Period, is to look at the ways in which the colleges can be helped to meet the challenges of Manitoba's changing population and the redistribution of that population.  I think both of those are areas where the colleges have an important role to play.

      In particular, the low levels of literacy, the high levels of dropout rates which are not unique to Manitoba, but I certainly felt in great extremes in the city of Winnipeg particularly, I think should be addressed by the community colleges and by other post‑secondary institutions.  So, again, I want to look for some policy initiatives and policy directions in those areas.

      In the field of colleges particularly, the minister has often in Question Period given the answer to policy questions with: well, we are going to governments.  I think we would welcome this opportunity in Estimates to look more closely at what that means, what the relationship will be between the colleges and the government both in terms of funding, proportion of funds and those kinds of issues.

      So again I am looking, I think in general, for some policy discussions from these Estimates and for a sense of direction to both universities and colleges and the sense of the role that our post‑secondary educational institutions can play in the economic development of the province.

      Workforce 2000 we have seen very little of.  The minister has consistently said that things are happening in that area, and certainly when we look at the budget, there is a considerable amount of the budget of Education and Training going to Workforce 2000, but there is very little public information available on it.  So I am looking for those kinds of information that can then be distributed and publicly discussed.

      There are some specific issues that I would like to look at as we get closer to those particular lines, issues obviously that we have also discussed in Question Period, issues of access, issues of student fees as well, that we might have the opportunity to spend a longer period of time on here.

      So I would be happy to stop now if the Liberal critic wanted to put some general comments on the record, or we can go straight into questions.

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Madam Chairperson, I would like a couple of minutes just to lay out a few areas so that staff could prepare for the discussions that are going to take place over the next few weeks.

      I have been Finance and, latterly, Industry critic for our party since I was elected, and I asked for post‑secondary education because when one spends any amount of time looking at the economic situation in this province and then looks at what sorts of things small economies can do to spur economic development and to prepare themselves for what is ahead, you inevitably end up in discussions about post‑secondary education and training and retraining and upgrading and the like.

      You cannot think about moving into the global economy without addressing some of the very fundamental problems that we have in North America, not just in Manitoba, with the way in which we prepare people to be competitive in the labour market.  So I approach this from that perspective, and I have spent a fair bit of time visiting with the various universities and people at the colleges, trying to get a sense of what is occurring.  I have some very specific concerns which I will detail as we come to specific lines, but I want to lay out a few areas for the minister that I am going to want to talk about in some detail.

       * (1500)

      The member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) has talked about governance, and I am going to want to walk through what has occurred at the colleges since we were last in Estimates.  The minister will know that I have a particular interest in student representation and the whole question of student representation. I want to ask a similar question relative to the University of Manitoba, and whether or not, given that the department saw fit to allow student representation, direct appointment by students on the board to the colleges, they are prepared to reverse their current policy relative to student representation on the board of the University of Manitoba in particular.

      I am distressed, and have been distressed for some time, at the Finance minister's willingness to play fast and loose with the numbers.  In few places has it been done as loosely, shall we say, or as shoddily, as it has been relative to the Department of Education.  So I am going to want to tighten up, if you like, the facts.  I am going to want a detailing of the $2.5 million in new programs.

      I would like to know how that $2.5 million is being allocated in this budget and what new programs are being proposed.  I am going to want to know in great detail why the minister's own estimates‑‑at a time when we have a recession, very high unemployment, an opportunity for retraining and some skill building‑‑are predicting a 2,000 person drop in the number of people being trained in the province.  I would like to have some detailed answers to that.

      I am very concerned about the whole area of student aid and the apparent shell game that has been played with student aid, as people have not been allowed to do anything other than work longer hours to supplement their income, and in that the government seems to be singularly unresponsive to the needs of students in this province.  We had some questions from the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) that highlighted the concerns relative to access.

      I think there are equal and greater concerns given the position that students are put in attending college.  All that this government, in conjunction with the federal government, has seen fit to do to date, is to force more and more students to work longer and longer hours in order to meet basic needs while they are attempting to get an education.  The results, I think, are very predictable.

      I am again concerned about the move to limit enrollment.  I do not think it is any secret that the University of Manitoba is moving in the direction of closing its only open faculty, the Faculty of Arts.  I think that, for very predictable, budgetary reasons, reasons that have been made available to this government since it first came into office, the university is left with no other choice but to stop a practice that we have had for a good many years, and that is, any student who meets basic admittance requirement will find a spot.  That is the case right now; it will probably be the case next year.  It is unlikely that it will be the case too much further into the future.  I think that, in light of the need to have a very highly skilled labour force, that is a very frightening and unfortunate development.

      I have been wandering around the various campuses looking at their physical plant, and one does not have to wander very far at the University of Manitoba to get a sense of the very dire need for repair on that campus.  The other campuses are somewhat more fortunate in that they have newer plant for the most part, but I am going to want to understand how the government can realistically use the language, as it does in the budget and other releases, of being concerned about education, about being concerned about post‑secondary education, being concerned about developing a highly skilled labour force in this province, and put so little resources into the institutions that do that very job.

      I am going to want to talk a little bit about technical programs at the various colleges and get a sense of how ready they are, how well‑equipped they are to provide the kind of training that the various businesses that utilize our trainees require.  I am very interested to know the level of upgrading the various shops need, what sort of capital equipment requirements have been requested and how far behind are we in keeping the various plants up to date so that students are being trained on machinery that they will be expected to use when they go into the work force and not being trained on pieces of equipment that went out of date more than a decade ago.

      Back to the question of student aid for a moment, I am also wondering about the policy relative to private colleges.  I am thinking specifically of hairdressing and secretarial colleges and what sort of screening is done.  I have a couple of cases I want to discuss with the minister, and I want to know something about the out‑of‑province provision of support, because I have a number of cases sitting here from people who are very concerned about their lack of ability to access any support in this province for programs that are offered elsewhere and are not offered in this province.  I even have some suggestion that the department has indicated that support would be forthcoming, the student has made arrangements, gone to college on the strength of that written indication and then been denied the actual support, so I think there are some very serious problems there that need to be reviewed in some detail.

      I am also interested in the relationship between research and the various universities, that the government has created a new board, a new organization which thus far seems to be dedicated to spending as much of its money as it possibly can on fancy letterhead and nice releases.  It would be interesting to see if there is any planning or any intention to actually link that organization with the major research organizations in this province, and whether there is any planning going on relative to bringing products to market or to assisting the various developers of new processes and products in bringing their patents, their ideas, to commercial use.  Certainly the indications I have from the various people who have those relationships is that the government has been less than supportive, unless of course you are interested in new printing techniques.

      So that, I think, in a general sense, is the areas that I am going to want to go into in rather great detail, because there is a concern that is generally raised by the colleges and by the universities, and that is that this is a huge department and it is a department that is subject to a great deal of political pressure and political interest, as parents are concerned about what is going to occur in their local schools for their children, and that the feeling has been that the universities and the colleges on the post‑secondary side of this gets rather short shrift in departmental and ministerial time.

      I do not say that with any reference to this particular minister, because I think that has been a concern going back more than a decade.  It is that concern that led us, and I suspect the New Democrats, to split the responsibility so that there could be some focusing on post‑secondary education.  So I am going to want to spend a fair bit of time trying to correct perhaps what has been perceived to be an imbalance.  I think with that, Madam Chairperson, I will draw my remarks to a close and let the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) begin the questioning.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I thank the honourable members for their opening remarks and would refer them to the opening remarks that I made at the beginning of Estimates where I underlined the commitment and the interest of this government in all of the issues relating to post‑secondary education, those issues relating to the universities, to the colleges and to the training programs within this province, and also, as the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) referenced, training programs which Manitobans attend outside of this province.

      I would just like to reassure both the members that I, too, look forward to a very good discussion about these issues, because the issue of Manitoba having a trained and able work force, whether that training comes from any one of the three areas which have been described, is of very great importance both to me as an individual minister and to my department, but also to our government.  So, with that I will ask them if they would like to go ahead with the questions, and I look forward to our discussion.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, I wanted to look at the programs and record of this section of the department with reference to the leadership to the three community colleges, which I believe is one of the activity identifications of this section.  I wonder if the minister could perhaps begin by telling us how that leadership to the community colleges is conveyed.  How does the minister meet with the community colleges and what kind of policy is she conveying to them in the past year or in future?

* (1510)

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (Deputy Chairperson of Committees):  Madam Chairperson, in the section of the Committee of Supply meeting in Room 255, the following motion was moved by the honourable member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis):  THAT this committee condemn the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) for failing to provide full and complete information on hospital funding thereby allowing bed cuts to proceed on an ad hoc disjointed process in the absence of a comprehensive plan and without the benefit of public input. Following debate of the motion, a voice vote was held and the motion was deemed to be defeated.  A formal vote on the motion was then requested.

Madam Chairperson:  A formal vote on the motion has been requested.  Call in the members.

      Order, please.  The question before the committee is the following motion:

      THAT this committee condemn the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) for failing to provide full and complete information on hospital funding, thereby allowing bed cuts to proceed on an ad‑hoc, disjointed process in the absence of a comprehensive plan and without the benefit of public input.

       A COUNTED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:  Yeas 18, Nays 29.

Madam Chairperson:  The motion is lost.

      Order, please.  Will the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I would like to respond to some of the issues of the direction set by the department to the colleges and some of the ways in which they have a relationship with each other.  First of all, the minister provides direction to the colleges via staff and also via initiatives, and in the last one and a half years there have been three new college presidents.  Now, by the deputy and by staff we chair the interdepartmental conversion team on college governance, and in addition PACE has initiated mid‑range plans and an accountability model for the colleges and each college president is a member of the PACE senior management team.

      In addition government has provided a changing focus for college programming to be more responsive to the provincial needs.  I give by way of example aboriginal initiatives and programs, and also programs relating to economic development and market‑driven focus and an expansion of the regional centres, and also the total quality management focus which is part of the Red River Community College initiative.  In addition the individual college planning is synchronized with our departmental direction through some of the initiatives which I have just discussed.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, I wanted to direct the next few questions to colleges in general, so this is not specifically any one of the colleges.

      I wonder if the minister could give me an idea of how the department has approached planning for the next 10 years?  I am thinking particularly of demographic changes in Manitoba, both in the composition and location of the population as well as projections for what is sometimes called the echo‑boom babies.

* (1620)

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, we certainly have recognized in the Department of Education that there are issues to be planned for in relation to, by way of example, aboriginal students and workers, immigrant and visible minority workers, and older workers who will be interested in pursuing the area of lifelong learning.

      In order to plan for the training of those workers and those individuals, we are looking at it in a number of ways.  The first way is through the interdepartmental conversion team for the colleges.  Through that team we have been looking at devolving the day‑to‑day operations to the colleges in a very orderly way, and also to assist in the accountability of those colleges in all areas.  This will take effect in 1993.

      Secondly, the department does have a strategic plan and, in addition, a mid‑range plan, and that mid‑range plan is looking at the three‑ to four‑year range.  There has been some very specific work done on aboriginal issues, and we do have for the member, when we get to each college, very specific information on initiatives as they relate to each college.

      Then, in addition, the colleges and their relation to the economics of the province, I am looking forward to announcing in the near future a provincial labour force development strategy. I am looking to do that certainly within the next few months, which I think will then look, as I said, very carefully at the colleges and their relation to the economy of the province.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, could we go a little deeper into that.  I understand that there are specific programs for each college, but what concerns me, and I think what worries many people who are involved in the college system, is that governance or independence or isolation, depending on how you look at it, is coming very quickly.

      There does not appear to be publicly available at this stage an overall projection or analysis of the needs of the provincial population.  It is not, you know‑‑one of the things I was suggesting was to look at the echo baby boom to look at the usual cohort which is involved in post‑secondary education.  But, as the minister quite rightly said, what we are looking at in community colleges is not just that particular cohort.  We are looking at the constant retraining of older workers, and we are looking at, in fact, involving people in post‑secondary education who have never had that opportunity before.

      So what I am looking for, for example, for anybody who is going to be on the new boards of these colleges, is where is the overall research and analysis of provincial needs that they can address themselves to, that they can begin to put their regional concerns into some context?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, yes, the department is in the process, as I mentioned in my last answer, of developing a provincial labour market strategy, and through this labour market strategy we will be looking at the needs of the provincial population, and we certainly appreciate the college's role in the training that would be identified through that labour market strategy.  We do expect that will contain some long‑range statistics in several areas, first of all the area of labour‑market supply and demand in relation to training and the needs of the province, the issue of employability.

      We are looking to ensure a very competitive economy, but also equity for students within that economy.  We are also looking through our labour force development agreement with the federal government for additional partnerships with the federal government, with industry, and with labour.

Ms. Friesen:  The minister talks about developing this.  Can she tell us whether this is a study which is being updated, or is this a study which is, in fact, beginning from scratch?  Could she give us an idea of when it will be publicly available, so that we can perhaps have the public discussion that I think would be very useful for all the partner groups that she mentioned?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I am informed that the development of this strategy has been from scratch as opposed to an update, and it was originally based on recommendations from the skills advisory representatives.  It will consider a division of responsibility as referenced in the Canada‑Manitoba Labour Force Development Agreement and also a relationship with the college.

      I am expecting that it will be available in the fall of 1992, certainly submitted to me at that time.  It will eventually be made public as well, and we expect that the importance of it being made public will be‑‑because we do expect that it will have an impact and will also need the partnership of business and industry and labour.  We also hope that it will promote debate within the community, and it will also lead to further discussion about a training culture which we have identified as being an important step in terms of the training for Manitobans.

Ms. Friesen:  Can I continue then with some demographic questions.  One of the issues that all large educational institutions face is the aging of their faculty, and also related to that is the very high proportion in both colleges and universities of budgets which are in fact faculty budgets.  The usual figure that is given across Canada is approximately 80 percent of the budget is faculty budgets.  Has the minister, in preparation for governance, done any research and analysis which looks at the composition and the structure of the faculties of the three colleges and has she considered what the future will be in terms of faculty renewal in those community colleges?

* (1630)

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, the issue of an aging faculty is important.  It is important as the member has mentioned in all institutions, and it is important regardless of the move to governance, but apart from the move to governance I am informed that within the next five to 10 years there will be a significant increase in the retirements of the faculties, and it could be as many as one‑half of the staff.  Now, with the move to governance this is an opportunity then for the boards to look directly at the quality and the qualifications of the instructors.  But they as boards then will be required to consider what their needs are, what the qualifications that they are looking at will be.

Ms. Friesen:  I think one of the concerns is that what we are seeing at the moment in college education in Manitoba is an increasing move towards shorter term courses, and I think one of the consequences of that might be essentially the hiring of shorter‑term faculty.

      Whereas in some cases that is justifiable, I think one of the concerns that one would have to have in the long term is a concern for the continuity and maintenance of an institution.  If you do not have the long‑term faculty there, if you do not have the people who have the commitment to the institution through their contracts and through their service and through their continuing contact with students, you are weakening the institutions.  So this rather large retirement which the minister sees as an opportunity, I think, also carries with it some dangers.  I wondered her staff had given some consideration to this.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I think it would be important to look at this in two parts; the first part being, I am informed, that there has been no significant decline in the area of the regular day programming, that is, the regular kinds of programming for students.  However, there has been, in the second part, a significant increase in the market‑driven training programs.

      Market‑driven training programs do tend to be shorter in length.  They tend to respond very much to the needs and the demands of the labour market, and they are often very much associated with upgrading to assist an industry in remaining competitive.  They are also very responsive to the issue of a training culture which I had described in my previous answer.

      So, in two parts, there has been no significant decline in the regular day programming; there has been an increase in the market‑driven training which tend to be those shorter courses which, I believe, the member is referencing.

Ms. Friesen:  The policy direction that I see coming from the government and that the minister, I think, responded to in one of her earlier answers, is that the provincial policy is towards market‑driven training.  This is what concerns me, that market‑driven training is very specific, short term, and I am concerned about the implications of that on faculty presence and the nature of the institutions that are going to survive.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I think it is important to note that I did not in any way suggest that we were favouring market‑driven programming.  I would like to remind the member that the market‑driven programming was introduced by the former government, the NDP government.  What I have talked about instead is a modest increase and a balance in the area of the market‑driven training, and it is certainly not at the expense of the day programming.  I will remind her again that I am informed there has been no significant decline in the regular day programming.

Ms. Friesen:  What I am looking for obviously is the overall policy direction.  When the minister answered the policy direction question, she gave me three:  aboriginal initiatives, market‑driven training, and total quality management.  So selecting from that, I asked about the market‑driven training and its impact upon college faculty and the nature of the colleges themselves.

      Let me try and come at it another way, I am still concerned about that.  I think what I see happening at the universities is likely to happen at the colleges too.  What is happening at the universities, as I am sure she knows, is that an increasing amount of work, of teaching, is going to people on short‑term contracts.  The universities cannot afford to hire long‑term people anymore, so that departments that used to have 40 people in them now have 10 or 15 full‑time people and they are staffing by short‑term people.

      Not that these people are not unqualified.  That is not the issue.  The point is that they do not participate in the administration or the research or all of the other aspects of the university.  They are, by the nature of their contracts, limited to six or eight months in the classroom.

      Gradually what is happening with that is a very changed situation in universities with fewer and fewer people having or being offered the opportunity to have a commitment to the institutions.  That is what concerns me about the market‑driven training initiative and policy that the government is directing the colleges to.  Not that they are not a good idea.  I have not quarreled with that.  My question is the planning, the priorities and the policies and has the government considered the implications of this for the long‑term health of those institutions?

* (1640)

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I would like to just draw the distinction for the honourable member between the colleges and the universities.  The universities are autonomous bodies. College governance does not move the colleges into the same kind of position as the universities.

      The UGC model, which is the model that the universities operate under, was rejected by the committee.  I am also informed that under the collective agreement in the colleges, if a person does the same job for two years, they are eligible then for permanent status.

Ms. Friesen:  Will that continue under the separate boards after governance?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Yes, I am informed that this remains in place under the successor rights; however, the boards then, following that, will be responsible to negotiate with their employees a new agreement.

Ms. Friesen:  In the policy and planning aspects of this section of the department, has the minister's staff given any consideration to the overall supply of teachers of technology?

      It is obvious that element of the labour force is not something which is in the minister's control, but has the department done the research to ensure that we know what areas are going to be in short supply in terms of teaching staff, and what the implications for Manitoba are going to be in those areas?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I think one of the points the member is trying to reach this afternoon is also that the demand is spread over many occupations as opposed to a single track of training for instructors.  At this point I am informed that there is no foreseeable shortage in those areas.  The teachers in each of the areas must meet the qualifications of their particular occupation and skill.

      Also, I would like to mention that under the collective agreement, all instructors must attain an adult education certificate in addition to their occupational training qualifications, and that we are negotiating with the University of Manitoba that this be eligible for degree credit.

Ms. Friesen:  Could the minister table a research study or any research from the department or from national studies which would give some comfort that, in fact, those trained teaching personnel will be available over the next five to 10 years?  Essentially, what is this based on?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, it is somewhat hard to predict what the course demands will be within the next five to 10 years.  However, we do have some statistics which I believe the member might be interested in.  We do not have them today because they are available from a series of sources, but we will put them together, and we will provide them at another sitting for the member.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, I think what I am underlining in the last series of questions is the demographic planning, the planning for student preparation and the planning for renewal of the colleges.  It seems to me that the department has been doing some of that, but not at a very planned or‑‑well, certainly is not producing the material that can be discussed in the public forum yet.  If that is available soon that will be useful.

      What I am interested in following up on is, will this kind of planning, this long‑range demographic faculty, student and institutional planning remain the focus of the department's activities?  Who is going to be doing this kind of planning after governance?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, yes, it is intended that the department, through PACE, will continue the planning and the central policy co‑ordination, and also that it will maintain ongoing liaison through the colleges advisory board.

Ms. Friesen:  This section of the department, or at least PACE overall, I think, has something like 10 percent of the budget and approximately a much higher proportion of staff, I believe. Would I be right in saying in the region of 60 percent of the staff of the department are in this section?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Yes, the member is right.  PACE does have approximately two‑thirds of the staffing, because all colleges and their staff fall under PACE.

Ms. Friesen:  Could the minister then give an indication of the reduction that would be achieved by the separation of the colleges from this?

* (1650)

Mrs. Vodrey:  I am informed that approximately 970 staff years of the PACE budget will devolve to the colleges, plus there will be an addition of staff years from Government Services from maintenance.  However, the amount of dollars will not be different, because it will still fall to PACE and our responsibility for the funding.

Ms. Friesen:  In terms of planning, though, could the minister indicate then what proportion of the department will be available to do this‑‑how many staff years will be left for the planning functions?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I am informed that there are approximately 20 staff years in the program analysis and support area, and they will provide a variety of supports.  The projected numbers or changes for which the member is asking for '93‑94 would really be the subject of those Estimates in that year. However, it is reasonable to expect that the department will analyze which staff years will devolve and which will remain related to PACE, because PACE, as I mentioned before, will be responsible for the policy co‑ordination function.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, can I look now at some of the student planning issues?  The minister talked originally about aboriginal initiatives.  I think there are obviously other issues facing community colleges across the country.  One of them, obviously, is the participation of women both in new occupations and generally in the labour force and education.  A third one that would be particularly important for Manitoba is new immigrants and the basic education level both in English and in general education levels that are there in that population.  I think a further one is the older worker.  I am looking for the overall policy directions of the department.

      I know that we are going to be speaking about individual colleges later, so that the aboriginal initiatives, for example, at Red River College is not what I am getting at, but at what kind of overall planning and direction.  How has the department decided what the needs are, what the numbers are in each of these areas?  How are they directing the colleges to address those issues?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I would like to respond in each of the areas.  In the area of women, I am informed that the current participation in programs is approximately 50 percent of the students in areas excluding the trades.  There have been specific strategies undertaken by the colleges to increase the participation of women in the nontraditional areas and in the trades areas.  In addition, we are encouraging affirmative action hiring so that women will have role models within the community college system.

      The area of aboriginal Manitobans‑‑we expect that aboriginal Manitobans will have representation on the boards of the colleges, that each college plans an aboriginal advisory mechanism to improve programs and services for aboriginal Manitobans, and to establish an aboriginal learning centre to improve the success of aboriginal Manitobans.

      In the area of immigrant workers, that is a former policy under the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson).  However, we do provide language training at Red River Community College for specific labour market programs and also English for specific purposes.

      In the area of older workers, this is a key area.  It will be a priority identified in the new Canada‑Manitoba Labour Force Development Agreement.  Secondly, I would just like to reference for a moment the move to market‑driven training which has also as its focus, and allows as its focus, the older worker.  I would reference the courses specifically for the older worker at the Manitoba Technical Training Centre.

* (1700)

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The hour being 5 p.m., I am interrupting the proceedings.  This committee will reconvene at 8 p.m. this evening.

      Call in the Speaker.






Res. 20‑Independence of Ukraine


Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  I move, seconded by the member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose), that

      WHEREAS the citizens of the Ukraine have recently voted in a national referendum and have expressed a desire for independence; and

      WHEREAS the Government of Canada was the first Western government to recognize the independence of the Ukraine; and

      WHEREAS Manitoba, through the immigration of Ukrainians to our province, has close links with the people of the Ukraine.

      THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba extend its best wishes to the citizens of Ukraine as they celebrate the peaceful and democratic realization of their independence.

Motion presented.

Mr. Helwer:  It is, indeed, my pleasure today to rise and speak in support of the resolution, because we were the first Western government to recognize Ukraine as an independent country.  It is great because we have a lot of Ukrainian people in Canada, in Manitoba, and especially in the Interlake area of Manitoba, who have relations and relatives in the Ukraine.

      As a matter of fact, last December our Premier (Mr. Filmon), in a nonpolitical statement, said that we certainly are delighted that the federal government has responded quickly in the recognition of the free and independent state of Ukraine.  The member from the opposition Mr. Chomiak said:  I commend the federal government for its very speedy recognition of the state of the Ukraine.  The Leader of the Liberal Party, Mrs. Carstairs, also said to wish all those who have never believed that this truly was possible a great moment of joy as they celebrate the independence of Ukraine.

      So it is indeed my pleasure today to congratulate the country and the people of Ukraine, who are very aggressive, very hard‑working people.  They will become independent.  In doing that, I am sure they will increase their production in the Ukraine in many areas such as agriculture, manufacturing and then in their culture.  They have very productive land in the Ukraine, and I believe someday they will be the breadbasket of Europe there.  So I think given the tools to do the job, the Ukrainian people, the people of the Ukraine, will certainly I believe become the leaders in technology, and through their hard work and dedication I am sure they will excel in their chosen fields.

      It was the Ukrainian people who settled in many of the areas in my constituency such as Malonton, Fraserwood, Komarno and Gimli.  Komarno, of course, is an area known for its mosquito. Malonton is a good farming area.  We have still many good farmers in that area.  In Gimli, this was a perfect example in the Gimli area of what the co‑operation between two people can do to build a country.  Between the Ukrainians and the Icelanders, they really worked together in the Gimli area and the republic of Iceland, really.  It really was years ago the republic of Iceland.  They really did persevere then to build the country.

      The Ukrainian people, of course, are known for their culture.  They are known for their song and dance and also refreshments and also known for the good times they have had at Ukrainian weddings.  Everyone has been to a Ukrainian wedding, I am sure, and enjoyed themselves and the culture and everything that goes along with the Ukrainian weddings.

      So we have really adopted many of the customs of the Ukrainian people.  Regardless of who we are and what nationality, we have adopted many customs from the Ukrainian people and certainly enjoy them.  A lot of our forefathers came from the Ukraine to help us.  We have many members of this Assembly who are of Ukrainian descent or who have relatives who are Ukrainian or who have married possibly Ukrainian girls, such as I have as a matter of fact.

      It is great to see the co‑operation between the Ukrainians and other people in Canada.  As a matter of fact, it was one of the Ukrainians who said that we are Ukrainians, but we are Canadians first but of Ukrainian descent.  I think if everyone took that attitude today, we would have a much better country. We are Canadians first and of whatever other descent we may come from, whatever other nationality whether it be Ukrainians or whatever.

      We also have many famous people who are of the Ukrainian descent.  One of those who works for the radio station CKRC here in Winnipeg is Boyd Kozak.  He has been the master of ceremonies for the Selkirk dance concert in the Teulon area‑‑[interjection] Stan Kubicek another one, that is right.  Yes, of course.  So we have many important names that either came from the Ukraine, and through hard work and dedication have become famous names such as the Dromereskis and the Smerchanskis.

      For example, the Smerchanskis, who came to Canada in the year 1901, actually came and settled in the Malonton area, which is part of my constituency.  They homesteaded in the area.  They worked very hard, and they raised a family of 10 and still the Smerchanski name is very much in the forefront in today's society, in business and also in politics.  We had a member of this Legislature, Mark Smerchanski, who originally was one of these 10 children who came from the Malonton area‑‑[interjection] that is correct.  A family of 10, at that time that was a large family, but of today's standards that is a very large family, with five boys and five girls.

      All these people deserve to be congratulated for the hard work and effort they have made to build this country into what it is today.  That is just an example of what can be done really with the hard work.

* (1710)

      In Canada today we appreciate the fact that Ukrainians became independent because of the possibility or the opportunities of trade in agriculture, farm equipment and many manufacturing items.  So that is an example of what happens when we can work together.

      Last year, of course, we celebrated in 1991 the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian settlers coming to Canada.  We had many events throughout Canada and throughout Manitoba, throughout the Interlake area that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian people coming to Canada.

      An example of what the Ukrainians are doing to keep their culture and their dance, just last weekend the Ukrainian dancers at Gimli celebrated their 10th anniversary as a Ukrainian dance club.  They have many members there‑‑not all with Ukrainian names necessarily‑‑who are members of this dance club that has been very successful.

      Also, the Rusalka dancers in the Teulon area have been very successful.  They have been operating for, I would say, probably some 20 years or maybe even more, and each year they have a festival they call the Rusalka's Ukrainian Festival.  This year it is being held on June 5, 6 and 7 in the Teulon arena, and they promise to have a lot of song and dance and many people from throughout Manitoba and throughout the Interlake‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Lots of kolomaykas.

Mr. Helwer:  Yes, lots of kolomaykas.  That is right.

      In Manitoba we are pleased that we have the Dauphin National Ukrainian Festival.  That is another large festival that celebrates the Ukrainian culture.  So there are many things that we do to‑‑and we want to preserve this culture and for it to grow and progress.

      So I hope that all members today would join with me to extend the best wishes to the citizens of the Ukraine as they celebrate the peaceful and democratic realization of their independence. We want to congratulate them for their independence.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  I am pleased to join in speaking to this resolution and also, I believe, improving on this resolution that we have today with an amendment that I will be offering a little bit later on.  But in speaking to the subject, Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House agree that this is truly an historic year in the history of the Ukraine with the falling of the former Soviet Union and the iron‑fisted rule of the Soviet system under communism that existed.

      The Ukraine is now free.  Manitobans of Ukrainian descent celebrate this great moment as they did last year in the 100th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada, in Manitoba.  It was a great year for celebration but really fails in importance to the celebration that takes place this year with the freedom of the Ukraine after many years of oppression that the people of the Ukraine have bravely faced.

      Being of Ukrainian descent on my mother's side, I take special interest in this resolution and issue here today.  Most, if not all, of the people who immigrated to Canada from the Ukraine came in search of freedom, freedom of worship, freedom to educate their children, to raise their children free of harassment and oppression, freedom to pursue their own livelihood in the way that they would like to plan it.  People of Ukrainian descent in Canada have contributed a great deal to Canadian society, to the multicultural fabric of our great province of Manitoba.

      My constituency is one of the prime settling areas in Manitoba, full of rich heritage and symbols of the new‑found freedom of the Ukrainian settlers.  For example, the cross of freedom that is erected on the banks of the Valley River in my constituency just north of Dauphin was the site of the first divine liturgy in Canada that was given by Father Dmetri who travelled from the United States from the New York area to Canada, at that time, walked through swamps and fly‑infested, barren countryside to get to the first settlement.  The settlers welcomed him with open arms, so they would be able to experience the freedom of worship that they sought so desperately when they left the old country.

      So that site on the banks of the Valley River has been designated an historic site in the early '80s by our government in this province, and it is one that we remember each year on the last day of the Ukrainian Festival with a celebration and a liturgy there.  Canada's National Ukrainian Festival is held in Dauphin each year and at the beautiful Selo Ukraina site.  Selo Ukraina, a site that was established as well a number of years back as a permanent home for the festival, is also a reminder of the rich contributions of the Ukrainian culture to our province and our country.  The people of the Ukraine who came to Canada have contributed so much to our province and country.

      I could go on and on, but when I see this resolution, Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that it speaks only of congratulations and best wishes, not firm concrete measures to help the people of the Ukraine in this difficult transitional period from oppression and communism to a free economy and full democracy.  There is much poverty in the Ukraine.  There is little pay for the jobs that exist.  There is a need to modernize with new technology so that they can compete in new conditions in the world that they find themselves in at the present time.

      So we in Manitoba and Canada, because of our rich Ukrainian heritage and the contributions of the Ukrainian people to our country, now have an opportunity to pay back, to assist those people in the Ukraine, to make a special contribution to their well‑being during this difficult time.  I think the governments of Canada and Manitoba must play a leading role, and the resolution does speak to the fact that the first recognition was made by the Government of Canada.

      That is positive, but there must be much more with economic ties and assistance and technology provided to support the fledgling government in the Ukraine to ensure that democracy is firmly established and remains so for hundreds and thousands of years into the future, that there is no return to dictatorship in that country.  That, of course, is something that we are very concerned about, and that is why, Mr. Speaker, I think that we can do more with this resolution than we have at the present time.  That is why I am moving the following amendment.

      I move, seconded by the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), that everything following the first WHEREAS be deleted and replaced with the following:

      the citizens of the Ukraine have recently achieved independence; and

      WHEREAS the Government of Canada was the first Western government to recognize the independence of the Ukraine; and

      WHEREAS Manitoba, through the immigration of Ukrainians to our province, has close links with the people of the Ukraine; and

      WHEREAS there is a desperate need for economic and technological assistance for the people of the Ukraine;

      THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba request that the government of Manitoba take action forthwith to establish economic and cultural ties with the Ukraine; and

      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly requests the government of Manitoba actively promote the provision of economic and technological assistance to the people of the Ukraine during their transition to full democracy.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

* (1720)

Motion presented.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I believe that resolution and the amendment that have been put forward are in fact being very sincere, and I have no problem in supporting them.  After all, we have the Ukraine being recognized now as an independent state from well over 100 different nations.  During the actual referendum vote, over 90 percent voted in favour of having the Ukraine becoming an independent state.

      First of all, I would like to extend, on behalf of my caucus, congratulations to the Ukrainian community here in Canada and also abroad, because we believe that the wish of the Ukrainian people back home has been fulfilled and, as the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) has pointed out in the amendment, see that there is more of a commitment that we need to give to the Ukraine.  It is okay for us to give platitudes‑‑and I give tribute to the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer) who took the initiative to introduce this particular resolution, because, Mr. Speaker, there is a very large Ukrainian community in Canada and in fact in Manitoba.

      I know when I was first appointed as the Culture and Heritage critic, I started to put together a list of different organizations.  I do not believe there is any other ethnic group that has as many different types of organizations as the Ukrainian community has.  I think that says a lot in terms of their fondness and their beliefs in maintaining the heritage that they brought to Canada, because after all that is really what makes up Canada, the heritage of so many other countries and the individuals who see fit to preserve that heritage.  That is what gives us our sense of identity.

      Mr. Speaker, we cannot underestimate the importance of what took place last year in the Ukraine.  A very good friend of mine and Member of Parliament from Winnipeg North was one of the individuals, Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, who had the opportunity to go to the Ukraine and witness first‑hand the process that allowed the Ukraine to become an independent state.  I was reading‑‑and I wanted to quote from him.  He is making reference to when he is arriving in Ukraine and one of the first things he sees is a billboard, and I want to quote from my member of Parliament, Dr. Pagtakhan, someone whom I like to think of as a very good close friend, and I quote:  ". . . a billboard which reads 'No Photographs Allowed at the Airport' immediately caught my attention as our plane taxied down the tarmac of the Kiev Borispol Airport.

      "The billboard was still in place when I returned to the same airport terminal five days later on Wednesday, Dec. 4 to take the flight back home to Canada.  This time I saw myself using my camera a lot with great freedom.  That billboard served as a metaphor of my trip, a reminder of how precious personal freedom is."

      Mr. Speaker, I had listened to this particular member of Parliament and others on CBC who quite eloquently talked about what happened in Ukraine, tried to give Canadians first‑hand knowledge and information as to what occurred.  I do not think that there would be any one of us who would deny an opportunity, as the member of Parliament Dr. Paktakhan had, in being able to witness something of that nature first‑hand.

* (1730)

      The amendment, as I talked about, talks about the economic and technological assistance that is needed, and Ukraine does need international assistance in ensuring that the road of independence is as smooth as possible, so I believe that even we as a provincial government have a role to play, because there are things, in fact, that we can do.  After all, Mr. Speaker, we have a very large Ukrainian community within our own boundaries.

      I know of another individual by the name of Myroslaw Tracy who is very proud to see Ukraine go in the direction that it has, and has talked to me about the importance of having businesses and labour groups and alliances being formed wherever possible between Manitoba and Ukraine.  I had a number of former colleagues who often spoke about Ukraine and were very proud of the heritage that the Ukrainian community has brought to Canada, in particular to Manitoba.

      Mr. Speaker, all we need to do is to drive through anywhere in the province of Manitoba and we can see contributions that have been made from the Ukrainian community, but in particular if you go through the north end of the city of Winnipeg, as I do on a daily basis, you will see a number of different Ukrainian cuisines and centres to ensure, once again, that that heritage is, in fact, preserved.

      I would like to conclude my remarks, Mr. Speaker, by saying that I would like to see the amendment passed.  I believe that the principle of the resolution as proposed from the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer) is being addressed.  I believe that all three political parties, in fact, can support this particular resolution, and I would like to conclude my remarks by offering once again my congratulations to both the Ukrainian community here in Canada and also the Ukrainian community back home.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, I too would like to put some comments on the record with regard to the independence of the Ukraine, and I think that I commend Canada on being one of the first countries to recognize this independence. When we look back over the past couple of years we see that history has been made.  As a Ukrainian, I am very pleased that after having just celebrated the centennial of Ukrainians coming to Canada and paying tribute to the many Ukrainians who have contributed to the culture of this country that we are now able to see the freedom of the Ukraine.

      Last year, as I said, all of us anticipated that the Soviet empire would fall.  None of us anticipated that it would fall as quickly as it did, but when a country comes apart so quickly we know that they are going to face difficulties, many difficulties, and it is only fair that a country as wealthy as Canada, as rich as Canada, should offer their support.  I am pleased to support the resolution, but I also think that the amendments that we have made will enhance this resolution very much.

      Ukrainians have contributed tremendously to this country, Mr. Speaker.  Many times we have photographs of the Ukrainians and they are portrayed as farmers, as poor working class people, but we have to look at what Ukrainians have contributed.  There are many who have, in the medical field and the educational field, in Legislatures, people who have done an awful lot for this country, and I think it is only fair that now that the Ukraine has received its independence that we do what we can to support them.  As I said, we have a lot that we can offer them, and those of us of Ukrainian decent at this time would like to see that support go to our country.

      Ukrainians came to Canada because, as I look back at my ancestors and remember what I know of their coming, they came because there was no land.  There was no room for them to grow, no sign of prosperity for them at all.  They came to this country because they were told there was land and indeed there was.  They felt there was an opportunity here to raise a family, to educate their children, and education to our ancestors was very important because that is something that they did not have the opportunity for there.

      When many Ukrainians came to Canada, they thought that other members of their family would be able to come here, and they worked for that.  Unfortunately, with the changes that came after my ancestors, in particular, came here, they did not have that freedom.  They did not have that freedom to communicate back and forth.  They did not have the freedom to support their families as much as they would have, and under the system that was in place in the Ukraine, the families that were left there did not have the opportunity to grow and prosper as did the Ukrainians here in Canada.

      Many of us have heard of the suffering that has gone on in the country over the past few decades, and there are many, as a member just indicated, who have visited the Ukraine and seen first‑hand the suppression, the lack of ability these people had to better themselves.  In fact, many of the people who were there visiting just recently indicated that their progress was perhaps back 40 years from where we are now.

      That is why, Mr. Speaker, I feel that it is very important that now that this country does have its freedom that we do all we can to support them.  It is not enough just to pass a resolution saying we support them and offer platitudes.  There has to be real support.

      We in Canada have the experience, we have the technology that they need in the area of agriculture.   I am sure that there is much that we could offer them to help them progress and improve their ability to grow crops.  After all, they do have very rich land there.  We have the expertise here in Canada.  We could share with them.

      I know the member across indicated that perhaps this resolution was only indicating that we wanted to send money.  The resolution says nothing about money.  It is technology, and we have done this for many countries.  There have been many countries that have come through wars and devastation, and we as a country have been prepared to offer them supports, to offer services, to help them better the quality of life for the people in their country.

      That is why, I think, that it is now very important to offer some of our supports for this country at this time.  As I say, we have the skills; we have the expertise; we have many people of Ukrainian descent who would be more than happy to offer to help the people out.

      With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to see this resolution passed.  I would like very much to see us giving our support to the people of the Ukraine and give them the opportunity to share in some of the things that we have, some of the technology that we have, some of the progress that we have made over the past decades.  They have not had the opportunity, and it is something that we could do for them.

      So I hope the members opposite will accept our amendment and that we can show real support to the people of the Ukraine and help them move forward in economic growth and give them the opportunity to have many of the benefits that we have, as I say, in the field of agriculture.  In the field of education, if their children could have the opportunities that our children have, if we could see other industries grow in those countries, it would be a benefit for our relatives who are left over there.  I think when you see any country progress, have development, it helps the whole world.

      So with that, Mr. Speaker, I hope that we can pass this resolution and show our true support for the Ukraine as has been indicated.

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  It gives me a great pleasure today to be able to participate in this debate both as the MLA for Lac du Bonnet, as the great‑grandchild of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada, and certainly as a colleague of the mover of this motion, the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer).

      I can tell the honourable member that obviously members of my caucus have not had the opportunity to fully peruse this particular amendment.  We think, certainly in my conversations in brief with the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer), that it does certainly expand the resolution and indicate, I think, a very positive will on the part of this Legislature to move forward and help the new Ukrainian nation in whatever means are available to us to get over what, I think, we all agree is a very difficult time.

* (1740)

      I understand, since we are nearing the end of the private members' hour, that the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer) may have an addition, a further amendment that he might be considering to bolster this.  I just say this to honourable members since there is such interest in this particular motion that, if members of this House would allow us that opportunity just to review this a little further, perhaps we would, with unanimous consent, bring this back for final resolution at another opportunity that would allow it, not to fall to the bottom of the Order Paper, but as I am sure, in the spirit of good will that is part of this House from time to time, there may be some further addition that would enhance this resolution.

      I do not say that in a destructive way to the amendment or a way that is trying to finesse opportunities, but I think it does provide us with an opportunity to look at it.

      Mr. Speaker, we in Canada who were fortunate enough to be born in this country or be born with parents who brought us to this country or to have the opportunity to move to this country, do not always fully appreciate the difficulties which those, who may be our relatives, experience in countries halfway around the world‑‑the difficulties that they have experienced in the course of this century.

      As a young boy growing up in the St. Andrews area, and knowing many relatives who had moved to Canada as displaced persons after the Second World War, many who had immigrated in this period, and who kept very close contact with family members in the Ukraine, we were continually updated throughout those years with the conditions that existed in the Ukraine in the post‑Second World War period.

      There is no doubt that that part of the world, under the regime of the Soviet Union, had much difficulty in developing as we on this side of the ocean were able to develop and prosper. Obviously, a philosophical debate could take place in this House as it does from time to time on the politics and the philosophy and ideology of the Soviet Union and what it did to much of Eastern Europe.  Although I say in fairness, it is a part of the world that suffered more than any other during the Second World War and had to overcome so many difficulties in rebuilding.  But there is no doubt of the tyranny that existed in the Soviet Union and the oppression that took place with respect to the people of the Ukraine.

      A former member of this Assembly, the former member for Seven Oaks, Mr. Minenko, his father, who I have had the opportunity of meeting on several occasions, as a young boy growing up in Ukraine in the 1930s, was the victim of the great famine.  The only human‑made famine in the history of this century and perhaps in the history of the world, where one of the most wealthy grain‑growing districts in the world was starved.  Some eight million people left to die, because of a system that decided that it had to break the backs of the farmers, of the peasantry, of the producers in Ukraine for the purpose of collectivization of those farms.  What a cruel and inhuman act to be perpetrated upon another country.

      I remember speaking to Father Minenko, who is a priest in the Orthodox church, about his experiences as a young boy growing up and the scars that are left on one who has to suffer that type of indignity.

      One goes back even farther to the period of the Russian Revolution.  We remember, for those of us who have studied a little bit of Ukrainian history, the period after the First World War when the Ukrainian republics were established, one in the western Ukraine and what had been left of the Austro‑Hungarian empire and another in the eastern Ukraine that was part of the Russian empire.

      We remembered the United Nations or the League of Nations, as it was in those days, and Poland who had been recreated as a nation.  One of its first acts was a declaration of war on western Ukraine, and the League of Nations, of which we were part, sending troops to participate and support the government of Poland at that time after they had invaded the Soviet Union, and the free independent western Ukraine succumbing to a much larger army and that part of the Ukraine being annexed to the then nation of Poland.

      We remember how the world turned its back to a large degree on what went on in that particular time.  We remember, as well, the act of the Ukrainian Rada, the western Ukraine uniting with eastern Ukraine to form a united Ukrainian republic in the dying days of those regimes as, both from the West and from the East, the Ukraine was invaded and subjugated again to a foreign system.

      Mr. Speaker, we spoke of the famine.  We also remember the great suffering of the people of the Ukraine in the period of the Second World War.  I can tell you in my own family, and I know there are members of this Assembly, colleagues in this Assembly, who have had relatives who went through the same sufferings of that period.

      We remember as a young child, those relatives who managed to immigrate to Canada after the Second World War.  Their stories of one particular cousin who, as a young child, remembered being brought into the schoolyard‑‑this is in the late 1930s‑‑to watch Red Army soldiers take amongst the school students those who they had thought to have been partisans or agitators and line them up at the wall of the schoolyard and execute them.  One of those older boys in the school who was executed at that particular time was her brother and what scars she carries from that period.

      We remember, as I have said, the Second World War when great armies of Europe used the Ukraine as a battleground, front lines moving from the invasion by Nazi Germany in June of 1941, sweeping across Ukraine to the gates of Moscow and Leningrad, Stalingrad as it was then known, and then the wave coming back over Ukraine in 1943, '44 and 1945.  The suffering of those people and, of course, the whole period of recovery, like so many parts of the world, Ukraine in this century has suffered greatly.  Today, in something I am sure other members of this Legislature who share a Ukrainian heritage never thought, as I did, never thought that we would see the day we were able to see Ukraine again become independent and start to build its own nation as a free and hopefully democratic state.

      I offer a small anecdote at this point in my remarks, Mr. Speaker, because I remember some 16 or 17 years ago, the fiance of my cousin, who was then a university student in his 20s, going to visit his relatives in Ukraine.  Both his father and his mother had been displaced during the Second World War.  His father had joined the free Polish army in Egypt and had fought in the desert and at Monte Cassino and had met his mother, who was also a displaced person in London after the war.  They were married and had two children and eventually came to Canada.  He was engaged to my cousin at the time and went for a visit back to Ukraine to meet some of his family who were not able to get out after the Second World War.

      I remember him saying to me on his return‑‑and this would have been 1973‑74‑75, in that particular time frame‑‑he said to me, within 25 years there will be a revolution in the Soviet Union, that the regime that was in place would collapse on itself because the younger people of that country would no longer be able to put up with the economic deprivation, the lack of opportunity and the political and social oppression of a regime that put no value in individual worth, responsibility or initiative.  He spoke in those terms, and none of us quite fully appreciated his understanding of the time, but sure enough his prediction has come true, for within that 20‑ or 25‑year time period that he had said, indeed a revolution and nothing short of a revolution took place in Eastern Europe.

* (1750)

      What was so amazing about it, for those of us who have studied and watched this part of the world, was how hollow a shell the Soviet Union really was, how hollow a shell it really was.  I remember a scene on television that I shall never forget of a very old gentleman with a long beard standing in line, queuing for soap, and the western reporter said, why are there the demonstrations?  Why is all of this happening?  He said because there is no soap, there is no bread, there is nothing.  A regime that cannot supply its people with the necessities is no regime at all and has to go.

      What a lesson, a lesson about the basics and the need to be able to produce the basics for people to have a decent living, which obviously the Soviet Union and its economic system were not able to produce.

      We have now reached that point, obviously, in the history of that country where it again faces a great crossroads.  The crossroads is to how it will develop and grow over the next number of years.  It is a crossroad based on necessity, because there are those who have travelled to the Ukraine, like our Premier (Mr. Filmon), who report back to us the stories of shortages, the lack of skills and abilities, the lack of all of the tools that we take for granted in our society.  But the one thing in the Premier's comments in reporting back on his trip that gives us encouragement is the great deep faith of the people in themselves, God and their country, and the great initiative, individual initiative that they have to make a system work, to produce wealth and to build their economy.  Mr. Speaker, let us not underestimate how important a tool that will be.

      They are a nation with great potential but who have been suppressed and kept down for such a long period.  Now they will blossom, but what they need to make that blossom, the most important ingredient‑‑individual initiative, the will to work hard, to work smart and to build, they have.  What they lack is the capital; they lack some of the technical skills; they lack the support markets, so many of the things that we have built in our province and our country over the last century.

      This resolution, as amended, sends a very strong message to the government of this province, of which I am a part, that the people of Manitoba support an initiative to make what resources we have available, in terms of technical skills, to promote the use of those resources and make them available to the people of Ukraine to help build a strong, vibrant economy and democracy over the next decade that will prevent them from falling back into the grips of some other sinister regime in the future.

      Mr. Speaker, I think all members of this House share that desire, and I hope that at some point in the not‑too‑distant future we will be able to enact this resolution as a resolution of all parties in this Chamber.

Mr. Harold Neufeld (Rossmere):  I will add a few comments to those already made by my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).  I must say I listened with some interest to the comments he made.  I should say at the outset that my ancestors emigrated to the Ukraine back in the mid 1700s, and they stayed there until 1926 when my father and his family and my mother and her family came to Canada.  They prospered there, Mr. Speaker, with the exception of two of my father's sisters.  They decided for their own reasons not to come to Canada at the time.

      One of the sisters had three children and the other had no children.  Both sisters and their husbands have long since died, but the three children of my cousin, of one of my dad's sisters, have lived in the Ukraine all these years.

      During the mid‑'30s when times became more difficult, my aunt asked my father no longer to write to her because they were‑‑having relatives in another country was not the best thing in the world to have at that time.  They stopped writing, and we lost contact with them in 1935 until 1990 when I found my three cousins.

      Last year I had two of them over here, two cousins, one with her husband, and the other one, a widower, came alone.  They gave me some interesting insight into the life in the '30s and during the war years when they were treated as nonentities because of their German ancestry.

      They gave me some insight into the operations of the communist system as well.  My cousin told me that if you have 10 tractors on a collective farm, one breaks down and they have to wait for parts, then the other nine will stop working, because why should they work when there are other ones not working. These are the problems you have in a socialist system.  Everybody is supposed to be equal.

      Mr. Speaker, my cousin was 16 years old in 1941 when he was moved from the Ukraine, close to the Crimea, into northern Russia, into the Ural Mountains because of his German ancestry. He was 16 years old.  He was left at the side of a railway track, given a hammer and a saw, and told that if he wants shelter he should build it himself.  He was 16 and the snow was already on the ground.  So he had to fend for himself from that time until he retired two years ago.

      The other cousins‑‑one was 18 the other was 14‑‑were sent up to Archangel, which is well up in the Arctic Circle, to work there as forced labour.  The mother, my dad's sister, was sent out in the forest‑‑2,500‑kilometre march, and they found out about this later.  When she could not go any further, they shot her.  This is what the totalitarian system generates, Mr. Speaker.

      They found after, just about two years ago, what had happened to their mother.  They had tried for 40 years to find out what happened to her, but after the changes in Russia two years ago, they received a letter telling them that their mother had been shot and to acknowledge the receipt of this information.  So they then tried to get information on their father who had disappeared in 1936, and after some scurrying around and some investigation, they were told that the father had been shot in 1938, and please sign and acknowledge.

      Mr. Speaker, they have indicated to me that theirs was a system that was tried for some 70 years and failed, and wonder why we in Canada are pursuing such a system.  I had to acknowledge that, yes, it is a strange circumstance that we would here in Canada pursue this socialistic system.

Mr. Speaker  Order, please.  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld) will have nine minutes remaining.

      The hour being 6 p.m., I am leaving the Chair with the understanding that the House will reconvene at 8 p.m. in the Committee of Supply.