Thursday, June 18, 1992


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  Mr. Speaker,  the Committee of Supply has adopted certain resolutions, directs  me to report progress and asks leave to sit again.

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

Motion agreed to.


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  afternoon from the Tyndall Park School twenty‑four Grade 4  students.  They are under the direction of Mr. Colin Stark.  This  school is located in the constituency of the honourable member  for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux).

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




North American Free Trade Agreement

Impact on Supply Management


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  On Tuesday night,  Gordon Richie, the former negotiator for free trade, acknowledged  that there were risks involved for Canada in dealing with  textiles and the supply management system of Canada, Mr. Speaker,  in terms of the proposals for a free trade agreement with Canada,  U.S.A. and Mexico.

      Yesterday, thankfully, the minister admitted that the  proposals that were before the three governments were detrimental  to workers and businesses in Manitoba because of the  transformation programs and proposals on the table.  He said  yesterday in the House that he opposed, and the government  opposed, the proposals that were before the governments of  Canada, United States and Mexico.  We have since had concurrence  on that issue from business, labour and others that this is  indeed a risk.

      Mr. Richie's comments included another risk and that is  supply management.  I would like to ask the Premier (Mr.  Filmon):  Are they in favour or opposed to the supply management  sections contained within the Canada‑U.S.A.‑Mexico trade  proposals?  Do they concur with Mr. Richie that we are indeed at  risk in these areas as well?

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Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism):  Our position is consistent, as it is with the GATT negotiations  where we are supporting the inclusion of provisions for supply  management.  We are supporting at the federal level the  strengthening and clarification of Article 11, which is the  Canadian position, as part of the GATT discussions.

      We have the same position with the federal government in  terms of agriculture.  I did allude yesterday that agriculture is  another area of concern within the negotiations, but the Canada  position, I believe, is consistent with our position in GATT and  that is part of the negotiations that are currently taking  place.  There is no agreement in that area, I understand, of  agriculture.

      Our position is supportive of supply management.  We have  conveyed that again at Trade ministers' meetings and in writing  to the federal government.  I believe that is their position,  remains their position, but it is an issue that is still part of  ongoing discussion and debate in the formulation of a final  agreement between the three countries, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, this is another very, very major industry  in Manitoba.  Sixteen hundred people work in the supply  management area of our province.  It is close to a  half‑a‑billion‑dollar industry in this province.  It is the  second industry that is potentially negatively affected by the  proposals, and I am glad to hear the minister admit that.

      I would like to ask the minister:  Will he share with us,  with the people of Manitoba and with the people of this province,  the specific impacts of the supply management proposals that he  now is opposing in the Canada‑U.S.A. Free Trade Agreement with  Mexico?  Will he share with us the response he has made to the  federal government, the potential risk that this proposal has and  the impact on Manitoba industry and Manitoba people impacted by  the supply management side of these negotiations?

Mr. Stefanson:  Mr. Speaker, it is a difficult issue to quantify  in terms of the impact because every time you make a different  assumption, it produces a different result.  The major source of  our position on this issue is the industry itself and the  negotiations that we have had with the industry and with the  supply management sector.

      We do support the inclusion of protection for supply  management.  One suggestion that has been made is not to change  the Canada‑U.S. agreement as it relates to supply management and  to have a separate bilateral agreement between Canada and Mexico  that can still provide protection and different market access  provisions and so on, but it is a position that we do support.

      We support the supply management sector of our economy.  The  Canadian government is publicly supporting that.  They are  supporting it at GATT, and they are supporting it at these  negotiations.  We will continue to do so, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister to share with  the House and with the people of Manitoba the specifics of the  question we raised with him.  Let us all join in together on the  negative impacts and the risks for Manitoba families, Manitoba  workers, and Manitoba farmers of these various proposals, so that  we can have a public response, not just a technical response to  these issues that affect us very dramatically.

      Today, Mr. Speaker, a natural resources defence council in  the United States, made up of 16 environmental organizations,  including the Sierra Club and other prominent organizations in  the United States, has stated that the deal and their review of  the deal does not provide enough safeguards for the environment.

      Given that this was a condition of this government in their  discussions and involvement in the free trade negotiations with  the Canadian government, will the minister responsible for these  negotiations share with Manitobans, the people of this province,  our concerns about the environment and the impact on our  environment with the Canada‑U.S.A.‑Mexico negotiations and  proposals?

Mr. Stefanson:  Mr. Speaker, just in terms of the honourable  member's preamble on agriculture, another major source of  information, as I believe I mentioned yesterday, I think there  are 15 sectoral advisory groups.  One of them is agriculture.  It  is chaired, I believe, by a Manitoban, Mr. Vaags, and their  position is consistent with the position that Canada and Manitoba  are taking in GATT in terms of protection for supply management.

      In terms of the area of environment, the honourable Leader of  the Opposition knows that this is one of our six conditions, in  large part because of the fact that provinces like Manitoba have  continued to press on the issue of the environment.

      Discussions are ongoing right now in terms of provisions for  protection of the environment.  That will ultimately form either  part of a final agreement or part of a parallel agreement.  It  remains to be seen what is in all aspects of that.  Negotiations  are ongoing.  We are continuing to press the federal government  on the importance of the protection of the environment, the  importance of not decreasing standards in any way, that this is  unacceptable, that provisions have to provide for bringing  everything up to the highest common denominator, the standards  that are currently in place in Canada.

      We will continue to be a part of the discussions at the  federal level in terms of ensuring that this condition, which is  one of our six conditions, is in fact met before we would support  any final agreement.

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Mental Health Care Facilities

Bed Closures


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  I would like today to ask  the Premier to intervene in the Minister of Health's (Mr.  Orchard) health care reform plans or lack thereof.

      Increasingly, we are concerned about lack of planning and  indeed disjointed bed‑cutting proposals, particularly in the  field of psychiatry.  Last week, we raised the issues of a St.  Boniface proposal for 24 beds, then at least 17 beds at Health  Sciences Centre.  Now we have learned that there is a proposal  for a bed cut of five beds at Victoria, and nurses at Seven Oaks  General Hospital have told us that the board may be meeting this  evening to discuss a proposal to eliminate 20 beds or the entire  psychiatric unit at this hospital.

      I would like the Premier to give us some assurances that he  will involve himself in this growing mess and assure us that no  beds will be cut without the necessary planning, co‑ordination  and community alternatives in place.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I believe that those  assurances were given at the time that the minister unveiled his  health reform plan.  I will take any other specifics of that  question as notice on behalf of the minister.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  That is the problem, Mr. Speaker.  There is  a big contradiction between the minister's stated objectives and  what is actually happening.

      I want to ask the Premier, since we are talking now about 30  percent of all psychiatric beds on the table to be cut, will he  give us assurances that the objectives of the stated health care  plan, the replacement of acute care psychiatric beds, will not  occur until any array of community oriented services are in  place?  Can he give us those assurances and give some assurances  to boards that are meeting as early as this evening to discuss  cost‑cutting measures?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member for St. Johns  that the information that is contained within that report  represents the policy of the minister and this government.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I want to ask the Premier again to get  involved because he knows that his Minister of Health brought  forward a report from the Urban Hospital Council recommending  only beds at Misericordia be cut.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  Kindly put your question now,  please.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I want to ask him if he can explain to us,  why is almost 30 percent of psychiatric beds on the table for  cutting, and will he give us some assurances that there will be a  planned approach to mental health care reform?

Mr. Filmon:  Yes, Mr. Speaker.


Port of Churchill

Shipment Statistics


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  My  question is to the Minister of Highways and Transportation.

      Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Highways and Transportation  give us an update on the activity of the Port of Churchill for  the summer of 1992?

Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation):  Mr. Speaker, I have no good news at the present time regarding  grain movement through the Port of Churchill.  We are continuing  our efforts in terms of trying to see whether we can get grain to  be designated to move through the Port of Churchill.

      Not only myself and my colleagues, but the Premier (Mr.  Filmon) himself has taken a very active part in terms of trying  to promote activity and for the Wheat Board to ship grain through  the Port of Churchill.  At the present time, we have no  commitment to that extent.


Future Status


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  But, in  fact, there appears to be some very bad news.  The Port of  Churchill manager from Ottawa visited the port yesterday and  according to our sources, informed staff at the Port of Churchill  that the Wheat Board had informed them that there would be no  grain for the Port of Churchill this summer and that they were  slating to close the port down by the end of July of 1992.

      He went on to state that the provincial government had been  informed of this.  Will the Minister of Highways and  Transportation now tell us exactly what they have been informed  of by the manager of the Port of Churchill?

Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation):  Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm that this kind of statement has  been made or that it has come forward to my office.

      I want to indicate that the last time that I had direct  dialogue with the federal Minister of Transport, Mr. Corbeil, as  well as the junior Minister of Transport, Shirley Martin, they  gave the undertaking that the port would be open this year, it  would be ready for grain, that they were amassing information and  figures and that before any decision was made regarding the  future of Churchill, we would be able to communicate and we would  be able to consult with them.

      I am waiting for that information and invitation from the  federal government to see whether we can get into that debate.

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Mrs. Carstairs:  But the information we received was that the  Port of Churchill is "broke," will not be able to meet its  payroll, and that the port will therefore have to be closed by  July of 1992.

      Will the Minister of Highways and Transportation immediately  make contact with his counterpart in the federal government in  order to inform us as soon as possible as to exactly what the  events are to be faced by those people who find employment with  the Port of Churchill?

Mr. Driedger:  Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to do that.

I also want to indicate that the latest information that I  had was that the port lost $2.9 million last year because of a  lack of grain movement through there which need not have been the  case, and had we gotten the requested amount, anywhere from  600,000 tonnes per year up, there would have been no losses for  the port.

      It is my understanding that this year, in order to open the  port, there was going to be money allocated from other ports.  I  think that is justifiably so because they did not move enough  grain through there, that there would be money to operate the  port for this year.  However, based on the information that the  member has brought forward, I am prepared to follow that up, to  try and get all the information I can and report back to the  House.


Law Enforcement Review Agency

Civilian Participation


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

      Mr. Speaker, LERA is basically a civilian‑oriented body that  hears complaints about police difficulties.  Most jurisdictions  are moving toward civilian bodies, over 30 American jurisdictions  and many Canadian jurisdictions, yet the Province of Manitoba in  legislation now is moving in exactly the opposite direction to  have the complaints heard by judges, not by a civilian body.

      Will the minister reconsider the decision to move from a  civilian body to judges on the amendments regarding LERA?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):  Mr. Speaker, I believe judges are civilians.  I believe judges  are trained in dispute resolution.  I believe they are also  trained in interpreting the law.  They are also trained in  weighing evidence, applying the appropriate tests to decide, on  the evidence, the facts of a particular case.

      In that sense, as the honourable member says, others are  moving in some other direction.  You could turn that around I  suppose and say that Manitoba is the leader in the sense that we  are asking judges to adjudicate these extremely important matters.

      It is important to the public, I believe, that there be a  strong perception that there is fairness involved in these  proceedings.  I do not speak poorly in any sense of the word  about civilian participation, but there is nothing wrong at all  and everything right, I suggest, with the people who are trained  in the law, like judges, to adjudicate these matters.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the minister is:  Is the minister not concerned that the public may feel left out  of the process, in light of the many, many difficulties we have  had in the city of Winnipeg and in the province recently?

      Is the minister not concerned that the public may be left out  of the process at a time when the public should be more involved?

Mr. McCrae:  Every time something questionable comes up, we are  asked by honourable members opposite to bring the public into  this, to make sure the public knows that what is going on is  right.  Call a public inquiry.  Get a judge or somebody legally  trained to weigh matters on one side and the other so that the  public perception can be that things are being handled fairly.

      I think the bill that is before the House responds to that,  that not only should justice be done but justice ought to be seen  to be done as well.  I believe that everything we are doing comes  right under that general principle.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the same  minister is:  Can the minister confirm that he has received a  letter from the City of Winnipeg, and specifically from the  mayor, requesting that the province put this decision on hold  until they have had consultation with the City of Winnipeg which  is most affected, in the person of the City of Winnipeg Police  Department, by this decision?

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Mr. McCrae:  Yes, I have received that letter from His Worship,  the Mayor of the City of Winnipeg, and consultations have been  held with police authorities in this province‑‑[interjection!

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. McCrae:  Consultations have indeed been had with law  enforcement authorities in this province.  I am not sure what it  is that is the concern with respect to this legislation, but as  the honourable member knows, there are changes in the evidentiary  rules as well.

      In the past, the perception has been that the evidentiary  rules have been weighed against the public in their approaches to  LERA and in the hearing of matters before LERA.  We believe that  the test of the balance of probabilities is a better test when  you consider that the sanctions that are in that legislation do  not include the depriving of a person's liberty, so that the  civil law standard of proof ought to be the one that is applied  here.

      So that might be what is on the minds of some people, but  perhaps police authorities themselves have concerns about that.  On the other hand, the public's protection is foremost in our  minds, and the perception that this protection is there is also  extremely important.


Ashern, Manitoba

Environmental Concerns


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, the town of Ashern has  been struggling to deal with a severe water pollution problem  that has affected, up to this point, at least 20 wells.

      The residents in a local committee, trying to find solutions  to this potable water shortage, are frustrated and upset with the  lack of a speedy solution to their very serious problem.

      I would like to ask the Minister of Environment:  Can the  Minister of Environment tell the House today why none of his  department's officials attended a very important meeting last  Monday in Ashern, as the community had requested?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, the  meeting in question was a meeting in which the residents of the  community were to have an opportunity, as I understand it, to  take a look at what options were available to them.

      They were being allowed to consider that and make their  decision in a manner that was consistent with their own  priorities and their own desires, and I believe that it was  appropriate that there would not be interference from my  department in that respect.


Soil/Water Sampling


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, seeing the fact that  the department official in question had indicated that they did  not want to attend this meeting but wanted to attend on a  one‑to‑one basis at a later date, why did they not consider this  serious on Monday?

      Will the minister and his department address this issue by  identifying all of the levels of contamination affecting the  town's water through further soil and water sampling?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, there  are two issues at play here‑‑one is the obvious problem with  water contamination, but the other issue, as well, is what  alternatives are there for providing potable water in the  community.

      As far as the identification of the sources of pollution and  dealing with that problem, we certainly see that as an ongoing  and continuing problem and will work with the community to deal  with it, but we know, and I am sure that the member knows, that  once an aquifer becomes polluted, it cannot very readily and  quickly be remedied, so the options to the community immediately  become limited.


Alternate Water Source


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Given the fact that the community  has continuously requested assistance on this issue, will this  minister identify Ashern as a priority site, so his department's  expertise can fully assist the community in obtaining a new  drinking water system which is desperately needed in the  community?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, the  meeting last night is the first step in that process, and I am  sure that the member knows that.  The fact is, the Minister of  Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), myself and all other concerned  ministries will work to deal with this problem.

      I think it should be pointed out, Mr. Speaker, that while  there are a number of various sources of pollution, probably five  different sources that may have and probably did contribute to  this pollution, the opportunity for recovery from most of those  sources is nil or negligible.  The identification of alternative  sources is one of the conditions that the community needs to work  with, and we will work with them, as I am sure the Minister of  Rural Development will as well.

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Health Care System Reform

Monitoring Process


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

      I would like to table a letter from the chairperson of the  board of directors from St. Boniface Hospital.  In this letter,  it is clearly indicating how the beds are going to be cut.  The  chairman of the St. Boniface Hospital says, and I quote:  The  closure of 24 psych beds will require the expansion of community  outpatient and outreach support and the establishment of a psych  day hospital.

      Mr. Speaker, since there is no independent monitor, can the  Premier tell this House why they have not set up an independent  monitoring system to make sure that the stated policy of health  care reform is being met?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I will take that  question as notice on behalf of the Minister of Health (Mr.  Orchard).




Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, the letter from the  St. Boniface Hospital says that the plans for the bed cuts are  ready, but we have no plans for community‑based services.

      Can the Premier tell this House why such implementation plans  are not being made available, and why they do not tell the people  the time frame for the implementation of those plans?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I will take that  question, as well, as notice on behalf of the Minister of Health.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, the board of the St. Boniface Hospital  has passed statements about the quarterly report to the board on  the implementation of these bed closures in one hospital.

      Can the Premier make a commitment to make sure that the  people of Manitoba will know how health care reform is being  implemented, a commitment to let us know how the plan is being  implemented?

Mr. Filmon:  Yes, Mr. Speaker.


Pesticide Usage

Environmental Licensing


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  My question is for the Minister  of Environment.

      The City of Winnipeg Task Force Report on Chemical Pesticide  Use recommends moving toward an integrated management program to  have more research into program safety and effectiveness and to  move to better reporting.  Unfortunately, the city is not  following this report, and they are actually moving in the  opposite direction and ignoring citizen requests to not have  their neighbourhoods sprayed.

      My question for the minister is:  Has his department reviewed  this report, and will it consider including some of the  recommendations as conditions for the issuing of the city's  licence to use chemical spraying in the next year?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, I am  aware of that report.  I cannot give a detailed analysis of it,  but I can point out that there were also some concerns that were  raised regarding the cost and efficacy of some of the alternative  methods.

      Certainly, I fully support any alternatives that can be fully  developed, but the present regime that is being followed in the  licence‑‑and I presume the member is referring to mosquito  fogging as one of the issues that she is concerned about‑‑the  present regime is a result of discussions prior to my coming into  office but based on the recommendations of the city entomologist  in conjunction with our licensing personnel.


Biological Alternatives


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, will the minister  offer his department's support to investigate and develop the  system of biological larvicide which is a safer and more  cost‑effective way of dealing with these pests?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, I am  not sure that either one of us is qualified to enter into a  debate about the efficacy or the cost of biological control.  There are certainly varying reports on the cost.  I can attest to  that.

      I stand by my comment that we are prepared to look at any  alternatives in terms of cold, hard research and licensing of  alternatives as has been done primarily at the national level,  and we follow the licensing recommendations that they attach to  various materials.




Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  My final supplementary is for  the same minister.

      Can the minister confirm that Winnipeg is the last major  urban centre in the country to continue to use chemical spraying  of malathion on adult mosquitoes?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, I am  not sure I can confirm or deny that, but I know that there are a  number of jurisdictions where it does not occur.

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Child Day Care

Special Needs Children


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  My  question is to the Minister of Family Services.

      Mr. Speaker the daycare office has informed us of a serious  development affecting special needs children.  For the first  time, it appears that there is a waiting list of some 66  children, special needs children who require before‑school and  after‑school child care.  They have placements in schools but no  care prior to the school hours commencing and no care after  school hours are over.

      Can the minister tell us what steps he is taking to make it  possible for those 66 children, who have never before had to go  on a waiting list, to get the service they require before and  after school?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  There  has been increasing pressure on the daycare program, particularly  with the subsidies for children in daycares, and I would remind  you that our subsidies are volume sensitive and are available for  all parents of children who qualify for that.

      The one area where we are not able to meet all of the needs  is in some of the specialized care that is required for some of  these children so that we are able to accommodate as many people  as our budget will allow.  In some areas, we do have a waiting  list, and we are looking at the special needs and trying to  accommodate as many children as we can.

Mrs. Carstairs:  These are not children who can be easily placed  in alternative placements.  These are children who must be placed  in child care spaces that have provisions for children with  special needs.  They cannot, for example, go to the neighbourhood  mother.  They cannot go to an after‑school child care centre in  many communities because they do not have the needs equipment  available for these young people.

      Will the minister today respond to the urgency of these 66  children, who in the past have not had to go on a waiting list  and as of today need to go on a waiting list because there are  not adequate dollars from his department to ensure that they get  the spaces they require?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  When the member says that there are not  adequate dollars, I would point out to her that we have made  tremendous strides in improving the amount of resources that are  available, particularly in the daycare system to the point that  we probably spend more on daycare than any other province.  Our  expenditures for these subsidies have gone up dramatically.

      At the same time, we have not been able to resolve all of the  issues with special needs children.  We will work with the  various community groups in the daycare community to try and give  the very best service we can with the resources that are  available.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, we have examples of young people.  One in particular who has been accepted into a program on August  1 will have to give up that space at Lord Roberts School lunch  and after‑school program if the province cannot fund the staff  requirement at the centre needed to look after this particular  child.

      Will the minister undertake to investigate, himself, the  situations which are denying access to schools, for integrated  programs, because these youngsters cannot participate in the  after‑school programs?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will make that commitment  to the member that we will review the case and see if there is  any way we can assist not only that child but other children on  that waiting list.


Social Assistance

Rent Appeal Intervention


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, frequently rent  increases far above the 4 percent guideline are approved.  Many  of these units are renters on provincial social assistance, the  cost of which to government, in Winnipeg alone, is estimated at  $60 million a year, much of it going to slum landlords.

      What is the policy of the Minister of Family Services  regarding rent appeals for apartments for which Income Security  is paying rent?  Does the minister's staff intervene in rent  appeals in order to hold down their cost?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  I was  having some difficulty hearing the question, but I would say that  our staff in Social Allowances will make every effort to have the  scarce dollars that we have to deal with increasing numbers in  the social allowance area, to make those dollars stretch as far  as possible, and to be sure that appropriate accommodation is  available for the recipients.

Mr. Martindale:  Will the minister agree to have his staff  intervene in every case, since it is my information that this is  not always done and that if his staff did intervene, there might  be a higher success rate for appeals by tenants and save the  government money?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that the  staff will make every effort to provide the best service that we  can to the clients that we serve.


Heritage Community

Funding Reduction


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the  Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship.

      Will the minister explain why, in the current budget year,  her Estimates proposed to distribute only $400,000 to the  heritage community when, in each of the last three years,  approximately $650,000 has reached the community over and above  administrative costs?

      Over the last three years, it has been $600,000 a year.  This  year it is $400,000.  Could the minister explain why the  discrepancy?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship):  Indeed there is a $400,000 amount printed in the  budget.  We were under the impression when we printed the budget  that the Heritage Federation had some three hundred and some  thousand dollars sitting in reserve, and the $400,000 indeed  would make $712,000 for the Heritage Federation to distribute  grants to the community.

      Mr. Speaker, we are finding out that the Heritage Federation  in fact has the money to pay all of the grants that they  allocated this year which is $670,000, plus they have another  approximately half‑a‑million dollars sitting in reserve.  We have  a legal opinion, indeed, that this money should be delivered to  the community in the way of grants.

Ms. Friesen:  The minister actually answered a question I had not  asked which is an interesting one.  It is interesting that she  has only just found out now that they had that reserve‑‑

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

Ms. Friesen:  The question I was asking was about this year's  Estimates which proposes to deliver to the heritage community  $400,000.

      Will the minister explain to the House what the impact will  be on the heritage community of the reduction in their grants  that are reaching the community, particularly when it is coupled  with a loss of $2 million in the Community Places fund which is  also used very frequently by the heritage community?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Speaker, there will be no reduction in  grants to the heritage community.  We are going to be in  Estimates this evening, and we can discuss this in greater detail.

      I will say to you that the Heritage Federation made  allocations of $670,000 in grants for the upcoming year.  They  have enough money within their reserves sitting in the bank that  in fact all of those commitments will be lived up to.


Manitoba Heritage Federation

Correspondence Request


 Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, finally, I would like  to ask the minister again:  Will she table the letters of support  that she claimed in this House to have received supporting her  destruction of the Heritage Federation?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship):  As a result of our commitment to put a new  structure in place, I have sent 480 questionnaires out to the  community.  We are starting to receive those questionnaires  back.  The ones that we have received have all been positive to  date on the new structure.

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Agricultural Industry



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

      I recently attended a rural conference in Brandon where a  staff person from the Department of Agriculture said that farmers  were missing out on an opportunity of diversification and that  was the raising of elk and deer.

      I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture if it is the  position of this government to now allow the raising of elk and  deer.

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, my  staff at various meetings they go to raise all kinds of  opportunities that farmers can get involved in, in terms of  diversifying their income, whether it is buffalo or whether it is  wild rice or whether it is raising llama, ostriches.  There is no  end of opportunities.  Some of it is for meat markets.  Some of  it is for food markets.  Some of it is for various markets, and  my staff are completely at liberty to make farmers aware of all  the opportunities that might exist.

      Clearly, those opportunities do exist in Saskatchewan and  Alberta, and staff are analyzing those opportunities and  explaining to farmers that there are opportunities there.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Speaker, if it is illegal to raise elk and deer  in Manitoba on farms, I want to ask the minister:  Is it his  staff who make policy, or is this staff person promoting  something that this government is now actively promoting, and  that is the raising of elk and deer on farms?

Mr. Findlay:  Mr. Speaker, numerous people have shown interest in  this area.  I say my staff are free to talk to them about it, and  the discussions will continue on for some time.

      Everybody is watching what is happening in Saskatchewan and  Alberta to determine if there is any feasibility whatsoever in  the future for Manitobans to have an opportunity for those  opportunities.


Bill 82

Game Farming


 Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  I want to ask the minister if  that is why he has included game farming under the farm lands  practices act as a definition of a farm practice?  One of the  items is game farming.

      Is he now saying that he is going to be including game  farming and the raising of elk and deer as a policy of this  government?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Raising of  pheasants is game.  Some people may say buffalo is game, so there  are many examples of game farming.  It is going on right now.

      If we did not include that in the farm practices, that bill,  they would criticize us for not including it, so I would ask them  to get their act together to decide which way they are going.  Their government raised the issue some years ago and actually  were in favour of it.


Mining Operations

Dust Control


Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  My question is to the Minister of  Environment.

      On Monday of this week, I raised a serious environmental  question with the Minister responsible for Energy and Mines (Mr.  Downey) relating to the dust control of the tailings ponds in the  community of Lynn Lake, dust control which is an urgent issue  because of the fact that it may contain elements including  arsenic from the LynnGold operations in Lynn Lake.

      My question to the Minister of Environment is:  Has he  discussed this issue with the Minister of Energy and Mines, and  has he done anything to begin the process of determining the  danger to residents of the community of that dust blowing around  the community?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, I  have not been in contact with the regional officers of the  Department of Environment to discuss the issue, but during my  Estimates, I will bring a fuller response to the member.

Mr. Speaker:  Time for Oral Questions has expired.


Committee Changes


Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by  the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock), that the composition of the  Standing Committee on Law Amendments be amended as follows:  The  member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) for the member for Inkster  (Mr. Lamoureux). [Agreed!




House Business


Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Mr.  Speaker, if I may first of all on government business, I would  indicate that throughout the day there may be a number of  announcements being made as House leaders work together to plan  the business of the House.  I serve notice there may be  announcements and some changes throughout the day.

      I would ask, Mr. Speaker, if you canvass the House, you may  find a will to waive private members' hour today.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to waive private  members' hour today?  Is there leave? [Agreed!

Mr. Praznik:  I would ask, Mr. Speaker, then to call bills in  this order, please:  Bill 79‑‑for continuation of debate on  second reading‑‑Bills 86, 87, 82, 94, 95, 96.  I would then ask  if Mr. Speaker could call for introduction for second reading,  Bill 100, and that then will be followed for continuation of  debate on second reading by Bills 76, 85 and 70.

      I would indicate, Mr. Speaker, I will try to keep  announcements towards the latter part of the day, but we will  likely be rising shortly before six o'clock with an announcement  with respect to Supply tonight.  I understand for the benefit of  all members that it is likely that the Committee of Supply will  be sitting tonight, I believe, beginning at 7 p.m.  I will have  the formal motions available, as I said, prior to six o'clock.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.




Bill 79‑The Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), Bill 79, The  Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi sur la  protection des voies publiques et apportant des modifications  correlatives a d'autres lois, standing in the name of the  honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave that this bill remain  standing in the name of the honourable member for Burrows?  [Agreed!

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure  to rise to speak today on Bill 79.  I do not intend to speak at  any great length, and I will be the only representative from our  party speaking on this bill.

      As has been made clear by the minister and others, this bill  replaces the existing Highways Protection Act and deals  specifically with limited access highways.  The main purpose of  the bill appears to be to consolidate areas where there is  parallel authority between the present Highways Protection Act  and The Highways and Transportation Act generally.

      It also serves hopefully to streamline the process of  obtaining permits on limited access highways.  As a result of  this consolidation, it is estimated by the minister, I note, that  the application response time for permits is going to be cut from  the present 60 days to 25 days, and anytime we see government  being able to respond more quickly to applications of this  nature, generally, of course, we should be supportive.  The more  efficient the government, the better for the taxpayers.

      Mr. Speaker, it is our assessment that this bill does help to  better delineate the responsibilities of both The Highways  Protection Act and The Highways and Transportation Act, and that  it also cuts out unnecessary and no doubt expensive requirements,  such as that which required the Highways Traffic Board to hold a  hearing for each permit.

      Mr. Speaker, the bill also expands, we note, the power of the  minister in that it gives him powers previously held by the  Highway Traffic Board, such as access and development control and  the power to order an owner to remove or remedy a development in  a controlled area that is unsightly or dangerous.  However, the  Highway Traffic Board can be appealed to on these occasions.

      Generally, of course, our party is not supportive of putting  higher levels of discretion into the hands of the minister.  But,  in this case, there is a protection in the sense that the appeal  can go to the Highway Traffic Board, and so there is some  assurance that the discretionary power of the minister is not  unlimited.  In fact, it is substantially limited by those appeal  rights.  The only decisions which would not be subject to appeal  are the on‑premise signs, which is an area of ministerial  jurisdiction, and off‑premise signs, which are reserved for the  Traffic Board.

      Mr. Speaker, clearly, the Highway Traffic Board's mandate is  being changed to include the issuing of off‑premise advertising  signs.  The issue of compensation has also been dealt with in  this bill in a manner which is clear.

      We will, no doubt, have some technical questions at the  committee hearing.  However, to the extent that this bill  clarifies the law, makes it more efficient, and provides for a  more expeditious permit procedure, we are supportive of this  legislation.  I do say, however, that, with respect to the  technical aspects‑‑and, Mr. Speaker, you will appreciate, this is  a fairly lengthy bill‑‑that there may well be some questions at  the committee hearing.

      Of course, we will look forward to hearing any public  presentation at that time of interested parties.  To date, Mr.  Speaker, I can say that we have not received indication from the  public at large as to having any problem with this bill.  That  does not mean it will not come forward at the committee stage.  Generally, we are, at this point, prepared to see this matter go  to committee expeditiously so that we can examine, on a  clause‑by‑clause basis and in more detail, this legislation.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The House has already granted leave  that this matter could remain standing in the name of the  honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale).

      Is there leave at this time‑‑I guess we have already allowed  it, so now we have to dispose of it.

An Honourable Member:  Yes, agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed.

      It appears the honourable member for Burrows wants to speak  on this bill.  Okay, done.

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):   . . . so we are going to put up  one more speaker, and then pass this to committee.  Thank you,  Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  I am pleased to rise on Bill 79, The  Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act that the  minister has introduced.  I would first like to start off by  thanking the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr.  Driedger) for once again providing a detailed explanation of what  is a very lengthy piece of legislation.

      The explanation that the minister has provided for us so that  we in this Chamber can better understand the legislation that he  has brought forward is some 75 pages in length.  So there is a  great amount of detail in trying to explain this legislation.

      There are many areas under this particular piece of  legislation that are bringing about these changes.  In the  initial stages of this bill, the definitions, there are certain  wordings that are required for the legislation itself that the  minister supplied interpretations of the wording of the act  itself.  It explains the requirements, in particular for the  controlled areas along limited‑access highways in the province.

      Now, when we get to committee I will be asking the minister,  because I do not have the background and I am sure the minister  will have some staff available to explain or interpret for us the  different areas of the province that have limited‑access highways  and the definitions for the controlled areas, even though that is  explained in brief in the notes that the minister has provided.  We will have some questions on that so that I can get a better  understanding of what is meant by those.

      But the bill goes on to talk about the controlled areas that  are expanded from the minimum of 38 metres or 125 feet to 76  metres or 250 feet.  It talks about controlling the controlled  areas, in particular the intersections that are involved in these  limited‑access highways.

      A good portion of the explanatory notes deal with the  definitions that pertain to this new act itself.  But there are  some areas of the bill itself that I would like some  clarification on.  I will raise these for the minister as I go  through my debate here this afternoon.

      The limited‑access highways, of course, are part of the  minister's departmental functions.  Of course, along these  highways there are certain traffic control devices.  Then there  are certain pieces of property, and on some of these properties  we will see as we travel about the province‑‑from time to time we  will see encroachments that appear to be too close to the highway  itself that may have been existing structures.  I notice that  there is a portion in this bill, in the latter sections of this  bill, that explain about the grandfathering provisions, how the  changes of this legislation will mean to that particular  grandfathering.

      We note, too, that the limited‑access highways will have, as  we have in the rural areas, a need for the landowners or the land  users in those areas to have some access to roadways.  There will  be times, I am sure, where there are changes that are going to be  required in the minister's department that will cause a  particular piece of roadway to be determined as a limited access,  that that will place some of the landowners adjacent to that  roadway in an unfortunate position, and that they could be  landlocked by other properties around them which do not give them  access to roadways except onto that new highway that would be  designated as limited access.

      I note in the legislation, too‑‑and before I get onto that,  to my next point, I hope that by this legislation the minister's  department is taking into consideration the potential for  landlocked‑‑[interjection! The minister indicates it will not  allow any property holders to be landlocked, and I thank the  minister for that explanation because it was a concern of mine  that there was a potential for that to happen.  I am glad the  minister has cleared that up.

      I also note in the explanations that the Highway Traffic  Board, and the minister can correct me on this if I am wrong, has  been responsible for making the regulations that pertain to the  particular legislation that is under their jurisdiction.

Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation):  Only on PTHs.

Mr. Reid:  The minister indicates that only occurs on provincial  trunk highways.

      By the proposed changes to the legislation itself, it is  indicated now that the Highway Traffic Board will no longer be  required to make the regulations, if I understand it correctly,  and that the Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council will then be  responsible or may designate another body to make the regulations  on that person's behalf.

      The minister has indicated that he will provide a  clarification for that when this bill moves to committee.  I  should indicate, Mr. Speaker, that I will be the last speaker in  our party to speak on this particular piece of legislation, and  that is why we are putting our concerns on the record here today.

      There are many structures or devices, whether they be trees  or pieces of property or buildings, that from time to time  throughout the province may encroach upon the roadways and the  highways within the province.  I believe that the intent of this  is to bring some standardization into the process.  I think that  is probably a good move or a move in the right direction in that  it will provide for the safety of the motoring public in the  province of Manitoba.

      There are, as I indicated, many changes, and some of them  that I note in this legislation are that there is a designation  between the powers of the Highway Traffic Board to deal with the  off‑premise structures, whether they be signs or trees or  buildings, and the minister who retains the powers or control  over any of those items for on‑premises.

      Now, I take it by that where a provincial trunk highway or  provincial road goes through a small community where the province  maintains some jurisdiction over that roadway, that where, as we  see in some of the small communities through the province, the  buildings of the town may encroach within the restricted  distances of that particular roadway, the minister will retain  the discretionary use or erection of any signs or any buildings  within that limitation where it encroaches upon the right‑of‑way.

      I am not sure whether or not the minister anticipates making  any changes to that  If that is the reason why he is retaining  that discretionary power for him, I am sure that he will explain  that further when we get to committee because it could have some  impact upon the communities of our province.  We have many, and  as the highways pass through these small communities the  buildings within these communities encroach within the 38 metres  of the provincial highways.

      It also indicates that the Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council, I  imagine it would be under the Department of Highways and  Transportation, retains the right to set the fees or permits, and  it will not be the responsibility of the Highway Traffic Board to  set any fees for the permits.  I am sure the minister can explain  that because I do not have any background knowledge or experience  in the fees that would be charged to anyone who is applying for  permits, or the appeals, or the hearings, or notice of objections  that may arise as a result of this new legislation.

      The bill itself, as I have already indicated, is quite  extensive, and many times throughout the explanatory notes  indicates that it is to streamline the process and to meld the  two acts into one to make it simpler to administer.  It is a  consolidation under the protection act, with the Traffic Board  acting as an appeal body for all departmental decisions except  for on‑premise advertising signs.  That, as I have already  indicated, will remain within the minister's discretionary powers.

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      One of the areas which I am not familiar with, that I am sure  that when this bill goes to committee the minister will also  explain, or his staff will explain through the minister, is the  current policy.  It is made mention of in the explanatory notes  about the time‑consuming and expensive process under the existing  legislation where the board has to enact specific policies for  advertising signs.

      I am unaware of the complete process that takes place and how  this would be time‑consuming, but it is my understanding that if  there are any permits that come forward, the board has to have  hearings to render decisions on the applications.  If there are  any appeals, then of course they have to have those hearings as  well.  Now, I am not sure how this is going to streamline the  process, but possibly the minister can explain that during the  committee hearings on this.

      The bill also talks about the issuing of permits, and it  talks about "may have an expiry date."  Now I am not sure why the  legislation indicates that all permits issued will have that  discretionary power of, may having an expiry date.  I am sure  that the minister can explain that in committee.  There may be  some exceptions to the legislation that I am unaware of, that the  minister can draw to my attention.  It also indicates that the  permits that are issued by the Highway Traffic Board are  nontransferable once they have been issued.

      Well, I know the member for St. James (Mr. Edwards) only  wanted to spend a few moments on this.  He had so much concern  about this bill and had so many comments that he took less than  five minutes to place his comments on the record of this one.  He  may not have the expertise, but I am sure that he would not want  to deny other members of the Chamber the opportunity to put their  comments on the record.

      I am sure if he wants to have more time to place his comments  that he will have that time to do so at committee, and that he  should not impede the progress of others that want to ask those  questions and put comments on the records in this Chamber.  [interjection! Yes, I think he is an instant Transportation  critic.

An Honourable Member:  He is concise.

Mr. Reid:  Very concise in five minutes.  Yes.

An Honourable Member:  Trying to save some trees.

Mr. Reid:  Saving trees, I guess, would be in order.  They would  all like to be conservationists.  I am sure the member is  referring to the printing of the Hansard, but we will have the  opportunity, I am sure, for the member for St. James (Mr.  Edwards) to place his comments on the record when we get to  committee.

      One of the areas that would require some further explanation  for myself to get an understanding of this‑‑and I make no secret  of it, and I do not think there is any member in this House that  would have had over his or her years the opportunity to have a  complete and full understanding of The Highway Traffic Act,  because it is a very extensive act.  I have questions relating to  the expropriation and compensation factors that would go along  with that.

      I know the Minister of Highways department, as we see by the  Orders‑in‑Council that come before us from time to time, does  expropriate properties from landowners throughout various areas  of the province.  I would like to have a better understanding of  the process that is in place for the expropriation and the  compensation that may go along with that, how it is determined,  as well as any appeals of any decisions for compensation that may  not be agreed to by the landowners whose land has been  expropriated.

      One section of the bill‑‑and it comes under a particular Part  3, I believe it was‑‑indicates:  "The minister may appoint any  person as an inspector for the purposes of this Act."  Now, I am  not sure what the intent of this particular section is and whom  the minister intends on appointing to be these inspectors.  Does  it mean that the minister will be able to appoint departmental  staff on a need basis throughout areas of the province to enforce  this act, or does that mean the minister will then be able to  appoint other members of the surrounding communities?

      I would like to have an understanding of what the minister's  intent of this section is, because I recall comments and  questions that were in this House some weeks back, where the  member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) had raised some concerns over  the 2,000 kilometres of provincial roadways that were offloaded  on to municipalities and there was a certain individual that is  familiar to the government who had been appointed to oversee that  transferring process.

      I am wondering if this is a similar type of situation that  this section will allow for, where the minister may appoint  inspectors.  That is why I think it is important for us to  understand who these inspectors are going to be.

      Under the Enforcement section, it talks as well about the  right for these inspectors to enter into dwellings, and this is  under proposal.  There is no existing legislation for this from  my understanding of the notes that were provided, except the  individuals that are empowered to be these inspectors require  that they can enter into, with a warrant, even onto private  properties with the consent of the occupier, hopefully in most  cases.

      It also talks about these inspectors because they will, from  time to time, require the assistance of any persons that may be  found in the establishments where these inspectors will have to  conduct their inspections.

(Mr. Harold Neufeld, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

      There is also a section in here talking about the obstruction  of inspectors.  Now I am not sure where it talks about the  obstruction of the inspectors, but I do not see any section in  there that talks about penalty for obstruction.  It is all right  to have some legislation here that would deal with the  obstruction of these inspectors, but if there are no penalties  that are involved then I do not understand, unless the minister  can further clarify that for us in committee, what will be the  deterrent factor from individuals that would attempt to obstruct  the inspectors that the minister has appointed?

      The minister is empowered under the legislation, and I  believe it was under the existing legislation as well, to make an  order requiring a landowner to take one or more of the following  actions.  It indicates the different actions that would be  required, and it also talks about the time frames that the  minister will instruct that these orders have to followed  within.  It goes on to indicate that where the orders are not  followed by the particular landowners, they are then to be  undertaken by the minister's department, and any costs that are  incurred as a result of these actions will be dealt with in one  of two ways.

      If there are particular pieces of equipment or property, such  as buildings, trees, hedges, shrubs, et cetera, that have to be  removed and these can be sold, then the revenue that would be  generated by this process would go towards defraying the costs  that were incurred.  Where the costs exceed the revenues that  would be received as a result of any sale of this equipment or  this property were not sufficient to cover the costs, then the  costs would then be transferred to the owner of the land.  It  would then become a debt, as indicated, due to the Crown.

      I am sure that when it gets to that point there will be  several appeals for these landowners having to incur the extra  costs for something that they may not want to have removed from  the property.

      It also indicates that, where an affected owner of a property  is in disagreement with the Highway Traffic Board or the minister  for removal of his or her property, the individual can then  proceed through the courts and can have the courts review the  decision, but this has to be undertaken within 60 days from the  date of the making of the order.

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      The minister also has the powers to delegate, as he has in  the past, I believe, powers to the Highway Traffic Board.  I have  had some dealings in the past with the Highway Traffic Board  dealing with other matters relating to highways up in the  Minister of Labour's (Mr. Praznik) community where residents had  contacted me some months back.

      In the new legislation it refers to additional duties of the  Highway Traffic Board, and I am not sure what specific additional  duties the minister's legislation is referring to.  I hope that  when we go to committee he can provide some explanation for the  additional duties that the Highway Traffic Board may be  undertaking or be required to undertake.

      Another section that causes me concern for this legislation  deals with evidence, and it indicates in the explanatory notes  that this new section for providing evidence is to give the  Highway Traffic Board some maximum flexibility in dealing with  matters that come before it, but the evidence may be given before  the Highway Traffic Board in a manner that the Highway Traffic  Board considers appropriate.  The Highway Traffic Board is not  bound by the rules of law respecting evidence.  I am not sure,  Mr. Acting Speaker, what the intent of this section is.

      I had some experience a few weeks back in a show‑cause  hearing with the Motor Transport Board, and at that particular  hearing the members of the committee went behind closed doors to  conclude a portion of their hearings, and the members of the  public that were in attendance at that meeting were not privy to  those hearings.  When the board came back a decision was  rendered.  So it was obvious that all of the parties that were  involved went to the back room and struck some kind of a deal on  this.  The Highway Traffic Board being a quasi‑judicial body, I  am not sure how this evidence section would impact upon them, but  I am not sure that it is totally appropriate for these back‑room  deals to be struck in this respect where members of the public  would not be privy to this information.

      The Highway Traffic Board also has the power to authorize one  member to conduct an inquiry into a matter that has been drawn to  its attention and then to make recommendations back to the board,  and then the board is not necessarily bound by any of the  decisions or recommendations that come back to it and can modify,  accept or reject the reports that come back.

      The legislation itself indicates that the Highway Traffic  Board can bring before it people having special knowledge to  assist them in the fulfillment of their duties.  When we move to  the section of penalties, Mr. Acting Speaker, there is an  indication that the individuals that are found to be in  contravention of this legislation, an individual would be liable  for a fine of not more than $200 and/or to imprisonment of not  more than 30 days.

      When we see the example that is placed before us here, in the  case of a corporation, a corporation would be subject to a fine  of not more than $1,000, but there is no designation there of any  penalty to any of the directors in the sense of imprisonment.  I  am not sure why we would have imprisonment of individuals‑‑or the  potential to imprison individuals in these cases‑‑and we would  not have the potential to imprison the directors of a corporation  who would be in control of a corporation that would be in  contravention of this legislation.

      While I am not thoroughly experienced in the areas of  legalities of the province, as some of my more learned colleagues  are here, it indicates that there is a limitation on the actions  for prosecution for anyone who is found to be in contravention of  this legislation.  There is a limitation of one year, and I have  always been of the understanding that the statute of limitations  in many legal regards is two years.  Quite possibly, I will have  to do some more work on that to find out if that is why the  discrepancy is between the two and if, in fact, that is accurate.

      In the latter sections of the legislation, it talks about  grandfathering, where there are existing structures or buildings  or trees that are in place.  As I indicated in some of my earlier  comments, there are many situations in our province and the  communities of the province where these structures exist already,  and that, by this legislation, the minister will then have to  issue permits to deal with these particular structures.

      Under the grandfathering sections, as well, in dealing with  the permits, it indicates that where a controlled area is  designated, that permits shall have been deemed to have been  issued under the act, but it does not indicate what restrictions  or time limitations or variance orders are in place.  I am sure  the minister will be able to explain that as we move further  through the legislation.

      There are many sections, Mr. Acting Speaker, that are  important in this legislation.  Looking at the extent of this  particular bill, where it is intended to protect the travelling  public, in one of the later portions or sections of the bill, it  talks about the ministerial powers to remove any hazards to the  traffic that cause or obstruct the view of the roadway.  In a  case that there will be no compensation payable for any loss or  damage that a particular person‑‑in that sense, a  landowner‑‑would suffer as a result of the actions of the  minister's department.  I believe that the safety of the  travelling public has to be the No. 1 priority.

      There is also a section here‑‑and I know I have had some  correspondence from members of my own community in dealing with  off‑road vehicles.  I have had the opportunity to ask questions  of the minister in the Estimates process relating to off‑roads  vehicles in the last session.  By the explanatory notes that are  provided, it indicates that municipalities have the powers to  bring forward by‑laws restricting or regulating the use of  off‑road vehicles within the municipalities' jurisdictions.  But  it also indicates, by the explanatory notes, that the Highway  Traffic Board has the power to rule on the appropriateness of any  municipal by‑laws.

      I think that will provide some consistency of regulatory  powers throughout the province so that all municipalities are  bound by the same legislation, and we do not have a patchwork  quilt of regulations through the province.

      When we move to committee we will be raising these questions  with the minister as we have put on the record here today, and  hopefully the minister will have his staff available for us to  ask questions of and give some explanation so that we can have a  better understanding of the full intent of the legislation.

      I am sure, looking at the general principle of the bill, it  is a bill, from what we can see to this point, that is worth  supporting and that we will have those questions for the minister  and look forward to the opportunity to further debate this when  we move to committee.

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Mr. Driedger:  Mr. Acting Speaker, I just want to put a few  comments on the record here.  I have taken note of some of the  concerns that have been expressed, and we will try and address  them in committee when we get to committee.

      I want to repeat again the reason why we rewrote this act.  We were going to make some amendments to it, found the act was so  convoluted and difficult to make changes in that it was advised  that we rewrite that whole act, and basically that is what we  have done.  I tried to give both the critics extensive  information regarding exactly what changes were taking place so  there was no misunderstanding of it.  If there are further  questions, I will try and deal with them.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Neufeld):  Are you ready for the  question?  The question before the House is second reading of  Bill 79.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Neufeld):  Agreed and so ordered.


Bill 86‑The Provincial Police Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Neufeld):  On the proposed motion of the  honourable Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), The Provincial  Police Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant  la Loi sur la Surete du Manitoba et apportant des modifications  correlatives a d'autres lois), standing in the name of the member  for Inkster.

      The honourable member for Inkster.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Acting Speaker, I am glad to  see you have finally called me honourable, given the comments  that we have had back and forth, but I had adjourned debate on  behalf of the member for St. James (Mr. Edwards).

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Mr. Acting Speaker, what a  pleasure it is to see you in the Chair.  This is a bill which is  joined with Bill 87, The Law Enforcement Review Amendment Act.  These pieces of legislation essentially rethink the way that we  are going to review police activities in this province.  The  Manitoba Police Commission and the Law Enforcement Review Agency  previously have adjudicated upon concerns raised about police.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, we have many examples in recent years,  since this Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) took over, of how the  system has not worked.  We started, or course, with Ticketgate  back in 1988, and this minister took over from the then‑Minister  of Justice, Mr. Schroeder.  We then went through the Harvey  Pollock affair, the Hughes inquest.  We have been through the  Aboriginal Justice Inquiry's review of police activities with  respect to J.J. Harper, the Helen Betty Osborne cases.  There was  the Billyjoe DeLaronde shooting.

      There have been numerous occasions where police activity,  police investigation procedures have come into question, and  there has been a void.  Literally speaking, there has been no  system or process by which a credible, neutral body has looked at  the police activity and given society an answer.  Was the police  activity appropriate or not?

      The Law Enforcement Review Agency is victim driven.  That is,  the victim of police abuse has to lodge a complaint with the Law  Enforcement Review Agency.  That may or may not happen at all,  and if it does happen, it may happen long after the event has  actually occurred.

      The Manitoba Police Commission out of The Provincial Police  Act has been hardly used at all by this province.  It, in fact,  has been hard up for work for some years because the fact is, it  relies upon a minister that sees the value of the Police  Commission's work to send it work.  That just has not happened.

      So when we had these occasions where police conduct was  called into question, we had no way to step into the breach and  in a neutral, credible fashion review the police activity, hear  the story, hear the evidence and come up with an answer.  What  happened, in most of these cases, was that the police themselves  did an internal investigation, and that is just not good enough.

      Of course, they have to do an internal investigation, but  what happens when they come with the result?  If they clear the  police officer, no one believes him, because the investigation  has been done by the police of the police.  Secondly, if they do  not clear the officer and they find fault with the policing  activities, in the case of the Harvey Pollock investigation, they  then would not release the results.

      So society at large does not get to see the final report.  Why?  Because as the City of Winnipeg Police told us at that  time, they were worried about liability.  They were worried about  solicitor/client privilege.  They did not want to prejudice their  position in the event of a lawsuit down the road, so they did not  release the report.

      So it is not good enough to have just the internal  investigation of the police.  You need a body that is going to  look at this, that is going to represent society's interests to  find out what happened, whether or not there was police  brutality, whether or not police acted properly or improperly.

      Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, key to all of this is the timing.  When an incident occurs, an improper shooting such as the case of  J.J. Harper, an improper charging as in the case of Harvey  Pollock, at the outset inevitably there is the initial shock.  There is the initial reporting and everybody hears the story in a  sensational fashion on the front pages of the papers.  Then, as  time goes on, in both of those cases, questions arise, and this  is true with Ticketgate, true with Billyjoe DeLaronde, and it is  a pattern that repeats itself every time.  Questions arise;  allegations come to the fore that the police have acted  improperly.

      What has this Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) done in his  pattern in the last four years?  Inevitably, it goes on and on;  the questions get louder and louder; there are more and more  articles; there are more and more press reports; and eventually  it comes to the point where he has to act.  He goes and retains  an outside investigator, in the case of the Harvey Pollock  affair, Mr. Hughes from British Columbia, who is a very fine man,  but, Mr. Acting Speaker, he had to come in here seven months  after the incident to hold some public hearings which were like a  circus for the media.  That is what happened.  You could go down  there any day of the week and see 10 or 12 lawyers sitting there  all acting for someone else, and they were doing their job.  They  were trying to get to the facts, but by that time there were so  many rumours, there was so much misinformation, reputations had  been injured and hurt, much of the damage was done, and society,  most importantly, the community had had its faith in the police  shaken, even after the Hughes inquest was done.

      It is my suggestion that the community's faith in the police  never recovers from six or seven months of complaints about their  activities without anybody standing up to defend them, without  anybody coming to a credible conclusion after a credible, neutral  investigation.  We need a body that can step into the breach on  behalf of society.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, we had that body.  We had in the City of  Winnipeg the Winnipeg Police Commission which functioned until  the mid‑'70s and it did that job.  When things came up, within  weeks the Winnipeg Police Commission would put it on the agenda,  do the investigation, call witnesses, get to the bottom of the  situation.  Its conclusions were respected by the community at  large.  Why?  Because it represented an independent, credible  view of what was alleged to have occurred.

      The police, interestingly, are the first to want that  independent review to be done quickly, because it is the police  who suffer from six or seven months of allegations coming forward  on the front pages of the paper and in the news.  You do not need  to think that police do not go home at night and watch the news  and read the paper.  They become demoralized and quite reasonably  so.  When they see allegations made again and again, they get  demoralized.  They want an independent investigation right off  the hop more than anyone else in society, and I have spoken to  many in the police force.  I have yet to find someone who  disagreed with that need for a body to, as the Winnipeg Police  Commission did until the mid‑'70s, step into the breach.

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      Now, this brings me to the bills we have before us, and the  minister's attempts to deal with this problem.  Mr. Acting  Speaker, these bills do not specifically address the timing, but  I encourage the minister to have the new body that he is  creating, which is essentially a provincial court judge, the new  body step in quickly, expeditiously to deal with these matters.  If he is going to do that, he will have done a great service to  this community.  I know that the Minister of Natural Resources  (Mr. Enns) and others would support me in that.  So I do not  think I want for internal support in the Conservative caucus on  this issue, because the police need and deserve to be cleared or  damned quickly and not have these things lingering for months and  months and months.  If there is a problem and if there is fault  found, then you deal with it, but what you do not do is let six  or seven months go on with lingering rumours and doubts in the  community which shakes their confidence in the police and also  demoralizes the force itself.

      Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, I do have concerns, and I share the  concerns of the member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak) when he spoke  on this bill, about getting rid of the citizen panel which was  LERA and the Police Commission.  Those were citizens, not judges,  not police people or politicians, and of course all those people  are citizens as well, but what I am talking about is people from  the community at large not directly involved in the justice  system, and this minister is changing that.  He is getting rid of  that community control and handing it to a member of the bench, a  judge.  Now, I am of two minds about that.  I think‑‑

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  You are a  typical Liberal.

Mr. Edwards:  Well, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns)  accuses me of wavering on this one and of having too  much‑‑[interjection! Well, I like to look at both sides, and I  know that is unique in this House, but I do like to look at both  sides before I come to a decision.  Yes, that is true, if being a  Liberal is looking at both sides, then I am guilty, Mr. Acting  Speaker, and proud to be so.  It has been a long time since there  were people in this House who looked at both sides.  I must say,  you are one who has always done that and stand out in that  regard.  You have not just looked at both sides, you have spoken  out about both sides and we have appreciated that.

      Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, these tandem bills, Bills 86 and 87,  do put into place, I hope, a more efficient, more expeditious  review process of police activities in this province, and that is  positive.  What I have grave concerns about is the fact that we  are moving from a community adjudication body to a judge, and  that does give me some concern.  I wonder if the minister could  not include community representation on a panel with a judge.  I  see the advantage of having a judge who knows some of the  necessary legalities of hearings, because there are rights at  stake, there is a duty of fairness, and there are certain legal  principles which do come to bear in anybody coming to these  panels.  But I wonder if we could not expand this‑‑as the Law  Enforcement Review Agency was, it was a panel‑‑if we could not  expand this to include two community members, even one community  member, to sit with the judge.

      Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, I raise that for the minister at  this point and I would like to further canvass that at committee  stage to find out whether or not he would be willing to amend  this to include that. [interjection! I appreciate the support of  the Minister for Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) on that.

      I might say this morning there was a significant amendment  which came forward, by consent, from the Minister of Justice (Mr.  McCrae) at a hearing on Bill 47.  So I am hopeful that the  Minister of Justice is listening to comments made by opposition  members and responding.  He did this morning and I give him  credit for that.  I look forward to a similar productive debate  on this bill and Bill 87, Mr. Acting Speaker.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, with respect to the Police Commission,  specifically the Manitoba Police Commission and the Law  Enforcement Review Agency, I want to at this point say that we as  legislators owe a great debt of gratitude to those who served on  those two bodies.  They served with dignity; they did their job;  they did it well.  They were citizens who came forward and sat  for many hours, days on end in certain cases, and did the work of  the people of Manitoba and did us all a great service, and  published many, many productive, important reports on the justice  system.

      I personally believe that the Police Commission was greatly  underutilized, both by this administration and the past  administration.  But, Mr. Acting Speaker, I am hopeful that we  will be able to move into a new era, and I would like to see the  new adjudication body be a panel, not just a member of the  Provincial Court.

      There are other questions I will have with respect to these  bills.  I am going to save those for committee.  I look forward  to public presentations at committee, and I hope we have some  because, Mr. Acting Speaker, I think these bills do represent  important public issues worthy of public debate.

      We have tried many things in the last decades with respect to  reviewing police activities.  It is an evolutionary process.  We  are taking another step here.  I would like to hear from the  public at those committees, and I look forward to getting to  those committees to hear public presentations.

      We have concerns about these bills.  We see that something  had to be done.  Whether or not this is the appropriate way to go  is yet to be debated in its entirety, and we look forward to the  clause‑by‑clause analysis at the committee stage.  Thank you, Mr.  Acting Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Neufeld):  Is the House ready for the  question?  The question before the House is second reading of  Bill 86.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Neufeld):  Agreed and so ordered.

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(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr.  Speaker, when I tabled Bill 20 for first reading I did not table  the message from His Honour.  I would like to table that message  at this time.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable minister have leave to table  said message?  Leave?  That is agreed.

* * *

Bill 87‑The Law Enforcement Review Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Justice (Mr. McCrae), Bill 87, The Law Enforcement Review  Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les enquetes relatives a  l'application de la loi, standing in the name of the honourable  member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux).

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I move to adjourn  debate on behalf of the honourable member for St. James.

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Mr. Speaker, I spoke in my  comments on Bill 86 to a large extent about both bills, 86 and  87.  They are tandem bills dealing with different acts, but I  simply say at this point that my comments on Bill 86 are to be  taken as applying also to Bill 87.  I do look forward to public  presentations at the committee stage and a thorough  clause‑by‑clause analysis of this bill, which we are agreeing to  send to committee at this stage, on the basis that we do have  concerns about this bill and about the structure that is being  proposed by the minister and will want to examine more thoroughly  at the committee stage the research which he has done which have  led to these bills.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is second reading of Bill 87, The Law  Enforcement Review Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les  enquetes relatives a l'application de la loi.  Is it the pleasure  of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.


Bill 82‑The Farm Practices Protection

and Consequential Amendments Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), Bill 82, The Farm Practices  Protection and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi sur la  protection des pratiques agricoles et apportant des modifications  correlatives a d'autres lois, standing in the name of the  honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry).

Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Mr. Speaker, I will be the only  one from our caucus speaking on this bill, and we will look  forward to sending it to committee to‑‑[interjection! It is too  late.

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      Mr. Speaker, The Farm Practices Protection and  Consequential Amendments Act, this bill is designed to give  farmers some security in their operations by limiting the ability  of people to bring nuisance suits against them for normal farm  practices.

      Mr. Speaker, with the recent population shift of the city  dwellers moving to bedroom communities, there is a potential of  newcomers protesting about farm practices.  For example, people  who build a new home next to a livestock farm may complain about  odours and demand changes.  This bill will protect  long‑established farm operations if they are conducting normal  farm practices, and I think these are some of the concerns that  will be addressed in committee by groups that will be making  presentations.

      We have seen the impact of how new developments constructed  near airports have forced changes to airport operating plans and  this concern was part of the opposition to The Pines project on  Portage Avenue.  Oh, the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst) is  not there, so it is okay.

      This is the same concern that farmers have.  Mr. Speaker, the  complaint process is twofold.  Firstly, a person applies in  writing to the Farm Practice Protection Board for determination  of whether an operation is being considered as a normal farm  practice.  Secondly, a person can commence an action in nuisance  if they have followed the first step.

      The board tries to mediate between the two parties, but if  mediation fails it can dismiss the claim or order the operator to  adjust the operation.  Decisions can be appealed in court.

      The Keystone Agricultural Producers are not entirely pleased  with the bill, but they say it is better than nothing.  They  wanted a more realistic approach taken.  They wanted changes to  the Planning and Environment Acts' regulations included in this  package.  KAP believes that this bill is only a piece of the  puzzle.  Planning Act changes are needed to improve an appeal  process.  Local planning districts hear the appeals and there are  sometimes problems with these planning districts.

      A model similar to Quebec's land‑use planning authority was  suggested, and we look forward to the people when they come out  to committee and make their presentations, and I think the  minister, I am sure, will be listening to them because he is  known to listen to the farmers out in the community.  I have  spoken to many farmers and they know that he is doing a good job  for them, so I would like to compliment the minister‑‑and when we  approach his department‑‑he does look after even cleaning the  floodway with the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns).

      I saw CBC on Monday evening filming the cleanup on the  floodway.

An Honourable Member:  Are you picking on me?

Mr. Gaudry:  I would not do that.

      A code of practice must be defined so we will know what is  and what is not a normal farm practice.  KAP also was concerned  about farm representation on the board, and I think this is  something that should be looked at.

      It was in this case that this bill would help eliminate  stubble burning.  I know I have been asked what was my stand on  stubble burning, but I will wait to put my comments on stubble  burning in committee, Mr. Speaker.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Gaudry:  I will explain that in committee for the member.  That is the Voyageur look.  Mr. Speaker, this bill should be  supported while calling for planning and environment  co‑ordination with the creation of a code practice to measure  against the other acts.

      I will end my comments and will look forward to seeing this  bill into committee and having farmers making presentations  towards this bill.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is second reading of Bill 82, The Farm Practices  Protection and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi sur la  protection des pratiques agricoles et apportant des modifications  correlatives a d'autres lois.  Is it the pleasure of the House to  adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed.  Agreed and so ordered.


Bill 94‑The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1992


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Finance (Mr. Manness), Bill 94, The Statute Law Amendment  (Taxation) Act, 1992; Loi de 1992 modifiant diverses dispositions  legislatives en matiere de fiscalite, standing in the name of the  honourable member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans).  Stand?  Is there leave?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No, leave is denied.

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood):  I rise today for a few minutes to  speak to Bill 94.  Bill 94, as most of you know, is The Statute  Law Amendment bill which is traditional in this House to  implement the measures of the government's budget.  In the  interests of keeping things brief, I will make just a very few  comments on this bill.  I believe we will be sending the bill to  committee, at which time further comments will be made by members  on this side of the House and presenters.  If there is any  interest in the bill, presenters will be able to make comments at  that time.

      One of the interesting aspects of this bill is that it  includes general anti‑avoidance provisions under Corporation  Capital Tax and The Health and Post‑Secondary Education Tax Levy  and The Retail Sales Tax Act.  The bill also sets out procedures  for filing appeals to the independent Tax Appeals Commission  which we will be dealing with next in the next bill that we will  be dealing with today.

      So I conclude comments on this particular bill at this point  with the knowledge that the bill will now go to committee and  members of the public will have time to make comments.  Having  said that now, I am informed that the member for Flin Flon would  like to make a few comments on this bill as well.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  I do not have a great deal to say  on this bill as I have read the remarks of the Minister of  Finance (Mr. Manness) when he introduced this bill.  I understand  that this is, by and large, putting into law what was announced  in the budget.  I did, however, want to comment on a couple of  sections in the bill as it relates to, I guess, more directly the  government's rhetoric about what the budget was intended to  accomplish.

      Mr. Speaker, I, on a number of occasions, have had a chance  to debate the issue of the status of the mining industry in the  province of Manitoba with the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr.  Downey).  I raise questions in this House about the current  status of mining, and I am continually reminded by the government  that they have introduced a couple of measures to improve the  prospects for mining companies.

      One which is referenced quite often was a measure first  announced in the 1991 budget which dealt with the Mineral  Exploration Incentive Program, which, as it turned out, did not  have any beneficial effect whatsoever for the two largest mining  companies in the province, namely, Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting  and Inco.  I pointed that out on a number of occasions to the  government.

      More recently, the government, in its latest budgets,  announced that there would be a new mine tax holiday, and have  tried to pretend‑‑and I use that word advisedly‑‑that somehow  this was going to create new opportunity in the mining industry  in the immediate term.  The Minister of Energy and Mines, the  minister responsible for Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) has  suggested this was somehow a measure that could be looked to from  the community of Snow Lake's perspective to improve their  prospects for survival.

      When I got Bill 94 and started reading through the  implementation of these tax measures, lo and behold, I find that  "new mine" means (a) a mine (i) that commences production after  January 1, 1993.

      So the government is obviously not prepared to put up any  money prior to the beginning of next year to help a community  that is struggling.  My questions is:  Does this create any  incentive for a company that may have had a prospect of a mine on  the horizon, encourage it to go into production to save the  town?  Obviously, there is a very strong financial incentive at  this point for the company to say, well, we are not going to do  anything until at least January 1, 1993.  I do not think that is  good news for people who are sitting in the community of Snow  Lake, who are about to lose their investment in their homes and  their small businesses and so forth.

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      Mr. Speaker, I raise this simply to, I guess, put the  question:  Does this government really have any concern for  mining communities and the prospect for mining communities that  are on the brink of disaster?  I think the answer is no.

      We will let this go to committee.  I think there are a number  of other questions that we might want to ask the Minister of  Finance (Mr. Manness) when we get to committee, and I have some  questions as well about the manufacturing tax credit which has a  window, a very short window, from the date of the budget roughly  till the middle of 1993 to take effect.

      I have questions as well about the effectiveness of the  exemptions that are introduced in the budget, as they relate to  tax credits, because, of course, it assumes that there will be a  benefit, where in fact many, many companies, if not most  companies in Manitoba are struggling to show any black in their  accounting at all.  So it is not clear that there in fact will be  any incentive in much of what the government has proposed as  being an incentive to spur the introduction of new manufacturing  technology to spur on the research and development in the  province of Manitoba.

      I think there are some serious questions about whether these  tax measures, as modest as they are, are going to have any  significant impact on our economic circumstances of the moment.

      With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I know that our Finance  critic, the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), is going  to want to ask a series of questions in committee on the  specifics of the legislation, but I think we can do that in  committee.  Certainly, we are prepared to let this bill go to  committee immediately.

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  I should serve notice to you, I  suspect, that I will be the only speaker on this bill for our  party, and, at the conclusion of my remarks, we will be prepared  to pass it into committee.

      I note a couple of things.  I listened with interest to the  remarks from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) when he  introduced this bill, and he, quite rightly, prefaced his  introduction of it by noting that this one was particularly long  and complex.  Unlike the Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Acts  that we have seen in the past few years, where we have seen a few  changes to tax policy or tax law in this province as a result of  commitments made in the budget, this one has taken a much more  thorough‑‑well, actually it made a much more thorough attempt to  change some of the deficiencies in current tax law that we have  noted in this House in the past couple of years.

      I think the minister is to be commended.  I also want to  thank the minister for providing to us‑‑I imagine both critics  have provided the same information which detailed the intent as  well as the specific reasoning behind the changes that have been  introduced.  I think there are some good things in this.

      I think I have commented at length on them when I made my  response to the budget speech, because most of them are following  up on the changes that were introduced in the budget speech.  I  think that the minister introduced in his first heading changes  to enhance economic development in the province, the mining tax  changes, some of the small business tax changes and the tax  forgiveness, particularly in the establishment of the tax credit  for 800 numbers and the like.  I think these are creative  measures, and I think that, while they may not produce the kind  of boom that the members opposite would like to believe they will  produce, they will at least go some small way to relieving the  burden on business in this province.

      The minister has also done an interesting thing in regard to  environmental taxation.  The environmental protection tax that  they introduced a couple of years ago has been pretty much window  dressing, and for the first time in this bill we do see an  attempt on the part of the government to move toward making it a  more significant program, changing some of the retail tax, retail  sales tax applications, particularly on tires, and adding a tax  to disposable diapers, all of which will go into the  Environmental Protection Fund and be used to fund projects to  promote environmental awareness and the protection of our  environment.  I would presume this will receive the support of  all the members in the House.

      The big changes are coming.  One is a significant tightening  of tax avoidance.  I think we see that in the small business tax  holiday changes; we see that also in the corporate capital tax  and the retail sales tax, and the health and post‑secondary  educational levy.

      I think it is a good thing.  I think we have had several  debates in the House about the ability of certain corporations to  avoid paying taxes that they might be rightly assessed.  The  government has provided a variety of ways in which corporations  can legitimately redirect expenditures from taxation into staff  training and the like, and I think that the tightening up, on the  other hand, to prevent abuses is a necessary and positive step.  I am also encouraged by their enhancement of the tax credit for  research and development.

      I think there are a couple of things in here that need to be  looked at, particularly in light of the other changes that the  Finance minister is bringing forward.  He has The Tax Appeals  Commission Act coming up, and we are going to be debating that  bill in just a few minutes.

      I do want to talk in some detail about that because I  have‑‑while I think it is a good measure, I think there are some  concerns that need to be addressed with it.  Also, he is moving  to a new form of operating agency; I think that needs to be  examined with some care.  But, on the whole, while this is a  larger and more complex act than we have had to deal with in the  last few years, it is consistent with the commitments made in the  budget, and I believe it brings about some very necessary  tightening of tax law in this province.

      Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is second reading of Bill 94, The Statute Law  Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1992; Loi de 1992 modifiant diverses  dispositions legislatives en matiere de fiscalite.  Is it the  pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

An Honourable Member:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.


Bill 95‑The Tax Appeals Commission Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Finance (Mr. Manness), Bill 95, The Tax Appeals Commission  Act; Loi sur la Commission d'appel des impots et des taxes,  standing in the name of the honourable member for Brandon East  (Mr. Leonard Evans).  Stand?  Is there leave?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  Leave is denied.

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood):  Mr. Speaker, I will be spending a few  minutes putting some comments on the part of our caucus on the  record regarding Bill 95.  I would like to say at the outset here  that the late introduction of this bill and Bill 96, which we  will be speaking to next, is of great concern to us because when  we get bills introduced, such as 96 was just yesterday and Bill  95 a few days before, at such a late stage in the House and we  are expected to examine the bills and come up with proper  analysis of the bills, it is very, very difficult to do it with  only one or two days notice, especially when many of the  concerned parties affected by the bills have yet to be contacted  and have their views heard.  Now, I recognize that is the role of  the committee process, and that is the route that the bill will  be following after the comments made in the House today.

      At the outset, I would say that The Tax Appeals Commission  Act, the act of setting up a tax appeals commission sounds on the  surface to be a fairly simple and a fairly good idea.  What it  will do is provide an independent review of contested corporation  capital tax, retail sales tax, with payroll tax assessments and,  of course, that in itself once again sounds like a good idea, but  one would have to determine why at this particular time this  measure was deemed to be necessary.

      There are several questions that arise out of this measure  and, of course, some of those questions can and will be asked at  the committee stage, but I would be very interested in knowing  what the experience of the government was regarding the previous  situation regarding the collection of these taxes.  Were they  having a lot of problems with appeals in the past?  What is the  event or the series of events that triggered and prompted the  government to bring in this particular bill particularly at this  stage so late in the session?  Was the government challenged in  court on this matter?  We have other questions such as:  What  will this add to the bureaucracy of the government and the cost  to the government?  Will it, in fact, encourage appeals?

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      I am sure that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) has  appropriate answers to these questions, but these are questions,  nevertheless, that up to this point we have not had an  opportunity to ask once again, because the bill itself was only  brought in just a few days ago on June 10.

      Once again, on the surface this looks like it is a bill that  should not cause a lot of problems.  However, until we get  answers to these questions, we are passing the bill to committee  with some reluctance, and in the hopes that at committee we are  able to get the answers to these questions.

      The next bill, Bill 96, which I will be addressing in a few  minutes, also raises, in fact, more serious questions about the  special operating agencies that the government is proposing.  I  will be dealing with that in a few minutes on Bill 96.

      So with that I would like to conclude my remarks and allow  the bill to pass to committee.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, I once again want to  thank the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) for providing notes  on this bill, although this is rather less of a bill than the one  we have just talked about.  The Minister of Finance puts this  forward as one step in cutting red tape.  In fact, that is one of  the comments he makes in his rather brief remarks on this bill.

      I will be interested in the discussions in committee on that  particular point, because it strikes me that it is difficult to  reduce red tape by creating more complexity in the systems that  one has available to one in order to challenge, question, or ask  for intervention in the proceedings that a government may take  against a person.  On the surface, this is intended to provide an  opportunity for people to have, quote:  a less formal review of  concerns they may have under a few taxation statutes.  I think  the intent of this is good.

      I think the intent of this bill is to allow citizens to  access appeal processes without having to go to the expense of  hiring a lawyer or the formality of approaching, particularly,  Court of Queen's Bench, but it does not deny them the opportunity  to do that should they not receive satisfaction from the  commissioner.

      I think, though, there are two concerns that I have with the  way it is being structured.  One is that we are having a  proliferation of ways to appeal and deal with specific tax  statutes instead of trying to bring them all under one easily  understood process.  If you want to reduce red tape, you do it by  collapsing processes and simplifying processes, not by increasing  the number of them.

      The second thing is the independence of this particular  position.  I note here that this does not even have the  protection of being vetted by Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council,  that these people would be appointed solely by the minister.  I  note in the notes that there is the suggestion that they will be  appointed by people who have a great deal of experience in tax.  But we have questioned frequently in this House the independence  of persons appointed directly by the government and feel that  this takes it a step further in the wrong direction by removing  any scrutiny other than that of the minister when it comes to  appointing the individuals who will undertake these reviews.

      With those few remarks, Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to let  this pass into committee, and we will deal with those questions  when the minister is able to answer them.  Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  for the House is second reading of Bill 95, The Tax Appeals  Commission Act; Loi sur la Commission d'appel des impots et des  taxes.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.


Bill 9‑The Special Operating Agencies Financing Authority Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the Minister of Finance  (Mr. Manness), Bill 96, The Special Operating Agencies Financing  Authority Act; Loi sur l'Office de financement des organismes de  service special, standing in the name of the honourable Leader of  the Opposition (Mr. Doer).  Is there leave?

An Honourable Member:  Which bill did you say it is?

Mr. Speaker:  Bill 96, standing in the name of the honourable  Leader of the Opposition.  Leave?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No, leave is denied.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, the member for  Concordia, the Leader of the official opposition (Mr. Doer),  adjourned the bill for myself.

      Mr. Speaker, this piece of legislation, I think, reads quite  differently when you look at the legislation than the Minister of  Finance's speech on this particular piece of legislation.  The  fact of the matter is that there are elements of this legislation  that, I think, should cause people a great deal of concern.

      Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), in his  opening remarks talked, I think quite glibly, about the creation  of special operating agencies, or SOAs as he called them later on  in his speech, as being a means of introducing innovation and  allowing more financial flexibility within the department.  However, when you read the legislation you find that what is  being created really, at the whim of the Minister of Finance (Mr.  Manness), and his colleagues, are really mini‑Crown corporations,  small agencies within departments that can act relatively  independently of government.

      Now all of this, of course, is still within the purview of  the Minister of Finance.  The financing authority shall be under  the direction and control of the Minister of Finance.  So while  we have not lost direct responsibility, we are now creating  arm's‑length agencies to do the work of government.

      Now, Mr. Speaker, I recognize the need for that to happen on  occasion.  In fact, I have argued that on occasion arm's‑length  agencies are more effective.  They can respond more quickly than  government departments, and I will give you one prime example.  It is quite ironic that the Minister of Finance has decided to  bring forward a bill that would allow him to create these special  operating agencies when this same government, not more than a few  months ago repealed legislation which created the Manitoba Energy  Authority.

      The Manitoba Energy Authority was a Crown corporation which  operated independently on economic development initiatives  related to energy in the province of Manitoba.  Mr. Speaker, one  of the arguments given by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness),  and his colleague, the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey),  at the time that this agency was disbanded, at the time this  legislation was repealed, was the suggestion that this could be  done just as easily within the department.  That is what they  said.

      They said we can do this just as efficiently in the  department.  All of the planning functions, all of the operating  functions can be done in the department, and I argued that was  not the case.  I said no, it is the independence of these Crown  corporations, agencies like the Manitoba Energy Authority, that  allowed it the flexibility to move quickly, responsively to the  needs of the private sector partners that it was often working  with.

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      The Manitoba Energy Authority, when it was dealing with Dow  Corning or Brown Boveri or G.E., when we negotiated an agreement  for them to supply the turbines for the Limestone project,  operated very efficiently.  It created tremendous advantage for  the province of Manitoba, in a way that would not have been  possible just simply by using either Manitoba Hydro or the  Department of Energy and Mines.

      So Mr. Speaker, I see a tremendous contradiction in what the  government is doing now because, what the government argued only  a few months ago, it is now attempting to do by legislation in  another venue.  It is now saying, oh, the creation of these  special operating agencies is a good idea.  It gives us more  flexibility, it gives us more independence.

      There is one fundamental difference, however, in what this  Minister of Finance is proposing and what we had in place in the  case of the Manitoba Energy Authority, and I will tell the member  for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) what that is.  In this case, the Minister  of Finance (Mr. Manness) is basically giving the authority  without coming to the Legislature, other than in terms of the  principle of establishing the bill.

      The Manitoba Energy Authority was required as a Crown  corporation, as other Crown corporations are, to be publicly  accountable.  In fact, we have a piece of legislation requiring  that our Crown corporations be publicly accountable and hold  public consultation meetings explaining what they are doing.  This bill gives the Minister of Finance the authority to appoint  whosoever he chooses through an Order‑in‑Council to operate these  special agencies.  The special operating agency is "hereby  established as a body corporate consisting of one or more persons  appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council."

      So we are now having a situation where Crown corporations  will be appointed by the Minister of Finance‑‑in effect, many  Crown corporations‑‑and yet there will not be the same kind of  accountability that is deemed to be necessary for our other Crown  corporations.

      So we have the contradiction of the government arguing on the  one hand that MEA and a number of other Crown corporations could  be disbanded because the government departments could do these  things, and now we have the government saying, well, the  government departments actually cannot do these things, and we  are going to create these new entities, and these new entities do  not appear to have the same kind of accountability that our Crown  corporations have under our Crown accountability legislation.

      It is not clear, as well, whether the government's agenda in  doing this is really the first step to privatizing operations of  government.  We know that the government would like to privatize  certain sections of the Department of Government Services,  perhaps the custodial functions, the security functions, and you  have to ask the legitimate question of whether this is, in fact,  not creating little operating units within the department on an  experimental basis to see whether in fact they can be profit  centres.  Of course, then you have to become a little bit  suspicious about whether those centres might not be privatized in  some future incarnation of Bill 96.

      Mr. Speaker, I know that in his speech the Minister of  Finance said, no, we have consulted with the Manitoba Government  Employees' Association.  He has indicated that they have approved  or at least co‑operated in the formation of working groups,  particularly in the Department of Government Services in creating  the Fleet Vehicle Agency Advisory Board.  I can tell the minister  responsible for Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) and the  minister responsible for this bill that there is some skepticism  with respect to the long‑term purpose of this and whether this is  not the thin edge of the wedge in terms of privatizing parts of  government agencies.

      Mr. Speaker, certainly I am not suggesting that this bill  will allow the government to do that.  I think it will take some  other measures to do that, but the point is that the government  cannot have it both ways.  It cannot argue that it is not  necessary to do that with respect to the Manitoba Energy  Authority and other agencies and yet say now it is necessary  within government departments.

      We still do not know what agencies within government may be  created.  What are this legislation's targets?  The Minister of  Finance (Mr. Manness) mentioned one, the Fleet Vehicles in the  Department of Government Services.  What other sections of  government departments are the targets for this legislation?  I  do not believe for a minute that the government has not developed  a plan, that they have not identified a number of potential SOAs,  as the minister calls them, and certainly we would like to know  which agencies the government has in mind before we proceed to  support this legislation.

      Mr. Speaker, I have one other comment with respect to the  timing of this legislation.  This, in my opinion, could be an  extremely contentious piece of legislation.  If we can determine  what the government's real intent is, I think it could be quite  contentious.  I think it may work to undermine much of what many  governments over the past number of decades have attempted to  create in the province of Manitoba, government departments with  different branches, different services to meet the needs of  Manitoba.

      If we are now through this simple little document beginning  the process of privatization, then I have some concern.  We  better have the debate.  We had better be very careful about  proceeding with step one if that is the government's intention.  If it is the real intention only to streamline the efficiency of  the departments, perhaps we can have a look, we can do a pilot  project or two and examine the results, but I am not sure, and I  am sure there are many people working in government departments  across the Civil Service who are not sure about whether that is  the intention.

      So, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that it is unfortunate that  this bill, which was introduced by the Minister of Finance (Mr.  Manness) on June 16 for second reading, is not good enough, that  we deserve, I think, a greater period of time to review something  which, I think, is a significant departure for this Legislature  and for government departments and for the people who are  employed in those government departments, and it deserves a  period of reflection.

      We have not had that time, Mr. Speaker, because of the  agreement to close the session, and I would rather see the  government hold this legislation.  I would rather see the  government agree to suspend this until the fall sitting, until we  have had a chance to examine a little more closely the  government's plans, examine a little more closely the reactions  of those who might be affected and consider the costs and the  benefits of moving in this direction.

      So, Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to let this bill go to  committee at this stage, but I put the government on notice that  we may, in fact, have some further questions and want to further  delay consideration of this bill at some point in the very near  future.

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, I will be the only  speaker for our party, and we can let this go to committee as  soon as I am done.  However, I am concerned.  I share the  concerns of the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), although for  different reasons.  I am somewhat distressed that the Finance  minister (Mr. Manness) has not done two things.  He has not  followed the practice that he followed with his other bills where  he provided fairly extensive notes and details as to his  intentions with this bill.  He introduced it and read it just two  days ago.  I listened with some care to the remarks put on the  record at that time as I was intrigued with the intention of this  bill.

      I am, in a sense, not concerned for the same reasons as the  member for Flin Flon is, because I am not convinced that this is  going to produce the kind of streamlining and efficiencies that  the minister would wish to produce in any event.  I had a lengthy  discussion with the Minister for Government Services (Mr.  Ducharme) some time ago about the intentions with the provincial  garage.  While on the surface it sounds well and good, I think  what the Finance minister is allowing us to do is to give him a  fairly sizable blank cheque, so that he can run around and create  a series of organizations that are only accountable to him, to  take on a variety of tasks within government without much in the  way of review by the Legislature or advance discussion with the  public.

      Mr. Speaker, I share some of the concerns which the Finance  minister expresses when he talks about the size of government and  the inability of government to move quickly or efficiently or in  a cost‑effective manner.  Government has become far too large,  far too expensive, far too intrusive in people's lives, and far  less able to provide service.  So when the Finance minister comes  forward and starts talking about creating some changes in the  name of producing service, in the name of producing efficiency, I  applaud him for that.  However, I think, as I said on the earlier  bill, that simply providing another layer of government, another  type of government, an expansion of government in the name of  producing efficiency is not going to produce that result.

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      The inefficiencies that are inherent in the management of  government rest with this Finance minister and his office, and he  has an ability to tackle that problem.  Technology today gives us  a variety of options when it comes to improving and streamlining  the management of government, options which the Finance minister  should be capitalizing on, not running away from.

      It is just simply that we have seen over and over again  attempts by governments in the name of creating greater  efficiency that simply result in the establishment of a new  office, a new review, a new level of decision making that simply  interferes with the ability of an organization to move forward.  The Finance minister did state‑‑and I would reference it to the  member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), given his concern about  contracting out and privatization‑‑that these changes had been  discussed extensively with the MGEA.  I would ask him to check  with his friends at the MGEA to confirm that, because I suspect  on the surface, if the intention is to do what the Minister of  Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) has talked about with the  provincial garage, and it is limited to that form of operating  entity, we could support it.

      However, I would encourage the Finance minister to take a  step back and to look at the overall management of government and  think through the way in which he can solve the central  management problems in government rather than avoiding them by  establishing operating entities that function essentially outside  of them.  If it is good for small sections and branches of  government to become relieved of the burden of central management  control, then perhaps it is good for all of government.  I think  the Minister of Finance could do a great deal to improve the  efficiency and cost effectiveness of government if he had simply  looked a little more creatively at his role in central management  in government and did not avoid that debate by creating a myriad  of small operating entities to relieve him of the burden of  becoming a better manager.

      We will have those debates in committee when the minister is  here.  We can try to get a better idea of his real intentions,  but I am going to reserve judgment as to whether or not I will  support this bill.  I may in fact want to revisit this discussion  at much greater length in committee and on third reading.

      Thank you very much.

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood):  I rise to put our final comments on  this bill before we send it to committee.  Mr. Speaker, I am very  unhappy about the timing of this bill.  The fact of the matter is  that this bill was only introduced a day ago, and I am very  reluctant to support it.  In fact, I can say at the outset that I  do not like being snookered, and I think that is potentially what  is going on here.

      It reminds me of the concurrence motion a couple of years ago  where the Liberals took a real beating getting snookered in the  FOS debates.  I would hate to think that the government would be  trying to do that to the opposition at this stage, but on the  surface of it there is a very real possibility here, given the  fact that they have held this bill off until introduction just  yesterday and now they are expecting to pass this to committee,  that that is, in fact, what is happening.

      If this bill is designed for back doorstep to privatization,  then we will have much, much more to say about it.  The more I  read this bill and the more I look at this situation, the more  suspicious I become that that, in fact, may be the government's  design here.  I do not think that this kind of strategy by the  government is in their long‑term interest, because if in fact  they are up to no good in this situation they will regret it in  the long run.

      Having said that, it is our plan to stick to schedule and  send this bill to committee tomorrow.  Hopefully, we will have  public hearings and allow people who are directly affected by  this bill to come forward, make presentations, and at that point  we will be in a better position to make up our mind as to where  the government is headed at this time.  I can tell you that our  initial consultations do not look promising and clearly raise  some alarm bells which I think should be certainly brought to the  attention of the House at the earliest opportunity.  We in fact  are doing that at this point.

      So, Mr. Speaker, it is with some great reluctance that we  move to send this bill to committee at this point, and we will be  watching this bill very closely at the committee stage and  certainly at third reading, and it may well be that we have not  heard the end of this bill yet in this session.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is second reading of Bill 96, The Special  Operating Agencies Financing Authority Act; Loi sur l'Office de  financement des organismes de service special.  Is it the  pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

An Honourable Member:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.




Bill 100‑The Pension Plan Acts Amendment Act


Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Speaker, I would  move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Family Services (Mr.  Gilleshammer), that Bill 100, The Pension Plan Acts Amendment  Act, Loi modifiant les lois sur les regimes de retraite, be now  read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Praznik:  Mr. Speaker, I will try to be very brief in my  remarks.  This particular piece of legislation was primarily  necessitated by amendments that the federal Parliament enacted  with respect to pension plans and that are effective as of  January 1 of this year.  This piece of legislation will allow  three particular plans for which this Legislature is responsible,  the teachers' pension plan, the Civil Service Superannuation Plan  and the MLAs' pension plan to comply with that legislation.

      Mr. Speaker, the three plans as I have indicated and with  respect to the Civil Service Superannuation Plan cover over  31,000 public servants and 8,000 pensioners.  Approximately  one‑half of them are civil servants.  The remainder are employees  of Crown corporations, boards, agencies, including Manitoba Hydro  and Manitoba Telephone System.  The fund has assets currently in  excess of $1 billion and is among the top 30 pension plans in  Canada.  December 31, 1989, valuation determined that the assets  of the fund exceed obligations by some $50 million.

      Mr. Speaker, the MLA plan, as members may be aware, is  created under Part 2 of The Legislative Assembly Act and it  provides pension benefits for members of this Assembly.

      The teachers' plan covers approximately 15,000 public school  teachers and 5,000 pensioners.  The fund has assets of over $800  million and is among the top 40 pension plans.  As of January 1,  1990, the valuation determined that the assets of the fund exceed  obligations by some $60 million.

      Mr. Speaker, the process leading to these amendments involved  lengthy discussions with the representatives of the employees  covered by the plans with respect to teachers and public servants.

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      The key amendments deal primarily with income tax compliance  that to the extent possible within the tax rules the members of  the plans will be able to maintain the same value of benefits  that currently exist.  Where benefits have to be reduced to  comply a compensating benefit or allowance, that has the same  value as the reduced benefit but that is permissible under the  federal tax rules, has been included.

      For example, to compensate for required higher early  retirement reduction, a bridging benefit payable from retirement  to age 65 has been included.  It will have the same present value  as any benefit lost because of the income tax requirement.  Other  compliant changes include cost‑of‑living adjustment based on  percentage of CPI instead of a split formula of percent and cents  per year of service.

      Provisions to limit the benefits where necessary if tax  limits are exceeded are also included.  Other specific changes,  Mr. Speaker, to the Civil Service Superannuation Plan:  a  provision to allow for early retirement after age 55 without  penalty, when age plus service equals 80 is included in this  act.  This was announced by the government at the time of our  layoffs and staff reductions, and at the request of the MGEA this  provision was announced to encourage those who were thinking of  early retirement to so do and take the voluntary incentive  program with this benefit to make positions available for other  employees.

      A provision to allow employees to purchase certain types of  prior, nonpensionable service during a window period, November 1,  1992 to July 1, 1994 has also been included.  This will be of  particular benefit to employees in the Departments of Natural  Resources, and Highways who have traditionally had seasonal work  and so have been laid off seasonally and recalled and not been  eligible to go into the plan.  This will allow them to buy back  those periods of service and so have the benefit of a pension.

      With respect to the MLA plan, the only changes with respect  to this plan, there are no changes to benefits, certainly no  increase to benefits.  The only changes are provisions to provide  protection of spouses' benefits in the event of marriage  breakdown similar to the provisions in The Pensions Benefits  Act.  I believe all members should support the principle that it  was time this legislation, our own pension plan as MLAs, be  brought in line with the requirements for other pension plans  across the province.

      With respect to the teachers' plan, amendments are included  to allow the board to refund to some teachers, from the surplus,  excess contributions arising from special payments they made in  1981 to improve the benefit formula.  There are no benefit  improvements in this package for this particular plan.

      The bill contains some housekeeping amendments of an  administrative nature recommended by the plan administrators or  required as a result of changes to The Pension Benefits Act which  are also now before this House.  These amendments clarify the  meaning of sections and/or provide for more streamlined and  responsive administration.

      With respect to financial implications, Mr. Speaker,  generally the changes related to income tax compliance are cost  neutral.  The Civil Service Superannuation Plan changes are being  funded by the existing employee surplus.  This was negotiated  with the plan sponsors and the employees' representatives.  The  actuary has determined that the surplus is not needed to meet  existing obligations under the act, now or in the future.

      There are no increased costs as well with any of the changes  associated to the MLA and the teachers' plan.  There is no  adjustment in the contribution rates for any of the participating  employee or employer groups with respect to this legislation.  All of the amendments have been reviewed by the plan's actuary to  ensure that they are financially sound and comply with relevant  legislation.

      The representatives of employees and employers will continue  to meet on an ongoing basis to discuss other items of concern  related to the Civil Service and teachers' plans which,  obviously, were not appropriate to bring forward in this bill.

      I hope that this bill can be expedited through the House.  As  I am sure all members are aware, it is required if it does not  pass through the House at this time, it is likely that these  three plans would be deregistered by the federal government.  So  there is some urgency to this particular matter.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister  for his opening comments, and I just want to indicate that we  have had an opportunity to review this legislation.  Essentially,  as the minister indicated, it appears to bring existing pension  plans, in terms of the three pension plans that were outlined,  within the parameters set by federal legislation, and also brings  them into keeping with other pension plans in terms of provincial  legislation in respect to spousal benefits.

      Mr. Speaker, essentially it might be called a housekeeping  bill in the sense that it does not involve any substantive  changes in it to any of the pension plans involved.  It merely  maintains the current benefits, the current structure, and brings  it in line with additional legislation.

      That being the case, we are suggesting that this matter be  moved to committee, in conjunction with a number of other pension  bills, in particular, with 71 that has already been passed by  this House, I believe, 76 which we will be dealing with a few  minutes which does have a number of rather controversial sections  that we will be debating rather extensively.

      But, in general, we feel it is appropriate to move it through  to committee and deal with it on a clause‑by‑clause basis once we  are in committee.  Thank you.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I rise also to put a  few words to this bill and allow it to go to the committee  stage.  I understand and appreciate the urgency of having the  bill introduced at this point in time and seeing it passed.  Because, as the minister has quite correctly pointed out that if  it is not passed it will somewhat deregister these pension plans.

      So I understand that this bill amends three acts in different  ways.  The amendments are either for the purpose of  administration or housekeeping of sorts, compliance with other  acts such as Bill 76, as the member from Thompson (Mr. Ashton)  points out, in The Income Tax Act or improvements of benefits or  a combination of these.

      Three parts, the first being the Civil Service Superannuation  Act.  This part of the bill is proposed as a result of  negotiations with the Civil Service, I understand.  The  amendments are those requested by representatives of the groups  that are affected.  The proposed amendments will bring the Civil  Service Superannuation Act and the pension plans in compliance  with the Income Tax Act of Canada.

      If these changes were not approved, the registered pension  plan could fall outside the new federal regulations, as I pointed  out.  In order to keep these plans on‑line, if I can use that  terminology, it is important that we see this bill pass, as I  say, some time this year.  Many of these amendments should  properly be in regulations, but in that this act is structured as  it is, we are in the position of regularly amending the act  instead of regulations, which of course has its pros and cons,  Mr. Speaker.

      Another part of the legislation deals with the MLAs.  This  part of the bill for us is the bottom line in these changes is  that the MLAs will continue to make the same contributions and  will receive the same benefits.  As the minister points out,  there is no increase.  In other words, it maintains the status  quo from what I understand.

      I have really had the bill just a couple of days ago and so  we had to somewhat speed through in reading it.  However,  previously there were no provisions for a split in terms of the  MLA portion for the pension on marriage breakdown.  It is a  reality of contemporary society that we must provide for marriage  breakdown and remarriage and so forth.  That these provisions  were not included previously was probably more an oversight than  anything else.  This bill provides for the splitting of pension  benefit credits on marital breakdown and for opting out of the  splitting, even though, as a caucus therefore we would urge that  spouses opting out of splitting of the pension credits get some  sort of independent legal or at the very least some sort of  financial advice.

      In terms of The Teachers' Pensions Act, again, this part of  the bill amends The Teachers' Pensions Act in accordance with  their negotiations, from what we understand.  The changes are  mostly to ensure compliance with The Income Tax Act.  Other  changes are, again, housekeeping in nature, and having said those  very few words, Mr. Speaker, it would be okay from our point of  view to allow the bill to go into committee.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is second reading of Bill 100‑‑The Pension Plan  Acts Amendment Act; Loi modifiant les lois sur les regimes de  retraite.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed and so ordered.

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Bill 76‑The Pension Benefits Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Labour (Mr. Praznik), Bill 76, The Pension Benefits Amendment  Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les prestations de pension,  standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr.  Storie).  Stand?

      No, leave is denied.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I am going to put  some concerns that our caucus has on the record about one  particular section of Bill 76 which deals with mandatory credit  splitting.  Our concerns in this area reflect two basic  principles that we hold and we think that the act currently  holds, and that we feel are in jeopardy with the proposed changes  that are included in this bill.

      One is that a marriage is a partnership of equals.  Now this  is a very important principle and one that is oftentimes honoured  more in the breach than in the recognition.  As a subsidiary of  that principle, any reduction of disposable income resulting from  pension contributions made during a marriage is a reduction of  the family income.  Those pension benefits do not belong to one  particular part of that marriage unit.  They are a reduction of  the family income.

      The second principle that we are concerned about with regard  to Bill 76, Mr. Speaker, is the whole issue of what pensions  are.  The principle that, heretofore, has been followed, and that  we are concerned will be watered down with this bill is that  pensions are a special type of asset to be set aside for future  benefit.  They must be treated as such.  When you are talking  about pensions, you are not talking about an asset that should be  treated in the same way as a car or a house or a cottage at the  lake or stocks or any other kind of asset‑‑furniture, personal  property.  All of those assets have a very different principle  involved with them, particularly when it comes to a marriage  breakdown.

      Mr. Speaker, historically, this pensions benefit legislation  that we have in Manitoba is in the forefront of pension  legislation, not only in Canada, but throughout the United  States.  As a matter of fact, there was a television show about a  year and a half ago where a group called the Older Women's Union  from the United States was talking about the problems that they  are facing as older women.

      They cited the Manitoba pension legislation and, in  particular, the mandatory credit‑splitting aspects of that  legislation as being very progressive and very positive, and they  hoped that other groups and other legislative bodies in North  America would support that legislation.  So, Mr. Speaker, we are  concerned that this bill, Bill 76, does not continue to place  Manitoba in the forefront of pension legislation, but is again,  as many of the bills that are before us today or this session, a  step backwards, and should not be passed through without concerns  being raised.

      Mr. Speaker, many of the people that we are concerned about  in the changes that are being proposed in Bill 76 are women who  are older and women who are poor.  I think that our legislation  should and must, if it is going to be adequate, reflect the  demographical and age and economic statistics that we are faced  with in Manitoba and throughout western society.

      In Canada, our population continues to age.  Also, the  percentage of Canadians who are going to be over 65 within the  next 10 or 15 years is going to be upwards of 20 percent.  So we  are talking a very significant portion of our population which is  going to be dealing with pensions and are going to have to live  with the pension legislation that we have put in place.

      Not only are, generally, Canadians and Manitobans getting  older, but as has been historically the case, women are a  disproportionate part of the population that is 65 and over.  Of  Canadians today, who reach the age of 65, men are expected to  live 79.5 years‑‑so 14 years past the normal retirement  age‑‑while women, who hit 65 this year, are going to live almost  84 years, which is 19 years past the normal retirement age of  65.  That is a long time for our senior citizens to have to deal  with the financial realities.

      Mr. Speaker, I might suggest that one of the government  members just stated‑‑I think I know who it was, but I am not sure  so I will not specifically make mention of his constituency‑‑from  his chair, yes, and that is a time for a lot of golf.  Well, we  are talking on behalf of the many, many Manitobans, particularly  women in this province, who have no resources to play golf.  It  is a classic:  the idea of the government is that you hit 65 and  you have leisure time.  You have the resources and the time to  take advantage of the recreational activities and the volunteer  activities that are a part of our ideal culture.

      Mr. Speaker, the vast majority of women in this province and  in this country over the age of 65 will live in poverty.  Their  income will be half of what the poverty line is.  This  legislation is going to make those statistics even worse.  That  is another one of our major concerns, that this legislation does  not protect the most vulnerable people in our society,  particularly those who are over 65.

      Another area that is a concern to us in this legislation is  that this legislative change presupposes and it was stated, when  Bill 57 came up before committee hearings, in March of 1990,  reflecting much of the same concerns that are being raised  today:  this legislation presupposes equality in marriage.

      I stated earlier that marriage was an equal partnership.  All  the statistics state that not only financially but emotionally,  psychologically and even physically, marriages are not equal.  In  particular, when marriages break down, in many, many cases the  discussion and the dialogue and the supposedly equal partnership  is shown for what it is, that many marriages are unequal.  The  power and the financial differentials make it very difficult for  many women to come out of a marriage breakdown in a legitimate,  balanced, fair way financially, if not even discussing  psychologically or emotionally.

      Mr. Speaker, in hearings before the Legislature in March of  1990, one of the lawyers, who made a presentation on behalf of  the family law subsection, talked about the discussions that  marriage breakdown was between equal partners, and we know that  is not true in many cases.

      It also talked about the fact that the proposed changes which  were the same or similar to the changes that are proposed in Bill  76, saying that it was demeaning to women of obvious  intelligence, and it was demeaning to a whole raft of  well‑educated, well‑informed women who want to make their own  decisions, that there was mandatory pension splitting.  Well, Mr.  Speaker, we all know that in many cases, as I have stated before,  when marriages break down, it does not matter how intelligent,  how well informed you are, that in many cases the man has the  ability to use this pension splitting as an emotional lever.  We  all know cases where that has been the case.

      As the family law subsection presentation in 1990 stated and  agreed, the majority of pensions are probably held by men.  That,  of course, means that the decision as to whether to split pension  contributions or take the payment in some form in lieu of  division will be decisions that would have to generally be made  by women.  Mr. Speaker, in those discussions at committee the  member for St. James (Mr. Edwards) made what I consider to be a  couple of very good points, and I would like the member for St.  Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) to let the member for St. James know that I  did make that statement in a positive manner.

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      That is again, Mr. Speaker, that men have been known to use  the pension, the fact that they have the pension in their name,  as a threat, saying I will give you the pension, I want my  pension and in exchange for my maintaining my pension I will give  you the house or if you do not agree to my maintaining my  pension, I will go to court and drag you through court for years  and years and years for custody of the children.  Because there  is a financial differential between the salaries and wages and  pensions between most men and women in our society, we come to a  marriage dissolution in an unequal position.

      Mr. Speaker, it is important that we maintain the mandatory  credit‑splitting benefits to protect the majority of situations  where, if there is a pension, if the woman does have a pension,  and many women do not have one because of, again, the economic  inequalities in our society, or if her pension, if she does have  one, it is likely to be in many instances far smaller in amount  than the 20 percent differential that is currently in the  legislation, it is important that we take that pension out of the  arena of assets that can be split, that can be bartered, that can  be used as pressure tactics.

      The reason it is important for that to happen, Mr. Speaker,  is because pensions are not the same as other assets.  In no  other instance‑‑now I am open to be proven wrong, but I believe  that in no other instance is a pension allowed to be used in any  way other than as a forced retirement savings.  If you have a  foreclosure on your home, if your business is going bankrupt, if  you have enormous other expenses, you are not allowed to touch  your pension benefits.

      There is a very good reason for that, because by definition,  pension legislation is paternalistic, it is maternalistic,  because it does say society requires that people who work and who  have a pension plan are obligated to maintain those funds so that  society has an expectation that when that individual leaves the  work force or retires they have an adequate source of income.  Now, that is the principle and often it does not happen in  practice because of the inadequacy of pension income, but  nevertheless the principle is there.

      Mr. Speaker, if it is good enough to keep a pension  untouchable for a business breakdown or an economic breakdown, if  the Reichmann brothers cannot access their pensions in order to  help maintain their ownership of Canary Wharf, why should  pensions be accessed and be seen as just another asset when a  marriage breaks down?  It goes against the principle of pensions  and should not be allowed to happen.

      Mr. Speaker, we understand that there are situations that  have been in the media and have been dealt with in the past, have  been talked about in the past, where both partners to a marital  breakdown want to be able to split their pensions.  There is  currently in the legislation an agreement that if there is less  than 20 percent differential in the value of a pension between  one partner and the other in a marriage breakdown they do not  have to mandatorily split their pensions.  That says that the  legislation understands that within 20 percent that financial  basis will be there for both partners, so you do not have to put  them in a pool and then split them.  We believe that part of the  legislation has not been in effect long enough to really work out  all of the problems and the kinks of this new kind of  legislation.  We also believe that we should keep it in place,  and that there should be other avenues looked at to deal with the  situations where both parties might want to choose to have their  pension split, or in the cases where our legislation differs from  the federal legislation.

      My understanding is that there is federal legislation going  to third reading that would decrease the number of problems that  are currently being faced by some Manitoba couples.  Mr. Speaker,  another part of the problem with this legislation is the fact  that, and even the family law subsection representative agreed in  the 1990 hearings, there are lawyers who No. 1 did not know about  the act and so did not tell their clients about the provisions of  this act; No. 2, in cases where they did, many lawyers chose to  try and subvert that portion of the legislation.  When the lawyer  was asked about this, he said, well, the recourse for a client in  this situation would be they could go to the Law Society to  complain or they could sue their lawyer.  Well, again, this is a  classic case of caveat emptor‑‑let the buyer beware.

      A lawyer has a legal obligation to provide the most accurate  and comprehensive legal advice that he or she can within the  knowledge of the law.  The law should not be changed because  lawyers are choosing to ignore it.  Lawyers should be held  responsible for upholding the law, and there should be severe  penalties put in place other than having the onus on the client.  There should be severe penalties in place in this legislation for  lawyers who knowingly, or unknowingly, subvert the spirit as well  as the line of the law.

      We also note that the family law lawyer in the 1990 hearings  said that pensions should be treated in exactly the same way as  any other asset, and we have stated very categorically that we  think that is inaccurate.  He also agrees, as I have stated  earlier, that men generally hold the pensions and women are the  ones who have to make the determination as to whether they want  to split it or that they want to accept other assets in lieu of  that.  But the lawyer also says that under normal circumstances  pensions should not be tampered with.

      So what the lawyer is saying on the one hand is that for  normal situations, pensions are inviolate, but in this one  particular situation, which is marriage breakdown, pensions  should be treated just as any other asset, and we disagree with  that.

      Another change we would like to see to the legislation that  might help couples come to an understanding about the pension  situation is that lawyers are not accountants and, they are not  actuaries, and they are not cheap.  We would like to see, in the  legislation, independent actuarial advice as well as independent  legal advice so that the partners know exactly what the value of  their pensions are.  If this were mandatory, Mr. Speaker, a  husband could not say to his wife, oh, my pension will only give  me $100 a month, so let me give you this $150,000 house and that  will be even.

      No, what would happen is that the husband and the wife would  both have to have information as to what the actuarial table said  were the values of those pensions at a certain point in time, and  then perhaps many wives would have the kind of knowledge and  information that they need in order to make an informed decision  and in order to be able to say, wait a minute, my house is worth  $150,000 today, your pension is going to give you far more when  you retire.  It is going to increase in value far more in the  next 25 years than my house is ever going to increase.  Therefore, the more knowledge that we have, the better able we  are to have fairness and equity in our actions.

      We will be interested to see what happens with the committee  hearings that will be undertaken shortly.  We believe that this  legislation may have some problems, particularly in  administration.  We think there are ways, other than changing the  mandatory credit splitting, to deal with that.

      Finally, I would like to quote Mona Brown who is a very  well‑respected lawyer in Carman, Manitoba, and she said in these  March 1990 hearings, something that I think encapsulates the  problems in this legislation.  If could quote, she said:  If you  can just look, as another example, we have speeding legislation,  and that prohibits people from going too fast on the highway,  partially for their own good, paternalistic, and partially for  the good of society, because we want to protect other people in  society.  The fact that people speed does not suggest that we  should amend The Highway Traffic Act to change the speeding  limits.  It does not follow rationally.

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      Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the fact that people have  difference in pensions and the fact that people may be open to  pressure tactics from their spouse does not mean that we should  change the legislation to facilitate that inequality, to make  that inequality more.  We should amend the legislation to make  the principles of a mandatory credit splitting, to maintain the  principle of a pension as a resource to be used upon retirement.

      This legislation does not do that, and I believe that in the  long run, the people of Manitoba and particularly the women in  Manitoba will see the folly of these kinds of changes.  So we  will be looking forward to the committee hearings and will raise  our concerns and be very interested in what the members of the  public have to say on this piece of legislation.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I have a number of  comments I want to put on the record on this particular bill.  I,  first of all, want to thank the member for Wellington (Ms.  Barrett) for her contribution in terms of this debate.  It is a  very complex bill in many ways, but it is a bill of a number of  significant principles that have to, I think, be addressed by  this Legislature.

      The credit‑splitting issue is obviously part of this bill we  are dealing with.  There are also other aspects to this bill.  Bill 76 essentially starts to move pensions from a defined  pension basis more towards the model of self‑directed RRSPs.  It  has a number of other provisions related to surpluses that  involve an agreement at the beginning of plans, involving access  of employers to surpluses.  It allows employers to take  contribution holidays, although workers must continue to put  funds in.

      M. Speaker, this is an area that has been the subject of much  debate, the whole area of who owns the pension plans.  My debate  on this particular matter, my contribution to this debate, the  contribution of our party is to say on the record, we feel that  pension plans are essentially an employee benefit that accrue to  the employees and that by definition they should be essentially  owned by the employees themselves.  I think that is a vital  matter.

      We have seen in many cases attempts by employers to drain  pension plans.  We have seen a number of recent cases, a recent  case in Ontario, for example, where an employer attempted to  drain the pension plans specifically because of business  difficulties.  We have seen previously with the Dominion stores a  number of years ago, where they once again were taken over  because of the assets in the pension plan and their ability to  access those assets.

      Mr. Speaker, the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) pointed  to the fact that, as individuals, people cannot access their  pension plans.  They are protected in cases of business  difficulty.  They are protected, they are a unique kind of asset  that transfers current income into a locked‑in source of future  retirement income.  The bottom line is, that is the situation in  terms of pension plans as well.  All it is is a collective  deferral of employee contributions and employer contributions on  behalf of the employees.

      Mr. Speaker, I believe very strongly that the employees  should have control and direction over those pension plans.  I  would suggest that it is important in terms of maintaining the  integrity of the plans.  But it goes beyond that in the sense  that it allows, I think, for a rather dramatic new vehicle for  economic development.

      I have always felt, in the case of Manitoba, we would all  benefit if all the pension funds, for example in the public  sector, were directed, as is the case for example with the Quebec  pension plans where in Quebec they use it as a vehicle of  economic development, toward that purpose.

      Just think of the capital we would be able to access for  development of Manitoba if we were able to have greater control  over pension plans and greater investment of those pension plans,  of those funds into Manitoba.  We can still protect the integrity  of the plans, protect the integrity of the funds, protect the  integrity of the pensions of the employees who look to those  funds.  There is a great deal of potential for economic  development, and it is all predicated on employee control.

      So I say, we have a concern.  We believe that surpluses  should be the proprietary right of the employees, not the  employers; that it is a matter of deferred income that is  invested, and if a surplus is realized over and above benefits,  that surplus should accrue to the employees and that should be  the legislative thrust, not what we are seeing in this particular  bill.

      I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that we also have concerns about  the movement from defined pensions to self‑directed RRSPs.  I  want to say that we have a major problem in Canada in terms of  direction of pensions.  We should look at the Europeans as a  model.  Many European countries provide far superior pension  benefits to their residents than do the provinces in this great  country of ours.  I compare, for example, many people emigrated  from what was then West Germany in the 1960s.  At that time wages  were probably double.  Those individuals now reaching retirement  age find that if they had stayed in Germany, their pension would  probably be double what it is here, partly because wages have  caught up, but largely because benefits are significantly higher  in terms of percent of income than they are here‑‑[interjection!.

      The Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst) emigrated from City  Council and has had the same problem with his pension, I know,  Mr. Speaker, but I digress.  The bottom line is it has happened  with many, and not just in terms of West Germany.  I know my own  in‑laws, my father‑in‑law, for example, retired in Greece at the  age of 55 and receives a pension that relative to Greek standards  is significantly better than it is here in Canada.  Mr. Speaker,  I look to what is happening in Europe and I look to what is  happening in Canada, and I think we are going backwards in terms  of pensions because of the limited model of the CPP we have and  the OAS and the increased direction toward RRSPs.

      I believe we need a stronger public pension plan system that  indeed might involve some additional contributions from  individuals during their working lives that could result in  significantly improved pension benefits for all Canadians, not  just those who have the financial resources to invest in RRSPs  and benefit from the tax write‑offs.

      That is the problem with RRSPs.  In a sense they are unequal  because they provide unequal tax benefits, so we have concerns  about any move.  In fact, even investment analysts have warned of  this particular migration to RRSPs, as it has been called.  In  fact, there was an article in the Free Press recently entitled:  Migration to RRSP tricky, investment analysts warn.

      We really believe this is a direction that has very great  risks involved.  I want to address, just briefly, the issue of  pension splitting.  I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I have had  personal opportunities to talk to people, many people with their  views in terms of pension splitting.  I can tell you, in talking  to people who have been through a marriage breakup, there are  many difficult matters to deal with.  Second perhaps only to the  issue of custody of children lies the question of pension  splitting in terms of controversy, in terms of bitterness.

      I have talked to people who have said, why should my  ex‑spouse get a split of my pension; it is my pension.  You know  we have adopted in family law the concept of community property.  The house, the car, the possessions of the individuals that are  acquired during the marriage are split evenly.  Mr. Speaker, that  is the way it should be, because a marriage is a partnership, and  whether one person is working outside of the home and one is  working in the home, and that one person gets income and the  other does not, or whether the two partners are working outside  of the house, and recognizing that many people, even if they are  in the work force, do not have their own private pension plans,  and recognizing there are unequal pension plans between different  jobs at different wage levels, et cetera.

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      The bottom line is, the concept of community property takes  the value of all the assets, including the pension plan, and  says, under that concept, that they should be treated as the  equal acquisition of the partners during that marriage, and so it  should be.

      The concern that we have, and I have individually, is the  direction this bill is moving.  It is a very easy sort of issue  for the government to be developing, it can talk about as being a  matter of choice.

      Indeed, one could say that it is a matter of choice, but as  the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) pointed out, choice seems  to be rather a subjective term that is used.  I know members  opposite seem sometimes to want to allow choice in some things  and not others, but we will not get into that dichotomy that we  see.

      The question here is as to whether, under the act, the one  regulation that there is, Mr. Speaker, which is that this matter  should be dealt with through the advice of a lawyer, is a  sufficient regulation to protect the interests of those who are  vulnerable in the situation involving a marriage breakup.

      Let us deal with that.  Who are the vulnerable people?  In  many cases, it is the low‑income or no‑income spouse.  Mostly the  woman, but in some cases it can be the husband as well, because  not every husband makes more money than his wife and has a better  pension plan.  That has been changing.

      The question, though, is in terms of the regulations.  I will  say that it is not sufficient to have strictly a lawyer, that  this is an actuarial matter.  It is a financial matter, and that  should be the kind of advice that is given to individuals.  I say  further that we would be far better off looking, perhaps, even at  a cooling‑off period, even if the government is going to pursue  this course.

      I will say, Mr. Speaker, and predict now that there will be  abuse of this new act, the new amendments involved in this act,  and that you will get people bartering custody of children,  bartering the house for not splitting a pension plan.  You will  end up with spouses not getting their fair share of the assets,  acquired jointly, because of that process.  I know it is a matter  of some bitterness, as is the case of any marriage breakup.  We  have a fundamental principle in family law that is fundamental to  the equality of Manitobans, and equality between the sexes,  largely, and that is the concept of community property and that  is one of the reasons we do have concerns about the splitting.

      I will say, I have no doubt there will be many people before  the committee who will say, yes, we should have the splitting.  The question, Mr. Speaker, as I said, is the degree of  regulation, as the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) pointed  out, of the interests of those who are vulnerable.  That is why  we are prepared to take this matter to committee.  We are  prepared to listen to the public.

      I hope, as well, that the government will listen to us and  some of the suggestions we have made, because we feel that this  is not a step forward, that this bill if passed as it is, after  committee, will have a number of significant negative  developments in terms of pensions, whether it be in terms of  credit splitting, whether it be in terms of the movement to RRSP,  whether it be in terms of the ownership of pension surpluses.

      That is why we raise these concerns.  We want this bill to go  to committee, but we will be debating this matter further  following committee, Mr. Speaker, and into third reading.  Thank  you.

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is second reading of  Bill 76, The Pension Benefits Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi  sur les prestations de pension.  Agreed?

An Honourable Member:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.


Bill 85‑The Labour Relations Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Labour (Mr. Praznik), Bill 85, The Labour Relations Amendment  Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les relations du travail, standing  in the name of the honourable member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave? [Agreed!

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Scattered applause.  Make it more  lively.

      Mr. Speaker, if we look at The Labour Relations Act in  relation to what this government has done in the previous  session, any objective and casual observer cannot but fail to  observe and notice and discern the pattern by which this  government has been systematically assaulting organized labour in  this province, forgetting that both labour and capital are  essential ingredients in the economic progress of any society.  They are equally important agents for our societal development  and progress and happiness.

      Placed in harmony, both labour and capital contribute to the  stability of industrial relations and industrial peace in the  production of goods and services.  If there is industrial peace  and harmony, there will be more productive enterprises; there  will be economic development; there will be prosperity among the  people in society.  However, placed in confrontation against one  another, both labour and capital are stifled, both labour and  capital are frustrated, and there will be antipathy and negative  feelings toward one another, when they should be working in  partnership for the progress of human kind.  They are not trying  to do that now.

      The best way for any kind of harmonious relationship to  continue is for the parties to stay on the level.  If they have  to play the industrial game in labour‑employer‑employee  relationships, the game must be played according to the rules.  The rules should be applied when they perform on what they call  the level playing field.

      But life, to some people, is just simple interaction  according to certain generally accepted rules.  It is often  assumed that something‑‑it is a basic principle, moral and  political principle, that no one should be permitted to advance  self interests at the expense of general interests.  I repeat  that.  No one should be permitted to advance particularistic  interests at the expense of the general interests of all.

      It means that no one should be permitted to be so  self‑centred, to be so greedy as to promote particularistic  interests at the expense of societal interests.

An Honourable Member:  Is this for both men and women?

Mr. Santos:  This applies to everybody.  This applies to all  organizations as well, whether they are organizations of workers  or organizations of owners of capital.

An Honourable Member:  Young and old?

Mr. Santos:  Young or old.  No one should be allowed to promote  their particularistic interests at the expense of the general  interest of everyone.  No employer, therefore, and no union  should become so overpowerful and overbearing as to endanger the  harmony of interest in the general society.

(Madam Deputy Speaker in the Chair)

      This is precisely the design of the industrial Labour  Relations Act.  It is a delicately balanced structure of rights  and responsibilities on the part of organized labour and on the  part of management representing the employer.  The industrial  Labour Relations Act in this province, the Manitoba industrial  Labour Relations Act equates the interests of the employees,  organized into unions of workers, as against the interests of the  employer represented by management and by supervisory personnel.  They are placed in equilibrium in delicately balanced structures,  where the rights of one organized group, collective rights of one  is equated with the collective organized rights of the other.

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      Here the government, in this scheme, acts as the umpire,  although the government, by definition, cannot be politically  neutral because, by definition, those who run the government have  their own political beliefs and ideologies.  The umpire, when the  umpire is playing that role as umpire, has to be fair, has to  consider the balance, has to be the guardian of that equilibrium  of rights and duties of the rights and obligations.  The umpire  cannot be an umpire unless he plays a fair position in equating  the rights of the two parties.

      So when we look at our industrial Labour Relations Act, when  we look at the preamble to the Manitoba Labour Relations Act,  which was originally passed in 1948, we read the following, and I  quote from the preamble:  Whereas it is in the public interest of  the province of Manitoba‑‑what is in the public interest of the  province of Manitoba?‑‑(1) to further the harmonious relations  between employers and employees; (2) to encourage the practice  and procedure of collective bargaining; and (3) to foster the  unions as the freely designated representatives of the employees.

      So you could see the objective and the purpose of the  industrial relations act, primarily to further the harmonious  relationship between employers and employees.  Now, what does  this government attempt to do in the form of Bill 85?  Is it  furthering that harmonious relationship between employer and  employee?  No, they are changing the rules.

      Under the old rules, the requirement is only 55 percent of  all the potential union members to sign the card and there would  be automatic certification.  Now they are increasing that  requirement from 55 percent to 65 percent before there can be  automatic certification of potential members of the union.  This  is not a harmonious relationship.  This is altering the level  playing field.  This is altering it so that it will be an uphill  situation on the part of the union in order that they can get  organized.  Whereas the very right to organize is a right that  was granted by the umpire, the state, acting as the mediator  between the two powerful groups in society.  What happened to the  majority rule?  The majority rule states 50 percent plus one.  Fifty percent plus one is the majority rule in any system of  procedures, in any system of democratic decision making.  [interjection!

      Oh, you got me there. [interjection! Fifty percent plus one  is the rule of majority.  If this is changed, it means it is more  difficult for any group of workers in any workplace to get  organized.  It will be more difficult for them to exercise their  right to organize, a legal right that is recognized by labour  law.  That is not fathering the harmony of the relationship  between employer and employee.  It is inciting the employee to be  hostile to management representing the employer. [interjection! I  am not a businessman, but I understand business.  I understand  the principle of management.  I understand the principle of being  a worker.

      A second objective of our industrial relationship, as I have  read before, is to encourage the practice and procedure of  collective bargaining.  That is the policy of the law, to  encourage the practice and policy of collective bargaining,  because that is conducive to industrial peace and harmony.  That  is conducive to the mutual understanding between labour and  capital, when they themselves agree on the conditions of work, on  the conditions of employment, when they voluntarily agree on such  sets of conditions in the form of a collective bargaining  agreement.  That is the intention of the legislation.

      Now, by making it more difficult for unions to get organized,  naturally, it will be more difficult for them to bargain  collectively.  Why?‑‑because the right to organize is a  pre‑condition in order that one can bargain collectively.  Without being organized, how can they bargain collectively?  Therefore, this very government is attacking the very policy that  was laid down in the industrial Labour Relations Act.  Instead of  encouraging the practice and the procedure of collective  bargaining, it is discouraging that practice and procedure of  collective bargaining, because it is discouraging a pre‑existing  and prerequisite right to organize.

      How can you bargain collectively if you are not even  certified as a union?  How can you be certified if you make it  more difficult for them to get certified?  How can you encourage  then industrial peace?  This is a subrogation.  It is an attack  on the policy of industrial labour relations.

      The third is to foster the union as the freely designated  representative of the employee.  The certification drive should  be free and voluntary.  The potential union members, the  employees in the workplace, should be approached and solicited,  but they should be exercising that freedom to make a choice  whether they would like themselves to get organized into a union  or not.  If that choice is freely given by the individual and the  group had freely opted for unionization and certification, then  majority vote should be enough; 50 percent plus one should be  enough.

      To increase it from already a burdensome requirement of 55  percent to a higher requirement of 65 percent as a precondition  to automatic certification is to discourage the union as the  freely designated representative of the employees.  What can you  infer from such a situation like this?  Well, what you can infer  is that management, the employer, wants the union to be the alter  ego of management.  They want management to dominate the union,  the union of workers in the workplace.

      In a situation like that where management representing the  employer had a grip on the union, which is becoming a company  union, it means that management will be negotiating with itself.  If you are in control of the union, if you are management and you  control the union, then the union is negotiating with management,  what do you see?  It is management negotiating with itself.  How  can that be conducive to freely arrive at a collective  agreement?  Whatever will appear in the provisions of the  agreement would be the desire and preferences of a dominant  management.

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      Now, I am not saying that it is the duty of the state to make  any of the parties dominant.  It is the duty of the state, it is  the duty of the government, the arbitrator, the umpire, to make  them equal and let them settle their own differences in a freely  voluntary way, so that they will be happy in whatever agreement  they will arrive at.

An Honourable Member:  Conrad, was FOS equal?  Did management and  labour have identical rights under FOS?  Was that equal?  Tell  me, was that equal?  Did you agree with that law?

Mr. Santos:  That is another topic.

      It is often assumed by everybody in modern industrial society  that labour is merely an appendage of capital, that capital needs  labour and therefore can buy the worker.  That is not true.  If  you look at the historical development of labour and capital, how  can you have capital which is an accumulation of resources  without intervention of labour?  You must first labour before you  can accumulate capital, right?  If that is the case, then labour  is the one that produces the capital, and if labour is the one  that produces the capital, then labour is more important than  capital.

An Honourable Member:  No labour, no capital.

Mr. Santos:  No labour, no capital, and labour can only come and  can only be provided by human beings.  If labour is prior to,  independent of, and more important than capital, then labour  should be protected because labour is the basis of industrial  progress.  Labour is the basis of the production of goods and  services.  Labour is the basis of our prosperity.

      Now before there can be industrial peace, the individual‑‑by  the nature of things‑‑even if you are a worker, if you are alone  and isolated as an individual, you are helpless, because the  owners of capital, the manager, the employer, has the right to  hire you, the right to promote you, the right to get rid of you,  to fire you.  So there is, already at the very beginning, an  unequal position.  That is the reason why the law accords to all  these individual workers their basic right to organize that will  increase their power relative to the owner of capital, and to  equalize them in the equilibrium of this light.

      The moment you started attacking and eroding the right to  organize, you are eroding industrial peace and industrial harmony  in this province.  Because of our unique industrial relations  act, we have had no strike in this province for many years  compared to other provinces.  There have been peaceful industrial  relations in this province.  That was the genius of the act.  Why  are we changing it in order to alter the level playing field into  an uphill battle as far as the union is concerned?  You are  inciting the union to be militant.  You are inciting the union to  be very militant and even be militant politically to your own  detriment.  That is a wrong policy for this government to pursue.

      No matter what your attitude towards these labour leaders is,  it is important that we, in our society, work together because  only by working together can we hope to have prosperity in this  province. [interjection!

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The honourable member has 19 minutes  remaining.

Mr. Santos:  Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      So this government is pursuing a wrong line of strategy.  Instead of fathering harmonious relationships between labour and  capital, instead of pursuing and fathering and promoting  harmonious relationships between unions and management, instead  of doing that, they are trying to promote disharmony.  They are  trying to promote confrontation.  They are trying to promote  industrial war instead of industrial peace.

      Instead of encouraging collective bargaining, instead of  promoting this peaceful negotiation between labour and capital so  that they may voluntarily determine the conditions of work in the  workplace to their own mutual satisfaction, this government is  discouraging the organization of workers.  This government, by  definition, is discouraging the practice and procedure of  collective bargaining.  This government, again, is destroying  industrial peace in this province.  Instead of helping foster and  promote a freely designated bargaining agent through voluntary  solicitation of union memberships, this government is making it  much more difficult to do that and therefore inciting rebellion  on the part of the workers who are already organized in the form  of unions.

      This they have done by changing the threshold of automatic  certification from an already onerous 55 percent, which is  already higher than the majority rule, into a still higher level  of threshold of 65 percent.

      What else does this bill tend to do or hope to do?  It tries  to redefine what has been the concept of employer interference.  In the old rule, during the certification drive, during the time  that the workers are trying to organize, if the employer makes  any kind of statement at all, it is considered as interfering in  the process of organizing.  It is considered as unfair labour  practice.

      Now they are changing the definition of that by allowing the  employer to make what they call a statement of facts.  Not only  that, they are extending the statement of facts into a statement  of reasonable opinion.  Now, of course, what is factual is a  matter of opinion, but when you go to the extent of making these  legal niceties of reasonable opinion, what are you doing?  You  are making what is already clear, vaguer and more difficult to  understand.  What is reasonable to me may not be reasonable to  you.  What is reasonable to management may not be reasonable to  the union.  Who decides what is reasonable?

      Well, you are encouraging legal disputes, and that means you  are creating work for the lawyers.  When you could have made the  criterion very objective and factual, now you have to make a  judgmental decision, and people will differ in their judgments.

      Since this is now much more ambiguous than before, when will  there be interference then as to constitute an unfair labour  practice?  When the statement, during the certification drive,  made by the employer is unreasonable.

      Another change that is being‑‑

Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Contemplated.

Mr. Santos:  Contemplated‑‑thank you, member for St. Boniface‑‑is  to make a requirement that the conciliator make a report before  they can even institute the first contract.

      Another change is the requirement that the union explain  carefully to the potential union member the dues structure, and  if they fail to explain the structure of fees that they would  pay, it will be within the discretion of the Labour Board to  either direct a compulsory vote or to invalidate the very  application for certification itself.

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      Therefore, Bill 85 will make another ground for disallowing  the application, and that ground is the excuse that the one who  is soliciting membership for the union had failed to explain the  union structure of dues to the potential union member that they  are recruiting to become members of the union.

      What does this imply?  Well, if any employer is dissatisfied  with the drive for certification and there are too many of those  employees getting organized, all that the management can do is to  find a handful of dissatisfied employees who would be  instrumental in making a testimony that they had not heard the  explanation or they did not quite understand the explanation of  dues, or may even tell a lie and say that it has not been  explained to them.  If they can find such witnesses, then  management has every right under the proposed amendment to ask  that the Labour Board disallow the application for certification.

      That makes it more difficult again for the workers to get  organized, more difficult for them to bargain collectively‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Do you believe in replacement workers, in  fairness, if the employee has the right to strike?

Mr. Santos:  I leave the answer to the member to infer.

      Another change that Bill 85 tried to do is to remove the  clause that the employee should act reasonably, fairly, and in  good faith.  There is a requirement under the present legislation  that the employer has a duty to act fairly, reasonably and in  good faith.  They are removing that clause.

      If, with respect to the items‑‑that is a requirement even to  items in matters that are not covered by the collective  agreement.  Right now, there is a duty on the part of the  employer to be fair, to be reasonable and to act bona fide even  with respect to those matters that are not comprehended by the  collective agreement.  That is a duty.  They are removing that  duty now.

      If you take the converse of that, the opposite of that  requirement, it now means that with respect to those matters that  are outside the scope of the collective bargaining agreement, the  employer has the privilege to act unreasonably, unfairly and even  in bad faith.  That is the meaning of removing that duty to be  fair, duty to be reasonable and duty to act bona fide.  [interjection! That is one of the amendments here. [interjection!  The only man I know who is from Missouri is President Truman.

An Honourable Member:  Ed Connery never changed the act, Conrad.

Mr. Santos:  Ed Connery, the member for Portage la Prairie, is a  fair‑minded person. [interjection! Most of the time.

      Another change that this amendment is trying to do is to  permit the parties to agree that an arbitrator write the first  contract.  The implication of this has to be understood in terms  of the practice.  It has been the practice, to this day, that a  vice‑chairperson of the Labour Board can also act as a grievance  arbitrator.  This means that if the arbitrator now can write the  contract, he cannot sit as a vice‑chairperson.  That would be  conflict of interest.  That means it deprives the labour side of  an expert.  He cannot now sit to be the vice‑chairperson of the  Labour Board representing the side of labour if he is to write  the collective agreement.  He could no longer be a grievance  arbitrator. [interjection! We do not believe in personality cults.

      This phenomenon of organizing the worker is perhaps one of  the strongest bonds in human relationships aside from the bond of  the family.  The uniting of the worker is a very strong bond of  human sympathy other than the family relationship.  When the  union, when the workers, who are individuals, isolated  individuals, get organized and they improve their own collective  lot through collective bargaining which is voluntary and mutual,  and that can only happen with the consent of management.

An Honourable Member:  Voluntary, on whose side?  Just on the  labour side, or voluntary on the management side.

Mr. Santos:  Voluntary on all sides.  It is intended by the  statute that this is primarily determined by the parties  themselves, not dictated by any outside third party.  That was  the intention of The Labour Relations Act.  When you enter into  an arrangement which is pure and voluntary, you try to live with  it, right?  The same thing as in marriage, the same thing as in  friendship, the same thing as in any other kind of relationship.  If it is free and voluntary, you are bound by the agreement and  you try to live by that agreement.

      That is what you are trying to destroy by amending this  legislation.  You are making it a lot more difficult for the  workers to give their consent freely.  You are making it more  difficult by imposing and requiring that it be a higher  percentage of consent beyond the traditional majority rule of 50  percent plus one.

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      Let us not try to destroy one another.  If we try to destroy  one another in that delicate partnership, then we are destroying  ourselves.  We are destroying industrial peace in this province  by destroying a party to the collective bargaining agreement.  [interjection!

      Let us be concerned with what is the situation in Manitoba.  This is our province, let us focus on our talent and our energy  in this province and accept the responsibility when we fail and  the credit when we succeed.

      It is better to have a regime of free collective agreement  than a system where the state will be compelled to impose the  terms of industrial peace and industrial relationships between  the worker and management.  It is much more better to have a  regime of a free collective bargaining agreement. [interjection!  I say it is redundant.  What we should try to avoid is the  creation of what has been known as the company union.  That is  what you are targeting.  You want to create a union like a robot,  that will agree to whatever is the desire of management, whatever  is the desire of the employer.  That is no good.

      There are various models of trying to describe this  relationship between labour and management.  Sometimes you try to  achieve what they call distributed bargaining, where one party's  gain is the other party's loss.  That can happen too.  But there  could be what is known as integrated bargaining.  Integrated  bargaining means that both the parties gain when they arrive at a  peaceful and mutually agreed upon settlement.  That is what The  Labour Relations Act is trying to promote.

An Honourable Member:  But if labour had the right to strike,  which I agree totally, then management should have the right to  hire other workers.

Mr. Santos:  No, the corresponding right on the part of  management is the right to lock out.  That is what is granted.  Every right has a correlative duty.  If you have a right to  strike on one side, there is a right to lock out on the part of  the other side, and that is also a stoppage of work.  When the  workers stop working, the work is stopped, production is  stopped.  When you are locked out, naturally production stops  also.  But that is detrimental to both, because there is nothing  produced, no services produced, no goods produced.  Society  itself would suffer.  The consumer will suffer. [interjection!

      They do not want that.  That is a weapon of last resort.  They do not want to strike.  They do not want to live on  handouts.  They want to give their labour; they want to  contribute.  They want to work, but they want to work under  tolerable human conditions.  Tolerable human conditions implies  that the collective bargaining provisions are acceptable to both.

An Honourable Member:  But do you believe in secret ballots in  taking the ballots for strikes, Conrad?

Mr. Santos:  A secret ballot is the traditional democratic way to  exercise your free will, when you are not under pressure from any  outsider or any third party.  Even in our election system, even  in our electoral choice‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member's  time has expired.

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I am  interested in joining the debate on Bill 85 and putting some  thoughts on the record.

      It has been enjoyable for me to listen to the member for  Broadway (Mr. Santos) and to address another piece of classic  Tory legislation.  We would not be experiencing a Tory government  until we saw yet another piece of labour legislation that is  trying to decrease workers' rights to organize, trying to  decrease the effectiveness of the labour movement.

      It just amazes me over and over again how we see Tory  governments try to claim that they are the ones who are  democratic, they are the ones who want to ensure that people have  rights to protect themselves.

Mr. Edward Connery (Portage la Prairie):  Do you believe in  secret ballots, Marianne?

Ms. Cerilli:  Yes, Mr. Connery, I would have to say that I would  agree that it is democratic for people to have the right to  organize, to not be intimidated and show employers to have people  seeing which way they are voting so that after that they can be  intimidated or worse, that they can actually eventually be pushed  into a situation where they lose their job or be transferred or  use all the other techniques that management uses so that people  eventually are put into an intolerable situation and end up being  forced to quit or resign or move.

      We still have entire sectors in our economy that are not able  to organize unions, and this kind of legislation is going to make  it even more difficult.  We already had more than 50 percent; 50  percent, even 51 percent, would have been giving some edge to  management, but that was not enough.  They had to go to 65  percent for a compulsory vote to make it even more difficult and  putting even more pressure on employees who are trying to  organize a union.

      They are also trying to make it easier, through the various  insidious means that we know have been used, for employers to  intimidate workers by eliminating the blanket prohibition on  employees not making statements against organizing unions.  [interjection! The Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst) makes  the comment:  What would Al Cerilli have to say about this?  I am  sure he would say, as all members on this side of the House have  said, this is again a piece of undemocratic legislation that  attacks workers' right to organize, and he would not be impressed.

      It is interesting‑‑and I cannot resist, because this is one  of the things that Al has made comments on and he has been  appalled by, as members on our side of the House have been‑‑that  the Finance minister has actually said in this Legislature that  poverty is good because it makes us more competitive.  It fits  right in.  That kind of statement fits right in with this kind of  legislation, that we have to have low wages and unorganized  workers so that we can allow corporations to make as much profit  and treat workers as if they were a commodity.

      This kind of legislation fits in with the whole approach of  the Tory agenda as directed by their corporate backers.  It is so  clear, when we see the communique from the Chamber of Commerce,  who the real designers are in the party across the way, but it  fits right in with their attack on Government Services, the tax  breaks for corporations, the fanaticism with the deficit and, as  I said, the other cornerstone of Tory policy, to attack labour  and to attack workers' rights to ensure that they have fair  wages, decent working conditions and decent pensions.  Those are  the kinds of things that organized unions are there for.  They, I  do not think, have ever been shown to put undue pressure on any  corporations.  Some of the best organized unions in our country,  and in our province, are in industries that are certainly still  making large amounts of profit.  They are not hurting the  corporate interest at all.

      It always amazes me how this government continues to show its  true colours, how they devalue workers, how they devalue the work  that workers do and try to treat workers as a commodity, thinking  that they can push them around and set up legislation that is  going to do that, set up legislation that is going to infringe on  their democratic right to organize and to sign up to join a union.

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      The communique from the Chamber of Commerce talks about its  mandate to bring about changes in labour legislation that will  improve the climate for business and investment in Manitoba.  It  is so one‑sided how this fits in with the economic policy of this  government that they cannot see that having employees who are  working in decent working conditions, who are making a decent  wage, can contribute more effectively to an economy.  We are  going to have a standard of living in this country that will  attract more development of industry in different sectors to  develop our economy.

      It was interesting, we had a New Democrat M.P. visiting  yesterday.  Dave Barrett was in town yesterday, and I very much  enjoyed his presentation in the evening at the Winnipeg Transcona  annual meeting for the M.P. Bill Blaikie.  He gave such a  tremendous, impassioned speech about the free trade agreements.  He talked about how the labour legislation in Mexico, or the lack  of labour legislation in Mexico, the lack of decent working  conditions and wages in Mexico is what people are very clearly  going to understand, not only in Canada, in the U.S.  They are  going to start seeing this kind of legislation and these kinds of  governments for what they really are, and how they have destroyed  this country over the last few decades.

      To think that in Mexico people are paid 80 cents an hour, and  we are going to try and bring a level playing field in this  country with these trade agreements to‑‑[interjection! 80‑85  cents an hour, to think that we can compete with that.  It really  appalls me how whenever we talk about competitiveness, the  right‑wing element, the Conservatives and many Liberals will try  to make it sound like you are somehow not patriotic, that you are  not believing in the capabilities of Canadians if you do not  think that we can compete.

      It has nothing to do with that.  It has to do with the  standard of living that we enjoy in this country.  It has to do  with the fact that we do have organized labour which has worked  to ensure that we have decent wages in this country and we are  not working for 80 cents an hour.  The issue is not our  patriotism and belief in our country.  It has to do with the pure  economics that we cannot deal with 80 cents an hour as the level  playing field that we are trying to work toward.

      The other thing that needs to be addressed when we are  talking about legislation like this and how it fits in with the  trade agreements and working toward that level playing field, as  I mentioned, even the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) here  said, where low wages are good for competitiveness.  We cannot  talk about the Free Trade Agreement without dispelling that idea  that the kind of agreement that we are working towards in North  America is somewhat similar to what they have in the European  community.  There is very little that is similar because the key  objective in Europe has been to bring countries like Spain and  Portugal, their standard of living, up to the level of those in  the social democratic countries in Europe, I might say, that  enjoy a better standard of living.

      One of the other interesting things that Mr. Barrett said  last night had to do with‑‑I think he called it the accident that  is happening in the U.S.  He talked about Mr. Perot as an  accident in the U.S. that is happening that is shaking them up  down there.  Most of us will know that Mr. Perot is, I think, a  billionaire who is throwing his name in the ring to run for  President in the U.S., and he opposed‑‑[interjection! He has come  out of retirement.  I would like to let the member for Wellington  (Ms. Barrett) know though that apparently Mr. Perot has come out  in support of a woman's right to choose.  I do not know if the  member for Wellington heard me say that, but I can tell her about  it later.

      The interesting thing about Mr. Perot is that he is also  opposed to the Americans signing the North American Free Trade  Agreement for much the same reason that we have been  opposed‑‑[interjection! They should listen to him, and I think  what is happening is the American people are listening to him.  What is happening is the Free Trade Agreement is becoming part of  the political discussions in the U.S.  Finally, they are  discussing an issue.  They are not looking into scandals and  personal life.  They are trying to deal with an issue that is  going to affect the economy and the lives of many workers in  various manufacturing sectors in the U.S.  It is going to be  interesting as we move to dealing with the election in the U.S.  to see how much Canada is finally going to be considered by that  country with the discussion of the North American Free Trade  Agreement, because people are going to realize that Americans do  not want to start losing jobs to Mexico any more than we here in  Canada do.

      I would suggest this kind of labour legislation that the  government is bringing in is part and parcel of the trade  agreements that are being negotiated currently in the country,  because they do that fundamental thing that Tories always set out  to do, which is that they weaken labour.  It is interesting, over  the last years, that the traditional attacks and policies by the  Tories have not been enough, but they have also been moving into  these trade agreements and creating this recession.

      One of the frustrating things about this, another spin‑off of  this that is much a concern to me, is how the recession has  slowed our progress to dealing with environmental problems and  developing environmental strategies that will deal with the  problems that we have.  One of those strategies that I will be  interested in dealing with a little later on‑‑and this government  should take a very serious look at, because it would help them  raise some revenue.  As I read through a variety of material that  points to how this is already being done in Europe, it is being  done in many cities in the U.S., but we have economic instruments  to tax on pollution.

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      There are a variety of creative things that have been done to  harness the labour market and economic forces so that we start  accounting for the pollution that industry is causing, and we  start having programs that will, in a radiated way, collect  revenue based on emissions.  All of these things, I would  suggest, are being held back in this country, in this province  with governments like we have, because of their narrow view that  the corporate interest must prevail and that is the sole thing  that is going to drive our economy.

      There are a number of other materials here that I could draw  from, but I think I have made the major points that I wanted to  make about this legislation.  It is clearly driven by‑‑

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Greed.

Ms. Cerilli:  ‑‑greed, as the member for Dauphin says, but also  by the dictates of the Chamber of Commerce.  It is undemocratic.  It is another attempt to weaken the labour movement, to weaken  that balance that is so needed in our economy to have a strong  labour movement.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I am sure that this side of the  House‑‑and I understand both parties are going to be opposed to  this bill‑‑will look forward to hearing more comments on it in  committee and voting against it.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  As previously agreed, this bill will  remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Swan  River (Ms. Wowchuk).


Bill 70‑The Social Allowances Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill  70 (The Social Allowances Amendment and Consequential Amendments  Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale et apportant des  modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), on the proposed  motion of the honourable Minister of Family Services (Mr.  Gilleshammer), standing in the name of the honourable member for  Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans).

      Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing in the  name of the honourable member for Brandon East, and also in the  name of the honourable member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway) who has  26 minutes remaining?

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand.  Is there leave to permit it to  remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Elmwood  as well? [Agreed!

Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  I would like to make a few comments  on Bill 70‑‑

An Honourable Member:  You could do like Maloway did yesterday  and start on one bill and then turn it around‑‑

Mr. Clif Evans:  Yes, well that is the honourable member for  Elmwood (Mr. Maloway).

      Madam Deputy Speaker, this bill, and I would just like to  begin by taking a quote from the honourable Minister of Family  Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) in response to a question saying that  this bill has two purposes, and that is to standardize the rates  that are offered to social allowance recipients across the  province and also to make access equal to that service for those  vulnerable Manitobans who require social assistance.

      We here feel that this bill and what the government is  indicating that now with Bill 70 there will be some sort of an  equal standing in social assistance, social services across this  province and within the city of Winnipeg.  Madam Deputy Speaker,  in the last few years we have seen the social assistance rise;  the percentage of people unemployed on social assistance rise,  not only in the city of Winnipeg but in rural Manitoba.  For the  province to implement a standardization of the rate throughout  the province could have, in fact, a great amount of difficulties  put on the city of Winnipeg and people in rural Manitoba, the  municipalities.

      I feel that the whole problem of poverty and the whole  problem of social assistance must be dealt with and have a  beginning to the rate where we see poverty amongst people, people  who are on social assistance, increase over the last couple of  years.  People who have lost jobs‑‑companies have shut down‑‑find  themselves now, after many years of working, of being able to  support their families, having to go and seek social assistance.

      Well, where is the real reasoning and where is the fault, and  who should be to blame for this suffering that we do now have in  the province of Manitoba when it comes to poor and suffering, the  social assistance?  When you look at poverty, when you look at  social assistance and unemployed, you have to look, and I  personally do that.  To me, Madam Deputy Speaker, with young  children, I see across in my constituency, across other parts of  this province and the city of Winnipeg, the fact that we have the  young in our society suffering because of poverty, suffering to  have food on the table, clothes on their back, shelter.

      Now we have a government that wants to implement a bill that  they say will improve the social assistance and make it equal  across this province.  Well, when you look at the fact that the  young children in our society now who are living in poverty, or  who are being taken care of by single parents, we find a sense  that there is really no hope, regardless.  We see a fact that in  society now poverty creates ill health, poverty creates people  having to revert to crime.

      But getting back to the younger people, one in five in this  province under the age of six are living in poverty.  Some weeks  ago, I had a call from a constituent in the northeast part of my  constituency, Madam Deputy Speaker, a young single parent, a  young father called me to ask where can he get help.  He has been  looking for a job for six months.  He has a five‑year‑old  daughter.  He has had to lose his home that he was staying in  with his daughter, move in with his parents so that his child  could eat, have something, have some shelter.  I referred him to  the social assistance people.  The social assistance people  referred him to the local municipality, and here again we have a  problem.

      When I discussed this with him, he said it is so hard for me  to go before the municipality and ask for social assistance.  It  is demeaning.  He said, when I did finally go, he said the  municipality was unable to deal with his problem and referred him  back to the provincial social assistance.

      Well, Madam Deputy Speaker‑‑[interjection! The minister may  have heard it three times, but not this way.  I find that very  difficult to deal with the matter when you have people throughout  this province who are in need of social assistance, people who,  when they go to the municipalities, find it very difficult.  They  find it difficult to deal with the local councillor, the local  administrator.  Nine times out of 10, these people are neighbours  and/or friends.  In some situations, some instances, the fact  that you or I would have to go before a friend to get social  assistance, it becomes public knowledge.

      It is something that we should not have to bear with, Madam  Deputy Speaker.  The local municipalities, even though they are  more than qualified to do the necessary work, I know that it is  difficult for them to have to deal with social assistance.  So we  see a twofold system where, on one hand, it is difficult for  someone to approach the local municipality, and on the other  hand, it is difficult for the local municipality to deal with it  also.

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      Madam Deputy Speaker, it costs.  Now whatever the province  decides to set the rate at, what you are going to see again is  another form perhaps of offloading onto the local municipalities  that we have seen in this province and this government for the  last couple of years in the offloading of the different costs to  the municipalities that they have had to bear.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, when we are talking social assistance,  we are also talking when we want to go into the larger centre,  when we want to go into the city of Winnipeg, we are talking  about 80 percent of the people.  Eighty percent of the people who  are on social assistance are from the city of Winnipeg‑‑80 to 90  percent.  Eighty to 90 percent of these people are going to be  suffering, or the city of Winnipeg is going to incur a cost that  perhaps they will not be able to deal with.  In reading some of  the notes that we have, I see a cost of some $5 million‑plus.  Well, that is a big load to bear, to put out to the people who  are in need.

      They are going to have to keep these people within a level of  maintaining and retaining enough money, or having enough money to  feed their children, to clothe their children, to shelter their  children.  Are they going to bring the rates down?  Are they  going to tax the people who are working to be able to bear this  cost of some five‑odd million dollars?  I notice in some of the  government responses that they do not believe necessarily that is  the right amount.  Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, if it is $5  million, $2 million, or $10 million, it is still a cost burdened  upon the people, the city, the municipalities, and the Province  of Manitoba.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, when we look at how and why, again,  people are suffering, are not working, I look and see at a point  of some 54,000 people unemployed in this province‑‑54,000.  The  cost that this province is incurring, the cost that I feel they  brought upon themselves with the actions that this government has  put forth in the last couple of years.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, instead of people being on social  assistance, instead of people being in poverty, why are we not  looking for ways to get these people back to work, to become a  part of society again, to be able to exist at a level that their  children and their families can have the things that are  required, that are needed, so that they may exist and live under  conditions that are healthy?  Where are the job training  creations that this government has so adamantly said that they  are performing?

      When on one hand you have 54,000 unemployed, 80 to 90 percent  of the people on social assistance in the city of Winnipeg, some  11 percent in rural Manitoba, some 70 or 80 percent of people  unemployed in rural and northern Manitoba, Madam Deputy Speaker,  where is the incentive of this government to not only adjust the  rates and make social assistance a one‑tier system where  everybody can benefit from it?  Where is the job creation?  Where  are the jobs that this province so adamantly says they are going  to produce for the people?

      Madam Deputy Speaker, we feel and‑‑the costs, too‑‑the costs  for rural Manitobans and municipalities, just referring back to  what the minister said through consultation with the different  municipalities and the different organizations that all of this  has been done and everybody is pleased, well, I find that I  cannot understand who this minister has consulted with and who he  has talked with.  The people I talk to say if the rates are set  and are going to be set at a rate that is now going to be higher  than what they can afford to pay, then these municipalities are  going to incur a cost 50 percent of an increase that they do not  have the money for.  Where are they going to have to go for  that?  They are going to have to go to the people with their  taxes.

      Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, there are other comments that we  can make on this.  I just wanted to be on record to put my few  comments down, and would like to continue with House business,  and thank you very much for the opportunity.


House Business


Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Madam  Deputy Speaker, first of all, I would ask if there is leave of  the House just for Madam Deputy Speaker to not see the clock  until all of our business is completed.

      Secondly, I would ask‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.

Mr. Praznik:  Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would ask if you could  please call Bill 97, which I believe is a private member's  private bill.  I understand that members of the opposition  parties would like to address it and move it on to committee, and  then I will have some House business announcements before we  recess.

* * *



Bill 97‑The Winnipeg Bible College

 and Theological Seminary Incorporation Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of  private Bill 97 (The Winnipeg Bible College and Theological  Seminary Incorporation Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi  constituant en corporation le "Winnipeg Bible College and  Theological Seminary"), on the proposed motion of the honourable  member for Emerson (Mr. Penner), standing in the name of the  honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Madam Deputy  Speaker, this is a good bill.  It is ready to go to committee,  and we are prepared to pass it today.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  Yes, Madam  Deputy Speaker, not wanting to be outdone by the member for  Thompson, we will allow the bill to go to committee.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The question before the House is second  reading of private Bill 97.  Is it the will of the House to adopt  the motion?  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.


House Business


Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Yes, Madam  Deputy Speaker, on House Business.  I would first of all like to  announce that the Standing Committee on Industrial Relations will  meet at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Room 254 to consider bills referred,  namely, Bills 76 and 100.  I believe they will deal with Bill 100  first and then Bill 76.

      I believe if you canvassed the House, you will find there is  unanimous consent for the following:  One, for the House to  recess at 6 p.m. today and to reconvene at 7 p.m. today in  Committee of Supply, and I will be moving the appropriate  resolution following my remarks.

      Two, if you could canvass the House to see if there is  unanimous consent to waive subrule 65.(9)(c) and (d) to permit  the Estimates of a new department to be introduced after 10 p.m.

      I would ask, as well, if you could canvass the House to see  if there is unanimous consent to transfer the Estimates of the  Department of Justice and of the Aboriginal Justice Initiatives  from the Chamber to the committee room to be considered  immediately after the Legislative Assembly Estimates.

      I would ask, as well, if there is unanimous consent to  transfer the Estimates of the Department of Government Services  from the Chamber to the committee room to be considered  immediately after Internal Reform, Workforce Adjustment and  General Salary Increases.

      I believe, as well, Madam Deputy Speaker, you will find  unanimous consent to consider Estimates in the Chamber in the  following sequence:  Environmental Innovations Fund at 7 p.m.,  temporarily setting aside Natural Resources, followed by the  Department of Natural Resources and then I believe returning to  the Department of Environment.  So that would be the  Environmental Innovations, followed by a return to the Department  of Natural Resources, followed by the Department of Environment.

      I would ask, as well, for you to canvass the House, Madam  Deputy Speaker, for unanimous approval for the existing rules  permitting each section to rise at its own discretion.  Pardon  me, I understand, as well, that the existing rules permitting  each section to rise at its own discretion and respecting votes  after 10 p.m. will continue to apply.

* (1800)

      I would ask, as well, Madam Deputy Speaker, for you to  canvass the House.  I believe there will be unanimous consent for  the House to sit beyond the normal Friday adjournment hour  tomorrow to, I believe, around four o'clock p.m., and that there  will also be unanimous consent for the Standing Committees on Law  Amendments, and Industrial Relations to sit while the House is  also sitting tomorrow afternoon.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  I will proceed through the unanimous  consent one by one.  I do have a point of clarification from the  honourable deputy government House leader with relation to his  text and the order for the Estimates in the Chamber this evening.

      Is there unanimous consent for the House to recess at 6 p.m.  this evening and to reconvene at 7 p.m. in the Committee of  Supply?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

      Secondly, is there unanimous consent to waive subrule  65.(9)(c) and (d) to permit the Estimates of a new department to  be introduced after 10 p.m.?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

      Thirdly, is there unanimous consent to transfer the Estimates  of the Departments of Justice and Aboriginal Justice Initiatives  from the Chamber to the committee room to be considered  immediately after the Legislative Assembly Estimates?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

      Fourthly, to transfer the Estimates of the Department of  Government Services from the Chamber to the committee room to be  considered immediately after Internal Reform, Workforce  Adjustment and General Salary Increases?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

      Fifthly, to consider Estimates in the Chamber in the  following sequence:  Environmental Innovations Fund at 7 p.m.,  temporarily setting aside Natural Resources, followed by  Environment, then reverting to Natural Resources and then  returning to Environment?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

      With respect to House Business tomorrow, is there unanimous  consent for the House to sit beyond the normal Friday adjournment  hour until approximately 4 p.m.?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

      Is there unanimous consent for the Standing Committees on Law  Amendments, and Industrial Relations to sit while the House is  sitting?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The hour being after 6 p.m., this‑‑oh,  excuse me.


Committee Changes


Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move,  seconded by the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), that the  composition of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments be  amended as follows:  the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) for the  member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine); the member for Rossmere  (Mr. Neufeld) for the member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson).

* * *

Mr. Praznik:  Madam Deputy Speaker, I would move, seconded by the  honourable Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey), 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 Emerson (Mr. Penner) in the chair for the  Department of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship; Legislative  Assembly; Justice; Aboriginal Justice Initiatives;  Canada‑Manitoba Enabling Vote; Allowance for Losses and  Expenditures Incurred by Crown Corporations and Other Provincial  Entities; Emergency Expenditures; Community Support Programs;  Internal Reform, Workforce Adjustment and General Salary  Increases; and Government Services; and the honourable member for  Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) in the chair for the Department of  Environmental Innovations Fund, and Natural Resources.

* * *

Madam Deputy Speaker:  I need agreement on the committee changes  proposed by the honourable member for Gimli, for the Standing  Committee on Law Amendments be amended as follows:  the  honourable member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) for the honourable  member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine); and the honourable  member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld) for the honourable member for  La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson). [Agreed!

      The hour being after 6 p.m., I am leaving the Chair and the  House will reconvene at 7 p.m. in Committee of Supply.