Friday, May 22, 1992
The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (
PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Mr. Jack Reimer (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Development): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the Seventh Report on the Committee on Economic Development.
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): Your Standing Committee on Economic Development presents the following as their Seventh Report.
Your committee met on Thursday, May 21,
1992, at 10 a.m. in Room 255 of the
Mr. Bill Funk, general manager and Mr. Peter Hak, director, Finance and Administration, provided such information as was requested by members of the committee with respect to the annual report and business of the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation.
Your committee reports that it has considered the March 31, 1991, annual report of and matters pertaining to the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Mr. Reimer: I move, seconded by the honourable member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that the report of the committee be received.
Motion agreed to.
TABLING OF REPORTS
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table Supplementary Information as it relates to the Department of Northern Affairs Expenditure Estimates for 1992‑93.
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present the 1990‑91 Annual Report for the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
Introduction of Guests
Mr. Speaker: Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of honourable members to the gallery, where we have with us this morning from the Mary Porter school, sixteen Grade 5 students under the direction of Miss Tatissen. This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for Rupertsland (Mr. Harper).
Also, we have with us this morning from
On behalf of all members, I welcome you here this morning.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Free Trade Agreement
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin
Flon): I am surprised that today of all days the
Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) is smiling. Yesterday, in a rather uncharacteristic
Tory move, the Minister of Finance finally recognized what Canadians have known
since 1988, and that is that the Free Trade Agreement is not working, not
working in the interests of
Mr. Speaker, on May 12 of this year our
federal colleagues in the New Democratic Party in the federal House of Commons
introduced a resolution calling on the federal government to abrogate the Free
Trade Agreement, an agreement that has cost 465,000 manufacturing jobs in
My question to the Minister of Finance is,
after his revelation, after the light came on for the Minister of Finance, will
he now join the thousands of Manitobans and Canadians who oppose this deal and
call on the federal government to abrogate the Free Trade Agreement so that we
can get on with building an economy on our own, on a sovereign basis, for the
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, the short answer is no. I was and I remain an unabashed supporter of the Free Trade Agreement. My sentiments as expressed yesterday indicate that I sense that the Free Trade Agreement was not sold in the best possible fashion, and I state that also.
In retrospect, the member opposite cannot for one moment indicate the impact of an 88‑89 cent Canadian dollar in the last two or three years, vis‑a‑vis an under 80‑cent dollar through most of the decade of the '80s. He, or no economist for that matter, who wants to do scientific, empirical analysis on this can factor that out. So he cannot make the claim. He can politically, but he cannot scientifically make the claim that the Free Trade Agreement has cost the nation hundreds of thousands of jobs.
So, Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday in the House, and as I said outside of the House, Canadian businesses had to prepare, had to become more competitive in the world context. They had to become more competitive in the North American context. Indeed, governments were borrowing heavily to spend on new programs through the period of the '80s. That has come to an end, and obviously that has all had some significant impact on economic growth.
But I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to other Manitobans who want to listen, the Free Trade Agreement was right. It had to bring us to our senses so that we could compete globally.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin
Flon): It is quite apparent then the Minister of
Finance has not come to his senses, has not recognized the reality of what is
happening to the economy in
Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Finance is: Can he present this House with any empirical evidence, any studies that this government or the federal government have done since the Free Trade Agreement that could convince Canadians that what we are seeing is an aberration, that the jobs are not being lost by moving across the border?
Can he present any evidence the Free Trade Agreement is working now or that it will work the longer we stay in this agreement‑‑any evidence?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, just as I cannot present empirical evidence because there are so many moving factors, there are so many factors working at cross purposes, just as I cannot do that, the member opposite could not in any way build a model to show us a better way.
Let us go back to those years when leading figures, particularly of the Liberal Party of Canada, business‑oriented people, also of the Conservative Party of Canada, said that the nation had to come to grips with its growing uncompetitiveness in a global sense. It had to. It had no alternative. It was either that or to build borders and try to supply internally whatever it was producing.
I would say one‑third of our jobs in
North American Free Trade Agreement
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin
Flon): The Minister of Finance
knows full well that
My question to the Minister of Finance
is: Given the dismal impact of the Free
Trade Agreement, will the Minister of Finance now explain to the people of
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I want to refute some of the preamble of the member.
Let me say that I understand that exports
to the United States have increased 14 percent, 20 percent over the course
since the Free Trade Agreement has been in place. I understand, and I know for a fact, that in
the month of March, numbers being in, the Canadian exports reached an all‑time
high to the
An Honourable Member: Look at the imports.
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, you see, now we are talking imports. I am sorry. He asked the question on exports, and then he throws imports into it. The reality is, the restructuring that is so necessary to protect the standard of living of each person in this House and everybody we support, the restructuring that is taking place to guarantee the standards of living that we have in place are still there in years to come is happening. But it is not without pain. I acknowledge that.
Mr. Speaker, another big dimension of the jobs of which the member talks, where governments borrowing billions of dollars in support of public sector spending, the reality is today, governments can no longer go out and borrow money to create jobs, just as the members across would want us to do on a daily basis, given their question.
An Honourable Member: The
Mr. Manness: Then the member says the
Civil Service Positions
Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East): Mr. Speaker, membership in the Manitoba Government Employees' Association constitutes about 98 percent of the total number of civil servants in the province, and certainly does that in the Westman area. MGEA membership figures show a serious decline in the number of civil servants in the Westman area between November of 1988 when there were 1,912 to April of 1992 when there were 1,809. In other words, we had a decline of 103 positions in the Westman area.
I would like to ask the Deputy Premier therefore: How can this government pretend that it is adding jobs to the Westman area when actually the figures show that there is a decline in the number of positions in that part of the province?
Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier): Mr. Speaker, I am not in any way going to accept the preamble of the member for Brandon East. I will check out further as to the relationship in the Westman area as to the rest of the province. We have had to make some tough and difficult decisions as a government, with last year some 900‑and‑some positions being eliminated from the public service. As that relates across the province, I will, in fact, take those into account in looking at the numbers that the member brings forward.
I can assure him that last year, I
believe, in Estimates, I put on the record that there was a major gain in
positions outside the city of
Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East): Mr. Speaker, I welcome the offer of the Deputy Premier. I would like this House to have those figures so that we can actually see what is going on in terms of location of civil servants, but it seems to be almost impossible to get historical information on it.
Mr. Speaker, how can the Deputy Premier
explain the fact that, in November of 1988, 45 percent of the Civil Service
membership were located in
Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier): Mr. Speaker, let me first of all say that I am not surprised that the member for Brandon East and the New Democratic Party never have supported the decentralization initiative, in fact, have been opposed to it from step one.
I do not believe the member for Brandon
East can stand up and say that he is against the movement of the Manitoba
Agricultural Credit Corporation to the city of
Department of Housing
Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East): Mr. Speaker, this member and this party agree with decentralization, but we will not go for the shell game.
Earlier this year this government opened a New Careers office. Two months later they closed the employment office, the employment services office. So now you see it and now you don't.
Mr. Speaker, my question is to the
Minister of Housing (Mr. Ernst): Can the
Minister of Housing confirm that four persons were laid off as of May 1 by his
department, contradicting the statement that he issued on November 16 that they
were going to create 13 new jobs for
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister
of Housing): Mr. Speaker, what we had in the Department of
Housing, I believe, four positions in the city of
Point of Order
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines): A point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am disappointed that the member for Brandon East does not want‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable minister does not have a point of order.
* * *
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) has already put his question, has already got his answer.
Free Trade Agreement
Employment Creation Studies
Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne): Mr. Speaker, yesterday was a rather remarkable day in this country. We had the Finance minister, and I commend him for his comments for he has begun to open the door to recognizing that this deal is not working the way that they believed it would. We also had the Prime Minister of this country admitting that he may have missed the boat when he negotiated this deal, but the Finance minister went further and he said the way in which this deal was sold, based on job increases, was less than honest.
I would like to ask him then, in light of those comments, how he explains the statement of the Premier (Mr. Filmon) that every empirical study says we will gain between 10,000 and 15,000 net new jobs? Now where does the honesty lie and, if those studies exist, will he table them?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, let me say there is no difference of views between the Premier and myself.
When the member says "net new
jobs," certainly at the time, I know when we were in opposition and when
we were coming into government, at that particular time certainly we relied
very heavily on the empirical work done not only in
Let me say, Mr. Speaker, there have been
many new jobs created as a result of the Free Trade Agreement, and there is no
argument there. So, on the surface,
many, many new jobs have been created as a result of
All we have to look at is the apparel industry. We can see the significant job creation
there. We can look in some other areas
of the aerospace industry where there is a significant increase also; within
agriculture, where there has been a significant increase of trade. All of that, Mr. Speaker, in part through
restructuring that has happened here, also given in
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Prior to recognizing the honourable member for Osborne, I would like to caution you, you are walking on a fine line. Pick and choose your words very carefully.
Labour Adjustment Strategy
Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The use of the word "honesty," however, was the Minister of Finance's, but I accept your caution.
The Free Trade Agreement has been called
the deindustrialization blueprint for
Mr. Speaker, I would like to give the Finance minister some credit for one thing. He acknowledged the pain. I would like to ask him this question: Having acknowledged the pain that people are feeling, why did he cut the funds for labour force adjustment in this province?
Hon. Clayton Manness
(Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I am
sorry, I did not hear the question. I
guess I was so engrossed in listening to the preamble, but let me say that it
was not just staunch Conservatives who were in support of the Free Trade
Agreement. There was a significant
number of leading Liberals who were also in support of the Free Trade Agreement‑‑certainly
Donald Macdonald and, I believe, Mr. Izzy Asper in
An Honourable Member: . . . leave out anybody in this House.
Mr. Manness: That is right.
As I am reminded, "a leading Liberal" would certainly leave
out anybody in this House. Let me say,
in retrospect, one can take numbers and take them any direction they wish. I think that when Mr. Lougheed and Mr.
Macdonald came together and set up the commission in support of the Free Trade
Agreement, they were trying to take a nonpartisan position. They were trying to say to
To my point of view, that was the backdrop for the forward coming of the Free Trade Agreement. It is a federal matter after that. As provinces, of course, people took different views. This government supported the Free Trade Agreement.
Mr. Alcock: Mr. Speaker, I think the position of the Liberal Party was stated by Mr. Turner.
All of the studies done on this deal said that there would be significant need for labour adjustment, because there would be significant job losses. I would like to ask the Finance minister this question: Knowing then what he says he knew and how he felt, why has that support for labour force adjustment never been delivered upon, by the federal government or by this government?
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, I will let the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) indicate the delivery of labour force adjustment measures as is allowed for within our budget and within our policy making.
With respect to the federal government, I share some of the concern of the member for Osborne. I, too, have not seen the significant measures and programs in keeping with the promise that was made with respect to labour force adjustment. I gathered they were not terribly well defined at the time the commitments were made and, furthermore, I take it that they have not delivered in a fashion like most Canadians were expecting.
Certainly on the provincial side, our commitments in labour force adjustments have been there. Certainly every year when we go through the Treasury Board exercise working towards the budgetary, we maintain certainly an element towards labour force adjustment, and if there is a further answer wanted with respect to that, I defer to my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).
AIDS Prevention Programs
Street LINKS Funding
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I am sure honourable members want to hear this.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Actually, it is a very serious proposal that I am sure particularly the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) would be interested in.
By the estimates from the federal centre
for AIDS, it actually costs this government and the people of
Mr. Speaker, by the minister's own studies, preliminary results of studies by Cadham Lab and Red Cross, we could be looking at eight times the rate of HIV in this province, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2,000 people. By my own calculations, that is costing all of us $300 million or more. Yet, at the same time, this government has cut out $100,000 for Street LINKS, which is a program demonstrated to be proven effective for preventing AIDS in populations at risk.
I would like to ask the Minister of Health, given the cost‑effective nature of Street LINKS, given the otherwise very unbearable cost for taxpayers, would this government reconsider this decision, this very difficult decision, heartless decision and reinstate the $100,000 for this project to keep alive this very desperately needed effort to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS?
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that I almost was going to have the big one there when I heard this suggestion of a positive initiative from my honourable friend.
Let me indicate to my honourable friend that I would urge her extreme caution in making conclusions on the Cadham Lab study which may or may not be accurate. My honourable friend does not have the ability, the knowledge or the confirmation from Cadham Lab to make some of the preamble statements that my honourable friend just made.
I would want my honourable friend to be
exceptionally cautious in presenting information to the public without
verification, No. 1; No. 2, we discussed the issue of Street LINKS and its
potential future during the Estimates process. Yes, Sir, in the two‑year
demonstration project that we had in co‑operation with the City of
Mr. Speaker, as I explained in Estimates
and I refer my honourable friend to Hansard so that she can get the complete
answer given there, because I do not have the time, liberty today, the
processes that we are engaging in to assure ourselves that we target our AIDS
prevention programs and dollars. Sir, I
think that all will acknowledge that the efforts we have been able to undertake
over the last several years have focused our prevention and our education
efforts, and we are seeing some reasonable success in the containment of the
spread of HIV in the
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: I appreciate the caution offered by the Minister of Health about not presupposing what the results of the final studies will be on prevalence.
I would ask the minister then, would he put the savings from treating one person from diagnosis to death with HIV and AIDS, the savings from one person, $157,000, toward the prevention of the spread of HIV and AIDS?
Mr. Orchard: I cannot accept such a small contribution to prevention. We spend 10 times that amount, Sir.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that he is leaving a very important project that he has said in Estimates‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Kindly put your question, please, the
honourable member for
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: Would he find it within his Estimates and his budget to come up with only $50,000 to keep Street LINKS alive between the time funds run out and the time the final study is in, and the three levels of government have been able to find a way to support a proven project, Street LINKS, which helps at‑risk populations from spreading HIV and AIDS?
Mr. Orchard: Mr. Speaker, in my honourable friend's question, she presented the dilemma which she does not recognize. The studies are not yet completed to prove, as my honourable friend just said, the effectiveness, et cetera. That is exactly the kind of discussion that government is engaged in, but when we create a budget, we must make decisions some several months previous to the printing of the budget. Those decisions were made. My honourable friend has in front of her‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Point of Order
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis: On a point of order, the minister has had a study since October of‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member does not have a point of order. It is a dispute over the facts.
* * *
The honourable Minister of Health, to finish his response.
Mr. Orchard: Mr. Speaker, so much for co‑operation. My honourable friend the critic posed these questions three weeks ago. She has the Hansard in front of her which demonstrates the process that we are embarking upon as government to come to a reasoned conclusion in providing prevention education and other initiatives of this government to prevent the spread of HIV. Why today is this an issue when three weeks ago my honourable friend had the answer?
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin
Flon): Mr. Speaker, in 1989, this government signed
an agreement with a great deal of fanfare with Wang
Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister responsible for signing that agreement, the Acting Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, I guess. Can the minister indicate what conditions were not lived up to? How many fewer jobs did we get, and‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier): I can take that question as notice for my colleague the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson).
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin
Flon): Mr. Speaker, this government has got involved
in a whole series of back‑room deals and under‑the‑table
contracts. Can the Premier tell us today
why the government would choose to get involved with Wang
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, this is not an under‑the‑table agreement, it is a public agreement. The government of the day decided to enter into an agreement with Wang because it was very impressed with the latest, new generational technology, that being imaging technology. The company under covenant agreed to create a certain number of jobs. That was not accomplished to the satisfaction of the government in the contract. What we are trying to do with this renegotiation is to still allow the new technology to come forward in an area where record keeping and updated record keeping is badly needed within the government.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): Mr. Speaker, the government says it is very impressed. I do not see how it could be very impressed when it imposed a penalty on the company that is now‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for Flin Flon, what is your question, please?
Mr. Storie: This is to the Minister of Finance. Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain how Manitobans will have any insurance that this new agreement, that was not tendered, is going to be in the interest of the public? Can he give us any information which would lead us to believe that we are going to get value for money for this untendered contract to a company that has failed to live up to its obligations in the past?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I guess the only insurance I can give today is that there was a significant credit in place, and the government had two choices: basically to walk away from that credit or the value of it through a long‑drawn court battle and/or get benefit for that credit by once again doing what government needs to be done very badly. That was to update the records of the Vital Statistics, and that was of course failed to have been done by the government previous to us. So we are trying again to clean up records within this Vital Statistics department.
Mr. Speaker, ultimately, once this has been delivered, members opposite will be able to join with us as to a proper evaluation at that point in time and a proper determination as to how successful this process has been.
Mr. Paul Edwards (St.
James): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister
of Environment (Mr. Cummings). Yesterday
in this House the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) called the Rafferty‑Alameda
dam a boondoggle and very, very harmful to the people of
As well, yesterday the federal government
in a similar move decided that the
My question for the minister is, and this
then is the legacy of NDP and Tory governments in this country: build first, think later. That is the legacy, Mr. Speaker. My question for the minister: Will the Minister of Environment (Mr.
Cummings) tell members of this House why he is seeking to add his name to the
list of governments seeking to flout the environmental process by putting
before this House, Bill 49, which allows building on projects to commence and proceed
before their full environmental assessment is studied, which is exactly the
strategy that allowed Rafferty‑Alameda and the
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): I am rather aggrieved that the member would choose to put such misinformation on the record. The piece of legislation that he refers to is to deal with stage licensing which allows, as I indicated at the time that the bill was introduced, for proponents to have an opportunity to at least access the site for some testing.
There is no allowance in this amendment, and there is no intent on the part of this government, to ever become involved in projects where there would be construction of any nature prior to licensing. In other words, construction that would be of any significance will not proceed until we have the kind of licensing that needs to be in place in this day and age so that there is an assurance that any impact on the environment is dealt with prior to construction.
Mr. Paul Edwards (St.
James): Mr. Speaker, the
minister talks of his intention. Will he
acknowledge that Bill 49 is in fact a consistent and important part of the
strategy which he developed with five other provinces in April of 1990, as
evidenced by this government of
Will he acknowledge that Bill 49 is part
of that process which he and the government of
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Well, again, Mr. Speaker, the member tries to put a vision forward that is entirely incorrect. The fact is that this government has signed‑‑and has worked continuously to develop a process of intergovernmental co‑operation and equivalency on environmental assessment. The member knows that, but he chooses to ignore the fact that this province is one of the leading jurisdictions in this country and working co‑operatively with the federal authorities on environmental assessment and making sure that the assessment process is sound and respected, and I will stand by that.
Mr. Edwards: Mr. Speaker, this minister and this government is the leading province in eroding the environmental‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for St. James, with your question.
Mr. Edwards: Can the minister explain why he needs the power to divide projects in environmental assessments into stages, allowing him to get a project four‑fifths or nine‑tenths completed before he studies the entire project? Why does he need that power? Will he acknowledge that this is‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been put.
Mr. Cummings: Mr. Speaker, I guess this reflects the inability of the Liberal caucus to recognize the reality of a proper and concise environmental assessment. One of the major concerns that has been raised in this country over the last number of years and certainly the last three years that I have been involved with environmental matters is that there has been no clarity for those who are proponents of various projects to be able to know when there is a decision and when there is not, and when they can have permission to either not build or are told not to build or have permission to proceed.
The member refuses to acknowledge that part of the benefits that will flow from the amendment that he is referring to is‑‑Mr. Speaker, if you will indulge me I would like to provide an example. The fact is that as projects proceed and additional technology may become beneficial, where there is a deadline three years down the road when new technology is required to be brought in as part of the project, if there is improved technology available at that time, we need to be able to take advantage of that improved technology and not endanger the environment unnecessarily.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Radisson has time for one very short question.
Ms. Marianne Cerilli
(Radisson): Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the
Minister of Environment. Residents in
the Dauphin area are concerned that a 6,000‑head commercial hog operation
is going to threaten
Can the Minister of Environment tell the House what environment impact assessments have been done and what his department's involvement is with respect to this development?
Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment): Mr. Speaker, first of all I would ask if the member would choose to enlighten me as to which golf course she is referring to.
Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Darren Praznik
(Deputy Government House Leader): Mr.
Speaker, the government will be calling today the resolution presented by the
Honourable Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) regarding the recognition of Louis Riel
and the Metis people in the founding of
As members are aware, when the Premier (Mr. Filmon) announced intention to bring this resolution, there was indication made that the wording of this resolution would be worked on with representatives of the Manitoba Metis Federation. Since it appeared on the Order Paper, there were some changes recommended to this resolution, and I have provided those to House leaders of both opposition parties.
I believe if you canvass the House, you will have unanimous consent to withdraw the current resolution and have it replaced with the amended version, for which I have copies. That is what we would ask, if there is unanimous consent to call that resolution.
Mr. Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? [Agreed]
Mr. Praznik: Mr. Speaker, if I may also ask the indulgence of the House, the French translation of the changes as they were only made within the last day or so is being prepared, and we would ask for approval of the House to have that filed as soon as it is ready, and it may be ready during the course of the debate.
Mr. Speaker: Is there leave to move ahead with the proposed resolution without the attached French translation which will be provided ASAP? [Agreed]
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs): I am pleased to rise today with many of the Metis community in the gallery to participate in the tabling of a very important document.
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today, the
22nd day of May, 1992, to rise and propose that the Legislature adopt a formal
resolution to recognize Louis Riel and the role that he and his people, the Metis
The Metis are unique people in Canadian society. They emerged out of the unique set of social and political conditions and played a major role in the political and economic development of the West. The accomplishments and contribution of the Metis to Canadian society are many, from their role and involvement in the transportation and trade of furs in the Northwest, their comprehensive knowledge of plains geography, to their establishment of a provisional government for the maintenance of law and order in their homeland. In 1869‑70‑‑
I apologize to the House. I hope that members will not be too critical of me for this, because the intent, Mr. Speaker, is certainly genuine to recognize and deal with the resolution properly.
I move, seconded by the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik):
WHEREAS in 1867 The Hudson's Bay Company transferred the ownership of Rupert's Land to the federal government without provision for the establishment of responsible government or the recognition of the land rights of the inhabitants; and
WHEREAS the Metis people of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories through the election of provisional government took effective steps to maintain order in the Red River Settlement; and
WHEREAS in 1870, under the leadership of
Louis Riel, the provisional government adopted a list of rights and sent a
WHEREAS the Manitoba Act was passed by the
WHEREAS Louis Riel was thrice elected to
the House of Commons of
WHEREAS Louis Riel was again called upon
by the Metis people in 1885 to champion their cause for equitable treatment in
WHEREAS Louis Riel gave up his life for the cause of the Metis people; and
WHEREAS since the death of Louis Riel, the Metis people have continued to honour his memory and have struggled to reaffirm the rights which are contained in the Manitoba Act.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the
Legislative Assembly of
the significant role of the Metis people
in the founding and development of the
the unique and historic role of Louis Riel
as a founder of
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Downey: Mr. Speaker, I will complete my comments as I proceeded to do incorrectly in the order of business.
The accomplishments and contributions of
the Metis to Canadian society are many.
From their role and involvement in the transportation and trade of furs
in the Northwest, their comprehensive knowledge of plains geography, to their
establishment of a provisional government for the maintenance of law and order
in their homeland, 1869‑70, the Metis sent a delegation to
It is clear, Mr. Speaker, that I could
continue at length on their many accomplishments. It is our government's wish, however, that
this sitting in the Third Session of the Thirty‑Fifth Legislature
officially recognize Louis Riel and the role of the Metis people played in the
I ask all members to join the government today in adopting this resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Prior to recognizing the member, I would like to advise the House that I am now in possession of the French translation.
Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk): I am pleased to rise today and to lend my support to the resolution and to add my comments on the record.
We are, of course, pleased that the government is recognizing Riel as one of the founders of the province. However, we are a little bit disappointed that they had to bring forward a different resolution. Obviously, in the first one, they made some errors in it. I guess they did not properly consult with the Metis leadership prior to bringing this resolution forward.
I wanted to state my ancestors arrived in
I think, again, it is a recognition of the contribution of aboriginal people to those first early settlers, and, of course, they provided them with food, shelter and companionship. A lot of the offspring of these early relationships were the Metis people or, in my particular case, they were called country born or half‑breeds. Again, it was a fairly derogatory term.
Country born‑‑I remember watching a show called Daughters of the Country which was the story of Metis women. I think it was Governor Simpson who called his‑‑he was married, of course, to Frances Simpson, but he had an aboriginal mistress, and he called her my little piece of brown, I believe. Again, it is sort of a derogatory term. I remember there was one episode of trilogy called Madeleine, and I remember it specifically because I have an ancestor whose name was Madeleine Lizotte and she was born in the province, I think, in 1850. She was, of course, French Metis.
So I do have French‑Metis blood in me as well as the English‑Scottish‑Metis blood. My ancestors' names are Houries, Dennetts, McKays, Smith and Cochranes. On both sides of my family, both on my mother's side and on my father's side, we can trace our ancestry back to really quite far back into the history of the province.
Often I went to the
So, of course, there were two groups: the English, or the country‑born Metis, and the French Metis. Of course, Riel was a French Metis. He, I believe, was one‑eighth native blood. He was, of course, a controversial figure; no one can deny the fact that he was a controversial figure. However, it is now recognized, and I do appreciate the fact that he has been recognized as a founder of the province and as a father of our Confederation.
As I was stating before, my family lived in Selkirk for a number of years, and I was born there and lived there all my life. It is sad, but I never really encountered blatant racism until I decided to run for this political office. It was always subtle before, but as soon as you decide to put your name forward, as soon as you decide to say that you are an aboriginal person, you are proud of it, or you are a Metis person, then I encountered blatant racism, both in my election campaign and since. So that is very ugly, and it was a very painful thing to deal with.
Anyway, I do appreciate the opportunity to speak today on this particular resolution. I know that it is obviously a step in the right direction and something I believe the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) mentioned earlier, that the picture of Riel's first council should be perhaps hung in the halls of this Chamber.
I know another one of his council members,
his name was Bunn, I believe. He lived
right across the river in East Selkirk, and it is one of the oldest houses in
So I would like to see that particular picture hung in this Chamber. It would be the beginning of a recognition, I feel, a tangible recognition. It is nice having this resolution, no doubt about that. We feel that there could be, there must be a broader recognition of the Metis and aboriginal contribution to our great province.
I hope, and I am sure all of the members of this Chamber share, that we do not have to wait another 120, 122 years before that further recognition is achieved. So I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to make those comments today.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs
(Leader of the Second Opposition): Monsieur le president, j'ai le plaisir de
m'adresser a l'Assemblee aujourd'hui au nom du Parti liberal au
Mr. Speaker, it is my
pleasure to address the Assembly today on behalf of the Liberal Party in
It is a very wonderful opportunity to stand here today and to pay tribute not only to Louis "David" Riel but to the Metis people, because that is what we are celebrating today. I think it is important to do some historical background for who Louis "David" Riel was and what he contributed to this society.
He was born on October 22, 1844. I must admit, it was when I was doing some research last night that I realized that he had, in fact, for a giant of a man, lived a relatively short period of time. Because when he was killed on November 16, 1885, literally because they would not provide the clemency that had been requested by the jury that had tried him, he was only 41 years of age.
Louis "David" Riel was educated in St. Boniface, where he had been born to Louis Riel Sr. and Julie Lagemodiere. He was educated at first by the Grey Nuns, les Soeurs Grises, who have made such a notable contribution to our community. He then went on to be educated by the Christian Brothers. When it was recognized that this was a young man of rare and remarkable academic talent, he was chosen by Bishop Tache to go east to complete his education at the College de Montreal.
In those days, of course, a classical education was the only post‑secondary education available, and it was assumed that everyone would be trained for the priesthood and then some would not make it. Some would recognize that they did not have a vocation, but meanwhile they would have received that classical form of education. That was the classical education that Louis "David" Riel received at the College.
But he then decided that he would put his
wits to the law, and he began a process of educating himself to be a
lawyer. But in those days, one did not
go to a post‑secondary educational institution to become a lawyer, one
articled oneself to someone in the practice of law. He did that by articling himself to Rudolphe
Laflamme in the city of
The Metis people, in recognition of some danger to their rights, had formed themselves into a national committee. Louis "David" Riel became the secretary of that national committee and later went on to become the president.
We frequently hear references to the Red
River Rebellion. Well, I must admit that The Canadian Encyclopedia published
several years ago by Mel Hurtig came up with, I think, a far more appropriate
and clear definition of just what this was.
They did not refer to it as the Red River Rebellion. They referred to it as the
However, it seemed clear that the people
they were prepared to transfer that power to were not the Metis people who
lived in The Hudson's Bay Company region but to
However, by the early 1860s, The Hudson's
Bay Company had agreed to transfer that sovereignty to
The Metis people became further concerned when William McDougall was appointed as the Lieutenant‑Governor of this new territory, and they had good reason for being concerned because this man historically is recognized as an annexationist. This is someone who wanted to come in and take over this land on behalf of the Government of Canada and to not recognize the rights of the Metis people.
It was at this point that Louis Riel
emerged as a clear spokesperson for this movement and on November 2, 1869, they
seized Upper Fort Garry and they fought against the so‑called supporters
He and his companions were given what was
a monumental task, and that task was to negotiate the entry of this new
territory into the Canadian Confederation, but they had good reason to be very
concerned as to whether their authority was going to be duly recognized, not
only in the East and in the government in Ottawa, but by those Canadians who
had settled within the Metis community themselves. That became evident when a force of
Canadians, a militia, gathered in
Unfortunately, historically, I think a misperception of what occurred became known throughout the land, particularly in Ontario where, all of the sudden, the Metis people, instead of being recognized as the defenders of their right to self‑determination, were regarded by certainly those of the Orangemen's persuasion, that they were somehow or other not capable of governing their own affairs, that they were acting somewhat as outlaws. This was not true, Mr. Speaker, but that unfortunately became the perception.
Bishop Tache was persuaded to return from
an ecumenical council that he was attending in
However, the act of amnesty did lead to further negotiations, and on May 12, 1870, the final terms of The Manitoba Act were to take their place in history, and that is what we celebrated in the Legislature just a few days ago‑‑the 122nd birthday of The Manitoba Act.
I think it must be clear that there were
very clear provisions made in this agreement.
First of all, the territory was severely limited. That led many Metis people quite frankly to
decide, I think tragically, that they would never get their land mass
recognized, and many of them chose to move further west into the
The tragedy was that Louis Riel was forced
to flee. He had a $5,000 reward on his
head placed by the Orangemen's society in the
So the victory for him personally was
hollow, but it was victory also for the aspirations of many of the Metis
people. Sir John A. Macdonald, our first Prime Minister, actually tried to
persuade Louis Riel and tried to bribe him, as a matter of fact, to remain in
He was successful in winning a by‑election
in 1873. He won the general election in
1874. He even won a further election
after his expulsion, as a result. But in
all three elections, despite being victorious, he was never allowed to take his
seat in the House of Commons in
In February of 1875, he was finally granted the amnesty that should have been his by right in 1870, but unfortunately attached to that was a five‑year banishment. People have often questioned, why did he go south? He went south because he was not allowed to remain here. He was forced to go out of this country, and that is when he began to spend more time in New York and finally settled in Montana, and in 1884, at the invitation of a group of Metis in Saskatchewan, he came north once again to try to obtain for the Metis who had moved into Saskatchewan what he had been somewhat successful in achieving for the Metis people in this province. We all know that he was tried as a traitor, he was convicted, and despite the clemency of the jury, the federal government would not stay his execution and he died on November 16, 1885.
Mr. Speaker, we know that history deals favourably with some people very quickly after an injustice has been carried out in their name. In the case of Louis "David" Riel it has taken us 122 years to formally recognize in this House the incredible contribution that he made to his people. I am delighted that there is no partisanship on this recognition of his contribution.
Mr. Speaker, we must remember that if the legacy of Louis "David" Riel is to remain a positive one, then there is much work that remains to be done. The Metis people have been discriminated against in this province and in this land, of that there is no question. Unfortunately, they have the physical characteristics in many cases of aboriginal people, who we know also have been.
I say "unfortunately" because it is that that has caused that discrimination, as it has with our aboriginal people. I say "unfortunate" because what a tragedy that we judge people by their physical characteristics and we do not judge people by the contribution that each and every one of them can make to an enhanced society.
We have done that over and over again in this land. Tragically, there are those in this country today who still will not recognize that people whose colour, whose eye shape, whose texture of hair should not be the determinant of how they are treated. While there is still racism, the recognition of what Louis "David" Riel has contributed will not receive the recognition that it truly deserves.
As long as we have school children who are still discriminated against, and they are by classmates and, much worse, sometimes by teachers; as long as we have employers who will not hire someone plain and simply on their talents and their abilities; when we have those who despite all the rules we can impose as governments, whatever political stripe, that will unfortunately discriminate against people as far as housing is concerned; as long as we have people who will not recognize their legitimacy amongst us, then we will have racism, and the legacy of Louis "David" Riel will not be what it should be, which is that these are among the first people of this province. As the first people of this province, they should, if anything, have more rights, not less rights, but they should certainly have equal rights.
All of us today must not just stand here and say, is it not wonderful that we have recognized finally the contributions of this man and his people. What we must also do is to commit ourselves to ensuring that his people have the full equality of opportunity for their children, for themselves, and for their grandchildren, and on into the future of every other Manitoban, so that they can hold their heads high, they can march forward with us, to enhance all of this province, all of its cultural traditions, all of its capacity to be one of the best places on this earth. That will happen if we take this resolution in a serious vein.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources): Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to rise and speak in support of the resolution before the House.
It is my continuing privilege to have had over these many years that I have had the opportunity to be a member in this Chamber to represent within my constituency significant communities of the Metis people. When I first came into this Chamber, I did so as a representative for the constituency of Rockwood‑Iberville, and a major community within that constituency was a community that we all are familiar with, located just west of the city here, by the White Horse, on the plains of the White Horse, St. Francois Xavier. I would like to deal with just a little bit about‑‑I could be forgiven, certainly by my Metis friends, if I am mistaken in any of the history‑‑what I consider to be from what I have read surely a golden time in the evolution of the Metis people as a new nation of the plains.
I refer to a person that I believe had a great deal to do with this, one Cuthbert Grant, whose father was a partner in the North West trading company, whose mother was of Indian background. He himself as a youngster had the privilege of travelling back to the old country, to Scotland, for some formal education, came back to the Red River just about those times in the history of the Red River when things were beginning to move and some difficulties were beginning to be encountered between the rivalries of the North West trading company and the Hudson's Bay Company who presumed everything and all things here on the Great Plains.
For me, Cuthbert Grant really epitomizes the understanding that these new people, this new nation had that nothing remains the same, there are changes that take place. They are taking place right now. Our country, Canada, right now is wrestling with how we adapt to the changes, changes of free trade, how we adapt to the globalization of the world, how we adapt as a country with our own constitutional problems right now.
Mr. Grant was very quickly acknowledged as a leader of the Metis people. Some identify him of course with the tragic incidents that occurred at Seven Oaks when a bitter confrontation took place, but I remember and I read of him with favour how he encouraged the settlement of Metis people west of the forks at a community that for many years was known as Grantown. It was not till later on when the church established a first parish there that the name was changed to St. Francois Xavier.
I read with interest of how he was
acknowledged and how through him the Metis people were acknowledged as being
the paramount grouping of people in the
(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)
I view the activities of the Metis people at that time as the bridge that inevitably was required between the advancing settlements of the white community and that of the original and aboriginal people who were of course here prior to any white settlement.
Mr. Grant knew the Riel family, Mr. Riel
Sr., and met Louis Riel as a youngster.
Mr. Grant was acknowledged far and wide across the
So, by the time of 1869, the Metis population was by far the predominant group of people on the Plains, numbering some‑‑and again I could be wrong‑‑9,000 or 10,000 people compared to considerably less numbers of either aboriginal, surrounding Indian people and/or white settlers.
Louis Riel understood what was happening on the continent and understood that there had to be action taken by his people in order for them to find a place in the changing world. Mr. Acting Speaker, that he was condemned or treated harshly by those in authority at that time for those understandable actions and reasons, I think we all acknowledge was a gross injustice.
That he understood and had a vision of a
So, Mr. Acting Speaker, I have a very deep inner satisfaction from having had the privilege of representing communities like St. Francois Xavier, St. Ambroise, St. Eustache, St. Laurent, Elie, in the greater constituency of Lakeside that I have had the privilege of representing now for some 26 years. I count among my Metis friends the current president, Yvon Dumont, who is a constituent of mine, who my friend the honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) is well acquainted with, and many other active leaders within the Metis community. It has always been a constructive relationship that I have shared with them as I try to do, as is my responsibility and duty, to represent their interests as best I can in this Chamber and in the councils of cabinet from time to time.
Mr. Acting Speaker, I come and speak to you and speak to the Metis people from a background that is quite different, not of either of the founding nations, francais or anglais or Indian. I come from a much newer generation of settlers, among the Mennonite community that came in the early 1870s. We were welcomed; we were given land; and we prospered. We ought to be and deserve to be reprimanded that we have not done so in a more expeditious manner for the community that we speak of today.
Today, this very hour when our leaders are
engaged in the most serious constitutional debate that we have undertaken in
the immediate past history of this nation‑‑and regrettably, we
Canadians do spend an inordinate amount of time in debating our
Constitution. But I believe again today
that the Metis role is to provide leadership, to provide some bridging within
the diverse communities that are making it apparently so difficult for us
Canadians to understand and to fully appreciate the privilege that we have in
living in this beautiful country of Canada that the Metis people helped build
with us, that the world recognizes. The
United Nations recognizes that
Then let us reason together as reasonable men and women and make it work better for all of us. I am proud to add my name to this resolution, Mr. Acting Speaker.
Ms. Jean Friesen
(Wolseley): Mr. Acting Speaker, I am glad to be able to
rise today to speak about the place and role of Louis Riel and the history of
Mr. Acting Speaker, I want to talk about
Louis Riel, the person, and to put him in the context of
He came as so many people did in
I think there is a broader context to be
considered than simply the battle at Seven Oaks, and it is the social and
economic history of the parishes of
At the bottom of Lake Winnipeg, if you
came to this area in the 1840s, you would have seen the Christian Indian
Riel was born into this world on the other
side of the river in the Catholic parishes of St. Vital and St. Boniface and
beyond that, along to the West, along the
It was an economic world that was built
upon trade, built upon the trade between the aboriginal peoples, first of all,
of Lake of the Woods, the wild rice and the fish of Lake of the Woods, which
came in annual expeditions to those parishes of the
That fish oil was transported in the great
rogans that were made of the birch bark and transported by the people of
It was this world into which Riel was
born. Riel's people, the Metis, were
very mixed in language, mixed in origin.
The English‑speaking and Saulteaux‑speaking people of
What I am arguing, Mr. Acting Speaker, of
course, is for that mixed trade, for the interrelationship, the interreliance
of the peoples of
This was the world into which Riel was
born in 1844. He was born into a family
which had taken political leadership in this part of the country. His father had been an important man in the
Metis community. He was a politician, a
man who is remembered for leading the Metis against the
So Riel was born into an important political
family which had played a significant role in the development of the free trade
and the practical abolition of the monopoly of the
In terms of the economic history of the
Metis, what this free trade did, of course, was to give them an economic and
political role which began to expand far beyond the bounds of
(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)
The Metis faced competition. It was not a new monopoly, in fact, that they
were able to take over. They faced
throughout the 1840s and '50s the economic competition of the Assiniboine
people, the economic competition of the Dakotas, of the Sioux who came in in
the late 1850s and early 1860s as they were, in effect, chased out of the
Riel was born in the 1840s into a period, into a political family at a time of many economic changes, and it was his family and his father who in fact had played an important role in developing those opportunities for the Metis.
Riel himself was sent to a European
educational system in
It is important to notice I think that he
came back and was a very young man. When
Riel came to Manitoba, when he led that resistance, when he created that
national Parliament, when he brought together the people of the 12 parishes of
Red River, people with very diverse economic and political interests and
languages, he did it as a young man, a great orator, but a young man of 25 or
26 years old, who in fact, by his education and by his selection by Bishop
Tache, had become a man in many ways apart from his people. His experience was not that of the buffalo
hunt. It was not that of the plains of
He did not have very much experience in leadership. He had seen his father in action perhaps, but he was a man of little experience, and I think in that context his accomplishments are all the greater. He came back to a community in the late 1860s which faced severe economic crisis, faced a crisis of drought and grasshoppers in 1862 and '65 and again in 1868, and in those years just before the transfer of this part of the country to the Government of Canada, times were very, very harsh, and those very dire economic conditions I think of the late 1860s are something that we have to remember as well.
Starvation was very close in those years,
and in fact it was the people of
It is in this time that the Government of
Canada takes steps to transfer Rupert's Land to
The Government of Canada ignored the
rights of the people who were here, as the historian W.L. Morton has
argued. He said that the transfer of the
Northwest from British to Canadian sovereignty was never the subject of serious
negotiation and at no time were the interests of any of the residents, Ojibway,
Assiniboine, Dakota, Metis, English or French, in this country, were they every
considered. There were no guarantees of
native rights, no guarantees of treaties, no guarantees of local government
which had been developing in this area in the sense of the council of
Assiniboia. They could have been done
but they were not done because the Government of Canada intended this to be a
territory as the
It was a failure of
Under Riel, the Metis argued for community rights. They argued for their culture in the broadest sense, not just language, not just religion, but for the maintenance of local control, of local democracy, and for the preservation of the new nation that had been created here in the Northwest.
Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister of Government Services): Mr. Speaker, first of all, I will just take a few minutes, on a different type of note, in regard to this proclamation today in recognition of Louis Riel. I will leave ample time for my member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) who will cover the history very well as the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) and also the honourable minister previous to the member for Wolseley gave in her talks. They have covered the history very well of Louis Riel.
I rise as a member who has represented the constituency of Riel since 1986, of more note than that, as a friend in the south St. Vital area with the Metis people for the last 50‑odd years, not only as a member in politics but as a friend, as a person who went to school with many of my friends in that particular area, the business with my friends in that area.
My father would be very proud today to
notice the recognition of Louis Riel and the Metis people. My father, the late Louis Ducharme,
appropriately named, came to
My father employed many Metis, many
friends, throughout the St. Vital area.
Also, I must mention that during the course of friendship that has
developed, many of us who were always friends of Metis people, and as you grew
up with the people‑‑I myself, personally, did not realize a lot of
the hardships that these people experienced in the
Finally, through the last few years, Mr. Speaker, they have been recognized. We have named schools in recognition of the Lavalee families, the St. Germaines, the people in that area. We have just noticed, just recently, we have just recognized Riel constituency, or Riel, as the community of Riel, which is composed of the St. Boniface‑St. Vital area.
Mr. Speaker, I can go on and on about the
relationships that I have had, relationships that I will cherish, and continue
those relationships, with the Lagimodieres, and the Courchaines, the
Frobishers, the Kellys, the Lavalees, and the St. Germaines. All these families now have come forward in
many facets of life. These people have been recognized right across
Mr. Speaker, I know that everyone wants an opportunity to speak on the resolution. I myself can only sit here and probably recognize the appreciation of those families that are here today, recognize and I just say to them: Congratulations, you have waited a long, long, long time.
Mr. Speaker: Prior to recognizing the honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry),
J'aimerais attirer l'attention des deputes a la tribune du president, a la tribune a ma droite et aussi a la tribune a ma gauche, ou nous avons parmi nous ce matin: des descendants de la famille Riel, M. Marcel Riel, Mme. Alphonsine Carriere, Mme. Augustine Abraham, Mme. France Lemay, et bien d'autres membres de la famille Riel; et aussi, M. Jean Allard, l'ancien depute de Rupertsland; l'ex‑juge en chef M. Alfred Monnin; les membres de la Maison Riel; les membres du Festival du Voyageur; les membres de la Societe historique de St‑Boniface; et les membres de la Societe franco‑manitobaine.
Au nom de tous les deputes, je tiens a vous souhaiter la bienvenue ici ce matin.
I would like to draw the attention of members to the Speaker's Gallery, to the gallery to the right, and also to the gallery to the left, where we have with us this morning descendants of the Riel family: Mr. Marcel Riel, Mrs. Alphonsine Carriere, Mrs. Augustine Abraham, Mrs. France Lemay, and many other members of the Riel family; and also, Mr. Jean Allard, the former member for Rupertsland; the former Chief Justice, Mr. Alfred Monnin; members of Riel House; members of the Festival du Voyageur; members of the Societe historique de St‑Boniface; and members of the Societe franco‑manitobaine.
On behalf of all members, I would like to welcome you here this morning.
Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface): Il me fait
plaisir d'ajouter quelques mots sur la resolution qui a ete presentee ici au
Le 31 juillet 1885, lors de son proces,
Louis Riel declarait: "I know that, through the grace of God, I am the
Aujourd'hui, cent sept ans apres ces
evenements tragiques qui ont marque profondement l'histoire de notre pays, nous
confirmons officiellement ces paroles de Louis Riel, le pere et le fondateur du
C'est avec fierte et honneur que je prends la parole ici, devant cette assemblee parlementaire, qui est le fruit du travail de Louis Riel et de son gouvernement provisoire de 1869‑1870.
C'est grace aussi a la clairvoyance de
Louis Riel et a la conviction de ses heritiers, tel que Georges Forest, que je
vous adresse la parole en francais.
Louis Riel avait une vision pour son peuple de la Riviere Rouge. Louis Riel avait une vision pour le
Canada. Il s'etait donne comme mission
d'aider tous ceux et celles qui etaient depourvus de leurs libertes, qu'ils
soient Metis, Autochtones, Blancs ou d'autres races. Il revait d'un
Monsieur le president, les Metis et les
Canadiens francais ont toujours considere Louis Riel comme le pere et le
Monsieur le president, je suis fier de dire que je suis un fils de cette nation metisse qui vit le jour ici, a la Riviere‑Rouge et dans les vastes plaines de l'Ouest. Je suis aussi fier de representer Saint‑Boniface au sein de cette assemblee; le Saint‑Boniface qui a vu naitre Louis Riel, le Saint‑Boniface qui a ete au coeur de son oeuvre a la Riviere‑Rouge, le Saint‑Boniface qui a recu et qui honore ses reliques, le Saint‑Boniface du peuple Metis et des Canadiens‑francais qui ont toujours garde haut le flambeau du reve de Louis Riel.
Cent quarante‑huit ans apres sa naissance, le petit gars de Saint‑Boniface de la Riviere‑Rouge est devenu le personnage canadien probablement le plus etudie et analyse de l'histoire canadienne. Son nom figure sur des monuments, des ecoles, des musees, des bibliotheques, des rues et il a ete l'inspiration pour maintes creations artistiques, en theatre, chant, peinture, musique et sculpture. Comme Louis Riel, son peuple, longtemps victimes de mepris, sujets de gene et d'embarras, ont surmonte ces nuages pour se situer au niveau de la legende et de l'heroisme.
Aujourd'hui, on reconnait a Louis Riel le
merite d'avoir ete le catalyseur qui a fait reconnaitre le
Monsieur le president, je suis heureux de voir que certaines parties du preambule de la resolution presentee aujourd'hui par le gouvernement semblent avoir ete prises des resolutions du Parti liberal et j'en felicite le gouvernement.
Bien que sensiblement timide, mais reiterant malgre tout les accomplissements de Riel, je pense que la resolution du gouvernement ne fait vraiment que commencer a remettre a Louis Riel la place qui lui revient de plein droit dans l'histoire du Canada et du Manitoba.
Monsieur le president, il ne faudrait pas que l'emotion et la grandeur du moment nous portent a oublier trois points fondamantaux qui sont, a mon avis, le seul chemin a prendre afin de rendre justice a la memoire de Louis "David" Riel.
Ces trois points sont: une complete rehabilitation pour Riel;
deuxiemement, sa reconnaissance officielle comme un des peres de la
confederation canadienne; troisiemement, sa proclamation comme le fondateur du
Bien evidemment, Monsieur le president, j'ai confiance que les autorites federales competentes en la matiere accompliront leur devoir afin de permettre aux livres d'histoire de rehabiliter la memoire de Riel et de souligner de facon appropriee son role dans la confederation canadienne.
Quant a l'echelle provinciale, Monsieur le president, j'aimerais suggerer au gouvernement un geste qui concretiserait l'esprit degage dans cette resolution.
J'aimerais suggerer qu'un conge statutaire provincial soit decrete afin de concretiser la reconnaissance et la celebration de la memoire du fondateur du Manitoba.
Quoi de plus logique, Monsieur le president, que de vivre son histoire au travers de sa culture.
Notre grand festival d'hiver manitobain, le Festival du Voyageur, me semble etre l'occasion appropriee afin de celebrer hautement et avec fierte la realite de notre histoire.
Sur cette reflexion, Monsieur le
president, j'aimerais conclure en citant une courte partie d'un poeme compose
par Louis Riel, peu apres l'adoption de l'Acte du
Monsieur le president, en terminant, c'est
pour donner notre appui comme parti et comme opposition a la resolution qui a
ete presentee par le gouvernement aujourd'hui.
Et c'est avec plaisir, c'est une journee historique pour le
It is a pleasure for me to add some words on a resolution presented here this morning. This is an historical day.
On July 31, 1885, during
his trial, Louis Riel declared: "I
know that, through the grace of God, I am the founder of
Today, 107 years after
these tragic events, which profoundly marked the history of our country, we are
officially confirming Louis Riel's words, as the father and the founder of
It is thanks to the
clear‑sightedness, also, of Louis Riel, and to the conviction of his
descendants, such as
Mr. Speaker, the Metis
and French Canadians have always considered Louis Riel as the father and the
founder of Manitoba, even, and above all, in the most somber hours of
1885. What we are doing today cannot
wipe out all the injustices and the persecutions to which we were subjected,
but it does serve to indicate that the calm and dignified resistance of 1869
and 1870 is recognized. It serves to
indicate that we are prepared to build the Manitoba and the Canada of tomorrow
on the solid foundation that Louis Riel passed on to us. It serves to indicate that the Metis nation
can be proud of its language, its history and its traditions. This gesture at last recognizes the unique
and historical role that Louis Riel played in the creation of the
Mr. Speaker, I am proud
to say that I am a son of this Metis nation which was born here at
One hundred and forty‑eight
years after his birth, the little boy from St. Boniface by the
Today, Louis Riel is
recognized as having been the catalyst who achieved the recognition of
Mr. Speaker, the emotion
and the greatness of the moment must not lead us to forget three fundamental
points which are, in my opinion, the only road to take in order to do justice
to the memory of Louis "David" Riel.
These three points are: the
complete rehabilitation of Riel; secondly, his official recognition as one of
the Fathers of Canadian Confederation; and, thirdly, being proclaimed as the
Of course, Mr. Speaker, I am confident that the competent federal authorities in the area will carry out their duty in order to allow the history books to rehabilitate Riel's memory and to emphasize appropriately his role in Canadian Confederation.
As for the provincial
level, Mr. Speaker, I would like to suggest to the government a gesture that
would put into concrete form the spirit of this resolution. I would like to suggest that a statutory provincial
holiday be decreed in order, concretely, to recognize and celebrate the memory
of the founder of
What could be more logical, Mr. Speaker, than to live one's history through one's culture? Our major Manitoban winter festival, the Festival du Voyageur, seems to me the appropriate occasion order to celebrate openly and proudly the reality of our history.
On that thought, Mr.
Speaker, I would like to conclude by quoting a short portion of a poem composed
by Louis Riel, shortly after the adoption of The
Mr. Speaker, in
concluding we support, as a party of the opposition, the resolution presented
by the government today, and it is with pleasure that we are doing so. It is an historic day for
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): It is a privilege, Mr. Speaker, for me to join in adding my voice of assent to this resolution. I think the words of the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) are indicative of how everyone in this Chamber feels, that this is indeed an historic moment for the Metis people. It is an historic moment for this Legislature and brings to‑‑I was going to say‑‑a conclusion an historic matter that has faced the province for more than a hundred years‑‑what is it now?‑‑120 or 122 years.
Mr. Speaker, it clearly does not bring the
issues that are raised in this motion to a conclusion at all. My colleague the member for Wolseley (Ms.
Friesen) and the member for
Mr. Speaker, history goes beyond our recognition of the details of the life of Louis Riel, the contribution of the Metis people, throughout that period of history to the present day. The history of Metis people does not end with this resolution nor with our discussions around this resolution. It is simply a recognition of what we should have recognized a long time ago.
Mr. Speaker, I also want us to take a
moment to acknowledge the role of Metis people in the development of the
northern part of the province. I have
had the good fortune to serve in this Legislature since 1981 and during that
time have had again the good fortune to have had the support of many Metis
people in what are called, in northern
Mr. Speaker, the development and the
recognition of the important role that Metis people have played in
Mr. Speaker, while we recognize today by this resolution the contributions of Louis Riel, the contributions of Metis people, we should not forget that only in 1982 was the significance of Metis people actually recognized in our Canadian Constitution. Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution recognized for the first time the constitutional rights of Metis people, the obligation of the Canadian government and, yes, the provinces to Metis people. I am proud to say that our party federally insisted that Metis people receive that recognition, that the distinction between Indian, Inuit and Metis people be made in the Constitution, so that we not lose sight of the obligations of the province and the federal government to Metis people.
Since then the Province of Manitoba, which, I believe, is continuing in that process today, has supported the Manitoba Metis Federation in its development of its case, I guess, its correcting of the historical record to ensure that governments live up to the obligations still outstanding to Metis people, and that the Metis people were involved very closely in the constitutional discussions that occurred in 1983, 1985, 1987 at First Ministers' Conferences on aboriginal rights, and that the province supported financially the preparations for those meetings and included support for tripartite discussions of the outstanding issues which have not been dealt with by government.
So, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that this is a process, and like people throughout the world who are involved in developing both an awareness, an acceptance and a recognition of the obligations of government to aboriginal peoples, the process is not concluded, not concluded with this resolution, clearly not concluded with their inclusion in the Constitution of the country, because there remain outstanding issues, outstanding questions, outstanding obligations. Until all of those issues have been resolved, we will not have satisfied I guess what the intent is of this resolution, and that is to recognize to the full extent the contribution Metis people have made and the obligations we have to the people who made those contributions.
When I say a process, I can see the
process needs to be developed in three separate respects. Number one, there has to be some continuing
flushing out of the obligations under the Constitution of our country. There is still wrangling going on between
different levels of government which is preventing the full implementation of
our obligations. Whether we have to see,
the courts ultimately rule on what the obligations of the federal government
and the provinces are with respect to Metis people, is yet to be determined. If there is political will, if governments,
this government, future governments, federal governments will understand the
intent of this resolution, I do not think that we have to wait for another
generation for courts to ultimately decide what our obligations are. I believe that we can resolve them ourselves,
as the member for
Mr. Speaker, there is more to be done as
well if this resolution's intent is to be implemented. The resolution says that we should recognize
the significant role of Metis people in the founding and development of the
So in the education system, we have to continue to make sure that we achieve what we want to achieve here, and that is we achieve the truth, the unblemished, unvarnished truth of the history of this province and how it was created and the people and the context in which the province was created.
We have, of course, in many instances, not faced up to the reality that Metis people face on a day‑to‑day basis, and that is the question of not necessarily overt but covert racism, the fact that we need to address the inequities that exist in employment opportunities, community opportunities.
So I am sure and I believe that every member of this Chamber will support this resolution. Let us not leave this as sort of the final act, because clearly it is not. It is part of a process of truly recognizing the contributions that have been made and are being made and will be made from this day forward. We can only achieve recognition if we, in fact, follow up in those many areas where we have been found wanting. They include areas of education and employment and the social justice for Metis people in the province, as well as constitutional justice which may be approaching a resolution. At least we can hope.
Mr. Speaker, I have used my time. I want to again indicate my support for the resolution and again thank my constituents of Metis descent for their continuing support.
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs): Monsieur le president, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to rise and place a few remarks on the record today in support of this resolution. I will keep my remarks very short as there is little time left and I know there are other members still wanting the opportunity to speak. I think that a number of the things that I might have said have been said very well by others in the House.
We have had a wonderful variety of commentary put into the record today. We have had very interesting historical perspective put into the record by the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen), a professional historian, who brought forward some details that I had not yet heard. I am pleased that that is in the record. The member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry), for Lakeside (Mr. Enns), and Riel (Ducharme) speaking of their own personal emotions and feelings in regard to the Metis people themselves today and those who have gone before the people today I found to be quite moving.
For myself, I can recall, as a new bride living in St. Boniface quite close to the cathedral, in its original splendour prior to the fire, and prior to the new structure being built, and being very aware, through our friends in that area, of the importance of Louis Riel to them and to this province. I can recall going for walks when I was carrying my first child, pregnant with our child, walking through the grounds of the St. Boniface Cathedral with my husband, looking at the gravestones and the markers that are there and reading the names of all the people, and of one particular person who rests there. Being a bit of a romantic, I used to feel that perhaps it would be possible, believing as I do, that the spirit does not stop when the body does, that perhaps it would be possible to kneel down and put my face to the ground and whisper into the grass and be heard by those who rest there.
I like to think that if such a thing is possible that the words that can be uttered in the place where we exist could in fact be heard by the spirits of those gone before. I would especially hope that the spirit of the founder of the province, Louis Riel, could hear the words that are being spoken today, certainly descendants of his can hear them on his behalf if such a thing is not a possibility.
I am very, very pleased that I can add my support for this motion to the record because I think it is significant and important and with that I will sit and look forward to the comments coming from other colleagues in this Chamber.
Mr. Steve Ashton
(Thompson): I have a few very brief remarks I would like
to put on the record. I want to first of
all address the historic irony of the Metis people. This is 122 years since the founding of this
province, 125 years since the founding of
It might be easier for people to dismiss the significance of the event today, but I was struck as I looked around this august Chamber as I walked into the building today. We have some very august individuals recognized here: great philosophers, Latin sayings; we have an interesting series of frescoes. This building was built in the 1920s. When one goes around the building, one sees much reflection of Greek and Roman classical history and architecture.
But where is the recognition of the Louis Riels, the Metis people, the founders of this province? This was a building built in the 1920s. One has to remember in those days Louis Riel was considered, by many of those in power at least, as a traitor.
But the memory was kept alive, in the
descendants of Louis Riel, the descendants of the other Metis leaders, by the
Metis people themselves. It shows, Mr.
Speaker, I think today in many ways there is another irony. What we are seeing today is I think the
beginning of a new era and the end of another.
For more than a hundred years the Metis people of this country have been
There is much that could be said about the way the Metis were treated in the 1870s and the 1880s, the land fraud, the scrip. The Metis indeed have as much of a tradition, Mr. Speaker, of being abused by the Canadian power structure, Canadian governments and, indeed, provincial governments as do all aboriginal people.
I say this because there is a new era. The Metis people have said they will no longer be the forgotten people. They are seeking equal recognition constitutionally, and that is something that is a stark injustice that needs to be rectified. What I look forward to, following this kind of debate, is not just the passage of a resolution. It is not just a footnote in history, that here in 1992 we are correcting that very fact that Louis Riel has not really been fully recognized up until this point as a founder of the province. What we do is we take the spirit of the Metis of 1870, of 1887, indeed of 1992, because that spirit still lives. We say, Mr. Speaker, that this province, perhaps as part of rectifying history, will be a leader in fighting for full and equal recognition of the Metis people constitutionally in the 1990s and the 21st Century.
I say just as a final note, I hope in this
Legislature we can do more as well to recognize that historic fact. I note the only real recognition was the
statue of Louis Riel which I know many people had difficulty with, Mr. Speaker,
because it did not give the kind of dignified presentation. We have Queen
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): Mr. Speaker, I am rather very grateful and very pleased to speak on this resolution and add my support and my comments.
I think it is very essential from a human perspective to look at this mistake of more than 100 years. When we talk about any individual who has done so much for humanity, for the race and for his people, when I look at the contribution made by Louis Riel, I think it is one of the finest examples of any human being who has lived.
It is so important for people to understand that when you try to express‑‑or try to derail individuals and nations from their human path, ultimately human decency will succeed and that is one of the finest examples of this individual who has done so much for his people, who has contributed in a major way and was the founder of this province.
Mr. Speaker, it is very essential for new Canadians to understand the truth, and the truth is the history books must tell what actually happened. I am sure this resolution will go a long way, but will not correct, 100 percent, the mistakes. It is again, in the emotional speech given by the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry), an example that we learn from other individuals, other nations and that the human behaviour and the human nature surpasses all the boundaries, all the colours, all the races. But we in this age have to correct the mistakes of the past.
I want to end by saying that I am truly very happy today to see that one mistake is being corrected in this great nation. Thank you.
Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate today and very briefly say a few things about this resolution on the recognition of Louis Riel.
In reading the resolution, I noticed with interest that the last WHEREAS reads: " . . . since the death of Louis Riel, the Metis people have continued to honour his memory and have struggled to reaffirm those rights which are contained in the Manitoba Act." So in our caucus room I looked up the Manitoba Act, and Section 31 says that land shall be given to the Metis people to the extent of 1,400,000 acres.
We know, however, that this was not completely carried out, that although scrip was given for land, at later times this scrip was sold and there have been allegations that it was fraudulently sold and the land was lost. In more recent times the Metis people have tried to negotiate with the federal government to receive compensation for the land that was originally allotted to them. That was unsuccessful and so they went to court but the matter is still unresolved.
However, there is new hope since a negotiator has been appointed to try to reach an out‑of‑court settlement so that this historical wrong can be corrected. We are hopeful that there will be an out‑of‑court settlement so that protracted court proceedings are not required again.
In doing some background reading, I read with interest that the buffalo hunt that was organized by the Metis was a very democratic process, because they elected their own leaders. It may well be that that process was much more democratic than that that existed in many other societies where the franchise was based on property rather than one person, one vote. So I think their form of social organization, their election, is something that is commendable, something that we followed but in later generations.
What of the Metis people since the time of
Louis Riel, and where are they in our society today? We know that there is a history of poverty
and oppression, and the evidence is not just in the written records, but there
is very moving photographic evidence as well.
If you were to attend the Metis pavilion at Folklorama, you would see an
excellent display of photographs of the Metis people in
Many of those people live in my constituency of Burrows, and many of them are employed and they fit in in our society and you would not know who they are. Many belong to the Manitoba Metis Federation, and they are very proud of their history and their ancestry and their status as Metis people. Regrettably, many of them live in much less than desirable conditions.
I would recommend that everyone in this
Chamber read In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton, a very moving
and sad story about Metis children in child care and in foster homes. It is interesting to note that this book, in
an edited form, is on the high school curriculum for many schools in
Why do we have this resolution, and why
does it address some of the historic wrongs?
The reason is that the historic wrongs have not yet been corrected. Land is an important consideration. Many Metis people today still want a land
base for their communities. I think that
is not surprising. If we look at
immigrants, many immigrant communities have linked land to freedom. If you look at the Ukrainian homesteaders in
I will conclude now, Mr. Speaker, by
saying that we on this side are very happy to support this resolution. It is long overdue. It gives recognition to Louis Riel and his
nation that should have been given many, many decades ago in
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me today to rise as the seconder of this very important resolution. I am most honoured to do it because it is a particular issue that I and some others have been working on for many, many years. I remember when I first became active in politics during 1985‑86 when I first ran for the Legislature, I had the opportunity to meet many people involved with the Manitoba Metis Federation in the Lac du Bonnet constituency and in communities in that particular part of our province. During my tenure as an assistant to the federal minister, the Honourable Jake Epp, I had the opportunity to work very closely with members of the Manitoba Metis Federation. I remember on several occasions, and some of those individuals who were there in the gallery today, we talked about a resolution coming to the Parliament of Canada and to this Legislature recognizing the role of the Metis people and of Louis Riel in the founding of our province.
Today, as a matter of fact, a week or so ago, on Manitoba Day, all of the stars seemed to cross in the right order and this resolution was able to be announced by our Premier and to come forward. I must say to the member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar), and I appreciate that he was not involved in the development of this resolution and the framing of its wording, but I can assure him that the work that went on between myself and others on this side of the House with representatives of the Manitoba Metis Federation, we worked very hard to develop a wording that was acceptable to all and suitable to the occasion.
The changes that were brought in today were not the result of, I think‑‑I say this very legitimately, too‑‑they were not the result of the fact that consultation did not take place. They were the result of the fact that there was consultation, and it did take place.
The member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) pointed out one error that I will take some responsibility for in missing it on the draft, and that was an error in the date in the first part of the WHEREAS of 1867, and I would ask when I conclude my remarks, Mr. Speaker, if you could canvass the House if there would be unanimous consent to amend that to the correct date of 1869‑1870, and then this resolution will, I think, accurately reflect its intention.
Mr. Speaker, I know time is short as we
draw to the end of this sitting day, and I know members are anxious to see this
resolution passed by the Assembly, but I would like to say for just a few brief
moments how honoured, again, that I am that we are today in this Assembly
correcting I think a historical inaccuracy in our province and recognizing an
individual and the community of which he was a part, in fact, the majority of
people who were in Manitoba at the time of its founding and their so very
important role. If it had not been for
Louis Riel and his provisional government and the Metis community from which it
My colleague from Lakeside, the Honourable Harry Enns, I think made a point that all Manitobans I would hope would take note of, that the reason why we had a provisional government in 1869 was because of a Government of Canada, because of the Hudson's Bay Company making arrangements about our lives in this part of the world without taking into account the interests of the people in this part of the world.
If you look at the history of the Canadian Confederation in a nonpartisan way, no matter who has been in power in Ottawa and who has been in power in the provinces, that lack of concern for provincial issues, that lack of consultation has, from time to time, been an important part of our history. As we struggled with our constitutional task force, that issue of having more input into the national institution was one in which all three parties found some agreement.
Mr. Speaker, today, as we close this debate and we recognize the role of Louis Riel, we should remember how the battles of 122 years ago continue to go on, and the inspiration that Louis Riel provides to us today should certainly be recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is there leave of the House to correct in the first WHEREAS the year from 1867 to 1870? [Agreed]
Is the House ready for the question? [Agreed]
The question before the House is on the proposed resolution of the honourable Minister of Northern and Native Affairs (Mr. Downey) as seconded by the honourable member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik) in the recognition of Louis Riel.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? [Agreed]
Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader): Just before we adjourn the session, Mr. Speaker, if I may, with the indulgence of members I would like to invite the family members from the Riel family and many of our guests who are here today to a brief reception in the private dining room.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is it the will of the House that I do not see the clock for a few minutes? [Agreed]
Mr. Ashton: I am wondering if the record would show that the vote was unanimous.
Mr. Speaker: The record will show. That is agreed.
The hour being 12:30, the House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday.