Thursday, May 14, 1992


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the  petition of Jack Mavins, G. Ripstein, P. Rifsto and others  requesting the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba strongly urge the  provincial government to reconsider its decision and return the  Manitoba Heritage Federation its granting authority.

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present  the petition of Penny Wicht, Judy Bickerton, Colleen Elliot and  others requesting the government consider reviewing the funding  of Brandon General Hospital to avoid layoffs and cutbacks to  vital services.




Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable  member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett).  It complies with the  privileges and practices of the House and complies with the  rules.  Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?

      The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of  Manitoba humbly sheweth:

      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 Province of Manitoba may be pleased to request that the  government of Manitoba show a strong commitment to deal with  Child Abuse by considering restoring the Fight Back Against Child  Abuse campaign.

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Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable  Leader of the Second Opposition (Mrs. Carstairs).  It complies  with the privileges and practices of the House and complies with  the rules.  Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?

      The petition of the undersigned residents of the province of  Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

      WHEREAS the Province of Manitoba announced that it would  establish an Office of the Children's Advocate in its most recent  throne speech and allocated funds for this Office in its March  '92 budget; and

      WHEREAS the Kimelman Report (1983), the Aboriginal Justice  Inquiry (1991) and the Suche Report (1992) recommended that the  province establish such an office reporting directly to the  Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, in a manner similar to that of  the Office of the Ombudsman; and

      WHEREAS pursuant to the Child and Family Services Act  Standards, the agency worker is to be the advocate for a child in  care; and

      WHEREAS there is a major concern that child welfare workers,  due to their vested interest as employees within the service  system, cannot perform an independent advocacy role; and

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      WHEREAS pure advocacy will only be obtained through an  independent and external agency; and

      WHEREAS the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer)  has unsatisfactorily dealt with complaints lodged against child  welfare agencies; and now

      THEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative  Assembly of Manitoba strongly urge the provincial government to  consider establishing an Office of the Children's Advocate which  will be independent of cabinet and report directly to the  Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.




Hon. James McCrae (Minister responsible for Constitutional  Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I have a statement for the House.

      Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report again to the House on the  continuing series of meetings of ministers and aboriginal leaders  on constitutional renewal.  As honourable members know, we met in  Saint John for two days last week and in Vancouver for three days  this week.  I believe there exists immense good will among the  people of Canada and that they want their governments to make  compromises and produce a comprehensive package of amendments  that will modernize the Constitution.  Although progress has been  slow in many areas, we are making progress to achieve that goal.

      While I cannot report specific texts have been finally  adopted, I can report that the issues have been refined, and in  most cases, rolling drafts are now being presented to heads of  delegations.  In Saint John, the main subject of discussion was  regional disparities, equalization and the economic union, all  subjects of fundamental importance to smaller, less prosperous  provinces.  There was also discussion of the social and economic  union and the division of powers.

      Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, while the federal government and  some larger provinces are prepared to speak eloquently of their  devotion to the principle of reducing regional disparities, they  showed no willingness to back their words with action.  An agency  has been proposed to monitor progress on reducing regional  disparities, but to this point, the federal government has  rejected giving the equalization provisions real teeth.  The last  thing Manitoba needs is another Ottawa‑based bureaucracy burning  tax dollars that should go to those provinces that need them.

      Discussion of the Senate, both in Saint John and Vancouver,  was inconclusive.  Proponents of a so‑called equitable Senate  have chosen to build all their proposals around Ontario and  Quebec, each having 20 percent of the seats.  The remaining 60  percent of the seats would have to be divided among eight  provinces and the territories.  Having accepted at the outset the  inequality of provinces, proponents of equitability naturally  have to divide the smaller provinces into tiers.  As a province  that is substantially smaller in population than British Columbia  and Alberta, Manitoba is always placed in the third tier.

      Some of these so‑called equitable models allot less than 6  percent of the seats in the Senate to Manitoba.  The manifest  unfairness of the equitable models has led to growing support for  the equal distribution of seats.  Unfortunately, some provinces  are now seeking to reduce the effectiveness of the Senate.  No  one, however, can explain why we would create a new elected  Senate but leave it virtually powerless.  We will again devote a  large portion of the available time in the Montreal meeting to  Senate reform.

      It is my hope that the Montreal meeting will allow us to  build on the consensus which was achieved in Vancouver on how we  should approach the question of aboriginal self‑government.  We  have reviewed many options, including positive and negative lists  of powers, contextual statements, constitutionalized negotiation  processes, special tribunals and the like, but we concluded in  Vancouver that we were trying to accomplish too much in what is,  after all, largely uncharted territory.

      It seems to be the consensus that constitutional provisions  be kept to a minimum and that the parameters and processes of the  negotiations be placed in a political accord.  The accord offers  the advantage of being flexible and subject to periodic review to  take into account our experience with the negotiation process.

      The last major issue that ministers have grappled with is the  division of powers.  Frankly, progress in this field can only be  measured by a micrometer, Mr. Speaker.  There seems to be no  central theme underlying their discussions of powers as unrelated  as the regulation of telecommunications and the appointment of  judges.  Each issue has to be dealt with essentially in  isolation, and settling one does not always help with the next.  Nevertheless, we have now examined just about all the trees so we  can, I expect, step back in Montreal and look at the forest.

      With so much of the groundwork now completed and the options  clearly before us, ministers and aboriginal leaders realize we  must accelerate our pace and build on the agreements already  achieved.  Accordingly, we have agreed to meet in Montreal on  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week, and Toronto all the  following week.

      As Manitoba's representative in these crucial talks, it is my  sincere hope, Mr. Speaker, that when I next address the House on  this issue, there will be a complete package that all members of  this Legislature, all Manitobans and all Canadians, can embrace  as an honourable solution to the constitutional problems that  have threatened to destroy the unity of this great country.

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Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be able  to rise to respond to the ministerial statement today on the  Constitution.  It is always interesting to hear the Minister of  Justice's continuing reports on these particular conferences.

      We note that the government continues its unilateral  discussion of these conferences and that the all‑party approach  that we had maintained for so many months‑‑and in the Meech Lake  issue in Manitoba‑‑appears to have been abandoned by this  government in ways which it has not been abandoned by other  governments.

      It is always welcome, of course, to hear these presentations  of the minister to the Legislature.  We remain committed to the  all‑party process and I think the minister is aware of that.  It  is puzzling as to why that is being continually rejected.

      The second thing that the minister appears to be discussing  here is the issue of these powers of the Senate, and again I  would remind the minister that there is a very clear task force  report on this which rejected the Triple‑E position that this  particular government has continued to press in some of the  negotiations and at some of the conferences.

      The Manitoba position was a compromise position.  I would  urge the minister to read that and to see if there are  opportunities there and some flexibility in that position for the  kind of position that he is taking with the federal government.

      I notice the minister's rejection of a further institution to  monitor progress on reducing regional disparity, something which  was proposed some months ago and last September in the federal  government's proposals for our Constitution.  I think it has been  rejected by many Canadians, and we are pleased to see that this  provincial government has also had some difficulties with this.  It is surprising, of course, when you recognize that this  provincial government is also a Tory government, one that  presumably sends its subscriptions to the same Tory party which  has reduced equalization across this country, which has had an  enormous and terrible effect upon Manitoba and upon other  provinces, and which, by its continuing support for free trade  and indeed the expansion of free trade, puts the regions and the  poorer regions of this country in an extremely difficult  position.  So I urge the minister, when he continues these  discussions, to look at the overall economic context of  government policy as well as the particular institutions which  they are proposing.

      I think we, like the minister, are also very glad to see the  continuing aboriginal representation at these conferences.  It  marks a real departure in the negotiations in Canada; it marks a  very real historic change in the position of aboriginal people.  We are pleased to see that the federal government has finally  understood that position, and we are, I think, particularly  pleased to see that people like Ovide Mercredi, who represents  all the assembled chiefs of Canada, but who are also Manitobans.  I think that is a very encouraging part.

      It might perhaps interest the government to know that Ovide  Mercredi was one of the first ACCESS students in Manitoba, as was  the lawyer for the assembly of the chiefs of Canada.  I think  that is perhaps something salutary to remember, the kind of  contribution that those programs have made to the very  negotiations which the entire country is facing, and we commend  the chiefs for their statesman‑like approach to these  constitutional negotiations, which are really very much at the  heart of their future.

      The continuing difficulties that the minister faces over  division of powers, I think, are at the heart of the  constitutional position, and we certainly support the position of  the Manitoba task force on that and hope that the minister will  continue to keep that all‑party position in mind, the  recommendation for a strong central government, for a government  which has the power to redistribute the wealth of this country in  a more equitable manner.

      Those are the issues which we feel concern the people of  Manitoba throughout the winter and in other presentations, and we  hope that those principles will continue to guide this minister  as he takes his place at the constitutional conference.

        Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, I thank the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) once again  for reporting to this House on the deliberations taking place.  Like all Canadians, and I am sure the minister himself, I would  like to see some text that we could then make an evaluation with  respect to whether that meets our needs as Canadians, not only  now, but well into the future.  I urge him to get on with his  job, along with the other ministers, in preparing such a text for  all of us.

      I want to raise, however, a number of serious concerns which  I have.  First and foremost, I have to say that I disagree with  the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).  I think it was very clear  in the task force report as to what was to be negotiated on  behalf of a newly reformed Senate for the people of Canada,  including the people of the province of Manitoba.

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      As to, however, the public discourse that was not mentioned  by the minister, I must say to him that I have very grave  concerns, and I hope that at some time he can elicit us with more  information with regard to it.  There were several news reports  which indicated that there was to be an acceptance that  aboriginal rights would be subject to the Charter but that they  would be given the notwithstanding clause.

      Well, there is no doubt in the task force report where the  Liberal Party stands on the use of the notwithstanding clause.  We do not believe that the notwithstanding clause should be  allowed by anyone.  That not only includes the federal  government, it also includes provincial governments and would  include any additional government level, including aboriginal  peoples.

      The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in Section 1, clearly  provides for the actions of government, should it meet the acid  test that it is reasonable in a democratic society, if it is  reasonable in a democratic society.

      Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, I have never understood why any  government needs to use the notwithstanding clause.  I did not  agree to it when Saskatchewan used it, and my party did not  agree.  We did not agree when Quebec used it.  We will not agree,  quite frankly, when any other level of government, whether it is  municipal or aboriginal, also is allowed to access and use the  notwithstanding clause.  We were so concerned about that, the  minister knows full well, that we insisted in the task force  report in stating very clearly that the Liberal Party in Manitoba  was opposed to the existence of the notwithstanding clause in the  Charter.

      I also have some problems with the minister's last  statement.  I hope it is a semantic problem, and he can clarify  that.  He says:  All Manitobans and all Canadians can embrace as  an honourable solution to the constitutional problems that have  threatened to destroy the unity of this great country.

      It seems to imply to me, and perhaps I am incorrect, that we  are once again going to be given a package and we are going to be  asked to accept it without any t's uncrossed or i's undotted.  I  would suggest to the minister that the First Ministers, through  their representatives, may come up with a package.  If they deny  the input of Canadians in amending and changing that package,  then we will see reiterated a Meech Lake process which is an  anathema to the vast majority of Canadians in this country.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention  of all members to the gallery, where we have with us this  afternoon, from the Gnadenthal School, twenty‑nine Grades 1 to 8  students.  They are under the direction of Miss Klassen.  This  school is located in the constituency of the honourable member  for Emerson (Mr. Penner).

      Also this afternoon, from the Silver Heights Collegiate, we  have the provincial championship winners of Reach for the Top.  They are under the direction of Wally Linton.  This school is  located in the constituency of the honourable member for Sturgeon  Creek (Mr. McAlpine).

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




Health Care System Reform  Implementation


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  The long‑awaited,  much‑touted action plan from the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard)  in this government is finally here.

      Mr. Speaker, we do not disagree with the concerns expressed  in this document.  They are generic concerns.  They have been  expressed by every royal commission and every task force in every  province in this country for the last five years.  They have been  expressed by all political parties, including the NDP that has  long‑touted a community‑based preventive wellness model for our  health care system.

      The trouble with this document is that not only do we get  generic concerns, but we get generic policy prescriptions.  It is  a multiple‑choice document.  We do not know where this government  stands on most issues, with the exception of beds.  This  document, as you know, Mr. Speaker, is very specific on beds and  has confirmed the rumours that the minister says have been a part  of fearmongering up until now.

      So I want to ask the Minister of Health:  Simply, when do we  get the details about how this government plans to implement  these broad‑sweeping, philosophical statements?  When do we hear  exactly what this government plans to do for the future of health  care here in Manitoba?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I simply  ask my honourable friend to give due and diligent consideration  to the document that I tabled today on behalf of this  government.  As I indicated in my press conference this morning,  this is not merely a document of this government.  This is a  document that has focused the best minds in Manitoba, in Canada  and in North America around the issue of making medicare work  into the future and suggesting informed and doable changes to the  health care system.  It has provided a process of change and  evaluation of the results of those changes.

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      The central theme and focus of this discussion paper is what  I have said consistently in questioning throughout this House,  that this is a document of balance that puts services to people  first and foremost and protecting those services so that  individual Manitobans can know that when they need care, the  health care system in a reformed method can assure those kinds of  care delivery services are there and are available.  That means,  Sir, some significant shifts, significant shifts that other  provinces are undertaking because they do not have the choice and  the opportunity that we have in Manitoba of having experts help  them to plan the way the system can change, to protect the health  status of individual Manitobans.

      Mr. Speaker, I do not believe there is any ambiguity  whatsoever to this document, to the direction this government is  taking and to the intellectual underpinning that it represents as  the best blueprint to preserve medicare in Canada, Sir.


Patient Protection


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Again, Mr. Speaker, it is  very long on rhetoric and short on details and specifics.  The  only thing specific is the 240‑bed cut at the two teaching  hospitals.  Interestingly, the minister did what I warned about  yesterday and recycled an election promise and transferred those  beds to Deer Lodge, Concordia and the Municipal.

      I would like to ask the Minister of Health:  What guarantees  can the minister give, other than his rhetoric, that he is  safeguarding patient care throughout the entire implementation  process of this document?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, let me  deal with the issue of the beds at St. Boniface Hospital and  Health Sciences Centre.  My honourable friend presented one side  of the case, that those beds would be retired from service.  What  my honourable friend did not provide was the balance under which  it would happen, and that some 150 beds in three other  institutions would replace those services provided in the 240  beds at the two teaching hospitals, and that budget reallocation  from the two teaching hospitals would further reinforce home care  and other community‑support services to care for the  individuals.  Not where they are cared for, but how they are  cared for is the important equation.

      In isolation, Sir, my honourable friend could have created  fears, but without having the whole process for decision of the  people of Manitoba, you cannot deal with the issue in isolation.  Services to the individual are what is being protected.

      If my honourable friend wants to know how we feel confident  in being able to protect the integrity of service delivery and  the care to Manitobans, I refer my honourable friend to page 31  of this document wherein it indicates in the margin briefly:  science, research and evaluation per patient protection.  We have  been able to bring some of the best experts in North America,  along with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Faculty of  Medicine and the MMA to give that kind of assurance over this  two‑year change.




Ms. Judy Wasylycia‑Leis (St. Johns):  The minister references a  very particular concern that we have.  That is that this  government has targeted beds and has been very specific about bed  reduction but has then said it will study and analyze and come up  with an objective basis for those figures after the fact.

      I would like to know from the minister:  Will he ensure that  all of the studies and objective analysis that he plans to do,  and all of the consultation with health care providers that he  will now do, after the fact, that their advice and that evidence  will be included in the decision‑making process and that this  government is prepared to change, adjust and vary its direction  according to the findings of people and studies?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  On Tuesday of this  week, my colleagues and I made a deliberate decision that we  would not pass the Estimates of the Department of Health so that  would allow my honourable friend the New Democratic Health critic  to come to Estimates and even have the media in attendance so  that we can discuss this reform document in its fullest.

      Mr. Speaker, I look forward to that discussion this  afternoon, because I refer my honourable friend to page 7 of my  introductory speaking remarks, which my honourable friend has.  It will tell my honourable friend that the evaluation process is  key, essential and critical to the reform of the health care  system as it applies to our community hospitals.

      Mr. Speaker, the issue of the beds at the teaching hospitals  has been resolved in that it is not a simple closure of 240  beds.  It is a replacement of services by 150 beds in other  locations and an enhanced community service delivery mechanism.  We know that process can take place without compromising patient  care.

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      Mr. Speaker, the second step in community hospitals is  exactly subject to the kind of critical evaluation before any  final decisions are made by government, Sir.


Community-Based Services


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Throughout the Estimates  process, again today with this document and the promise of the  minister to carry on in Estimates is very worrisome for us,  because we have not been getting answers.  In fact, all we are  getting is rhetoric.

      Now, today, we are getting really a pizza approach to health  care.  We are being told that we have a multiple choice.  We can  choose from all these toppings for this generic concern that we  all share.  So we are trying to get very specific and some  details from this minister, as we have been doing over the last  several months and even beyond that.

      We want to ask the minister:  How do we rationalize the  statement he has just made about community‑based care in the  context of cutbacks to Home Care and in the context of cuts to  grants to organizations involved in prevention and community  outreach work?  Will this minister guarantee the increased  funding that this study recommends, the hump in funding that is  necessary in order to have community‑based services before beds  are cut?  Will he guarantee that that will be the case and tell  us how much‑‑

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

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I share  with you the frustration of that kind of questioning which I have  endured for 59.5 hours, Sir.  My honourable friend has said there  is a cutback in the Home Care program.  There is $7 million more  money in the Home Care budget this year to just do exactly what  is talked about in this document.  My honourable friend persists  in hoping that she can have someone in the media carry the  cutback philosophy of the New Democratic Party.  Sir, you cannot  call $7 million of increased funding to the Continuing Care  Program a cutback.  That means more service across the length and  breadth of Manitoba, Sir.

      When we approach this issue of health care reform, I want my  honourable friend to carefully consider some of the accusations  she will continue to make, because my honourable friend is doing  a disservice to her party when she calls a $7‑million increase  from $55 million last year in Home Care to $62 million of  spending this year a cutback.  No one in Manitoba believes that,  Sir.


Impact on Employment


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, we only have  the pain and hardship that individuals are enduring as a result  of changes to our Home Care program for them to go on.  We have a  responsibility to bring that forward and get some answers from  the minister.

      I want to ask the minister, since this document also says  that the government does not plan on cutting health care funds  but on maintaining and reprioritizing dollars, which means that  250 beds cut at two teaching hospitals should not mean a loss of  500 jobs, can the minister make a guarantee that 500 jobs will  not be lost or that any jobs will be lost as a result of these  changes‑‑

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

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, what we  have tried to present to the people of Manitoba in this reformed  document is a simple philosophy that beds do not care for people,  that services care for people and services are delivered by  professionals.  Those services do not have to be delivered at a  bed.  Anyone with an informed perspective on health care knows  that it is the service that is important and the people who carry  out that service.

      Mr. Speaker, no government in Canada is guaranteeing jobs in  health care as the system changes from institution to community  care.  Sir, I will tell my honourable friend that we will do more  than any other province in Canada in assuring that as jobs change  from institution to community, there will be retraining and  opportunities for new jobs away from institutions in the  community.  That guarantee cannot be offered in any other  province that I am aware of in the country.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Mr. Speaker, I know I will not get any help  from my colleagues in the Liberal Party on this issue.

Mr. Speaker:  Question, please.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I want to repeat some questions, Mr.  Speaker, and tell you that we have been trying to get some  answers.

Mr. Speaker:  And the question is?  Order, please.  The  honourable member for St. Johns put your question, please.

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Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  I will ask the minister  again what we have been trying to do.  What bridge funding is in  place to make the transition?  What retraining programs are in  place?  What redeployment measures are being taken?  What  guarantees are there‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, my  honourable friend wants to know what guarantees, what processes,  what is in place today.  My honourable friend, by that very  question, is wanting to leave the impression that all of these  changes are going to happen at 9 a.m. tomorrow.  Sir, that is not  the case.  This is a two‑year plan of action, and during that  two‑year plan of action, experts will come around those very  issues.

      Mr. Speaker, I simply beg my honourable friend to consider  this one simple statement that I made in my introductory  remarks:  We have concluded that health services do not exist for  the convenience of institutions or service providers, they exist  to meet the health needs of Manitobans.

      That is what this document is designed to protect, enhance  and preserve, Sir.


Health Care System Reform

Monitoring Process


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  My  questions are to the Minister of Health.  I would like to begin  with a quote:  to keep people healthy, to go to prevention more  than curing; to get people in the community to give care in the  community; and to close beds.  If you are going to spend money  for improving the diagnostics in this province, then there is no  point in doing that if you do not close beds.

      Does it sound like the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) today  in his remarks?  Well, Mr. Speaker, it is a Minister of Health,  but it happens to be Larry Desjardins of the NDP in July of 1987.

      Mr. Speaker, what the minister has announced today is not  fundamentally new.  What the minister has announced today has  been in the realm of ideas among health experts for some time,  and we thank the minister today for finally putting into it a  plan.

      But we have some, what we think are, quite legitimate  concerns that we would like the minister to address.  One of our  concerns is that this whole process of debating reform has become  far too political.  The minister himself recognized that on The  Journal some weeks ago, when he said it must take on an  apolitical tone.

      In light of that, will the minister put into place today what  we call a health reform monitoring process that will report to  the public every three months in a public venue as to how these  changes are taking place and as bed closures occur, what exactly  identified services are replacing those closures?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I wished  I had used that quotation myself, because, Sir, that points out  that in today's environment, in the 1990s, if all of us are as  serious as we say we are about preserving and protecting medicare  to provide services to Manitobans and Canadians, then we have to  put a little bit of our partisan rhetoric aside.  I appreciate  the open approach that the second opposition party has brought to  the issue.

      I just want to deal first with the issue of nonpartisan.  As  we all know, the western Premiers are meeting in British Columbia  today, and this health reform document is now, as I understand  it, an item of discussion amongst the western Premiers.  I do not  need to remind honourable members of the House that two of those  Premiers are New Democratic Party Premiers who are meeting  seriously around the issues with Premier Filmon, Premier Getty to  try to resolve very serious issues confounding the health care  system.

      Mr. Speaker, I take my honourable friend's suggestion  seriously, and I refer my honourable friend to page 31 in terms  of establishment of the evaluation system.  We intend to have  that evaluation system in place six months prior to any of the  bed closures at the community hospital level to establish a basis  of health status for the citizens of Manitoba prior to any  changes being implemented.

      The mandate of that group is to report, as we understand it  now, in six‑month intervals.  We think that is as quickly as we  can gather valid data.  It would be my intention right now to  share that data as received, because I think it helps us all to  understand how well the process is working or not working and  make adjustments in process so that we are sure we can preserve  and protect health services as needed.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, we read with care the section on  the evaluation system.  But just as the Urban Hospital Council  reported through their chairperson directly to the Minister of  Health, so too will this evaluation system report to the Minister  of Health.  We would like a monitoring system that reports to the  people.

      We are talking of potentially‑‑I underline that because they  will not take place according to the minister unless there is  proper evaluation‑‑some 715 beds in total.  That is a major  restructuring of the health care system.  There is going to be a  sense of unease no matter what we do about that.

      If there is a means by which those involved in this process  can report directly to the public, not through this Chamber, not  through Estimates because we know the political overtones that  takes on, but directly to the people, does the minister not  believe that would go a long way to assuage some of the natural  fear that is going to be created as a result of this announcement?

Mr. Orchard:  That is exactly why we have given very serious  consideration to the evaluation process.  Again, I do not want to  get into the number of 715 because that is one side of the  equation.

      In terms of the announcement of the teaching hospitals, there  are 150 beds in three other hospital locations available to be  utilized for service delivery.  In addition to that, by fall of  1993, we expect to have some 280 additional new personal care  home beds to take further pressure off the system.  Those are  part of the capital planning and development that has been  undergone for the last three to four years and not specifically  mentioned in here, because this is a document which challenges us  to change the way we approach our acute care service delivery.

      So, Mr. Speaker, conceptually, I do not have a disagreement  in sharing that information because the more open the process can  be, the more likely we are for it to succeed and the more likely  we are to be able to understand what other choices can be made in  the system to correct inadequacies in the reform process and to  reinforce the winning processes that we know are available as  opportunities for us in preserving medicare in Manitoba and  protecting services to Manitobans.


Bridge Funding


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, I listened very carefully to the minister this morning  in response to bridge funding, and he could not ascribe a certain  amount of money.  My concern is that as you move from one  facility to another facility or to community care, the money does  not get transferred overnight, just as the patients do not get  transferred overnight.  There is going to have to be some time in  which that new facility in the community is brought up to speed,  either through training of personnel or through actual building  and construction of the facilities.

      Can the minister now give us some idea of what money he has  initially put aside specifically for that bridge funding for the  first transfers, until the savings then can be used for  additional transfers?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, part of  the increased budget requirements for the staffing of the 150  beds at Concordia, Municipals and Deer Lodge are part of the  existing hospital funding line.  So that in part is there.

      Secondly, the replacement of community services is enhanced  by $7 million more in the Continuing Care Program.  That is the  largest increase that we have had in several years.  In addition  to that, we have instituted the $3‑million Health Services  Improvement Fund, for which changed programs to make better use  of our acute‑care hospitals can be accessed.

      In addition to that, Sir, we have provided some extra $5  million in the Health Services Development Fund this year, in  order to provide the bridge funding which would then be repaid  out of the budget of the hospital that has lost its capacity and  has not the demand on budget that originally it started before it  shifted services and level of care and capacity.


Youth Unemployment Rate

Government Initiatives


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  I only wish this so‑called  rational process was in effect in Brandon before they laid off  people and cut beds.  Now they are going to talk about it.

      Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the acting Premier of this  province.

      Youth unemployment in Manitoba is at intolerably high levels  leading to growing frustration among our young people and  resulting in high social costs.  Only the Atlantic region is  experiencing higher rates.  Youth unemployment for April of this  year was 18.1 percent.  This is the highest level of unemployment  among young people in Manitoba ever recorded.

      My question to the acting Premier is:  Why does this  government refuse to take meaningful action and initiatives to  deal with the problem of youth unemployment in Manitoba?

Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I only wish  that the member for Brandon East and the government which he sat  with was as concerned about the young people, when he was putting  on the backs of those people, annual deficits of $500 million a  year and over $500 million in interest charges, denying those  young people the opportunity today with government funding in  meaningful programs.

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      Let me say, we have responded, Mr. Speaker, in Partners with  Youth.  We have continued on the funding of programs of last year  of CareerStart.  We equally are as concerned about employment  opportunities for the short term but as well for the long term,  something that he was not interested in when he was in government.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  We have had five Conservative budgets and  five deficits‑‑thanks very much‑‑one‑third through 1992 and the  employment situation has worsened, it has not improved, Mr.  Speaker.

      My question to the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) is:  Exactly  how does this government expect its economic policies to  translate into jobs for our young people?  I ask this because  even though agencies such as the Royal Bank have forecast some  modest overall growth for 1992, the same agencies are predicting  unemployment rates in 1992 to be virtually at the same high  levels they were in 1991.  Manitoba youth cannot look forward to  any relief from the unacceptably high rates of unemployment.  How  are you going to create these jobs?

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, again what we are not doing is  increasing the taxes on the people of Manitoba or implementing  payroll taxes like his government did, which denied young people  future jobs in this province, which drove them to other  jurisdictions because of their policies.

      What we believe in, when we see the increased projections for  manufacturing in this province, the projections by the different  financial organizations of improvements in our economy, we  believe, Mr. Speaker, there will be jobs for the people of this  province and not continuing to put taxes on the backs of the  people who are creating the jobs.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Mr. Speaker, it is time to forget about  envelope No. 1.  We have had five years of this government and  they have to take responsibility for the massive unemployment.  The projection by the Royal Bank is for no improvement in  unemployment in Manitoba this year.  My question is:  How are  your policies that have been in effect for five budgets going to  provide jobs for youth when they have failed in the past and are  failing now?  I note that the unemployment rate for young men in  particular is 21.8 percent‑‑that is one in five among the young  men cannot find work in this province.  It is leading to  alienation, frustration and could be the basis‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Downey:  I would invite the member to get involved with his  party and with the other members of the opposition to support  projects that we are embarking upon after they go through the  Clean Environment Commission like the Conawapa project that will  create some 22,000 to 23,000 person‑years of jobs for those young  people whom he is so concerned about.


Poverty Rate  Prevention

Program Co-ordination


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, the Minister of  Health (Mr. Orchard) wants to control the health care costs in  Manitoba, but the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) says that he  does not care how many people live below the poverty line, which  are totally contradictory policies, since the Centre for Health  Policy and Evaluation said that we could do more for health care  by eliminating poverty than by any other single policy.

      Since the Minister of Health is taking a supposedly new  approach in the delivery of health care, will he now agree to  co‑operate with his colleagues, the Minister of Family Services  (Mr. Gilleshammer) and the Minister of Finance, in order to  eliminate poverty which would save millions of dollars, increase  life expectancy and improve the lives of thousands of Manitobans?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  First of all, I regret  that a man of the cloth would put those kinds of words  improperly, out of context, as his preamble to a question.  Sir,  that is shameful, that is shameful.


Point of Order


Mr. Martindale:  Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.  The Minister  of Finance (Mr. Manness) yesterday said:  " . . . household  incomes in the province of Manitoba have not increased at the  national average."  And in the same paragraph, said:  ". . . and  I say that is good"‑‑

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

* * *

Mr. Orchard:  That exactly, Sir, confirms what I said.  The  Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) did not say he enjoyed  Manitobans living below the poverty line.  A complete fabrication  from a man of the cloth.

      Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend has come to a very  important realization.  The realization is that probably the best  thing we can do to improve the health status of Manitobans is to  have an environment economically where new jobs are created,  investment is made, so that people have meaningful jobs,  productive jobs.

      The challenge, Sir, is in developing policies which will  underpin those investments by the private sector in the province  of Manitoba, to harness the natural wealth that we have in our  mines, in our forests, in our fields, and in our intelligent  Manitobans and young people who have the creative ability to  compete on the world market.

      You cannot do that, Sir, if you raise taxes, if you borrow  away the future of Manitoba as New Democratic Party governments  have done in the past.  That is why we have contained the  deficit, not raised taxes and promoted the advantages of Manitoba  for investment and job creation, because we know that is the only  key to reduction of poverty, to the increased health status of  Manitobans.

Mr. Martindale:  Mr. Speaker, the real problem is that there is  not one mention of poverty or prevention in this entire document.

Mr. Speaker:  Your question is?


Wage Settlements


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Will the Acting Minister of  Finance admit that it is his government's policy to deliberately  keep industrial wages down and thereby increase the level of  poverty in Manitoba, or will he denounce the policy of his  Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) on behalf of thousands of  Manitobans who are working but at wages which are below the  poverty line?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  You know, Mr. Speaker,  now I see a complete flip‑flop of the NDP.  Now, they want us to  interfere in collective bargaining.

      I thought the NDP believed in the union rights to go to the  bargaining table and negotiate an agreement.  Whatever happened  to the former principles and underpinnings of New Democrats?  They are here today; they are gone tomorrow.


Social Assistance

Employment Creation Programs


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Will the Acting Minister of  Finance tell the people of Manitoba what is his government's plan  to counter the appalling increase in unemployment of people who  are employable but on social assistance, which in the city of  Winnipeg increased 53 percent between November '90 and November  '91, or do they have no plan other than the Minister of Finance's  plan to hold down wages and restructure the economy and increase  unemployment, which he said yesterday was good?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I want to  tell my honourable friend what we are doing.  We are supporting a  $56‑million investment in Apotex to create hundreds of jobs in  the city of Winnipeg in a high‑tech industry.

      We have a $10‑million investment ongoing in Morden, Manitoba,  at 3M to create new employment and new opportunities for  export‑‑jobs in my constituency, Sir.

      What we are doing is not raising taxes, keeping the deficit  under control, and creating economic policies that make sense to  investors in the private sector as evidenced by recent  investments in the aerospace industry, in the health care  industry, in agriculture in the province of Manitoba.

      The one thing we will not do is create a Jobs Fund, spend  future dollars, create future deficits without one lasting job in  place today.  The folly of Howard Pawley will not be repeated.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.


Health Care System Reform

Bed Closures


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, finally after four  years of this government and many years of the previous NDP  government, there is a plan to reform the health care system.  This plan, if followed properly, will give a new look to the  delivery of health care in our province.

      Mr. Speaker, many critics are worried about the failure of  this plan, and some are worried about the success of this plan.  Each and every Manitoban must know how this action plan will  impact their lives.  We must have a balanced approach for our  health care system.

      Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell this House what the impact  will be of closing these 240 beds out of St. Boniface and Health  Sciences Centre?  Can he give us the specific time frame, as well  as the areas of specific interest in those hospitals?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, it is my  understanding that the Urban Hospital Council will be meeting, I  believe, tomorrow to finalize those kinds of specific details  within those two institutions.

      Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate to my honourable friend  that this issue has been discussed at the board level at the  Urban Hospital Council level for about six months now.  It is  believed that there will be, I do not want to be so bold as to  say, no impact on the individual patients, but we believe this  shift can happen with minimal impact and probably some positive  impact on patient care, because we are going to utilize  appropriately 150 beds on long‑term care capacity, which will  provide a higher level of service at Deer Lodge, at municipals,  at Concordia than currently is available in the complexities of a  teaching hospital acute‑care environment.

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      So, Mr. Speaker, that coupled with the increased support in  the Continuing Care Program, we are exceptionally optimistic that  there will be very minimal impact in a negative way from this  shift, Sir.


Home Care Program


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, can the minister  tell this House his model for the new community‑based care, and  also can he reassure this House now they will review the policy  of Home Care to meet the changing needs under this new health  action plan?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I cannot  take my honourable friend to the specific page, but one of the  initiatives that has been identified and one of the weaknesses of  the Continuing Care Program is that, for instance, individuals  may well appear at emergencies of hospitals when they do not need  acute‑care hospital bed placement.  They need support in their  home.

      Because our Continuing Care Program, by the nature of its  staffing patterns, if this is in the evening, we do not have  co‑ordinators and service providers available.  We are commencing  this reform process by putting in place a system whereby, instead  of eight‑hour access to Continuing Care Program, there will be  16‑hour access.  We hope that will forestall many improper  admissions, of seniors in particular, to acute‑care hospitals by  the much more rapid provision of home care services by extended  hours of operation from eight to 16 hours.


Bridge Funding


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, can the minister  tell this House about the bridge funding?

      Mr. Speaker, the minister has said health services  improvement fund is $3 million, but that fund is for only  hospital innovative programs, $6 million under the Health  Services Development Fund, but out of that, $3 million for the  mental health services.  Can the minister tell us now, with $3  million, how can we reform the system?

      Mr. Speaker, something has to be done.  We need money up  front, so that any money saved from the reallocation of the beds  must be used to fund bridge money.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I agree,  and the difference‑‑pardon me if it takes an extra moment to  explain.  The difference between bridge funding in terms of  mental health reform and acute‑care system reform is the length  of time at which you have to invest in the community to achieve  real mental health reform, because you have to put in many more  support systems in the community.

      In the case of acute care, we are not talking about  individuals who are homeless.  We are talking about individuals  who live, in the vast majority, independently.  The length of  time in which we need to have bridge funding to provide those  additional supports, be it through increased home care provision  of service or respite care, for instance, in some of our  long‑term care institutions, the period of time for which we need  those services is much shorter, so that a million dollars of  bridge funding to help make the change in the acute care system  is probably worth $3 million to $4 million in the mental health  system because we can turn that dollar faster, because we can  more quickly provide services that are needed to underpin and  forestall hospital placement in the community.


Pharmaceutical Costs

Impact on Seniors


Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Mr. Speaker, a decision based on  facts and good ideas, when implemented by responsible action, is  one of the greatest forces for social change in the world.  Let  us go to the facts.  A study by the Greenshields organization  showed that from 1987 to 1991, the cost of prescription drugs had  averaged an increase of 11.4 percent per year.

      Fact No. 2, a review of the changes to the Drug Patent Act  also showed that drug prices have escalated dramatically to about  three or four times the rate of inflation.  My question is to the  honourable minister responsible for senior citizens.  What action  will this honourable minister take in order to protect the  interests of senior citizens of this province from this ever  escalating increases of drug prices?

Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister responsible for Seniors):  Mr.  Speaker, first of all, drug prices in variance throughout the  world and Canada is not just for seniors.  He has to remember,  also, that many seniors and many people have benefited as a  result of the research money that has gone back from the profits  of drugs throughout the province.  A lot of seniors have  benefited that way as a result of this research.

Mr. Speaker:  The time for Oral Questions has expired.


Introduction of Guest


Mr. Speaker:  I would like to draw the attention of all members  to the loge to my right where we have with us this afternoon, Mr.  Bob Banman, the former member for La Verendrye.

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


Nonpolitical Statements


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might  have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

      Mr. Speaker, this Sunday, May 17, 1992, will mark the 9th  International AIDS Candlelight Memorial and Mobilization in  Manitoba.  This event on this Sunday night is recognizing a  worldwide day of solidarity with people living with AIDS and HIV  and is a tribute to those who have died.  Winnipeg will join over  200 cities in 35 countries in making this the world's largest  simultaneous show of solidarity with people living with AIDS.

      I know that all members of the House will join with myself  and members of our caucus in marking this important and tragic  event.  I hope that many of us will be able to march in  solidarity with the people of Winnipeg and Manitoba and  throughout the world who are living daily with the effects of  this scourge of AIDS.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

* * *

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  May I have leave to make a  nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

      Mr. Speaker, I rise today to show recognition to the board,  staff and volunteers of The Swan River Metis Friendship Centre,  who last weekend held their First Annual Square Dance  Competition.  For a first event, it was a very successful.  It  attracted 21 groups from across Manitoba and Saskatchewan to  compete.  The group also had a fiddling and jigging competition,  but the square dancing competition was indeed the highlight of  the event, with the competitors displaying real talent.

      I would like to mention the winners; they had three groups  competing.  The seniors group was the Duck Bay Metis Seniors, and  the Peguis Riverside Dancers took second place.  In the  intermediate group, we had the Lake Manitoba Hawks from Vogar,  Manitoba, winning; and the Cody Intermediate Dancers from  Kamsack, Saskatchewan.  In the juniors‑‑and some of the most  interesting and rewarding groups to watch were the juniors‑‑and  that again, was the Bayside Dancers from Duck Bay, and the Duck  Bay Metis Dancers.

      Mr. Speaker, it was a tremendous event.  We all know how  important it is that we take pride in our culture; for example,  the Ukrainians this week are having a celebration.  I think that  it is important that the Metis people have events to go to and  show off their cultures.

      I want to pay real tribute to the staff.  Their event was so  successful that they had to move to a larger building.  They  started out in The Friendship Centre and ended up moving to the  museum, where there was standing room only.  So again, I would  like to extend my congratulations to the staff, the board and all  the volunteers and the competitors.  I hope that, when they have  the event next year, it will be just as successful.  Thank you,  Mr. Speaker.

* * *

Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  May I have leave to make a  nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

      Mr. Speaker, in the past few months, in the province of  Manitoba, we have had activities that have brought in people from  across Canada and sporting activities that have become customary  throughout Canada:  yearly, the Grey Cup, for one, with the  support, the hard work that the people of Manitoba and the city  of Winnipeg put forth, their efforts to make the event a success;  the recent playoffs with the Winnipeg Jets, the support that was  shown by our fans there; the Centennial Cup that was held here in  Winnipeg this last week and the show of tremendous support from  the people of Winnipeg and the people of Manitoba at the  Centennial Cup, and represented by two of our finest teams from  this province, Winkler Flyers and St. James Canadians.

      Mr. Speaker, this week we had the opportunity to focus on  another event, another sporting activity, professional sport,  that was brought to the province of Manitoba and the city of  Winnipeg.  The Winnipeg Thunder opened their home opener season  just this week as an entry in the World Basketball League, and we  would like to take the opportunity here just to exemplify the  fact that the support‑‑over 11,000 people attended the first  opening home game of the Winnipeg Thunder, and a record was set  by the people of Manitoba for a home opener.  It was a record in  the World Basketball League since its inception in this country.

      Mr. Speaker, on behalf of this side of the House, we would  like to just say to the people of Manitoba, say to the people of  Winnipeg and members from across the way that we here would like  to see this continued support for the sporting activities and  professional activities that we do have here in this province and  that we wish the management and staff, supporters, volunteer  people and the players who come from all across North America the  very, very best in their future and continued success.  Let us go  on and cheer them on.

* * *

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Could I have leave to make a  nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

      Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the congregation of  Westminster United Church on their 100th anniversary.  It has  been a difficult decision to find a day on which to in fact  congratulate the church because there have been so many events  already during the year, and there are many centennial events  focused for the next year.  Besides being a year‑long celebration  and reflection, I think that we should also commemorate the fact  that both the province and the city have designated the church as  an historic building and in so doing have lent an official,  perhaps, recognition of the role of this particular church in the  history of Winnipeg.

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      It is a church, Mr. Speaker, which has a great deal to  reflect upon.  It is a magnificent Gothic building which was  built in 1912 and really represents the rising ambitions of  Winnipeg's middle class.  It was built in the, new then, district  of Wolseley and certainly architecturally has come to dominate  the landscape of that part of Wolseley, a community which was  built in the region between 1912 and 1914 and in fact is one of  the only intact areas of pre‑World War I domestic housing in  western Canada.

      The Westminster United Church emerged from an earlier  congregation that began in 1893, and they moved to their present  church building on June 16, 1912.  Since then they have become a  well‑known congregation, a very energetic congregation and well  known particularly for their musical activities and for their  choir.  They have also, of course, become familiar to many people  in the community for the many musical events which are held for  the community in that building.  Many of the schools of the area,  Kelvin High School, Gordon Bell High School and others, have held  their graduation ceremonies there.  So many people in fact are  connected with the church in a much broader sense.  It has been  one of the focuses for guides, for cubs, for scouts, for the  youth movements of the area and, in fact, during the Depression  ran one of the young men's clubs, the Activist Association, it  was called, which attempted to keep up the spirits and to make  the connection of a wider community for the young men of that  period.

      In 1925, the church joined the United Church of Canada, one  of the many federal institutions of this country, one which I  think has played an enormous role in the development of social  policy and in the religious life of the entire country.

      Westminster United Church has had a series of dedicated  ministers and, in particular, although it is awkward to single  out some, I think there are three perhaps that should be  mentioned as having been very long served in the service of the  community‑‑the Reverend Dr. Pitblado from 1893 to 1904, the  Reverend David Christie from 1909 to 1929, and more recently, the  reverend Reid Vipond from 1963 to 1980.  It is a history of long  service and one which is well remembered by the community.

      From an esthetic perspective the church has, I think, an  important role to play in the history of western Canada,  particularly its magnificent stained‑glass windows and the rose  window which is well known to art historians and architectural  historians across the country.

      Mr. Speaker, at times such as the rededication of a church or  the building of a church and the recognition of solemn moments,  there are often many speeches which are given.  I want to  conclude by quoting the sermon of the Reverend Dr. Pitblado, the  first minister of Westminster United Church, which he gave as the  first minister in 1912.  I think it is one that reflects very  well the spirit of this community, both in 1990s and as well in  the early part of the century.

      He said that this building, in all its material grandeur, in  all its artistic attractions, in all its luxurious appointments,  is only the sign and symbol of great spiritual realities with  which we have to do as immortal creatures.  This building will,  in real purpose, be not what material art has accomplished, but  what living souls will make it.

      I would like to, on behalf of the community and as the  representative of the community in this House, congratulate them  on their 100 years of service to Wolseley and to western Canada  and to commend the province and the city for their recognition of  this contribution.

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Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Mr.  Speaker, I would like to make two announcements, or I would like  you to please canvass the House.  I believe that you will find  agreement to have next Tuesday treated as a Monday, and I think  you will also find agreement of this House for the Assembly not  to sit tomorrow, Friday, the 15th of May.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House not to sit tomorrow?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed.  Also, is there agreement by the  House to have Tuesday and sit Monday hours?  Is it the will of  the House?  That is agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Therefore, Tuesday will be a Monday.

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

Motion presented.




Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I use this  occasion to exercise my privilege as a member of this House to  speak on a grievance that I have with regard to‑‑[interjection]  with several grievances, I would add, that I have as a member of  this Legislature in connection with health care and in connection  with the economy, both, and particularly as they affect specific  groups in this province including my own constituency of Brandon  East, where they have been treated shamefully by this Minister of  Health (Mr. Orchard), where they have been deprived of adequate  resources so that there was a $1.3‑million shortfall last year  causing a layoff of approximately 30 staff, mainly licensed  practical nurses, eliminating what was a wonderful palliative  care unit and downsizing it, and in addition eliminating the  gynecological ward.

(Mrs. Louise Dacquay, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair)

      Where were the plans then?  Where was this overall plan for  rationalization of health care when the Minister of Health gave  the chop, gave the axe to the Brandon General Hospital?  I add,  Madam Deputy Speaker, that axe is still falling, because the  Brandon General administration has indicated that they are again  going to be faced with another $1.3‑million shortfall in the  revenues that they need to simply maintain last year's services  which were cut back over the previous year.  So this nonsense  about reform and action plan translates into nothing but a  disguise for cutting spending in the field of health.

      I know the minister keeps saying, well, we have added  millions, but, Madam Deputy Speaker, there is such a thing as  inflation in costs in the health care system.  This government is  not keeping pace with the increased costs in the health care  system, and as such the health care institutions of this province  are not able to manage and are forced to lay off staff, forced to  cut beds, forced to reduce other services.  So I say, this is not  an action plan for the province of Manitoba.  It is supposed to  be a rational approach.  This plan comes in the midst of bed  closures, in the midst of cutting and squeezing by this Minister  of Health and this government.

      Looking at this document very quickly, Madam Deputy Speaker,  and I have not had a chance to study it, but frankly there is  nothing new in this particular document.  This document is long  on problems, long on analysis of the questions that we face in  maintaining health care in Manitoba, but very, very short on  solutions.  As a matter of fact, the so‑called action plan is so  generalized as to be almost meaningless.  The only specifics that  we have is that they are closing beds.  That we know; that is  specific.  We know that they have already laid off people, caused  people to be laid off in Brandon, and we know they will be  causing people to be laid off, and essentially nurses and  probably mainly LPNs, licensed practical nurses, in the other  major hospitals who are going to be affected.

      We have a document here that really has nothing new in it in  terms of an analysis of the problems of health care.  This is  nothing new.  We have known long ago that there is a question of  how many beds we actually need in Manitoba, and we knew long ago  that when you have beds, doctors have some way or other of  filling those beds.  Yet when our Minister of Health spoke on  this matter, Mr. Desjardins, we were severely criticized by the  Conservative Party in Manitoba when it was in opposition.  When  there were any bed closures previously, you would think the end  of the world was coming.  I say what is good for one side has to  be good for another side.

      The fact is, Madam Deputy Speaker, we are now facing a  massive reduction in some of our major health care institutions,  primarily the general hospitals, but also in the case of the  Brandon Mental Hospital Centre a complete elimination of that  particular institution which has served the mental health cause  well for many a year with the loyal and dedicated staff.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, we know that home care is inadequate in  this province.  The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) can shout  and scream all he likes about increasing the monies for home  care, but we know from our own constituents who tell us that the  service is inadequate, that they are being denied one type of  service or another, not all over, and indeed it varies.

      In some parts of this province you cannot get home service to  help clean.  No matter how old or how frail you are, the home  care will not provide for cleaning service.  I know of a couple  in my own riding, I believe the lady is 96 years of age and the  gentleman is 93 years of age.  Obviously they are not wealthy  people, they have been scraping by on pensions.  They have been  blessed with longevity, but they need a little help.

      They need a little help from home care to clean the home  because the lady at 96 and the gentleman at 93 just do not have  strength to do what they would.  But there is no help for them  under home care, Madam Deputy Speaker, no help whatsoever.  It  used to be under the home care system in Manitoba that cleaning  was provided when deemed necessary, when the conditions require.

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      Furthermore, Madam Deputy Speaker, we can identify other  cases around this province and around the city of Winnipeg and  around the city of Brandon where people feel that they are not  being given the level of home care that they need.  I know of a  case of a young woman, a middle‑aged woman in her late '30s who  was, has been, and is suffering from cancer was released from the  Brandon General Hospital.  She indeed wanted to live in the  community, she indeed was prepared to fight the good fight to  survive this deadly cancer that she was afflicted with, but where  were the supports?

      The support system has been totally inadequate.  The lady,  because of the therapy that she is taking, the chemotherapy, she  has become deaf in the process and as a result she does need some  assistance in being able to know when a phone rings.  She has to  have a special phone, she has to have some kind of a light on her  door to indicate someone is at the door, but there is no help for  her.  She cannot go out to get groceries.  There is no help for  her to do that.  She is supposed to get physiotherapy.  How can  she get to the hospital for physiotherapy when there is no money  for her to do that?  She does not know how to live on her own and  yet she wants to.  Where are those community supports to enable  that poor woman who is in her late '30s suffering from cancer,  who does not want to be in the hospital, wants to live at home  but cannot because there are insufficient support services from  this Minister of Health?

      So he can blow all he wants in Question Period.  The fact is  there are not the services available to enable people to live in  the community in dignity and independence that they wish to  live.  Madam Deputy Speaker, we could go on with many examples,  not only in my constituency but in other parts of this province  and we say that the home care which was, when it was introduced  by the Schreyer administration of which I had an honour to be a  member of, was one of the finest home care systems to be found  anywhere in North America.  I do not think we can say that  today.  Today the home care system has been eroded.  The home  care system, in spite of a few more dollars, the home care system  is simply not adequate to do the job it should be doing to help  people live in their own homes with independence and with dignity.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I say the only thing that we know from  the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and his policy so far is  that, yes, there are specific beds closing, yes, we have a home  care system that is inadequate, and yes, there are layoffs  already occurring.  I use my own general hospital as an example,  where we had 30 people approximately laid off, and the minister  talks about retraining them.  Well, there is a possibility that  maybe three or four will be retrained, but tough luck for the  rest of them, tough luck, because they are out of a job.  There  is simply nothing for them.

      I shudder to think of what is going to happen this coming  year, because 80 percent of the budget is made up of salaries for  health care personnel.  Most of those are nurses, and I say that  it will be nurses again who will be getting it in the neck.  It  will be nurses who will be laid off at the Brandon General  Hospital.

      You know, Madam Deputy Speaker, I wish this Minister of  Health‑‑I know he was away‑‑had been in Brandon last month when  we had a rally that was organized by a citizen.  One citizen put  a couple of posters up around the city of Brandon, and we got  well over 500 people.  Nearly 600 people attended this rally,  because they were so upset and so concerned with what was  happening to the Brandon General Hospital.  The Minister of  Health should have been there.  I appreciate there are reasons  why he could not be there, but he should have been there to  listen and to answer those questions.  The people wanted to  know.  We had cancer patients speaking; we had nurses speaking;  we had elderly people speaking; we had a cross section of the  people speaking, saying, what are you doing to our institution?

      You know, we had like a prairie grass fire.  Someone decided  to put out a petition regarding this, regarding the closure of  the gynecology ward and the reduction in the palliative care  ward, and they got over 5,000 signatures in a matter of a couple  of weeks.  I wish I had that petition with me because I could  read off names from every single MLA in the Westman area.  I  could read off names of people who reside in every single  constituency in Westman area, which is the area that the Brandon  General Hospital services.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, those people are upset.  They have not  been given a response, and when we bring it into this House, we  have got nothing but scoffs and catcalls by the Minister of  Health, totally disrespective of the views of over 5,300 people  in Westman who have expressed their very serious concerns about  what the minister was doing to the Brandon General Hospital.

      You know, Madam Deputy Speaker, we had this disaster occur,  and yet we had no plan.  We had no great action plan for the  quality of health care in Manitoba.  So I say the essential  driving force of this government is to cut spending or to squeeze  spending.  That is the essential objective, and they are  delighted to do so in the name of health care reform, but we do  not get specific health care reform proposals.  We get a lot of  generalities, a lot of platitudes and it could be written by just  about anyone.  You did not need to have a big task force to write  this type of a report, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      We know that there are some major problems that we are facing  in this country.  Manitoba is not necessarily alone in that, and  we recognize that.  One of the areas‑‑and this report does not  even address it‑‑is the role of the doctor.

      There is discussion of the doctor in here all right, but it  does not get to the question of the essence of paying the  doctors, of the method of paying doctors.  We all have our own  personal physicians.  We all think highly of them.  We have some  very fine medical doctors in the province of Manitoba who are  doing us service, but the fact is they are operating in a system,  a fee‑for‑service system which therefore causes our health care  system to be doctor driven.

      It is a system that is driven by doctors who are given the  incentive to see patients, perhaps in some instances more often  than they should, and possibly to operate in instances which  perhaps may not be required.  There is that incentive.  There is  that monetary incentive for doctors to drive the system and, of  course, the doctors put people in health care institutions.  This  is where the costs are.  This is where you get the bed  utilization.

      There was a study done some years back in the city of  Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they virtually experimented with  what is called a capitation method.  The capitation method is, in  effect, where you give a doctor a particular salary in relation  to his or her number of patients.  In other words, to use a very  simple example, if one doctor had 500 patients on his register,  he or she would get paid accordingly; if another doctor had 1,000  patients on his or her register for their concern and service,  then that person would get double what the person with the 500  patients received.

      So very simply then, a capitation system is a system whereby  doctors are paid in relation to the number of patients that they  are responsible for, not the number of times they see those  patients, but simply the number that they have on the register  that are formally linked to the doctor, and that doctor is  required to provide service to them as the need arises.

      That capitation experiment in the city of Minneapolis‑‑this  was some years ago‑‑resulted in a massive drop, reduction in the  demand for beds in that particular hospital in the Minneapolis  area.  In other words, when you got away from the fee‑for‑service  basis, you did not have the same demand for the hospital beds.

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      I suggest that is a method that has to be looked at very  seriously by this government.  I do not see anything‑‑and I must  add, however, that I have only looked at this report very  cursorily.  I did not have much time to read it, because it was  only issued a short time before we came into the House for  Question Period.  I have not had much chance to study it, but  there is nothing here.  Although there is reference to the number  of physicians in Manitoba, et cetera, there is nothing in here  that suggests that we go to a capitation system.

      Now if this report is part of what the action plan suggested  then I would say, well, okay.  Now you are talking action not  talking platitudes of general things that we should do, such as  you know evaluating a restructured system, developing a health  information strategy, implementing technology assessment, some of  these more general things which have little meaning to a lot of  people and which tend to be rather fluff and feathers, to tell  you the truth, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      If we directed our attention to what actually is driving the  costs in the health care system and try to come up with a  solution, then I say we are now talking about action.  So a  capitation is one‑‑it is nothing new‑‑system that we could  explore and perhaps follow to keep costs down.

      The other, of course, is to have doctors on a straight  salary.  You know, that is not as revolutionary sounding as it  once was, because what is happening in the province of Manitoba  with the walk‑in clinics, Madam Deputy Speaker, you have a lot of  young doctors who are being hired by older doctors, by  established doctors, who pool together, invest in a walk‑in  clinic and set up this medical facility.  They set up this  walk‑in medical facility, and the doctors‑‑lo and behold‑‑in the  facilities are on salaries.  So you have a situation where  doctors in Manitoba are hiring other doctors and putting them on  a salary.

      Of course, if doctors work in institutions, in hospitals, for  instance, of course, then they are usually on a salary anyway.  Certainly, the doctors at Brandon Mental Health Centre are on a  salary‑‑or as the Selkirk Centre.  So the fact is that this is  something concrete.  This is something very important.  This to  me is the nub of the problem, yet I do not see that being  addressed in this particular report.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, another important area for reform would  be to indeed come forward with an action plan for prevention.  Yet, again, we have some generalities here, but nothing very  concrete, nothing specific, nothing you can get your teeth into  to understand as to how this government is going to enhance  prevention among our society, among our citizens.  Who can  question?  I mean, this is to say we should enhance prevention to  improve our health care system, to reform our health care  system.  Who can debate that?  Who can argue against that?

      Everyone agrees with that.  We have talked about that for  decades.  Fortunately, people are becoming more health conscious,  not only in cutting out smoking‑‑the number of people smoking has  been reduced drastically, and I would suggest that is one major  area of prevention.  Secondly, people are becoming more conscious  of getting adequate exercise and more and more do you see people  walking, running, jogging, more and more people joining fitness  centres, more and more seniors going to malls where they walk and  so on, and more and more information in our magazines, in our  papers and in journals and so on, and people are becoming more  health conscious.

      Certainly, if you cut out smoking, if you begin to get  adequate exercise and, thirdly, if you eat right, that is, if you  cut out fats, you cut out excess consumption of sugar, these  items, very simple.  It may be difficult to bring about, that is  to cut the amount of fat that you consume or to cut out the  amount of sugar you consume, but those are simple but basic and  fundamental to improving health care.  So we are, as a society,  engaged I hope in prevention and governments can do more by  disseminating information and giving particular incentives to  people and to groups and so on.  A lot can be done, but again,  there is no specific action plan to enhance prevention in this  province, to enhance prevention of disease in this province.

      Another area is community health clinics.  There is some  reference to co‑operating with health clinics, but there is  nothing in here with regard to bringing about more community  health clinics.  Let us get in for an expansion of community  health clinics, co‑operative types, nonprofit types, whatever  kind that you like, or some associated with hospitals.

      There is a great deal that can be done in this respect, yet  all we have in here is developing a new role for community health  centres broadening the partnership, but where do we see the  specifics of putting more money into community health clinics,  which can be leaders in programs of prevention, which can perhaps  hire doctors on a capitation system or on a straight salary  system?  There is something that can be done and should be done.  Reference is made in the plan of the Minister of Health (Mr.  Orchard), but there are no specifics, and there is no commitment  to putting dollars into this.

      Further, Madam Deputy Speaker, there is nothing in here about  the standards of health care that we should be achieving.  What  are our objectives in terms of health care standards?  What do we  insist upon getting from the acute‑care hospitals, and what do we  expect from community clinics?  What do we expect from our  nursing homes?

      I can say, as a member of the former government, I am very  proud, and I can only speak of my own constituency because I do  not have the knowledge of personal care home development around  the province, but I know, in my own constituency of Brandon East,  we spent in the Pawley government approximately $18 million in  improving and upgrading personal care beds in that city.  We  built a $10‑million expansion to Fairview.  We built the new  Rideau Park Personal Care Home with 100 beds, and we built the  Dinsdale Personal Care Home with 60 or 65 beds.

      Yes, we eliminated some old, inadequate firetraps, as a  matter of fact, in the process, but I would not even call those  personal care homes, at least in terms of their physical  structure.  Madam Deputy Speaker, we did these, and I would say,  on account of that, Brandon in the Westman area, in that part of  the province, is well endowed with personal care home beds.

      Again, if we want to take the pressure off of the acute‑care  hospitals, then we need more personal home care beds and personal  home care.  We have talked about this for a long, long time, and  I say again, reference to that in here is nothing new and nothing  by way of action unless there is a commitment from the government  to say, (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), this is what we are going to do  in expanding and improving personal care home service.

      So, Madam Deputy Speaker, we are disappointed in this  particular document of the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), very  disappointed indeed.  In fact, some of it is a repetition of a  report he put out not long ago; namely, the report he put out  with regard to mental health care.  There is specific reference  in this document to mental illness and the problems of coping  with mental illness.

      Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, this was all discussed a couple  of months ago.  In fact, the Minister of Health came out to the  city of Brandon and spoke about mental health reform, and people  were enthralled about the government's intention to make mental  health reforms.  Then, of course, as part of the reform, he  announced we were going to close down the Brandon Mental Health  Centre, put it out of existence.

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      While most people agree with deinstitutionalization, the  problem always arises in the inability or lack of commitment by  the government of the day to put in place alternative health  care, alternative community health care for the mentally ill.  I  had to laugh, while the minister is in Brandon bragging about how  he is going to bring about deinstitutionalization and reform the  mental health system in the province, at the same time, within a  matter a days, we hear of the Rambler motel project having to  close down because of lack of government funding.

      The Rambler motel project was just that.  It was an  opportunity for community living by people who are mentally ill  or post‑mentally ill, and who want to live or who can be placed  in a group home or in some residence outside of the main  institution, outside of BMHC in this case.  Yet here they were,  on a sort of a pilot project basis.  For all the fine words, the  minister, about deinstitutionalization, there was not enough  money available for the Rambler motel project to carry on.

      So I say, the Minister of Health's (Mr. Orchard) words are  very hollow indeed, very hollow indeed, and virtually mean  nothing.

      Another example in Brandon, Arm Industries, which is a  facility that has been providing training for many a year for  people who are mentally deficient, mentally handicapped, mentally  ill.  Here again, the budgeting was such that they have had to  make changes there.  Here again, you ask yourself, well, what is  this business of helping people live in the community when the  government is squeezing and cutting back on monies for just those  types of projects, projects to help people be employed in the  community who have had mental problems, or people to live in some  dignity either in a group home or in a private home?  So we see,  on the one hand, the minister talks a good line; on the other  hand, there is no money.  In fact, on the other hand, he is going  in the opposite direction.  So, Madam Deputy Speaker, in this  whole area, we see nothing new whatsoever in this particular  report.

      The reference to the number of physicians per population,  again, is nothing new.  The fact that Winnipeg has more  physicians per thousand than any other region of the province,  again, is nothing new.  In fact, you can read those in the annual  reports of the Department of Health and the annual reports of the  Manitoba Health Services Commission.  The numbers are there for  anyone who chooses to read them.

      But what I object, on the part of this Minister of Health  (Mr. Orchard) and his high‑handed fashion of running that  department and his treatment of people in this province including  people who go through the trouble of signing petitions and go to  meetings and are totally ignored by this Minister of Health (Mr.  Orchard), is his secrecy.

      This government talked about being open at one time‑‑we want  open government.  Well, this government is so open that it  refuses to give the opposition and members of this Legislature  information on operating costs of hospitals.  You know, this is  public money, and for the life of me I do not see why the members  of this Legislature should not be able to obtain, not just a  generalized annual report of a hospital in this province, but a  report showing the revenues and expenditures so that not only the  MLAs who represent the people in their constituencies, but also  individuals and groups can see just how much money is being spent  for administration, let us say, as opposed to service in the  various hospitals.

      The public good would be served by opening up the books and  allowing the moths to come out, dusting them off, and allowing  the public to scrutinize these reports.  Yet this minister  refuses to provide this information.  What about open  government?  What kind of response is that?  It is a simple  request.

      I must say in this country and in this province we are very  secretive.  We do not want to give out any information and that  goes for the senior bureaucracy as well.  They do not want to  give out the information, because they are afraid they are going  to be criticized once the information gets in the hands of the  public or members of the opposition in the Legislature.

      This does the cause of health care reform no good when we in  this Legislature who are duly representing our constituents, who  were duly elected, ask for information and are, time after time,  being refused that information by the Minister of Health who  takes just such a highhanded, bullying approach that it is  shameful.  He is just a bully most of the time when he answers  the question.  He intimidates people rather than giving them  answers.  Rather than giving answers, he goes on a tirade, he  will not give information.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, could you tell me how much time I have  left?

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Nine minutes.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Nine minutes.  Madam Deputy Speaker, we on  this side have a lot to grieve with the performance of this  Minister of Health.  We do have indeed.  In fact, if I had my way  I would not have reduced his salary to $50, I would have reduced  it to 50 cents.  I tell you, he is not very popular with the  people in my riding right now.  He should not show his face in  the city of Brandon right now, because the people there are very,  very upset with the highhanded manner with which he has treated  the Brandon General Hospital, highhanded manner with which he has  treated the people of Westman and the Brandon General Hospital,  gives them the axe once, now again this year.  Then he comes out  with a report saying he is talking about reform.

      All we know in Brandon is that there is inadequate funding  from the Manitoba government and layoffs have occurred, beds have  been closed and that is going to happen again this year.  What  relationship there is between what is happening there and in this  report is beyond me.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I also wanted to talk about the  economic situation in this province because I have a great  concern about that as well.  You know, there is a relationship  between our economic situation and health care, because there is  no question that when we have intolerable levels of unemployment  as we have today, this translates into poverty, this translates  into disease, this translates into social unrest.  There is a  social cost involved in unemployment that you cannot measure.  It  is out there and members of this Legislature, and I include  myself, cannot imagine the grief that is caused by the fact that  we are now suffering this high level of unemployment that is  being experienced in this province.

      In fact, using the last month available, April, the number of  jobs has been reduced by 17,000.  Those 17,000 jobs were all  full‑time jobs.  We did not lose any part‑time jobs, we lost just  full‑time jobs.

      The labour force has shrunk by 14,000.  The members opposite  do not like to hear this, but the labour force has shrunk by  14,000, and if it had not shrunk, this rate of unemployment of  10.4 percent actually would be even higher.  It is 9.6 percent  seasonally adjusted, but if the labour force had not shrunk, had  not become discouraged and ceased looking for work, our rate of  unemployment would be higher.

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      Madam Deputy Speaker, that is revealed when you look at the  participation rates.  The participation rate tends to be pretty  steady, but now it has deteriorated from 66.8 percent last April  to 64.9 percent this April.  When you look around the province,  you get very disturbed when you look in the city of Winnipeg  where 60 percent‑plus of the people of this province reside, and  you have an unemployment rate of 12.2 percent.  The unemployment  rate in Winnipeg is higher than in Toronto, where they have had  social unrest recently, some of it due to racism, but obviously  due to unemployment in that city.  Our unemployment in Winnipeg  is higher than the city of Toronto.  Toronto is 11.6 percent last  month; Winnipeg was 12.2 percent.

      In fact, Madam Deputy Speaker, only two cities in Canada have  worse rates than the city of Winnipeg, and that is St. John's,  Newfoundland, of all places, St. John's, Newfoundland, and the  city of Montreal.  Those are the only two cities that have higher  rates.  The rest of the cities in this country have lower rates  than Winnipeg.

      I say, when you look at the youth and look at those figures,  you see an even more serious and disturbing situation, and  particularly when you look at the young males, the young men who  are looking for work today, one out of five cannot find work.  They are looking; they have been surveyed; yes, they have told  the survey people they are looking for work; they want to work.  But one out five, over 20 percent‑‑I believe it is 21.8  percent‑‑cannot find work today.  I say that does translate into  a lot of frustration, a lot of anger, a lot of disillusionment,  and will and could result in social unrest.  There is no question  it results in social distress, a lot of which is hidden and  cannot be seen by us.

      There is no hope for this year.  While the government across  the way, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) in particular,  likes to brag about how the economic forecasting agencies such as  the banks are now predicting an increase in economic growth in  this coming year, what the minister fails to point out is that  the banks themselves have indicated that there is no improvement  in the unemployment rate.  The unemployment rate for 1992 is  forecast by the Royal Bank to be virtually the same as it was in  1991, and 1991 had a very high rate of 8.8 percent, the highest  we have had in over a decade.  This year it is predicted to be  8.7 percent, virtually the same as last year.  So where is this  improvement that is going to take place this year?

      The Minister of Finance says, be patient.  We have been  waiting through five budgets, Madam Deputy Speaker.  We are  patient, but our patience, not only ours, but the people of  Manitoba and especially the young people, is running out.  When  you look at other figures, there is nothing very good, nothing  very cheerful about them.  Even in manufacturing, which the  Minister of Industry (Mr. Stefanson) likes to talk about in  glowing terms, we have had a drop from 56,000 last April down to  51,000 men and women working in manufacturing this year.  This is  the lowest‑‑I have gone back a decade‑‑we have had in 10 years.  There is no development in manufacturing, it is just eroding.  This is one industry sector that we want to see develop, we want  to encourage.  But where is it going?  It is going nowhere.

      What is so disturbing, Madam Deputy Speaker, is that the  Royal Bank forecasts that investment‑‑and I am not talking about  residential investment, I am talking about nonresidential or  business investment‑‑is going to go down in 1992 by 3.2 percent.  A 3.2 percent decrease in the level from last year, and we know  last year was not very good.  What does that mean?  It means that  you are destroying the basis of real economic growth.

      Similarly, if you look at population, the census figures came  out recently and showed that Manitoba's population was slowing  down.  In fact, if you look at what is happening in Winnipeg and  look at the province as a whole, you see that there is  depopulation occurring outside of the Winnipeg area.  This is  something that we all have to regret.  Indeed, even the city of  Brandon has declined in population between 1991 and 1986.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I know I have run out of time.  I  simply wanted to put on the record my concern about the total  inadequacy of the Minister of Health and his so‑called reform  package and the attitude of the minister as well, not only to  members of the opposition, but to the public, including the  public in Westman, those 5,000 people who signed the petition.  He virtually gave them the back of his hand in terms of his  response to that particular petition.  I am very upset about  that, and I grieve on their behalf in this Legislature.

      Likewise, I am very upset and concerned about the economic  disperformance, the lack of performance by this government and  the inadequate, intolerably high level of unemployment we have  had to suffer and are going to suffer until these policies that  we have across the way change, but I have no hope of that  occurring.

      Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker.

* * *

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise to  use my right under Rule 26.1 to express a grievance.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Madam  Deputy Speaker, I in no way would want to interfere in the right  of the member to exercise his grievance, but it has been fairly  obvious this afternoon to members on this side that members of  the opposition are wanting to avoid going into Estimates debate.

      I believe, if you canvass the House on this side at least,  there would be a willingness to allow the member to do his  grievance during the private members' hour so we could get into  the debate.  Perhaps members of the Liberal Party would concur if  members would like to allow that to take place.  He could have  the whole hour for his grievance from 5 to 6 p.m., and then we  could get into the Estimates debate, unless, of course, members  opposite are afraid to do so.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  Madam  Deputy Speaker, I just want to concur with the minister, the  deputy government House leader (Mr. Praznik) that we feel,  because of the major announcement that has been made earlier  today, that it would be most appropriate to go into the Estimates  to allow both opposition critics an opportunity to ask some  questions, and in fact, we would be in favour of waiving private  members' hour for the day.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Any member of the Legislature can get up on a  point of order at any time, not just House leaders or deputy  House leaders.

      I believe the deputy House leader really did not have a point  of order.  It is not a point of order.  I would point out, Madam  Deputy Speaker, that it is a matter of right of any member to  engage in a grievance which has to be‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

An Honourable Member:  Just ask to canvass the House . . . .

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  On the point of order,  there was no point of order, but there was a request by the  deputy government House leader and an agreement by the honourable  member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) to canvass the House.  Is  there leave to permit the honourable member for Burrows to have  his one hour for his grievance during private members' hour?  Is  there leave?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  No?  Okay.

Mr. Lamoureux:  It is still a point of order.  Maybe if you  canvass the House if there would be leave to waive private  members' hour.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave to waive private members'  hour?  Leave?  No?

Mr. Praznik:  Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe the member for  Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), if I may just clarify this‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  I am experiencing great  difficulty in hearing the point that the deputy House leader is  trying to put on the record.

Mr. Praznik:  Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe the request on this  side of the House, we would be more than prepared to grant leave  to waive private members' for the Committee of Supply to hear  Estimates, and we would be prepared to grant leave for that which  would accommodate the member for Burrows.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  That has already been  dealt with and leave has been denied.

Mr. Martindale:  On the House Business that the acting House  leader for the government raised‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for  Burrows is speaking on the House Business?

Mr. Martindale:  Just briefly on House business, we could have  been out of Estimates the other day.  We are planning to go back  into Estimates this afternoon.

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Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Now, I would like to express my  grievance.

      I would like to use this opportunity to talk about the  increasing problem of poverty, the increasing caseload of people  on social assistance and the horrendous number of people who are  unemployed in the province of Manitoba.  I would also like to  talk about the inadequate policies of this government in dealing  with all three of those problems.

      It was Thucydides who said, "and place the real disgrace of  poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining to struggle  against it."  This wise pronouncement by Thucydides, who lived  approximately from 471 to 400 B.C., I believe is very applicable  to the situation that we find ourselves in.

      The government has not really denied the statistics that have  been put forward by members on our side of the House, but their  disgrace is in not having a plan to deal with it, although, Madam  Deputy Speaker, I would say that is not entirely true, because  the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) yesterday did give us his  plan.  His plan is to go along with restructuring the economy.  Presumably he means restructuring the Canadian economy so that it  is integrated with the American economy, and he says if that  means more unemployment, then that is what is going to happen in  the short term, and prosperity is going to come in 1993 or 1994,  and he said that what is happening now is good.  Those are his  remarks which we have available now from yesterday's Question  Period.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, we on this side disagree, because we  believe that we need to do more to help Manitobans who are  unemployed now and not wait until the economy recovers.  In fact,  I think this is central to the debate that is going on in the  public in the province of Manitoba.  The government is saying  that the main issue is keeping down taxes, and they keep  reminding people of how many budgets they have had in which they  do not increase taxes.  But when you knock on the doorsteps the  other view is apparent, and the other view is the one we are  presenting, that is, that the government should take a proactive  approach in creating jobs and reducing the level of unemployment.

      We believe that there is a direct relationship between  unemployment and poverty.  In fact, the approach of our party is  that the first way to attack poverty is through job creation,  that the best way to lift people out of poverty is to give them  jobs or to create jobs or to provide the right economic climate  in Manitoba, so that people who want to work can get back to  work.  But not just the right economic climate, because the  Premier (Mr. Filmon) and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness)  and other ministers in the government like to talk about the  climate frequently.  They talk about creating business  confidence, but we believe that is not enough.

      We believe that there should be a co‑operative approach.  On  numerous occasions the Leader of our party has requested that the  Premier call together the representatives from all three parties  in the Legislature to come up with an economic strategy for  Manitoba on a co‑operative basis.  The Premier has never agreed  to that approach.  We have also said that the government should  take the initiative in getting labour representatives and  business representatives and the government together in a  co‑operative approach to brainstorm and come up with a strategy  on getting the economy of Manitoba moving again.  This suggestion  has also been declined.

      I would also like today to talk about many of the specific  problems and issues facing people on social assistance.  The  Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) frequently puts on  record the record of the New Democratic Party when we were in  office, but he does not always put on the record all of the  statistics.  Instead, he quotes them selectively.  We believe  that this government should do what the NDP government did.  In  the first two years of office they increased social assistance  rates substantially in order to make up for the Lyon government  years.  For example, on January 1, 1982, they increased social  assistance rates by over 16 percent;  January 1, 1983, they  increased rates by over 10 percent in order to help people to  catch up.

      I have repeatedly suggested that the government do something  about the work incentive.  In fact, I have talked informally with  the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) about this.  I  have suggested that they do some research on this and find out  what the cost would be.  When I talk to people about social  assistance, one of the most promising areas for public support is  the work incentive because people believe that people should be  working and that those who are on social assistance should be  encouraged to work, that they should be encouraged to supplement  their income.

      There is a program now, the provincial social allowances  program that allows for this, and it is called the work  incentive, but right now the levels are totally inadequate.  The  levels are $50 a month.  You can be on social assistance.  You  can earn more than that, but anything over $50 a month is  deducted from your social allowance cheque dollar for dollar.  In  effect, a 100 percent tax rate.  So we recommend that be  increased.  In fact, in the city of Winnipeg, I believe it is in  the area of $125 a month.  So the provincial work incentive has  fallen behind, mainly because it has not been increased for many,  many years.  Once again I would like to put on the record that we  are still waiting for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) to  come back to us with some costs of this item.  What would the  cost be to the social assistance system?

      Madam Deputy Speaker, there are so many issues and problems  for people on social assistance I hardly know where to start, but  frequently I hear from people in the community.  I hear the most  regularly from the staff at St. Matthew's‑Maryland Community  Ministry, that is, from Karen Tjaden, Genny Funk‑Unrau, and  Rosemarie Forbes, who write to me on a monthly basis, and I  commend them for doing this.  They are the best lobbyists that we  have, and I presume that they write to the Minister of Family  Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) and to the Liberal critic as well.

      I have in front of me their letter of April 14, 1992, in  which they give us some statistics on the number of people that  they are feeding from their emergency food supplies, supplied by  Winnipeg Harvest food bank.  In March, 244 households received  food, representing 344 adults and 329 children, and they say,  this is the largest number recorded of children assisted by our  program.  In addition to this, we also gave emergency food to 21  households as well as referring another 78 households to other  food programs.

      These staff work on a daily basis with families who find that  they cannot survive on the provincial social assistance budget,  whether it is on city assistance or on provincial assistance.  So  they go to emergency outlets such as St. Matthew's‑Maryland  Community Ministry.  That is not the only place that they go.  They also go to Gospel Mennonite Church on Nassau Street.  They  go to North End Community Ministry on Stella Avenue.  They go to  St. Stephen's Broadway Church.  They go to West Broadway  Community Ministry, and, of course, as we know hundreds of people  go to, now, three different locations of Agape Table soup kitchen.

      They meet with the Minister of Family Services (Mr.  Gilleshammer).  They belong to an organization called Inner City  Ministries Food Working Group and they co‑operate to raise issues  with the Minister of Family Services.  When they met with the  minister on February 11, 1992, they raised numerous issues and  recommendations.

      They recommended increasing the minimum wage so that people  can live on what they earn, which is an incentive to get off  welfare.  Unfortunately, this government has not increased the  minimum wage in keeping with the cost of living.  That is a  serious problem for people who are poor but working and on  minimum wage.  The Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) is the one  who decides when and by how much the minimum wage will be  increased.

      We know that at one time people working for minimum wage,  earned, I think it was, approximately 93 percent of the poverty  line.  That has fallen over the years, till now, I believe,  people on minimum wage earn about 46 percent of the poverty  line.  So if this government and this minister want to do  something to help working poor people, here is something very  concrete that he can do, and that is to increase the minimum  wage, increase it annually, increase it enough that people can  meet their basic needs.

      In fact, I would recommend that the minister might want to  depoliticize this issue.  He might want to say, okay, we are  going to raise it by a formula.  The formula might be similar to  what, I believe, is in place in the province of Quebec, where, I  believe, it is tied to the average industrial wage.  In fact, I  think, it is half of the average industrial wage.

      The minister might want to make a substantial increase in one  year; after that, tie it to a formula, very much like our  salaries here.  We do not get criticized by the public for our  salaries in the Legislature of Manitoba because our salary  increases are tied to a formula based on the Consumer Price Index  and other cost factors.  So we know that it is out of our  control; it is not in our hands.  It goes up every year by a  formula.

      So I would recommend this to the Minister of Labour (Mr.  Praznik), if he and his government want to do something to  improve the lives of people who are working but poor‑‑that is a  substantially large number of people.  In fact, it is an  overlooked and almost forgotten group of people.  They do not get  the kind of media coverage that poor people on social assistance  get, because they do not want people to know that they are poor.  They do not go looking for interviews.  They do not have  self‑help organizations.  They are probably not part of  organizations like MAPO that lobby mainly on behalf of people on  social assistance.  So there is a concrete recommendation for  this Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).

      Other recommendations from the Inner City Ministries Food  Working Group, they recommend:  provide adequate child care  supplements and medical expenses to encourage people to work.  We  know that there is a direct correlation between the affordability  and availability of child care and people entering the work  force.  We know that many women, especially, want to enter the  work force, and they find it difficult or impossible to do  because of inadequate child care support.

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      The Food Working Group recommends that the housing allowance  portion of social assistance be increased.  This is something  that has been a problem for a considerable period of time and  needs to be looked at.  I think the recommendations that the  different organizations in the community have put forward are  good ones.  They have said, we need to increase the housing  portion so that people are not taking money for housing, money  for rent out of discretionary items.  Discretionary items are  food, personal needs and household needs.  That is the only  discretionary money that people have on social assistance.

      The problem is, what will the effect be on raising housing  supplements substantially?  Would people move up in the housing  market and buy better quality housing, or would that money go to  landlords, including unscrupulous slum landlords, and deny people  the opportunity to buy better quality accommodation?

      We have a system of rent regulation in place in this  province.  So it should be possible to give people more money,  and have them move up in the housing market.  But we know that  many landlords charge the maximum.

      In fact, I was made aware of an example where landlords are  charging different amounts of money in the same rooming house,  depending on whether people are on provincial assistance or city  assistance.  Two different amounts, one higher than the other for  the same kind of accommodation. [interjection] Well, I have very  good sources.  I talk regularly to staff in city social  assistance, and I am sure that they can confirm this for me.  It  is regrettable.  It should not be allowed to happen under our  current system, but landlords view this as a guaranteed source of  income, because, in many cases, the payments are made directly  from either provincial or city social assistance to the landlord.

      So there is a problem.  I do not think we can just increase  the housing allowance without looking at whether or not people  will be able to purchase better quality housing.  The food  working group recommends:  create jobs, job entry and job  training for those who can work.  Our party has been very  critical of the provincial government for not doing enough in  terms of job creation programs.

      We believe that people out there want to work.  We believe  that they need to be retrained from time to time.  The era of  people training for one job and staying in that job for their  entire lifetime is over.  People need to be trained and retrained  and retrained as the economy changes, and as demands for  different kinds of skills change from time to time.

      We know that many of these programs are effective.  I  remember when I was working on social assistance issues, the then  Minister of Family Services, at that time it was economic  security, the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans),  invited myself and others to go on a tour of the Human Resources  Opportunity Centre.

      One of the questions that we asked was, how many people who  graduate from this centre are still employed after graduation?  The statistic that we were given was that six months after the  training program, 62 percent of the people who were graduated  from their training program were still gainfully employed.

      So we know that these programs are and can be successful.  We  believe it is to the benefit, not only of the individuals, but of  society and of the taxpayers of Manitoba.  When people are  working they are paying taxes.  In fact, that is one of the  reasons why I and many Manitobans disagree with the philosophy of  this government.  Because people who are working are paying taxes  instead of sitting at home and collecting social assistance.

      Numerous times in the last few months I have had people say,  I would rather see the government spend the money on job training  and on job creation than on paying people to sit home and do  nothing.  The people who are at home would much rather be out  working and contributing to society and contributing to their  families and even contributing to the tax system.

      They would willingly pay taxes if they had a job.  I believe  that the government has an important role to play in doing  something about it, in providing the job training programs and  retraining programs.

      Instead, what we see is the government cutting out some of  these programs, like closing the Human Resources Opportunity  Centre in Selkirk.  We have heard our member for Selkirk (Mr.  Dewar) speak on that numerous times.

      One of the things that is frequently overlooked when talking  about poverty and unemployment is the true costs, and in many  cases, the hidden costs, the human costs of poverty and  unemployment, because stories in the media tend to focus on  statistics.  I can tell you some of the human costs, and many of  my colleagues can too.  In fact, I am sure that members on the  government side could as well.

      I have had two constituents tell me that they believe that  marriage relationships broke up as a result of one of the income  earners becoming unemployed.  So that is one of the tragedies of  high unemployment.  That is one of the tragedies of people living  in poverty, the human cost and the cost to individuals and their  marriage when a marriage breaks up.  In these two cases, my  constituents said it was due to becoming unemployed.

      The Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey) will be  interested to hear about the effects of poverty on education in  an article written by Benjamin Levin of the Faculty of Education  at the University of Manitoba.  This article is printed in  Specifics for Winter 1991‑92, published by the Social Planning  Council of Winnipeg.  So here is what research says about the  effects of poverty in education.

      He says, the evidence in Canadian classrooms is  overwhelming.  Students from economically poor backgrounds are  substantially less likely to be successful in school,  significantly more likely to be below grade level in academic  skills, more likely to be kept back a grade in elementary school,  more likely to be placed in special education classes, more  likely to be in lower‑track programs in secondary schools.  So  there is a cost to poverty.  The cost is children repeating  grades in school.  The cost is in special education programs.  The cost is in children not being as successful in school.

      This was also documented in an all‑party report of the House  of Commons called Children in Poverty:  Towards a Better Future,  by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and  Technology.  In this document, they actually have put a dollar  figure to the cost of children living in poverty, the cost to  society.  They measure those costs, not in hundreds of dollars or  thousands of dollars or millions of dollars, but in billions of  dollars.  I think the problem is that governments do not want to  spend money now in order to save money later, but the axiom is,  spending less money now means spending a lot more money later.

      The Children in Poverty report got a lot of media attention  when it was released.  One of the headlines said:  Spending not  cure for child poverty, minister claims.  Regrettably, the  minister that this report went to was not in agreement with all  of the recommendations of this all‑party committee.  This report  and other reports like it have numerous recommendations on how to  end the problem of child poverty, how to reduce the problem of  child poverty.

      Here are recommendations on child poverty‑‑Canada's  Children:  Investing in our Future.  This report is the result of  two years of study by the Sub‑Committee on Poverty of the Health  & Welfare, Social Affairs, Seniors and Status of Women Committee  of the House of Commons.  It was a result of a motion that said  that this House expressed its concern for the more than one  million Canadian children currently living in poverty, and seek  to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian  children by the year 2000.

      That was a motion passed, I believe, unanimously in the House  of Commons.  Regrettably, in recent weeks, we have seen the  federal minister responsible say, we cannot achieve that goal by  the year 2000.  He said, we could not politically vote against a  motion like that when it was introduced, but now we have realized  that we cannot achieve that goal, which is very sad indeed.

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      For example, the committee unanimously agreed that statistics  on infant mortality need to be substantially lowered, and they  recommend a program of a nutritional allowance of $45 per month,  100 percent paid for by the federal government, payable to women  in a healthy babies program, a small cost for a long‑term benefit  and an inducement to provinces and women to participate.

      They have costs in here.  The cost of care of a  low‑birth‑weight baby is estimated at $60,000 to $100,000.  I can  tell you some anecdotal stories that reinforce this.  I know some  nurses at St. Boniface and other hospitals in Winnipeg who call  some of the babies in their care $30,000 babies.  The reason is  that they are born premature and there are horrendous costs to  keeping these children alive and healthy.  This federal  government report is saying that if you spend money on the  mothers before the baby is born that it saves huge amounts of  money after birth.

      The report talks about prevention and intervention.  The  subcommittee recommends that both federal and provincial  governments target funds for nursery programs serving high‑risk  communities.  These programs have been shown to enhance both the  education and health status of children as well as improving  parenting skills.

      They have a recommendation about housing.  The majority of  the committee recommends measures to increase social housing and  improve the quality in existing subsidized housing.  Instead,  what is the federal government doing?  They have completely cut  out the co‑op housing program, and they are substantially  reducing funding to social housing.

      They have a recommendation about welfare.  The report  provides evidence that eight of 10 provinces are not providing  welfare assistance that covers the basic needs of food, shelter,  clothing and essential items.  I would be willing to bet that  Manitoba is one of those eight provinces.

      The committee has recommendations on the working poor,  similar to the recommendation I made to the provincial Minister  of Labour (Mr. Praznik).  The subcommittee recommends that the  Minister of Labour study the financial impact of raising the  federal minimum wage from $4 an hour.  I believe this report was  tabled in December of '91.

      The federal minimum is $1 an hour lower than the provincial  minimum wage in Manitoba, and the Manitoba minimum wage is  inadequate.  They recommend a level which would ensure the annual  income of an individual working full time for a full year that  would equal the Statistics Canada low‑income cut‑off for a single  person residing in the largest urban area.  If the minimum wage  was raised to the poverty line, it would mean a substantial  increase in the minimum wage, but it would lift large numbers of  people out of poverty.

      The subcommittee unanimously recommends the study of a  guaranteed earned income supplement that would ensure that the  income received from employment would be greater than that  received by employable welfare recipients.  This is the concept  of a guaranteed annual income, something that has been studied  and endorsed by numerous organizations and political parties over  the years, including the New Democratic Party and the Liberal  Party.  It was endorsed over a decade ago by the United Church of  Canada, and now the federal Conservatives are talking about it.  We might suppose that there is an election in the offing if the  Conservative government in Ottawa is talking about a guaranteed  annual income.

      We believe that it is an idea whose time has come, but  personally I would put a couple of caveats on it.  The reason for  that is that the Macdonald Royal Commission recommended a  guaranteed annual income, but they recommended an income level of  approximately $12,000 when their report came out in 1984, 1985  for a family of four at a time when the poverty line was around  $18,000 a year for a family of four.  So I would only be in  favour of a guaranteed annual income if the levels were  substantially higher than what social assistance levels are now.

      The main question around a guaranteed annual income has  always been, will it be an incentive for people to work or a  disincentive?  There have been numerous studies of this question  in the United States and in Canada, because Manitoba was the site  of a Canadian experiment called Mincome, where people on social  assistance in Winnipeg, in Dauphin and rural Manitoba were given  a guaranteed annual income.  Now that data, since 1979 when the  experiment was folded, has been studied, and I recently read a  study by Wayne Simpson and Derek Hum of the University of  Manitoba and they asked themselves this question.  They looked at  the data and they said, would a guaranteed annual income be an  incentive or a disincentive to work?  What they discovered is, it  is not a disincentive to work.  It is actually neutral in the  Mincome experiment.  So this is an idea that could be  implemented, I believe, with many positive benefits.

      They had a recommendation on aboriginal people.  The  committee unanimously recommended that the federal government  recognize that political self‑government is of primary importance  in eradicating child poverty amongst aboriginal people, and that  is something that we in this party have always been in favour of,  that is aboriginal self‑government.  Aboriginal people are also  mentioned in the report that I quoted from earlier, called  Specifics, by the Social Planning Council.  They looked at the  poverty profile of children in different categories, the national  picture, the local picture, a summary and then aboriginal  children.

      Aboriginal children experienced the second highest child  poverty rate in our country, second only to children living with  single mothers, who suffer a poverty rate of 61 percent.  The  national poverty rate for aboriginal children is about 51  percent.  The poverty rate for nonaboriginal children is 20  percent.  Manitoba has the largest number of aboriginal children  living in poverty, 16,149.  The poverty rate for these children  is 58 percent.

      I think all of us in this Chamber should be ashamed of  statistics like that, ashamed of the difference in the level of  poverty between aboriginal children and nonaboriginal children.  The appalling statistics are one of the reasons why we believe  that aboriginal self‑government is long overdue.  What have we  seen on the part of this government?  Well, they have had  recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry report which  recommends aboriginal self‑government in many, many areas.

      In 1984 there was a House of Commons all‑party report on  Indian self‑government also recommending self‑government for  aboriginal people.  In spite of two committees who have studied  it and the reasonable requests of aboriginal people, we have seen  almost no action from this provincial government.  I believe that  they are failing not just aboriginal people, but our whole  society.  I believe that aboriginal people will be better off in  many, many areas if they have control of their destiny, if they  have control over how money is spent.

      We are not just talking about spending money because part of  the concept of aboriginal self‑government is economic  self‑sufficiency.  They do not want more handouts.  They do not  want more welfare.  What they really want is economic  self‑sufficiency and self‑government so they are not dependent on  nonaboriginal society.

      That is the historical problem in Canada, is that for  centuries we have made aboriginal people dependent on our  society.  We see the consequences of that.  We hear the  consequences of that every day through the media.  What we are  reaping now is what we sowed decades and centuries ago.  It is  time that we did something about it, that we do something  concrete and that we do it as quickly as possible.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, there are a couple of more local issues  that I want to go back to.  One is the child tax credit changes  for social assistance recipients in Manitoba.  This is something  that people are still unhappy with, something that the government  did, I believe, last year in December.  They changed the lump sum  payment of provincial tax credits to monthly payments and there  was a storm of protest.  I would be willing to bet there were  dozens if not hundreds of phone calls to the minister's office.

      As a result they changed it from doing it this year to doing  it next year.  In fact I believe the forms had already been  printed for this year but because of the storm of protest by  people on social assistance they postponed it to next year.

      People said to us and they said to the government, we do not  have any large sums of income during the year except the child  tax credit and provincial tax credits.  We use this money for  special items.  We use it to purchase furniture.  People in my  constituency approached me and said that they were using this  money to pay tuition at university.  If there is anything that we  want to encourage for people on social assistance, surely it is  going to university, surely it is getting a better education and  getting off social assistance and becoming self‑dependent.

      But what did this government do?  They took away this lump  sum which gave people those opportunities and they gave it to  people instead monthly.  They did it without any consultation.  They just did it in an arbitrary fashion and we are still hearing  from people who are very unhappy with that decision.

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      Madam Deputy Speaker, earlier today in Question Period I  asked the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) questions about the  relationship between health and poverty because even his own  centre for analysis says that the single most effective thing  that they can do to improve the health of Manitobans is to reduce  poverty.  Would this minister, in consultation with his cabinet  colleagues, direct their focus not just on health issues on what  apparently are direct health issues but on the issue of poverty,  which has many, many benefits if people are lifted out of  poverty, including longer life expectancy and benefits to our  society as a whole such as less money spent on the health care  system?

      Today we have the release of his report.  While the  introduction mentions that the chief determinants of health are  standards of living, the government persists in policies which  create, not reduce poverty.  As we know, to our sorrow, Manitoba  has the worst and the fastest growing rates of social assistance  caseloads, and especially and tragically, of poor children.  This  is a record that this government should not be proud of, that no  Manitoban should be proud of.  It is a national disgrace to be  tied in Canada, with Quebec, in having the highest rate of  families living in poverty in the whole country.

      But the government wants to study and tentatively to test the  reform waters, while pouring gasoline on the fires of poverty,  the same fires of poverty which have ignited in Los Angeles and  Toronto.  We do not want those kinds of problems here, but the  causes are here.  We need to do something about it so that those  fires do not ignite, locally, in our neighbourhoods.

      We have a very high concentration of poverty in Manitoba.  Contrary to what the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns)  says, there are lots of poor people in Manitoba.  In fact, the  federal riding which has the second largest number of poor people  in Canada is Winnipeg North Centre, and most of Burrows  constituency is in Winnipeg North Centre.

      The member for Broadway (Mr. Santos), the member for Wolseley  (Ms. Friesen), myself‑‑part of the constituency of Wellington,  and part of areas south of the Assiniboine River, I believe, are  located in the federal constituency of Winnipeg North Centre, and  have the second highest concentration of low‑income people in  Canada.  I think this government needs to recognize that fact and  to do something about it, and not wait until we have serious or  more serious problems in our community, but to take action now.

      In conclusion, Madam Deputy Speaker, I have talked about some  of the personal hardship of individuals who are on social  assistance, people living in poverty.  I have talked about some  of the statistical information, the effects on aboriginal people,  the effects on children, the effects on children in our  educational system, and the increased cost that those problems  cost our educational system.

      I have suggested action.  I have suggested that this  government act on the aboriginal self‑government report, that we  bring in aboriginal self‑government as soon as we can.  Thank you  very much, Madam Deputy Speaker.  We look forward to debating  this issue in the future.  Thank you.

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Madam Deputy Speaker:  As previously moved by the deputy House  leader, 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.

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

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(Concurrent Sections)




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

      This afternoon this section of the Committee of Supply,  meeting in Room 255, will 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?

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I guess  we had run out of time the last time when I was at the mike on  the Estimates and I was trying to emphasize to the, in  particular, New Democratic Party critic for Health the importance  to come to the table in an open and honest fashion to discuss the  future of health care in the province of Manitoba.

      As I tried to point out to her earlier that afternoon, it is  absolutely essential that the member who represents her party  recognize the fact that all of us have a care and a love for  universal health care as much, and I would even argue, possibly  even more than the member for St. Johns, the Health critic for  the New Democratic Party.  In fact, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, time  after time my colleague, who has been here in Health Estimates  for 60 hours now‑‑he has been our critic since we formed the  official opposition; he has literally debated hundreds of hours  of Estimates time and has put on the record a number of issues of  importance to the Liberal Party and always felt that it was  essential that we contribute in a positive way; that we take the  high road in terms of trying to best serve Manitobans by not only  coming up with criticism, but constructive criticism wherever  possible.

      We have used the argument that really what is needed is an  overall plan.  The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) today brought  forward a plan, which I know my colleague from the Maples (Mr.  Cheema) has gone over quite thoroughly.  A number of the  criticisms that will come from the member for The Maples will  come as a result of this particular report, but I know and I feel  comfortable, because he has argued it not only at this table but  from within our caucus.  It is absolutely essential that we  criticize the government where it is necessary, and where the  government has done a good job we tell them that they have done a  good job.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the reason why I spent 25 minutes  last Tuesday and a few minutes today to put on the record these  words is because I think that Manitobans would be best served if  the New Democratic Party came to the same realization as we came  to four years ago, and that is to address the needs of the health  care for the province in a more nonpolitical way.  You have to be  more responsible.  You cannot take things out of proportion in  the manner in which the member for St. Johns has.

      The other day I made reference to a statement that was quoted  from a rural newspaper where somehow the member for St. Johns  said that the Liberals were in full co‑operation with the  Conservatives and we did not want to debate the Hospital line of  the budget, that in fact the government would have fallen had  that occurred.  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, how irresponsible.  Really and truly, I do not know how the member for St. Johns and  the New Democratic Party can look themselves in the mirror.  This  is not the first time that we have seen this type of an ordeal.

      This afternoon, after this morning attending in part the  conference, I was looking forward to concluding my remarks in and  around 2:30, but the New Democratic Party was scared to come to  the table.  They did not want to come to the Estimates table to  ask questions.  For the first time, I have been denying leave to  waive private members' hour for the last four or five weeks, and  the NDP have criticized me for denying leave, along with the  government, but I would have expected that from the government.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, today, I said, yes, we would waive  private members' hour in order that we can discuss this report  that we have before us today.  This time, for the first time that  I am aware of this session, the New Democratic Party denied leave  in order to waive private members' hour.

      One has to ask the question why it is that they feel they  cannot come to the Estimates table.  I believe that the real  reason is because they do not have an understanding of health  care.  The member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) has a  concept of health care beds and health care beds alone.  She is  unable to come forward and to discuss and debate the real health  care issues that are in the best interests of all Manitobans.  They intentionally choose to avoid the real issues because they  believe that they are the only party that represents‑‑they  thought that they are the only party that believe‑‑[interjection]  and no, to the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), you are not the  only party that represents health care in the province of  Manitoba.

      I think what you have done today has been a disservice to all  Manitobans and would encourage, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, that the  member for St. Johns, in particular, come to the table in an open  fashion.  To conclude, I would say the reason why I suggest that  is because my constituents, the constituents that I represent  need to have legitimate debate.

      As long as one of the political parties that come to the  table refuse to have that legitimate debate, that party is  jeopardizing the health care in the province of Manitoba.  That  is what the member for St. Johns and the New Democratic Party is  doing.  By them choosing to be selective and misquoting and  deceptive, as they have been in the past number of years, dealing  with health care, something that we all agree as a fundamental  need for Manitobans, I think is a disservice.

      I would look to the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), Mr.  Deputy Chairperson, and ask the Minister of Health that even if  the New Democratic Party does not‑‑

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  Could I have just a  little bit of quiet while I am listening to the honourable member  for Inkster, please.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I am asking the Minister  of Health if he would do a service at least to the citizens of  this province by bringing to the table legitimate debate, to  bring to the table what is going on in our health care system.  I  would encourage the Minister of Health to be as open as possible,  as the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) brought  forward in her questions and the member for The Maples (Mr.  Cheema), to not fear exploitation of whatever might come out of  this in a deceptive way from the Liberal Party.

      We will play our part the best we can to ensure that what  criticism is given to the Minister of Health is criticism that is  deserved and warranted and that we will not take the opportunity,  because we believe that it is essential to prevent the minister  from coming forward with the details of his budget, with the  importance of the health care to the province of Manitoba.  We  just cannot jeopardize that, because one political party has  chosen to play politics, even though they like to think that they  are coming to the table saying that they do not want to play  politics with health care.  We know all too well, Mr. Deputy  Chairperson, that in fact they are playing politics with health  care.

      I would ask the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), having said  that, to do the responsible thing and to be up‑front with  Manitobans and allow the NDP party to play their games and only  hope that the health care in the province of Manitoba will not  deteriorate as a direct result of their irresponsible actions  inside this House.

      Thank you, Mr. Deputy Chairperson.

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Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr. Deputy  Chairperson, I would just like to put a few comments on the  record with regard to the‑‑

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Was there not a question  for the Minister of Health?  I thought there was a question.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I will repeat the  question.

      I had asked the Minister of Health:  Can he assure this  committee that he will continue to come back to the committee and  be as open and frank as possible in respect to what is going on  in our health care system, even though the New Democratic Party  has chosen to behave in such an irresponsible way?  In return,  the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) will be continuing to  bring forward legitimate criticism where it is warranted and will  give credit where it is deserved.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Deputy  Chairperson, we have tried to provide a substantial amount of  information.  I think that, when my honourable friend possibly  gets more time to digest the entire content of the action plan,  he will see that there is a substantive underpinning of research  and policy direction in that, which we think will allow us to  operate within the $1.8 billion that we currently are asking  approval to expend and at least be able to maintain the level of  services.  In some cases we think there is an opportunity, with  reinvestment of savings from high‑cost institutions, to improve,  in fact, the level of services.

      Where my honourable friend, I think, is coming from is  probably going to be opposed if my honourable friend the New  Democrat gets a chance into the individual hospital budgets, and  those are being finalized.  This is an important component of  that finalization of budget, as you can appreciate, because in  this fiscal year our two teaching hospitals will see, phased out,  240 beds that are part of their complement, with as much transfer  of budget to other institutions as is necessary to offer those  services in those institutions.

      When we have the action plans of each individual hospital, I  doubt we will be sitting in Estimates, but I have no hesitation  those will be public discussion, because there is, no doubt,  going to be press releases on them as each hospital develops its  action plan.  That will lead us to some discussion in Question  Period or other forms.

      I simply put it to my honourable friend this way.  The  process that we have undertaken and the underpinning of research  and knowledge that we have tried to focus on the health care  system, I think, will stand the test of critical scrutiny.  Not  perfect.  No program of government is going to be perfect, but it  will stand critical scrutiny.  It will not stand‑‑I will be very  blunt‑‑the kind of questioning my honourable friend the member  for St. Johns was putting out, the rumours about 240‑250 beds  closing at our teaching hospitals.  If that is the extent of the  information provided by New Democrats in letters and mailers to  their constituents and across the province, no ministry of Health  can withstand that, because that is only half the facts.  In  other words, it is as close to an untruth as you can get.

      When you put in context the 240 beds at the Health Sciences  Centre and St. Boniface, balance it off with the 150 beds that  are going to be funded in three other facilities, plus continuing  care, to offset the services delivered in those beds, then the  balance all of a sudden appears, and people can start buying into  a process, knowing that there is integrity behind it.

      I am willing to provide those kinds of directions to the  Chamber, because I think when they are put in context and in  balance they will receive general support.  I cannot predict how  the NDP are going to handle those kinds of pieces of information,  because we have seen already today my honourable friend the  member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) was into job  protection, which union backing would probably force her to do,  and I did not detect a question out of six where the patient was  ever considered in terms of the integrity of care to the patient.


Point of Order


Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, on a point of order,  the minister should correct the record, because he knows that he  is putting incorrect information on the record.  He knows full  well that in every question asked today in the Legislative  Assembly the word "patient" was raised, and questions were asked  about the safeguarding of patient care.

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

* * *

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I will certainly withdraw  that statement, if my honourable friend is offended by it.

      The whole process of the reform in this document is  underpinned with evaluation.  It is establishment of protocols.  I tell committee that if there is one person who has been  consistent over the last couple of years, in terms of saying we  need protocols and guidelines of practice, the member for The  Maples (Mr. Cheema) has been, but that is part of the process.  As much as possible, yes, we are going to bring information to  the House.

      The suggestion today, by the Leader of the Liberal Party  (Mrs. Carstairs) in terms of sharing the evaluation process in a  public forum, I am taking that very seriously under  consideration, because I think that has an opportunity to do two  things:  to reinforce what is being done right, to calm the  potential for narrowed fears that could be created with  misinformation; and, secondly, it has an opportunity to tell the  system what has not worked as well as we thought, so we get our  minds around changing the process in a fashion that will make it  work with the expectations we have.

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, once again I would just  like to put a few comments on the record with regard to the  Health Estimates.

      I guess I would like to go back to Monday night when the  motion was made regarding the minister's salary to be reduced to  $50.  Of course, from time to time that is done in the spirit of  criticism of a minister, and in politics that is understandable.

      However, I listened carefully on Monday night to the remarks  that were made after the amendment was proposed, and the remarks  that were made from the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis)  and also the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema).  Through the  debate on the Estimates, it was clear that there was an  understanding of what the real issues were in Health by the  member for The Maples, but one did not get that sense from the  member for St. Johns.

      Now, that is not to say that the member for St. Johns does  not care about health, because I think it is true that she does  have a care about the state of health in this province.  Unfortunately, I think that the party position, the politics have  taken over reason in terms of how she has approached the entire  issue in the debate on the Estimates.

      When I heard her reasons and what the Minister of Health  could do with the $50, it made me somewhat embarrassed about the  fact that we are all legislators and are expected to be somewhat  credible in the remarks we make.  Sometimes we would probably  want to bury pages of a Hansard where comments like that would  appear, because I do not think it does any of us any good to be  placing comments like that on the record, especially when we talk  about a serious matter that affects every Manitoban and one that  has become a very serious one indeed for all people in this  province.

      The Minister of Health I think made it very clear, that  health care goes far beyond politics, that indeed every  individual in Canada and in Manitoba must pay attention to where  we are going in health care.  I watched the Minister of Health  when he was on the Journal, along with two other high‑level  professionals, if you like, from the health care field, or at  least from the academic field.  One of the things that struck me  was that Manitoba was being looked at as perhaps a place where we  could look at health care reform sensibly, where finally some  province is beginning to take a step in the right direction in  terms of health care reform.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, what do we hear around our province?  It does not matter whether you are talking to New Democrats or  Liberals or Conservatives, or whoever they may be in terms of  their politics, people understand that if we do not take some  steps regarding health care reform in this province, our children  may not have the luxury of the health care system that we have  before us today.  That is a real concern.  It is a concern for  the senior citizens, it is a concern for middle‑aged people, and  indeed it is a concern for the youth.

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      When I heard the comments from the member for The Maples (Mr.  Cheema), who is a professional in the health care field himself,  who understands very deeply the issues before health care, who  was willing to put aside perhaps some of his political beliefs  for the moment and look at how he could contribute positively  towards assisting the Minister of Health through positive  criticism and sometimes very hard criticism, as it should be, and  through positive suggestions as to how health care can be  reformed‑‑to that, I think, Manitobans have to pay some  attention, because it finally shows that in the Legislature there  is some credibility, that people do not need to be cynical about  what happens in the Chamber and in this room.

      I guess if I had anything to say to the New Democratic Party  and to the Health critic from the New Democratic Party, I would  say that perhaps it is time to set aside some of that political  rhetoric that keeps coming at Question Period, that keeps coming  in these Estimates, to take a very serious look at the document  that was tabled by the Minister of Health today, because indeed  this is a document that is probably going to set a certain  direction for health care in our province.

      Yes, it requires the scrutiny of all the critics and indeed  the parties to ensure that the document is made even stronger  than it is in its present form, but it is certainly not going to  be made strong by the kind of rhetoric that I have heard put on  the record by the member, both in Question Period and in these  Estimates.

      One may say, well, I am coming to the defence of the Minister  of Health.  I do not need to come to his defence, Mr. Deputy  Chairperson, because the Minister of Health has proven that he is  capable of defending himself and, indeed, capable of defending  the policies that he comes forth with.

      So Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would just like to say that the  comments that I hear from individuals outside this Chamber, from  ordinary Manitobans, are that Manitobans are concerned about  health care.  They understand that it is time for reform.  They  understand that this province simply cannot go on the way that it  has in the past, and that if we are going to protect that very  cherished health care system that we have in our province today,  we are going to have to combine our efforts as government, as  opposition parties, to try and come up with the best health care  reform that is possible.

      Yes, from time to time it may mean strict and harsh  criticism, but on points where we agree, where we can set aside  our political ideologies, I think we have to state that very  clearly.  When a position or a policy can be supported, there is  nothing wrong with indicating that it is a good policy.  Indeed,  that is, I guess, what I am looking forward to perhaps from the  New Democrats.  I do not know if they are capable of it, Mr.  Deputy Chairperson, because I have not heard it.  I have not  heard or I have not read any suggestions from the critic of  Health with regard to what directions she would take or her party  would take except for the criticisms that have been laid before  the Minister of Health on his policies.

      Well, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, just in conclusion I would have  to say that I think Manitobans are going to be looking very  seriously at what has been tabled today.  I think Manitobans are  going to be supportive of the directions that have been set.  Indeed, these are not set just by the Minister of Health or this  government.  There has been an enormous amount of consultation  done with the professionals and with Manitobans.  That has to be  understood, because this is not a policy that comes straight from  the politics of the people from government.

      So, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, once again I am hopeful that the  member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) will take on a new  attitude and perhaps follow the example that has been set by the  member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema).  Indeed, he is not joining us  as a coalition.  He is still very much a Liberal, and he will  certainly criticize the Minister of Health when that has to be  done, and that is expected.  But he understands that this is  beyond simple politics, and I think that kind of understanding  has to be taken on by the New Democrats and the critic for Health  in the New Democratic Party.

      So with that, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I thank you for your  time.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I am certainly pleased with this opportunity  to add my remarks to this Liberal‑Conservative filibuster of the  Conservative government's Health Estimates, a most unusual  development in the history of the province of Manitoba.  Many  would regard this as an absolute abuse of our democratic process  and our whole Estimates process.

      I know that the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and the  other Conservative Minister of Health, his Associate Minister of  Health, are taking great glee in stretching out Estimates in  order to be able to develop their relationship a little more  closely and develop their political agenda a little more  concretely.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I was going to say this afternoon in  the Question Period that if the Liberals moved any closer to the  Conservatives they might as well cross the floor.  Unfortunately  the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) has gone but I was going  to say I see that he has already made that move.  It is getting  very interesting around this Legislative Assembly to see the kind  of joining of hands and dancing of cheek to cheek and toe to toe  and nose to nose as well, I think.

      It is fascinating to watch and I am not going to make  comments, I am not going to make judgments.  I will let the  voters of the province of Manitoba make judgments about that, and  I will let the future of our health care system be a commentary  on developments today in 1992 about our health care system.

      I want to start off by saying though, although I realize that  there has been a considerable amount of collusion in an attempt  to set this up to try to embarrass me, to try to box me into a  corner, to try to make it look like I am the odd person out, the  member for Roblin‑Russell (Mr. Derkach) says I am not the  minister and he is absolutely right.  That is why the situation  is even more peculiar, that there has been such a concerted  attempt over the last little while to try to get at me, this poor  little old member for St. Johns, one lowly member in the  Legislature.

      As I said the other day, I feel flattered. I think there is  no choice about all of this but to feel flattered and to treat  this as a compliment‑‑

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, on a  lighter note, I would like to let the member for St. Johns know  that we really like her very much, but I think that there is an  issue here in terms of‑‑

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

* * *

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Well, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, along those  same lines, I want everyone to know that I do not take this  personally, and I do not dislike anyone on a personal basis.  I  even tend to agree with the Minister of Highways and  Transportation (Mr. Driedger). [interjection]

      No, no, the other night the Minister of Highways and  Transportation who came to tell us what a pussy cat the Minister  of Health is.  I will not go so far as to agree with that  statement, but I will say that there have been some lighter  moments in these 60 hours of Estimates, and there have been a few  laughs, and I can see that there might be another side to the  minister and there is perhaps another part to this personality.

      But on the political front, in the Legislature I only know  one person.  I only know one person, and he has not been very  pleasant to me.  He has made this quite a personal debate and I  have been subjected to a great deal of personal innuendo and  abuse, and I have said that before.

      However, I still will not take it personally.  I understand  it is part of politics.  It is part of this whole legislative  process, and I want to continue making a few comments on that  level in terms of the policies we are dealing with and the  politics, because one of the things that is coming over and over  again by the two Conservative ministers of Health is that this is  a nonpolitical issue, and I am doing this great disservice to my  country and my community by daring to ask questions that are  interpreted as being political.

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      Well, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I will concede that there are  nonpolitical concerns around this issue, and I said that today in  the Legislature.  There are generic concerns.  Those concerns  have been expressed by all of us.  Those concerns have been  expressed by every provincial government across this land for the  last five years, whatever the stripe.  Those concerns have been  described by academics from all different persuasions.  Those  concerns have been mouthed and espoused by community groups right  across this country.  So there is very much an element of  nonpolitical focus to this whole area, and I have indicated that  in reviewing this report today.  I certainly join with all  members from all political parties in agreeing with the concerns  expressed and clearly indicating that the goals are laudable.  I  have not tried to hide that feeling whatsoever.

      Our concern has been with respect to the action plan, if one  can call it that.  That really comes back to this long 60 hours  of questioning and why we are still at it.  The fact of the  matter is that we still do not have a clear idea of the action  plan.  We have, as I said in the House today, a generic policy  perspective, a multiple choice paper document before us without  any further indication of where this government is clearly  planning to take this province with respect to health care  reform.  So, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, at that point it becomes  very political.  It becomes political because we see the need for  change on an urgent basis, and we are not seeing this specific  plan of action coming from this government after four years of  promises.  I want to reiterate this is the Minister of Health's  (Mr. Orchard) fourth anniversary as Minister of Health.

An Honourable Member:  Today?

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  It must be close.  It must be around today.  I think it is very‑‑last week.  So we are just on the heels of  the fourth anniversary of the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard),  and I think one could expect after four years of similar kinds of  rhetorical statements and expressed concerns to see some  specifics, see some movement on a few major areas identified  across this country as absolute requirements for health care  reform.  It becomes political when one sees from Conservatives,  whether in Ottawa or in Manitoba or in other provincial sections  in this country, some developments that are very worrisome and  that we disagree with.

      So, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, let us begin with the most  fundamental of health care reform issues.  That is our medicare  system, our national standards and the principles entrenched in  the Canada Health Care Act.  I do not think I should need to sit  here and take any lectures from either the Minister of Health  (Mr. Orchard) or any of his colleagues on the Conservative side  or the Liberals in the House about what is right and good about  health care reform, and what should be focused in terms of health  care, and how to fight for a good quality health care system.  It  has been Conservatives and Liberals who have worked hard to tear  apart our national health care system and our treasured medicare  system in Canada.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, let us face it, we are in a difficult  situation today primarily because the federal Conservative  government has ripped the bottom out from under medicare, has  gutted funding for health care, and we know that means the end of  an enforcement mechanism for the principles, those principles  that the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) is so concerned  about, which I share‑‑a concern I share.  He has asked about  support for his bill.  He knows that I have stood publicly and  said the New Democratic Party will support his bill.  I do not  know if he has those assurances from the members of the  Conservative side.

      I do not believe that the [interjection] the member for  Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine) says, why do we not speak on it?  Well, we are ready to speak on it.  We are not waiting to speak  on it.  The member for Sturgeon Creek knows that bills go through  a certain order.  I can ask the same question about other bills  that are before there that have been called‑‑and the member for  the Liberals has not spoken.  I can think about bills that have  been passed by all three parties in this Legislature, like Bill  91; it is still sitting gathering dust.

      A commitment is a commitment is a commitment in my books.  The member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) knows that, and we will  support that bill.  I think if he had the same commitment from  the Conservative Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), we could pass  it tomorrow.

      Let me indicate that when you put health care reform in the  context of the serious situation caused by the federal  Conservative government, it is political.  I do not know how you  can say it is not political.  It may not be political if you are  not going to sit there and be concerned about that development  and fight to the nth degree to restore federal funding, ensure  national standards and preserve medicare.  For me, the beginning  of health care reform is preserving medicare and that means a  political fight that we have never seen the likes of.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, you can tell all the members of this  committee to hang onto their hats or their pants or whatever,  because this issue is going to get very political.  We have just  seen the beginning of it, and we are going to be fighting like  you have never seen before to preserve medicare.

      I have said this before and I will say it again today, there  can be no system to reform if we are going to sit idly by and let  medicare be eroded and the federal government to abdicate its  responsibility.  I do not see the Conservative government and  particularly the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) fighting like  mad to get the federal government to change its policies.  I have  not seen a letter, a public statement, a press release or a  pronouncement from anyone on the Conservative benches saying, we  are going to fight to the nth degree to preserve medicare,  restore national funding and ensure a strong federal role in our  health care system.

      This issue becomes very political when we see, given the  difficult financial situation and the cutback of federal funds,  it becomes very difficult for provincial governments to preserve  quality health care, but even recognizing that, we still have  very serious difficulties with some of the decisions taken by  this provincial Conservative government, and so we will raise  those issues.

      If that means being political, then so be it.  We are  political, and we will raise concerns at any point along the way  about any aspect of so‑called health care reform under this  government that does in our estimation offer or hurt patients and  deny security and quality of care and put at loose ends hundreds  of workers‑‑yes, those are concerns.  We too are concerned, not  only about patient care but about the lives and jobs of hundreds  of Manitobans in a province that now has the highest unemployment  rate in the country.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I think it is pretty irresponsible to  be dismissing the concerns of workers in an economic climate like  we are facing today and suggesting that those hundreds and  hundreds of workers add themselves to the unemployment rolls and  the welfare rolls and the increasing poverty.

      To what?  How can we beat the record for having the highest  poverty level anywhere in the country?  We are already there, so  I think we do have a responsibility to worry about economic  security and employment opportunities.  We can do that in the  context of fighting for quality health care that is reformed  based on the fundamental principles of medicare.

      So you know, when you start with that federal Tory record and  you see a federal Tory policy of strangling the economy, which is  strangling health care, you cannot say this is not political.  We  do not need any lectures from anybody about medicare and about  fighting to preserve the most treasured national program in this  country, something which is cause for more Canadians to be proud  to be Canadian than just about anything else.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  Could we have just a  little bit of quiet, please?  The decorum is getting a little bit  of line.  The honourable member for St. Johns (Ms.  Wasylycia‑Leis) is making her presentation.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  We will continue to play a constructive role  around health care, as we have done in the past.  Mr. Deputy  Chairperson, that means beginning with asking questions,  demanding answers, raising concerns.  That is what we have been  doing over the last several months.  That is what we have done in  the last 60 hours of Estimates.  That is what we did today when  we received this action plan, this so‑called action plan.

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      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we did not dump all over this paper,  because there are not specific recommendations and decisions to  say yea or nay about.  We clearly said‑‑

Mr. Lamoureux:  Do you support it?

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  The member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) says,  do we support it?  We said quite clearly, these are generic  concerns we have raised before, others have raised before.  We  certainly share these concerns.

      We have said the goals and aims of this paper in terms of  health care reform are laudable.  Now, I wonder, if one says it  is "laudable" to the member for Inkster, if that needs further  clarification.  Perhaps we need to be a little more explicit for  the member for Inkster.  We have said the general philosophy is  supportable.

      But, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we had expected, based on the  way the minister had described and outlined the process leading  up to the document, and held out and created such high  expectations around this paper, that we would have seen some  actual steps taken towards a health care reform strategy, not  more broad policy statements saying, here are the options; here  are the options for quality assurance; here are the options for  physician remuneration; here are the options for community health  care; here are the options for hospital beds; here are the  options for you name it.

      That is what this paper is.  It is a pizza approach to health  care; it is a multiple listing of toppings.  We get to choose?  No, we do not get to choose.  The minister, who has the staff,  the resources, the analytical tools, the evaluative mechanisms,  has the responsibility to come forward with a set of steps that  he is prepared to take based on all of that experience and input  and four years in government, four years of promising health care  reform.

      So our criticism today is not about the content because you  cannot disagree with the content.  You cannot disagree with the  content.  What we are saying is, what are the priorities for  health care reform of this government?

      Now I know that in every other province in this country, and  in every other study, Royal Commission Task Force review,  consultative process whatever, there are about five or six sorts  of umbrella, key concerns listed in terms of health care reform,  suggested as action for governments.

      Those issues revolve around:  (1) physician remuneration and  method of medical practice; (2) equally important, the priority  of moving from institutional to community‑based care; (3) a focus  on prevention, something we know has been missing from our health  care plans to date, from whatever government, whatever part of  this country, NDP included; (4) a focus on standards of care and  quality assurance; (5) and utilization reviews.

      I think those are five general areas.  There are more; there  is too much to keep on top of.  But in terms of all these  studies‑‑the Royal Commission from B.C., and the Quebec study,  and the Nova Scotia, and the New Brunswick, and the Ontario  Premier's Council, and The Rainbow Report in Alberta, and so on  and so forth‑‑all of those studies have focused on those big  umbrella areas and said, we have to take action; we have to take  steps.

      Some provinces have started to do it.  Here, in this  document, I thought we were getting the Manitoba government's  plan of action based on all of those broad, sweeping changes and  recommendations.  So I thought today we would hear from this  government about what they want to do with respect to physician  remuneration and fee for service.  I thought maybe we would start  to see some direction in terms of‑‑and it is now getting to be a  pretty old idea‑‑either capping, or changes to the fee for  service, or moving towards salaried positions, or a combination,  or whatever.  We do not have that recommendation in this document.

      I thought on community health care we would see by now a  preference, maybe one that would still need further input from  the community, but certainly an indication of where this  government wanted to go with respect to CHOs or HMOs or whatever  version you want to think about in terms of a community health  care model.

      There are many, they all need to be looked at, and they have  to be part of any health care reform strategy.  So the listing is  here but there is, again, no indication that a model is chosen,  will be tried, will be tested, will be a part of a movement in  terms of beds from the institution to the community‑based side.

      I thought by now we would have seen more of a focus on  prevention and promotion.  Not a word in this report, not a word,  at the same time that we just learned that Manitoba has the  highest poverty rate in the country.  We know the links‑‑we saw  the presentation from the Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation  a couple of weeks ago.  We heard from Dr. Nooralu Roos that there  is a clear correlation between poverty and economic status and  health.

      In fact, she came with a chart that said that the best  guarantee of health and well‑being and long life is economic  security, and showed that as income rises you tack on, I think  she said, eight or nine years to one's life.  Much higher than if  you found the cure for cancer or found whatever for heart  surgery.  So we know the correlations, yet there is no  recognition of the root causes of ill health and how we have to  work on that whole area and focus on prevention.

      Maybe I was expecting too much, but I thought, given how on  the very question we asked about, the rumours about hospital beds  and the closing of this and the end of this service, the minister  kept saying, wait for my health care reform plan.  I thought,  maybe naively so, that we would have something a little more  specific than this.

      So, again, let me say, I do not object to what is in this  report.  I support the aims; I support the principles; I support  the philosophy.  I object, and I am angry, and I will continue to  raise my voice about the fact that this government, after all  this time, still is not prepared to come to us with a little more  concrete strategy.

      What is noticeable in this paper is that there is very  specific information around one area, and that is with respect to  bed cuts.  It is very clear, there are numbers.  If you see  numbers anywhere it only has to do with bed cuts.  He confirms  the 240 bed cuts at the teaching hospitals.

      Although the minister has said that those numbers were from  fearmongering all along, in actual fact they were right.  We were  right.  They should have been addressed long ago, instead of  creating this climate of fear and uncertainty in our hospitals.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  You mean we were not  fearmongering?

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  No, as the member for Wellington (Ms.  Barrett) says, we were not fearmongering.  I hope the minister at  some point concedes this.  That we were basically doing his job  in getting out the information that needed to be gotten out  there, so that people could be aware and could do something about  it and demand that it be put in the place of a broader context.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, it is very specific around bed cuts,  but not very specific about the alternative community care  arrangements and not very specific about the patient and  safeguards for the patient in that whole continuum of care, not  very specific about bridge funding‑‑and I know the Liberals have  raised this in Question Period‑‑not very specific about the fact  that there will need to be, I hate this word, but this hump in  funding in order to make the transition.

      This report says it, that if you are going to move from one  system to another, you are going to have to have extra funding  and parallel systems for a period of time to make it work.  No  indication that that will happen, and no indication about the  lives of people who work in the facilities.

      The report says we should not be talking about reductions in  health care spending, we should be talking about containment and  reallocation and reprioritization, which I agree with.  But  surely that would mean that you are going to keep the same number  of people in the system, although in different facets and  different ways and different jobs and different positions and  different places.

      That means redeployment and training, and we still do not  have a specific program to do with redeployment and retraining  and supports for workers as they make that transition.  I do not  know how you can pretend to be moving towards health care reform  if we do not address some of those very fundamental questions.

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      So let me say, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I hope that the  minister will tell us what the next step is and how quickly he is  going to take us there, because this is broad, this is nice, this  is multifaceted, this offers many choices, this has all the right  jargon‑‑

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The time is now five  o'clock and time for private members' hour.  Committee rise.




Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Order, please.  Will the  Committee of Supply please come to order.

      This section of the Committee of Supply is dealing with the  Estimates for the Department of Education and Training.  We are  on page 43, item 5.(b) Program Analysis, Co‑ordination and  Support.

      Will the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Madam Chairperson, we are looking  here at policy and program changes and also at the research and  analysis that the department does.  I want to come back to a  document that I have been referring to which relates to the cuts  in community colleges two years ago which the government, I  believe, has still not replaced.

      I have referred to this document before, and we had some  trouble finding it.  Now that I have seen the document, I am not  surprised.  This is a document called 1991‑92 Community College  Program Reductions and Eliminations.  I asked the minister twice  whether this, in fact, did indicate that the programs which were  cut were ones in which there was low or no employability, because  that was what she had initially maintained.

      I expressed surprise that there had been such a document.  She argued again that, indeed, there had and gave me the title of  it.  Well, what this document amounts to, in fact, is a listing  of the programs which were cut.  It does not give enrollments,  and it simply has a number or a letter attached which says L, M,  low or medium demand.

      There does not seem to be, in this document‑‑and perhaps  there are more pages to it, but I only have one page‑‑anything  which indicates the employability or employment levels in each of  these areas.  So, first of all, I would like to ask the minister  and her staff, is this list of courses at Red River, Assiniboine  and Keewatin the document which she was referring to?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Madam  Chairperson, I will say again for the record that was a document  that was tabled last year, in last year's Estimates, and the  context of the tabling, there was discussion and information on  that document, I understand, regarding market demand and cost and  completion rates, alternatives and employment success.  I am  informed that last year it was discussed.  Each program was  discussed specifically, and I will remind the member that those  were last year's Estimates, and the information, I believe, is  provided there and the document, though it does not contain  specific statistics, does contain the information that was  requested.

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Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, then could we look at that  document and look at some of the courses which were indeed cut at  Red River College, for example?  Clerical Bookkeeping and  Secretarial Certificate, the first two on the list, are listed as  low and medium demand, respectively, and I gather from the  minister's response that this demand means demand from employers,  not from students.  So I am wondering how to reconcile that with  the report which the minister's department has published, High  Demand Occupations; High Demand Skills, page 5, Small Business  Management, Bookkeeping Accounting.  How does this reconcile with  the low and medium demands which led to the cuts at Red River two  years ago?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Again, I will remind the member that she refers to  decisions made last year, last year's Estimates.  I will also  make the distinction for her between secretarial and clerical,  which she references, and bookkeeping, that there is a difference  and that we have kept Business Administration, Business  Accountancy, and that there has been a demand for that higher  level or different type of skill.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, could the minister indicate then  what is the difference between Clerical Bookkeeping and the  program that she makes a reference to?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I am happy to draw those distinctions.  The  business administration course is a comprehensive, two‑year  diploma course, as opposed to a one‑year certificate program.  The business accountancy program is a one‑year program, and it  pays particular attention to computer application, programs such  as Lotus 1‑2‑3, Dbase and a program called Accpac.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, in the booklet on high‑demand  occupations in Canada, it does point out under  bookkeeping/accounting, which is a high‑demand skill in Manitoba  according to the minister's records, the requirement for the  ability to organize records of transaction, to co‑ordinate  activities relating to paying and receiving money and to apply  principles of costing and budgeting.

      It seems to me that is what is included in clerical  bookkeeping.  I ask the minister again, if this is a high‑demand  occupation, why was that program cut?

Mrs. Vodrey:  There has been, I am informed, a demand for the  more sophisticated skills.  The clerical and bookkeeping skills  were previously introductory courses.  They used a very basic  approach.  There was less use of technology.  It was manual  bookkeeping versus bookkeeping by computer and by the program, by  way of example, Accpac.  The demand is now moving to a more  sophisticated skill from those more basic skills which were  taught previously.

Ms. Friesen:  Then why, on page 7 of the same booklet, High  Demand Occupations in Manitoba, under the listing Active  Recruitment Occupations does it say bookkeeper, accounting clerk,  bookkeeping clerk.  These are high demand, they are active  recruitment, and yet the government cut them when we have a  population of 59,000 people who are unemployed.

      Surely one of the purposes of this department is to match  skills and skill training with the unemployment levels in this  country, or at least in this province.  I do not see the  connections between the minister's own reports and the kind of  programs and development of programs that are going on at the  community colleges.

Mrs. Vodrey:  It seems to me that the honourable member is simply  taking a name and then, based on the name, she is assuming the  skills.  In my last two answers, I have described to her the  skills and the training that are attached to the specific names  being used for courses and for outcome occupations.

      I would also like to remind her that there is a distinction  between active recruitment‑‑active recruitment is not the same as  high‑demand occupation.  Active recruitment refers to those  occupations in which there is an extremely high turnover.

Ms. Friesen:  I did distinguish between those two.  There is  recruitment.  There are high‑demand skills.  It seems to me that,  in both cases, there are demands, for whatever reason, for people  with introductory skills in bookkeeping.  Yet those are exactly  the programs which Red River cut.  Why is that?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Let me say again that the demand is for the higher  level skills.  I have described that those occupations, and the  kind of training that goes along with those occupations‑‑business  accountancy, business administration, by way of example‑‑were  demanded, and that we did, with those two courses, expand them  last year.  We also expanded them this year.  There has been an  emphasis, with the available funds, to develop skills that are  required within the community, that will contribute to the labour  market and will also support the economy.

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Ms. Friesen:  But I am reading from lists which indicate that  these are high‑demand skills and that these are areas where there  is active recruitment.  So I simply cannot understand the  minister's response.

      There is no point in talking about creating programs when, in  fact, you have cut a large number of programs.  You are simply  not even replacing the programs that you had.  There is a clear  distinction in the list on high‑demand skills between small  business management, which does include the financial management,  the production management and the bookkeeping, which requires the  computer skills that the minister is talking about, and the  secondary, which is called bookkeeping and accounting, which is a  much lower level of education and which requires the ability to  organize records of transaction to apply principles of costing  and budgeting.  It is an area of skill and demand.  The minister  cut those programs.  Why?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, well, I have provided for the  honourable member all the information that I believe she would  need in order to understand the issue.  I have explained it.  This is now a debate for the Estimates of the '92‑93 year.  If  those concerns were to be raised, they really should have been  raised in last year's Estimates when that was a topic for  discussion.

Ms. Friesen:  The reason I am continuing to raise them is because  in fact we have a smaller community college system now than we  did two years ago, and what we are discussing generally is the  future of the community college system, the scale of it, the way  in which the public sector should be and is not yet meeting the  needs of the 59,000 Manitobans who are unemployed.  That is my  concern.

      The minister's response, and the government's response, in  all of these issues is to say that it has replaced 600 positions  in the community colleges.  When you have cut 2,000, or you have  cut over 1,000 the year before, I think it has to be said over  and over again that this government has reduced the size, the  scale and the ability of the community colleges to meet the needs  of those thousands of people who are unemployed in this province,  and I want to keep making that point.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, let me say again and continue to  say for the benefit of the honourable member and others, that the  full‑time enrollment for '92‑93 reflects the enrollment of two  years ago‑‑so the honourable member is not correct in her  assumptions‑‑and that we have redirected money for programming to  those higher level skills which will allow Manitobans to compete.

      The honourable member wishes to continue focusing on those  lower level skills, she wishes to maintain the status quo, and it  appears that she wishes to particularly keep and make sure that  students continue to study in those particular areas in which  there is not a demand, which, as I said, maintain the status quo,  do not necessarily allow for their further competitiveness in  Manitoba, and therefore does not allow Manitoba to be more  competitive.

      So I will remind her again that the full‑time enrollment for  '92‑93 will reflect the enrollment of two years ago, and that our  programming is designed to put Manitoba, to move Manitobans into  the '90s, to reflect the training culture that we have discussed  while we have been in Estimates and as part of the government's  ongoing activities in strengthening the Manitoba economy by  developing the skill levels of our labour force.  I will remind  her again, as I told her the last time we sat together, that an  extensive review of community college programming was undertaken  in 1991‑‑a review of that programming.

      The aim was to focus on effective and long‑term approaches to  meeting our labour market needs, rather than any short‑term  quick‑fix measures.  I think the honourable member is aware that  we can no longer look backwards; we can no longer look to how we  dealt with economic matters previously and in the past, that the  current thinking is now we have to restructure our thinking.  We  have to now look ahead, and we now have to make decisions which  will move Manitoba and Canada, as a country, into the year 2000.

      The review that I spoke about, part of the process of this  government to meet those new challenges, resulted in a  redirection of programming from those less effective programs to  the ones which would be more effective in addressing the labour  market mismatches and matches.  College programs were evaluated,  as I told her, based on such things as enrollment levels‑‑a very  good indication of levels of interest and suitability‑‑graduation  rates, job placements, projected demands for the graduates, as  well as program costs and effectiveness.

      Some programs, as I told her previously, were eliminated and  many were added.  In 1992‑93, we are proposing a further  expansion, as I have told her several times, of $2.5 million to  college programming in areas which will contribute to the  economic development of this province.

      I have read into the record for her benefit, the new  programming that is available at Red River Community College,  Assiniboine Community College, Keewatin Community College.  I  have also referenced at each of those colleges, the expanded  programs or the modification of those programs which will move  those programs into being programs that are more effective for  Manitoba, moving Manitoba into the year 2000.

Ms. Friesen:  Well, I can understand why this government does not  want to look at its last four years' record.  I think the 60,000  people unemployed in this province do expect some answers on  that.  It seems to me that community colleges is one of the areas  where we can begin to make some inroads into getting people into  areas of employment where there are jobs.  These may be jobs that  seem to be listed here:  the Active Recruitment jobs, those where  there are high demand skills.

        (Mr. Ben Sveinson, Acting Chairperson, in the Chair)

      The minister seems to make the assumption that it is  either/or:  Either you have an entry level clerical course or you  have the higher level skills.  Nobody is objecting to having the  higher level skills, but why are you eliminating the other  programs, the ones that would begin to get people into areas  where there are jobs?  As for the $2.5 million that the minister  keeps making a reference to as an increase in college  programming, it seems to me that does not bring us back even to  the position we were two years ago in the area of the funding for  community colleges.

      So is the minister supporting a policy where we are not  matching jobs and recruitment areas to training programs in our  public institutions?  Is she supporting a policy where the  community colleges are to remain at the level they were two years  ago?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I will remind the member  that this government's position is to restructure the colleges  within the resources available to the Province of Manitoba and to  the people of Manitoba.  We believe that this restructuring has  strengthened the programs.  It has strengthened the programs in  the area of high demand and high marketability, high  employability.

      I will remind her that this approach is significantly  different from the approach of the 1980s when her party was in  power.  Her party spent money to increase the debt of this  province.  They spent money in a jobs fund for short‑term job  creation that did not add to the skills training of this  province, and the colleges during the '80s were stagnant.  I  think that she should remember her government's record.

      I will remind her again that the full‑time enrollment in the  colleges reflects what it was two years ago.  We believe that the  college programming is now stronger.  We believe that the  outcomes are stronger and the planning for the future will again  come through the labour‑market strategy which we have spoken  about during these Estimates, and as the colleges move on to  governance and have a greater opportunity to then develop their  autonomy and be responsive to their communities, then we will  continue to look at the kind of programming available.

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Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I think the review of  college programs and the development of colleges is an important  issue for every government.  I am not opposed to the review.  I  am not opposed to re‑evaluation or to changes in the colleges.  So it is erroneous of the minister to make those kinds of claims.

      I will remind her that there were not 59,000 people in this  province unemployed when the NDP government was in power.  There  were training programs, which as she said, were short term.  I  will remind the minister again that these were short term, but  not short‑sighted policies, to keep people in training, in  education, to give them hope, to give them a sense of  opportunity, the ability to enter at the very beginning level of  the labour force is something which is not available to many of  the constituents that I now have to deal with.

      I do not know if the minister from her riding has to deal  with people like that who have no hope, who have absolutely no  future, and see the continuing and growing lines of waiting lists  at community colleges, who cannot afford the private fees that  are being charged at the secretarial colleges, for example.  To  speak to those people on a daily basis is one of the most  frustrating and the most debilitating parts of being a  representative in Manitoba.

      When I see the community colleges contracting and when I see  high areas of demand and skill levels where there is a turnover  and I see a government which talks with much glee about there not  being poverty in Manitoba, as the Minister of Natural Resources  (Mr. Enns) was saying today, it makes me very, very angry, Mr.  Acting Chairperson.

      Let us look at the North.  Let us look at the native  communities.  The minister says that she wants to make the  colleges more responsive to their communities.

      Could I ask then why‑‑

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Sveinson):  Order, please.  The  honourable Minister of Education on a point of order.

Mrs. Vodrey:  No, Mr. Acting Chairperson, it is simply a response  before we go on to the next question.  I think it is very  important for the member to understand that she certainly does  not own for herself as an MLA the ability to empathize with  people in Manitoba who are in situations of poverty.

      I would like to remind her and state for the record that  certainly the MLAs on this side also have the opportunity to  speak to those Manitobans, and I will speak in terms of my own  constituency and my own background, which has been 15, 17 years  working with those people directly.  Nothing has changed.  I have  spent a great deal of time speaking with people whose situations  are of great concern to me as an individual, to me as an MLA and  minister, and to our government.  That is why our government,  because we are so concerned, because we have a belief that the  situation is one of concern, that we have developed an economic  policy.

      In relation to education, we have done restructuring of the  colleges as we have discussed.  We are making every effort to  provide Manitoba with a trained work force, so that those people  will be very well prepared to assist Manitoba to move into the  1990s.  That is exactly why the colleges were restructured to  give a marketability, high‑quality education that will not only  assist the students themselves, but to assist the economy of the  province.

      I would like to say that our solutions are not short term,  quick fix.  They are not band‑aid solutions.  They are long‑term  cures.  They are the effort of this government to deal with those  very real issues which we recognize also as being very important.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, let us look then at the  northern college, at Keewatin Community College, and to look at  the programs that were cut there.  Small motors, for example, was  eliminated, and yet when I look at page 6 of the report, High  Demand Occupations, in native communities, one of the things  which is talked about there is certified trade persons, plumbers,  electricians, carpenters.  Yet plumbing, carpentry and small  motors were all eliminated.  Why is that?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I will remind the member  that the appropriation for Keewatin Community College is 16‑5(e),  and issues relating to its program would be best discussed under  its appropriation.

Ms. Friesen:  As the minister so often said, we are looking at  cuts which were made two years ago.  So we are talking, in broad  terms, about the policy guidelines for the colleges as they move  to governance.

      Appropriation 16‑5(b) looks at the overall policy and program  changes in response to government objectives.  It also looks at  research and analysis on the labour market.  It seems to me that  is what I am talking about here, is the match between the labour  market, the skills and the occupations that are in demand  according to the minister's own reports, and the kind of programs  which have been discontinued at community colleges.  So I submit  that this is a policy issue we are looking at, and I would like  to discuss it under this area.

Mrs. Vodrey:  If the member's remarks are referenced in Hansard,  we will see that she specifically referenced Keewatin Community  College and programming in the North.  That is most effectively  discussed under its appropriation, 16‑5(e).

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, we have been talking for  some time about Red River Community College, which also has a  different appropriation line.  I wonder why the minister was  prepared to discuss Red River but is not now prepared to discuss  Keewatin.

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Sveinson):  If we are going to move  these Estimates at all, perhaps we could agree to disagree, to  some degree, and continue on in the sections that we are, and in  fact the member for Wolseley will be able to ask her questions as  far as the‑‑

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Acting Chairperson, on a point of  order.

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Sveinson):  When I am finished,  member for Osborne.

      Just so long as we can move along without arguing, in fact,  which section we are in.


Point of Order


Mr. Alcock:  We are discussing a policy analysis section of the  department.  It has been the tradition in this House that debate  on that, because such a branch has a wide‑ranging responsibility,  we have discussed often the actions of a variety of institutions  and organizations.  We have been discussing that for two days  now, and I think the questions that the member for Wolseley is  asking are quite in order and quite appropriate.  There is no  need to pass this particular section in order to have this  discussion.

      If the minister is afraid to answer the questions‑‑

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The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Sveinson):  Order, please.


Point of Order


Mrs. Vodrey:  On a point of order, Mr. Acting Chairperson.  Those  remarks are extremely personal, they are attributing a motivation  and they have no place in these Estimates debates.

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Sveinson):  Order, please.  I  recognize the point of order brought up by the Minister of  Education.  On that point of order, I would simply ask the  members within the Assembly to choose their wording well, and we  will proceed from there.

      It is the normal practice of the committee to go line by line  through the Estimates.  We do, in fact, also try to offer some  latitude in the questions.  At this point, I would ask the member  to try to stick a little closer to the lines that we are in fact  examining at this point.

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Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Acting  Chairperson, I was momentarily called out of the House, but it is  also a long tradition of this House that all members have an  opportunity to engage in the discussions of the Estimates.  I  wonder if you could, for my benefit, tell me which particular  line we are on?

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Sveinson):  Item 5.(b)(1) Salaries.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I thought that I had the  floor, and I thought I had posed a question to the minister  dealing with overall policy about community colleges and about  courses which had been cut in areas where jobs appear to be  available, according to her own reports.

      So I will restate that, asking why courses were cut in small  motors, carpentry, plumbing two years ago, Keewatin Community  College, when her own report says that certified tradespersons,  plumbers, electricians and carpenters were high‑demand  occupations in native communities?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, again I maintain that these  are program decisions, not policy decisions.  These are best  discussed under the appropriation 16‑5(e).

      However, for the honourable member's benefit, in this case, I  would like to note that the programs she has referred to were  funded under the Limestone Training agreement.  Their mandate has  ended, and there were significant difficulties within the mandate  of the Limestone Training agreement.  Students very rarely  progress beyond Level I or Level II, and for her information,  approximately 30 of 1,500 students obtained trades  qualifications.  This was an NDP approach.  It did not work.

      This government is now consulting through the Northern  Development Commission.  We believe as the colleges move to  governance that we will, as I said previously, offer a stronger  mix of programs and that we will be able to work through the  governance process in a much stronger way to meet the needs of  the North.

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Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, we are discussing options  for policy and program changes, as it says under appropriation  16‑5(b).  Continuing on that line, it seems to me that as I  looked at the document that the minister tabled, the 1991‑92  community college program reductions, the alternative programs  which were proposed in that document, for example, the small  motors at Keewatin Community College, was in fact correspondence  or Red River Community College, which was also the alternative  proposed for carpentry and for plumbing.

      Could I ask the minister whether that is still their policy,  that people in the North who are no longer served by the programs  which have been cut by this government are to apply to  correspondence schools or to come to Winnipeg?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, well, it is very important  for programs to be offered where the demand is sufficient and  where the resources are available.  We have worked very hard to  ensure that there is a high quality of programming in the North,  but as I told the member in my last answer, the funding under the  Limestone Agreement has expired.  In making decisions about  programs, following that expiry, we also looked at graduation  rates, we looked at the employment opportunities and we looked at  other related factors in making those decisions.

      I would remind the member the programs that she referenced  are approximately six or eight programs out of approximately 50  programs.  The other programs are continuing, and in addition to  their continuing, I would like to tell her again the programs  that we have added at Keewatin Community College.  We have added  business administration, small business management, computer  applications, hospitality management, forestry technician, pulp  and paper technician.

      I think, with the level of programming that we have and the  new programming, that we are showing we do have a commitment and  are attempting to be responsive to the needs in the North.

Ms. Friesen:  What I am trying to do is to reconcile the research  within, I guess this is Manitoba Education and Training and  Employment and Immigration Canada, which list the following  skills and occupations required in native communities and  reserves and as high‑demand occupations in Manitoba:  alcohol and  drug abuse counsellor, community development worker, nurses,  teachers, social workers, Child and Family Services workers,  management skills, certified tradespersons‑‑plumber, electrician  and carpenter.

      The programs which the minister listed as having been added,  the business skills and the one or two others, would come under  the category of management skills, community and private  organizations.  There is one element there that the government  has matched up its new programs to the high demand.  What I am  looking at is you actually cancelled ones in other areas.  That  is what puzzles me.  Even on your own list, the small motors is  listed as a medium to high demand as it is being cut, and  students are being offered private delivery or alternate programs  under correspondence or Red River Community College.

      I am asking, is that still the government policy, that in  technical areas correspondence programs are seen as a suitable  alternative, and a second alternative is to expect the students  to move into Winnipeg?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I will again remind the honourable member that some  of these may be discussed fully under other appropriations,  because when we get to those appropriations I think she will find  that some programming and related types of programming are  delivered through other parts of the Department of Education, and  I reference particularly the New Careers Program which is  discussed under 16‑5(n), and by way of example the retail  management and alcohol counsellors program.  I reference also the  KCC nursing program, the Northern Bachelor of Nursing Program  with the Swampy Cree Tribal Council and the BUNTEP program, and  the Natural Resources officers program.

      Then I will also tell her that some of the specific programs  which she has also referenced, there was an extremely low  graduation rate.  I gave some samples of numbers, approximately  30 out of 1,500 actually completed the program; however, since  those programs are not offered under their previous place, we  also have some information that says there has been no reduction  in the usual level of apprenticeship funded under Employment and  Immigration Canada.

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      Secondly, I would like to also reference that as we have  talked about during these Estimates, I will be signing shortly a  new Canada‑Manitoba Labour Force Development Agreement.  Within  that agreement there will be special measures looking at the  participation rate and the success rate for aboriginal  Manitobans, and that we are looking to new approaches, that the  previous approaches of the NDP government did not work.  The  numbers speak for themselves.  We now need to look for a new way  to involve aboriginal Manitobans in the trades.  We will be  looking for ways to do that partly through the new agreement.

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Sveinson):  Order, please.  The hour  being 5 p.m. and time for private members' hour, committee rise.

      Call in the Speaker.




Mr. Speaker:  The hour being 5 p.m., time for private members'  hour.


Committee Report


Mr. Ben Sveinson (Acting Chairperson of Committees):  Mr.  Speaker, the Committee of Supply has adopted certain resolutions,  directs me to report progress and asks leave to sit again.  I  move, seconded by the honourable member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer),  that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

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Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock?  [Agreed]

      The hour being 6 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands  adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.