Tuesday, May 19, 1992


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the  petition of Ron Samchuk, Margaret Samchuk, Albert C. Billaney and  others requesting the provincial government reconsider its  decision and return the Manitoba Heritage Federation's granting  authority.




Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable  member for Transcona (Mr. Reid).  It complies with the privileges  and the practices of the House and complies with the rules (by  leave).  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:

      Domestic abuse is a crime abhorred by all good citizens of  our society, but nonetheless it exists in today's world; and

      Violence against women and children in the domestic setting  is on the increase; and

      Often it is desirable for the victims of domestic abuse to  leave the scene of the abuse and seek shelter elsewhere; and

      It is the policy of the current government to limit refuge to  victims of domestic abuse to a 10‑day stay in shelters;

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislature  of the Province of Manitoba may be pleased to request that the  government of Manitoba increase the initial allowable stay for  victims of domestic violence at a safe shelter from the current  10 days to 30 days.

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      I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member for  Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), and it complies with the  privileges and practices of the House and complies with the  rules.  Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?

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

      The Brandon General Hospital is the major health care  institution for southwestern Manitoba; and

      The citizens of Brandon and southwestern Manitoba are deeply  concerned and disturbed about the downsizing of the hospital and  view it as a threat to the quality of health care in the region;  and

      The Manitoba government has chosen not to review the current  budget to ensure that cutbacks to vital services do not occur; and

      The administration of the hospital has been forced to take  drastic measures including the elimination of the Palliative Care  Unit and gynecological wards, along with the layoff of over 30  staff, mainly licensed practical nurses, to cope with a funding  shortfall of over $1.3 million; and

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislature  of the Province of Manitoba may be pleased to request that the  government of Manitoba consider reviewing the funding of the  Brandon General Hospital.




Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments):  I beg to present the Second Report of the Standing  Committee on Law Amendments.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Your Standing Committee on Law  Amendments presents the following as its Second Report.

      Your committee met on Thursday, May 14, 1992, at 10 a.m. in  Room 255 of the Legislative Building to consider bills referred.

      Your committee has considered:

      Bill 6, The Denturists Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi  sur les denturologistes;

      Bill 38, The Manitoba Evidence Amendment Act; Loi modifiant  la Loi sur la preuve au Manitoba;

      Bill 48, The Personal Propoerty Security Amendment Act; Loi  modifiant la Loi sur les suretes relatives aux biens personnels;

      Bill 68, The Public Trustee Amendment, Trustee Amendment and  Child and Family Services Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur  le curateur public, la Loi sur les fiduciaires et la Loi sur les  services a l'enfant et a la famille;

        and has agreed to report same without amendment.

      All of which is respectfully submitted.

Mrs. Dacquay:  I move, seconded by the honourable member for La  Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson), that the report of the committee be  received.

Motion agreed to.




Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  I have a statement to make with  copies for members opposite.

      Last week's Western Premiers' Conference in British Columbia  was one of the most productive and important in recent years.  Consensus was reached on a wide range of issues.  My colleagues  and I issued nine communiques at the end of our conference.  Copies have been distributed with the text of these notes.

      The meeting began with a strong reaffirmation of the value of  co‑operation among the western provinces and the territories  which are now full participants in western Premiers'  conferences.  We concluded with a firm and clear statement on  western and territorial constitutional priorities, stressing that  the concerns of the west and the North must not take a back seat  to those of other provinces and regions in the current round of  constitutional discussions.

      Communique No. 1 outlines the Premiers' commitment to a  co‑operative and co‑ordinated approach to economic  diversification, the delivery of public services and national  policy issues of significance to western and northern Canada.

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      Communique No. 2, headed Better Government, deals with the  need for improved financial management and more effective  delivery of public services.  It draws attention once again to  the problems of federal offloading and of overlap and duplication  between federal and provincial services.  The western Finance  ministers are being asked to resume their work on these concerns  and to prepare a report by the middle of August.  Joint work will  also be undertaken on improving the quality of service to the  public.

      Communique No. 3, on economic co‑operation, sets out several  key priorities for developing and diversifying the western  Canadian economy.  Improved electrical interconnections, a  longstanding priority for our province, are at the top of the  list.  Major initiatives and advanced technology are also  identified, and I am pleased to note that the Premiers supported  our efforts to reactivate the Churchill rocket range.

      This communique also calls for an early announcement of  federal plans for the national highways program.  It notes that a  positive start‑up decision this month would ensure additional  construction activity and employment this summer.  The communique  also notes the progress which has been made by the four western  provinces in reducing trade barriers in recent years and commits  all governments to expand those efforts.  It also reaffirms  support for a possible agreement on the elimination of  destructive competition for investment.

      We had hoped for greater progress on these issues, but they  are difficult ones.  I believe there is a good chance for  significant progress in the coming months.

      Communique No. 4, on international trade, deals with several  current concerns, including the importance of formalizing the  provinces' role in international treaty making and implementation  where areas of provincial constitutional responsibility are  involved.  Reference is also made to the possibility of a joint  western Premiers' trade mission to the Asia‑Pacific region in the  next year.

      Communique No. 5, on agriculture, establishes a comprehensive  work program for western Agriculture ministers on such issues as  GATT, farm income and farm financing and grain transportation.  This communique also contains a strong statement of support by  the western Premiers for the Port of Churchill.  It urges federal  authorities to ensure that Churchill's viability is maintained.

      Communique No. 6, on rural and urban communities, commits the  western provinces and territories to working together to deal  with the problems of rural and urban development.

      Communique No. 7, on health care reform, summarizes one of  our most important and strongest areas of agreement.  We intend  to work very closely with the other western provinces and  territories to reform health care delivery.  I have advised my  colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) that his strategy  paper on Quality Health for Manitobans attracted considerable  interest at the conference and has been referred to the Health  ministers for discussion.

      Communique No. 8, on training and education, calls for joint  work on improved training strategies and on education reform.  Much of this work is to be completed this summer for review at  the annual Premiers' conference in Prince Edward Island in August.

      Finally, Communique No. 9, on constitutional matters,  emphasizes, quote:  ". . . that this round of negotiations must  be truly 'the Canada round', wherein the issues of concern to the  West, as well as those of other Canadians, have to be addressed."

      The communique identifies several major western priorities,  including fundamental Senate reform, such as Triple‑E, and has  strengthened equalization provision and protection against  unilateral federal changes in transfers for health, education and  social services.

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      The discussions in British Columbia last week were positive  and encouraging.  Partisan considerations were set aside in  favour of principle and co‑operation.  As I said in Vancouver at  the end of the conference, despite some disagreements on  individual topics, we were able to find a great deal of common  ground.  Because that agreement crosses party lines, it will be  stronger in its impact, and I believe it will be listened to  carefully in Ottawa and right across the country.  Thank you, Mr.  Speaker.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  I would like to  respond to the statement of the Premier today in the House.  We  are absolutely delighted with the changed tone in the statement  produced by the Premier today in this Chamber, of co‑operation,  consensus, working together, economic renewal, revitalization and  all the words, Mr. Speaker, that we asked the Premier to take to  the table last week in the area of economic development for  western Canada.

      Last week, of course, the Premier responded in a very  partisan way, talking about how terrible it was in New Democratic  provinces to the west of us‑‑[interjection] Well, there he goes  again, Mr. Speaker.  The sentence after he talks about being  nonpartisan, he just has to chirp up in his usual partisan way.

      Mr. Speaker, we asked this Premier to go to that western  Premiers' meeting because we have a very serious situation in  western Canada right now.  We have the situation of the tale of  two regions in western Canada.  We have a booming British  Columbia with increased members of the labour force, increased  members of population, decreased unemployment, increased members  of people working, increased investment, increased tourism,  increases in all the economic factors that are important to the  quality of life and job opportunities for people.

      We have a modest increase in Alberta‑‑very, very modest.  We  have declines that have taken place in the last four years in  Manitoba and Saskatchewan, declines in labour force members,  last‑place finishes by this government in terms of gross domestic  product, in terms of our economy, poverty numbers that should be  a scandal for any government and any Premier.

      That is why, Mr. Speaker, we ask this Premier to truly go to  those meetings in a co‑operative consensus way, rather than the  comments we had from the Premier last week on page 3268:  ". . .  we do not need any advice from New Democratic governments who are  destroying provinces right across this country."

      So the Premier, I am pleased he has come back with a much  more positive response because, as the Premier has noted, we must  rely on each other in western Canada.  We cannot rely on the  federal Conservative government which has decreased the  infrastructure in western Canada, whether it is transportation,  whether it is telecommunications policy, whether it is rural  economic initiatives from post offices to other initiatives and  has decreased the opportunity for western Canadians and  offloaded‑‑as the Premier has noted in his statement.

      So the real villain in Canada and western Canada is rightly  stated by the Premier in his page 2 statement.  The real villain  of our country is the Progressive Conservative Prime Minister  Brian Mulroney who has offloaded year after year and day after  day on western Canada.  I am glad the western Premiers are going  to deal with the real factor of our decline in our economy in  terms of western Canada.

      Dealing with the specifics, as I say, we asked the government  to take a co‑operative approach.  We are pleased that they are  going to take one.  We think that there has to be more  co‑ordinated approach to offloading from the federal government.  It is much better for all of us to talk when the federal budget  is announced in a co‑ordinated way.

      We would note in the last federal budget, the Premier of  Manitoba and the Premier of Alberta spoke one way.  The Premier  of Saskatchewan and the Premier of British Columbia spoke in  opposition to the federal budget of Don Mazankowski.  I think it  is better to have a co‑ordinated approach with the thousands and  hundreds of thousands of people who do not have jobs and the tens  of thousands who do not have jobs in Manitoba.

      We are absolutely pleased that the government is looking at a  number of co‑operative efforts that will be important for us in  western Canada.  We always thought that Grant Devine was making a  mistake with the Shand development, Mr. Speaker, in terms of  electric development.  The Rafferty‑Alameda scandal, which we  still oppose, was not a good idea for western Canada.  We are  pleased that they are looking at a western Canadian grid.

      We are also pleased that we are working together on the  Churchill rocket range.  My colleagues and I were in Churchill  last week, and indeed we are competing with Alaska on that rocket  range.  We understand, certainly, that the government is working  on a rocket range in Churchill.  We would work very closely with  the government and support the government on that potential  development.

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      Dealing with some of the other communiques, Mr. Speaker, we  note the government has dealt with international trade.  I would  say that there is a fundamental difference of opinion between  this Premier and the Premiers of other western Canadian  provinces.  The Premier of Saskatchewan and the Premier of  British Columbia have called on a full stop to free trade  negotiations with Mexico because of its impact on agriculture,  textiles and other industries.  This Premier has gone from being  opposed to trade with Mexico to having the conditional trading  agreement with Mexico.

      Mr. Speaker, we applaud the government's effort to work on a  comprehensive approach on agriculture.  It is again another prime  example where the federal government, in competing with the  American treasury and, unfortunately, the European treasury, has  got into a situation where the federal government has been  allowed with their tripartite programs to offload onto the  western Canadian taxpayers and onto the western Canadian  treasuries.  We believe strongly that all western provinces  should work together to have a national agricultural support  program, because we believe international trade and its national  ramifications should be dealt with by the national government,  not again offloaded onto the prairie provinces.

      In terms of the Port of Churchill, Mr. Speaker, again we  think there is some renewed enthusiasm for the Port of  Churchill.  The minister had other Saskatchewan ministers at the  last Hudson Bay Route Association meeting which is a change from  past years, as our Minister of Transportation (Mr. Driedger)  notes, and there are no ships yet confirmed for the Port of  Churchill.  We hope that the announcement of the grain sale last  week which has not been formally confirmed yet, the massive grain  sale to the Soviet Union, will be used by this government to  enhance the use of the Port of Churchill and the tremendous  facilities that are there ready, willing and able to ship western  Canadian wheat from our producers to our markets abroad.

      Dealing with health care reform, Mr. Speaker, we certainly  would like the western provinces to work together in a close  way.  It is absolutely essential that we not have two conflicting  agendas all under the same rubric.  It is important that we do  have a reform agenda, a true reform agenda for health care.  Western Canadians have been well served by the fact that  Saskatchewan started the medicare program years ago.  The New  Democratic government started it years ago.  Manitoba was the  first province to get rid of health care premiums.  Saskatchewan  was the second.

      It is important that we reform the system, and we will work  with the government.  Any change in health care‑‑just as in the  early '80s when we reduced health care beds by 100, we made sure  that there was outpatient surgery and day surgery to replace  those beds.  We will ask questions from this government to ensure  that there is real reform and not real rhetoric in terms of  health care and our quality of health care in this province.

      In conclusion, Mr. Speaker‑‑this is a long  communique‑‑education and training, we would ask the government  to return the $10 million they cut out of the post‑secondary  colleges.  They have returned $1 million to it.  They cannot sign  communiques in the morning and cut $9 million out of  post‑secondary training and education in this province and have  any credibility with any members in this Chamber.

      Finally, Mr. Speaker, we would applaud the provincial  Premiers in working together on a constitutional resolution, and  I would again remind the Premier that the No. 1 issue in all the  public hearings in Manitoba was the need and desire to keep a  strong federal government with the ability to work with all  regions in this country.  We hope the Premier is remembering the  No. 1 priority, the people of this province, a strong national  Canadian government as part of any constitutional reform in this  province.  Thank you very much.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, I am delighted that the Premier was able to report to  us, but less delighted to see that he is limping a little bit  more.  I think we have to keep him out of British Columbia,  because that seems to be where he has the biggest problems with  his ankle.

      Mr. Speaker, much of what the Premier has stated in his  communique today is very positive.  I think that there are a  number of initiatives, which have been announced, which will bode  well not only for Manitobans, but indeed all western Canadians.  I would like to begin specifically with the Communique No. 2  headed Better Government.  I want to raise a concern, and that is  that what we are debating at the present time at the  constitutional table seems to be the distribution of powers.  In  this particular communique, the First Ministers of the four  western provinces seem to be referring to the offloading and  indeed the overlapping of services, and yet their report is not  to come in until August.

      It would seem to me that while we are debating powers is the  time when it is most important for us to have this report,  because if we are going to talk about a change of powers, we as  one of those western provinces, should have the data at our  fingertips so that we know what would be in our best interest; to  work co‑operatively and taking a power potentially from the  federal government, or in fact giving a power back to the federal  government, if that could end the duplication and the overlapping  which everybody talks about but nobody wants to document.

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      Well, I am glad to see that it is being documented, but I am  concerned that the documentation is going to occur perhaps after  we have dealt some of those powers away.  So I would urge caution  on the part of our First Minister and other First Ministers to  make sure that that timing does not occur as it would appear in  his communique.  Obviously, we welcome the possibility of an  early announcement of federal plans for a national highways  program and would hope very much that those potential jobs would  be available this summer and into the early fall.  It may indeed  be a wish on the part of the Premiers but may not turn into a  reality, since the federal government seems less than willing at  this point to promote their national highways program in a fast  track position.

      As to communication No. 4 on International Trade, they have  dealt very specifically with the importance of formalizing the  province's role in international treaty making.  As the Premier  (Mr. Filmon) has indicated over and over again in this House, the  provinces could be opposed to any international trade agreement,  and indeed all 10 provinces and two territories could be opposed  to any international trade agreement.

      That would not prevent, except in a moral suasion type of  way, the federal government from signing such an international  treaty, because the bottom line is that treaties are within the  purview, constitutionally, of the federal government.  I think  that if the Premiers are looking at some type of mechanization  whereby some, at least, majority provincial participation and  acceptance might be necessary, I think this may bode well before  we get into a future down‑the‑road impact.

      I refer specifically to the sections having to deal with free  trade agreements which are in the purview of the provinces, and  that is consistently the retraining portions, the employability  portions, which we know have been adversely affected by the  U.S.‑Canada Free Trade Agreement and will be even more adversely  affected by the North American free trade agreement with Mexico.  The provinces are on the sidelines watching this happen, knowing  that they are going to have to provide the monies for retraining  and yet having no say whatsoever in what the federal government  ultimately is going to decide.

      If the Premiers are looking towards some form of provincial  participation to a greater degree in the input of these treaties  or decisions with regard to negating those treaties, I see that  as a positive move.

      The fifth communique deals with the Port of Churchill.  Obviously that has to be welcome news to everyone who lives in  the province of Manitoba.  He speaks about the fact that western  agricultural ministers are prepared to work more closely  together, but bear in mind that what is happening, particularly  in Alberta, is rich programs in agriculture, which we simply  cannot meet in the Province of Manitoba and to some degree also  in the Province of Saskatchewan.  That has consistently impacted  very unfairly on the provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan,  whose budgets, quite frankly, are not as full as has been in the  past in the budget of the Province of Alberta.

      Finally, I would like to comment specifically on the health  care reform.  It is delightful to see that there is a positive  message coming from the Premiers about the need for the reform of  the health care delivery system.  We saw in the announcement of  our Health ministry on Thursday, a positive move in that  direction.  I was interested in seeing a full‑page ad taken by  the B.C. government advertising for a number of community‑based  facilities and community‑based staffing which are going to be  required in order to meet that reformed health care system.

      We looked with interest, and to some dismay, at some  decisions made in provinces like Saskatchewan which are  deinsuring certain services, because we do not believe that that  is the direction to go.  What we believe the direction is, is  genuine reform of the health care system, not the imposition of  user fees, not the deinsuring of certain services.  We hope that  the provinces will in fact work together to ensure that the five  principles of health care are maintained in all four western  provinces, this one taking a lead role in this particular  initiative.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention  of all honourable members to the gallery, where we have with us  this afternoon, from the Park La Salle School, forty‑two Grade 5  students.  They are under the direction of Nancy Krueger.  This  school is located in the constituency of the honourable member  for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau).

      Also this afternoon, we have twenty‑five journalism students  from the Red River Community College, and they are under the  direction of Mr. Donald Benham.

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




Department of Government Services

Director of Leasing Dismissal


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, in early  March the RCMP raided one of the Government Services offices, and  they seized a number of contracts, invoices, tendering material,  construction reports, audit reports, lease agreements, et cetera,  of two buildings:  one 280 Broadway and one 85 Smith Street.  One  of the buildings, 280 Broadway, was the subject of discussion in  this Chamber and the subject of special audit by the Provincial  Auditor.

      Mr. Speaker, we have been raising a number of questions on  this issue for the last number of months.  We are very concerned  about this investigation and the impact this will have on the  people of Manitoba.  I would like to ask the Premier if he could  advise Manitobans that the director of leasing, one of the  integral persons involved in the original 280 Broadway decision,  has been dismissed last week by the provincial government.  Can  the Premier tell us the reasons for that dismissal?

Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister of Government Services):  First of  all, it is true the director of leasing was dismissed last week  at the advice of Civil Service Commission.  It was not as a  result of the RCMP investigation, because that is still being  carried out.

      As the member opposite is aware, part of the process and the  process in place is the Civil Service Commission makes a  recommendation.  That recommendation has been carried out by my  staff.


Leasing Branch

Report Release


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, the  government now has two reports:  one from the Civil Service  Commission and one an internal audit from their own Government  Services Department.  The government has not yet released or made  public any of the reasons for the internal audit or the special  investigation by the Civil Service Commission.

      In that most of the issues related to the government leasing  impact upon the Treasury Department of government in terms of the  authority that these people allegedly had or did not have, I  would like to ask the minister whether he will make public both  the Civil Service report and the Internal Audit report because  they do pertain to the public trust.  They do pertain to a  relationship between this person and the Treasury Board which  authorized the 280 Broadway decision last year.  Mr. Speaker,  will the government release those reports so that we will not  have to continue to ferret out this information, but will know it  in a full and public way as the public should have?

Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister of Government Services):  Mr.  Speaker, finally, the member from across the way realizes that it  was an employee.  There was no landlord involved in this  particular issue.  The employee was carrying on the same  authorization policy that was by the previous administration.  The employee, according to Civil Service Commission, violated  that.

      We are still waiting for the RCMP report, and as we receive  those reports, I will be going through those with my  administration.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, the government will acknowledge that this  person was reporting directly to Treasury Board.  In fact, last  year in Hansard, the Premier (Mr. Filmon) was quoted on a number  of occasions as citing the director of Government Leasing as the  rationale for taking certain decisions in government.

      The minister has indicated that they are also investigating  another hundred leases that were conducted by this individual,  the director of leasing.  Mr. Speaker, who is investigating the  relationship between the Treasury Board and the director of  leasing who has been dismissed by government?

Mr. Ducharme:  First of all, Mr. Speaker, the person involved was  reporting directly to the minister and to the deputy minister in  regard to these leases.  We found no further indications of any  other leases so far.  We have 120 leases almost every year as  done by my staff.

      In this particular case, unfortunately, the member violated  his role and his position, and that is what I stressed a month  and a half ago when it was first brought up in this House.  I  answered those questions to the member of the opposition.  At  that time, he insisted the landlord was involved.  We insisted,  no.  It was an employee who was involved, who violated his  position, as the rule and at the recommendation, I repeat, by  Civil Service Commission, was let go by our department last week.

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Government Policy


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

      There is a great deal of uncertainty respecting the  application of the law relating to pornography.  We now have the  Supreme Court ruling, but we have no provincial policy with  respect to the law against pornography.

      When will this government reveal its policy on pornography so  the public will have some protection and the police will have  something to work with regarding this kind of material?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I remind the member for  Kildonan that it was this government that took this matter to the  Court of Appeal to ensure that we could indeed prosecute porn and  video shop owners under legislation and that it was as a result  of that that the obscenity laws were upheld, because this  province took that appeal to try and ensure that this kind of  reprehensible material was not available in this province.  With  respect to the remainder of this question, I will take that as  notice on behalf of the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae).

Mr. Chomiak:  My supplementary to the Premier:  Why is it taking  so long since the Supreme Court ruling, since it was reported in  early March that the Crown Attorneys were meeting for two weeks  in order to outline and determine this policy?  It is now May 18,  and we still have no policy.

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I know that the critic for the  opposition wants to be sure that whatever guidelines that are put  in place are enforceable so that we do not run into a situation,  as has happened in other jurisdictions, where the laws were  overturned or thrown out by the courts because of insufficient  guidelines.  That is the reason that adequate time is being taken  to ensure that they will be legally enforceable and understood by  those who have to make those decisions.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the  Premier:  Will the Premier commit to a time line to specifically  outline when the policy will be in place so that the police can  have something to work on, since they have indicated in the media  that they are not prepared to act, they are not able to act until  they hear what the provincial policy is?  Will the Premier commit  to a time line, say the end of the week?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I will take that question as notice on  behalf of the Justice minister.


Health Care System Reform

Monitor's Mandate


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, my questions are to the Minister of Health.

      Last week the minister released his plan for reform of  Manitoba's health care system, and we in the Liberal Party  welcomed the goals and principles of that plan.  We began  offering our ideas on how we felt they could be better  implemented.  We suggested, at that time, that the progress of  reform be evaluated by an independent health reform monitor who  would report to the public.

      Today we would like to make a further suggestion.  The  minister has joined many experts in acknowledging that health is  more than sickness care; that it also is a reflection of life  style, of education, of socioeconomic status, of the environment  and one's awareness of how to stay healthy.

      My question to the minister is the following:  Will he expand  the mandate of the body, which will monitor the progress and  impact of the reforms to include all departments and activities  of government in order to make proposals on how they, too, can be  brought in line with health reform goals?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, as  discussed on Thursday of last week in terms of the suggestion on  the evaluation component and how it might serve the purpose of  the Legislature, I have taken very seriously under advisement.

      This suggestion, Mr. Speaker, really embodies the Population  Health:  Major Determinants graph on page 9 of the strategy paper  and is preceded by the establishment of the Healthy Public Policy  committee of government at the deputy minister's level.  The  activities of the Healthy Public Policy committee are basically  to attempt to bring together government through varying  departments to assure that our separate activities are  interconnected in that we develop the policies knowing full well  the impact on Education may well spin back on Health.  Certainly  the impact of Industry, Trade and Tourism, in terms of the  economic environment, spin directly back on health, because I  think it is clear in here that income directly relates to higher  health status.

      So, Mr. Speaker, during the course of the next number of  months, I would anticipate that there will be a number of  opportunities in which interrelated policy initiatives of  government, stimulated by Healthy Public Policy considerations  across departmental jurisdictions, will be the order of the day.

      In terms of the specific suggestion of lining those two  together, that may have value, although I want to assure my  honourable friend that the analysis by the expert group to  determine health outcome and maintenance of health status is  clinically related to the changes in the health care system  itself and not involving other departments and may not have a  natural fit, Sir.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, what we are maintaining is that it  must have a natural fit.  I would like to give the minister two  very specific examples.

      We have a minister responsible for the Liquor Control  Commission who could be doing far more in the way of preventing  fetal alcohol syndrome, which is a health disorder, but it is  related to the consumption of alcohol.  If the minister  responsible for the Liquor Control Commission would in fact do  some public policy and public education and put signs up in  liquor stores, we would in fact go some way to preventing this  dreadful affliction.

      In addition, we have the Minister of Family Services (Mr.  Gilleshammer) who is now negotiating with the City of Winnipeg  and other municipalities, and the option that the province is  presenting is actually going to result in less money for food for  89 percent of the social recipients in the province of Manitoba.

      Can the minister tell us why he does not believe that it is  not a perfect fit, a marriage, if you will, made in heaven of  merging these things together in order to ensure that health care  becomes a dominant policy in all departments?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I am not arguing with the proposition  that those departmental initiatives and many more have a direct  impact on health status and cost in the health care system.  I do  not want to argue about that at all.  What I am saying to my  honourable friend is that we intend, as outlined, I believe, on  page 31 of the strategy document, to establish a very close  monitoring system to assure maintenance and hopefully improvement  of health status as we change the focus of where we deliver  needed health services, away from high‑cost institution to more  community‑based care.

      That, Sir, is a specific delegated mandate because, as my  honourable friend so correctly pointed out, the change in the  health care system, as announced in the action plan, can become a  political football.  Assurance by experts as to how the change  from physician‑driven, institutional‑based care to  community‑based care is a very important component of achieving  reform that, I think, for 20 years has been discussed, talked  about but never implemented.  That is where we need the expert  opinion, to assure Manitobans that a perchance speculation about  the outcome of change in the health care system may be  inappropriate, in fact outright wrong, and hence move the system  closer to a more kind and caring system, providing care closer to  home.

      That, Sir, is a separate function narrowed to the reform  process in health care.

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Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why we feel that  there is a need for broader monitoring.  We know that because  this can be such a political football that any issue can be  raised and said that "the system is not working because of," "the  system is not working because of," and we want to ensure that in  fact this reform process does work, and does work to the best  interest of Manitobans.

      The other issue that concerns us that we would like to see  also in a broader monitoring aspect is the health care  professionals who will be moved from their current jobs, and many  will indeed lose their jobs.  Will the minister add to the  mandate of the health reform monitor the responsibility to act as  a watchdog over the shifts in personnel requirements, to make  recommendations for retraining, if necessary, of any displaced  professionals so that the talents and dedication of all of them  are retrained in this new structure of health care in the  province of Manitoba?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, when we announced the reform of the  mental health system in January of this year, one of the very  first initiatives that took place was a bringing together of  individuals representing workers, representing professional  disciplines, unions, to discuss the needs of caregivers in the  changing environment of reform mental health system, i.e., to  look for opportunities for redeployment of those same individuals  and indeed to suggest to government ways and means of improving,  retraining opportunities for those who may be displaced within  the reform of the mental health system.

      Mr. Speaker, the same process is envisioned to be fully part  of the next two years within the reform of the acute care side of  the health care system, where unions, professional groups, will  work with government in efforts of redeployment, retraining and  other necessary efforts to preserve the integrity of quality  caregivers and their contribution towards a reformed health care  system.


Health Advisory Network

Report Release


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  We will continue to ask  questions to get specific details about government's plans with  respect to health care reform.  We have said we support the  general principles of this document, but we reserve judgment.  We  reserve judgment on the action plan because we still have not  found the action plan.

      The details are a mystery, Mr. Speaker.  Many of the details  are buried on the minister's desk because he continues to sit on  reports that he has received in final format from his Health  Advisory Network, which contained hundreds of detailed  recommendations.

      My question to the Minister of Health is:  Will he, in the  interests of partnership that he talks about in this document,  release the five final reports from the Health Advisory Network?  Those reports are on home care, the elderly and prevention, the  elderly and promotion, health information systems, and our rural  health systems.  Would he release those reports and tell us his  action plans for those reports?

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

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  Mr. Speaker, that is the answer we have been  hearing for months and months and months‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  Put your question, please.


Home Care Program



Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Let me ask a specific  question.  Since this report, this great action plan, talks about  community care and home care without giving any details, could  the minister tell us specifically how he is responding to the 31  recommendations of the Health Advisory Network report on home  care which has been sitting on his desk in final format for a  year now?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, in part,  the response to that report was reflected in a significant  budgetary increase to the Continuing Care Program, wherein it  went from $55 million last year to a budgeted expenditure of $62  million this year, a very significant increase, part of which  will help us to meet some of the recommendations that were made  in the report referred to.


Home Care Program



Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, would the  minister tell us why, even with this kind of promised increase,  he is not increasing assessors and co‑ordinators in the Home Care  Program, causing an incredible burden and possible devastating  impact on this very serious community‑based program to the point  where, as this reports says, severe understaffing of the Home  Care Program has been caused by increased demands without  resources, resulting in high demand, high pressure and high  potential for staff burnout within the program?  How is he  addressing that situation?  What is his‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, if one  were to close one's eyes and go back for at least a period of  time in the last four years, one would have heard the same kind  of comments made by my honourable friend.  The fact of the matter  is that the Continuing Care Program has managed within the  personnel and staffing resources to continue ever‑increasing care  delivery in a system much more effectively than any other  continuing care program probably in the nation of Canada, a  record we all should be very, very, very proud of, Sir.


Western Premiers' Conference

Agricultural Issues


Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Speaker, on several occasions,  we have asked the government where they really stand on orderly  marketing and supply management, because we have every reason to  be suspicious of this government's position.  Their actions speak  louder than their words.  For example, at a recent meeting of  Agriculture ministers, the minister refused to sign the  declaration supporting marketing boards at the GATT talks, and  the government has also supported the removal of oats, which  severely weakened the Wheat Board, removal of the domestic price  for wheat, which weakens the Wheat Board, and lately by being  silent while the federal government refuses to enforce the  requirement for export licences for grains being trucked to the  U.S.

      I want to ask the First Minister, since he said agriculture  was very high on the agenda at the Premiers' meeting:  Can the  First Minister indicate whether he still believes, like his  Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), that marketing boards will  have to be sacrificed in order to achieve a settlement at GATT  and the NAFTA?  Is this still part of what this Premier calls the  balanced approach that is referenced in his communique?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, that has never been the  position of this government or the Minister of Agriculture.

Mr. Plohman:  If the Premier is so supportive‑‑[interjection]  Yes, I do have a question.  The minister has also referenced many  other agriculture issues in this communique.

      I want to ask him, since he is the Agriculture expert here  today:  Will the Premier now admit, because he referenced the  financial difficulties of provinces in terms of the agricultural  load, that his government and his Minister of Agriculture got  taken to the cleaners in the negotiations with the federal  government by following the Grant Devine election agenda last  year?

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

Mr. Filmon:  No, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Plohman:  The usual enlightening‑‑

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

Mr. Plohman:  Will the Premier reject his minister's proposal  that was made with regard to the fragmentation of the Crow  benefit that was discussed at the ministers' meetings as well as  the First Ministers' meetings?  Was it rejected?  Will he now  categorically reject this proposal which will serve to undermine  the Crow benefit, which is historic in this country, and will  ensure that it is in shambles before a very reasonable period of  time?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, without accepting any of the preamble  of the member for Dauphin, I will take that question as notice on  behalf of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay).


Brandon Mental Health Centre

Replacement Facility


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

      The health reform document released last week talked about  mental health reform.  About five months ago, there was an  announcement of a consultation process for mental health reform  in the Western region.  Mr. Speaker, real changes are needed now.

      Can the Minister of Health tell us when the construction for  the new building for the Brandon Mental Health Centre will be  given a priority and when the new facility will meet the new  agenda for health care reform in the Western region of Manitoba?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I cannot  give my honourable friend such specifics, but I indicate to my  honourable friend that the Western region of the province of  Manitoba is much more advanced from the Regional Mental Health  Council discussions around the reform paper of January of '92 in  that the Parkland region, the Westman region in Brandon and  Western‑Central region will hopefully be presenting an action  plan for consideration, implementation, approval and  mid‑subsequent implementation by government in co‑operation with  those professionals and citizens around the mental health  councils by June of this year with hopeful implementation of a  number of features before the end of this calendar year.

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Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell us how many beds  will be reduced from the existing facility when the new facility  will be provided along the side of Brandon General Hospital?  Can  the minister also tell us how many personal care home beds will  be allocated for the patients who are going to be dislodged from  this Brandon Mental Health Centre?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, two elements are part of what we  believe will be the suggested plan of action by the Westman  councils, namely acute facility‑‑acute psychiatric requirements  being met in affiliation with the Brandon General Hospital.  How  that fits and the reason why I cannot answer my honourable friend  in terms of construction, et cetera, is that is being worked  within the general redevelopment of the Brandon General Hospital.

      Secondly, a fairly complete patient profile has been  accomplished at the Brandon Mental Health Centre, and a number of  individuals who are long‑term residents at Brandon Mental Health  Centre are indeed long‑term care candidates.  The numbers, I do  not have naturally in front of me, in terms of specifics, but the  accommodation of those individuals will certainly be subject to  suggestions and further discussions by the ministry, once the  Parkland, Westman, West Central Regional Mental Health Council  report comes in.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, health care reform needs the review  process.  This morning, like everyone else, we also heard the  story of this patient out of Grace Hospital.  These things will  happen because of the health care reform, and we want to see that  these patients will not suffer if we have a monitoring system.

      Can the minister, in view of these reports, make sure that he  will and he should establish a system to make sure the people  will not fall in the cracks?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased my honourable friend  brought up the circumstances that were subject to a discussion on  the radio media earlier today.

      Mr. Speaker, I can indicate to my honourable friend that the  circumstances experienced unfortunately by that family were in no  way anything to do with health care reform.

      According to the Grace Hospital, there were three of their 12  Intensive Care Unit beds not open on Saturday because of staffing  shortages caused in part by staff phoning in sick and not able to  report to work.  With some rather intensive action on Saturday,  staff were made available so that approximately by noon on  Sunday, those staff sicknesses, as phoned in on Saturday, were  replaced by noon on Sunday, and the individual in question  received care.

      It had, Sir, nothing to do with reform of the health care  system, but everything to do with staff, because of  circumstances, phoning in sick.  They were unable to be there;  hence three of the 12 beds were unavailable for service on  Saturday.


Lake Winnipegosis

Cormorant Population Control


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for  the Minister of Natural Resources.

      We have drastic figures in this province of people living  below the poverty line.  Some of these people are the fishermen  at Lake Winnipegosis.  Last winter, the minister made a  commitment to these people that he would look into the problem of  cormorant on the lake.  Over the last winter, the staff at the  Dauphin office worked with the fishermen and devised a plan, a  plan that made it through all the departments but stopped at the  minister's desk.

      I want to ask the minister why this plan was able to make it  through all departments, why he is stopping it and why he has  broken his promise to the fishermen on Lake Winnipegosis.

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I  am pleased to advise the honourable member that we are currently  having further discussions with the Fisherman's association at  Lake Winnipegosis as to some further control measures having to  do with the cormorants on that body of water.  Decisions will be  made shortly.

Ms. Wowchuk:  I want to ask the minister:  Is he going to go  ahead with the plan this year, or is it just going to be another  promise during the winter and a broken promise in the spring?  They need that‑‑

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

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Speaker, I want to make sure that I understand  what it is the honourable member for Swan River, the member of  the New Democratic Party, is asking me to do.  She is asking me  to kill cormorants, birds that are recognized by the Canadian  Wildlife Service, is that what she is asking me to do?  Does she  want me to use public money, on a large scale, to kill  cormorants?  I want to be quite clear and have her on the record.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the minister that  I would like him to keep his promise and work along with the  fishermen‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  Does the honourable member have a  question?

Ms. Wowchuk:  You promised.  I did not.  You are the minister.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  This is not a time for debate.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Working relationships between Natural Resources  staff and fishermen are at an all‑time low.

      What plans does this minister have to improve working  relationships between fishermen and Natural Resources staff, so  these people can continue to make a living on the lake?

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Speaker, I can report to all members of the House  with some satisfaction that fishing returns on Lake Winnipegosis  last year were at an all‑time high.  The honourable member is  aware of that.  That has a great deal to do with the management  programs put in place by the previous administration when they  closed the lake for a number of years, by this administration  that helped produce the quota in terms of demand on the lake.  It  resulted in a much improved fishing season on Lake Winnipegosis  which, by the way, also brings into question the degree of impact  that the cormorant population has on the fish population.  That  is a debate that is going on within the professionals, within my  department, and one that will have to be resolved within the next  little while.


Labour College of Canada



Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Four years of this government, Mr.  Speaker, it has worked every year to poison relations with the  labour movement and the working people that the labour movement  represents.  It not only brought in a legislative agenda that is  dictated by the Chamber of Commerce, it has cut Labour Education  Centre funding, Unemployed Help Centre funding, Workplace  Innovation Centre funding and now a $4,000 scholarship for the  Labour College of Canada that has been provided since 1963.

      My question is to the Premier, very simply:  Will the Premier  overrule his Minister of Labour in cutting back this scholarship  that has been in place since 1963 and have it reinstated so that  working people can go to the Labour College in Ottawa, Mr.  Speaker?

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Speaker, I think  the member for Thompson would agree that it is important for  working people to have access to health care.  All of us in  government in the last number of years, because of the financial  situation, if one looks at the amount of dollars that this  Legislature has to vote each year to service the accumulated debt  of this province, one will realize the pressure that has been on  every department to find resources that are available to fund the  departments that are a priority.  Obviously, health care is one  of those priorities.

      The member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) talks day after  day about the priority of health care.  One of the decisions we  had to make in the Department of Labour was what was available,  and that was part of our contribution.

Mr. Ashton:  Perhaps the minister can take it out of his  $7‑million training allowance for corporations.


Unemployed Help Centre

Funding Reinstatement


Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  I have a follow‑up question, Mr.  Speaker, and it is in regard to the Unemployed Help Centre.

      Will the government now reinstate funding for the Unemployed  Help Centre in light of a study that showed that many Manitobans  on UIC are being shortchanged and that, through the help of  organizations such as the Unemployed Help Centre, many have been  able to get increased benefits, they are entitled to Unemployment  Insurance, something this government has not helped by cutting  its‑‑

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

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Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Speaker, I am  totally amazed at the contradictory statements we have from  members opposite day after day.  They would think that members of  the media, members of the public, other members of this  Legislature do not listen to him.

      On one hand they talk about the need to retrain; they need to  provide investment retraining.  When this government provides an  opportunity to see some of the dollars that are contributed  through payroll tax going into training in industry, the member  opposes it.  I would point out to the member with respect to the  decision that was made some years ago in the Unemployed Help  Centre that that particular institution is an area of federal  responsibility and the area there is owned by the federal  government.

Mr. Ashton:  I presume the answer was no, once again, Mr. Speaker.


Health Care System

Essential Services Agreement


Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  My final question to the minister  is:  Why has this government requested a review of the current  Essential Services Agreement in the health care sector in light  of the fact that it is working well?  It is being supported by  many institutions.  Why is this government now opening up the  whole issue of the Essential Services Agreement in the health  care sector?

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Speaker, I wish  the member for Thompson who always tries to give the impression  that he is very close to the labour movement would get his  information correct.  Following the strike with the hospitals,  the Manitoba Nurses' Union a year or so ago, the Essential  Services Agreement was assessed by the MNU.  It was assessed by  us internally.

      There was some issue that arose as to whether or not there  was a way of strengthening the dispute settlement mechanism.  We  called together the subcommittee of the Labour Management Review  Committee which has examined that, and unofficially I have been  told that there is no recommendation coming for change.

      I think it would be irresponsible for all of the players not  to review that agreement.  That does not mean necessarily that it  is being changed.


Economic Growth

Private Sector Capital Investment


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  I have a question for the Premier.

      Last week the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) shared with  us his belief that if you forced wages down in this province and  forced more people into poverty, this would create a competitive  climate within which people would invest more capital, and that  we would see‑‑and he quoted statistics that suggested private  sector capital investment in this province was going to improve.

      Can the Premier tell us why private sector capital investment  in this province last year was nearly half a billion dollars less  than it would have been if we had just maintained our same  position that we had in '88, and why it is projected at some $373  million less than it would be if we had just maintained '88  levels?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Just to remind the member for  Osborne that this province is expected to have the largest  increase in capital investment, both public and private, of any  province in the country in 1992 and also the largest increase of  manufacturing capital investment of any province in the country  in 1992.

Mr. Alcock:  Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada seems to vary.  Public sector capital investment is projected to go down, not up,  and private sector capital investment is still some $373 million  below.

      Perhaps the Premier can explain why we are doing so poorly at  attracting private sector capital when the Finance minister's  plan seems to be working to his satisfaction.

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada has indicated that we  are expected to have the largest increase in capital investment  of any province in the country in 1992, both public and private  capital, and the largest increase in manufacturing capital  investment.  Both of those are good news.  I would hope that the  member for Osborne would be happy about that.

Mr. Alcock:  We will have the lowest level of capital sector  investment in this province‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for Osborne,  kindly put your question now, please.

Mr. Alcock:  Perhaps I could ask the Premier this.  Why is our  level falling?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I repeat, Statistics Canada says that  we are expected to have the largest increase of capital  investment of any province in the country this year, both public  and private investment, and in addition to that, the largest  increase of manufacturing capital investment of any province in  the country.


Abinochi Preschool Program

Minister of Native Affairs Meeting


Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  My question is to the First  Minister.

      The Royal Commission on aboriginal peoples that is travelling  this province has heaped praise on the innovative native language  program, the Abinochi program, and also that indigenous language  is a necessary part of the definition of the inherent right to  self‑government.

      I would like to ask the First Minister if he has instructed  his Minister of Native Affairs (Mr. Downey) to meet with the  Abinochi preschool board like he has promised to do, yet has not  fulfilled that promise.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I am sure that if the  Minister of Native Affairs has made that promise, he will keep it.

Mr. Hickes:  Then my second question is:  If the minister does  not keep this promise, will the First Minister remove that  minister from the responsibility that he is stepping aside from?

Mr. Filmon:  That is a hypothetical question.


Urban Aboriginal Strategy



Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Also to the First Minister,  the Native Affairs minister has been promising this House for the  last two years an urban aboriginal strategy which he has yet to  deliver.

      Will the First Minister talk to his Minister of Urban Affairs  (Mr. Ernst) to ensure that he brings to this House the urban  aboriginal strategy that the aboriginal people have been waiting  such a long time for?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, the commitment that has  been made by the Minister of Native Affairs (Mr. Downey) is a  commitment that we will keep.

Mr. Speaker:  Time for Oral Questions has expired.




Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I may have  leave to revert back to reading and receiving petitions. [Agreed]

Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable  member, and it complies with the privileges and the practices of  the House and complies with the rules (by leave).  Is it the will  the House to have the petition read?

      The petition of Seven Oaks General Hospital praying for the  passing of an act to amend the Seven Oaks General Hospital  Incorporation Act.


Nonpolitical Statements


Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Seine River):  Yes, may I have leave to make  a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

      Mr. Speaker, on April 30, I rose in this House to wish the  team members of the 1992 Mount Manitoba expedition a successful  venture and a safe climb.  Today it gives me great pleasure to  rise again and congratulate this group of Manitobans on yet  another Manitoba first.

      On Sunday morning, May 17, after several setbacks which  included inclement weather and an avalanche, the 12 Manitoba  climbers reached the peak of Mount Manitoba at 6:30 a.m.  The  team of Manitobans consisted of Tibor Bodi, Peter Aitchison, Bob  France, Peter Muir, Dan Dunbar, Richard Tiley, Dennis Cunningham,  Jeff Aitchison, Pat Dillistone, Raphael Munoz, Shane Petroff and  Catherine Mitchell.

      At the peak, a canister was buried which contained a picture  of the late Free Press columnist, Elizabeth Parker, who  co‑founded the Alpine Club of Canada.  We can also take pride in  knowing that our flag of Manitoba was also raised and is flying  over our namesake mountain.

      To accomplish such an extraordinary feat, as the first ascent  of a mountain, takes painstaking planning, great dedication and  commitment and perseverance to overcome and conquer all obstacles  and challenges encountered.

      Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Manitobans and the members of  this Legislature, I would like to congratulate the members of the  members of the Mount Manitoba expedition for their successful  climb.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for St. Johns have leave  to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed]

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, I would like  to draw on the support of all members in this House to  acknowledge and congratulate the organizers of the fourth annual  candlelight vigil held this past Sunday, organized for all of us  to remember those who are dying or who have died from AIDS.

      This candlelight vigil was unprecedented in terms of numbers  who came out to support and remember.  This vigil was supported  by all members in this House, and I know that there were candles  burning in the windows of members and representatives of all  political parties who could not be present at the vigil.  We were  a small community joining hands with some other 200 communities,  35 countries around the world.  It was an event of great  significance for many of us.

      In this past week leading up to the vigil, it is apparent  that three Manitobans died from AIDS.  One of those individuals  was a long‑serving president of the Body Positive Coalition, Rick  Koebel, who passed away the Saturday on the eve of the Sunday  vigil.

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      Mr. Speaker, the work of Rick Koebel was not unlike the work  many are doing in and outside of this Legislature to fight to  help people living with HIV and dying from AIDS.  We remember  Rick and all others who fight and work and struggle to improve  the quality of life in our communities and to rid our society of  this deathly illness and disease.

      So on behalf of all members in this House, I would like to  again congratulate the organizers of Manitoba's fourth  candlelight vigil and pay tribute to those who have died, and  particularly Rick Koebel who has served this province well as  head of the Body Positive Coalition.  Thank you.

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Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Mr.  Speaker, I would move, seconded by the honourable Minister of  Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), that Mr. 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 Department of Rural  Development; and the honourable member for Seine River (Mrs.  Dacquay) in the Chair for the Department of Education and  Training.



(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. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I just  want to make some comments regarding the health care reform  package which we received the other day.  I am sure everyone has  had a look at this package by now.

      The package has received very positive reviews from across  the community; when I say community, from the health care  professionals, from many organizations, many patient groups and  above all, the public at large is willing to listen, that there  is a need for change and they want to give a chance for reform to  function.

      Today, the Premier (Mr. Filmon) made his statement in the  House, and we have read this May 15, 1992, Manitoba government's  news release, so that clearly indicates that the health care  policy in this province has not only been accepted in this  province but in other provinces, specifically British Columbia  and Saskatchewan.  Both the Premiers have accepted some of the  things with great interest, and they want to look at how the  system could reform and they could learn from this experience.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would go back to my statement, and  that was two years ago when the health policy analysis centre was  set up.  We said at that time that things will move and I want to  reinforce that, that we had faith that time, and we still have  faith in the process.  We want to see that the system could  continue to function. [interjection]

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Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  Could I ask the members  who want to have a conversation to do so quietly along the wall  so that the honourable member from The Maples can continue.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I really appreciate the  member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) and the member for Wellington  (Ms. Barrett), because my thoughts can be very easily broken by  anybody who wants to make noise.  They know it, and everybody  knows in the House, so that is all right.  I would accept that.

      It is a very important document and has to be looked at.  I  was saying, if we go back to the statement two years ago about  the health policy analysis centre when it was set up, I think at  that time many people did not realize in this province that such  a major thing was being done.  When we made the statement, it  looked politically very immature, that it was not a very positive  step and was applauding the government without knowing, but we  had an idea then that this group would lead us to a better health  care system.

      The work which has been compiled in this book has been taken  from scientific studies.  They have not been able to pull from  any of the news releases of any of the three political parties.  They may have taken some of the ideas, but the statistics are  based on the health care which Manitobans have received for the  last 20 years, from 1971 to 1992.  The reports have been there  and they are compiled.

      In fairness to the whole report, I would say that this is a  very positive report, and we will continue to watch, to make sure  that the stated principles outlined in this report are  implemented.  I think that is the issue for the next six months  to one year‑‑how the report is going to be implemented and  whether it will achieve what it was supposed to, and I think then  we can make a judgment call.

      In our view, there are four phases.  The first was the  identification of the problem between 1988 and 1990.  Then the  second phase was to come to the conclusion in terms of achieving  a role, so to speak, developing a plan that would meet the needs,  and I think that was the second phase.  The third phase was to  achieve this report.  The fourth phase is going to be  implementation of the report.  I think the fifth phase will be  again the judgment from the people.  I mean, we cannot really  tell how each and every individual will react to this health care  reform in the long run, but I am sure the voters will tell us.  I  think the fifth phase is very crucial but that will all be open,  and that is why we have never aligned ourselves against this  proposal.

      I want to make it very clear the reasons why we did that.  You identify the problem.  You try to come up with some  conclusion, and then you try to help the system to get into some  of the implementation.  I think that is where we will watch for a  two‑year period how things are implemented.

      For us, one thing is very important, the monitoring of the  system.  One can name it the way you want to.  We have to have  somebody monitoring the system.  There are three reasons.  I will  tell the minister very frankly.  First of all, how can we get  reassurance that there is not going to be any change in the  ministry?  If tomorrow a new minister comes, are they going to  follow up this same proposal?  Second is, if there is a change in  the government‑‑anything can happen.  There is a two‑member  majority.  Things can happen and how will the system continue to  function?  I think the third thing is, if there is any new  minister, whether they will be able to build credibility and  understanding of the system.  I think that is the issue, but that  is up to the government to decide.  Those are the very important  issues that people have to know, that there is a continuity of  care.

      That is why we said when the health care ministers are put  into place for six months to one year, that is the most  irresponsible thing any government can ever do.  That is why a  four‑year period, six‑year period, eight‑year period of Health  ministers are very, very essential, especially when we are having  the health care reform package.  So those are the general  comments, Mr. Deputy Chairperson.

      I want to add a few things in terms of the things we have  been asking.  We said from 1988 that we should be spending  smarter, and I think this report meets that statement.  The  second was shift of care resources to the community, and this  report again satisfies our intentions.  The third was setting up  of alternative services in the form of community care, dealing  with day surgery, home care‑‑[interjection] That was day surgery,  outpatient surgical procedures and expansion of home care.  That  is why, if you were to review Hansard, our one question was to  review the home care policy.  I think this report satisfies us to  some extent, but some more expansion is required.

      I think the other issue, we asked for a well elderly centre,  and I think this report goes in that direction to some extent.  Then we asked for a birthing facility.  That was one of our  election promises, that we wanted to set up a system where a  birthing facility could be provided.  Victoria Hospital has that  facility, and that satisfies our intentions.  I would like to see  it some other places, but at least the government has realized  and health care professionals have realized that is the one  positive way of doing it.

      The other thing was the major emphasis on education,  prevention and promotion, and the broader statement has been made  in this report but more detailed information is required.  I  think as time goes by, we may get some of the answers.  I think  the minister should be very careful on that issue, on education,  not only about health and wellness, but education about the tax  dollars we spend.  We want to emphasize again, patient education  in the system is most crucial, not only for the protection of  health care but also for the success of this health care reform,  very essential.

      Some of the provinces, as Mrs. Carstairs was saying today,  even British Columbia is having ads in the papers because they  know that something has to be done, but I do not believe in  isolated approaches, just having one article here and one article  over there and one plan here, and the other part of the plan does  not know what the first one is doing.  So we would like to have  more patient education done.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we want to see in terms of one of the  major issues in this report the fee reform policy which is very,  very fundamental to our health care system.  In terms of the  open‑ended system that we have today, the major structural  changes, how the physicians are paid, how the services are being  delivered, that answer has to be developed because without that,  I do not think anything will be successful.

      We understand that this report was not able to address  because I think we are in the process negotiating and putting the  process in place.  A very complex issue, but at least the policy  statement has been made.  It needs more redefining, and retuning  of this policy area must be done because people want to know how  the physicians and other health care providers are going to get  paid in the long run.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we strongly believe that to implement  all these major principles, there has to be a co‑ordinated  approach within the Department of Health.  The graph on page 31  which tells the patient in the middle‑‑everything, environment,  economy, and all those factors surrounding that patient.  We made  that statement even before this package came.  That was about six  weeks ago and even during our budget speech, I made those  comments.

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      After reading from many various reports, we felt that was a  very important issue, because people only relate to health care  only of illness.  But as you said, the patient's mental and  physical well‑being will be only helped if we meet the definition  of the World Health Organization.  That says very clearly that  illness it is not only the absence of disease, but also to meet  the physical and mental well‑being of the patient.

      To do that, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, a healthy economy is very  important because without jobs, without good environment, nothing  can be achieved.  Also to pay for the services we all talked  about, there has to be some resources, there has to be money  coming in.  Also, the other responsibility which is very, very  important is to be accountable to the taxpayers.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, nobody wants to talk about this  issue, but I think it is very crucial that the $1.8 billion‑‑how  it is spent and how we are going to continue to spend it in the  future, if we have to borrow money from banks and other  institutions to fund our health care system‑‑I think we have to  think about that.  If you take money from one area, you are going  to suffer from the other; so in that regard, I would like to see  a more economic diversity.  I would like to see people get  involved.  I would like to see many positive things, many  creative things, many innovative things that will help a person  as a whole, so that we can achieve the best quality health care  for all people.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I just wanted to sum up by saying  that there are many, many positive things.  There are certain  things which need redefining or a fine tuning.  If anybody thinks  that is not the case, then I think everyone is lying to  themselves.  I think the minister also knows there may be some  changes that have to required from time to time.  That is why the  rigidity or the other way, the flexibility, I would say,  flexibility in the health care reform and the openness in the  health care reform, and the frankness in the health care reform,  must be one of the major focuses, so that the patient can be  involved, the health care providers can be involved.  Government  should not be afraid to take bold steps and admit their mistakes  when they are being made.  When they are doing a positive thing,  they should tell people.  They should not be afraid of the  opposition parties when things are derailed for a while.

      Some people will do it, but for the last four days we have  watched all the news media‑‑the print news media, the electronic  news media, and above all, the public opinion in the health care  sector.  It is amazing that people are so willing to listen and  so positive.  I have never seen this in four or five years.  It  is amazing that their main goal seems to be, as the goal of this  government and the goal of all people, is to save the health care  system.

      I will end my comments by saying that the minister has to  succeed, because we have put all our faith on the five basic  principles of the medicare system in this minister's hands and he  is the head of the House here in terms of implementing some of  the policies.  So I would rather challenge him not to disappoint  any one of us because it is not only his credibility, but the  credibility of a lot of individuals, a lot of professionals, a  lot of decent people who have worked very hard for the last 21  years starting from 1971 to come up with so many new things.  At  least we have all reached a stage and the minister should not be  afraid of taking decisions.

      I would say again that some are still afraid the system will  not only fail, but they are afraid the system will succeed and to  defeat those forces, we have to make that system work for the  better of people.

      Thank you.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Deputy  Chairperson, I thank my honourable friend for his comments.  My  honourable friend and the critic for the New Democratic Party  have offered comments indicating that they want to see this  reform process move ahead.  I simply indicate that it will not  move ahead if it becomes a political football, if that is the  appropriate language.  My honourable friend puts a lot of onus on  me personally and I accept that, but there are a tremendous  number of people in the system as professionals, as managers and  as trustees, who understand the need for change and that Manitoba  has an opportunity over the next two years to make those changes  in the most reasoned fashion possible.

      I want to close by indicating to both my critics that on  Sunday night on CKY television there was a program on about ten  o'clock.  For the life of me, I cannot tell you what the name of  the program was.

An Honourable Member:  W5.

Mr. Orchard:  W5.  I believe that is correct.

      One of the individuals featured in the interview was a chap  by the name of Ken Fyke.  Ken Fyke was a deputy minister for  Health in Saskatchewan, subsequently moved to British Columbia  about three or four years ago, five years ago maybe, and became  part of the British Columbia ministry of Health, and over the  last couple of years has taken over administration of one of the  senior hospitals in Victoria, if not both of them‑‑joint  administration.  I do not know the exact details.  I met Mr. Fyke  earlier this year at the symposium that I was at in Victoria.  It  is worth all of our whiles to see that W5 tape, because it shows  us what can be done if there is a will to come around the issue  and make the health care system, make medicare in Canada work for  the individual needing care.

      You know, we are going to see some pretty remarkable changes  over the next couple of years across Canada, but I think in  Manitoba we have the opportunity to see that significant change  move in a very, very informed and progressive and understanding  way.

      I appreciate both my critics for past contributions, and I  want to thank them in advance for future contributions for making  that system of change work well.

      Thank you.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Item 1.(a) Minister's Salary  $20,600‑‑pass.

      Resolution 65:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $13,933,600 for Health, Administration and  Finance, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March  1993‑‑pass.

      This completes the Estimates of the Department of Health.  The next set of Estimates that will be considered by this section  of the Committee of Supply are the Estimates for Rural  Development.

      Shall we briefly recess to allow the minister and the critics  the opportunity to prepare for the commencement of the next set  of Estimates?

An Honourable Member:  But not too long.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Okay, we will recess five minutes.

* * *

The committee took recess at 3:17 p.m.

After Recess

The committee resumed at 3:27 p.m.




Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  We are now commencing  consideration of the Estimates for Rural Development.  Does the  minister responsible have an opening statement?

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Thank you  very much, Mr. Deputy Chairperson.  First of all, may I say I am  pleased to introduce my department's Estimates for review.  I  look forward to the discussions, the linkages between the dollar  commitments and the services to our diverse client groups.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would like to take this opportunity  to acknowledge the efforts that have been put forward by the  municipal officials, the Union of Manitoba Municipalities, the  Manitoba Association of Urban Municipalities, and the Manitoba  Municipal Administrators' Association.  I would like to commend  them and their executive and membership for their ongoing  dedication to the citizens whom they represent.

      I have had the pleasure of meeting with these groups, Mr.  Deputy Chairperson, on several occasions, and I found their input  to be very valuable to our department in terms of the advice that  they have been able to provide.  I would also like to recognize  the efforts of the regional development agencies whose work  fosters economic development at local levels, and conservation  districts whose work on behalf of the environment will be  witnessed by future generations.  The people who dedicated their  time to these organizations are valuable partners, who are  essential to the progress we are making in rural Manitoba.

      The strongest message that we are receiving from rural  Manitobans is that people are willing to work hard to develop new  economic initiatives in their communities.  Manitoba's people are  a rich resource‑‑people with ideas, people who want to preserve  Manitoba's environmental heritage and enhance its economic  opportunities.  They are ready to work hard to achieve their  goals and they are asking that our government work with them.

      This request for partnerships underscores the new directions  we are taking as a government.  I know many people in many other  departments are working with the people to make changes and adapt  to a rapidly changing world.  Our government believes that  supporting locally generated initiatives, building upon  traditional and nontraditional strengths, and focusing on new  opportunities can help rural Manitoba reach its full potential.  The people of Manitoba are indeed our greatest asset, and we will  continue to support them in their endeavours.

      In short, the people of Manitoba are ready to take on new  challenges, and our government is committed to providing the  tools they need to succeed.  Our government is working as a team  to ensure that we keep a tight rein on spending, using fiscal  responsibility in every new initiative.  We are reviewing  outdated legislation to be more responsive to a rapidly changing  world.  The Department of Rural Development is committed to being  a productive and a proactive member of this team.

      This commitment forms the foundation upon which Rural  Development's programs are based and funding directed.  We are  striving to meet the challenge of economic growth through job  creation, industry development and diversification.  We are  introducing several measures to achieve this goal.

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      In particular, we are implementing new, innovative programs  to help rural Manitobans achieve their goals.  The most recent of  these is the Rural Economic Development Initiative.  The REDI  program gives communities the tools they need to build on  economic strategies.  REDI is based on the conviction that by  building up traditional strengths and focusing on new  opportunities, rural Manitoba will have the ability to help  itself grow.

      As many of you are aware, the REDI program will be funded  with revenues generated by Video Lottery Terminals in rural  Manitoba.  I want to stress that REDI funds are tools to provide  support to municipalities and organizations which have outlined a  game plan for their future.  For that reason, priority for REDI  funds will be given to communities which have organized and  prepared a strategy for economic development.  The program will  focus on commercially viable development that has long‑term  economic benefit for the community.

      The four program options are available to urban and rural  municipalities outside of Winnipeg, as well as local regional  economic development organizations, Grow Bond corporations and  businesses.

      REDI has several thrusts.  Its infrastructure development  component is designed to ensure rural communities have the  capacity to improve or develop the infrastructure needed to  attract new businesses and allow for the expansion of existing  industry.  REDI's feasibility studies component administered by  my colleague in Manitoba Industry, Trade and Tourism is designed  to help rural business people hire independent consultants to  prepare financial market or engineering analysis.

      Through REDI's MBA student consulting portion of the program,  business people can capitalize on the University of Manitoba's  research and consulting capabilities while providing graduate  students with real case studies in rural Manitoba.

      A development support component provides a one‑time  contribution to fund innovative proposals in nontraditional areas  to create business development opportunities.  This program is  developed to address the need to be innovative in order to remain  competitive in the changing world economy and marketplace.

      Partners with Youth is one component of REDI to which I feel  particularly committed.  Creating opportunities for our youth,  educating and training them for jobs and opening up employment in  our home towns can result in stability for them and a secure  future for our communities.

      The REDI program has immense potential for rural Manitobans,  especially when it is used in conjunction with some of the other  programs we have established to help rural Manitobans help  themselves.

      Last year, our government introduced the Community Choices  program which encourages community groups to meet in round‑table  settings to examine their communities from environmental, social  and economic perspectives and develop realistic plans for action.

      I am pleased to announce that by mid‑April, 30 round tables  involving 57 municipalities have been established.  We expect  this program will continue to expand and take on a different  focus as community development plans reach implementation phases.

      This implementation process must be tackled from the grass  roots upwards.  We believe that rural Manitobans should have the  opportunity not only to set directions for the future but to  invest in it directly to strengthen local economies and create  jobs.

      The Grow Bond program we introduced last year is designed to  do just that.  This program is lottery funded, and it is proving  to be a great success.  I know many of the members are familiar  with this program, but what you may not be aware of is its  successes and impact on rural Manitoba.

      I am delighted to inform you that rural Manitobans have  demonstrated their confidence in their communities and are ready  to invest in their own future.  Morden's residents were the first  to sell bonds and were very successful.  The Alco Rural Bond  Corporation met and surpassed its minimum sales requirements in  record time.  Their success means Morden will soon have up to 16  new jobs and an expanded industrial base.

      Four other bond proposals are undergoing the internal review  process.  Three proposals are in planned preparation stages while  preliminary proposals have been received by two community  groups.  In addition, I might say, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, that  later this evening we will once again be making a fairly  significant announcement in Teulon in terms of their bond  corporation as well.

      In addition, consulting services are being extended to 22  interested entrepreneurs to examine the viability of proposed  projects.  The people of Manitoba have demonstrated time and time  again that they are ready and willing to work in order to find  solutions.

      While we are providing the tools for the people of Manitoba  to build a framework for economic renewal in their community, the  Department of Rural Development is also looking in the mirror to  determine ways that we can improve and enhance our department to  service Manitobans in a better way.

      We are currently in the process of remodeling the department  to adapt to changing requirements in our province.  This  restructuring process includes the creation of a new division to  make our department more responsive to the economic development  needs and demands of rural Manitoba.

      This new rural economic development division has been created  to serve as a lead provincial agent in rural Manitoba for  regional economic development, planning and interagency  co‑ordination.  The staff's role will be to advise and assist  community‑based organizations and local governments to maintain,  expand and create job and business opportunities.

      The local government's services division will maintain the  major function performed by the former Department of Municipal  Affairs.  This includes the delivery of services such as  assessments for local governments and advisory services to  municipal councillors and administrators in the areas of finance  and administration.

      We will soon announce the appointment of a new full‑time  deputy minister, and I might say that I can do that now.  As a  matter of fact, Mr. Winston Hodgins, who is the new deputy  minister of Rural Development, officially started in the office  this morning.

      Because he is so new, we have Mr. Tomasson, the acting deputy  minister for Rural Development, whose term ended today, will be  assisting us with the Estimates this time.

      The restructuring of the department will enable us to respond  more effectively to changing economic dynamics, but we also  recognize the need to make changes in legislation.  This includes  the review of The Municipal Act as well as conservation and  planning legislation.  This is something that has been called for  by municipalities for a long time.

      Finally, I think we are at a stage where we can begin the  process of looking at how we can better address some of the  issues that are addressed in The Municipal Act and also the  conservation and planning act.

        (Mr. Bob Rose, Acting Deputy Chairperson, in the Chair)

      We have also recently begun a review of our provincial land  use policies adopted in 1980 under The Planning Act.  Given that  they were adopted more than 10 years ago, it is appropriate that  they be reviewed to ensure that they reflect Manitoba's current  economic, social and environmental objectives, incorporates  sustainable development and provide local authorities in  provincial departments with better direction regarding the  sustainable use of our land.

      Proposed revisions have recently been forwarded to our local  municipalities, the districts' associations, and other interest  groups for comments and suggestions.  After a review of the  submissions, we intend to bring the policies forward for  adoption.  Related to this review of legislation is a revision of  The Municipal Assessment Act.  We are continuing in our efforts  to improve the assessment system.

      I would like to emphasize that both Bill 20 and the long‑term  portioning strategy announced by my predecessor last September  will have a positive impact on the assessment and taxation system  in this province.  Our government's strategy is aimed at  continuing to improve how property is assessed and taxed.  It is  important to remember that our government‑‑for that matter, the  Weir committee never set out to resolve overnight the inequities  that have been built up over the last 25 years.

      With the introduction of market value assessment in 1990, we  took a major step forward on the assessment side of the  equation.  The adjustments to portions will now take us another  step by improving the level of equity in the taxes paid by  various property classes.  As part of this portioning strategy,  our government also announced its intention to delay the next  reassessment which is to take place for 1993 to the 1994 tax year.

      There are several benefits to this delay.  With one more  year, we are able to reach the portion targets for those classes  containing the majority of ratepayers such as residential 1 and  commercial properties.  In this way, ratepayers can more easily  distinguish between policy driven changes to their taxes and  reassessment or market driven changes.

      This is in keeping with one of the original objectives of  assessment reform:  to make the system more understandable.  The  delay also allows changes associated with the July 1992  implementation of the new Education Finance Formula to stabilize  before the assessment base is altered across the province.

      As you are aware, assessment is a fundamental element in the  education tax system.  I will stress again to the members  opposite that Bill 20 does not affect the rights of farmers to  appeal their assessments, nor does it propose changes that would  restrict appeal rights in any way.

      In summary, I would like to reiterate that the changes made  to the portions as well as Bill 20 are in keeping with the  department's ongoing commitment to improve the property  assessment and taxation system in this province.

      Our department has also introduced property taxes related to  equipment in sand and gravel pits.  On January 1, 1992, the  province approved and adopted a regulation to set maximum levels  for fees which municipalities may now charge for the extraction  and transportation of sand and gravel.  The proposals for this  regulation were put forward by a committee of municipal and  industrial officials.

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      The regulations derived from the proposals have enabled us to  resolve the long‑standing dissatisfaction with a system of  municipal taxation of equipment used to extract sand and gravel.  The new fees will replace the existing property taxes on  equipment in the pits with a more direct and equitable way of  covering municipal road maintenance costs.

      I am confident that we will soon adjust to these new systems,  and the benefits are already being realized in rural Manitoba.  We are also giving priority to the policing grants issue.  I do  not believe I have to spend a great deal of time on that, but I  have spoken already with the executives from both MAUM and UMM  asking for their co‑operation in our request for a one‑year  extension, and that has been granted by UMM and MAUM.  We are now  going to move ahead with a long‑term solution to the policing  issue.

      We are setting up a working group to discuss the entire issue  at the present time, and we contemplate that within the next few  short days or next week, we will have a committee in place which  will then begin the process of addressing the issues that were  set forth in the report that was forwarded by Charlie Hill and  was tabled in January.  We are hopeful that by September we will  be able to have a resolution to this outstanding issue.

      Our government is also involved in partnerships with various  levels of government through cost‑sharing programs.  As members  are aware, I recently announced that Manitoba municipalities will  see an increase in their share of personal and corporate income  tax collected in the province.  Because this is a census year,  population is used to determine that payments will change, but I  am confident that municipalities with stable populations can  expect an increase of 10 percent over last year.  Municipalities  with declining populations have been guaranteed that they will  not see any less support than they did last year.  The provincial  municipal tax sharing payments will be made in July when the most  recent census figures have been tabulated, and we are confident  they are correct.

      We are also using cost‑sharing programs to improve the  infrastructures in rural communities.  I am referring  specifically to the southern development initiative which is  officially known as the Canada‑Manitoba Partnership Agreement on  Municipal Water Infrastructure or, in short, PAMWI.  Under the  PAMWI agreement, the governments of Canada, Manitoba and local  communities, identified as regional service centres, will work  together and share costs to improve the water infrastructure in  the community involved.  Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach,  Winkler, Morden, Altona and Teulon have entered into agreements  under this tripartite initiative, and Dauphin and Selkirk are in  the final preagreement stages.  Canada and Manitoba will  contribute $30 million each to this $90 million initiative, and  each community affected will contribute its portion of the  remaining $30 million.

      The PAMWI agreement is an important tool in our overall game  plan to improve the equity and the quality of life in rural  Manitoba by opening up opportunities for growth through  sustainable development.  We have also targeted our larger urban  centres and the cities of Brandon and Thompson for a downtown  revitalization project.  These communities along with their  business people have entered into a five‑year agreement with the  province to improve the streetscape and appearance of the public  and private properties, and we have already announced those two  agreements in Portage and in Thompson.

      Enhancing our rural communities through projects like the  ones I have outlined here today is an important part of our  commitment to rural Manitoba.  Decentralization is another  example of this commitment.  We have repeatedly promoted open  communication between rural communities and our department, and  we are moving our services closer to them to make them more  accessible and facilitate this communication network.  Rural  development is firmly ensconced in rural Manitoba.  We have nine  community development offices and staff who have a tradition of  providing advisory and facilitating skills to local governments.  This role is broadening to include regionally based integrated  professional services to our municipalities, our economic  development and conservation organizations, our local  entrepreneurs and small business people and citizens anxious to  preserve their rural heritage.

      But our decentralization initiative does more than bring  services closer to the people who use them.  It also brings new  faces and job opportunities to rural Manitoba.  We have relocated  520 civil servants in Crown jobs since the program was  implemented.  There are an additional 65 contracts in the process  of moving and 134 positions will be moved in the near future.  We  are indeed committed to the people of rural Manitoba, and our  initiatives are geared toward them.

      In examining our Estimates, members will note that‑‑

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Rose):  Is it the will of the  committee to let the minister finish his opening statement?  Go  ahead.

Mr. Derkach:  In examining our Estimates, members will note that  the grants to municipalities, regional development agencies and  conservation districts represent a major portion of our budget‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Hansard is not recording it.

Mr. Derkach:  So there is no sense in reading it‑‑[interjection]  We will wait.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Rose):  Bureaucracy triumphs.  A formal vote has been requested in the Chamber and the committee  recess.

* * *

The committee took recess at 3:47 p.m.

After Recess

The committee resumed at 4:50 p.m.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  This section of the  Committee of Supply will come to order.  Before the recess, this  section had been considering Rural Development.  We will now  conclude with the minister's opening statement.

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would like to indicate to  the members that I will provide for them, if that has not already  happened, copies of the opening statement so that they may peruse  it in preparation for their questions which will follow.

      Just in conclusion, I would just like to say that in the  examination of our Estimates, members will note that the grants  to municipalities, regional development agencies and conservation  districts represent a major portion of our budget.  Something  like about 56 percent of the total budget is devoted to support  to those agencies.  Add to the Rural Development's 17.7 percent  contribution through capital assets and infrastructure support  and just under 75 percent of our total budget, or over $52  million, is earmarked for rural Manitoba.

      This certainly represents a major commitment to rural  Manitoba's future.  Members have received copies of the Estimates  Supplement, and before we proceed with line‑by‑line examination  of the proposed expenditures, I would like to introduce, if I  may, or perhaps not appropriate at this time, but I would like  just to indicate that Mr. David Tomasson, who is the Acting  Deputy Minister, has certainly done a tremendous amount of work  in handling both the Department of Rural Development and the  Department of Northern and Native Affairs.  I would have to say  that it is through the guidance of Mr. Tomasson that I was  introduced successfully to this department, and I am indeed  thankful for the guidance that he has provided to me as my deputy  during these last three months.

      Certainly, I would like to put on the record that Mr.  Tomasson has done an outstanding job as the Acting Deputy  Minister for the Department of Rural Development.  Under his  stewardship we were able to implement several major initiatives,  I believe, in rural Manitoba.  I have already gone through them,  REDI being one, Grow Bonds and the community round tables, of  course, have all been done while he has had a major influence on  the department.

      In addition, I would like to also acknowledge the efforts of  the many staff whom I have in the department, the directors.  The  department as you know is still without several positions in it.  We are advertising for several directors and ADMs within the  department.  Even in times of being shorthanded as we are, we  have been able to do a tremendous amount of work.  Certainly, I  would like to acknowledge the efforts of all of the staff within  the department who have done a tremendous amount of work over the  last few months to introduce some fairly major initiatives to  help to revitalize the rural population of our province.  With  that, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would like to conclude my opening  remarks.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:   We thank the honourable minister for  those remarks.  Does the critic from the official opposition  party, the honourable member for Swan River, have an opening  statement?

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would  just like to make a few comments before we get into the actual  line‑by‑line Estimates.

      I would like to begin, first of all, by congratulating the  minister on his appointment.  The first comments that were made  when he was appointed to this department was that he was a  country boy and a rural person, and I hope that he is sincere  about a commitment to rural Manitoba.  I suspect that he is,  because most of us who live in the rural community in small towns  want to see growth in our community.  I look forward to seeing  what he is going to do throughout the rural part of the province  to have economic growth.

      I know that the comments were that taking a position in Rural  Development was a demotion.  In fact, I feel that rural  development is a very high priority.  When we look at what  happens in rural Manitoba, it is really the base of the  province.  In order for the province to grow, we have to have  growth in rural Manitoba as well.

      I was very concerned when Rural Development and Northern  Affairs were combined together under one minister, and I felt  that rural development was not getting a fair share of  attention.  In fact, when the name of the department was changed  to Rural Development rather than Municipal Affairs, there was an  expectation that we were going to see a lot more happening in  rural Manitoba.  When it was combined with Northern Affairs,  there was some feeling that rural development was going to take a  back seat and not get the support that it was supposed to be  getting.  So I am quite pleased that it is now a separate  department, and hopefully we will see growth in rural Manitoba.

      I also want to congratulate the new deputy minister.  I am  sure that he‑‑he has been in government for some time‑‑will bring  some good leadership to the department.

      The concern that I have is that we had an announcement at the  municipal convention that two assistant deputy ministers were  going to be hired, and the department was going to be split.  This was received very positively by councillors.  I am concerned  with the lack of movement.  The minister has just indicated that  there has been advertising going on.  Hopefully, both these ADMs  will be filled very soon, and we can see some development because  it is of some concern when you see the number of vacancies in the  department.  So we look forward to what is going to happen with  the restructuring of the department.

      As I said, as a rural person, my greatest concern right now  is that there is not any real growth in rural Manitoba.  We just  saw a statistics report coming out on the population.  Population  in rural Manitoba has dropped drastically.  We have to wonder why  it is happening.  Why are our young people not coming back to the  community?

      There was an interesting article in one of the rural  newspapers just the other day.  I do not have it with me but I am  sure that the minister may have seen it, and that is, an article  indicating that if we do not have growth in our rural community,  if we do not have opportunities for our young people, they are  not going to come back.

      At this point, I can sincerely say that, as I look at the  part of the province that I am from, I cannot see very much for  our young people to come back to.  It is a problem that we all  have to address.  We have to look at what we can do to have  economic growth in the rural community.  I guess some of the  things that I am anxious to hear are what the minister has to  say, what his position is, where he is taking the department on  things that will attract growth to our rural community.

      When I was at the rural convention at the Union of Manitoba  Municipalities, the previous minister had indicated that he was  still moving forward with getting natural gas to other parts of  the province.  It is not something that I have raised with the  minister yet, but I hope that through this Estimates process, we  can talk about where we are going with natural gas to other parts  of the province that want to have the same economic growth that  we see in the southern part of the province.

      We have to have diversification, ways to sustain, ways to use  our natural resources, rather than shipping them out in the raw  state as many of them are going right now.  We have to have  diversification for our agriculture community.  How can we  process some of those products that we are producing and then  have growth?  An example that comes to mind is ethanol.  There  has been lots of discussion of that.  The farming community is  very interested in that kind of thing.

      But I do not believe it is enough to say, yes, it is up to  you in the rural community to look at ideas for diversification,  to look at ways.  The rural people cannot do it on their own.  There has to be leadership from government.  There have to be  initiatives taken that will support the rural community.  As good  as the Grow Bond initiative is, there has to be government  support behind it to help those communities come up with those  initiatives.

      I would like to know, through the Department of Rural  Development, how this minister feels about sustainable  development of our forestry industry.  Is there anything being  looked at as to how we can keep more of the secondary jobs from  our forestry industry here in our province?

      We need, as I said, services to attract these businesses to  the rural community, and I use my community, the major centre in  my constituency of Swan River, as an example when I talk about  natural gas.  We have gone around this scenario time and time  again where people come to government and ask how they can get  natural gas to come to the community and the governments says,  well, you do not have the business to bring in natural gas.  It  becomes a chicken‑and‑egg scenario.  We went through the same  thing just a very short time ago with cellular phones.  You do  not have the population to get cellular phones to this area, and  there are many areas of the province that are the same‑‑in the  Interlake area.

      What we have to have is a government that is sincere about  rural development that will take the initiatives to attract  industry‑‑

 Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The time is now 5 p.m.,  and time for private members' hour.  I am interrupting the  proceedings of the committee.  The Committee of Supply will  resume considerations at 8 p.m.

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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 5.(b) Program  Analysis, Co‑ordination and Support.

      Would the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

      5.(b) Program Analysis, Co‑ordination and Support:  (1)  Salaries $904,100.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Madam Chairperson, I think at the  end of last time I was trying to find some relationship between  the courses which have been cut at the community colleges over  the last two years and the labour market requirements in Manitoba.

      I have been doing this from a document called High Demand  Occupations in Manitoba, September '91, which I think is the most  recent document we have, and also, unfortunately, in the absence  of a labour market strategy that this department has not yet  provided.

      So I wanted to continue with that and see what the issues  were in some of the other college programs that were cut.  I  think we were looking at Keewatin Community College.  I believe I  was asking the minister if it was, indeed, still the policy of  the department to turn to correspondence schools for training for  northerners which is one of the things which was indicated in the  document she tabled.

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  The  honourable member seems to raise some concerns that people  wishing to study in the North will have to leave their home,  where they are living, to study.  I would certainly say that it  is not a policy of this government to make that be a reason for  people to leave home.  However, we do have an issue of supply and  demand.  We do have courses available where there is a demand and  also where there are the resources to provide those courses.

      I would like to speak for a moment about distance education  as a viable alternative and to remind her that we do have a  Distance Education task force which will also be looking at  issues relating to universities and colleges.  It is a viable  alternative where we cannot be site‑specific in some of the  courses offered.  I would remind her that other provinces,  including Ontario, use this method through a program in Ontario  called Contact North.  I will also remind her that it was the  action of the previous government in 1983‑1984 when Maureen  Hemphill was minister.

Ms. Friesen:  What I was asking about was correspondence schools,  not distance education.  There is a considerable difference, and  I assumed that the minister understood that.

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      What I am indicating is that in the document which she tabled  or which her department tabled, when it is looking at alternate  programs for those courses which have been cut in our community  colleges, that on seven occasions on the list that is  proposed‑‑it is a list perhaps of about 20 odd courses‑‑that at  least on seven or eight occasions, the alternative proposed is a  correspondence school in Montreal, a private correspondence  school.

      I am asking:  Is that still government policy, that we cut  programs at community colleges and advise students to register in  the Montreal correspondence school?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, yes, I certainly understood the  question and wish to provide the member with some information I  did not believe that she had.

      However, I would like to say again that there are times when  we have to look at other kinds of alternatives.  The courses are  useful courses.  They are viable courses.  They provide an  education.  However, most of those same programs also are  available at one of the two other community colleges.  So the  correspondence simply offers a choice for those individuals in an  area where they would like to study.  In the area of  pre‑employment courses, where they have been eliminated, there is  still access to the trades through the apprenticeship programs.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, on at least three of those seven  items there is no alternative listed other than the international  correspondence schools.  So I am not quite sure what the minister  means that there are alternatives proposed.

      I think at the end of last time I was asking her, is the  alternative she is proposing for northerners to come to Red River  or to go to Brandon or a correspondence school?

      I think the second part I would like to address is, the  minister advises us that she is sure that these are good  alternatives.  Could she indicate also who in her department  evaluates these correspondence courses for the purposes of  advising Manitobans that these are viable alternatives, and what  kind of certificates, what kind of certification is available at  the end of the correspondence courses that is acceptable in  Manitoba?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I would encourage the honourable  member to look at the entire list of programming.  She is really  painting a slanted picture by picking a very few number of  courses.

      I would like to remind her again that the reductions have  been replaced by what are considered to be more beneficial  programming in the North.  Those programs which have been  reduced, I will remind her again, are available through other  community colleges or through correspondence.  So there is, in  fact, still access to those programs.  Yes, there will be a point  when all students cannot get, locally, exactly what they require,  and therefore we have put into place this series of alternatives.

      Now, on the issue of evaluations, these programs are  evaluated by other jurisdictions.  We are responsible for the  evaluation of vocational programs within Manitoba, and other  jurisdictions and the other provinces are responsible for the  evaluation of their programs and the quality of their programs.  I would remind her that I am informed that approximately 75  percent of those programs are evaluated and take place within the  NDP provinces of the Ontario and B.C.


Point of Order


Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Madam Chairperson, on a point of  order, I have noted that the minister is taking a great deal of  time of this House writing down notes while her staff is raising  points with her, rather than answering the questions that are put  to her in a timely way.  This is an incredible approach by this  minister.  We have not seen this kind of thing in the Estimates  before.  I talked to my colleague over the last week or so and  found that, in fact, this has been a habit that has taken place,  and it is killing an awful lot of Estimates time.

      I do not know if this is a deliberate tactic on the part of  this minister and this government, but I do not think that we in  the opposition should have to tolerate this.  Surely the minister  can be briefed on these issues and come in here ready to speak on  the issues that are being asked of her in this House.

      If this does not stop, Madam Chairperson, on a point of  order, we are going to have to move that the Estimates time that  is being taken while she is taking notes be deducted from the  total hours that are allotted for this department for Estimates.  I will not make that motion at this time, but I hope that the  minister will indeed attempt to change her procedure in this  regard because it is not a normal approach by a minister in this  House.  I take it she is a new minister, but this is intolerable.

Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier):  Madam Chairperson, I am  quite amazed to hear what I have just heard come from the member  for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman).  I find that the activities of the  minister are quite appropriate.  Her answers are adequate and  sufficient.  That is the issue, is the answer that is given.  I  think it is quite appropriate for the minister to carry out the  kind of activity in answering, making sure it is complete and to  the satisfaction of this Chamber.  The method‑‑I can go back for  years as to the delays of the member for Dauphin and there are  different styles among different ministers, and it is not, I  believe, the purpose of this committee to in any way determine  how the answers are derived at.  It is the quality and the  quantity of the answers that are important.

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Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  I appreciate what the Deputy Premier  (Mr. Downey) said, although I think had he been witnessing what  has been going on in this committee, he might share the same  concerns.  The member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) was  here the last time this committee met.  He commented that in 23  years he has never seen a minister take this kind of time to  prepare for questions and deliberately use up the time available  to the committee.

      It is not being moved at this point, but the suggestion that  has been made is, if the minister requires this kind of time and  she is a new minister and perhaps has not had the time to be  briefed, that we simply deduct that preparation time from the  clock that is running on Estimates.  Otherwise we are forced into  the position of using the concurrence motion to try to get the  answers to the questions that we are failing to get on a  department that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) himself has designated  as a priority.  The government certainly is not acting as though  this is a priority of this government, neither is the minister.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Second Opposition House Leader):  On the same  point of order, Madam Chairperson, I would point to the key point  to which the member for Dauphin is pointing is the significant  loss of time to members of this House and particularly opposition  members.  Given the fact that we have only a limited time period,  240 hours, we are concerned that it is a deliberate tactic, as we  are seeing in the other section of Estimates where we have the  government filibustering its own Health Estimates, thereby  running out the clock and preventing us from asking questions in  other important departments, and we are seeing it in this  particular area.

      I realize that we have a new minister here, but I think the  minister should have some responsibility to be briefed on these  matters and should not rely on staff at the expense of committee  time, because in the period of time I have sat in here we often  end up out of every five minutes there is perhaps one minute in  which the minister is actually putting something on the record  and four minutes in which the minister is consulting.  It is the  degree to which the minister is not using the time of Estimates,  is using it to consult with her staff which she can do at any  time, that is of concern here.

      I would, on the point of order, ask that the time that is  taken off from the limited amount of time we have for Estimates,  only 240 hours, not include the time during which the minister is  consulting with her staff, and I believe it is only reasonable.  I believe there is an element of having the staff here for  detailed questions, but on broad policy questions the minister  should not be consulting with the staff in the first place.  The  minister should be responding directly to questions based on her  knowledge, her understanding of the department, her policies and  the policies of her government.  This is unprecedented, the  degree to which we have seen this time wasted in Estimates.

Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Yes, Madam Chairperson, I have listened to the member for Thompson (Mr.  Ashton).  The member for Thompson tries to make a point of order  on how the minister answers questions.  I am sure that the  members opposite agree‑‑or the member for Dauphin has raised the  point of order.  I would imagine that members opposite want to  ensure that the minister provides as accurate information as is  available to them as possible.  Now, if the members are trying to  make a quick political point in this committee room, that is  unacceptable.

      Madam Chairperson, ministers have a right to consult.  It is  a time‑honoured tradition in this Assembly which they as  ministers, I am sure, did when they were ministers in the same  predicament in Estimates.  A minister has a right to consult with  the staff who are here to ensure that members opposite get an  accurate answer, as accurate as possible, to the questions that  they ask.  If a minister chooses to make some notes while the  question is being asked, I do not think that there is a minister  who has gone through committee ever who has not done that.

      All I can conclude, and I would submit to your ruling that  first of all the point of order is out of order, but I would  suggest as well that members opposite are only trying to make  some quick political point rather than have any real interest in  the Department of Education.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  I have listened with interest  to the comments of all honourable members, and I would remind all  honourable members that a point of order is used to bring to the  attention of the Chair a breach of the rules or a digression from  practices of the committee.  The honourable member may have a  complaint but does not have a point of order.

      Secondly, I would like to remind all honourable members of  this committee that indeed we do have a new minister.


Point of Order


Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Madam Chairperson, you very  carefully read the rules to the House and one of the rules is if  there is a breach of practice.  What has been pointed out by a  number of my colleagues, including both opposition parties, that  what is occurring here is a breach of practice.  This minister,  rightly or wrongly for whatever her motivation, is abusing the  time of Estimates.

      Madam Chairperson, I and a number of other people have been  ministers, and there have been ministers on that side who have  gone through the Estimates process year after year without taking  the kind of time that this minister is taking to answer  questions.  We are not arguing that the minister should be giving  us inaccurate or incorrect information.  What we are asking the  minister to do is to take her briefings outside of Estimates  hours as has been the normal practice in this house over many,  many years.

      We are seeing the minister answer a very few number of  questions every hour in this Chamber, and it would be much more  efficient and much more effective if the minister would follow  the practice of this House and answer questions more directly,  take her briefing time outside of the Chamber so that we can get  on with the business in this Chamber during the Estimates process.

Madam Chairperson:  The honourable member for Flin Flon does not  have a new point of order.  He has reiterated the previous point  of order raised.

* * *

Mrs. Vodrey:  Well, in response to the two opposition parties, my  suggestion is then that they realize that we are discussing the  Estimates of 1992‑93.  Their questions have focused on Estimates  that are several years past.

      I have also made every effort to remind the other side that  the line of questioning that they are pursuing is best pursued  under Red River Community College, Appropriation 6.(5)(c),  Keewatin Community College, Appropriation 6.(5)(e), and  Assiniboine Community College, 6.(5)(d).  So the members have  been directed to put their questions in the appropriate Estimates  line and they have said they did not wish to do that.  They  argued that point.  Therefore, Madam Chairperson, I am delighted  to answer the questions, and I will be answering them as fully  and as completely as I possibly can in this Chamber.

Ms. Friesen:  I do not know if the minister is speaking on a  point of order there or not, but I have responded and I will  continue to respond that we are discussing the overall policy and  programming of community colleges.

      It is quite legitimate since this government maintains that  it has expanded the community college programs this year.  It is  extremely important that we continue to underline to the  government and to the public that in fact they cut $10 million  from community colleges, that they cut over 30 programs.  In  cutting those programs, what they were doing was advising people  to go to correspondence courses based in Montreal.

      I was asking the minister a very specific question.  Is it  still the policy of this government to recommend correspondence  courses based at ICS in Montreal, first of all?  Second of all,  who in the department evaluates those courses?  What kind of  certification is provided from those courses, and is that  certification recognized in Manitoba?

      I do not believe in her last answer that the minister  answered those questions, so I am prepared to state them again.

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Mrs. Vodrey:  I will repeat the answer to the question, and  perhaps the member will decide to listen to the answer this time.

      The programs are regulated by other jurisdictions.  We take  care of those vocational programs and those correspondence  programs here in Manitoba.  I will also remind her that then  their quality and their certification is done within those  provinces in which the course is offered.  I will remind her  again that I am informed approximately 75 percent of those  courses take place in NDP Ontario and in NDP B.C.

Ms. Friesen:  I really regret having to stay on this line, but my  question is specifically related to ICS, the International  Correspondence Schools, which the minister lists or this ministry  listed on the piece of paper that it tabled.

      International Correspondence Schools are located in Montreal,  not in Ontario.  Could the minister explain who evaluates in  Manitoba these programs, which students are being advised to take  in replacement of programs which have been cut at Manitoba  community colleges?

      Who is evaluating those programs?  What kind of certificate  is acquired at the end of those programs?  Who in Manitoba is  evaluating those certificates for use by Manitoba employers?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, again, private vocational  schools are evaluated by those individual provinces where the  schools are residing.  ICS is part of a national association of  career colleges.  There is no external evaluation by provinces,  and the only evaluation by an external province, by Manitoba for  example, is for eligibility for the Canada Student Loan program  or specific Manitoba financial assistance.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, then could we get back to  department policy?  If there is no evaluation in Manitoba of  these courses, on what grounds and on what basis was this  ministry recommending to students that these programs that they  were cutting in the community colleges were available in this  jurisdiction at the International Correspondence Schools.

      I am referring, in fact, to about 11 of the 30 courses that  were cut.  The alternatives in 11 of those were recommended as  being, amongst others, the International Correspondence Schools.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, in terms of the schools existing  in other provinces, they exist in other provinces, they are  licensed in other provinces.  These programs then obviously meet  the standards within those provinces and within that particular  province's evaluation.

      Secondly, within Manitoba, employers have not let us know  that they are not up to standard.  In fact, employers have let us  know that they are up to an acceptable standard because they have  hired those graduates.  Alternative availability has been  considered whenever any programming is restructured and reduced,  and we have not specifically recommended that any students  necessarily study by way of correspondence.  We have simply  gathered information which has said that these programs are  available.

Ms. Friesen:  It seems to me that then the department is waiting  for employers to say that this is inadequate before any new  policy is developed.  It seems to me a very odd way, in a policy  and planning branch, to develop policy because you have no  alternatives in some of these programs.  Employers who want to  hire people, according to this list, will only be able to employ  them from correspondence schools if we were to go on the evidence  that the minister is suggesting.  It seems to me a very bizarre  way of making policy.

      Overall, what we are looking at in the community colleges is  a cut or reduction two years ago of more than 35 courses.  I  think we have talked about this in Estimates and in Question  Period a number of times, particularly when the government wants  to trumpet its "extra" $2.5 million to the community colleges  because in fact we are limiting community colleges.  It seems to  me that we are reducing their role in the post‑secondary field in  Manitoba at a time when we have, as I said last time, thousands  of people unemployed and hundreds and hundreds of students  waiting and unable to have access to community colleges or to  universities.

      I want to ask the minister about something that I have asked  her in Question Period, but now that she has her staff here,  perhaps we could get some more specific answers, and that is the  waiting lists at community colleges and in particular the waiting  list at Red River Community College, which I believe have  resulted from the program and policy developments in this  government.

      There are, from my understanding, about 25 courses at Red  River Community College in technology areas that have waiting  lists, some of them to August '94, some of them to September '93,  March '94.  I would be happy to read the list into the record,  but perhaps the minister would like to comment generally, first  of all on the waiting lists at the community colleges.

Mrs. Vodrey:  We do recognize that there are waiting lists in  some courses at Red River Community College which the member has  referenced specifically, and that is why we have attempted to add  new programming in some of those areas.  I would be happy to  discuss it more fully when we get to the appropriation for Red  River Community College, but I would also like to remind the  member that we do not charge for the processing of applications,  that some students in fact register for several courses and  waiting lists do not always necessarily reflect the demand for  the course specifically.

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, how does the college, how does  this Policy and Planning Branch in fact evaluate the demand from  a student perspective?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, the primary way is the  medium‑term demand within the marketplace, and then we add to  that the student demand.  So it is labour market demand and  student demand.  We certainly look to see that the student demand  would lead to employability.

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Ms. Friesen:  We seem to be moving in circles.  Labour market  demand in a department which has no labour market strategy yet,  in fact, which started from scratch in recent months to  development; student demand in an area where the government now  claims that it cannot even count student demand because students,  they argue, register for many courses‑‑I do not understand how in  fact the department is developing any kind of planning framework  for the community colleges which it is now sending off to govern  themselves.  You do not know the student demand.  You do not know  the labour market strategy.  Where is the planning coming from?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Well, I have discussed with the honourable member  that at the moment we do not have a formal strategy.  That is  true.  We are in the process of developing that strategy.  We are  also in the process of preparing to sign the Canada‑Manitoba  Labour Force Development Agreement, but we do have access to  statistics on demand, and I think we have discussed that already  within these Estimates.

Madam Chairperson:  Item 5.(b)(1) Salaries $904,100.  Shall the  item pass?

Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, I move, seconded by the member  for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman), that the committee condemn the  government for its lack of planning and support for community  colleges, its failure to respond to the needs of the thousands of  unemployed in Manitoba, and to the immediate needs of the  hundreds of students waiting for training in the province.

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Just for  clarification, do we have to debate this motion before us, or is  it nondebatable?

Madam Chairperson:  The motion is in order, and the motion indeed  is debatable.  I will now read the motion.

      It has been moved by the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms.  Friesen) that the committee condemn the government for its lack  of planning and support for community colleges, its failure to  respond to the needs of the thousands of unemployed in Manitoba  and to the immediate needs of the hundreds of students waiting  for training in this province.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Madam Chairperson, I am extremely pleased to speak  to this motion, because I believe that it will give an  opportunity to discuss our government's commitment to training in  this province and also to the community college system within  this province.

      I would like to start by saying that choice is a very  important principle guiding my department as outlined in the  Strategic Plan.  We believe that Manitobans want to be able to  choose alternatives to education and training which include both  public institutions funded by government within the resources  available to us and private training providers paid for primarily  by the individuals making those choices.

      I would like to address, specifically, the policies of the  former New Democratic government to see if in fact our approach  differs significantly.  The honourable member has criticized this  government for taking the necessary steps to eliminate certain  college programs as part of last year's Estimates based on the  criteria that I outlined previously:  labour market demand,  student success, post‑graduation employment, program costs, and  the availability of alternative delivery approaches.

      I have indicated to the honourable member that we have, in  fact, added new or expanded programs last year and again this  year in those areas which, we believe, will most significantly  contribute to the well‑being of the provincial economy.  What I  now wish to remind the member is of certain decisions made by the  former government.  I refer to the statements from Hansard made  by the former minister, Maureen Hemphill, on May 22, 1984.  During that year's Estimates, the NDP government also cut a  number of college programs, but it failed to introduce new  programs to replace those which had been eliminated.  The former  NDP minister clearly indicated that her government had considered  the availability of similar programs at private vocational  schools, other colleges or secondary vocational schools as part  of its decision‑making process.

      I would like to quote Ms. Hemphill's response:  "If the  program can be delivered by another institution, and I give you  an example where we have some of the same programs being  delivered through our vocational schools as are being delivered  through the colleges, and if we can say this program is being  delivered through other institutions, then we do not have to keep  delivering it, do not have to duplicate.  That is another of the  criteria."

      The NDP minister went on to say:  "An example, . . . is the  fact that various of the trade schools, like Success, are able to  train an adequate number of people in that area successfully and  it is not necessary for us to duplicate that program."

      So we see now that the program eliminations and reductions  are not something new to the community colleges.  What is new,  however, which I have stressed on several earlier occasions, is  the restructuring which we have undertaken as indicated by the  large number of new and expanded programs which this government  has introduced at the colleges, both last year and this year.

      As part of the government's ongoing activities of  strengthening the Manitoba economy by developing the skill levels  of our labour force, an extensive review of community colleges  was taken in 1991, and I stress the process of review and of  restructuring.  The aim was to focus on effective long‑term  approaches to meeting our labour market needs, rather than on the  short‑term, quick‑fix measures which the NDP party has  consistently spoken of in this session.

      The review resulted in a redirection of programming from the  less effective programs to ones which would be more effective in  addressing labour market mismatches.  College programs were  evaluated based on enrollment levels, graduation rates, job  placements, projected demands for graduates as well as program  costs and effectiveness.  Although some programs were eliminated,  for example, the recreational vehicle technology, and  hairstylist, and clerical bookkeeping, which we did spend a great  deal of time on in Estimates‑‑and I spoke on that one very  specifically when we spoke of the accountancy and the  requirements for a greater technological ability on behalf of the  graduates.  Many were added, including technology and business  management programs, computer‑related programs, programming  related to our aerospace industry and expanded programming within  rural and northern Manitoba.

      In 1992‑93 we are proposing a further expansion of $2.5  million to college programming in areas which will contribute to  the economic development of our province.  As I have said to the  member previously, this training will result in an additional 640  students in 1992‑93.

      I would like to read into the record again some of the  additional programs which are available at our community  colleges.  At Red River Community College:  the post‑diploma in  geographical information systems, that is a new program; the  post‑diploma in biomedical engineering, a new program;  manufacturing assessment services, an expanded program;  development of learning technologies, a modified program;  post‑diploma in technology management, a new program;  post‑diploma in electrical and electronic technology, an expanded  program; telecommunications technology, an expanded program;  developmental services, an expanded program; civil engineering  technology, both a modified and an expanded program; motor  vehicle mechanic, a modified and an expanded program; business  administration, an expanded program; technology preparation, a  new program; advertising art, a modified program; business  accountancy, an expanded program; applied sciences, a new program.

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      At Assiniboine Community College:  agribusiness, rural  enterprise, a new program; heavy duty equipment electronics  technology, a new program; business administration year one, an  expanded and a modified program; media production technology, a  new program; sustainable shelter specialist, a new program.

      At Keewatin Community College:  instrumentation electronic  technology technician year one, a new program; computer  technology, a new program; computer technician, a new program;  facilities technician, a new program.

      So this government has recognized the urgent need for the  community colleges to have greater flexibility and greater  responsiveness and great accountability in order to meet the  rapidly changing demands of a highly competitive information and  technology‑based economy.  As it stands today, the colleges are  the direct arms of the government and this structure does not  provide them with the flexibility they need to meet the future  challenges.

      After consultations with the private sector the government  decided that the colleges must move to a system of board  governance which would on one hand provide flexibility while on  the other accountability of public funds.

      Since The Colleges Act was passed in July 1991 an  implementation plan has been prepared and is currently being  reviewed by the government, and $250,000 has been provided in the  1992‑93 Estimates in support of the activities associated with  this transition including funds for staff development and  training so that the college staff can assume their new  responsibilities under board governance.  Incorporation of the  three colleges under separate boards is expected to take place on  April 1, 1993, and The Colleges Act allows for the continuation  of existing pension plans for college employees.

      So, Madam Chairperson, I hope that I have underlined again  this government's commitment for training and training through  the community colleges, but the issue of restructuring the  community colleges was an important one, and it was very  important for us to look at the employability of graduates and  also the number of young people or adults who started the  programs and then who were actually able to finish and graduate  from those programs.

      As a part, as I have said, of making sure that colleges are  able to provide the programming that is the most flexible and the  most important to their areas, we are moving to a system of  college governance and through that system of college governance  we fully expect colleges then to be able to look at labour market  needs within their area, to utilize the labour market strategy  developed by this government and to provide the kind of  programming that will be the most responsive to their specific  area.

      Having visited the community colleges and having visited in  the North, we can see that this is a very important move.  The  member has spoken about the colleges in the North, and she has  spoken about the need for employment in the North, and she has  spoken about concern for people in northern Manitoba.  I have  spent a great deal of this Estimates time speaking to her about  our efforts to be responsive to northern Manitobans and to allow  the colleges to also be responsive to northern Manitobans through  strategies that we have put in place in northern Manitoba, and we  have to look at what are the specific needs in the northern part  of Manitoba and how people in the North will be able to access  those programs.

      So as I said to her much earlier and for several days, day  after day, it has been very important for us to make sure that  people who are studying in these programs or in programs which  lead for them to a personal satisfaction as well as an  employability and that the programs are in sync with the current  labour market needs in Manitoba.

      Then again, I will remind her that when she speaks of the  private vocational schools, that it was also her government in  the government of the NDP in 1984 who said, and I will just read  again into the record, Ms. Hemphill's response:  If the program  can be delivered by another institution, and I will give you an  example where we have some of those programs being delivered  through our vocational schools, the area being delivered through  the colleges, and if we can say this program is being delivered  through other institutions then we do not have to keep delivering  it, we do not have to duplicate it.

An Honourable Member:  Who said that?

Mrs. Vodrey:  That was said by Maureen Hemphill who was the  Minister of Education in 1984.


Point of Order


Ms. Friesen:  Madam Chairperson, I think the member is reading a  set speech and I think perhaps she has not adapted it to the  situation because, in fact, we have not talked about vocational  schools yet.  I asked about one correspondence school.  We have  not mentioned any other vocational schools.  I think the minister  had a prepared speech that she came in with that she has not  adapted.  But we would be happy to give her the time to adapt it.

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

* * *

Mrs. Vodrey:  I know if the member goes back and references  Hansard, she will find her own reference to vocational schools  and private vocational schools.  She did raise this issue this  afternoon.  I think it is very important to get on the record all  of the information that will be important to a motion such as  this.

      In terms of our labour market strategy and our labour force  strategy in Manitoba, the Manitoba government does believe that  the skilled human resources are integral to the maintenance of  the provincial economic competitiveness and also prosperity.  A  labour force strategy, therefore, will form an important  component of the government's economic strategy.  The labour  force strategy will provide a framework to provide the  development of Manitoba's labour force through a period of rapid  change by ensuring that Manitobans‑‑


Point of Order


Mr. Ashton:  Our rules are fairly clear that speeches, apart from  very isolated occasions, should not be read from a written copy,  and I do believe the minister is doing that.  If she wishes to  table a copy of her speech, I am sure we will all read it, Madam  Chairperson.  But our rules are very clear that speeches apart  from some very specific designated occasions‑‑and in the case of  Estimates about the only exception is when ministers make  introductory comments and that is standard practice.  But in  debate on motions, it is highly irregular for members to be  reading from speeches and I would ask that you bring the Minister  of Education to order and ask her address the motion rather than  read a written speech into the record.  That is a point of order.

Mr. Enns:  On the same point of order, I would have to agree with  my colleague, the member for Thompson, official opposition House  leader.  That indeed was the tradition in the rule of this  Chamber some time, but long ago abandoned.  If, in fact, that  were to be applied now, you would have to rule out the Question  Period pretty well, because most questions are read onto the  record.

      Furthermore, there has always been, as long as I have been in  this Chamber, substantial leeway given to ministers during the  Estimates period to read from particular documents because of the  nature, because of the specific questions that are being asked.  I think it is a rule that I, quite frankly, support, that members  should desist from reading from papers in their contribution to  the Chamber, but there are exceptions to the rule, and certainly  the minister when engaged in her Estimates is one of them.

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Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The honourable member for  Thompson does not have a point of order.  I am referring  explicitly to Rule 29.  "A member addressing the House shall not  read from a written previously prepared speech except in the case  of a Minister of the Crown making a statement of policy."

Mr. Ashton:  Madam Chairperson, are you saying that at any time  that a minister is speaking‑‑I just want to get the clarity on  the ruling‑‑that they are entitled by your interpretation of that  rule to speak.  My understanding of that is to do with  ministerial statements.  It is also to do with opening comments,  but in debate it has never been the policy of ministers,  particularly on motions.

      I would just like to ask for clarity on your ruling.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  My interpretation of Rule 29  is indeed as I have previously stated, that a minister shall not  read from a written previously prepared speech except in the case  of a minister of the Crown making a statement of policy.  It is  my interpretation that the minister is indeed stating  departmental policy in response to the concerns expressed in the  motion by the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).

Mr. Ashton:  Madam Chairperson, with all due respect, I challenge  your ruling.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The ruling of the Chair  having been challenged, the question before the committee is,  shall the ruling of the Chair be sustained?  All those in favour  of sustaining the ruling of the Chair, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Chairperson:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Madam Chairperson:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Mr. Ashton:  Madam Chairperson, I request a formal vote.

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

* * *

The committee took recess at 3:44 p.m.

After Recess

The committee resumed at 4:39 p.m.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  In the section of Committee  of Supply meeting in the Chamber to consider the Estimates of the  Department of Education and Training, the honourable member for  Thompson (Mr. Ashton) rose on a point of order alleging that the  honourable Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) was in breach of  the rules by reading from a prepared text.

      The Chair ruled that the honourable member did not have a  point of order and that the honourable minister had complied with  Rule 29(a).  The honourable member for Thompson challenged the  ruling which was sustained on a voice vote.  The honourable  member then requested a formal vote.

      Therefore, the question before the committee is:  shall the  ruling of the Chair be sustained?

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A STANDING VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:  Yeas 24,  Nays 25.

Madam Chairperson:  The ruling of the Chair has not been  sustained, therefore I must request the honourable minister not  to read from a previously prepared text.

* * *

      Order, please.  Will the Committee of Supply please come to  order.  This section of the Committee of Supply is dealing with  the Estimates of the Department of Education and Training.

      Order, please.  We will continue to consider the Estimates  for the Department of Education.  Question?

Mr. Praznik:  Pardon me, Madam Chairperson.  Which question did  you call?

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  I have called the Estimates  of the Department of Education and Training back to order, and  when the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) rose on a  point of order and then subsequently challenged the Chair, there  was a motion on the floor, and the honourable Minister of  Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey) was debating that motion.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Would you read  the motion, Madam Chairperson?  I think a number of us may want  to speak on this particular motion.

Madam Chairperson:  Moved by the honourable member for Wolseley  (Ms. Friesen), that the committee condemn the government for its  lack of planning and support for community colleges‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The Chair had not concluded  reading the motion:  its failure to respond to the needs of the  thousands of unemployed in Manitoba and the immediate needs of  the hundreds of students waiting for training in this province.

Mr. Downey:  Madam Chairperson, I am rising to speak on the  motion that was brought forward by the member for‑‑


Point of Order


Mr. Alcock:  This is a friendly point of order.  I believe the  minister was speaking and has not finished her remarks.  Has she  concluded her remarks?

An Honourable Member:  No, she was just being ruled out of order.

Mr. Ashton:  Yes, if I might be of assistance.  Also, in a  friendly manner to the government since it is having some  difficulty here, I also believe if we are now back in the section  of the Estimates, the staff should be invited back in.  The  minister should come down.  We are ready for the question, but we  should proceed normally with the committee, Madam Chairperson.

* * *

Madam Chairperson:  Would the minister's staff please enter the  Chamber?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I am pleased to continue the speech that I was  delivering before the point of order was raised, the speech in  which I have delivered those points many times when I visited  around in this province and when I have also spoken in this House.

      I have spoken very frequently about this government's  commitment to the community college system and to the training of  Manitobans.  I have spoken about that commitment first of all in  terms of the movement towards college governance.  As I have said  in this House before, the community colleges are in fact, at this  point, an arm of government, and it has been determined, through  a bill passed in this House, that those community colleges will  move into college governance so that those community colleges  will be able to be much more responsive to the citizens of their  area.

      By way of example, I spoke of the citizens in northern  Manitoba who will have the community college close to them and  have that college be able to develop programs which will be very  suited to northern Manitobans.  I say this with a great deal of  pride, because certainly the NDP government did not at any time  move to take any measures such as that.  They did not make any  attempts to assist the community colleges in the North become  more responsive to northern Manitobans, and in fact they were  responsible for the severe fiscal mismanagement of this  province.  As a result of that, we are dealing with a huge  deficit in the Province of Manitoba right now.  Manitobans are  being forced to shoulder that deficit.

      This government has made every effort to attempt to manage  this province in a more responsible way, dealing with the  left‑over debt of the NDP government.

      In terms of the management, we have looked very carefully at  the budgeting in this province, and we have also looked at what  Manitobans can afford.  In looking at what Manitobans can afford,  we have also looked at the structure that would best suit the  people of Manitoba.  We did look at restructuring within the  college system, and that did involve the development and the  expansion and the modification of many new community college  programs or present community college programs.

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      We certainly are aware that the issue of management is a  major issue that is simply pouring money in, which, as the NDP  answer, has not answered anything and in fact has led us deeper  into debt and has been what has led us to the need for  restructuring in this province.  We do have a commitment to the  community college system.  We do have a commitment to training  within this province.  We have also looked into the development  of new college programming to programming which is responsive to  the needs of the labour market.

      There has been an opportunity to discuss with employers what  it is that employers are looking for, what is the technological  need for employers, what is the greatest amount of employability  for Manitobans so that in fact they will be successful when they  have spent that time within the community college system.

      Madam Chairperson, I think it is very important that those  people studying within the community college system also develop  a sense of internal satisfaction as well as the belief that they  will be able to look ahead, and that they will be able to look  for employability.  I respond to the honourable member by saying  not only have we moved toward college governance, but I will  remind her again that we have put more money into community  colleges and that we have been looking at developing programs  which are very responsive and will lead to the issues of  employment.

      Going along with this, Madam Chairperson, I have also spoken  in this House over the past several weeks about the development  of a provincial labour force strategy for Manitoba, a strategy  which was not developed by the NDP, a strategy which was not even  envisioned by the NDP and a strategy which was developed from  scratch by this government.  There has been a great deal of work  put into that, and we look forward to that being brought forward  as soon as possible.  Certainly, that should provide us and  assist us in developing a labour market and training within this  province, so we do look forward to that.

      In addition, we also look forward to signing a  Canada‑Manitoba Labour Force Development Agreement and within  that, we will also be looking to the partnerships within the  community.  We will be looking at how we can co‑operate in terms  of training with not only what the labour market demands but with  what students demand as well.

      This government through its development of a labour market  strategy, this government through its move to a community college  governance, this government with its development of courses that  are very much more updated than previously has put thought into  this.  The NDP has said that if you just pour more money in and  run up the debt, keep the programs, keep the status quo, do not  do any restructuring, do not do any further development, that  everything will be fine.

      That has been the message that the NDP has delivered in this  House during the Estimates process, and this government has said  that we will, in fact, provide a strategy and the strategy is one  that is in the process of being developed now.  It is a strategy  that will assist Manitobans; it is a strategy that does not just  talk about maintaining the status quo for Manitobans.  As I said  in the Estimates process, those Manitobans in many cases were not  able to complete the programs, were not able to find jobs at the  end of the programs, so we looked at some of those programs that  were, in fact, reduced and the restructuring of the programs.

      We looked at those programs, and we said the employability is  low and we found that there was an attrition rate as well.  We  are now looking to develop programs within the community colleges  that are more responsive to Manitobans and also to employers.  I  put forward to you again that we are looking at the issue of  management.  In addition to management, we are also looking at  responsiveness for Manitobans and assisting Manitobans to stay in  their programming and also to help bring them a sense of  satisfaction.

      We also have to acknowledge, in the planning of a labour  force, in the planning of training and the planning for community  colleges, that Manitoba is not alone in the way that it has to  look at what its labour force's needs are.  We have to look at  Manitoba very specifically; we have to look at what the needs of  the North are; we have to look at what the needs of our rural  areas are; we have to look at the needs of our urban areas.  We  also have to look across Canada, and we have to say, what are the  needs across Canada?  Where are we moving across Canada?  We are  moving into a much more highly technological period where we  certainly need training.  Those expanded programs and those new  programs which I have spoken of, also speak to the need for the  development in terms of technology.  I think it is very important  not to simply bury our heads in the sand and maintain the status  quo, but instead to move and to look at what those needs of  Manitobans truly are.

      So we have developed these new programs.  I know that we will  be speaking about them in detail when we go line by line looking  at the community colleges, looking at the planning of the  community colleges, looking at the staffing of the community  colleges.  All of those issues, Madam Chairperson, will be very  important when we look at college governance.

      As I have acknowledged in this Chamber already, the move to  college governance requires a trained staff.  It requires a  trained administration and that administration is in the process  of receiving the training that it needs, both the administrative  training and the financial training, and that staff also  continues to need that kind of training.

      We want to make sure also at our community colleges that our  instructors are as up to date as possible, that they have had the  opportunity to experience professional development and through  that professional development, to offer the highest quality of  training for the students within Manitoba.  We certainly support  that issue, and we want our students to graduate in a way that is  in sync with labour and business and industry that they will be  moving into as well as the technology that we can be providing  through the community colleges.

      So we certainly have focused a great deal of attention, as I  have explained in the process of discussing the college  governance implementation team, that we have an interdepartmental  team which is looking at all the issues that relate to movement  to college governance.  There is a plan that is a well laid out  plan, and we are looking at issues as they relate to instructors  and their agreements with the college.  We are also looking at  the courses, and we are looking at property.  We are looking at  all the issues to assist the community colleges within the  college governance structure.

      So I think it is very important that this government has a  plan and this government has worked according to this plan.  We  developed the plan.  We have moved according to the plan, and I  think that it is a plan that Manitobans can then begin to look at  and say, this is a government that has provided a plan.  The  other government had no strategy.  The other government did not  have any way to be responsive, but this government has developed  a plan.  This government is being responsive to the needs of  Manitobans.

      Through the community colleges, that is one way in which we  are proving our particular interest in both the instructors and  also the students who will be studying.  We want to make the  community colleges attractive places.  As I have said in the last  several weeks of Estimates, we are working with communities to  make the course content that is offered at community colleges,  very important to the areas in which people are studying and that  the community colleges will become a very attractive option both  to students and to parents.

      We are working with high school guidance counsellors, so that  high school guidance counsellors can assist students in the  transition and that community colleges become a very viable  option.  I think that is a very important thing, because the  colleges during the '80s were left with very little.  They were  left with nothing.  They were not a priority of the NDP  government, and this government has begun to make them a priority.

      So I think that motion is absolutely unfounded because this  government has shown that it is‑‑

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The hour being 5 p.m. and  time for private members' hour, I am interrupting the proceedings.

      Call in the Speaker.

* (1700)




Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The hour being 5 p.m., time for  Private Members' Business.


House Business


Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Yes, Mr. Speaker, we  are quite prepared to waive private members' hour to go back into  Committee of Supply if the government is agreeable.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to waive private  members' hour?

An Honourable Member:  Yes.

Mr. Speaker:  Yes.  That is agreed.  We will waive private  members' hour.  We are back into Supply.  Madam Deputy Speaker,  take the chair please.




Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The Committee of Supply  will now resume the consideration of the Department of Rural  Development.

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would  just like to continue on with my opening remarks.  I was just  indicating that I have some concerns about what is happening in  rural Manitoba, that we are not getting the leadership from  government that is necessary to get the communities working.  Community leaders can only do so much work, but they must have  the initiatives from government, the supports from government, to  have their projects come to fruition.  This is one of the things  that I would like to talk about to the minister as we get into  the Estimates.

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      The other area of concern that we will be raising in  Estimates is the changes to the amendments to the assessment act,  Bill 20.  The minister has indicated that this is not going to  affect a farmer's right to appeal, but there are many farmers out  there, farm organizations, who have expressed concern with this.  The questions are asked as to, if this is not going to affect the  farmer's right to appeal, why are the changes even being made?

      The other issue is the delay in reassessment, and we cannot  agree with the minister that it is necessary to have a delay in  reassessment.  We feel that there was a commitment made when Bill  79 was being presented that never again would there be a delay in  assessment.  It would always happen in three‑year periods, and I  think that people expected that to happen and we should go  forward with it.  There are many people that are concerned, many  people who want the assessment to go forward and cannot  understand why this government has chosen to delay that  reassessment.  So we will be raising those issues.

      Also, we have to have some discussion on the portioning and  what is happening with portioning and shifting of taxes‑‑the  decrease in apportioning and the different percentage of decrease  for some classes versus other classes.  Farmers are having to  pick up additional education costs, and I know that the minister  will say that is the local levy that is causing the extra  taxation on farmers, but I think we have to look at a way  that‑‑how can this be addressed?

(Mr. Bob Rose, Acting Deputy Chairperson, in the Chair)

      The intention of the legislation was that the taxation for  education would go on farm buildings, on homes as it does in the  town, and that seems to make sense.  But, as is happening right  now, there is an additional tax being put on farmland, and we  have to look at how this can be addressed so that farmers will  pay their fair share of educational tax but not a  disproportionate amount of tax, which, I feel, is happening right  now.

      Another area that I would like‑‑there is a concern with  taxation on Crown lands or lack of ability that municipalities  have to collect taxes on Crown land.  I would like to raise that  issue with the minister and see whether there is any way that we  can resolve that problem because municipalities, although they  are providing services to people who are living on Crown lands,  do not have the ability‑‑now this may not fall under Rural  Development.  It may fall under Crown lands, but I would like to  talk this through with the minister and see how we might be able  to come to some resolve on this particular problem.

      One of the initiatives that this government has taken, as the  minister outlined in comments, was the REDI program and the  allocation of lottery funds that will support the rural  community.  I attended the Hotel Association meeting.  It seemed  to be very positive from the people within the Hotel  Association.  It is helping their business and that is good.  I  have said earlier that I have difficulty with raising money only  from lotteries.  I have some problem with that.  There have to be  other initiatives, but if that is being done by all  governments‑‑and I think that is something we just have to accept  that it is going to be a way of raising money.

      I want to know, how much money is being raised and what  percentage of the money that is raised is going back into the  rural communities?  We need some clarification of where the money  is going to be spent.  How is the money going to be allocated  back to the communities?  Is it going back to the communities  that raised the money, or is it being distributed right across  the province?  If it is only going back into those communities  that have the video lottery terminals, what about the rest of the  province?  So we need some clarification on what is happening and  what the benefit is to those communities.

      I guess I want to know whether the government will consider  matching that money.  I do not believe that everything that  happened in the rural community should happen from funds only  raised in the rural community.  There has to be, as I have said  earlier, a commitment from government to also stand up for rural  areas and, again, all of rural Manitoba.  I do not believe rural  Manitoba ends at No. 1 Highway.  I think there is a lot more  further north than that.  I do not believe it ends in Roblin,  Russell.  I do not believe it ends anywhere.  I think it is the  whole‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Or Portage la Prairie.

Ms. Wowchuk:  It does not end at Portage la Prairie.   I hope  that other parts of the province will benefit.  I guess I get  back to my own constituency again, because I feel that this area  of the province has been neglected by this government.  We have  been neglected.  We have been very badly hurt by the Repap deal.  There is no doubt about it that our part of the province has been  hurt.  We do not have the economic growth there.

      We hear about the water and sewer program, the Southern  Development Initiative, that this government continues to praise  and that is good.  That is good for southern Manitoba, because  they are going to have the ability to attract industry, but again  I say that we have to look beyond the southern part of the  province.  We have to look at how we can attract business to the  northern part.

      If you want to call us the northern part of the province,  then I am not sure the Swan River area falls into the Parkland,  which is partly northern, partly southern.  The people in my part  of the province also want their children to be able to come back  home after they have finished their school.  They want to be able  to work in those communities.  We all want to go back.  Most  people want to go back to where they came from.  They have roots  there, but at this point there really is not any attraction.  When I see young people having to go out to Alberta and to B.C.  to find work because there is no work in Manitoba, I do not think  that we are addressing the real concerns.

      The decentralization program and Community Futures are also a  few areas of concern.  The minister talked about Community  Futures and the round table program.  I guess I am anxious to  know what the next step is with the round table and whether the  process on round tables has changed at all.  Is the funding the  same as it was before for round tables?  Is there a change in  funding?  What happens when the communities put a proposal on  this round table?  Is that the end?  Is the government taking any  initiative to go farther, because it is not enough to say, well,  yes, we have had a round table meeting and this community has put  together a proposal and there has been money spent on it, but if  the ideas do not go farther, then that is not helping communities.

      The minister talked about decentralization and how positive  it has been.  I cannot completely agree with some of his  numbers.  I do not know whether we are going to talk about  decentralization at this time or whether we are going to talk  about it under the decentralization budget.  Estimates, we will  not have very much time at that time I do not think, as we will  not have very much time in this area.  I guess what I would like  to know is, what has happened with decentralization in this  department?  How many jobs are really moving out of Rural  Development and where are we going with decentralization?

      I think there are only a couple of other areas that I have  concerns with.  I think that one of them is the minister's power  as it relates to LGDs versus municipalities, and who has the  final say and what is happening in those areas.  I mentioned this  briefly to the minister at some point during the Estimates.  I  would just like some clarification.

      As I said, our major concern is Bill 20 and the reasoning  behind bringing in those amendments at this time and the concerns  that people are raising with us.  I think with that I will close  and let my colleague for the third opposition make his comments,  and then perhaps we can get into more detail in specific areas.

      Thank you very much.

(Mr. Deputy Chairperson in the Chair)

* (1720)

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  I thank the honourable member for those  comments.  Does the critic for the second opposition party, the  honourable member for St. Boniface, have an opening statement?

Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Firstly, I would like to  congratulate the minister on being promoted to Rural  Development.  I say promoted because I think Rural Development  has just as much importance as any other department here in the  Legislature.  I also would like to congratulate the appointment  of our new deputy minister and say thank you for the work that  Dave Tomasson has done for the Department of Rural Development.  I am sure he will be missed, but I am sure he will be available  for his help when required.

      Also, I am pleased to have been given the chance to be the  critic of Rural Development.  Having come from a rural area  myself, you always have your roots in the rural area.  The  minister will know that because I have visited his constituency  and have enjoyed doing that.  I have worked with him  co‑operatively, I think, and I appreciate his efforts in helping  me out when I met those people.

      I have visited many rural areas since I was given the  portfolio of critic for Rural Development, and I will continue  after the session to visit the rural area, because it is always  pleasant to go out to the rural communities, and you are always  welcome.  You are always well received.

      I will be very brief, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, because I know  we have several Estimates to go through yet, and I think all the  Estimates that we have to go through are just as important as any  of the other Estimates that are left to be dealt with.  I know we  have just so many hours to deal with.

      I think we want to raise the issues that have been raised by  the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk).  The minister has  announced‑‑I look here at the Manitoba focus where he says five  new programs, and we would like to deal with those programs on a  one‑to‑one basis so that we have information and know where we  are going and what it has to offer for the rural development of  our rural areas.

      Again, like I said, I would be brief, and I want to go into  the details of the Estimates.  I will end my comments at this  time and look forward with positive criticism‑‑[interjection]  Well, I think that is what we need, positive criticism for the  rural areas, because like the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk)  has mentioned, it does not stop at the Perimeter Highway.  I  think our interests are for all Manitobans, and I think the  interest of all legislators here in this House should be for all  Manitobans, and I look forward to dealing in the Estimates with  the minister.

      Thank you very much.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  We thank the honourable member for St.  Boniface for his opening comments.  Under Manitoba practice,  debate of the minister's salary is traditionally the last item  considered for the Estimates of a department.  Accordingly, we  shall defer consideration of this item and now proceed with  consideration of the next line.

      At this time, we invite the minister's staff to join us at  the table, and we will ask the minister to introduce the staff  members present.

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Thank you  very much, Mr. Deputy Chairperson and members of the committee.  I would like to introduce to you our Acting Deputy Minister, Mr.  David Tomasson.  As I said, David is the Acting Deputy Minister  who will be moving on to Northern and Native Affairs.  Also with  us is Brian Johnston who is our Chief of Financial Services for  the Department of Rural Development.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  At this time we will be dealing with  Item 1.(b) Executive Support:  (1) Salaries $368,600.  Shall the  item pass?

Ms. Wowchuk:  I do not want to spend very much time on this  section.  I just want to ask briefly on the increase of staff.  You have had an increase of 2.25‑‑am I on the right line?  I am  just wondering, is that the proposed assistant deputy minister?  What are the increases in staff there?

Mr. Derkach:  As the member knows, this department formerly was  administered by a minister who had joint responsibility for  Northern and Native Affairs and for Rural Development.

      When the responsibilities were separated, it meant that there  would be some additional staff because of a separate ministry for  such things as your special executive assistant and also some of  your clerical support.

Ms. Wowchuk:  I am sorry, I just did not quite understand.  You  are saying that your special assistant then comes with the  ministry.  This does not include the new assistant deputy  minister that will be hired at some point, and if it does not  include that, I am just wondering where that will show up in the  lines?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, this includes the special  executive support to the minister, but it does not include the  deputy minister's component, or ADM's.

Ms. Wowchuk:  My question then is, where in the budget will we  see the allocation of funds for the new ADMs?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the ADMs show up in two  separate sections, one under 5.(a), and that is the ADM for the  Local Government Services Division.  Then in section 6.(a), the  other ADM is found for the Rural Economic Development Division.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Item 1.(b) Executive Support:  (1)  Salaries $368,600‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $94,400.

Mr. Gaudry:  There is an increase in Other Expenditures of some  $13,000.  What does that consist of?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, Manitoba has the  distinguished honour this year of hosting the ministerial  conference which is going to be held in August at Elkhorn Ranch.  There is $12,500 allocated which is our share for the joint  ministerial conference between the Departments of Rural  Development and Urban Affairs.

Mr. Gaudry:  You say it is going to be held in Elkhorn.  Is that  just for the government or is that‑‑the opposition also will be  invited to that conference?

Mr. Derkach:  Well, the agenda has not been finalized, I guess,  but it is a ministerial conference.  Whether or not we will make  available for the opposition the social evening, I do not know.  I do not even know if one is planned.  This is something that is  planned as a joint effort between provinces across the country.

      It is not usually done for the public or members of  opposition parties.  It is usually confined to ministers only and  some support staff whom the minister may choose to have there.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Gee, I am disappointed, I cannot go to that  conference.  Just on the conference, I wanted to ask the  minister, is this a new function?  Has this happened with Rural  Development, or is this a new initiative that has been taken with  other provinces, and which provinces will be invited?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, my understanding is this is  an annual event, that each year some province in Canada hosts a  function of this nature.  We were honoured to have the occasion  this year to be able to host it as a joint endeavour between  Rural Development and Urban Affairs.

      Last year, it was in Halifax.  It seems that this year I get  to travel to Elkhorn Ranch, and certainly we are proud, very  proud, to be able to host this because I think our setting at  Elkhorn Ranch in the western part of this province, in a rural  setting, is indeed a very fine setting for a ministerial  conference.  I am certainly proud that Manitoba can host that  kind of a conference.

Mr. Gaudry:  Yes, maybe since we are not available to join the  ministers, maybe you could arrange for golfing for the opposition.

* (1730)

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Item (b)(2) Other Expenditures  $94,400‑‑pass.

      Item (c) Brandon Office:  (1) Salaries $100,600.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Just on the Brandon Office, every time we do these  Estimates we get into the issue of the value of that office.  Again we see the expenses, the cost of that going up.  I want to  ask the minister his feeling on that office, if he feels it is a  worthwhile investment, and in particular, has he considered  moving that office into the government building?

      There is space in the provincial building.  It would be a  saving rather than an increase in cost.  Just on that, has the  minister considered that type of move?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I certainly have not  considered moving the office into a different location.  At the  present time it is located on 18th Street, a spot that has become  quite familiar to many of the rural people in Manitoba.  We have  had numerous clients use the office ranging from the UMMs, to  City of Brandon, the Rural Development Institute, Alcoholism  Foundation of Manitoba.  I could go through a list which brings  together many, many entities into that office.

      Western Manitoba finds that it is a long distance away from  Winnipeg. Many people who sometimes only need a few minutes of  government time find it fairly cumbersome to travel for four or  five hours into the city.  So for that reason we tried to  strategically locate offices in Manitoba.  There is one in  northern Manitoba under the Minister of Northern and Native  Affairs (Mr. Downey) and there is one in Brandon.

      Now, from time to time ministers use the office as well in  meeting with groups, in meeting with different organizations.  I  intend to use the office much more than I have in the past,  because I only had an opportunity to use it as Minister of  Education and Training, at which time I did use it on several  occasions.

      It was a good place for us to meet with superintendents,  school board members who were not from Brandon but perhaps from  outside of Brandon.  We met with the university people, with the  college people.  As Minister of Rural Development I have had the  occasion to meet with several municipalities at that cabinet  office.  Municipalities know that the service is there.  They  appreciate it, and so do other organizations that use that office  quite frequently.

      As of this time we have two positions there, as you can see  by the Estimate line in front of you.  Indeed, I think it is a  very worthwhile use of space.  Just to give you an idea of some  of the groups that have used it, I would like to just list a  few:  the Manitoba Telephone System, Native Affairs, MPIC,  Lotteries Foundation, Natural Resources, the Justice Department,  Manitoba Mediation Board, McKenzie Seeds, Manitoba Government  Employees Association, Brandon District Labour Council, the UMM,  Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association, the Assiniboine Community  College, Brandon University, Brandon Economic Development Board,  Westman Multicultural Council, Brandon Mental Health Centre,  Brandon General Hospital, Downtown Brandon Business Improvement  Area, Prairie Forum on Rural Education, Westman Recycling  Council, as well as the City of Brandon.

      So, as you can see, there is a wide range of communities and  organizations who have accessed the office, and I am hopeful that  we will continue to promote that office as, if you like, a seat  of government or an office of government outside of this  Legislature.

Ms. Wowchuk:  I just do not quite understand spending that kind  of money.  I can see that the office is used, but I think that  those needs could be met through a provincial building, through  the provincial office because there are staff there that deal  with all of those departments.  But since the minister feels that  this is such a good investment and it is being so well utilized,  is he giving any consideration to setting up an office similar to  this in other parts of the province?  If he considers it such a  good investment, is it something that is being considered in  other parts of the province?

Mr. Derkach:  Well, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I guess when you are  looking at the kind of financial constraints that we as a  province have, you have to try and maximize the resources that  you have.  Given that attitude, we have determined that the two  offices that we have presently are probably as much as we can do  at the present time.

      The member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) is indicating that  the cost is high.  Well, it is high.  No matter what kind of an  office you have, there is still going to be some cost to it.  Duplicating that kind of an office is going to, of course,  increase the cost.

      We feel that with the two offices that we have presently, we  can reach out to a large population of the province, maybe not  ideal, but certainly better than we have been able to in the  past.  In the future, if the demand is there and if the resources  are there, I am sure that we certainly could look at the  possibility of doing that.

      My interest, of course, is to ensure that we have a presence  in rural Manitoba.  When I speak about rural Manitoba, I speak  about the province of Manitoba outside of this city.  It may not  be necessarily a cabinet office in a community, but I think we  have made our presence felt as government by decentralization, by  cabinet office locations.  I think that together, down the road,  we, as legislators, have to look at ways that we can serve people  in the rural part of this province in a better way.

      So, in that vein, I am interested in proposals and in  suggestions, if they come from opposition or whoever, in terms of  trying to maximize our presence out there.

Mr. Gaudry:  How long have you had this office in Brandon?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I would have to research  that and get back to the member, but I know it is at least two  years that we have had the cabinet office in Brandon.  But I will  get the exact length of time that we have had that office there.

Mr. Gaudry:  Do you feel, for those years that you have had the  office in Brandon, that you served the purpose of serving rural  Manitoba in the area surrounding Brandon?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I guess I would say that we  can always do more.  Certainly, it is up to ministers of the  government to ensure that when they are travelling in rural  Manitoba or when they have groups to meet with in rural Manitoba  that they utilize those offices.

      When the House is not sitting, I have to tell you that it  makes it much more easy for us to access those offices and to use  them and to meet groups there.  One of the constraints, of  course, is when the Legislature is sitting for a long period of  time it does not allow for us to be as accessible to those  offices as we would like to be.

      Personally, I have been in both offices, in the Thompson  office and in the Brandon office.  In talking to the people from  Thompson and from the western part of the province, I have had  nothing but positive comments about the fact that we, as a  province, have two other locations, besides just the city of  Winnipeg, where there is a government presence.

Mr. Gaudry:  What rent do you pay for the building that you are  in now on 18th Street, if you have space available in another  building like the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) was saying?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, as you know, that is paid  through Government Services, and I will get that figure for you  from Government Services.

      In terms of the kind of space it is:  what we have is one  boardroom; we have two offices, and a reception area.  It is not  a big, elaborate office.  It is one that is functional and one  that is accessible to the public because there is a large amount  of traffic on 18th Street.  It is the street where the Keystone  Centre is located.  It is not that far from there.  So people do  find it quite handy to access.  But I will get the specific costs  for you at our next sitting or I will provide them for you in  writing.

* (1740)

Mr. Gaudry:  No, I expressed concern like the member for Swan  River (Ms. Wowchuk).  I expressed the fact that the rent is not  included in the cost here for Rural Development Estimates, and  the cost to me should be reflected into this Estimate.  I think  the fact that you have other buildings, that you have vacancies,  I think it would be important that this should be looked at.  I  mean, I appreciate him saying that on 18th Street where it has  been used to being there‑‑I think now that we are in a recession  or where we are having problems with financial difficulties in  other departments, even in this department I am sure, it should  be looked at.

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, it is certainly something  that I will take under advisement.  But let me just say that when  you have a cabinet office, per se, you certainly want to locate  it in an area where it is fairly accessible to the public, not  that it cannot be in a provincial building.  There are  certainly‑‑the Thompson one is in that building, but the office  was located where it is before I became the minister.  Nevertheless, it is a government office.  It is a cabinet  office.  If you drive by that office you find that it catches  your eye fairly quickly.  It has the Manitoba logo on it, the  emblem on it, and it gives that separate, if you like, appearance  that it is a cabinet office where you can access cabinet  ministers and the Executive Council of the government through  that office.  So I guess for those reasons some decisions were  made with regard to locating it outside of the provincial  building.

      Indeed, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I will take the comments of  the Liberal critic under advisement, and we will leave it at that.

      I have the information, while I am speaking, about the  cabinet office.  It has been in Brandon now for three years.

Mr. Edward Connery (Portage la Prairie):  Just for the  edification of the two opposition members and especially the  member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), the NDP government used to  have, in the government building in Thompson, a cabinet office in  there also, but they also provided free space for the member for  Thompson (Mr. Ashton) and free secretarial space for the member  for Thompson which was not kosher by the rules.  So just for your  edification, to understand and [interjection] Pardon?  Well, the  member for Thompson had an office in the cabinet group of offices  and had his own space there, which is not kosher by the rules  where MLAs should have office space outside of government  buildings.  But in the case of the NDP during their reign the  member for Thompson had free office space and free secretarial  space in the government offices.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Item (c) Brandon Office:  (1) Salaries  $100,600‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures, $30,000‑‑pass.

      Item (d) Human Resource Management:  (1) Salaries $156,000.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, just one question on the  Activity Identification.  The statement says, new and ongoing  initiatives such as development of a Policy and Procedure Manual,  and an Affirmative Action Program, among other things.  I want to  ask the minister:  What direction is the government going?  This  Policy and Procedure Manual‑‑basically that is a staff manual I  take it, but on the affirmative action, what is happening with  affirmative action in the Department of Rural Development?  Is  there a plan in place?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, in the Activity  Identification it spells out that the ongoing initiatives such as  development of Policy and Procedure Manual, a Performance Review  and Development Program‑‑this is done in conjunction with the  Civil Service Commission, and we are constantly, I guess,  revising and reviewing the policies that we have with regard to  employees, the workplace, affirmative action.  We are an  affirmative action employer, and we do not do it in isolation.  We do it in conjunction with the Civil Service Commission to  ensure that any policies and procedures that we have in place are  going to conform with the overall policies of The Civil Service  Act, and also that we are not different from what procedures and  policies are in place in other departments.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Just for clarification, there is not a specific  affirmative action policy that applies to the Department of Rural  Development.  It is a general policy that applies, that is  carried through, because I see it here as an affirmative action  program, but you are saying that it is not a specific program  related to Rural Development.

Mr. Derkach:  No, it is not Rural Development affirmative action  policy.  It is one that is generic, if you like, for all of  government.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Item 1.(d) Human Resource Management:  (1) Salaries $156,000‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $11,400‑‑pass.

      (e) Financial and Administrative Services:  (1) Salaries  $305,800‑‑pass.

      (2) Other Expenditures $184,500.  Shall the item pass?

Ms. Wowchuk:  The Deputy Chairperson is going so fast that we may  end up missing one of these lines here at that rate.

      Just on Other Expenditures we end up seeing a slight  reduction of roughly $5,000 which is not a great reduction, but  there seems to be a shift of money from one area to the other.  You see a shift from Communication, down by $20,000.  We see a  shift in Operating Grants, up $20,000.  Can the minister give us  some idea the amount of money is being spent?  What is the  shift?  Is there a change in the structure of the department?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the shift that the member  refers to is the cost related to putting on our annual UMM and  MAUM conventions.  As members know, the convention shifts from  Brandon to Winnipeg alternately, and the costs of hosting a  conference are substantially higher in Winnipeg than they are in  Brandon.  Therefore we have to set our budgets accordingly so  that when we host that particular evening we can cover our  costs.  Because of that differential you see a shifting in money  from year to year.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, that will account for, as I  understand it, the reduction of $20,000 because of a different  location, but is that money then allocated to other operations?  Is that right?  Do you just shift it back and forth from year to  year?  You are saying the municipal convention costs less.  It  has gone down, but it has gone up in another area, so I do not  quite understand what the money is then spent for.  If you have  saved it on a municipal convention, what have you spent the money  on?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, there is not one big item  that is causing the shift.  It is such things, as I indicated, as  the differential cost of hosting the banquets for the UMM and  MAUM conventions.  There are some insurance costs that we as a  department have to pick up.  There has been some shifting, or as  you can see, some changes in terms of the capital as you can see  and that is for computer software and computer hardware that has  been purchased.  So those are the kinds of shifts that you can  see.  They are not any one big item that is causing that.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Item 1.(e)(2) Other Expenditures,  $184,500‑‑pass.

      2. Municipal Board, Reviews and renders decisions on  municipal borrowing, assessment, planning and other matters as  required by statute.  (a) Salaries $346,200.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the department deals with  municipal borrowing.  I am asking for clarification here, is this  where municipalities then get their approvals for spending?  I am  not quite sure what the municipal borrowing means.

* (1750)

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, this is the Municipal  Board.  Its responsibilities, if you like, are quasi judicial.  They are mandated to sit to hear applications or appeals and  referrals pursuant to the variety of statutes that we have in the  province.

      We have 22 members who are appointed by the province to this  board.  Once again, their responsibility is to try and deal with  such appeals as may come in from time to time from individuals  and groups regarding the statutes of the Legislature.  More  specifically, I guess, with The Municipal Act or The Municipal  Assessment Act and the other acts that we may have under the  jurisdiction of this department.

Ms. Wowchuk:  I am referring to the main Estimates where it says,  "Reviews and renders decisions on municipal borrowing . . . ."  Again, I am wondering which borrowing does this board have  jurisdiction over?

Mr. Derkach:  Once again, from time to time municipalities may  require capital.  Under the statutes it is this board that they  would apply.  That is why I indicated in my comments in the  beginning that the board does sit to hear applications, appeals  and so forth from individuals or municipalities as they relate  under The Municipal Act, the assessment act or any of the other  legislation that is the responsibility of this department.

Ms. Wowchuk:  On this borrowing, is this the board that when a  municipality wants to borrow a substantial amount of money they  have to give approval before they can borrow for capital  investment, or who gives the approval?  Is this where the  decision is made?

Mr. Derkach:  The Municipal Board would be dealing with  borrowings, large borrowings if you like, by municipalities for  capital purposes.

Ms. Wowchuk:  If a municipality is borrowing money, does this  mean borrowing money against their reserves or does it mean  borrowing money from a bank?  If they are borrowing against their  reserves, is this also the board that gives them approval to  borrow against their‑‑?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, as I understand it, with  regard to the reserves, that is not handled by the Municipal  Board.  Municipal Board would authorize, or if you like, hear  application for capital borrowings which could be debenture, for  that matter.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Item 2. (a) Salaries $346,200‑‑pass; (b)  Other Expenditures $64,700‑‑pass.

      Resolution 115:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $410,900 for Rural Development,  Municipal Board for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March,  1993‑‑pass.

      Item 3. Surface Rights Board.  Provides for the resolution of  disputes in accordance with the Surface Rights Act.  (a) Salaries  $71,000‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $28,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 116:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $99,000 for Rural Development,  Surface Rights Board for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of  March, 1993‑‑pass.

      Item 4. Provincial Planning.  Provides technical and  administrative support to the Interdepartmental Planning Board  and the Provincial Land Use Committee of Cabinet, as well as  administering the subdivision approval process, (a) Salaries  $362,900.  Shall the item pass?

Ms. Wowchuk:  There are several questions under this area that I  would like to ask the minister.  The first one is dealing with  the provincial land use policy.  I understand there has been a  draft policy put in place, and it has been sent out to  municipalities for approval or for comment on it.  I would like  to ask the minister, what is he proposing for changes to  provincial land use?

Mr. Derkach:  Before I begin the response, I would like to  introduce Mr. Ed Sawatzky who is the acting manager for the  branch.

      Let me say with regard to the question asked that we have  sent the policies out to the various stakeholders, if you like,  for response.  It is not a fait accompli.  We will certainly be  waiting for a response to the policies that were sent out.

      The reason that the changes were made was that they were put  in place to reflect or to ensure that the policies are more  positive towards development in our province, that they perhaps  become less regulatory in character, and that they can be more  easily understood by the people who use these policies, because  one of the complaints we have had over the last number of years  is that sometimes as governments we lay policies down which are  difficult to understand, cumbersome to use, and require sometimes  a lawyer to interpret.

      So we want to ensure that people, when they have these  policies before them, are going to be able to understand them,  understand their intent, and we want to ensure that the whole  concept of sustainable development will be incorporated into the  entire document.  It is for that reason that we have tried to  come up with a draft that is going to allow people to do some  thinking about whether or not this is what we as a province  should be doing in terms of our land use policies, and it gives  them an opportunity to respond to those policies.  Later in the  year we will be getting together in regions with the various  stakeholders and formally addressing the whole issue of land use  policies and where we should be moving.

Ms. Wowchuk:  The minister indicated that this would be less  regulatory and would encourage more development.  Are there plans  in place, with this land use policy, in this proposal that will  protect agriculture land?  Is it a move to get more development?  We all want development in a rural area, but we also want to have  that land based for agriculture.  Is part of it to protect the  agriculture land base?

Mr. Derkach:  From reading the policy it indeed has a fairly  significant emphasis on the importance of protecting and  enhancing the agricultural land that we have in this province.  It is still one of the greatest resources that this province has,  and I think developing a land use policy without paying  extraordinary attention to agricultural land would be foolhardy.

      It is for that reason that we want to ensure that  municipalities and other stakeholder groups and individuals can  respond to the draft policies that have been circulated, and  perhaps we have left something out or perhaps we have overlooked  something that needs to be incorporated.  It is for that reason  that we want to hear the responses.  Yes, we have put in place  the importance of agricultural land in protecting it, but if  there is something else that needs to be added to it we are open  to those suggestions.

* (1800)

Ms. Wowchuk:  Where did the direction come from to change this  land use policy then?  It is a rural land base that we are  looking at, change of land use:  Who was that was not happy with  the present land use policy?  Was it municipalities that were  wanting to change?  What initiated this new policy?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, as the member knows, the  existing policy has been in place now for some time.  I believe  1980 was the last revision to it.

      Since that time, many things have changed, in terms of our  agriculture, in terms of our renewable resources, in terms of our  use of water and our attitude towards the protection of our land  and water.  There has been a tremendous amount of changing done  to the landscape in terms of refacing it, if you like, in some  instances, and development.  It is for that reason that we want  to ensure that we upgrade and reflect the changes that have been  made and also the new social and economic and, if you like,  environmental and sustainable development objectives that it  seems everyone is subscribing to.

      It is really an upgrade, an update, of existing policies.  We  set them out for people to comment on because we want to make  sure that we have hit the mark, if you like, and that if there is  comment with regard to certain areas, we are going to be  listening to the people.  It is a partnership approach rather  than a single‑focused sort of upper‑hand approach by government.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The time is now 6 p.m.  I am interrupting the proceedings of the committee.  The  Committee of Supply will resume consideration at 8 p.m.

Mr. Connery:  Could I ask a question before?  Just a question on  procedure for tonight.

      I have been asked by the Premier (Mr. Filmon) to present the  Order of the Buffalo to a person over by Polo Park at St. James.  I would like to ask some questions of the minister on the  economic side, but I do not know, it might be 8:30 p.m. before I  get back‑‑8:45 p.m.  Will the committee still be in process and  can we refer back to that area if we are passed it?

Some Honourable Members:  Sure.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Is it agreed by the committee that we  will revert back if the honourable member is not here? [Agreed]

      The time is now 6 p.m.  I am interrupting the proceedings of  the committee.  The Committee of Supply will resume consideration  at 8 p.m.  Thank you.




Madam Chairperson:  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.  Would  the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines):  Madam  Chairperson‑‑

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  Does the honourable Minister  of Energy and Mines have leave to speak from that chair, given  the minister has been sitting in his chair?

Mr. Downey:  I will use my own.

Madam Chairperson:  Okay.  I have recognized the honourable  Minister of Energy and Mines.


Point of Order


Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  On a point of order,  Madam Chairperson, we just had a speaker from the Conservative  Party speak, and we would like the opposition to have the same  right to speak.

Mr. Downey:  On the same point of order, Madam Chairperson, when  the opposition get recognized, they will have the same  opportunity.  I believe I have been recognized.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  Madam  Chairperson, the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) was clearly  standing up to be recognized.  The Deputy Premier was not in his  chair.  The government had just finished answering a question  that was put forward from another member.

      The opposition would like to continue asking questions, and  it is a debatable motion in which the government in fact has put  up a speaker and the opposition would like to put up a speaker.

Mr. Downey:  Madam Chairperson, on a point of order, I have no  objection to you recognizing the member opposite, but I would  think that what we are seeing here today is a demonstration of a  lot of nonsensical petty politics and not really wanting to get  on with the issue of the event.

      I would invite the opposition to be recognized so that they  can deal with the issue in hand.  I am prepared to speak, not  have the question put, but I want to speak to this motion.

Madam Chairperson:  On the honourable member for Thompson's (Mr.  Ashton) point of order, I was determining initially whether there  was leave to recognize the honourable Minister of Energy and  Mines (Mr. Downey), given that the minister was seated in his  chair and has been seated in that chair consistently throughout  Estimates, but I am now of the understanding that the honourable  Minister of Energy and Mines has relinquished his recognition of  speaking to the honourable member for Thompson to speak to the  motion.

* * *

Mr. Ashton:  I want to indicate first of all to the member  opposite that this is not a question of petty politics.  We are  talking about the community college system of this province that  this government has starved, has cut back.  We are talking about  the fact that this government has demonstrated today, by its own  incompetence, the fact that it views the government process  obviously as a drop‑in centre, a voluntary process; they drop by  when they feel like it.

      I think the member opposite, the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey),  might wish to talk to some of his colleagues about that because  we are facing serious problems in this province, and we do not  need a part‑time drop‑in government to deal with them.

      I want to say to the Deputy Premier that he has to understand  what this government has been doing in terms of training, and he  of all people should understand that because if he had any input,  which he obviously has not, around the cabinet table, if he had  any input at all within this government beyond the fine‑sounding  titles he has been given, I wonder if we would be seeing the kind  of cuts we have seen in terms of the North, in terms of what has  happened with KCC.  We have seen the complete and absolute  dismantling of the training that was put in place in terms of the  trades.  It was completely wiped out last year by this  government.  They talk about market‑driven training.  I want to  talk about what my constituents in northern Manitoba have been  saying about this government and its strange, twisted set of  priorities.

      They have been asking, when there is still need for trades  people in each and every community in the North, why they cut  back on trades.  They have been asking with the future needs in  terms of whatever major developments will take place in the  North, whether it be hydro or forestry, why this government is  cutting back in terms of trades and training and instead has not  put anything in place in terms of substitutes.  Those are serious  questions.  That relates to the North.

* (1710)

      Let us deal with Red River Community College, and let us deal  with Assiniboine Community College.  What has this government  done in terms of training?  It has cut back in terms of  training.  Now it is engaged in a shell game.  You cut out $10  million one year and you add back a couple of million in the  following year.  That is not going to fool anyone.  There are  fewer student placements available in our community college  system.  There are fewer because of the actions of this  government.  This is one area where this government cannot blame  boards of governors.  This is one area where this government  cannot blame other agencies; it cannot blame school boards.

      There is only one level of government that is responsible for  our community college system.  It is the provincial government.  It is run directly through grants to that.  As much as they are  trying to change that now with the structure they have put in  place in terms of governance, the bottom line is this is one area  that has always been a priority, a concern of the provincial  government, Madam Chairperson.  I say to you that this government  has been failing and failing seriously in terms of dealing with  this.

      I found it interesting, by the way, that the Minister of  Education in debate prior to the vote that took place on the  point of order, went back to 1984 to trot out comments made eight  years ago in defence of what her government is doing.  This is  the same minister whom we had been critical of in terms of not  having information, in terms of what her government is doing now,  in terms of delays that have taken place in getting those  answers.  This minister all of a sudden trots out 1984, eight  years ago.

      I must say, Madam Chairperson, we have seen this government  stretch over a little bit far backwards the last number of days  and weeks in trying to say that somehow all the problems of the  province could be blamed on the previous government.  Let us not  forget one thing.  They are the previous government.  They were  elected in 1990.  They were elected in 1988.  They have had four  years.

      We have seen their policies in four years in terms of  education.  We have seen their policies in terms of community  colleges.  Let them not blame previous governments for their  conscious decision to cut out money from the community college  system last year.  That was their decision.  Let them not blame  previous governments for their deliberate policy of privatizing  our college system, our training system.  That is not the fault  of a previous government.  That is their responsibility, their  responsibility alone.

      So this government and this minister in particular should be  very careful with the kind of statements that are put on the  record.  I say to the minister who one minute before had been  professing the need to talk to staff to get detailed information  about decisions made in 1992, but had Hansard in detail from  1984:  Perhaps she should stop reading the Hansard of 1984 and  start dealing with 1992, the province of Manitoba today.

      To this government that seems totally in chaos, inept,  incompetent, I cannot believe this, Madam Chairperson.  I have  never in the years I have been in the House seen a government  lose a vote such as the one they have lost today, be in the  position where they are attempting to stall any further votes,  because I know that is what is taking place.  I do not know what  is going on with that government.

      We have the worst economic circumstances in the last 60  years.  You have to go back to the Great Depression to find  similar circumstances.  We have seen a government that has been  fiddling while Rome burns to use‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Nero.

Mr. Ashton:  Nero, indeed.  Well, as the member for Broadway (Mr.  Santos) pointed out, Nero fiddled; currently, the Premier (Mr.  Filmon) plays squash.

      I mean, what happened to this government?  Madam Chairperson,  they applauded greatly for the minister's speech, but when it  came to voting, where were they?  Where were the members of the  government, those brave supporters of this Minister of Education,  or have we seen in this one afternoon the government itself, by  its feet, vote to say no to the policies of this Minister of  Education?  Because if it is not important enough for government  members to be in the House to support their Minister of  Education, we will know in the opposition exactly when other  members who are here applaud the Minister of Education, how much  that means.  I say this to the minister‑‑we have heard much of  how she is a new minister‑‑I would say she should be very careful  about her back after today, because I wonder what kind of support  she really has in terms of her government when they are not even  here to support her in Estimates‑‑not even here.

      The first time, and I look to the dean of the House, the  member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns) who has been here a lot longer  than I have, but it is the first time I have been here.  I  remember tie votes in committee, and I remember the member for  Broadway (Mr. Santos) having to break a tie vote.  I remember the  drama of that occasion and the difficult decision he had to  make.  This was not even the same situation today.  We have not  seen enough government members to support this minister in terms  of what she is doing on community colleges, what has been  happening at all.  I wonder what is going on? [interjection]

      Indeed, in fact, the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr.  Downey) asks if I have read the resolution.  The critic for  Education and I worked on this matter, Madam Chairperson.  We  drafted it.  I know‑‑[interjection]

      The Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) says they were only voting on  supporting the Chair.  I guess they do not have any confidence in  the Chair either, which is for the second time.

      But I digress, Madam Chairperson.  I digress, because I know  the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) is trying to draw  me off track.  He will have to explain later whom the government  has lost faith in, because if they cannot bring in their members  for important discussions dealing with the Department of  Education, the second largest department in government, the  second largest department, if that department cannot bring its  members here, there is a serious problem.  There is something  rotten in the state of the Conservative caucus, rotten to the  core, indeed.

      The bottom line is this government is rapidly losing the  confidence of this province.  It is losing the confidence of this  Legislature, when it cannot even support its Minister of  Education (Mrs. Vodrey), and it is rapidly losing the confidence  of the people of the province.  That is why this motion is very  clear‑‑no ifs, no ands, no buts.  We are condemning the  government for its policies in terms of community colleges.

      I know that is something that is supported by both opposition  parties, because I know the Liberal Party has raised this issue  in Question Period, indeed, as we have.  There are fewer spots;  there is fewer money; there are fewer students at a time of  record unemployment amongst young people, upwards of 18 percent  unemployment amongst young people.  This government has cut back  on the opportunities, and this shell game has to stop.

      The bottom line is this government has to accept  responsibility for matters within its competence.  There may be  some question in terms of whether it has any areas in terms of  competence, but in terms of administrative competence, a term  that is often referred to in this House.

      The bottom line is it has to accept responsibility for the  community college system.  It has let this province down.  It has  let the young people down, in particular, who rely on community  colleges in the North, in the south and in the city for  opportunities for advancement.  It is letting the province down,  because we cannot be competitive if we cut back in terms of such  things as I mentioned earlier, the trades training, some of the  kinds of things.

      Let the minister not put on the record, let the minister not  say to this House, that they are simply adjusting according to  the market.  The bottom line is the amount of resources that this  government has put in for community colleges has been cut $10  million.  It was cut the previous year.

      It is not a question of cutting out one program and adding  another one here.  The minister obviously does not understand.  The bottom line is there are fewer opportunities.  There are  fewer of the kinds of courses we need, because this government  has cut back in terms of the resources available.  That is why we  have used this motion to put forward our clear condemnation of  this government.  This motion deals with it without doing what we  can only do as an opposition.  We cannot add to expenditures, we  can only reduce, if we move a motion in terms of other line items.

      It sends a very clear signal to this government, Madam  Chairperson, that their policies in education, particularly in  the area of community college education, are a complete and  absolute failure.  I wonder if perhaps the fact that this  minister has been abandoned this afternoon has something to do  with the fact that maybe there are some open minds, some clear  consciences over on the other‑‑

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.

* (1720)


Point of Order


Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Urban Affairs):  Madam Chairperson,  the member for Thompson has stood in his place and indicated on  four or five occasions‑‑I have not exactly kept count‑‑somehow  suggesting the government has abandoned the Minister of Education  (Mrs. Vodrey).  There has been no vote on the competence or  anything else related to the Minister of Education.  There was a  vote on a point of order challenged to the Chair, and that is all.

Madam Chairperson:  The honourable minister does not have a point  of order.  It is a dispute over the facts.

* * *

Mr. Ashton:  Madam Chairperson, let there be no doubt‑‑and I am  not referring to any specific vote.  It is very clear to anybody  watching today, the complete chaos on the behalf of that  government and their complete lack of support for the Minister of  Education.  That is absolutely clear.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Ashton:  I hear members in the Conservative benches howling.  Indeed, they should howl at the incompetence of a government that  does not support its Minister of Education, that does not support  its Deputy Chairperson.  This is a government whose days are  ticking away.


Point of Order


Mr. Ernst:  Again I would like you to call to order the member  for Thompson.  He is talking again about the support or the lack  thereof of the Minister of Education.

Madam Chairperson:  The honourable Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr.  Ernst) does not have a point of order.

* * *

Mr. Ashton:  Madam Chairperson, we know, in the opposition, the  complete chaos in the government ranks, and this is very clear on  this matter.  In fact, we believe that we should now give the  members of this House the opportunity to put very clearly  then‑‑if the Minister of Urban Affairs has any comments he wishes  to make, he can stand now.  But, even better than that, we are  quite prepared to put this matter to a vote and to see how the  members of the Legislature will vote.  We will see where they  stand on the Minister of Education.

Mr. Downey:  Madam Chairperson, I rise to speak today on the  resolution brought forward by the member for Wolseley (Ms.  Friesen).

      As has been indicated, through a point of order, as to  whether there is confidence in the Minister of Education (Mrs.  Vodrey) or whether there is not, has not been put to this  Chamber.  The question that was put was to whether or not we  would support the Speaker's Ruling as to whether or not a read  text or any form of a read text could be used in responding to  questions.

      Madam Chairperson, I call that a nonsubstantive matter.  I  call it playing petty politics, when the public of Manitoba are  asking for governments and their elected people to come to this  Assembly, ladies and gentlemen, to act responsibly when we are in  difficult times.  That is what the public of Manitoba are asking,  and it will be they, the opposition members, who pay the price  for their petty politics and not dealing with matters of  substantive issues.

      I say shame on them, shame on them.  I say particularly shame  for the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen), and I am not going to  do a personal attack on any individual, but I say shame on her as  an elected member to try and play politics with an educational  institution known as the community college when she sits in the  comfortable pew at the University of Manitoba, and has never  raised a question dealing with the activities that are taking  place in that jurisdiction.

      I think that she is very selective in her criticism.


Point of Order


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  The honourable member, in the guise  of not making a personal attack, has personally attacked me on  the grounds of not having asked questions about the University of  Manitoba.  That is quite untrue.  Perhaps he would like to  continue with his personal attack.

Madam Chairperson:  The honourable member for Wolseley does not  have a point of order.  It is a dispute over the facts.

* * *

Mr. Downey:  Madam Chairperson, if the member took it as a  personal attack, I apologize.  It was not meant to be a personal  attack.

      What I said was:  I would expect the same kind of scrutiny of  the University of Manitoba by that individual.

Ms. Friesen:  That is not what you said.

Mr. Downey:  Okay, I apologize if she took out of context what I  said previously.

      What I am saying is, I would expect‑‑will she bring the same  kind of a resolution forward dealing with the University of  Manitoba?  Is this a selective approach by the opposition party  to bring forward an attack on what I consider very credible,  well‑dedicated people who are running our community college  system?

      Madam Chairperson, I take an offence to the approach from the  member for Wolseley on those well‑meaning people that are out  there running our community colleges and that are bringing  forward, in consultation with the minister, policies to equip our  young people to face the kinds of challenges that this society  demands of them and will demand of them.

      I believe that there are responsible activities being carried  out, and there is full confidence in this minister and the staff  of people who are working at our community colleges.  I believe  that they are really coming into the responsible areas that is  being demanded of them through the college governance system that  is being introduced.  There is a crying need out there, Madam  Chairperson, for change.


Point of Order


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  On a point of order, the  discussion that we are having today, the resolution that we are  debating, the motion that is before us today does not cast  aspersions on the people who are delivering the programs in the  community college system.

      It points the finger of responsibility at the Minister of  Education‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The honourable government  House leader on the same point of order.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  If you were  listening carefully, Madam Chairperson, like I know you were, as  I was, to the point of order, the member says we were not casting  aspersion on those delivering educational services.

      What she suggested in that statement was that really where  she was casting aspersion was on the Minister of Education (Mrs.  Vodrey), and that is totally against the rules, Madam  Chairperson.  The very essence of the motion is casting  aspersion, and I would ask you to call the member to attention.  That is against the rules of the House.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The honourable member for  Wellington does not have a point of order.

* * *

Mr. Downey:  Well, again, the members of the opposition cannot  have it both ways.  They cannot have it both ways, and that  appears to be what they are doing.

      The real issue here is the petty politics of the opposition  and how they have dealt with today's activities in Estimates.  They, first of all, have complained about the manner in which the  minister has responded.  I would have thought that if there was a  concern to how the answers were coming forward or the content of  the answers, it would have been something of substance.  Really,  what we get down to is one of operations of the committee, as to  how the person responded.

      Well, I remind the members opposite, and I am sure if my  colleague from Lakeside (Mr. Enns) was here, as many members of  this House, when you impose the wish of this Legislature, either  party from opposition and/or from government, you had better be  prepared to live with the long‑term implications of that  precedent that you have set or that request that you have put  forward to this committee.

      That has been I think somewhat relaxed by the government as  we have proceeded with a lot of new members in this House, that  if you were to go strictly to the rule book and to say that no  one shall read their questions or no one shall read their  speeches or no one should read whatever, we have been a little  bit more lax as a House in that regard to help some of the new  members.  But today we saw the opposition members for their own  little‑‑because I can tell you why, Madam Chairperson.  I can  tell you why.

      They have not been able to lay a glove on this Minister of  Education, who is demonstrating her competence, her full,  complete answers on issues of anything that has been brought  forward.  They have not been able to touch it.  In fact, after  the minister finished her comments at five o'clock today, I would  not be surprised if they will want to introduce a motion that she  now has to read from a prepared text after the lecture that she  has given them as to what she is doing in her department or doing  in this government or doing on behalf of the community colleges  of this province and the young people of this province.  I would  think tomorrow they will feel that something is wrong and they  will want her to go back to that.

      I was here at the beginning of this, what I would call, petty  political debate, brought forward from whom?  None other than the  member for Dauphin, Madam Chairperson, who if one were to go  through his record of asking and answering questions on his  performance in this House, one could not find enough rules to  make him respond in a responsible manner.  I do not want to even  get into that, but it is important that we point out the kind of  game playing that we saw here today, not of substance, but of  petty politics.

      As I said earlier and I want to re‑emphasize, the public are  fed up with it.  They are fed up to the teeth with the kind of  performance we saw from the opposition party here today.  If  there is one thing‑‑yes, the Liberal and the New Democratic  Party‑‑if there is one thing I hear from the constituents that I  represent day after day after day is, why do you not get on with  getting the improvements of this province and why do you not put  the petty politics aside?

* (1730)

      Well, the answer has to be pretty clear, is that when they  cannot get at any matter of substance to the minister, they  cannot get into any matter of substance with the Department of  Education, they come forward and criticize the minister because  she works from a prepared answer.  Well, goodness sakes alive,  what a terrible sin that we have seen committed in this  Legislature when we have tremendous difficulties out there  dealing with keeping this country together, and we have a  minister away dealing with that, dealing with issues.

      I was in northern Manitoba meeting with an Indian band,  dealing with hydro this morning, and I was a little bit late  getting back, Madam Chairperson, but I was dealing with matters  of substance, something that the New Democratic Party has  neglected for 15 years.  We are finally dealing with it, Madam  Chairperson, and they come in with this kind of pettiness, this  kind of irresponsibleness, and the public, quite frankly, as I  said earlier, are fed up completely with it.

      I tell you, these are the kinds of things that the members of  the New Democratic Party will have to support and defend when  they go to the by‑election, when the Liberals go to the  by‑election, and say our No. 1 plank in our platform is that we  will not allow the government members to read from a prepared  text in the Legislature.  That is our No. 1 plank; that is what  we support.

      Oh, that is really going to turn the cranks of the  electorate.  The Liberal Party, that will be their plank as  well.  That is the kind of foolishness that people are fed up  with.  That is exactly what we saw performed here in the  Legislature today, and I can tell you the members of the  opposition will have to explain it when they stand on their  platform in their debates and say, our No. 1 issue is that we do  not want the Minister of Education reading from a prepared text  when she is answering a question in committee.  My goodness  sakes.  My goodness sakes.

      The point is that I believe, if I observed correctly, that  the minister was not reading from a prepared text of any way,  shape or form.  I know what was taking place, probably some notes  being taken.  I have done it, I have seen members opposite do it  when they were in ministry, but the member for Thompson (Mr.  Ashton) would never be involved in that because he never got that  far.  Again, the point is, what I think the minister was doing  was making a note from what staff had told her and then responded  to the questions.  The point is the minister quite often‑‑and it  has been a normal practice in opening statements to work from  prepared text.  During the Estimates process, notes are made,  comments are made from those notes, and I can tell you I think we  have an excellent Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey).

      Anyone who is as prepared and thorough as she is to make sure  that all issues and subject matter are covered, I want to  compliment.  I do not want to stand in the Legislature and vote  against that kind of performance.  I believe what our education  system needs is more of that kind of thoroughness and concern and  consideration and direction and leadership from a responsible  person like that.  I do not think they should be condemned, and  that is what the opposition condemned today is efficiency,  thoroughness in the education system.  I say, shame on them.

      Now, let us deal a little bit more with the community  colleges, because I really have not heard, and I would appreciate  the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) really substantiating the  need for the resolution that she brought forward.  I cannot for  the life of me see why she would condemn this government in that  area when, in fact, we have increased the program funding for the  community colleges.

An Honourable Member:  No, you have not.

Mr. Downey:  Yes, we have.  What we have done, we have increased  the programming by over $300,000 and, yes, we have done something  that the member for Wolseley adamantly opposes because she is  part of that system, is the administrative side has been probably  streamlined a little bit, running a little more efficiently.

      You see, that is where the New Democrats and the Liberals  fall apart from the Conservative Party.  Conservative Party  believe that the taxpayers should not be taxed more to get more  services.  What we believe is streamlining and redirecting the  monies towards programming.  That is what we have done.  We have  demonstrated and can demonstrate many times over the improved  efficiencies in the system.  I again understand why the member  for Wolseley is upset with that, because when she joined the New  Democratic Party‑‑I do not know how long she has been a New  Democrat, but she did not do her research very well as to some of  the past practices of the New Democratic Party.

      I do not know why she would sign up with a government that  would fritter $27 million away in Saudi Arabia.  Just think what  that would have done to the educational system of this province  and the community colleges.  Look at the young people that would  have supported.  I have never heard her make a comment on it.  [interjection] The money that was frittered away in all those New  Democratic experiments.  Yet I have never heard her stand and  support or even try to defend what they did.  She says, that is a  part of the past; I am prepared to go on with the new New  Democratic Party.  It is not quite that simple.  You cannot have  it that way.  You joined a party that brought rack and ruin to  the fiscal affairs of Manitoba.  That is exactly what happened.  [interjection]

      I belong to the federal Tory party, yes I do, certainly I do,  and I do not mind admitting it.  I do not mind admitting I belong  to the federal Tory party. [interjection] Pardon me?

Mr. Ashton:  You have become an endangered species.  Some of your  people have problems admitting to it, and some of them . . . .

Mr. Downey:  I believe, Madam Chairperson, that they are trying  to get me off the subject matter of which I am trying to debate  here.

      The bottom line is that today's performance truly  demonstrates how really serious this opposition party really is,  it really does.  They have not been able to lay a glove on the  Department of Education.  They have not had one line in any  newspaper as to the Estimates process.

      In fact, I just want to speak about the Estimates process for  a minute.  I believe the objective of the opposition has now  arrived to the day where we are going to burn up 240 hours,  regardless of questions, just the objective now within this House  is to use up 240 hours.  It does not matter what questions we  ask.  Oh, it matters how the minister responds.  We do not want  the minister working from notes.

      The issue is, when are we going to get on to something of  substance from the members opposite?  The objectives, Madam  Chairperson, have to get back to matters of substance and not on  the absolute use of 240 hours.

      So I have a really difficult time with what I saw here  today.  I will challenge the member for Wolseley as I do the  other members of the opposition party to pay more attention to  the substance of the answers than how the answers are prepared  and responded to.  I hope that would be the issue that we would  be dealing with.  I would hope they would deal with the whole  area of the questions which are developed and whether they get  the answer or whether they do not.  If they do not get the  answer, they have every right to object, but if they get the  answer, I think is an important point.

      The absolute use of 240 hours for the exercise of Estimates  is established by an agreement of some time ago.  I think that,  rather than just for the sake of using up time and, again, what I  would say to some degree, not using the taxpayers' money wisely  in this process, that should be reconsidered by this House.  I  think that we could be well advised to look at reviewing that.  It seems to me that we get into situations like today, and we are  dealing with procedure rather than what we are dealing with as  far as substance.  If we cannot deal with substance, then we  really do not have anything to deal with.

      So let us get on and pass the Estimates.  That is what we are  sent here for.  Again, I hate to go back to this point, but if  you did a survey today as to what they expect of government and  opposition, the first thing they want us to do is to deal  responsibly with the issues that are out there, not as to whether  or not a minister responds from notes that happen to be taken  from her departmental response.  I think that the minister still  has every ability to do it one way or the other and has performed  very well in all roles as the Minister of Education.

* (1740)

      Madam Chairperson, where do we go from here in the Estimate  process?  Where do we go from here as members of the Legislature  and members of this committee?  Are the members of the opposition  going to get the vote on this particular resolution that we are  dealing with?  Are they going to want to vote against the  government, saying that we have done a bad job?

      Where is the evidence that supports the resolution from the  member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen)?  She, as a partisan member,  stood in her place and brought forward this resolution.  It is a  resolution that was concocted by a partisan political party.  Where is the evidence coming from‑‑groups of students, from  teachers, from the industry out there who are depending on these  young people who are going to be educated to fulfill the needs of  industry?

      Where are those people whom she is representing in the  resolution that she has brought forward?  Does she have any?  Does the New Democratic Party have a list of people who support  the resolution that she brought forward, or is she doing it and  the New Democratic Party doing it surely as a partisan political  maneuver to try and embarrass the government?  Is it not a fair  question to ask of the member?  Is it solely based on her  political partisan approach or is it based on substance?

      It is not based on any substance.  Madam Chairperson, I  think, and I say this again, I do not believe it is based on any  substance.  I believe it is based on political partisan politics  of which the public have asked us to quit playing in this House,  to get on with the issues of substance and quit playing the  political games that we are seeing here today.

      The member has not laid any basis.  The member in debate  should lay a basis before she advances this kind of a concept,  this kind of an idea.  I, quite frankly, cannot see why this  resolution is delaying, and has been brought forward to delay,  the debate of this House.  That is really what it is doing.  It  is delaying getting on with it.  I would challenge her to get a  list of teachers in the system at ACC, and give us evidence that  the system is not working.  I challenge her to get a group of  business people who are depending on these people for the need to  fulfill jobs for them, but that is not there.  There is not  anything of any substance there.  It is a game, political  partisanship, petty politics that is being played by the member  for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).  Of all members from this House, she  is the last one that I would have thought would have got caught  up in this kind of games playing.

      I thought probably as a member of an educational  organization, as she is part of, that she would have more  confidence in the people involved in the community colleges, but  this is demonstrating, I believe, a lack in the leadership at our  community colleges and the teachers that are performing that  activity.  That is really what I think this is, a true reflection  on those people who are involved in program delivery and  leadership of those facilities.

      This is not what I would have expected from the member for  Wolseley.  What I do have confidence in, though, is the close  communication link that the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey)  has, that the department has, who are responsible for the  programs, that are‑‑[interjection]

      Madam Chairperson, I cannot help but put this on the record,  what the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) from her seat said:  Who is filibustering now?

      Well, in that comment, she is actually saying that this is  what it is all about, that they were filibustering the Estimates  of the Department of Education.  That is really an admission of  what their purpose really is.


Point of Order


Ms. Barrett:  What I stated, Madam Chairperson, to the Minister  of Northern Affairs is that he is filibustering now like his  government filibustered in the Health Estimates, refusing to deal  with the issues.

Madam Chairperson:  The honourable member for Wellington does not  have a point of order.

* * *

Mr. Downey:  I am now more astonished than ever as to the  admission of the New Democratic Party as to what their strategy  was today.  Again, the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) to fall  into that trap of her own party, to get caught up in a  filibuster, to waste time on the Department of Education  Estimates, Madam Chairperson, for her to get caught up in this, I  am astounded by it.  I am disappointed in that kind of an  approach.

      I, Madam Chairperson, have not been known to be one to  filibuster in this House.  I want to make that absolutely clear,  I want to make that absolutely clear that I hope that the  contribution‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Perfectly clear.

Mr. Downey:  Well, if the members would sooner I make it  perfectly clear, then I will take a few minutes to do so.

      Madam Chairperson, the point is that we have been sent to  this Legislative Assembly as members to deal responsibly with  issues of the day.  We have serious issues.  We had an  international recession.  We have a young group of people out in  our society who are looking for, not only governments, but  opposition members as well to come forward with constructive  ideas.  I have not heard a lot of them.

      What I heard today was just a resolution condemning the  government which did not have any substantive backing to it but,  again, brought forward on a partisan political approach from the  member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).  What we saw was a  gamesmanship by the House leader of the opposition in saying that  the opposition parties, both of them, were going to vote against  the member working from notes that were in communication from her  staff to this House, something that has been here from the  beginning of the Legislature, I am sure. [interjection]

      I am not reflecting on a ruling of the House.  I am just  merely stating a matter of fact, and I am not reflecting on the  decision.

      I will complete my comments, Madam Chairperson, by saying  that is what the public is fed up with.  They are fed up with it  to the teeth.  They are fed up by saying, you, as elected people,  come and deal with the matters of unemployment, deal with the  matters of opportunity in this province, and get on with it; quit  your bickering.  That, today, was demonstrated as to how serious  the opposition party is.

      I invite them to go to the door when they are going to the  by‑election and saying, our big issue is, the Minister of  Education worked from notes in the answering of questions.  We  did not mind the answers, mind you.  The answers were okay, but  we did not like the fact that she was giving us a complete  answer.  We wanted less than complete information.  I cannot  understand, Madam Chairperson.  Maybe if they do not want to go  to the doors, we will give that message for them.  I wonder if  that would be appropriate, if that is the issue of which they  want us to deal with.

      Well, I am not going to make it any more petty by continuing  to talk.  I think there is a message here for the members  opposite.  What you have enforced today, be prepared to live with  if you ever get to government, but be prepared to have your  members, when they are delivering something in this House, that  someday somebody may rise and question as to whether they should  be working from a prepared text.

      I do not want it prepared, and my colleague was not working  from a prepared text; the context of which you brought it forward  is such.  Be prepared to live with that if someday somebody wants  to enforce that on your members.  What you have asked for today,  you may well have to live with tomorrow, and that is something  that one always has to be regarded.

      Madam Chairperson, I totally reject the resolution from the  member for Wolseley, who I thought would have not been involved  in this kind of petty political playing.

      Thank you.

* (1750)

Mr. Manness:  Madam Chairperson, it is a pleasure to stand and  rise‑‑I do not know whether 10 minutes will do justice to what I  have heard over the last hour.  I guess what is most apparent is  the orchestration that is going on, when I look at the opposition  House leaders, when one realizes that they feel like they have  something going.

      It is the first time in almost a year when these two members  talk and they are happy and they are sitting with each other,  because they have, they think, the government on the run.  You  know, it happens once a session, and it happened today.  It is  the first time this session.  They are sitting together.  They  are smiling because they have the government on the run.

      What do they have the government on the run on?  They have  the Minister of Education, they caught her reading a text.  That  is what they have the government on the run on.

      There have been questions in this House day in and day out on  economic matters from the revitalized member for Osborne (Mr.  Alcock) who finally has asked more questions in the last three  weeks than he has in five years in this House.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Mr. Lamoureux:  What we caught the government is once again  demonstrating that they do not have confidence in the person that  sits in the Chair.

Madam Chairperson:  The honourable member for Inkster does not  have a point of order.

* * *

Mr. Manness:  I rise on a point of order.  No, I rise up on  speaking, because the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) did not  read from a prepared text.

An Honourable Member:  You were not even here.

Mr. Manness:  No, but I listened to my colleagues.  You see, we  are a united team and when my colleagues tell me that she did not  read from a prepared text, she did not read from a prepared text,  and it is just that simple.

      It is not as simple as watching the House leaders opposite  believing they have the government on the run, so much so that  the opposition House leader (Mr. Ashton) calls us drop‑in  membership, or the drop‑in government.

      This government has been in place now for four years and 11  days, and through that period of time, through two years of  minority and two years of majority, slightly, this government has  never lost a substantive motion.

An Honourable Member:  You just lost one.

Mr. Manness:  I said a substantive motion.  Yes, and there are  going to be those days where the Liberals and the NDP come  together again and embrace each other; it will not happen that  much but it will happen, of course, on a Monday or a Tuesday.  It  will happen, of course, on a day when the executive benches do  not appear to be that full and then they will come together and  they will embrace.  They will start approximately 1:30 in the  afternoon.  They will come together and they will say, hey, this  is our chance.  Today is the day, let us embarrass the  government.  The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) who has not  laid one glove on the Premier in four years, he is going to sit  in his place and he is going to smile and he is going to grin  because he figures today he may be going to cash one in and today  is going to be the big day.

      You know, Madam Chairperson, today was the big day.  We lost  24 to 25, and we lost because the members opposite accused our  Minister of Education of reading from a prepared text.  For that  they want us to resign.  For that they want us to go to the  people.  For that they want to be able to say that we cannot  govern.

      I am interested to know, and I will be watching how long this  new embrace between the Liberals and the NDP will last.  How  long?  Will it be gone by eight o'clock tonight?  Maybe it will  not.  Maybe it will last till midnight, but like Cinderella will  be home at midnight, I can tell you this embrace, this new  affection, will be over.  It will be over before the end of this  week.

An Honourable Member:  When are we going to be allowed to vote on  it?

Mr. Manness:  Well, the member says now, when are we going to  allow a vote?  I think that this is such a stimulating debate, we  may want to keep this up.  We will have to caucus this, will we  not?  I am sure the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), who has not  had a chance to debate an issue now for at least three days,  would love to get into this debate.

      Madam Chairperson, more importantly than that, the motion of  condemnation as to the government's giving or caring towards  community colleges, I have sat on Treasury Board through the  development of five budgets, and I can tell‑‑[interjection] I  hear a member say, I am the one.  I do not know what he means by  that, but I can tell you we spend a considerable time, not only  on all educational matters, but certainly on the community  colleges.

      I want to tell you what we inherited.  We inherited in the  community colleges at least a dozen if not 20 courses where the  number of enrollments was either between a half dozen or a dozen  for a whole session, necessitating still a full collection of  course instructors.  We inherited course instruction in areas  where there was not a demand, where the market said‑‑and the  members opposite said, we are in love with the free market.  No.  I am certainly not in love with the free market.

      I can tell you there were courses being perpetuated in the  community colleges that had been there for 30 years, and yet  there were graduates who were leaving those courses today and out  of 10 or 20 of them, maybe two or three could get jobs.

An Honourable Member:  A 90 percent success rate.

Mr. Manness:  Oh, the member says 90 percent.  Of course, he  takes the global success rate, but we are talking specifically  now about a dozen courses, whereas the government before us did  not have the courage because, of course, all they did was go to  the banker and ask for more money to perpetuate these courses.

      Finally, a government came along and a minister came along,  the former minister and now our new minister said, times are  changed.  There is tremendous demand in aerospace, and we should  begin to move our resources into some engineering courses, into  some management courses, some advanced management courses.  We  asked the Minister of Education, and the Treasury Board said,  well, what should we do?  Should we just add on add on, add on,  or should we do some evaluations?  Should we do some removal of  those courses that are no longer demanded by the market?

      You know what we did?  We took out some courses.  You know,  Madam Chairperson, what we did?  Yes, we pulled out a couple  million dollars, and it was a tough year in '91‑92.  This year,  '92‑93, we are reinstituting courses that the marketplace wants,  and I say courses that society needs if we are going to maintain  our standard of living.  That is the decision behind the  decisions made with respect to community colleges.

      Yet the members opposite sit there in glee because they won  one 24 to 25, but what did they win?  Do they care about the  community colleges?  Do they care about restructuring?  Do they  care about training for tomorrow for wealth creation?  They do  not care one bit.

      All they care about, as the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr.  Downey) said, is playing petty politics, trying to catch,  supposedly, the government unaware.  They did not catch anybody.  This will be their only success, and what success will it be?

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.

      The hour being 6 p.m., I am interrupting the proceedings.  This committee will reconvene at 8 p.m. this evening.