LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF
Tuesday, May 12, 1992
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): It is my duty to inform the House of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker. Therefore, in accordance with the statutes, I would ask the Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Dacquay) to take the Chair.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Madam Deputy Speaker, I beg to present the petition of W. June Hunter, Kelly O'Reilly, Laurie Januska and others urging the government to consider establishing an office of the Children's Advocate, independent of cabinet, and reporting directly to this Assembly.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
Madam Deputy Speaker (Louise Dacquay): I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar), and it conforms with the privileges and practices of the House and complies with the rules. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
The petition of the undersigned citizens
WHEREAS the Human Resources Opportunity Office has operated in Selkirk for over 21 years providing training for the unemployed and people re‑entering the labour force; and
WHEREAS during the past 10 years alone over 1,000 trainees have gone through the program gaining valuable skills and training; and
WHEREAS upwards of 80 percent of the training centre's recent graduates have found employment; and
WHEREAS without consultation the program was cut in the 1992 provincial budget forcing the centre to close; and
WHEREAS there is a growing need for this
program in Selkirk and the program has the support of the town of
WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray
that the Legislature of the
* * *
I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member for Rupertsland (Mr. Harper), and it complies with the privileges and practices of the House and complies with the rules. Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?
The petition of the undersigned citizens
THAT the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry was launched in April of 1988 to conduct an examination of the relationship between the justice system and aboriginal people; and
The AJI delivered its report in August of 1991 and concluded that the justice system has been a massive failure for aboriginal people; and
The AJI report endorsed the inherent right of aboriginal self‑government and the right of aboriginal communities to establish an aboriginal justice system; and
The Canadian Bar Association, The Law
Reform Commission of
Despite the All‑Party Task Force
Report which endorsed aboriginal self‑government, the provincial
government now rejects a separate and parallel justice system, an Aboriginal Justice
Commission and many other key recommendations which are solely within
provincial jurisdiction. WHEREFORE
your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislature of the
* * *
I have reviewed the petition of the
honourable member for
The petition of the undersigned citizens
THAT child abuse is a crime abhorred by all good citizens of our society, but nonetheless it exists in today's world; and
It is the responsibility of the government to recognize and deal with this most vicious of crimes; and
Programs like the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign raise public awareness and necessary funds to deal with crime; and
The decision to terminate the Fight Back Against Child Abuse campaign will hamper the efforts of all good citizens to help abused children.
WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray
that the Legislature of the
PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (Deputy Chairperson of Committees): Madam Deputy Speaker, the Committee of Supply has adopted certain resolutions and directs me to report the same and asks leave to sit again.
I move, seconded by the honourable member
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill 88‑The Homesteads, Marital Property Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Madam Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), I move, seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings), that Bill 88, The Homesteads, Marital Property Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi sur la propriete familiale, modifiant la Loi sur les biens matrimoniaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.
His Honour the Lieutenant‑Governor, having been advised of the contents of this bill, recommends it to the House. I would like to table his message also, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 89‑The Family Maintenance Amendment Act
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Madam Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), I move, seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings), that Bill 89, The Family Maintenance Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'obligation alimentaire), be introduced and that the same be now received and read a first time.
Motion agreed to.
Introduction of Guests
Madam Deputy Speaker: Prior to Oral Questions, I would like to draw the attention of all honourable members to the Speaker's Gallery, where we have in attendance this afternoon Senator Elsie Bear from the Metis Senate; Claire Riddle, vice‑president of the Winnipeg region; Denise Thomas, vice‑president of the southeast region; Ernie Blais, board member for the Winnipeg region; Ed Simard, board member for the Winnipeg region; Bernice Potoski, board member for the Interlake region; and Allison Dewar, executive member of the Metis Women of Manitoba.
Also with us this afternoon seated in the
public gallery, we have 25 journalist students visiting from the
Also with us this afternoon in the public
gallery, we have with us 20 English language students from
On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome each and every one of you this afternoon.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Western Premiers' Conference
Regional Development Program
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker, my question is to the Premier.
Last week, the Premier stated in answers
to questions that the statistics provided to the government indicated that
Unfortunately, the Premier again was
On the other side, Madam Deputy Speaker,
I would like to ask the Premier whether he
is going to bring any co‑ordinated economic strategy to the table at the
Western Premiers' meeting. Will he be
calling on a job creation program and a regional development program to get
people in western
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): I can tell you that I am not going to be
advocating, like many of my colleagues in the west, that we raise taxes. I am certainly not going to be advocating
like my New Democratic colleagues in
We have an increase, in fact, a new tax‑‑3
cents a litre on farm fuel‑‑a stake in the heart of farm producers
I am certainly not going to advocate that
they raise personal income taxes as well, as has been done by way of surtax in
I know New Democrats opposite, who, when they were in government themselves here, raised taxes 138 percent in six and a half years, 138 percent increase in the tax load on individual Manitobans by way of their personal income taxes, who raised the sales tax here by 2 percent. I am not going to advocate that, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am going to suggest that by keeping the deficit down, by keeping‑‑[interjection]
Madam Deputy Speaker, I will speak more
about how the New Democrats have raised the deficit in
Mr. Doer: Madam Deputy Speaker, the Premier should
remember the audited statement that showed that there was $5 million extra a
month coming in when this Premier was sworn in, compared to now where we are
running a $530‑million deficit, and you have no plan. You are ending up the same way as Grant
Devine and the absolute disaster in
My question to the Premier is‑‑I
ask the government whether they have any concern about the fact that they are
in last place in GDP growth in 1991. Are
they concerned that their labour force dropout is now five times the national
average? Are they concerned about the
fact that they have lost 17,000 jobs in 12 months? Do they have any ideas and any strategies
that they are going to put forward at the Western Premiers' meeting, because we
have a situation now where
Mr. Filmon: Madam Deputy Speaker, this is the only administration in the country that can say that in five straight budgets we have not had to raise any of the major taxes in this province‑‑no increase in personal income taxes, no increase in corporate income taxes, in fact, a reduction in personal income taxes, no increase in the sales tax. In fact, we took two‑thirds of the people who had been paying the payroll tax off the payroll tax. In that same period of time, in five budgets, our deficit was running half, on average, the level that it was in the six budgets of the Howard Pawley New Democrats.
We will go there with a record that is unmatched anywhere in this country. In addition to that, Madam Deputy Speaker, we will go there with a forecast from all of the major economic forecasters saying that in 1992, 1993 and 1994, this province will have a growth rate that will be amongst the highest in the country, certainly in the top four. That is the news that we will be taking to that Western Premiers' Conference, because we go forth with confidence knowing that all of the major economic forecasters say 1992, 1993, 1994, we are projected to increase at a better rate than most of the provinces in this country.
Mr. Doer: Madam
Deputy Speaker, the Premier is whistling past the graveyard, and it is very
serious. Our GDP was last place last
Now, surely the people of those four
western provinces need some co‑operative ideas of how we can work
together. The federal government has
Would the Premier put together a positive agenda to get Manitobans working again and get western Canadians working together again?
Mr. Filmon: Madam Deputy Speaker, I cannot believe the Leader of the Opposition's inability to even read the information that is available to him. That is precisely what this province put on the table last year at the Western Premiers' Conference, an agenda to ensure that we would not fight each other amongst the western provinces with each other's tax dollars.
It was an agreement that was drafted by
An Honourable Member: No positive economic results.
Mr. Filmon: We know about the economic results of the NDP government when they raised their taxes 138 percent in just six years and they forced businesses out with a payroll tax, increased the sales tax and drove this province into destruction. We know, and we have been working very hard to overcome that. Madam Deputy Speaker, we do not need any advice from New Democratic governments who are destroying provinces right across this country.
Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin): Madam Deputy Speaker, the $1 million transportation talks report, which was paid for by the federal government and endorsed by this government, was recently released at $24,000 per page, and it told us nothing that we already did not know.
Following this, the Minister of
Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) immediately made a controversial and divisive
proposal at the Agriculture ministers' meeting in
I want to ask the Minister of Transportation: Does he agree with his colleague's position, with his divisive proposal that he made? Why did he not ensure that this proposal was made first in this Legislature prior to making it public?
Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and
Deputy Speaker, first of all, I want to indicate that our Minister of
Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) has been a leader in terms of looking after the
benefits for the farmers across western
It was not a proposal. They are negotiating in terms of the method of payment, various views out there, and it is not something that is cast in stone at this stage of the game. They offered up a suggestion for something to be looked at.
Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin): I want to ask the Minister of
Agriculture: Since this $24,000 fiasco
that was tabled by the federal government report, endorsed by this minister,
makes no mention of a 50‑50 split in the opinion of
Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture): Madam Deputy Speaker, this government and myself, as minister, believe in the democratic process.
A set of people went around the
Madam Deputy Speaker, if the member would
read, he would see the word "split" in there very, very well laid
out. The split, as they reported to us
as ministers‑‑and he can ask his colleagues from
Madam Deputy Speaker, we believe in ultimate democracy. I believe the producers have the right to choose, and that represents the true establishment of a democratic process. We are looking at the feasibility of that approach, which we have put on the table as a real democratic process of allowing producers to choose, so that both sides‑‑when there are two opposite sides‑‑have an opportunity to have their belief in how this should be done, met in the process.
Western Premiers' Conference
Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin): Madam Deputy Speaker, the minister knows that this‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Plohman: I ask the First Minister (Mr. Filmon): Will he ensure that he does not put forward this same ill‑conceived and divisive proposal at the Premiers' meeting when he meets with the western Premiers tomorrow? Will he ensure that this is not promoted by this minister and this province, this divisive proposal which will destroy‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture): Madam Deputy Speaker, we have just had a
consultation process where some 13,000 producers have come forward and
expressed their opinion; some 1,300 in the
Mr. Plohman: They want to destroy it. We know your agenda. It is very clear.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Does the honourable member for Dauphin wish a response to his question?
Mr. Findlay: I
would like to remind the member that there were five proposals on the
table. One proposal was phase‑out,
no compensation. That has been removed
from the process. Our attempt is to
maximize the benefit to western Canadian producers. The GATT process can and will have an impact
when that resolution comes forward. We
are trying to be sure that the maximum support to western Canadian producers for
transporting of grain can be kept in place and in the fashion that satisfies
the vast majority of producers of the
I am very disappointed that this member does not believe in farmers having the ability to make their own decision of what is good for them.
Child and Family Services
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Madam Deputy Speaker, on March 10, 1992, the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) gave, I think what could be said, an impassioned speech‑‑I did not agree with it, but it was certainly full of passion from his perspective‑‑in which he believed that it was necessary to warn all native leaders in the province to act more responsibly.
He went on to say, the allegations are just astounding, and I cannot believe something like this could happen in the '90s. If it is true, then it has to be stopped because it shows a clear lack of accountability.
Madam Deputy Speaker, last Friday, in a
court room in
Can the First Minister explain how the Department of Family Services was acting in an accountable way to a child in this province in need of care?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Madam Deputy Speaker, I saw that report in the newspaper, and I could not believe that somebody would allege that something would be an election year after the election had already taken place that year. It seemed rather preposterous to me that in July, just two months after the election, somebody would be making that statement. The statement is obviously totally in error. It is an unnamed person who presumably worked in the department who made that statement, and I can only consider it to be a mischievous kind of comment to be put in that report.
This government will not tolerate any kind of politics being played with issues as serious as child or spousal or any type of family abuse.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): I am delighted to hear the First Minister say he would not brook any political interference whatsoever.
Will he now ask his Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) to bring in an amendment to the Child Advocate bill so that the Child Advocate reports to this Chamber and not to a minister who is a politically appointed individual?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Madam Deputy Speaker, as the minister has
said before, we are following the practice that has been established in other
jurisdictions where the Child Advocate does report in fact to the minister. In fact, in
Department of Family Services
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Madam Deputy Speaker, we have had a number of reports dating back to 1983 and Judge Kimelman's Report recommending an independent Child Advocate. I tried to access this very report by freedom of information. I was refused access to this report.
Madam Deputy Speaker, would the First Minister now be prepared to table this internal review to this House so we can judge for ourselves the political interference of the Department of Family Services?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): The matter is before the courts, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mrs. Carstairs: The courts can have it, but the legislators cannot.
Mr. Filmon: Well, the courts do not play politics with issues as serious as this, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): Madam Deputy Speaker, this is the fifth session this government has been in office, and it is the fifth session in a row that this government has brought in a bill targeting labour and working people. While this government is leaving in first contract legislation in the bill, it is now saying that if 64.9 percent of the employees say yes to a union, their voice does not count, and there has to be a compulsory vote.
My question to the Minister of Labour is very simple. If 42 percent was enough in the last election to elect this government, why is the government now saying that close to 65 percent is not enough for workers to say democratically yes to a union?
Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): Madam Deputy Speaker, it amazes me how the member for Thompson could say that a secret ballot vote is not a democratic way of expressing opinions of those employees.
Mr. Ashton: Madam Deputy Speaker, if the minister cannot reconcile that inconsistency, can I ask the minister how he can justify‑‑[interjection] I am talking about the inconsistency of a government‑‑
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Ashton: If members opposite would have listened, I asked the government how it could reconcile its 42 percent of the vote with legislation that says 64.99 percent of workers‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Question.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker. How could the minister justify further changes to the act that watered down the protection of workers against the interference of employers during a certification drive? How can the minister justify watering that down?
Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): Madam Deputy Speaker, the question from the honourable member for Thompson, I must admit, surprises me, because in the certification process it only requires 50 percent plus one of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit to certify an employee. He should know that. The requirement for under 65 percent is whether or not the means of testing the will of those employees is by the signing of cards or by secret ballot vote.
If one was to get into discussions with the Labour Management Review Committee, as I have done, one realizes very quickly in our system of certification there are a variety of means of testing the will of those employees.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the certification proposals in this legislation, I think, are very fair and balanced within the context of the country. There are a number of provinces that require 100 in every case, an automatic certification vote. There are some that require people to purchase cards and have a certification vote. Ours are very fair.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): My final supplementary to the Premier (Mr. Filmon), Madam Deputy Speaker, is: When will this government recognize that at a time when we are in very serious economic difficulties, when we are dead last, that the way to proceed is to develop co‑operation with working people and the labour movement, not to once again bring in another anti‑labour, anti‑working‑people bill that we have seen four sessions previously‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): Madam Deputy Speaker, if the member were to approach the work that was done on this particular legislation and give it a fair hearing, I think he would agree. He may not agree, but I think in reality this is a very fair set of amendments, a very well‑balanced set of amendments.
His comments remind me of the scene from
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Yesterday, I raised the issue of concerns
about the Assiniboine‑South Hespeler Area Study, which was initiated
under the Lyon government and proposes massive water diversion from the
Can the Minister of Natural Resources clarify for the House, what is the status of this report that his department has had for more than four years?
Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources): Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House that report was revised and updated by the Pawley administration and presented to the honourable member for Dauphin in the year 1987‑‑
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Point of Order
Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin): Point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, I have recently seen the report. It indicates that in March of 1988, during the election campaign, this was allegedly presented‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for Dauphin does not have a point of order.
* * *
Mr. Enns: Madam Deputy Speaker, I do not have the report with me, but I believe that there was an actual letter of transmittal to the then Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Mr. Plohman, that updated the report that the honourable member refers to.
Ms. Cerilli: Madam Deputy Speaker, to clarify, clearly in the report the date of that was after the '88 election.
My question for the minister, however, is: What is the status of that report in front of this government now?
Mr. Enns: Madam
Deputy Speaker, both the federal government, through their agency the PFRA, and
the various departments and various provincial governments have, I would
suspect, certainly since the mid‑'50s, studied that region with respect
to water sourcing and providing adequate water to that whole South Hespeler
region which soil scientists tell us is among the best, second only to a small
portion of southern
So there have been a number of reports studied, written and produced, and that is the status of the report that she refers to. It is on file. It is there as resource material. I am sure that different agricultural groups have availed themselves of that information. There has been no official response to that report by this government, by my Department of Natural Resources.
To the same minister: Why is the
amount of water to be diverted from the
Mr. Enns: Madam Deputy Speaker, again, the 15 municipalities several years ago approached both the federal government and the provincial government‑‑my colleague the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) was then the minister responsible‑‑requesting assistance in resolving their immediate, chronic, water‑shortage problems as they applied to domestic and municipal requirements. They were provided with some funding from both federal and provincial governments. They certainly had availed themselves of resource material such as the reports that the honourable member refers to, and it surprises me not at all that some of the figures would, in fact, be complementary to the request that is before us: namely, the provision of additional waters for domestic and residential purposes.
Rafferty-Alameda Dam Project
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Madam Deputy Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment.
For four years, we have been expressing
concerns about the impact of the Rafferty‑Alameda projects in the
Madam Deputy Speaker, my question for the
minister is: Will the minister now seek
a renegotiation of the international agreement and finally protect Manitobans'
water supply, given that the agreement does not come into force until the dams
are complete and the
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): I am a little surprised that the Leader of the
Opposition (Mr. Doer) is now not going to support his colleagues in
Madam Deputy Speaker, the member raises
the same concerns that this government has been raising all along in accordance
with the apportionment and how it needs to be dealt with so that
A number of the issues that are raised as
part of the proposed agreement between
Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Madam Deputy Speaker, the fact is that on
July 27, 1988, the Minister of Environment for this government indicated that
the impact of the dams on the
Madam Deputy Speaker, will this minister
take a stand today and get involved in these negotiations so that we are a part
of the process because it now appears clear and obvious to anyone that
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, unfortunately one
of the problems that
Mr. Edwards: Madam Deputy Speaker, it is just too little too late. The fact is that the former Minister of Environment‑‑
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Question, please.
My final question for the Minister of Environment: Will the Minister of
Environment immediately speak to his
Mr. Cummings: Madam Deputy Speaker, we will not support any actions that will lead to the deterioration of that water; and, yes, we will be investigating his allegations.
Western Premiers' Conference
Mr. Elijah Harper (Rupertsland): Madam Deputy Speaker, my question is to the Premier.
While it is known that Churchill has a $20‑
to $25‑per‑ton advantage for farmers in catchment areas in
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Madam Deputy Speaker, the agenda for that
conference is set primarily by the host province in consultation with other
provinces. That matter has, to my
knowledge, come up in previous conferences, and we have certainly made our
views known and urged the support‑‑in fact, from 1988 onward, I
requested each of the
Mr. Elijah Harper (Rupertsland): I thank the Premier for that answer.
Since the Russian officials have notified the Premier that they have the capacity to pick up additional grain from Churchill, has he had any success in ensuring that the port of Churchill will get its shipment it badly needs, rather than seeing the port closed early and the grain shipped to Russia through Baie‑Comeau as occurred last year?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Madam Deputy Speaker, in my recent visit to
Mr. Elijah Harper (Rupertsland): Considering the cost advantages of the
farmers and the
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Madam Deputy Speaker, as I have said
publicly, we are not satisfied as the previous administration was to try and
just utilize the
This administration has worked on a number of fronts: One, improving the opportunity for tourism use of Churchill and the railway line to Churchill; secondly, working with the federal government towards a potential establishment of a national park at Churchill; thirdly, undertaking and meeting with many companies and interested officials about the reactivation of the rocket range at Churchill.
Finally, of course, working with the
So we have been working on four or five different fronts, rather than just the one narrow focus that the previous administration had.
Foreign Domestic Workers' Program
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
Madam Deputy Speaker, the federal
Conservatives have made a decision on the foreign domestics program that will
have a severe impact on domestics who are coming to
I would ask the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship, if she would table any correspondence that indicates that her government in fact did support our position for the retainment of the foreign domestics program.
Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for Multiculturalism): I have indicated on occasion after occasion when asked that question in the House, that our government supports domestic workers coming from all different countries to our province, and to our country, because we value the contribution that they do make to the work force of our province.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I have communicated. I have met with the domestic workers associations and have indicated to them that we do not agree with or condone anything that might happen that might discriminate against any domestic workers who come from any country.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Time for Question Period has expired.
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): I wonder, Madam Deputy Speaker, if I might have leave for a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
I am pleased today to have this
opportunity to invite all members of the House to join with me in celebrating
On our centennial in 1970, this Legislature recognized the importance of this date in our history and designated May 12 as Manitoba Day in perpetuity. Manitoba Day is a time to reflect on who we are, where we have come from, and what we have achieved. Manitoba Day is also a time to examine our present and anticipate he future.
Across this great province, Manitobans
will be recognizing this significant day in many ways. Earlier today on the
A citizenship court took place in Room 200
Today, it is especially important that we
recognize Manitobans, for it is our combined strength, determination and hard
work that has given us our greatest successes, our greatest achievements. The strength and incredible talent and
ability of Manitobans have been felt in virtually every field and facet of life
It is this ability that has contributed to
the success of
From the time of
House recognize the unique and historic role of Louis Riel as a founder of
As well, it is my pleasure to announce
that I will be bringing forward a resolution to this Assembly which will
recognize the significant role of the Metis people in the development of our
province and the historic role of Louis Riel as a founder of
So it has been, throughout our history, each of our many peoples have contributed, each has added to our wealth of human potential and achievement, our multicultural diversity. Manitobans living, working and achieving together, side by side, has always been an intrinsic part of our identity. We are many cultures and heritages with a wide variety of languages and customs, but we are all proud to be Manitobans.
We have come to recognize this tremendous
cultural diversity, our multicultural mosaic, as a source of that pride. It is indeed an integral and cherished
In the months ahead, the strength of our commitment will be tested. We will have some difficult choices to make, but if we make the right choices together, I believe our country will be immeasurably stronger. Renewed confidence from a renewed union could also add much to the momentum for economic recovery.
It is a prospect that I would very much
like to see in
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): I would like leave for a nonpolitical statement. [Agreed]
I too want to rise on the occasion of our
birthday, our Manitoba Day, 122 years since the establishment of
Madam Deputy Speaker, this is a very
important day. I am pleased that we
began in 1970 to celebrate the heritage and history and the people of our great
The Premier (Mr. Filmon) mentioned the
There are some very important messages
that we should remember today in this very important period of time in our
country. Manitobans from all walks of
life and in every region of this province believe that we are Canadians first,
They wanted a national country, a strong
Canadian government with the ability to redistribute wealth to other regions of
the country, and the ability to maintain opportunities for all peoples in our
country. Just like our traditions in the
'30s, '40s, '50s and later on, people in
Manitobans also wanted characteristics of
our country that truly reflected the development and heritage of our province.
They wanted the aboriginal peoples to be described as the original
characteristic of our country. Then they
wanted to describe the characteristics of the French and English, and, of
course, the multicultural dynamics that go through our history and through our
heritage were also to be described in the characteristics of
I would remind all of us that too was a very major priority of Manitobans in describing our total characteristics. That leads us, of course, to the Metis people and the tremendous contributions of the Metis people in establishing and settling our province. Louis Riel did set up the first provisional government in this province on May 12 in 1870.
It is important to remember today that we often did not pay tribute and remember the real contributions of Riel to this province.
I was raised in
I think it is very important we not only work together to pass the resolution, and we commit ourselves to passing the resolution that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) will be forwarding in the Chamber today, but we also work diligently to correct and revise the history which I understand has taken place. But we must be vigilant to show the true history in our province when we teach history to our children and to our students.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the whole issue of Riel's contributions and his provisional government's contributions, perhaps we should also, besides passing resolutions in this Chamber, recognize the contributions of the Riel provisional government with some kind of symbolic display in the halls of this Legislature of the first provisional government in Manitoba.
We have lots of celebrations of our
Madam Deputy Speaker, we, indeed, will support the resolution of the Premier (Mr. Filmon). We will work to celebrate all the heritages, all the great heritages, of our province. We will work in a co‑operative way with the government on the priorities that Manitobans established in their presentations to us as we proceed in this very, very crucial period of time in our country.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to conclude
with the words stated in Parliament in 1870 in piloting through The Manitoba
Act. George Etienne Cartier stated, and
I would repeat today in the House: May
In commemorating the great contributions
of Riel and the heritage of our province and our 122 years of history, we
pledge ourselves, again, to reason, truth and justice, the hallmark of
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Could I have leave for a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
Madam Deputy Speaker, well, today is a
birthday, 122 years since
But somehow or other, when we speak of
What of Louis Riel's ancestors in the
of those who came later, sometimes much later? I would suggest to you that they have not. We are, in our negotiations right
now, in the process of the Constitution, trying to right some of those wrongs with respect not only to the aboriginal people but
Metis people. I was pleased that the
meetings and the deliberations yesterday
recognition of the rights of, and therefore our responsibilities to, the Metis people.
Today I went to a citizenship court ceremony, as did the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey), and the Minister of Culture,
Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson) who sponsored the event here in the Legislative Assembly. I think, Judge McDonald
they represented 22 countries. Well,
The fact that you can have a citizenship
ceremony and you can ask to take their
Oaths of Allegiance to
there were some who obviously had come from the Orient, there were some who had come from
who had come from Europe, there were some who had come from South America, there was even one who had come from the United States, to settle in this land where we have agreed among all of us that
we shall live in justice and harmony with one another.
But we must recall on each and every birthday that some of us are more equal than others. Some of us have the right to stand
in this Chamber and to speak freely. Others, particularly those who are newer immigrants, still do not feel they have that
freedom. They do, but they do not always believe they do. It sometimes takes a generation before they have the confidence of
knowing that, yes, they can speak freely in our nation without persecution.
There are those who have lived in this land the longest who are persecuted only because of the colour of their hair, the
shape of their eyes, their skin tone. Until we can celebrate a birthday in which none of that occurs, in which each and every
Manitoban has equality of opportunity, then we must commit ourselves on each and every birthday to make sure that the next
birthday, it is a little bit better, until the time comes when each one of us feels a true equality with our brothers and sisters.
Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface): Could I have leave for a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
Madame la vice‑presidente, permettez‑moi de faire mon discours en francais encore une fois, puisque Louis Riel lui‑meme
etait un grand defenseur de la langue francaise et la culture francaise lors de 1870.
Il me fait plaisir aujourd'hui d'adresser la parole a cette auguste assemblee afin de celebrer et perpetuer le souvenir de
notre riche patrimoine. Cette journee du 12 mai 1992 marque la Fete du Manitoba et le 122e anniversaire de notre belle province du Manitoba.
le monde reconnait le role unique et historique que Louis Riel a eu dans la creation du
Sous le leadership de Louis Riel, le gouvernement provisoire des Territoires du Nord‑Ouest adopta en 1869 une liste de droits protegeant tous les gens etablis et vivant dans les Territoires du Nord‑Ouest. La liste des droits adoptee par le gouvernement
provisoire fut acceptee et adoptee par le
Parlement canadien. Le 12 mai 1870, le Parlement canadien passa
c'est en consequence directe de l'adoption de la liste des droits.
juillet 1870, le Manitoba fut la premiere province creee dans l'Ouest canadien et le
Le transfert des Territoires du Nord‑Ouest au Canada et la creation de la province du Manitoba furent le resultat direct de l'adoption de la liste des droits du gouvernement provisoire de Louis Riel pour les peuples des Territoires du Nord‑Ouest par le
Ceci, Madame la vice‑presidente, est un souhait personnel qui m'est tres cher et que j'aimerais voir se realiser sous peu. Merci.
Madam Deputy Speaker, allow me once again to make my speech in French, since Louis Riel himself was a great defender of the French language and French culture around the time of 1870.
me pleasure today to address this august Assembly in order to celebrate and perpetuate the memory
of our rich heritage. This day, May 12, 1992, marks Manitoba Day
and the 122nd birthday of our beautiful
recognizes the unique and historic role that Louis Riel had in the creation of
Louis Riel's leadership, the provisional government of the
This, Madam Deputy Speaker, is a personal wish which is very dear to me and which I would like to see realized before long. Thank you.
Mr. Elijah Harper (Rupertsland): May I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased also to
say a few words on this special occasion
in which we are celebrating the birthday of
not forget the original people, the First Nations of this country, because oftentimes, we talk
about the Fathers of Confederation who met in
we have made in this country.
As a matter of fact, why can we not consider even our forefathers, our forefathers who signed the treaties with the governments, with the settler people who came to this country, why can they not be considered and recognized as nation builders? It was these people who signed the treaties that made room for newcomers to this country.
based on a vision of equality, a vision of coexistence, a vision of co‑operation
and respect. Our forefathers signed these treaties so that
other people could come to this
country. Why can they not be recognized
also for their contributions, even
recognized maybe as part of the Fathers of Confederation, not necessarily in
the sense of the structures that were
incorporated and accepted at the meeting in
But that recognition has been denied for centuries, the kind of contributions that our ancestors have made to this country. I would like to point that out. It seems that somehow the development of this country, the development of civilization, only started 500 years ago. But we have been here for thousands and thousands of years. As aboriginal people, we deserve that recognition.
Indeed, one of the reasons why the Canadian Constitution failed was because of that lack of recognition. As my Leader (Mr. Doer) quoted Georges Etienne Cartier, he quoted him saying, he made the new province of Manitoba, how we speak to the Northwest, the language of reason, truth and justice, that this country was not necessarily built upon good will, that it was based upon exploitation, racism and assimilation degradation. That is the reason why this country failed; it is because of that; it was not based upon good will.
It was the aboriginal people, the First Nations in this country, who extended the hand to the rest of the world so that other people would enjoy the resources and benefits of this rich land that we have today. We have not been recognized for the tremendous contributions the aboriginal people have made. Indeed, the Canadian Constitution only recognizes the French and the English in this country. It does not tell the truth. The Constitution does not tell the truth about this country, and it has to be rectified. That is the reason that I keep saying that based upon these principles, the foundation of this country will not stand, because, as a matter of fact, the foundation was built upon sand. It must be based upon truth and reality, the true foundations of this country.
Today, I recognize the contributions of
many other people, including Louis Riel
and many other leaders who have provided the development of
* * *
Mr. Gerry McAlpine (Sturgeon Creek): May I have leave for a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
Madam Deputy Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and to congratulate a young gentleman in my riding on his receipt of a national award in striving for excellence.
Patrice Dupuis won one of the regional awards from the Youth Science Foundation. The foundation honours students who promote science through art. One national and five regional awards are distributed annually, selected from the hundreds of submissions across the country. Patrice's submission was a technical illustration of the damage incurred in the lungs as a result of smoking. Produced by computer and by hand, the illustration sends a clear message as to the effects of smoking on the lungs and the benefits of not smoking.
Patrice Dupuis' receipt of this award is a
Mr. Gordon Grist, an advertising art
teacher at the
Madam Deputy Speaker, I would ask that all members of the Legislative Assembly join with me in congratulating Patrice Dupuis on the receipt of this award and wish him luck in this future endeavours. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
* * *
Madam Deputy Speaker: Does the honourable member for Selkirk have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]
Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk): Madam Deputy Speaker, I would just like to add my comments to those made by the
Premier (Mr.Filmon), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) and the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) and
others, and the memberfor St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry), on this very special day
My ancestors arrived in this province in the early 1800s, of the last century, and they married native women. I am a proud product of that unique blend of those two wonderful and distinct cultures. As was stated before, Louis Riel, of course, was the
Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine), that
the composition of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments be amended as follows: the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) for the member for River East (Mrs. Mitchelson). [Agreed]
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), that Madam Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a committee to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.
agreed to, and the House resolved itself into a committee of Supply 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
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
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 resume consideration of the Estimates of the Department of Health. When the committee last sat it had been considering item 1.(a) Minister's Salary on page 82 of the Estimates book. Shall the item pass?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): I have been watching very carefully the events, not only of the review of the Estimates of the Department of Health over several hours now, although I certainly have not been in attendance for all of them, very few of them as a matter of fact, but from a distance I have been watching, and I have been listening very carefully to questions put by members of the opposition, particularly members of the NDP, over the course of many Question Periods now, particularly the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia-Leis) and at times by her Leader.
I guess, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, some would say that health is politics and politics is health, and yet, I think, the intentions of all people in the Chamber are such that they want to see maintained the health care system we have now in Canada.
I honestly do not believe that there is not one person who sits in that House whose intentions are other than wanting to see maintained the system that we have. Of course, we present our views in different ways. Some do it by way of resolution; some do it with passion with respect to their questions and their answers; some do it by bringing specific examples to the House and to the Legislature as to individuals who are either receiving or not receiving care in a fashion in keeping with what we would expect.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I, for one, in no way want to denigrate anybody's viewpoint with respect to health and the manner in which they hold it in high value, and indeed the principles that surround our system of medicare within in our country.
I am somewhat disturbed by activities, particularly of the NDP, over the course of the last several weeks. I want to tell you why. I can remember when I was in opposition, and I would listen carefully to our Health critics at the time, and I started when I came in, in 1981. The Health critic for our party at the time was Bud Sherman.
I can remember sitting across from him in our bay of offices. Those of you who knew Bud Sherman, those of you who did not know him, at least, would know that he put an awful lot of time and effort into preparing his comments, hand‑written, always hand‑written. Of course, he took great fancy‑‑I do not know if it was because of his journalistic background‑‑he took great care in preparing his text and the way he worded himself in preparation for statements or criticisms, mostly constructive by the way, on health care.
I can remember, of course, when he and Larry Desjardins used to debate health care for hours upon hours. Those of us, of course, expecting more exciting debate, either at that time headed by the present Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) or other individuals in the House, when we would listen to what we called the Bud and Larry show, it became extremely boring, but what you did if you forced yourself to sit in on that discussion you would see a high level of debate about where health care was going. The concerns at that time were not an awful lot different, as I recall. They were not an awful lot different than you hear some of the concerns being presented today.
I can also remember when the present
Minister of Health, the member for Pembina, was also then given the
responsibility of being the Health critic when we were in opposition, I
believe, for three years, four years, '84 to '88, '85 to '88. Also, when he was on a fast learning curve
with respect to health care issues, again, using maybe some of the same
elements and criticisms used by the member for
Nevertheless I can still remember the former Minister of Health, Mr. Desjardins, pleading with the opposition of the day‑‑which we were, of course, we were the opposition of the day‑‑to try and look at health from a very balanced position, trying to take into account the incredible potential growth.
I would say, although at times there were outbreaks and the Minister of Health and the former NDP government, of course, would lash out‑‑not so many times at the present minister, but certainly at those of us who would tend to come into that forum‑‑and who, on the pretext of being concerned about health, but playing politics, would lash out in a moment of fury or anger, of course, would tell us that if we did not try to bring some reason to where health care was going, that ultimately we would lose it.
Then we went into government, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, after the '88 election. I can also recall probably the first close opportunity that I had in becoming daily associated with‑‑well, I should not say daily‑‑becoming very closely associated with the broader political context of health care funding. Now, it happened on a daily basis, of course, at Treasury Board.
More importantly than that, one of the
first national conferences or meetings of ministers that I attended was in
concert with the present Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), when we went to a
Now, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I can tell you, it is one of the great learning experiences that I had. I do not know whether members opposite who had been part of their Executive Council or not or had been part of the caucus had realized it. I hope that our members of our caucus realize it, and no doubt they have over a period of time. Anybody who has been on Executive Council as a minister would know that you soon realized that Health is the largest department going, the largest call on taxation dollars, and in many respects by far the most sensitive, emotional area that we have in government‑‑health care.
When it comes to Executive Council, Treasury Board and cabinet and how it is dealt with, that in some respects even in spite of all of the importance that it has within the public mind set, within the important considerations of the day, that within decision‑making areas it does not maybe warrant‑‑I will not say the attention, because the attention is great‑‑but the analytical background that other departments do.
You may say, well, why is that? Is that the fault of the present
minister? I am here to say absolutely
not. The member for
Massive amounts of money have been delegated. Policy decisions in some respects have been delegated, and through it all, through this process that has evolved over a period of time, in spite of the best efforts I know of our Minister of Health, and I dare say his predecessor, members of Executive Council at times do not have the analytical background with which to make joint decisions with respect to health care.
Here it was a case‑‑well, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) says it talks about filibustering, but this is crucial. This is an extremely crucial decision as to where health care is going. The member can call it filibustering all he wants, and that is fine, because it is your right to call it anything you want, but the reality is 50‑some hours have been spent on Health. I believe other members of the Executive Council have, and certainly the Minister of Finance has, I think, some important statements to make for the record, because we are all in this together. I think it is unfair for the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to leave the impression, at least with some, that he has to carry this responsibility by himself. Anyway, I digressed for a second.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, what happened is that Ministers of Health from across Canada realized that they had to share this lack of knowledge that some of their colleagues had in government with, indeed, a growing or broader cross‑section of Executive Council, so they reached out to Ministers of Finance.
In February 1989, in attendance with the
Minister of Health, I was in
What I quickly realized once we got into
that meeting was that some of us‑‑and maybe it was because we came
as new ministers, the Minister of Health and myself‑‑came there
with sort of an apolitical bent, to use the word. We were not alone, because we were also there
with a relatively new government from
An Honourable Member: Frenette.
Mr. Manness: Frenette, that is right, from a Liberal administration.
We were actually singing from the same hymn book. That was, look it, let us set aside all the politics on this issue; it is too important. Let us set aside all of the politics. [interjection] Well, of course, when we are under attack, we all do what we have to do. We all have to do what we have to do.
At this meeting, at least there was a willingness from two political parties, two political governments representing two political parties, to say: Okay, let us see what we can do on the positive side. What is it we can do as 10 governments to try and hold back the costs associated with driving health care expenditures? What can we do within reform? Most of the discussion was led by the Ministers of Health, and the Ministers of Finance were trying to come to grips as to what we could do in support.
It became painstakingly obvious about two hours into the meeting that the older governments of all political stripes, all three political stripes, their sole purpose in attendance at that meeting was to hit the federal government for more money. Simply to ask for more. That was the solution by the vast majority of people there. Again, of all political stripes, the solution, just get more money from the federal government. Sorry [interjection] No, the member says there was not a provincial NDP administration, but there was Socred, there was territorial representation. The request was, well, this is an easy solution. I mean, we have been doing it now for 15 years; let us go after asking the federal government for more.
Now I am going to say something for the record which is going to criticized. I, as the Minister of Finance, from this new fledgling government in minority said: Hold it. That is fine, but let us‑‑surely there must be something more than that. If the federal government is going to take us seriously, they are going to‑‑I mean, understanding human nature, you are going to want to at least appear to come in in a positive way.
I could not believe the looks of consternation that occurred in that room. How dare anybody suggest for a moment that maybe we could come together and try and find solutions amongst ourselves. Anyway, some of the tone of the letter was changed as a result of certain pleading and some of the communiques; the emphasis of the communique was changed. That was my first introduction to the dynamics, political dynamism around health care reform.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, since that point in time, I made it as one of my major thrusts into every Ministers of Finance's meeting that I have attended to not only address the question on equalization, because equalization is a critically important issue to Manitoba.
I found it interesting today, coming from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer), when he asked the question as to what our Premier (Mr. Filmon) was doing with respect to a unified western voice towards economic development. I found that question strange because where we have said‑‑when we have gone to meetings of First Ministers and western Ministers of Finance, and we have called about breaking down borders to opportunities of trade, and we have talked about what we could do on an integrated basis to try and reduce costs and overlap and duplication whether it is in education, whether it is training, anything we could do to try and reduce costs, throughout it all, we always asked the question, are Alberta and British Columbia prepared to talk about equalization, bearing in mind that Saskatchewan and Manitoba given the circumstances today would not be in a position to provide the same level of services that these other provinces, these "have" provinces do?
Would they always be prepared to talk
about equalization flowing through a strong, central government in Ottawa so that
we, in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and other provinces, would have an opportunity
to provide in the area of health care and post‑secondary education the
services that people wanted? Always, we are given the assurances from Socred
governments in B.C. and a Progressive Conservative government in
I only say that, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, because in the last three years when I have been in all of these Ministers of Finance meetings that not only have we supported equalization, because that was the No. 1 issue on the agenda, but the second issue, believe it or not, was health. Not specifically health, but cost‑driving systems in all other areas of government. When you talk about the cost‑drivers, you are obviously talking about health.
So much so that after many years we finally got the federal government to acknowledge that they would buy into co‑ordinating a study on the cost‑drivers in all areas of government. Because, quite honestly, we know that if we did not come to grips with what was happening in not only health but in other areas, if we did not remove overlap and duplication, ultimately the health care system we have today would no longer exist.
So, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I feel it is important to point this out to you, to let members of the opposition particularly know that the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) does not stand alone on this issue, that the Minister of Health has the support certainly of the Minister of Finance and other members of the Executive Council and, indeed, all members of the government caucus.
Because there is no more time. This issue cannot be pushed off any longer. To make my point, members opposite, if they want to be fair and look at the budgets in all of the other provinces, if they want to see the increased resources provided to health care regardless of who is in government, they will know fully well that restraint‑‑and I do not care whether you want to use the buzzwords of 10 years ago, whether they are acute, protracted, you can use any adjectives you want to describe it‑‑it is here.
So much so that when one‑‑I
finally had the Estimates break‑out for
The members opposite can try and couch it
in the terms that this government of
So here we are in
An Honourable Member: He is doing a good job, too.
Mr. Manness: Yes, he is, and he is going to get his credit, and his credit is coming, and it does not need to come from me, because coming from me is no tribute. It is more important as to his constituents, not only his constituents who vote for him but obviously the people in the health care fraternity, who obviously he is close to.
There is an obvious difference between political parties, because you have the Liberals, quite frankly, who I know the NDP are going to try and damage because of their view, and this is not siding with government now, and I never ever want to say that to the member for The Maples. He is not trying to side with government. What he cares about is the maintenance of the health care system, and we understand that. We know that there are going to be days coming, and they may be around the corner, very quickly, where he will disagree violently with ultimately what is released, and certainly with the government and the Premier (Mr. Filmon), let alone the Minister of Health, and that is fair.
But today is not the day to run against the government‑‑I do not care what government it is‑‑purely on Health, because the reality is, governments are not going to be able to deliver the system that is in place today.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, when the Minister
of Finance from
Some would say that oil and water do not
mix, and they do not, but I am here to tell you money and health care mix. They mix like any soluble in water, because
you cannot have one without the other, so when they talk about reform in
I am here to tell you that the pressure that we are putting on the Minister of Health, those of us in Treasury Board, is extreme, and he is going to be asked to review all elements of reform that take place elsewhere, and he is going to be asked to share with members of Treasury Board and Executive Council what is happening elsewhere, and to that end I am telling you that there is another meeting of Ministers of Health and Finance planned in June. Ministers of Finance everywhere will be pushing their Ministers of Health to be involved in that process of sharing and to finding ways of removing overlap and duplication. Reform, however defined, will be the leading issue of the day in every province.
However, what we have going for us in this province is we have a Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) who is reform minded and who also understands not only the system‑‑which he understands so well‑‑but understands exactly what will happen if we do not come to grips with this question. That is why this Minister of Health is on the Economic Development Board of cabinet, because he fully understands how the two come together.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I do not have too many more remarks to make, and I know the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) is overjoyed to hear that statement, but the reality is these remarks had to be put onto the record, because I think it is crucial. Well, there is no better time than Estimates. This is the Minister's Salary. This is opening free‑ranging philosophical debate. It is the best time going for this type of discussion.
So I say in closing that there is not a Minister of Finance across Canada‑‑as a matter of fact, I am almost tempted to ask the Premier to come in here, to enter this room and share with members of the House some of the commentary that occurred at the last First Ministers' Conference by First Ministers coming from the provinces and the territories. He probably would not do so in fairness to the system which says that we treat things in confidence.
I am here to tell you that there was not one political party, a spokesman which did not call out how we had to work together, how we had to try and set aside the politics with respect to this issue so we can maintain medicare.
Furthermore, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, let
me say this, that I have been critical of the federal government in the
past. Some have accused me of not going
Beyond that, I guess I am highly critical of the federal government in one respect, in this whole area of reform in the area of health care. I think they have just too simply, so simply walked away and said to the provinces, look, under the Constitution it is your power, you deal with it, you take the lead. I say, if you are a federal government, you have a responsibility to share the leadership if indeed this is an important program to you. I have said that over and over again to Ministers of Finance.
My time is up, maybe I will have an opportunity to come back a little later on. Thank you.
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): I want to take this opportunity as we were discussing in the late hours of last night. We have gone through some of the issues the Minister of Finance has raised. I wanted to go back on some of the issues which are very important from a realistic point of view from our caucus. I want to tell the individuals who are going to read this Hansard that if anybody thinks that we are not smart, we are not intelligent, we are not caring, they are fooling themselves.
I think the problem is that people are feeling insecure because they think and they believe‑‑and it is true‑‑that the health care reform is going to be successful. That is the fear in the political mind of certain individuals and certain interested groups because they are going to lose their power. The power struggle is going to end when the reform is going to come. I think that is the issue here. It is not what Mr. Orchard is going to do, or Mr. Filmon is going to do, or Mrs. Carstairs is going to do, or Mr. Doer is going to do. The question is the politicians are going to lose the power struggle in this issue.
This is disappearing at a rate faster than we know today. Even while we are discussing this issue, every province is doing it already, and some are afraid and some are simply watching. Some are more timid, they are going to run away from the responsibility. Running away from the responsibility, not on the basis of their harming generations to come, they are simply being dishonest to themselves‑‑wake up in the morning and they go and just one day is gone and the next day is gone.
The issue as I have persistently said for four years, it is not what this Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) is going to do that is going to benefit you today, it is going to benefit the next government and possibly in 10 years time. He is cleaning the mess of somebody else which was left uncleaned five or ten years ago, whether it was a Tory government, or a Liberal government, or an NDP government.
The issue is that when the Canada Health Act was brought in in 1966 it was one of the most beautiful things in the whole world, but they failed to recognize what was going to happen in the future. It took them‑‑how many?‑‑18 years to again reaffirm it because they were afraid, but they simply reaffirmed the principles but without realizing what was happening and left the system open‑ended with no control attached, and left the hopes to the people that everything is going to be just fine and will continue to be. That is not true.
If anyone would read the Hansard between 1980 and '90, the question I have asked the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) more than any Health critic has ever done and probably will‑‑but then we realized the issues. Everyone knows it. The Minister of Health knows the problem. We know the problem. We have to come to an agreement in terms of how to reform the system. The system can only be reformed if there is a political will, and the political will only comes from individuals who are credible, who have experience and who have courage and conviction. That is why we said that we are not going to vote on these silly things‑‑traditionally political things which have no real meaning to the taxpayer on the street. They want to see the reform, and they want to look at the whole picture.
We do not want to say that everything is
just rotten, which it is not. We may not
agree with the minister in many areas, but we want to have a good look at the
system before we will say, yes, or no, or maybe. That is why none of our caucus members on the
health care issue has come here and spoken in that way, because we have made
the decision. It is a risky decision,
but conscious and very, very smart for the taxpayers, and people will
appreciate it. I do not care how the
mailing is going to go into my riding or the member for
That is why we had a vote yesterday, and that vote was not reported because the media knows what is happening here. I mean, they know it, how the reform is taking place. Just to frame individuals and say that more than 68 percent of Manitobans who voted for the two political parties, they are wrong? If you want to have a look at it from that point of view, between us and the NDP there is a difference of 2,100 votes, and that does not make them any more credible than all of us. The issue here is that all of us have to work together to have a good look at the system.
That is why when we said that no special interest group, whether it is the physicians or nurses or somebody else, should have a final say. We have a basis to say that because it has happened. It is very good for the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard). He will be very popular. He will tell them, you solve your problem and I will watch from the side. I will be referee. That is a very easy way, and four years are going to be gone and he could have easily done that. He does not have to go through this. I am sure there are not many ministers who are knocking at Mr. Filmon's door who want to be a Health minister‑‑they are not. The question here is simply whether the government is serious. All the signs we have seen so far are positive in terms of seriousness.
Whether the outcome is going to be achieved in a positive way remains to be seen and public opinion will judge that, but not 56 of us. Some of them have no knowledge of the health care system. It takes years and years of experience and knowledge and learning and everything. Even sitting here more than 280 hours we are not even close to what we should know, but we are learning. But if you are not learning from what you do not know then you are a pretty dishonest person.
That is why I think people in this province are not calling radio stations and complaining about us. They are not, so there is something that is being done which is right. We are not receiving calls; we are receiving more positive ideas. People are telling us how they would do it. That is why I dare to challenge any member in this House to put those comments on the record.
That is why we have brought Bill 51 to give an opportunity to all of us to give our views as to how we see our health care system. So far, unfortunately, the NDP has not even once, I stand to be corrected, have not spoken on that bill even. That shows the seriousness of the matter. I mean, the political structure is there, all the phenomena is set up, the communication is there to hurt us, but they are not hurting us individually, they are hurting themselves.
I want the member for St. Johns to realize, because she has a good chance to be Minister of Health and if she wants to do good for Manitoba, then she should learn and I think the time is to look at the package and then make your judgment call based on the facts and scientific evidence, not based on the political colours.
I will be very interested to see whenever the package comes how each and every party is going to react. I think then the real debate is going to start because this year when we started the Health Services Commission I asked the Minister of Health, I said, what do you want me to debate in this one? These numbers are not real. If these are real, then you do not have reform and if you have reform then why are you debating this? Why do we not come back in two to three weeks' time and debate the whole thing?
Unfortunately, we did not have the package in front of us. Once we have the package then we will see how each and every caucus member, even the government members may have difficulty with some of the issues but I think it is worth talking and discussing, bringing the issues out.
Can you tell me that the Premier of Newfoundland is not smart? Can you tell me the Premier of New Brunswick is not intelligent? Can you tell me that Bob Rae, the saviour of the socialist party, is not smart? Can you tell me Mr. Filmon is not smart? Can you tell me Mr. Roy Romanow is not smart? Very credible individuals who are giving their time, but they see the truth and I think truth is that the system has to change, whether we like it or not.
I think that is why it is so important, somebody can say that we are wasting time, this is not wastage of time, this is making each and every one realize how serious the problem is. I mean, governments can fall on Autopac rates within 12 or 13 percent. The NDP government fell on that issue, but we will be raising health care for 178 percent over eight or 10 years. Everyone thinks it is free. It is not free. You and me and everyone is paying it.
It was one of the easiest things in politics to do it, say that we care. I mean, who does not care? Anybody who comes to this House, they all care. They may have their political affiliation, but deep down they want to work and why would they work against what the majority of individuals are wanting? Who wants to take any stand in this House and say they do not want care for themselves? All of us would like to have the best possible health care, but that can be achieved and if somebody would say that within the money we have, we cannot manage the system, so either we are lying or the other countries who are doing better than us within the same framework are lying, or they are not doing the right things, or they have a direct pipeline to some other genius. They do not; they are people like us. They have the same policies, same framework, but they are spending less money. Because they had control, they knew what they were doing.
So there is something that has gone wrong. Talk to each and every person, they will give you good ideas. They will tell you how we can improve the system, but the system will only improve if there is courage, and bold steps are being taken. Bold steps means not looking after one bed, two beds, here and there. We have talked about the bed situation. The bed is the power symbol of a given profession. If a bed is there, the saying is, it will be occupied.
That is not coming from somebody who is interested in making votes. It is coming from the health economists. It is coming from physicians who are practising and they are credible individuals. It is coming from the conference which happened last night at Deer Lodge Centre. It came from that group, very, very intelligent people who are hardworking from all particular backgrounds.
So, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would repeat again that it is very important. The system has to succeed. Our interest is then that the minister should succeed for the sake of health care. If he fails, we will all fail. That is the way I look at the whole system. We are giving a lot of time, a lot of hours. I am working 102 hours per week. I have to maintain another part of my life.
But still, I think this is very important. I do not think we will ever get this opportunity again in terms of making a contribution. Individuals will say, as they said last night, single MLAs or a third party cannot make a difference. I think we can. A single MLA, two, three MLAs, people who know what they want to do, and a third party, can make a lot of difference.
I just want, again, to jolt the conscience of those who do not want to listen. Please, be in touch with the real people not with the interested groups. Only then we can achieve health care.
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I think the debate this afternoon is already most informative.
I want to follow up, and I want to say this without any intonation or anything, I just want to state this as a statement of fact. The member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) has a professional discipline which, to put it very bluntly, he has a larger income‑earning opportunity than any other person around this table, and is here because he cares about the health care system. That is why I have listened carefully and attentively whenever he has made comments, because he does not have to be here.
I cannot say that for myself and for many other individuals, who, from time to time, offer observation, because this may be as worthy a place as they can find for the time being. But that is not the case with the member for The Maples, and he understands the system from the inside, from practising within it. That opportunity to practise his professional training is being curtailed by being here, making suggestions, to make sure that the system is there to offer the services that people need. That kind of approach to health care changes is gaining respect.
I simply say that because I know, I saw in the Souris paper, where my honourable friends the New Democrats, again cranking up the paper mills out of their caucus room, have been putting out the press releases saying, well, once again, the Liberal Party has joined with the Conservative Party on health care issues and there was a chance to defeat the government on health care issues, attempting to discredit the positive discussions and suggestions that have been offered by the Liberal Party in this Estimates process.
What I find to be offensive about that
approach is I have pleaded with the member for
(Mr. Bob Rose, Acting Deputy Chairperson, in the Chair)
When we posed the question quite simply to
the New Democrats, well, give me a hint.
Tell me which province, from
So I posed the next question, which
We have not had any idea of where New Democrats stand except that they want to achieve government. To do what, we do not know. Because we note governments have changed and elected New Democrats. You can read the pre‑election rhetoric from Bob Rae, and you will find a significantly changed Bob Rae when he is in government. Because the cold, hard reality of facing decision making, as government does not afford the luxury of being on all sides of all issues. You have to make decisions.
Consistency in approach is something that will win us all favour with the electorate, because we are not fooling with people. The people of this province understand the real challenges that are there. They know that there are no quick fixes to very serious and fundamental problems with government.
They are sick and tired of pure, political posturing. They want to have some integrity brought around the debate. They want some honesty from their elected officials, and they want us to deal with issues and try to resolve them. That is what they are really looking for.
The taxpayers of this country and the
I will be there, trying to make those kinds of decisions. I will also be there listening to advice and criticism where we have, maybe, proposed an inappropriate course of action. I am willing to listen to a better way. That again, I have to say, we have received that kind of support from the second opposition party, and we have made changes from time to time when it has been pointed out that what we were going to do needed to be changed.
That is the essence of this process of
Estimates debate in this Legislature. I
look forward, as quickly as we have the opportunity, to discuss the action plan
that we have in the vision for the future of health care reform in
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (
I think that although the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) would like to pretend that is not the case and suggest that this a philosophical discussion, it is clearly much more than that. There are some very interesting dynamics at play in this room this afternoon.
I am not sure whether to feel flattered,
whether to be outraged, or whether to be deeply saddened. There are reasons to feel any one of those
three characteristics. I certainly have
reason to feel flattered, having seen over the last couple of days the big guns
being sent in to defend the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and his
reputation. We sat here, we are sitting
here now, hearing from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) about the great
integrity, the intelligence, the major contribution of this minister to the
We heard last evening from the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) who wanted to tell us just how warm and fuzzy and cuddly the Minister of Health is, and what a pussy cat he is in contrast to the appearance he presents here in Estimates.
How many more? How many more speakers, members of the cabinet need to come forward while we are still in Health Estimates and defend the Minister of Health or to deal with the great threat that I pose to this government, that I as an individual appear to pose, that the Minister of Finance suggested is the case. I wish he could stay to hear these remarks because in fact the Minister of Finance imputed a lot of motives, questioned my integrity, made all kinds of insinuations about my role as an MLA. That is why I do not know whether I should feel outraged, personally outraged, at the kind of attack that the government and the Minister of Finance‑‑I do not need to mention the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), I have been under that kind of attack for almost 60 hours‑‑and now joined by the Liberals, the other Conservative Party in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) came in at the end of our Estimates process, after the end of almost 60 hours of debate, without knowing what has transpired in this room. He does not know the kind of attack that I and others in the New Democratic Party have been under by the Minister of Health. He does not know the kind of abuse that has been heaped upon me. I have made no secret of describing to others outside of this room and this building the kind of macho game that is played out in these hallways, the kind of verbal abuse that has to be tolerated.
I have made no secret about telling people that I have left many a session of Estimates feeling like a battered women. I make no exaggeration here. The kind of insults and personal attacks that the minister has been so willing to dish out have been nonstop for almost 60 hours.
So if the Minister of Finance wants to question anyone's motives and anyone's integrity, he should start looking in his own caucus room, around his own cabinet table.
Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I have come to this Estimates process with the intention of asking questions and getting information about our health care system. I do not believe I have wavered from that intention and that goal. I have not come here to try to personally attack the minister, to go after the intentions of the Liberal health critic. I have come here to ask questions and I have asked questions, hundreds and hundreds of questions for which I have received almost no answers.
I have brought before me so that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) can witness what I have gone through and what others have gone through apart of our Estimates discussion, which if he cares to glance through, he will notice that for every short question that is asked taking up an inch or two of space, we have columns of response by the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) as he uses up the 30 minutes allocated to him to avoid the issues and questions posed by the opposition, by the New Democratic Party.
Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, we have done nothing but ask questions. That brings me to the third feeling I have this afternoon of being deeply saddened because in fact, by implication, the Minister of Finance of all people is suggesting censorship in these hallways, in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, in the committee dealing with the Estimates of the Department of Health.
Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, he has suggested that throughout this process I and other members of the New Democratic Party have done a disservice, have done a disservice to this process, this specific one we are in, the Estimates process, and to the broader legislative process that we are a part of on a day‑to‑day basis as elected members.
He has suggested that, by doing all this, by asking questions, there is something wrong. We are less honest than we should be. He has suggested that we should not be doing all this. That is nothing more than a form of censorship.
He wants it both ways. The Minister of Finance suggests that we should be putting our position on record. The Minister of Health keeps saying that. But then he suggests at the same time that by asking questions we have done something wrong.
Now, which way does the Minister of
Finance and the Minister of Health want to have it? Which way does this Conservative cabinet want
to have it? What is it? What do you want out of this process, except,
as far as I can see, you want passivity. You want no questions of any kind of
significance as you sort through these very difficult issues. You want something that has never been
afforded any government anywhere in our democratic process at any time in the
You want them not to be there, raising
concerns they hear in their constituencies and in health facilities and
community health centres and nonprofit organizations and health care
professionals right around the
(Mr. Deputy Chairperson in the Chair)
You want us not to be bringing forward those concerns and voicing their questions. By so suggesting that here this afternoon, each and every one of those are advocating that position, which includes all members, obviously, of the Conservative government‑‑now, it would appear, all members of the Liberal Party‑‑and are suggesting that we should not be doing the first role and carrying out the first responsibility that we have as elected members of the Legislative Assembly. That is to speak up for our constituents, to represent those who do not have voice in this Chamber, to speak up for the powerless, the most vulnerable, the weak members of our society. That is our first obligation. That was why we were elected. That is what we are here for.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, for the last, almost 60 hours, that is what I have been doing. That is what other members of my caucus have been doing. We have been raising the questions that constituents have been asking. We have been voicing concerns brought to our attention by those who work in the field or who use the health care system. That is legitimate. There is nothing lacking in terms of integrity when one does that. That is honest and decent. I make no apologies for our approach.
If this government has been threatened by our persistent questions, and if the Liberals in this Chamber do not want to ask those tough questions, then let that be the case for those two political parties. But we are not going to abdicate our responsibility, stop doing that which our constituents expect us to do.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I have mentioned the last 60 hours; I have mentioned the kind of verbal abuse that the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has been wont to dish out to me personally, other members of my caucus as well. I have mentioned the lengthy answers. I have mentioned his wont to turn every one of our questions around and point the questions to members of the opposition.
All of those scenarios point to misuse of the Estimates process, if one could point anywhere to misuse of the Estimates process and the democratic procedures we have in place in this Chamber. So, if anyone wants to point fingers at why we have been here for 60 hours, and what has happened, and why feelings are high, are tense, why emotions are high, then let us look first at what has caused this to be stretched out, this Estimates process to be stretched out for almost 60 hours.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I have only been in politics for six years. I do not make claims to have been a member of this Legislative Assembly for the length of time of the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) or the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), but I have been here long enough to have seen how this Chamber works from both angles, from being in government and being in opposition. I may not have been here for all the years of Bud Sherman and Larry Desjardins, but I have been in government for two years when the Minister of Health was then the critic for Health. I see, and I recall and I remember something quite different from what the Minister of Finance described to us today, the Minister of Finance's suggestion that it was the spirit of co‑operative, consultative approach to health care led by the Minister of Health, then the critic for Health for the Conservative Party.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, as colleagues around this table know, there has been no one more political around the health care issue than the now Minister of Health. He has mastered the games that are played, the strategies and tactics that are so common in this Chamber. He has turned this process into one big game. So I do not know on what basis the Minister of Health comes here today and suggests something quite different, or on what basis he suggests that circumstances have changed so drastically that we should all, now that they are in government and the heat is on, stop playing the normal, accepted, honest, well‑meaning role of opposition and opposition critic. [interjection]
My colleague the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) mentions the focus that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health and others have suggested should be the case for this set of Estimates and for the whole political discussion or legislative discussion on health care, and that has been this term "nonpolitical." Suddenly in the last few months, as the heat has been cranked up and the issues have been fast and furious in the media, in the eye of the public, more and more attention is placed on this whole area. Suddenly it must be miraculously converted into a nonpolitical issue‑‑[interjection]
Of course, it is a phony issue. As the member for Burrows says, that is a phony issue. The Minister of Health is political. He is political when he discusses behind closed doors and in secret his health care plans. The minister is political when he makes decisions around the cabinet table about what level of funding that goes to hospitals. The minister is political with each and every decision he makes. I am political. That is part of my job. The member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) is political. We all have concerns to raise, questions to ask and we all of course seek areas where we can work together, and compromise and co‑operate and consult.
Mr. Cheema: So do that.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: The member for The Maples says, so why not do that? Well, let me tell you, one does that when one starts with a base of information.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, you will know for 60 hours almost we have been trying to get that base level of information so that we can then begin to analyze the overall plan, the vision, the direction that this government is taking health care in.
The member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) wants to co‑operate, wants to join with members of the Conservative government without that base of information. I have not, in asking all of these questions, taken positions and put on record a clear direction for our party, because we do not know, we do not have the information. The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has been very diligent and very persistent about refusing to give even the most basic information, the most preliminary details of this whole budgeting exercise when it comes to health care.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, it is impossible to do what the minister, the other Minister of Health, the associate Minister of Health, the other Conservative Minister of Health is suggesting, to co‑operate and join in, join hands, align with the Conservative government without having the information, without knowing the direction of this government, without knowing the plans of this minister.
All we are asking for, all we have done over the last 60 hours, all that we will continue to do is to ask those questions, so that we can begin to understand and help facilitate at a time of very critical issues around health care in our society today.
Over and over again in this debate I have heard people say, no one has a monopoly on compassion. I have heard the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) point specifically to the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) and suggest that only he cares for the maintenance of health care. I have heard the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) today suggest and imply that by our questions, by our persistence over the last 60 hours and more, members of the New Democratic Party do not care about health care and about the quality of our health care system.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the only reason we are here today, why we have been here for 60 hours, why we have been asking questions long before we started Estimates on March 11, or whatever date it was, is because we care. It is that compassion and that concern and that caring about our health care system that is the driving force behind our questions, not the kind of games that others have hinted at.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson: Order, please. I am trying to hear the honourable member's statement.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Chairperson. So if the Minister of Health and the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) and others around this table, who have felt it so necessary to come and defend the Minister of Health today and yesterday and at other times, believe that no one has a monopoly on compassion and concern, then try and understand that our questions, our concerns, the issues that we raise on a persistent consistent basis are driven by a concern to maintain a quality health care system. They emerge out of deeply held feelings about our medicare system. They are driven by determination to keep in place that universally accessible, comprehensive, portable health care system.
I am not here to engage in any kind of one‑up‑personship. I am not trying to end up, after a set of Estimates, and say, I asked more questions than the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema). I do not care who asked more questions. I am here‑‑
An Honourable Member: . . . because you are trying to play pure politics.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the Minister of Health keeps interrupting and suggesting that putting out press releases expressing concern about particular programs and developments and issues in our health care system is playing politics. Then I do not know where the minister is coming from.
All I can say is that we raise the issues out of concern and a belief, No. 1, that we have a job to do to speak up for constituents, No. 2, that we have a responsibility to preserve our medicare system, and No. 3, that we have a right, as members of this Legislative Assembly, to exercise our rights and freedoms. That means to ask questions, to voice concerns, to demand answers. If there is something wrong with any one of those three objectives, then I guess I am in the wrong place, then I guess maybe this place has become more of a game than a place of reasoned decision‑making.
But, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I am not about to give up on this place because of the games that are played. I am going to stay, to work, to change this place so that it is possible to come forward and ask questions without being accused of taking positions, so that it is possible to express emotion and compassion without being dismissed as hysterical, so that it is possible to speak up in defense of something without being accused of not being open to change.
I do not need to put on record the New Democratic Party's long‑held position and feelings and statements about health care reform. It is a joke for the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) to suggest today and every day, as they have over the past 60 hours, that they have not heard the New Democratic Party say they are in support of health care reform.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the Minister of Health can go back and check the record beyond last night. He can go right back to the very first day of Estimates. He can even go beyond that to statements made outside of this Legislature that date back many years ago. It is absolutely false for the minister to suggest that he heard the NDP call for health care reform for the first time last night, because when he became minister in 1988, he inherited and benefited from a very lengthy, thoughtful process around health care reform.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, there is no secret
in the province of Manitoba, and particularly in our health care community,
about the work that Wilson Parasiuk was involved in. If the Minister of Health and the member for
Mr. Deputy Chairperson: Order, please. Let us see if we can have a little bit of decorum here so the honourable member can finish. She has only got two minutes left, or three minutes.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: All members in this committee room know that
there are clear, unequivocal, strong public pronouncements by the New
Democratic Party in
We may have different views. We may have different approaches. We may have different priorities, but we are all here with the conviction and the determination to do what is best. I have not questioned the minister's personal integrity around his involvement in health care decision making in health care reform. I have not questioned the member for The Maples' (Mr. Cheema) personal integrity and goals and objectives in this whole process. I believe that each one of us comes to this table with conviction and determination to do what is best, and, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I want the record to show, since it is I who has been under attack by all the big guns in the Conservative cabinet and others in the Legislature, I want all to know that I too come to this process with personal conviction and integrity and honesty, and I come with deep roots in a party and a movement that has fought long and hard for the creation of medicare and will fight long and hard for the reform of our health care system in order to achieve the goal of the preservation of medicare.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster): Mr. Deputy Chairperson, first of all just to start off on the comments that have been put on the record by the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia-Leis). She comes to the table as the critic for the New Democratic Party, and a lot of the things over the 60 hours that she has put onto the record I would suggest to you are not what is in fact in the best interest of the people of this province. Her first obligation as a legislator is to come to this particular Estimates table and to represent the constituents in a responsible and truthful manner whenever she is given the opportunity to put forward questions. She has also been given the responsibility as the New Democratic critic for health care to also come to this table and express the policy of the New Democratic Party.
I am very concerned with the direction of
the health care in the
I do not believe that for a second, Mr. Deputy Chairperson. I do not believe that the sincerity of the New Democratic Party in the province of Manitoba is in the best interests of the health care in this province, if in fact that was a sincere attempt or a sincere belief of the New Democratic Party that we have a universal health care, that we all work together towards achieving a universal health care, that we would see more of a co‑operation, more of a responsible approach to trying to overcome some of the problems that we have in our health care. Rather, what I see is a political party that is completely at odds with doing what is necessary in order to secure a future for a universal health care.
I see the New Democratic Party in
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I sincerely
believe that because I listen to a motion where the member, and I supported the
motion in charging user fees for northern transportation allowance of $50, but
there were user fees that the NDP had. I
would argue that a user fee for a senior to be able to require or gain access
to medication is just as much a user fee as charging $50 for someone to be able
to come to the city of
I would suggest to you, Mr. Deputy
Well, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we believe that it is necessary that we have to do what is a responsible thing to do to ensure that we have the health care system for tomorrow. If that means that 25 health care beds should be closed down in a particular health institution, creating enough monies to have 50 personal care home beds so that you can take out 50 individuals out of our hospitals that could be in health care beds that would create an additional 25 health care beds, well then what is wrong with doing that?
But, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the New Democratic Party is not willing to come to that realization, and the reason why they do not want to acknowledge that is because they do not believe that that is going to get the headlines that they believe are necessary in order to convince the public that they are the front runners in protecting our health care systems. As the member for The Maples says, that is nothing but rubbish, a bunch of garbage, that the New Democratic Party has no more sincerity in the preservation of our health care system than any other political party in Manitoba, at least of the top three political parties‑‑well the fourth one, the NDP in government is the third one I am referring to.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, in fact they are doing quite the opposite as an opposition party. They are preventing legitimate health care reform because whatever might come out, whatever document they might be able to achieve instead of trying to come to grips on whether or not it is in best interests of the health care in the province of Manitoba is irrelevant. Their interest is to try to get that one headline that is going to see them being portrayed or painted as the saviour of health care when, in fact, it is the complete opposite.
In fact, that is the NDP party, the NDP
party in opposition that is going to destroy the health care system. All you need to do, Mr. Deputy Chairperson,
is look across
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I heard from the
Minister of Health, in questions and answers from the member for
The minister, and I would say fairly,
asked the member for
An Honourable Member: And nonpolitical.
Mr. Lamoureux: ‑‑some, and to the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale), and nonpolitical. Unfortunately his Health critic has not been nonpolitical, and that is the problem. If the Health critic for the NDP party, or if the NDP party was in fact apolitical, the New Democratic Party would be doing a much better service to the citizens of this province.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the New Democratic Party‑‑
An Honourable Member: It is a coalition.
Mr. Lamoureux: I believe‑‑and to the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) no, it is not a coalition.
An Honourable Member: Oh, yes, it is.
Mr. Lamoureux: Is it a coalition on the
But now when it comes to let us be
apolitical about health care, well, no, we like to think we understand this
issue, which is not the case; they do not understand the issue, but they like
to think they understand health care.
They want it to be apolitical if the member for
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I will suggest to you that the interests of my constituents would be best served if the New Democratic Party would grab some principles and start arguing for legitimate health care reform. There is nothing wrong with criticizing the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard). I do not want to leave the impression that the Minister of Health has done everything 100 percent in the way in which I would encourage the critic from The Maples, but I would suggest to you that in fact all of the residents of Manitoba would be the winner if we agreed in principle that what is needed is open debate that would not be taken advantage of.
Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we see that type of open debate in committees such as LAMC, such as committees that are established to talk about pensions, about politicians and their salaries, and so forth. We see the apolitical debate there, and things are brought forward in a very open fashion. Yet points are still scored. Points are still scored whether we want to have an apolitical debate whatever it might be.
I find that there is a double standard, that the New Democratic Party feels that health care is their issue, and for that reason they have to oppose for the sake of opposing, whether it is good or bad, and that they will not lose the support. Well, I will suggest to you that the New Democratic Party will somehow now go out to my constituents in a letter, in direct mail, and will say that I supported health care bed cuts. How can they justify it?
Well, we will let them do it, because, as the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) says, they do not worry about justifying their actions, because, ultimately, all they want to do is achieve government, achieve government at whatever cost.
The member for
Well, stick to the facts. Stick to the facts. The member for
Mr. Deputy Chairperson: Order, please. I would like to remind the honourable member to refrain from reflecting on the honesty or the integrity of another member. I would ask that he retract that statement.
Mr. Lamoureux: Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I will retract that‑‑
Mr. Deputy Chairperson: Thank you.
Mr. Lamoureux: ‑‑and I will ask the NDP to be truthful. I will ask the NDP party to be truthful, Mr. Deputy Chairperson.
I suggest to you, had they understood
exactly what happened‑‑because I do not think they did. What the member wanted to do was to move, to
avoid going line by line, realizing that all the other issues of health care
are not important, we just want to debate the hospitals. That is what the member for
Mr. Deputy Chairperson: Order, please.
Could I ask the members of the committee please to try and keep a little
bit of decorum? I have allowed a little bit of leniency here and there, but at
this time, I would like to hear the honourable member for
Mr. Lamoureux: I know that the truth has been hurting with the New Democratic Party.
An Honourable Member: That was the April 16 vote.
Mr. Lamoureux: It was the April 16 vote. That is good.
She might have gotten the date right, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, but she
got everything else wrong on it. The
Liberal Party did not oppose debating the hospital budgets. Had we passed the lines, we would have
eventually gotten to the hospitals. But
unlike the New Democratic Party, we feel that the whole health care budget
needs to be debated, needs to be questioned, needs to be addressed, unlike the
I will tell you, Mr. Deputy Chairperson,
it is because the member for
That is where debate ends. Great stuff. Go to the media, tell them that, and get that headline. You will be doing us a service. [interjection]
To the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman): I do care. That is the reason why I am criticizing and emphasizing all of my time on the New Democratic Party, because only if they would come to the realization, as the Liberal Party has‑‑the one that I like to classify as the responsible opposition‑‑if they would come to the same realization, that they will be doing Manitoba a service by being up‑front, that they might put the NDP party second, behind the New Democratic Party, the party with no darn principles, whatever you want to call it.
But they would be doing much better
service to the public of the
To the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman),
unfortunately I have been listening and that is the reason why I have drawn the
conclusions that I have. Had the member
for Dauphin been here for part of the debate he too might be talking to the
I can recall standing up on resolutions
and where I spoke about the universality the NDP said, well, we are the ones
that brought universal health care in; it was in
You know how much good Bob has done for
the country of
Mr. Deputy Chairperson: Order, please. The time is now five o'clock, and time for private members' hour.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay): Order, please. Will the Committee of Supply please come to order?
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (Deputy Chairperson of
Committees): Madam Chairperson, last evening in the
section of Supply meeting in Room 255 a motion was moved by the honourable
As the hour was after 10 p.m., in accordance with Rule 65.(9)(b), the formal vote on the matter was accordingly deferred until the next sitting of the Committee of Supply in the Chamber.
Madam Chairperson: Order, please. A formal vote has been requested. Call in the members.
* * *
Madam Chairperson: Order, please. Will the committee please come to order.
The question before the committee is the motion moved by the honourable member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) on May 11, 1992, in the section of Supply considering the Estimates of the Department of Health, Room 255, that line 1.(a) Minister's Salary be reduced to $50.
A COUNTED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows: Yeas 17, Nays 30.
Madam Chairperson: The motion is accordingly lost.
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Madam Chairperson, I was paired with the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) for the vote, but had I had an opportunity, I certainly would have voted in favour of the motion.
Mr. George Hickes (Point
* * *
Madam Chairperson: Order, please. We will resume consideration of the Estimates.
This section of the Committee of Supply is dealing with the Estimates for the Department of Education and Training. We are on item 5, page 42, Post‑Secondary, Adult and Continuing Education and Training. Would the minister's staff please enter the Chamber?
5.(a) Executive Administration: (1) Salaries.
Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne): Madam Chairperson, I wonder if the minister has had time now to find out what the status is of the address for papers, and can tell me whether or not it is her intention to comply with it?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Madam Chairperson, well, I am informed that the address for papers was accepted as an address, and the meaning of that acceptance is that then there would be a forwarding of policy available. I understand that the member was assured last year that if there was policy available that he would receive it.
The answer today remains the same as the answer yesterday. There is not a specific written policy at this time on deaf education specifically and none has been requested specifically from that group when I have met with them since the time that I have been minister.
As I informed the member last evening, the
policies that are available through the Department of Education and Training,
that being the strategic plan, it outlines broadly the goals and the objectives
of this department in dealing with the issues of education. I also reference the Guidelines for Special
So at this point, I believe the member has the information that is available on deaf education, but if he has any further questions, I am prepared to listen.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, the minister, when she spoke last night, referenced a series of policy manuals that govern the operations of the Department of Education over and above the General Manual of Administration.
The Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) has in the past agreed to make, and subsequently did make, copies of all departmental administrative manuals available to the library so that there would be reserved in the library here a copy of such manuals that would be regularly updated as policy within the department changed. Is this minister prepared to make a similar commitment?
Madam Chairperson, yes, I am certainly willing to provide those copies
to the library. I am also prepared to
table today the Guidelines for Special Education in
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, perhaps the minister could tell me by what date we can expect those manuals to be registered in the library?
Mrs. Vodrey: As soon as possible, Madam Chairperson.
Mr. Alcock: Could we try to put some boundaries on that? Would that be within the next week?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, we will have them there within the next three weeks.
Mr. Alcock: Can the minister list for me what manuals those will be?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I read into the record last evening the list of documents which I believe would be helpful for the member, but I am prepared to table at the next sitting those documents which we will then place into the library.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, could the minister just clarify for me, is she talking about all manuals in the department from K to 12 through post‑secondary or just post‑secondary?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I will be pleased to table the manuals that also cover the administration of the K to 12 section. As I said last evening, manuals such as the General Manual of Administration, our strategic plan, the Special Education guidelines in Manitoba, which I have tabled for the member today, the document answering the challenge, the FRAME manual and we will make sure that it is complete.
Madam Chairperson: Item 5.(a)(1).
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, I appreciate the minister agreeing to doing that. I trust the people who wish that information will also be satisfied with that response.
I would like to move on now. The question of governance was discussed at some length yesterday afternoon‑‑this is governance re the colleges. I would like the minister to tell me whether or not there has been discussion as they have looked at establishing the boards and changing the governance of the colleges, of the liability of board members, and the responsibility of board members such as there has been within the Department of Family Services.
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the process to college governance has been a very orderly one, and the first phase has been completed. We are now into the second phase progressing to governance. In that phase, we will be looking in detail at all matters relating to the human resource development, the financial side, and also the legalities of all matters in community college governance.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, the question before us right now though is whether or not the same policy that was applied to the boards of the Child and Family Services agencies will be applied to the boards that are going to take over the governance of the colleges.
Specifically, will individual board members be personally liable for deficits of the colleges?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the details are not referenced in The Colleges Act, and therefore, to look at this matter we have an interdepartmental conversion team and that is looking at all of the details.
On that interdepartmental conversion team, we have a member from the ministry of Justice who is assisting us with the legalities. We will be looking at all aspects, and certainly this is one area that we will be looking at in the process.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, could the minister clarify that for me? The government made a specific policy statement relative to the boards of nongovernment agencies. Is the minister now telling us that this department is not bound by that policy statement?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I am certainly not saying that I am not going to follow it. I am saying that at the moment it is under consideration and under the process of development.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, does under consideration mean that this committee can reject it?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the committee is an advisory body. The committee is mandated to look at all issues. The document will then be brought to the minister and then to government.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, then are we from that to assume that government policy will be applied equally?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I am assuring the member that government policy will be applied appropriately.
Mr. Alcock: Then perhaps the minister can tell us what advice this advisory committee has been given relative to the government's position on the liability of board members?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, as I replied earlier, the matter is now under active consideration and development.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, it was the government's position that board members are liable for the debts of the organizations they are responsible for. Is that this minister's position?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the implementation committee is looking at a very large number of issues in this process. They are looking at the issue of human resourcing, the issues of financing, auditing, procurement, property management and among issues, liability issues. The committee will continue to do its work. I have assured the member that it is in process. It is premature for me to talk about individual aspects because I have not yet received the information from the advisory committee. Certainly when I do, then it will be considered by me and also by my colleagues.
Mr. Alcock: Is there a written terms of reference for this advisory committee?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes.
Mr. Alcock: Would the minister be prepared to table that, please?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I would like to take the opportunity to acquaint the member with the terms of reference of the interdepartmental Conversion Team. This team serves as an interdepartmental advisory and consultative body for the duration of the transition process.
The role of the interdepartmental conversion team is to: first of all, monitor the implementation of the transition plan and ensure that the policy objectives of the government with respect to college governance initiative are achieved; to receive regular reports from each of the departments represented on the conversion team, as well as from the technical advisory groups or committees established by the conversion team on their progress in implementing the transition plan; and to report to the Minister of Education and Training through the chair as required.
The Department of Education and Training would continue to be responsible for the implementation of the college governance initiative as well as the day‑to‑day co‑ordination of the project with other government departments.
Other departments will incorporate transition tasks into their own operational plans as required.
Membership on the transition team from Education and Training: Deputy Minister John Carlyle; Paul Goyan, the assistant deputy minister of PACET; Peter Dubienski, the executive director of PACS, and secretary; and Rick Dedi, the co‑ordinator of the college governance initiative.
The college presidents also sit on this
interdepartmental advisory committee:
Brenda Cooke representing
The Civil Service Commission is also represented, Paul Hart being the commissioner. Government Services represented by Hugh Eliasson, the deputy minister. Finance is represented by Eric Rosenhek, the provincial comptroller. Justice is represented by Ron Perozzo, the assistant deputy minister.
The MGEA is represented. Grant Rogers is the staff
representative. There are also employee
representatives: Arnold Boldt, from
Madam Chairperson: Item 5.(a)(1).
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, is the minister telling me that is the terms of reference for this committee, those are the instructions that were given to this committee?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes, those are the terms of reference.
Mr. Alcock: So that there is no specific guidance in those terms of reference other than they are to receive reports and bring that forward to the minister, there is no definition of areas that they are specifically to look at, that the committee has a completely open mandate?
Mrs. Vodrey: Well, I will remind the member that this group is a representation of a very broad base of people working towards the transition for the community colleges in their transition to governance.
They do need the opportunity to do their work. They are considering a broad number of issues. They do report directly to the Minister of Education, and at that time they seek further directions. It is the chair that does that reporting.
For the member's information, I do have to table for him the interdepartmental conversion team terms of reference.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, can the minister comment on the proposed system for board appointments?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the Board of Governors, it is intended, will consist of 10 to 12 members. Those members will be appointed by Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council for terms of up to three years. The boards will be comprised of both external and internal elected governors. We are intending on eight to 10 external members for a three‑year term, a student member for a one‑year term, and an employee member for a two‑year term. External board members will be selected to achieve the equitable representation of the educational and the community interests in the region in which the particular college provide service. Board members will be eligible to serve no more than two consecutive terms. The college president will serve as a nonvoting ex officio board member.
This information is in The Colleges Act which was passed into legislation in July 1991.
Mr. Alcock: The appointment of the student member is on the recommendation of the student council?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, my staff and I will check into The Colleges Act to review the details of that appointment for the member, and we will come back to him with the information.
Mr. Alcock: We can defer discussion of that until we come to the line on the colleges.
Moving on to a slightly different topic with post‑secondary education and training, the federal government some time ago, underwent a study of some of the labour force adjustments that were going to be necessary as a result of differing trade patterns and the like. The study was called, I believe, Adjusting to Win.
I am wondering what impact that has had on
programming here in the
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the report that the member refers to did come out several years ago. The federal labour force strategy is in response to this report. The report recommends that we pay particular attention to increased training for the unemployed worker, including the older worker whom we discussed yesterday, that the colleges then train these workers through the market‑driven programs which I discussed yesterday.
I also would like to remind the member that the Department of Labour has a separate Labour Adjustment Unit to deal with closures and downsizing.
Mr. Alcock: Could the minister describe for us the co‑ordination or the interaction that takes place between the two departments relative to labour adjustment?
Mrs. Vodrey: As I discussed yesterday, we are very close to signing a new Canada‑Manitoba Labour Force Agreement and within this agreement there is particular reference to labour force adjustment, and the linkages are directly to the Department of Labour through their Labour Adjustment Program, and also to the Employment, Immigration Canada industrial adjustment service. These work together to establish an adjustment committee with employer and worker representation on the committee. We, in Education, have no direct involvement, and our response is a training response to the adjustment strategies.
Mr. Alcock: So if I understand the minister correctly, then this process is led by the federal ministry working with the Department of Labour who then determine whether or not there is a training component and apply to this department for some assistance in bringing that about?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes, essentially, that is correct.
Mr. Alcock: Does the ministry of Labour have any responsibility for funding any programs within this department?
Mrs. Vodrey: No, Labour does not fund programs offered through Education, but they do come to Education to access the programs available. In addition, they do purchase some training through the market‑driven training initiatives.
Mr. Alcock: With reference to the budget year that we are currently in, and then with reference to the budget year we are currently discussing, can the minister tell us how much training has been requested by the Department of Labour as part of the Labour Adjustment Strategy?
Mrs. Vodrey: The honourable member might like to request these details through my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) through his Estimates process. However, we would be prepared to do a search of who has purchased training programs, and we will be prepared to return with that information at a later date of which of those spots had been purchased by Labour.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, yes, what I am particularly interested in getting some information on is the quantity, that is the number of placements, and the gross cost of those placements that have been specifically requested as a result of labour adjustment. If it is the Department of Labour that is leading this, then presumably they are coming to the conclusion of some form of labour adjustment is required and making, if I understood the minister correctly, a specific request to the department for some type of training and response.
So that is all I am looking for is how many requests, how many placements does that represent? How much money in each of the current and proposed budget year?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, again I would remind the member that this really is a question for my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik). We can comment on what occurred last year. It would be very difficult for us to comment on what will occur this year since those positions are purchased as a result of adjustments that will occur within this current year.
Mr. Alcock: Perhaps, Madam Chairperson, the minister could explain to me why that is a question for the Minister of Labour when her department is supplying the training?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, it is a question for my colleague the Minister of Labour because the Minister of Labour does purchase the positions from us. We have no way of knowing what purchases they may like to make. They will simply come forward and present their need.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, so the Department of Labour does fund Education programs then?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, no, they do not fund, they come forward and they buy the service. The funding of the instructors and the capital relating to that and the equipment are funded through the Department of Education.
Mr. Alcock: So precisely what are they buying? Perhaps I could clarify that. When the minister says they buy the service, what does she mean by buy? If the money is provided through the budget in the Department of Education, is there a transfer of funds that takes place?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes, this is an internal transfer of funds, and when the member has the opportunity to view the General Manual of Administration, he can then check those definitions and check the process.
Mr. Alcock: Well, I am quite aware of internal transfers of funds, but I would ask, given there is an internal transfer of funds, then presumably the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) does have some budget from which he funds education programs in this minister's department. But, presumably also, there is some estimating of the size of that internal transfer of funds from year to year.
Mrs. Vodrey: The member is wrong. It is a case‑by‑case planning. There is not an estimation.
Mr. Alcock: But then when we see a figure in the Estimates here that says Recoverable from Other Appropriations, then I am assuming that we are not including the Department of Labour in that.
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I am informed that recoverable is different from an internal transfer and that recoverable is what can be set in advance, whereas the internal transfer that we have been discussing regarding the Department of Labour is, as I have said, done on a case‑by‑case basis.
Mr. Alcock: So when it says in the Estimates, Recoverable from Other Appropriations, what other appropriations would it be recoverable from?
Mrs. Vodrey: Well, I am informed again, and I will inform the member again, that when a line in the budget says Less: Recoverable, it is a known amount. It is predictable.
I give him by way of example the core area which is recoverable from the Department of Urban Affairs. The internal transfer is not a known or not a quantifiable amount and is not included in the Recoverable.
Mr. Alcock: Well, Madam Chairperson, I am not going to expect the minister of the department to have this information available right at this moment, but to flag it for them, because I will be asking many more detailed questions when we come to those lines.
I note that against all three colleges
there are two recoverables. They are
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes, we will be prepared to answer those at the time.
Madam Chairperson: Item 5.(a)(1) Salaries‑‑
Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): Madam Chairperson, I wanted to just have one
follow‑up question on some information the minister provided
yesterday. I asked about the cuts in
We have not been able to identify the document she is talking about, so I wonder if the minister could either give me the title of the document, or could she provide another copy?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes, the document, I am informed, was in fact tabled. A title that the member might look for the document under is Impact Reductions 1991‑92.
Madam Chairperson: Item 5.(a)(1) Salaries $193,400‑‑pass; (a)(2) Other Expenditures $163,200‑‑pass; (b) Program Analysis, Co‑ordination and Support: (1) Salaries.
Mr. Alcock: Could the minister start by just giving us a quick overview of what this particular unit does?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the branch activities include program analysis and, just to give the member some information, provide, first of all, administration and financial analysis. They provide administrative and financial support services to the division, including the co‑ordination of the annual Estimates process and expenditure and revenue cash flow preparation and analysis, the preparation of specialized financial statements and reports, the preparation and review of Cabinet, Treasury Board and preclearance submissions, information systems reports and other general administrative services.
Now, secondly, they administer the federal‑provincial training agreements; thirdly, develop key performance indicators; fourthly, administer the interprovincial training agreements and administer the distribution of grants to the private, post‑secondary institutions.
In addition, under Education policy planning and program review, they co‑ordinate major policy development strategies and activities. They provide leadership in the development of programs which ensure greater equity and educational and training opportunities. They manage the design of new program initiatives. They develop the overall program review framework. They co‑ordinate divisional, strategic, and operational planning. They co‑ordinate post‑secondary co‑operative education opportunities.
Under labour market policy and planning, they develop policy options. They conduct research and analysis. They develop provincial labour market strategy and they disseminate labour market information.
Under the intergovernmental affairs and international education heading, they provide the negotiation, the implementation and monitoring of federal‑provincial agreements. They manage the division's international education activities and under the private vocational schools administration, they administer The Private Vocational Schools Act. Under college affairs they co‑ordinate the overall implementation of the college governance initiative. They co‑ordinate the activities of the interdepartmental Conversion Team whom I have just spoken of.
Mr. Alcock: Busy division. The minister just referenced research and analysis. Can she gives us some examples of research that were conducted in the last fiscal year?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes, the department has provided the monthly labour market information bulletin, provided quarterly review of labour force indicators, provided an annual publication of high demand and skill shortage occupations, provided an annual inventory of provincial labour market programs and services, provided the career tabloid, and also provided the recent LPN survey, and also the provincial labour market strategy.
Mr. Alcock: Is the minister prepared to table those various items she has mentioned?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, yes, we are prepared to table all but the labour market strategy which is still in development. I have some of those pieces of information here today.
I am prepared to table the Industrial and
Occupational Employment Projects Manitoba 1990 to the year 2000; the Manitoba
Labour Market Information Bulletin February 1992; the High Demand Occupations
Mr. Alcock: As I recall there was a report on LMPS circulated to members, and if that is the same report then we can forgo the tabling of that.
The provincial labour market strategy, can the minister tell us what the components of that are?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I am quite prepared to talk about these issues. I did, I will remind the member, speak about them in great length the last time that we were together.
It does not lend itself to a specific structure which I can read out to the member, but I can certainly tell him again the issues which will be considered, which are: labour market supply and demand, employment opportunities and growth, the role of community colleges, the role and issues relating to apprenticeship, and equity in Education and Training. We have spoken about women and immigrant groups and native people. We also have spoken about the older worker.
Mr. Alcock: Is this labour market strategy a new piece of work for this division, or is this something that is an ongoing piece of business for this group?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, as I said last evening, this is a brand‑new strategy. It was one that was begun and started from scratch.
Madam Chairperson, I would also like to answer an earlier question by the member in terms of the proposed composition of the board of the community colleges. He asked a specific question regarding student membership, and I would just like to refer him to The Colleges Act, Section 9(1) in which it is referenced: the board shall consist of not less than 10 and not more than 12 members appointed by the Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council of whom (a) one shall be a student of the college selected by the students' association.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, I will come back to the labour market strategy question in a minute. Let us just deal with this question on governance then.
I am sure the minister is aware of where I
am going with this. Does this represent
a change in policy relative to the appointment by student bodies to the boards
of various educational institutions?
Here, of course, I am specifically referencing the ongoing controversy
Mrs. Vodrey: I am aware of the issue that the member has raised. I have also met with the student presidents of all of the universities. As the member is aware, I will be announcing, in the near future, a university review, and the process of that university review will look at many issues relating to the university. Obviously, the issue of governance would be among them.
So the member will see that there will certainly be attention paid to that issue in the near future.
Mr. Alcock: Madam Chairperson, yes, we will talk in some detail about the university review. It does appear to be becoming a catchall for any concerns that have to do with the universities. But perhaps then, the minister could make a commitment that between now and the time that we have results of the review, the minister, while she is minister, will act in accordance with the policy that has been established for the colleges and not interfere with the selection of student reps, as was the practice prior to her becoming minister.
I note that she has not followed the previous practice at this point. She has not had opportunity to, but when it comes time to appoint student representation to the boards of the universities, will she do as she is now bound to do by The Colleges Act and appoint representatives chosen by the student body?
(Mr. Gerry McAlpine, Acting Chairperson, in the Chair)
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, I certainly respect the issue that the member has raised. However, one is a matter relating to the colleges and college governance, and the other is a matter relating to the universities.
I have told him that I am aware of the issue and that I have had discussion with the students' association. At this point, I have also assured him that we will be looking at the matter in detail through the university review.
Mr. Alcock: Perhaps the minister, though I appreciate the response that she has given me, did not understand the question completely.
What I am asking her is, between now and the time that we have the recommendations from the universities review, there will come opportunities to appoint student representation to the boards of the universities. Will this minister make an undertaking to act in accordance with the policy that has been established by The Colleges Act, and as has been requested by the student presidents, to appoint students selected by the student representatives rather than by, shall we say, more partisan, less student‑oriented roots, as has been the case in the past?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, again I will say to the member perhaps he did not understand my answer. I am fully aware of the issue; in fact, I took the time to meet with the student representatives, which I will mention that my honourable friend did not meet with the student representatives when he introduced a bill in this House. The students were very surprised that bill had been introduced, and there was not any consultation with the students at that time.
The process since I have been minister that I have followed very carefully is to make sure that I have communication with the representative groups. I have met with the student presidents. I will continue to meet with the student presidents. I am aware of their concern, and through the process of our communication, we will continue to look at this issue carefully. The issue relating to the colleges is one which is in legislation; the issue relating to the universities is not.
I have already explained to the member that there will be a university review. In the process of the university review, many things will be looked at, and I would certainly expect that this will be one.
Mr. Alcock: Mr. Acting Chairperson, it is true that the change within The Colleges Act that is in legislation is a result of an amendment that was proposed by the opposition and accepted by the previous minister, and I think he is to be congratulated for doing so.
The appointment to the universities are now the responsibility of the minister, so it is within the purview of the minister to make a commitment to follow the policy which has been established for the colleges, if she should choose to do so. That is all I am asking her for. Is she prepared to make such a commitment?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, I have explained my commitment to the member, and I could try and explain it again to him if he would find that helpful. My commitment is certainly one to communication and to looking at the process, but I would also remind him that we will have a process. We look forward to the process of the university review also being in place, and so I will be acting accordingly.
Mr. Alcock: Mr. Acting Chairperson, if I can reference the minister to page 92 in this book against Program Analysis, Co‑ordination and Support, subappropriation Number 16‑5(b), Expected Results: "Provision of assistance to eligible students under the Manitoba Student Financial Assistance programs." Any expected result of this particular branch?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, yes, I am informed that there is a misprint on that page, and that bullet should read, provision of direction to the Student Financial Assistance branch.
Mr. Alcock: So the Student Financial Assistance branch reports to the Program Analysis, Co‑ordination and Support branch?
Mrs. Vodrey: Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Alcock: When they talk about an expected result, which is compliance with The Private Vocational Schools Act?
Mrs. Vodrey: Yes.
Mr. Alcock: Can the minister define the schools covered under The Private Vocational Schools Act or name the schools?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, I am happy to read some of the names, and I will also table the whole list for the honourable member's interest: the Advanced School of Hairstyling, the C C Manitoba Driving School, Cambrian Business College, Canadian School of Floral Art, Classic Hairstyling Academy, European School of Esthetics, Fine‑Art Bartending School, Foundations Learning Centre, H & R Block Canada, Herzing Career College, Karen School of Floral Design, Morden College, National Training Institute, Patal Vocational Preparation Schools, Pollock School of Beauty, Reimer Express Driver Training, and there is a total list here which I am prepared to table for the member.
Mr. Alcock: When we talk about compliance with the act, who does the screening? When a student applies to one of these colleges, one of these private vocational schools, and is accepted and then applies for Manitoba student financial assistance, is there any screening carried out as to the eligibility of that student for those particular programs by the department, or is it all done by the school?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, I am advised first of
all that there is a designation process of private vocational schools for
student financial assistance, but I think the member is also asking some
additional parts to his question around private vocational schools. I would like to refer him to the act, The
Private Vocational Schools Act, and the
There is a registration process. There is a process of security where schools are required to post a security to provide tuition refunds in the event of the school closure. There is a curriculum review by the private vocational schools program review committee. There is also a monitoring process, a complaint resolution process. Those are the issues which are covered within the act.
Mr. Alcock: Mr. Acting Chairperson, I do have a specific question that comes out of that. Perhaps it is best illustrated by referencing the case that it arises from. Although I do not want to name the individual, I simply wish to describe the circumstances, and I will provide the name to the department at the conclusion of this.
It would appear that it is possible to apply to one of these schools, be accepted, apply to the department for a considerable sum of money in order to pay the fees and costs of going there to take the program, and at the end of the program‑‑this is in a vocational school not a GED or upgrading school‑‑be adjudged to be unable to function in the language which one had to be able to function in, in order to take the course.
I am just wondering what kind of monitoring takes place when people apply for financial assistance to go into these schools.
The minister did reference consumer protection, and yet the students involved, or the student involved in this particular case, seems to feel that there was very little protection.
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, while in the process of monitoring, the schools are monitored by a private vocational schools administration through the screening of registration applications, annual onsite visits to all schools, excluding the correspondence schools, and an annual survey of all students enrolled in the preceding year.
Mr. Alcock: If a student had then a complaint of the nature that I have outlined, where would they direct such a complaint?
Mrs. Vodrey: As I described to the member, there is a complaint resolution process. The private vocational schools administration assists both students and the private vocational school operators with the resolution of a complaint if the charge is determined to be a contravention of the act and the regulation.
Just for the member's information regarding his specific case which he brings forward, I would like to give him the name of Monica Oepkes and I have a phone number for the member: 945‑8502, and I hope that will be a help to his client.
Mr. Alcock: Mr. Acting Chairperson, I thank the minister for that information. I do not want to discuss specific cases in any detail here. I will refer to Ms. Oepkes.
Another expected result of this division is the establishment of mutually beneficial education and training relationships with other countries. Would that also include the determination as to whether or not educational programs offered in other provinces or other countries which were not offered here were of such a quality and nature that Manitobans accessing those programs would be considered eligible for financial support?
Mrs. Vodrey: I think that question may be best placed under the appropriation for the Student Financial Assistance Branch and the appropriation line is 16‑5(g).
Mr. Alcock: I will raise it then. Can the minister then describe to me what is meant by establishment of mutually beneficial education and training relationships with other countries?
Mr. Acting Chairperson, first of all, we do enter into agreements with
other countries at the college level.
Those agreements are to provide instruction or advice or setup
assistance generally. The funding comes
through CIDA. By way of example, I would
like to reference the Chen‑Yang Power Corporation of
Ms. Friesen: Mr. Acting Chairperson, I may be covering some of the same ground, but I will try and ask some different questions. I am interested in the research and analysis on existing and emerging labour market issues.
It seems to me, and I may be mistaken, but it seems to me the department is scrambling to get its labour force strategy together. This should have been out six months ago. It still is not here. We are still waiting for it, and now we expect it in the fall.
Be that as it may, I am looking at the future and would like to know what the research plan is for this department for the next year.
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, to the first part of the member's question, I must say I reject it and beg to differ. We have developed, during the process of developing, a labour market strategy which as I have described began from scratch and comes from scratch into full implementation. I think it is very important for Manitobans to believe that this strategy will be a thorough strategy. Therefore, the department has been working very hard on it, and I look forward to being able to discuss it more fully.
To the second part of the member's question, we have in place a mid‑range plan. Some of the research for the mid‑range plan, and some of the work relating to the mid‑range plan is in the area of an adult basic education strategy. That strategy goes across departments because it also involves the K to 12 side of the department as well as the post‑secondary and training side. We also have a plan looking at aboriginal education and training.
Ms. Friesen: Could the minister expand upon the aboriginal training plan?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, well, within the aboriginal education and training issues, we are looking at ways to increase both the participation and the success of aboriginal students, and as we look at that strategy, we are looking to the discussions which we are holding on an ongoing basis with also the Manitoba Metis Federation. When decisions are reached regarding that I will be happy to share them with the member.
Ms. Friesen: Could the minister indicate what other aboriginal organizations are involved in this? You mentioned Manitoba Metis Federation. You only mentioned one aboriginal organization, I am curious as to why you particularly singled that one out.
Mr. Acting Chairperson, yes, the MMF was by way of example, but I would
like to add to that some other examples: the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs,
Ms. Friesen: Mr. Acting Chairperson, is this particular research looking at the educational needs within that community, or is it looking at the distribution of federal monies? What is the level of research?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, the focus is on the needs of learners in the aboriginal community. It is not a focus on the distribution of federal money.
Ms. Friesen: Is there a connection between this and a program that the federal government has called Pathways?
Mrs. Vodrey: Pathways is the federal government's strategy under Employment and Immigration Canada and it is not specifically related to the research that we are doing.
Presumably the federal government, in the creation of that program, has
also conducted research. Where is the
Mrs. Vodrey: In terms of the federal government, we do have communication with federal officials who attempt to access research which would be helpful to us, but our research at this point is to assist us in setting department policy and also in planning provincially.
Ms. Friesen: Could the minister indicate how many people are involved in this research? Is this staff research or is this contract research? When do we expect to see the report? Is the report for public discussion?
I am sorry, are the staff having trouble hearing me? I notice you are all pulling faces. I would prefer to know that it was because you could not hear me. Is there some problem with my microphone, do you think?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Acting Chairperson, yes, we are having some difficulty hearing. The staff do not have earphones and it is very difficult. Your voice comes through the microphone, but it does not come into the room very well.
Ms. Friesen: I will repeat the question then.
What I am interested in is how many people are involved in this research. Is it contract research or is it staff research? When is the expected date of conclusion? Will the conclusion be a document for public discussion?
(Madam Chairperson in the Chair)
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the information is an ongoing information gathering for decisions at the departmental level. There are two and a half staff members for research for the whole division including research for aboriginal issues. The information is used, as I said, to develop the provincial policy. It is basically an internal document. Then what would be seen as the effect of the research‑‑by way of example, some of the information would be used in our labour market strategy. Other information has been used for the development of Workforce 2000 and also for the aerospace training initiative.
Ms. Friesen: I would like to pursue the issue of two‑point‑something people for research in this section of the department, particularly one that has to deal with the Universities Grants Commission which also has almost no research capacity anymore and which is sending the colleges off into governance, again, in my view, with very little research and very little opportunity for continuing research.
Could the minister tell me whether there has been contract research in the past? Does she expect contract research in the future? Are there other sources of research that the department has access to on a regular basis that would provide the necessary basis for the development of policy for universities and for colleges?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I think there is an important distinction to be made here that the research done within this department is research that is used as a means to an end in terms of formulating policy. We do have, as was discussed earlier, a Planning and Research branch, and that Planning and Research branch is what then services the whole department.
Ms. Friesen: Could the minister tell us how much of the policy and research done in that section of the department relates to colleges and universities?
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, the policy and research branch, which was an appropriation that I will remind the member that we have passed already, does also research in the area of post‑secondary issues and also responds to research issues brought forward through the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. It also does analysis and recommendations on reports such as the Smith report, the Economic Council of Canada report, the teachers supply and demand report, the report, most recently discussed, A Lot to Learn.
But the research done within the department is research to assist us in developing and in achieving a policy end. Now with respect to the university review, the University Review will likely do its own research as the transition to college governance implementation team also then did its research through the process of the implementation team.
Ms. Friesen: Madam Chairperson, I think one of the points that I want to make is that the minister is responsible for setting policy for universities and colleges. Yes, the universities are, by governance, arms length, but the policy direction must come from, it seems to me, the government, and that is what I am concerned about is a Universities Grants Commission which no longer does any research.
What you are telling me is that there is no research going on in the department about university affairs other than a response to the Smith report. Similarly for colleges, it seems to me that there is an insistence, a policy direction by this government that we move to market‑driven issues.
Well, one of the areas that is not market driven is research. There are some things which only the community or the government can do. It seems to me that research, and particularly research for the development of long range policy, is one of the things that has to be done by government. So I am concerned about what seems to me to be a limited commitment to policy research for colleges and universities.
Mrs. Vodrey: Madam Chairperson, I am aware that the member is particularly concerned and has expressed her concern around the role of formal research, and I have tried to point out where some of that formal research would take place, through the Policy and Research Branch, and also to describe to her the kind of research that takes place within the branch that we are discussing at the moment.
When we last spoke of this, I spoke to the member about the fact that, yes, there is a need for formal data that does flow from research; however, the information that comes into the Department of Education and Training also comes from a number of other sources. The information that we receive is a synthesis of many sources. I hesitate to use the word informal, but I use the word informal to contrast it to very specifically formal research, and both types of research have been very important to the department.
Then, I would also add that information flows into the department through the political process, through the elected members and through those people that the elected members meet with, and that research within this department is very relevant to the creation of public policy. In terms of what has been the result of this research of all types, I would like to reference the restructuring of the existing system. I would like to draw the member's attention to the movement on the community college governance, and that there is a great deal of policy development and change which has occurred and is in the process of occurring through several types of information that flow into the department.
Ms. Friesen: There is a difference between information and
research. Research is essentially the
questions which are being asked. It
seems to me that in this section of the department you are asking questions
about the place and development of adult basic education, and you are looking
at aboriginal training. Those are particular questions related to current
social and economic conditions in
Now what I am asking is, is there anywhere in the department that is formulating questions about the long‑term size, position of community colleges, such as was recommended to you in the Mauro report, and are there any kind of research questions being asked about the role and purpose of universities in Manitoba?
Mrs. Vodrey: Well, the role of the universities that the member references, we expect to have that covered through the process of the university review. The size and the role of the community colleges, as I spoke about yesterday, part of that will be referenced through the labour market strategy and part has been dealt with by the committee that has been looking at the role and function of the community colleges.
At this point, to the member, I can say that I understand the point she is making. I am attempting to provide some additional information, but at this point I believe she has made the point to us that she would like to.
Ms. Friesen: I would like to ask some questions about The Private Vocational Schools Act. Does the Chair want to continue with those questions now?
Madam Chairperson: The hour being 5 p.m. and time for private members' hour, committee rise.
Call in the Speaker.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hour being 5 p.m., time for Private Members' Business.
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (Deputy Chairperson of Committees): Madam Deputy Speaker, the Committee of Supply has considered certain resolutions and directs me to report progress and asks leave to sit again. I move, seconded by the honourable member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that the report of the committee be received.
Motion agreed to.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
DEBATE ON SECOND READINGS‑‑PRIVATE BILLS
Bill 52‑The Pas Health Complex Incorporation Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin), Bill 52 (The Pas Health Complex Incorporation Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi constituant en corporation "The Pas Health Complex"), standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst).
Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
DEBATE ON SECOND READINGS‑PUBLIC BILLS
Bill 16‑The Health Care Directives Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema), Bill 16 (The Health Care Directives Act; Loi sur les directives en matiere de soins de sante), standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard).
Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Bill 18‑The Franchises Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway), Bill 18 (The Franchises Act; Loi sur les concessions), standing in the name of the honourable member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on the second reading of Bill 25 (The University of Manitoba Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Universite du Manitoba), on the proposed motion of the honourable member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock), standing in the name of the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Bill 27‑The Business Practices Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema), Bill 27 (The Business Practices Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les pratiques commerciales), standing in the name of the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Bill 31‑The Municipal Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on the second reading of Bill 31 (The Municipal Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les municipalites), on the proposed motion of the honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry), standing in the name of the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Bill 36‑The Health Care Records Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on second reading of Bill 36 (The Health Care Records Act; Loi sur les dossiers medicaux), on the proposed motion of the honourable member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis), standing in the name of the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Bill 50‑The Beverage Container Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on second reading of Bill 50 (The Beverage Container Act; Loi sur les contenants de boisson), on the proposed motion of the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs), standing in the name of the honourable member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer).
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Bill 51‑The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on second reading of Bill 51 (The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'assurance‑maladie), on the proposed motion of the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema), standing in the name of the honourable for St. Norbert.
Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert): Madam Deputy Speaker, it gives me a great pleasure to rise today and speak to the proposed motion of the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema). I have had a lot of opportunity over the past 59.5 hours to hear a little bit of this and a little bit of that about the health care within our province.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the honourable critic for the second opposition party, the member for The Maples, has a very clear understanding of where the health care system in this province should be going. I see that he looks at the whole situation of how health care should be managed within a whole system. After hearing the debates throughout the past 59.5 hours, I can see that we will be moving towards a new and more positive approach towards health care not only in this province but in this country.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the health care system, I guess I would like to sort of put it along the same lines as the business I was in, and that was the automotive business. Let us take customer A who has a vehicle, and customer A decides he is going to service this vehicle on a regular maintenance schedule. Well, on an average if he takes his $20,000 car which is brand new this year, in 1980, and moves on to 1985, over that five‑year period he would have spent approximately, on the average, $600 per year on repairs on a regular maintenance schedule. The same person now, we are going to call him No. B, buys a car but does not do a regular maintenance. He is the type of person who only goes in and repairs it when necessary. B, when he goes in, over the five‑year average will run a $700 bill.
Then, Madam Deputy Speaker, we have C, and C is a very important one. C is the customer or the person who never brought the vehicle in. The vehicle only goes in under extreme circumstances. Well, that vehicle breaks down, and it costs lots of dollars, lots of dollars. There is no average.
Now we have a true cost. The true cost over that five years is probably going to be a total picture of more than the average of the others. The others are now averaging $600. This one will average $1,200 per year. One of the reasons is the maintenance schedule. It is pay me now or pay me later. We have to learn, within the health system, to start maintaining ourselves. We cannot rely on governments to maintain how we are in a healthy community.
Madam Deputy Speaker, we keep hearing "deficits." We keep hearing there are bed cuts. We keep hearing all the negatives. What is it that we have to do within a system, a system at large that people understand that there has to be change in? There has to be change or we will lose it. I do believe it is important that we retain one of the social systems that is more important to this nation.
I sent out a questionnaire to my community. The No. 1 issue that came back was health care. The second, which was related, was the economy. Now, why would we say health care and the economy are related? Madam Deputy Speaker, it is very simple. Without the economic spin‑offs of this province and this country, we will have no health care.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Would those honourable members engaging in private conversation please do so either in the loges or outside the Chamber. Some members are experiencing great difficulty in hearing the honourable member for St. Norbert.
Mr. Laurendeau: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
There is just so much on the issue of health care that we have to visit. It is not a simple issue. We realize that after the 60 hours we have spent listening to debate in Health Estimates. I mean, a lot of it was very positive. The aspects that I caught from the Liberal caucus so far in that 60 hours‑‑and I would say that they have probably put about 59 hours of that in very positive nature, but all I got out of the negative side was about five minutes of negativism.
I really did not understand the rest of it because all they tied it to was beds. Well, all the NDP can tie their initiatives on health care to is beds, they have got a problem, because the health care system is not beds, Madam Deputy Speaker. The health care system is the maintenance, the maintenance of our health‑‑the maintenance and not beds. Beds do not maintain us. That is where we go if we need the maintenance restructuring. That is where we know to go if we have to have it. There are other means and other processes that we have to look at.
We have to look at the community services, Madam Deputy Speaker, that are available to us today, or the system that we have today will no longer be there for the generations to come. Who is going to pay for it? Who is going to pay for it? The taxes will pay for it. But with the deficits that we have built up in not only this province but throughout the country‑‑and I am not going to blame any specific government, because all governments in the past were to blame.
You can blame NDP, Liberal, Conservative, Social Credit and all the rest of them. They are all to blame for the deficit and debt positions that we are in today, but it is because they did not realize what the economy would do over a longer period of time. Today we realize it.
It is a world-wide recession, and we realize that it is not going to bounce back tomorrow. We realize that the pockets of the taxpayers of this country, Madam Deputy Speaker, are only so deep and you cannot dig any deeper. They are empty. They do not even have the loonies left. It has gotten to a point where we cannot afford to go out, never mind we are having trouble putting food on the table in some cases. [interjection]
Yes, the health care system is important, Madam Deputy Speaker.
The principles that the honourable member is bringing forward of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility, when we speak to those issues I understand where the member is coming from. Those are the issues that we want to protect within the system. The only concern I have with bringing forward this‑‑and I do have a problem with the legality in bringing it into legislation. I have spoken to the member about it, and maybe it will be explained to me in the future how it will fit in the overall package, on a provincial level rather than a federal level, bringing it upon us. I do not understand the total ramifications.
What would happen if it is brought in on only a provincial level within our province or three provinces and the other seven do not fall into the system? Does that mean we will have different access in the other provinces? Who will pick up the extra costs? So there is a cost implication that does sort of get in my way, even though I do truly and strongly believe, Madam Deputy Speaker, in exactly what the member is bringing forward.
I believe that we have to look at the overall cost. What is the cost of putting this into legislation? Does this mean that there is going to be accessibility to tattoos being removed across this country? As of today we do not have to pay for it in this province, but with this type of legislation the possibility might be there, because the federal position might be that would be an insurable service. Will that fall under the accessibility and the universality system of what the member is bringing forward? That is part of what I have a concern with.
Madam Deputy Speaker, the system itself has to be looked at. The system of health care has to be revisited. I believe when governments of the past, whatever stripes they were, looked at the picture, it was always, well, let us just put more money in, and every year that was what it was, let us go in for another 10 percent. Even on the questionnaire that I sent out to my constituents, I have to admit, constituents, a good part of them were saying put on a user fee. It is not very often that I disagree with my constituents, but on a user fee I do. I do not believe the user‑fee concept is the answer, because all they will be doing with that user fee is putting in more money. They will not be correcting the inequities within the system today. We have to attack this from the roots. Without attacking this at the roots, we will not get to the problem.
I believe that we have a Minister of
Health (Mr. Orchard) in this province today who will stand up and be heard
throughout this country and who will be looked up to, not only throughout this
country but throughout
This minister knows the health care system. This minister answers the questions, but the opposition do not listen. As they always do, they ask questions but they seem to close their ears. They are good at knocking at the door, they are real good at knocking, but we are used to not listening because all we ever get is the negativism.
They do not know how to find the positive issues. They do not know how to bring forward constructive criticism. They do not know how to attack something and bring forward what their true job in this House is, and that is to critique. To them it is criticize. You know, it is criticize. Where do they stand, Madam Deputy Speaker? They do not know where they stand.
I have heard the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) come forward with absolutely nothing but rhetoric. Rhetoric, Madam Deputy Speaker, that is all we hear. I have only been here since 1990. I am not blaming the honourable member for Dauphin for the mistakes that he made when he was in government. It was not his fault. No matter how many bridges he built to nowhere, it was not his fault, because he did not know what the structure of the economy would be today. So just because he wanted to build bridges halfway, it was not his fault, but I think they should have realized that eventually you have to have a road to both ends.
It is the same as the health care of today. You have to have the roads that lead to it. I only wish that the honourable members from the other side of this House could understand what health care really is all about. They turn around and they criticize the budgets brought forward for the hospitals, and yet it is their process that is being followed today. It is their process that said we would not run deficits in hospitals, yet they are saying, just fund, fund, fund.
Well, fund, fund, fund no longer exists. You cannot spend your way out of it. You have to do what is right. You have to bring forward a course of action that will possibly make some waves. Maybe the opposition will put forward some vision in the future for health care, but I really do not think so because in the short period of time, over two years, that I have been here I have not seen one positive action being brought forward by those members, not one. I do not believe that is what their job is in this House.
An Honourable Member: What about the antisniff bill?
Mr. Laurendeau: Madam Deputy Speaker, the honourable member speaks from her chair. The honourable member comes forward and speaks about bills that were brought in two years ago. That is how much she knows about this House. It is two years old already. Do not tell me we just brought it in.
I have been speaking about what they have done in this session, because this is the session that I feel we are responsible for today, not 10 sessions ago, not 12 sessions ago. We have to live with their debt, but we do not have to live with their rhetoric. I only hope that they learn to criticize and criticize effectively.
Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you very much.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Urban Affairs): I move, seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings), that debate be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 54‑The Consumer Protection Amendment Act
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on second reading of Bill 54
(The Consumer Protection Amendment Act; Loi sur la protection du consommateur),
on the proposed motion of the honourable member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway),
standing in the name of the honourable member for
An Honourable Member: Stand.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Stand? Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [Agreed]
Bill 56‑The Public Health Amendment Act (2)
Madam Deputy Speaker: On the proposed motion of Bill 56 (The Public
Health Amendment Act (2); Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur la sante publique), on
the proposed motion of the honourable member for
Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader): Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Housing (Mr. Ernst), that debate on this matter be adjourned and it may remain standing in my name if that is an issue on the open standing.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 66‑The Child and Family Services Amendment Act (2)
Madam Deputy Speaker: To resume debate on second reading of Bill 66 (The Child and Family Services Amendment Act (2); Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur les services a l'enfant et a la famille), on the proposed motion of the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs), standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer). Stand? Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?
Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader): Madam Deputy Speaker, I think if you were to canvass the House after you had completed the "leave" on that bill, you would find there may be agreement to call it six o'clock.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Is there leave to permit Bill 66 to remain standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Family Services? [Agreed]
Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock? Agreed and so ordered.
This House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).