Thursday, June 18, 1992


The House met at 7 p.m.



(Concurrent Sections)




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  Could the  committee come to order please.  We left off at item 5.  Multiculturalism (a) Multiculturalism Secretariat:  (1) Salaries  $189,800.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I  believe what we were going to do was just to ask questions on the  balance of the department and then after, in and around between  9:15, 9:30, just pass all of the lines at that time if it is okay  with the minister.

* (1905)

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship):  If I can, just before we start, indicate that I  have here copies of the Canadian Arts Consumer Profile for  opposition, Prix Manitoba Award applications and a grants listing  for the Multicultural Grants Advisory Council for 1990‑91.  I  will give one to you now and save one for‑‑

Mr. Lamoureux:  I wanted to start off by asking some questions  with the Heritage Federation.  It is a major concern that we have  had.  Unfortunately we do not have too much time to deal with it,  but I am going to try and do what I can to try to emphasize how  important this particular issue was to us.

      We have asked a number of questions ever since the budget has  been brought down in terms of what the government's intentions  are with the Heritage Federation.  We had, in fact, introduced a  Matter of Urgent Public Importance because we did not feel that  it was being debated, and that it merited and warranted full  debate from within the Chamber to answer a number of questions.  Maybe I can start off by indicating to the minister that I have  had a great deal of correspondence go out from my office with  respect to the Heritage Federation and actually had solicited  some input, some return mail in the form of petitions, and was  very pleased to find out that there was a lot of support.  I know  that I have tabled a number of petitions, unfortunately because a  good size of the majority put their name in the sponsoring box, I  was unable to table all of the petitions.

      I found there was a lot of support for what the government  was doing was wrong, that in fact the government could have gone  about the heritage funding in a much better fashion instead of  making the decision in the manner in which they had made it.  In  fact, I think at last count, in and around 40 petitions were  returned to my office.

      Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, the Heritage Federation, and I  must say I have had a number, and when I say number, I have had  three, maybe at very most four phone calls regarding the letter  that I sent out and I sent out a few hundred of them at least.  I  can honestly say that I have only had three, four at most, phone  calls and of those phone calls, they were more so in disagreement  with the Heritage Federation.

      What I had explained to them is that what we were most  concerned about was the process and felt that the Heritage  Federation was in fact doing a very adequate job.  We talked in  terms of what had happened with the MIC and the creation of the  Manitoba Grants Advisory Council and the concern is the direction  the government is going to be taking it?  After explaining that  to all three individuals and one of them was, in fact, a  community newspaper, all three felt that in fact, yes, that I was  right in my criticism.

      I guess what I am trying to suggest is that there is no doubt  in my mind that what the government has done to the Heritage  Federation in the treatment of the Heritage Federation is wrong.  What the government's intentions are, are very unclear.  The  government has talked about having a process in which they are  going to consult and come back with something‑‑we are not too  sure what it is‑‑and there are a number of questions that come  out of that.  The first thing that came to my mind is, well, if  this is the case, why did they not consult and come back with  something?  Why did they not sit down and negotiate with the  Heritage Federation?  Why did they not try to fix up what they  might have believed was wrong?

      So having said what I have just said, Mr. Acting Deputy  Chairperson, I ask the minister again as to why it is that the  granting authority was taken away from the Heritage Federation?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I think I have indicated on several occasions  in the House that, indeed, it was a decision that surrounded the  budget.  We, the government, over the last five years, have  attempted to run our programs very efficiently and effectively,  streamline in many ways, the bureaucracy and ensure that the  community was the major benefactor of some of the scarce dollars  that have become available.

      We have very little increase in revenue and major, major  increases in demands.  I think it is incumbent upon a government  to use the taxpayers' money to the best benefit available to go  back into the community to do a lot of the worthwhile things that  are done.

* (1910)

      So, in that respect, we have been taking a look at all of the  programs throughout government, all of the agencies that are  funded, and looking at the way administrative costs have been  skyrocketing.  For the Heritage Federation, since its inception  in 1985, I think we have a sheet here, and I can share  information with you on how the administrative costs at the  Heritage Federation have increased since its inception.

      I guess 1984‑85 was the first year the Heritage Federation  was established.  The administrative costs at that time, and  granted they were just getting up and running, were 2.4 percent.  In '85‑86, they went to 8 percent; in '86‑87 to 13.1 percent;  '87‑88, 13.2 percent; '88‑89, 17.3 percent; '89‑90, 20.9 percent;  and '90‑91, 26.1 percent.  So we saw over a period of six, seven  years administrative costs going from a low of 2.4 percent of  revenue to 26.1 percent.

      That is a fairly significant increase in my mind.  That tells  me that indeed not all of the money that should be going to the  community is going to the community, and a bureaucracy was being  created that was using money that had been allocated to the  Heritage Federation by government to distribute to many community  organizations for project grants.  So that was one thing that we  looked at when we looked back at the history of the Heritage  Federation.

      Now I am not saying that they did not have money in reserve,  but the money that they had in reserve that they were collecting  interest on to pay some of their administrative costs was indeed  money that had been given to them to distribute to the  community.  Obviously, the reason they were able to generate  interest was in fact because they were not allocating all of the  money to the community that should have been going to the  community but, indeed, was being held, and interest was being  generated.  Then that gave them a reason to say, well, we are  only spending the interest on the money on administrative costs.

      You know, if they reduced their administrative costs and they  had interest, that interest could be going to worthwhile  community projects rather than to administrative costs.  We would  have believed when we looked at the program that we could run a  grants program ensuring that the maximum amount of money got out  into the community for considerably less administrative costs,  maybe with one staff person possibly sharing resources from the  department.  Agreed, they had to have some overhead that maybe  government might not have to incur because we already have space  and buildings, government space, that could be utilized for  meetings.

      We already have a fairly sophisticated grants administration  within the Department of Culture that could handle the increased  workload of mailing out the cheques, so we could use resources,  would not have to increase any resources within government to  provide those kinds of things that the Heritage Federation may  have had to hire people to do.  We know that we can do it within  existing resources in the department, so there might be one staff  person, maybe with a little bit of part‑time secretarial support,  that could manage evaluating the grants, and there could still be  a volunteer board that could make decisions on the grant  applications.

* (1915)

      That was basically the reason.  I believe it is incumbent  upon us as a government who is trying its best to maintain or  even decrease in some budgets, personal taxes and, on the other  hand, try to meet some of the increased demands that we are  experiencing in many areas of government.  That was basically the  reason the decision was made.

Mr. Lamoureux:  The more recent agreement that was signed was  back in April of 1990.  Did the minister or any of her staff  indicate to the Heritage Federation at that time that their  increasing in administrative costs could put into jeopardy the  Heritage Federation from having the responsibility of giving out  the grants?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  There was a clause in the agreement with the  Manitoba Heritage Federation that they were indeed not to exceed  $165,000.  When we negotiated that agreement, that was a very  contentious point.  I guess there was give and take on both  sides.  They were informed at the time that their administrative  costs were high, and we would have liked to have seen a lower  amount even put into the agreement, but nonetheless that was the  number that was determined at the time.  They went above that  amount in 1990‑91, in the first year of the agreement.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Did the minister or the department‑‑I can  understand when you are sitting down at a negotiating table where  figures are thrown and no doubt everything is talked about, but  what I am more concerned with is, is there any indication given  to the Heritage Federation that they could be in jeopardy of  losing their responsibility of funding heritage grants or  allocating the heritage grants because of increasing  administrative costs?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I guess when you look at the situation that we  found ourselves in when we were looking at this year's budget  process, we were looking at ways and means of trying to ensure  that the dollars that were being allocated throughout were being  allocated in a very efficient and effective way.  They did go  over their allocation and what they were supposed to be spending  on administrative costs.  They were over and above that.

      Now, I know they have come back and said to us, if only  someone had told us.  It was stipulated in the agreement; it was  a contentious issue when the agreement was signed.  As I said,  there was give and take on both sides when we were trying to  negotiate that agreement.  That was the figure that ultimately  was decided upon, but they did know too that it was not a figure  that we were terribly happy with.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Now I am not 100 percent certain, but in some of  the discussions that I have had with the Heritage Federation, I  had understood that the reason why they had gone over what was  agreed upon was because of a particular individual who was going  to be hired to do a project and that, in fact, the government had  some indication of it.  Did the government have any indication  whatsoever prior to them going over the agreement level?  Did  they have any indication of it at all?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, that was not the  reason that they went over.  They were already over what the  agreement indicated they could spend, and they were contemplating  at that time hiring yet another person over and above that.  They  did not go ahead with that process.  They never hired that  person, but, indeed, they were contemplating doing that even  though they were already above the amount that was specified in  the agreement that they could spend.

      I just want to say, there was a major volunteer commitment by  many, many people to the Heritage Federation.  That does not mean  to say there cannot be a major volunteer commitment and a broad  cross section of the community still responsible for making the  decisions on heritage grants.

* (1920)

      I guess, when you look at it realistically, probably, space  rental is something that the Heritage Federation will have to  spend money on.  That is something that we can accommodate with  space that already exists within government.  So we can make  reductions to administrative costs in that way.  They need  someone to process the cheques and do that kind of thing.  We  already have Grants Administration that can do that.

      So, yes, they would need more staff than we will need to  spend money on out of the lottery allocation for heritage, than  we need within government.  That is the kind of common‑sense, I  suppose, decision that led us to make the ultimate decision, to  change the way of delivering grants, not saying that there will  not be a volunteer component associated with.  There will very  definitely be those in the community who will be part of the  decision‑making process.

      So we know that we can do it within existing resources, and  we do not have to hire extra people.  So that ultimately does  bring the administrative costs down.  We know the Heritage  Federation could never administer the grants under $100,000.  We  believe we can do it for less than $100,000, maybe considerably  less.

      First of all, we have mailed out 480 surveys throughout the  province to the community asking for their input.  Those just  went out on June 8, and I think we have already got about 15 or  16 surveys back.  People are wanting to be a part of the process,  helping to affect the change and what the ultimate result might  be.  I will say that all of the surveys that have come back to  date are positive.  They are looking forward to a new process in  place that will ensure that money comes out to the community.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I would be  interested in getting a copy of the survey if that could be made  available.  I wanted to run by some figures that I was given and  ask for the minister to comment on them.

      I understand, in terms of the lottery funds that were made  available for grant distribution in the '89‑90 year, there was  $669,000 of which $630,000 was distributed through the Heritage  Federation.  In '90‑91, $712,000 lottery dollars were given when  $673,000 was distributed.  In '91‑92, $712,000 was given and  $669,000 was distributed.  In terms of percentages, starting from  '89‑90, it is 90.5, 94.5, and for the last year, 94 percent of  those monies were given.

      Now the Heritage Federation‑‑and I know the minister makes  reference to the reserve and will say, well, they would not have  been able to achieve that had it not been for the reserve  money‑‑but I think that the Heritage Federation, especially in  the past three years, had indicated to the government in a very  strong way that they want to get the dollars out into the  community.  They did that in the sense of the monies that they  were receiving through their last three fiscal years, and I would  ask the minister if, in fact, this is the case‑‑and I have no  reason to believe that it is not‑‑why would the minister not sit  down with the Heritage Federation and see if there could be some  sort of an agreement?

      Who knows what the agreement might have been?  It might have  been to have a staff person from the department to stick with the  Heritage board making the decisions and so forth.  We do not know  that.  At least, I do not know that, and I do not think the  Heritage Federation knows that.  I can honestly say that even  though I have been the Heritage critic for the last year, year  and a half, the first time I had contact with the president and  the general manager was shortly after the budget was announced.

      So I think, at least as far as I was concerned, I acted in a  very apolitical manner and deserved at least the opportunity,  given their most recent history, and it seems to be a sincere  attempt to get as much of those grant dollars out as possible.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, it was as a  result of the negotiations of the agreement that we encouraged  the Heritage Federation to spend some of the money that they had  in reserve to allocate to community grants.

* (1925)

      I will just go back over the full history of grants to the  community from the Heritage Federation.  Of course, in the first  year they did not spend any money.  In the second year they spent  $504,000.  In '86‑87, it was $420,000.  In '87‑88, it was  $467,000.  In '88‑89, it was $644,000, and then in '89‑90, it  went down to $568,000.  That was when we negotiated the agreement.

      We said:  Look, we are giving you more money to distribute to  the community every year, and you are not distributing that money  in grants.  We want you to spend more money and allocate more  money to grants.

      So, in the two years of the agreement, they have allocated  $630,000 and $669,000.  That was as a result of the Lotteries  Needs Assessment and our direction that we did not want a lot of  money held in reserve, and we did not want them to be not  allocating money to the community that was given to them for the  sole purpose of distributing to the community.

      So those increases in the last couple of years, that has not  been their traditional level of funding.  Indeed, it has  increased as a result of our direction.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I would suggest  that the government was quite correct in giving direction to the  Heritage Federation in terms of distributing the monies that they  are given.  It seems that they were starting to follow that  advice of the government.

      That is why I can appreciate the concerns that the minister  would have had in its beginning years when it was not spending  the money towards what it was supposed to be spending the money.  But in most recent history it was doing its job.  It was given  direction from the government, it was following that direction.

      Now, because it was following that direction, the minister,  for whatever reasons, did not sit down with the board to say:  Yes, you are following our direction, but you still have your  reserve fund; you are increasing your administrative cost; cut  down the administrative cost.

      If they have a problem in cutting down the administrative  costs, sit down with them and say:  Look, we are going to supply  the staff year here, we want your organization, the Heritage  Federation, to make the decisions.  This is the type of monies  that would be made available so that you can have full  participation from different members and so forth.

      I know, and I am sure that the minister knows, that there is  another way of accommodating.  She mentions that she has sent out  a survey.  If the survey comes back and says, let us create this  new organization, and this new organization is virtually composed  of the same organizations that fall under the umbrella groups of  the Manitoba Heritage Federation, then, really and truly, what we  could be looking at is just a name change, potentially, with the  government possibly providing that staff year.

      This is something that should have occurred with the  co‑operation of the Heritage Federation, unless the minister  knows something that she is not telling us.  Were they  unco‑operative?  Did she believe that if she sat down that she  would not have received the co‑operation to achieve the expected  results of cutting back on administrative costs?  Was there  something that gave her that opinion?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I will say that if the surveys come back, and  they will come back from a broad cross‑section because we did  send 480 surveys out, and hopefully we are going to follow up  even with phone calls if we do not receive the surveys back and  ask whether‑‑just remind people that we would like them to  participate in the formation of a new structure.  I guess we can  debate back and forth.

* (1930)

      A decision has been made and I am hearing from the  community:  Look, the decision has been made; get on with making  the changes and ensure that there is no lapse in funding or  support for projects in the community as a result.  As I  indicated, people are looking very positively.

      I am not saying that there will not be people who sat on the  Heritage Federation that will not sit on the new granting  structure.  All of them have committed many hours of volunteer  time, as people within the heritage community do.

      I know that our grant programs to museums throughout the  province are small grants and they have been small grants that  have been in place and have not changed for many years.  We have  got $1,500 for the smallest museums and $3,500 per year that we  provide in operating support for those museums.  You know, you do  not run a museum with just that little bit of money, little bit  of support, but it all helps.  It is people who volunteer their  time, and basically those museums throughout our province are run  by major volunteer commitments.

      So we know we have got a lot of strength in volunteerism  throughout Manitoba on the heritage side of things.  We are  asking the community for recommendations on how people should be  appointed to the new structure.  We are asking which  organizations should nominate which people, how many  organizations, how formal or how informal should it be.  Those  kinds of things we will get in feedback, and whatever the  consensus is that is the direction we will follow.

      So those are the kinds of questions that are being asked and  I can provide a copy of that survey.  I think it is sort of a  proposed structure and the only input that I would have in direct  appointment as the minister would be, that if we got several  nominations from throughout the community, and for demographic  reasons, for gender reasons or something, there might need to be  a person or two appointed to balance out regional or gender  representation; that might be an option if things did not work  out.

      But other than that, we are asking for community input.  There is a very good likelihood that people who have sat on the  Heritage Federation will sit on the new grant body.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I guess I am  somewhat glad to hear that the minister is looking at a system in  which we see a board that comes from the grassroots, if you will,  from the volunteers.  I can respect her concerns in terms of the  regions, having input on that board from different regions, and I  look forward to seeing how she follows up with that as a concept.

      But in terms of when she makes reference to the volunteers,  and no doubt there are literally hundreds of volunteers out there  who will want to participate in whatever form that might be  there, but I would suggest that there is also a significant  number of individuals who will feel hurt by the decision and  might not volunteer for a long time, or again, in that particular  area.

      I guess what I find tragic about it is the fact that these  consultations or negotiations did not occur, that the manner in  which it came about, because I would imagine that if the minister  sticks true to form in what she just finished saying, we will see  something that would, to a certain degree, resemble the Heritage  Federation, with the possible exception of having the staff  years, because what the minister earlier tried to point out is  that it is, for obvious reasons, more efficient to run it through  her department.

      Now I do not necessarily agree with that, but it is an  interesting debate.  I think that is something a minister, given  the minister of the day or given a different minister, might want  to revisit, and I think an argument could be brought forward  that, in fact, it might be in the best interest to have the  community having that office, especially if it is a rural office  or something of this nature.  It could be a form of that  decentralization.  There are so many other options that are out  there.

      I wanted to confirm a couple of things in terms of who will  be making the granting decisions in between.  Is the minister  going to have this granting body established before the next  round?  If not, who is going to be making those granting  decisions?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  The Heritage Federation in February‑March made  the decisions for the upcoming year, and that was the $670,000  are for this fiscal year, and the Heritage Federation has that  money presently.

      They have paid out some of the first parts of the grants and  the rest of the money to cover commitment of those allocations  they have, and what they are doing will be transferring it  through transition.  Any money that has not been paid out in  those grants when transition is complete will be put in a trust  account in our department, and we will finish the final  payments.  Some people get some money up‑front and some money  after the project is completed.  I am not sure exactly what the  breakdown is, but they get progress payments or money up‑front  and then money after the completion of the project.

      So sometimes the first grant may have gone out and the second  one then will be transferred into a trust account so that it can  be paid to the community.  If I can just indicate that over and  above that $670,000 that the Heritage Federation already has in  the bank to cover the grants for this year, there is still about  another $500,000 over and above that that was given to them.  They earned interest on it to be distributed to the community.  Our legal opinion does say that money also should go out in  grants to the community.

Mr. Lamoureux:  I think that is all the more reason why the  minister would even want to sit down with the Heritage Federation  and see if, in fact‑‑like, when we start talking about legal  opinions and so forth, you are talking about some fairly  uncomfortable sets of negotiations, because once it has gotten  that serious it is very hard to sit at a table and hope that both  sides will co‑operate to the benefit of all.

      The Heritage Federation is covered for the '92‑93.  If I have  a museum and I want to make application for '93‑94, what am I to  do?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Normally speaking, what the Heritage Federation  did was send applications out in the fall for spring approval,  and there was only one application process and all the grants  were allocated then.  I think what we are hearing in some of my  informal discussions with the community is that they might like  more than one intake per year.

      I do not know what the end result will be as a result of the  surveys.  Do they want two or three or four intakes?  Are there  certain months that they are more likely to be doing projects  than other months, and when are the ideal times?  So we are  trying to determine that but we will have a process in place so  that in late fall, hopefully, applications can go out for a  spring round.  It might only be a partial round in the spring,  there might be spring and fall, depending on what the results of  the survey show us, but there will be something in place and  allocations will be made on time for next year.

Mr. Lamoureux:  I mentioned, in terms of how many dollars were  allocated out through the Heritage Federation in the last three  years.  Can the minister give assurances to the committee that  that level of funding will be maintained for the next three or  four years at the very least?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I can make a commitment that this was not an  exercise to reduce grants to the heritage community.  This, in  fact, was a way to streamline administrative costs so that the  maximum amount of dollars could go out in community grants.

      I will say on the record today that I cannot guarantee that  if, you know, sort of the bottom fell out of the provincial  budget, and we determined that we were going to have to reduce  lottery commitments across the board to all of the umbrella  organizations, to Culture and to Sport and to Heritage and to the  Community Services Council and all of that, there would not be a  proportionate reduction.  But I will tell you that there is not  going to be any reduction to Heritage if there is no reduction to  anyone else.  This is not an exercise to give less money to  Heritage next year.

* (1940)

Mr. Lamoureux:  I received a letter and it was from, I believe it  is a rural newspaper, the Virden Empire‑Advance, and I can  provide a copy of it to the minister if she likes, but it makes  reference to the organization with the initials SHARE.  I will  just quote right from the article.  It says:  SHARE is to take  the place of the Manitoba Heritage Federation which will disband  on June 30, 1992.  SHARE would like to encompass seven  organizations, archives, archeological history‑‑

      She is nodding her head there is no validity to the article  at all.  Everyone is nodding their head no.  I will not‑‑

Mrs. Mitchelson:  You will not waste any time in getting my  answer.  It is no.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I am not going to  waste any time on this and just proceed on then because I do not  have very much time left in terms of asking some other questions,  I did want to again, as a closing‑‑and I hope the minister will  respond to this particular issue‑‑say that we do feel that the  Heritage Federation should be and could be‑‑and I know that the  minister at times can be very open‑minded.  This is something I  would recommend to her in terms of sitting down with the  chairperson of the Heritage Federation to see if something could  be worked out.

      At the very least, sit down, talk about the plans, the  surveys and the results, talk about the administrative costs, the  $500,000 that is still going to be in the reserves and so forth,  because I really do believe that this is something that can be  fixed up, that it is not too late, that even if it means a name  change or something of this nature, I think that we owe it, at  the very least, to the volunteers of the different organizations.

      It does not matter what organization is out there, whether it  is MIC or the Heritage Federation or whatever organization that  is out there, there is always going to be critics.  Whatever  system the government puts in, there is going to be critics to  it, and I think that is a given.  I also believe that it is not  too late.  Having said that, I would recommend to the minister to  sit down.  I can honestly say that the organization, as I pointed  out earlier, I sincerely believe has been extremely apolitical.  As I pointed out, unfortunately because of my own busy schedule,  the very first time that I had an opportunity to meet with them  was after the budget.  So I think that it is definitely worthy of  saving, if at all possible, and I would encourage the minister to  do so.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  The honourable  member for Wolseley.

Mr. Lamoureux:  The member for Wolseley will be going back to the  Heritage Federation.  I was going to go on to Multiculturalism  right now, so as I just start, maybe the staff could approach or  change.  This is another major issue that we have attempted to  address in as hard a fashion as possible.  In fact, you would  find, even during my debates, my grievances, MUPIs we have had on  this, numerous questions and so forth, because there are a number  of things that we feel as an opposition party, that the  government is going in the wrong direction when it comes to  multiculturalism in the province of Manitoba.  I am somewhat  hopeful, again, that there are some things that we can do to get  her on track on multiculturalism, if I can say that.

      One of those things is‑‑as I pointed out earlier when we were  dealing with Human Resource Services‑‑in the appointment of the  policy analysts, the two positions that are, in fact, open.  But  I asked those questions; I am not going to ask those questions  again, because I am probably going to get the same answer.

      But, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, what I would ask the  minister now is to tell us why or what is the role of the  chairperson or the Multiculturalism Secretariat?  What  responsibilities‑‑can she give me a typical day, what it is that  the Multiculturalism Secretariat is supposed to be doing in a  typical day?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Well, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I would  not imagine that within government‑‑and I am sure that the critic  could agree‑‑that when you are involved in government, in  opposition, I do not know if there is ever a typical day.  I am  not quite so sure whether there is a typical day at the  Multiculturalism Secretariat either because there is a diverse  group or part of the community that is dealt with through  Multiculturalism, but maybe I can indicate the kinds of  activities that would go on, on a regular basis, at the  secretariat.

      There is daily contact with different groups and  individuals.  There would be meetings set up with people who have  specific issues that they want to discuss regarding  multiculturalism.  There is a need for those who are working  within government in the Multiculturalism Secretariat to ensure  that they attend community functions, to talk to people, to get  feedback on what government should be doing for communities that  have specific needs.

      They do co‑ordination of intergovernmental activity, and we  have an intergovernmental committee that is held once a month.  There are departmental representatives who attend on a monthly  basis to deal with issues throughout government that might have  an impact on multiculturalism, to ensure that there is some  sensitivity in regard to new programs that are being set up.

      Very actively involved intergovernmentally with the  Multicultural Education Policy that was released by the Minister  of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) during Multicultural Week‑‑there was  input and co‑operation and consultation with the secretariat.

      During the process of our implementation of one of the Arts  Policy Review recommendations, there was a recommendation that  multicultural arts be mainstreamed so that they were not singled  out or ghettoized, so to speak.  They wanted to be a part of the  mainstream arts community, on the arts side of thing.  So there  had to be restructuring, by looking at multicultural grants,  looking at the Arts Council and looking at the department and  separating out what was community arts that the department would  be doing, and what would be professional arts that the Arts  Council would be doing, and what in multicultural grants should  be moved into the Arts Branch or the Arts Council.  So those  kinds of things; and the secretariat was the co‑ordinating body  that sort of brought that together.

      The Employment Standards Initiative:  The Philippine  community was the first community that we used to train a  volunteer person to go back to the community and talk about legal  rights for members of the community.  That was extremely  successful in the Philippine community.  I was able, last week‑‑I  guess it was during Philippine Heritage Week‑‑to go out and  listen to a presentation made by the individual.  The second  community now that we have gone into is the Vietnamese community,  and we have a person in that community that is in that process  right now.

      There are many, many activities that are ongoing, and I do  not know how many people you meet with on a regular basis from  the community, but I know that I meet with a lot of people and so  does the secretariat.

* (1950)

Mr. Lamoureux:  Well, the minister answered the question that I  was really wanting to get at, within the first minute, actually.  That was in regard to community functions.  I know that Mr.  Langtry attends a great deal of community functions representing  the minister.

      I also know that there are other members of the staff in the  secretariat's office, the policy analyst.  I have seen  individuals representing the government from the Manitoba Grants  Advisory Council at functions.  I have seen, even from the  Outreach Office, going out into the communities and so forth.

      I guess, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, normally I think I  would encourage that.  I would encourage that the individuals get  out into the communities and so forth, but I have some concern.  My concern is that these individuals that are civil servants are  not used politically.  The reason why I say that is that I know  when I go to different functions, for example, quite often the  federal government will be represented through a civil servant.  Usually what occurs is that there is recognition given, that  so‑and‑so is here, who is from such‑and‑such department.

      I know that with this particular minister, what I hear‑‑and I  go to a number of functions as well as she does‑‑time time after  I hear members of the staff going up and reading letters on  behalf of the minister and on behalf of the Premier (Mr. Filmon)  and so forth.  I have gone to functions where a number of people  from these offices are in attendance.

      I often wonder in terms of, well, you know, if they are here,  they must work some pretty peculiar hours.  Are we talking an  eight‑to‑five job?  Are we talking eight to twelve o'clock plus  an evening here and an evening there?  What type of commitment  are we getting from‑‑as I say, the Multiculturism Secretariat, I  can somewhat appreciate the government wanting to get the  secretariat out, and I can understand, I really and truly do  understand why the Multiculturism Secretariat goes out.

      But I do not understand why it is that we civil servants, to  the degree that we do, going out to these different events,  because I do not think it goes over as well as maybe the minister  is thinking that it is going over.  I would ask, what are the  hours of these civil servants?  Are they obligated, are they  instructed to go to these events?  Are they going as volunteers?  Does anyone that works within the department represent the  minister at a function?  I was hoping the minister might be able  to clarify that.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I do want to  indicate that the people in the secretariat and the Outreach  Office do work full eight‑hour days.  The community activities  are done on their own time.  They do not get paid overtime, but  they do represent government when there cannot be a government  member of the Legislature at an event.

      We know there are many, many events within the community, and  I know I see the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) at many, many  events.  He spends a lot of time‑‑and I would say this is  probably the busiest portfolio within government as far  activities and events.  We both know that it is extremely busy,  and I cannot possibly be there and do the cultural things, the  women's things, all of those other commitments and be in all  places at all times, so we have to depend a lot on staff.  When I  cannot attend a cultural activity or a heritage activity or a  women's activity, staff from the department do go out and bring  greetings on behalf of the minister for government.  That is a  normal function within the bureaucracy, and it just so happens  that you see so many people, because we do have so many, many  commitments in the multicultural community.  So you would see  people more often maybe in that community than you would anywhere  else.

      There are not nearly as many activities to attend in many  other areas or departments of government, but I have seen federal  officials, and we know very often we do not get a federal  minister or member of the Legislature at a lot of events because  of the distance they have to travel and their being away.  I have  at many events seen someone bring greetings on behalf of the  federal government on behalf of Minister Gerry Weiner, on a  regular basis at activities and functions.  So that is a normal  part of a government job that sometimes those are  responsibilities that the bureaucracy has to undertake on behalf  of a minister.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Again, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, it is  because of the confidence that I have in civil servants in being  ofessionals that it is important to me that when they attend a  function representing a government that that is the way they are  being perceived.  I think that it is somewhat imperative‑‑there  is nothing wrong with saying I am here on behalf of the minister  and then talking in terms of what it is that they do, especially  from the secretariat's office or the Outreach Office or something  of that nature, making it known that this is an office, this is  what we are here for, feel free to contact, that type of thing.  I think that the minister‑‑and I would be interested in knowing  in terms of why it is that there is a need to have more than one  civil servant at an event representing the minister.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  There would only be one civil servant  representing the minister.  Any other staff that might be there  would be there because of their volunteer commitment to the  community, not asked to be there, but there as a desire to be  there to network with the multicultural community, which is a  very important component of doing a good job within the  bureaucracy.  If you know what the needs are in the community,  and you can bring those back and try to get programs implemented  as a result of what you are hearing out in the community, I think  that is a very important part of the job.  I will say it is not  because they are directed in any way to go, it is because they  desire to go because of their enjoyment of association with the  communities.

Mr. Lamoureux:  I know that it can become very expensive to  attend some of these events, that you have some that you get free  courtesy tickets at no charge, other events that you are charged  to attend.  Fortunately, I have a generous caucus when it comes  to buying tickets for me.  Now, I would anticipate the civil  servants going on your behalf, that in fact their costs are paid  from the government to attend.  In terms of the other  individuals, are they expected to pay their own, I take it then?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Yes.

Mr. Lamoureux:  I guess that clarifies that issue well for me,  and I would encourage the minister that when she sends out people  representing the government, I believe what they should be  promoting is in fact what it is that they do, as opposed to just  giving a greeting on behalf of the minister and talking about  what the government itself is doing, because I think it reflects  better on that particular civil servant.  It also makes those  communities much more aware of it, because obviously there is  more than just one reason why they should go there on your  behalf.  It is also a question of awareness for those individuals  who are participating in a function.  The more people who know  about the secretariat's office, the Outreach Office, and so  forth, the better utilized they will be.

* (2000)

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 5.  Are we  agreed to take a five‑minute break?  We will recess for five  minutes.

* * *

The committee took recess at 8 p.m.

After Recess

The committee resumed at 8:07 p.m.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Will the committee  come back to order.  I understand we are going to be discussing  Multiculturalism.  The honourable member for Wolseley.

An Honourable Member:  No.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  No?  The honourable  member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli).  Is that correct?

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  That is correct, and I  appreciate the committee's juggling us around, even though it is  not to my liking that I have to go between Environment and  Multicultural Estimates tonight.

An Honourable Member:  The clock is ticking.

Ms. Cerilli:  Right.

      Let us start off dealing with the secretariat and, I think,  three questions.  The minister knows that I have concerns about  the secretariat.  I, particularly, was not impressed with the  annual report.  I know that the minister says, well, before the  report was developed they were only operating for a few months.  But I had asked for some specific accomplishments under the  Activities section of the department to prove to me that this  office is worth the money that is going into it.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  We did go through some of the activities  earlier on, but I will go through them again.

      There are daily meetings and contact with community  representatives and organizations.  People call in for meetings  to deal with issues that affect them and things that they would  like to see happen within government.  They hold  intergovernmental committee meetings.  There are staff meetings  on a monthly basis to discuss issues that might affect  multiculturalism policies, programs, within different departments.

      We talked earlier about the Employment Standards initiative,  where the Department of Labour and the Multiculturalism  Secretariat have worked together to develop a program to train  volunteers from the community to go back out into the communities  and talk about legal rights of members of the community in all  different areas.  It has been very successful.

      The first community that was done was the Philippine  community.  Someone has been trained, who has gone back out now  into the community and is holding community meetings to help  members of the Philippine community know what their rights are  under Manitoba law.  The Vietnamese community is the second  community, and there is someone now in that process, in that  community.

      There was co‑ordination of the consultation process in the  setting up of meetings for The Multiculturalism Act.  There was  dialogue around the multiculturalism education policy with the  Department of Education, to ensure that what was happening was  what we were hearing from the community also, and that the policy  would reflect all of that.

* (2010)

      What else can I tell you?  Those are some specific  initiatives.

      The one that I talked about before was the co‑ordination of  the Arts Branch, the Manitoba Arts Council and the Multicultural  Grants Council.  It was sort of the co‑ordinating function for  determining what was art in multiculturalism, because one of the  recommendations from the multicultural community in the Arts  Policy Review was that they wanted to be mainstreamed into  mainstream arts.  They did not want to be segregated into  multicultural arts.  So there was restructuring done there and  that was one of the functions of the secretariat.

      They were a member of the Working Group on Immigrant  Credentials.  They had input into the design and implementation  of the Bridging Cultures program.  They did some co‑ordination  for provincial involvement for International Day for the  Elimination of Racial Discrimination and also Multicultural Week.

      Their support staff for the Multicultural Affairs Committee  of Cabinet have met with deputy ministers to sensitize all  departments that we do indeed want to have input when new  programs and policies are being developed.  When we do our  multicultural tree display at Christmastime for the community,  that is part of their function.

      We will be working on Immigration Awareness Week, part of the  committee to establish that.  Those are a lot of the things that  are ongoing.  There are many meetings with communities based on  the Community Calling or through the Outreach component trying to  reach communities.

Ms. Cerilli:  One of the concerns with respect to this office is  that they are doing a lot of work which is on behalf of the  minister, which sometimes oversteps the boundary of working as a  government representative it seems.  One of the things is that  the staff are appearing at various functions on behalf of the  minister, and I would like to know if there is a record of the  number of functions that the staff and the secretariat attend on  behalf of the minister and what those functions are.  Is a record  of that kept?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  The process is that a minister gets an  invitation to an event or an activity.  It is determined whether  it can fit into my schedule or whether there has to be a  departmental representative and that happens right throughout  government.  I know I have staff attending functions for the  Advisory Council on the Status of Women; I have staff attending  functions in the arts community and the heritage community on a  regular basis.

      We discussed this with the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux)  too, because I do not know whether indeed there is another  ministry within government that is as busy socially, and I think  the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) could relate to that very  easily, that there are a lot of activities throughout the  community and many activities that all three parties want to  attend and want to have a presence at because of our commitment.

      So I cannot possibly be at everything.  They have asked for a  representative to bring greetings for government, and it is not  unusual for a member of any department to represent government at  any number of functions.

Ms. Cerilli:  Well, I think there is not another department that  has the kind of office that this minister has that does that kind  of public service for the minister.  I am wondering if there is  some kind of criteria for what staff attend and what staff do not  attend.  How are these decisions made?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  The decisions are made, in fact, as a result,  in my office.  We look at all of the invitations.  We see whether  it can fit into my schedule, whether I can possibly attend.  If I  cannot be there, maybe another MLA could bring greetings on  behalf of government.  If another MLA cannot be there, then it is  a staffperson.

Ms. Cerilli:  Would the minister agree that in future and in  reports it would be responsible for this kind of information to  be provided, some kind of record of what staff have attended,  particularly in this department, as the minister said, because it  is so social and there are a number of events.

      I think that it would be responsible for that to be included  in a report, that the staff would show how they are spending  their time and how much of their time is spent attending events  on behalf of the minister.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Staff are only requested to go to represent  government if government is not going.  When you see staff from  the secretariat or the Outreach Office or any area at a function,  that is completely on a volunteer basis unless they have been  specifically asked to go and represent government and bring  greetings.  So it is a volunteer commitment on their own time  when they attend functions in the community.

Ms. Cerilli:  I am to understand that these staff are  volunteering?  They are not being paid overtime, they are not  being paid for the time that they attend these events?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Absolutely.

Ms. Cerilli:  That just makes it even more interesting as to how  this staff is operating, and I think that the minister can  appreciate that the reason for the raised eyebrows and the  questions is because of the history of the particular staff she  has working in the department.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I think the  history of someone who was the president of the Folk Arts Council  and attended many, many, many community activities on his own  volunteer time bodes well for someone that has a major commitment  to the community.

Ms. Cerilli:  What reports have the policy analysts completed?  What else can we say for how these staff people are spending time  besides acknowledging that they are going to a lot of social  events?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, any analysis  that would be done on multiculturalism would be analysis and  recommendations to me based on intergovernmental programming.  If  the Department of Education was doing a multiculturalism  education policy, in fact the analysis would be done by the  secretariat, and information would be given to me so that when  the policy came around the cabinet table I would have input based  on the recommendations that came from my policy analyst.  So it  is analysis internal to government that helps us to develop new  programs and policies that are sensitive to the multicultural  community.

Ms. Cerilli:  So that is one example that there has been some  work done on the multicultural education policy.  Are there other  policy areas that these two staff have worked on?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, the Immigrant  Credentials was one area.  The multicultural arts grants,  streamlining of that process so that we would better serve the  community needs, the Employment Standards initiative, the  Bridging Cultures program, The Multiculturalism Act, of course.  Those are some examples.

Ms. Cerilli:  I did not do the arithmetic, but if we were to do  the arithmetic to add up the amount of money that is going to pay  staff people working for the secretariat, the Outreach Office and  some of the other positions that the minister has developed in  the bureaucracy, and we were to compare that with the amount of  money going to the community groups, I think that we would see a  change in the trend when you look at the cuts made to Heritage  Language, you look at the cuts made to the Community Places  program, programs like that, there seems to be a trend that is  going to developing staff positions that are working on behalf of  the minister as opposed to having money going in the form of  grants to the communities.

      I would like the minister to clarify if she is aware of this  trend, is that intentional, and what is the impact?

* (2020)

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, indeed it was a  trend that was recommended by the Task Force on Multiculturalism  that was commissioned by the NDP government before we took over.  There was a major undertaking.  It was over $100,000 was spent on  this task force report that recommended to government that we did  not have enough people within government dealing with  multiculturalism and they recommended the setting up of a  secretariat.

      I know that one person that we find sometimes presents some  very controversial opinions and very often I like to tie his  political affiliation to some other party, and that was in the  person of Wade Williams when he sat on the Manitoba Intercultural  Council, and I was meeting with them and discussing the  recommendations that ultimately came out of that task force  report.  He was one of the people, too, that indicated that, you  know, there really were not enough people serving the community  within government.

      So it was a decision that was made as a result of that report  when we took over as government that we would establish a  secretariat.  We are at the completion now of the increases in  the staff, but those were commitments that we made, and we have  lived up to those commitments.  I believe now that we have got  enough resources within government to affect change to some of  the policies and the programs that will improve government  service to the community.

Ms. Cerilli:  I would like to clarify.  I do not think that the  task force report recommended that you cut Community Places  program grants, that you cut Heritage Language grants, and there  is a definite feeling out there that there has been a trade‑off,  that the community grants are declining.  There was stabilization  this year, but over the last couple of years they have declined  as money has been funnelled into the secretariat and Community  Outreach Office.

      I would like to ask the minister if the intention of the  secretariat as it was conceived even in the task force report was  not to be the body that would implement recommendations made to  the minister through the Intercultural Council, and if that was  not intended to be the way that this whole machine would function.

      We are moving away from that.  We are isolating the  Intercultural Council, and you know I have gone on record a  number of times talking about the way that they have had their  mandate cut back; they have had their funding cut back, their  staff.  They have had recommendations ignored.  Like, I  understand they recommended not to have another Outreach Office,  and yet we are seeing that they are being isolated and more and  more their role is being taken up by the secretariat.  That is a  concern.  Was it not the intention for those two agencies to work  better together, that the secretariat would be more of the body  that would be implementing recommendations made by the  Intercultural Council?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, you know,  government has many, many advisory committees throughout that do  make recommendations to government on an ongoing basis, and  government ultimately has to determine which recommendations they  will implement.  An advisory body is just that.  They do give  advice, but still government has to determine which  recommendations they accept and which ones they implement.  That  is the role and the function of an advisory body.  We cannot  always do everything.  Sometimes it is not feasible to do  everything or to implement all of the recommendations that are  made, and that is exactly what the role of an advisory body is.

      I believe that the Manitoba Intercultural Council and the  secretariat, yes, can work fairly closely together, and I know  there is a lot of conversation between the two areas.  I guess  the concerns that were raised initially in this question I would  like to respond to by saying, yes, indeed, there has been some  concern out there about the role and the structure of the  Manitoba Intercultural Council and that is clearly why we in fact  hired a consultant to look at that, an independent consultant.  I  think that all parties could agree that he has been a friend to  everyone.  He has never been a person that has had a political  affiliation.  I think he has just done some good things for the  multicultural community, and so I am looking forward to receiving  that report with recommendations on what structure might be the  best structure to lead MIC through the 1990s.  So I am awaiting  that, and when we get those recommendations we will deal with  them.

Ms. Cerilli:  I am looking forward to seeing the mandate for the  review.  I will ask about that a little later, but I just want to  go back to the minister's initial comments about picking and  choosing the advice that she gets and reminding her that the  Intercultural Council is the legislative body that is developed  to give advice to the minister, and there is an act which gives  the Intercultural that power.  The minister has used her full  legislative authority in filling as many political appointment  positions on that council as she can, so the likelihood that she  is going to get the kind of advice she wants to get is pretty  good from MIC at this point.

      I just find it‑‑oh, I do not know what the word  is‑‑discouraging that she has the attitude that she can just  ignore MIC in that way.  I do not know who else she consults  with.  If not MIC, who else is giving the minister advice?  Does  she have another ministerial advisory body that has been  created?  Is there some other process that she goes through when  she is looking for advice that she wants to follow?  Can the  minister clarify that?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  No, there is no other formal advisory body for  this government.  Indeed, there are many, many people throughout  the community that I meet with on a request basis, because they  have concerns that they want to bring forward to government.  Some communities feel that they can, and they do come directly to  government, not through an advisory body of any sort.  I mean  that is legitimate.  I do not refuse to meet with anyone, and I  do not send them off elsewhere.  I meet with as many from the  community as I can possibly meet with to try to listen to their  concerns and deal with the issues that they bring forward.

Ms. Cerilli:  I want to move to the act that is before the  Legislature and ask the minister one short question:  Why is this  legislation so late in the session, so late before the summer  holidays?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I did go through a consultative process with  all of the umbrella groups and individuals within the community.  I was hoping to be able to deal with everything at once, but I  guess I found through the consultative process that there was no  consensus on the Manitoba Intercultural Council.  We have made a  commitment to the community.  Many people wanted to see an act  now and that is the reason the legislation is here now.  The  community told us it was time.

Ms. Cerilli:  The political footwork with respect to this whole  area is quite an education.  I remember going to one meeting with  the Intercultural Council where I had tried to arrange a meeting  with them‑‑and that is another issue‑‑as I have not had letters  answered with meetings with them, going through Mr. Schuler, the  chair, going through his predecessor.  The whole issue of the way  that body has been politicized is of great concern and the fact  that they never used to refuse meetings with critics is an issue.

      I want to relate this to the act, and the whole way that it  has been brought in with this review of MIC and just ask the  question:  When was the Intercultural Council consulted on the  act?

* (2030)

Mrs. Mitchelson:  That was the first organization that was  consulted on the legislation.

Ms. Cerilli:  When was that?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I believe it was in March of this year.  I  cannot remember the exact date, I am sorry.

Ms. Cerilli:  Can the minister clarify what were the key elements  that the Intercultural Council felt were important to put into  the legislation?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Of course, the first comment that was made by  the Manitoba Intercultural Council was that MIC should be  included in the legislation, and then I went around the table  with all of the executive members of the Manitoba Intercultural  Council and said, okay, what recommendations would you make for  changes to the Manitoba Intercultural Council?

      I do just have a list of the comments that were made that I  will share.  There was not any general consensus.  Some people  said, all of the members of the Manitoba Intercultural Council  should be elected by the community.  Someone else said, maybe  they should all be appointed by government.  Someone said maybe  government should appoint less.  One person who is on the  executive of the Manitoba Intercultural Council said, I went out  and talked to all the organizations within my community and asked  them about the Manitoba Intercultural Council and they said, we  do not need the Manitoba Intercultural Council because we feel we  can go directly to government; we are sophisticated enough, we do  not need to go through any other organization to get to  government, we can get to them directly.  So she said to her  community, are you saying then you do not need me, and they said,  yes.  Those were her comments.

Ms. Cerilli:  While the minister is getting a list of the  recommendations for the act from MIC, I will share with her some  of my experience as a youth activist working with youth‑related  issues.  Oh, it has been a lot of years when youth wanted to have  a similar body to MIC, and the argument always becomes, well, if  it is an arm's length body that is funded and is that close, it  is never going to work, because they are never going to be truly  able to advocate on behalf of youth, bring forth their true  feelings and remain autonomous.  There will be some element of  control.  Perhaps that is true, and maybe that is why there has  never been a youth council in Manitoba, I am not sure, but this  maybe demonstrates that all of that is true.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Was there a question?

Ms. Cerilli:  No, I am waiting for you to respond to my previous  question about the recommendations from MIC.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  One person said we need to go out more to  organizations, communities, events, to find out what the  community wants.  One person said we need to ask the community  what it wants.  The act must consider what can be done to improve  MIC.  What areas should be implemented?  Rural concerns are  different from city concerns and there was some sense that we do  not deal effectively enough with multiculturalism outside the  city limits.  There was a question thrown out.  Should all of the  people be elected?  Should they all be appointed?  They need to  review and improve the election process.

      Do we need an MIC at all?  Things have changed since MIC was  started.  The MIC Act needs to be changed.  There was a concern  by one of the executive members that there was too much  representation on the Manitoba Intercultural Council by white and  black people and that there were not enough people of other  ethnic origins represented on the executive.  There was a  comment, we need to look at the role and the mandate of the  Manitoba Intercultural Council.  What are its goals?  Where are  we going?  We have been around for a while now; we need to  re‑examine it.  Is there or is there not a role for MIC to play?  Maybe we should all be appointed.  Maybe we should all be  elected.  The perception of multiculturalism as only song and  dance continues to lead some to say that we do not need  multiculturalism.  We have to examine and re‑examine and reassess  the Manitoba Intercultural Council.

      Those are comments from the executive of the Manitoba  Intercultural Council through the consultation process.

Ms. Cerilli:  I find the comments surprising, and I wonder what  the question was, and I refer back again to, I was describing  earlier a meeting I went to, I think it was last fall.  I  remember it was the same day as the anti‑apartheid rally, and I  went from there to the MIC meeting, and there was a discussion  going on about the role of MIC, and I understand what has been  happening is they have been bogged down with these discussions.

      It surprises me, if they were asked questions like, what do  you want to be in The Multiculturalism Act, that they would talk  about the role of the Intercultural Council, and I am wondering  what was the forum for that consultation, and how long was it?  Were people given an opportunity to go back?  I mean, this is  important; this is The Multiculturalism Act.  I do not think that  going and having a sit‑down with them for part of the afternoon  is enough kind of consultation.  Did they present any kind of a  brief?  I have seen one, but it is dated June 5.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, there is ample  opportunity through meetings of the Manitoba Intercultural  Council to discuss those kinds of things and we have talked about  an act now for‑‑well, it was announced in our throne speech.  We  talked about it initially when we introduced the multicultural  policy about two years ago.  We talked about it in the throne  speech and said that there was an act that was going to be  brought in this session.

      Now, I would think that, probably, if you were elected to an  advisory body to government by your community and you knew that  there was going to be an act to be implemented, quite probably  you might hold a few meetings with some community  representatives‑‑I believe some of them did‑‑to ask the community  what they felt should happen should there be changes to the  Manitoba Intercultural Council through this act, and that kind of  thing.

      These were the comments.  All I can do is indicate to you  what the comments were when the question was asked, what should  be in The Multiculturalism Act?  When the first comment that was  made was that there should be amendments to the Manitoba  Intercultural Council, my question then was, what amendments  should we make?  These are the comments that I received, so all I  am doing is reiterating the conversation as a result of that  process.

Ms. Cerilli:  Yes, it would be interesting to go back and look at  the documentation from the meeting, knowing somewhat of how the  board works there.  I want to focus on the act a bit more; I only  have a few minutes left.

      I raised the issue earlier because a number of the people  involved in the community are quite disappointed that the policy  sections, from the government's policy, that deal with government  responsibility are not included in the act.  I would like the  minister to clarify why we do not have anything in there about  affirmative action, about reflecting the multicultural nature of  our community in boards and commissions and government services.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  When we introduced the policy, there were three  basic principles.  They were pride, equality and partnership.  We  talked about the principles, that cultural diversity of Manitoba  is a strength and a source of pride to Manitobans.  I guess then,  as a result of that statement that we believe and that we set  into policy, we put that principle into action.  It is the action  part that is not in the legislation.

      Now I guess I could ask whether there might be a  recommendation or amendment from the opposition, in fact, to  include the action that government will pursue to follow these  policies.  If the community feels that is something that should  be included, I might have to seek legal advice on whether we can  put government action into legislation.  I think maybe we should  find that out so I could clarify that answer.

      But these are the steps that government has taken or is  taking to try to reflect the three policy statements that were  made.

* (2040)

Ms. Cerilli:  I hope to propose that amendment, and I will take  directly from the government policy to improve my chances of  having it accepted.  So if the government can look into that  before, I think it would be well worth it.  We are, as well,  looking into that.

      I was going to ask, as well:  the comments the minister made  the other day about not thinking that this legislation could be  directed to all of government, but that is, in a sense I think,  what she is saying this act is supposed to do.  It is not just  supposed to enshrine into legislation existing agencies.  It is  supposed to give some mandate for all of government in how to  make our community more sensitive to multicultural realities.

      So I would ask the minister to consider; like I said, I will  use the words in the government policy.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I guess when we announced the policy, normally  there is an action plan that would follow and the action plan was  part of the policy document.  But I guess what I will undertake  to do over the next couple of days is, in fact, find out and get  a legal interpretation from our legal counsel on whether in fact  actions of this sort can be included in legislation.  I cannot  give you that answer right now, but we will undertake to find out  from legal counsel and get an opinion from them.

Ms. Cerilli:  Will the minister also agree to share that legal  opinion with me, preferably before we go into the committee that  is going to deal with‑‑I do not know, it is fairly short notice  and that is part of the problem with introducing legislation just  before the break, but we are all working with those kinds of  constraints right now.  I would just ask the minister if she  would consider doing that?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I can certainly attempt to find out, and, yes,  I would share the intent of the opinion.

Ms. Cerilli:  One of the other comments I wanted to ask the  minister about with respect to the act‑‑there are other things  that I think are lacking in it, but the main thing is what we  have just discussed.  If we can entertain that kind of amendment  or have that kind of amendment I would be quite pleased.

      The comments that were made by the minister in the paper when  the act was announced talked about how this is an act that is  going to highlight‑‑and I am not using the exact words I  know‑‑but the intent was that it was going to highlight  similarities and not differences.  I found that surprising to  come from the Minister of Multiculturalism with respect to a  multicultural act.  This is an act that is supposed to encourage  people, I think, to promote and practise their culture and to  have those kinds of comments.  If I search my pile of stuff I  might find the clipping, but I know it was in the Free Press.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Yes, indeed, I did say that.  This is an act  that is attempting to unify our Manitoba society by talking  about, yes, we do have similarities.  If you look at the  multicultural ideal that is stated in our policy, and I will read  it directly.  It says that we believe "that a multicultural  society is not a collection of many separate societies, divided  by language and culture.  Rather, Manitoba is a single  society‑‑united by shared laws, aspirations and  responsibilities‑‑within which persons of various backgrounds  have. . . ."

      I will not read right through it all, but that is the  multicultural ideal that we believe should be, that we are all  members of a multicultural society.  It does not just say I can  practise who I am and what I am in my culture.  It is saying  share your cultures.  We do have similarities, all of us.  We are  all human beings and we have similarities.  It came out very  strongly in the consultation process that one of the words that  we needed to talk was respect for each other and if we talk  respect, that indeed will, hopefully, reflect our actions.

Ms. Cerilli:  I guess this is the kind of philosophical debate we  are supposed to get into.  We do not have much time, but I also  think the essence of multiculturalism is to celebrate  differences, respect differences, and that we do not have to be  all the same to be unified, that whole idea.

      It is interesting the section from the policy that the  minister just read is the section I think that a lot of  aboriginal leaders have a problem with and one of the reasons  that they often do not feel quite comfortable with the whole  concept of multiculturalism.  I would certainly think that as a  society we want to make sure that we are inclusive of them as  much as possible.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  That is exactly why in any of my comments I say  that we are a multicultural society and we were a multicultural  society from the beginning of time, because our aboriginal  peoples who were here before any of us came were indeed  multicultural.  They had different languages; they had different  cultures; they came from different areas.  In my mind that is  multicultural.  They were not all the same; they did not speak  the same language; they did not share the same customs or  traditions.  So when I talk about Manitoba being a multicultural  society, I am talking from the beginning of time.

Ms. Cerilli:  I had hoped to be able to raise more questions  about the review of the Intercultural Council to get a better  sense of what led up to this review.  What were the events that  led up to the review, particularly‑‑I will even use the word  suspicious, because it is‑‑coinciding with the act being  announced?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, the reason the  review came up was indeed because I consulted on the  multicultural act, and it was the Manitoba Intercultural Council  in many instances that indicated there needed to be a review of  the role and structure.

Ms. Cerilli:  Some of the people I talked to though were  surprised that it was announced just the Friday before the act  was announced.  What was the minister's thinking in doing those  two things simultaneously?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Well, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, we made a  commitment to bring in a piece of multicultural legislation this  session.  There is a need to very quickly determine what the role  and mandate and structure of the Manitoba Intercultural Council  are because in fact we are due for a biannual assembly next  year.  If there are amendments to be made to the Manitoba  Intercultural Council Act they should be made in time for the  biannual assembly.  So that was the rationale for doing the  review right now.

Ms. Cerilli:  I have tried to do a little bit of background  research into Heritage Language programs.  I want to note for the  minister‑‑I am not sure if she is aware of the decline in  Winnipeg No. 1 of student enrollment in Heritage Language  programs.  I have the numbers; they are down by a full percent.  I also want to ask about the amount of money that this government  is currently spending on Heritage Language programming in the  multicultural community.  Where would I find that?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, that would be in  the Department of Education in the K to 12 system in Winnipeg  School Division No. 1, Heritage Language programs.

Ms. Cerilli:  That is the only place currently where there is  Heritage Language programming in the school system?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Yes.

Ms. Cerilli:  Is there some consideration for developing more  funding for community‑based programming outside of the education  system and Heritage Language?  I know the minister has included  some rhetoric or description of this in the legislation, in the  policy, but in fact we do not see that translated into any  action.  The communities‑‑again, this is another big issue.  It  is right up there with accreditation, that fundamental to their  culture is their language, and if we are going to put in the  policy in the act we certainly should have programs that  communities can have some ownership of.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, there are  secondary Heritage Language programs that are funded through the  Multicultural Grants Advisory Council that are not within the  school system, but I think the question was asked about the  declining numbers in Winnipeg School Division No. 1, and that  would be the Department of Education.  But there are programs  through the Multicultural Grants Advisory Council that do support  Heritage Language programming in communities.

* (2050)

      That is not to say that more cannot be done, and I guess  because this was an issue that was raised on a regular basis  through the consultation process we felt it should be included in  the act.  We have had meetings with members of different  communities, and not only is it important to preserve and enhance  heritage language but we have come to recognize the value of  heritage languages to Manitoba to be able to deal in the global  economy.  If, in fact, we have people here that speak languages  that can help us access markets internationally, I think it is a  very positive thing.  So I think there are two sides to this.  There is the preservation of your own heritage language, but  there is the ability to utilize that to help Manitoba develop in  a more positive way economically.

Ms. Cerilli:  Other provinces have special funds for Heritage  Language granting programs.  We used to have one in this  province.  I would ask if the minister intends to develop  something like that again, not just relying on the MGAC, which is  pretty limited.  I mean, there are a lot of different kind of  programs that are now seeking to use that fund, and given that  there have been cutbacks in some of the other programs, I would  just make the recommendation that they resume having a granting  program to fund community‑based Heritage Language programs.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I guess on an ongoing basis we will be and  should be examining the kinds of programs that are within  government that might need changing.  If there are higher  priorities, we are going to have to refocus our energies and  resources in the appropriate areas‑‑and I am sorry, I am getting  a little tongue‑tied, making a few mistakes‑‑but that is one of  the things that we are going to have to look at.  As needs emerge  and as priorities change, I think it is the responsibility of  government to look at different ways and reprioritization of the  dollars that do presently exist to do new and different things.

Ms. Cerilli:  I will just wrap up with some comments about  another program that is being changed that the minister  mentioned, and that is removing the arts grants from  Multiculturalism.  I have been contacted by some people that were  not pleased with the way that this was handled.  That now groups  only have until the end of June to apply for arts grants, and  they used to have until August.  It is even more confusing,  because it is a different program, and they are not quite sure  applications have been changed for them.  I appreciate the  minister said that this was recommended in the review that was  done.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I will look into that.  I was not aware that  there was that concern.  I think we will have to examine that.  If there is any more detail or information that could provided on  that, I would certainly look into it.  The process was a process  of consultation and developed in conjunction with all of the  players involved.  If there is a specific instance or if you are  hearing some things, I would appreciate knowing about them and  seeing what the problem might be.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 5.(a)  Multiculturalism.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I  think we had agreed to revert to Heritage for a few minutes or to  the Heritage Federation, I should say.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Okay, if that is the  will of the committee, we will revert to Heritage.

Ms. Friesen:  Thank you, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson.  There  are just a few minutes to discuss this.  I was not here  unfortunately when the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) was  speaking, so if I am repeating some of his questions perhaps the  minister can tell me and I can read them in Hansard.

      I wanted to start first of all by, I guess, repeating some of  the things that we have said in Question Period and that is that  we want to reflect, I think, some of the anger and the anxieties  that the heritage community felt when the minister apparently  refused to meet with them on a number of occasions, did not look  or accept in person or even through her deputy minister the  review that the Heritage Federation themselves had initiated.

      There is a general sense in the community I think that there  has been a great loss of confidence in the minister on this  particular issue and a feeling that the willingness of volunteers  and the many hours the volunteers have put into the Heritage  Federation and into the granting procedures have been let down.

      I wanted to ask the minister some questions based upon that.  I know she said many times that one of the reasons for her  dissatisfaction with the federation was the extremely high  proportion of funds going into administration.  This is always a  problem, of course, for a group which has a relatively small  amount of funds to distribute, that the administration costs at a  certain level are somewhat fixed, and then beyond that,  obviously, the more money you have to give away, the lower your  fees essentially decline.  I wondered what the minister's  dissatisfactions with the federation were beyond that?  Did she  have any other criticisms of the federation?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I did go into a fair amount of detail with the  member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) on this, and we went from sort  of the inception of the Heritage Federation.  I guess, in the  first year of operation we looked at the percentage of  administrative costs as compared to the revenue.  We went from,  in 1985‑86, the first full year of operation, to administrative  costs of 8 percent to administrative costs of 26 percent in  1990‑91, and it steadily increased.

      I do know the Heritage Federation was looking again at hiring  another staff person.  They did not go ahead with that; they did  shelve that, but indeed they were looking at that.  So that was  the one thing and I guess the main thing, because when we look at  the budget process and we look at ways of trying to ensure that  the maximum number of dollars go to the community, we have to  look at administrative structures.  This is probably the highest  administrative cost of any of the umbrella organizations that do  distribute funds, so that was basically the way.

      If we can get more money to the community, with less  administrative costs, obviously the community will benefit.

Ms. Friesen:  The other way of looking at that, of course, is if  a larger proportion of lottery monies were going to Heritage,  then their administrative costs would come down pretty rapidly.

      So the minister then had no other dissatisfactions with the  federation, other than administrative costs and perhaps what the  minister might perceive as their lack of recognition of this?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  I guess there were some things that we had  heard from community groups and organizations, that there was a  need to simplify the application process and maybe one deadline  was not quite enough, one round of grant application processes  was not enough.  There were those little things that we had heard  from the community, but basically it was the decision to try to  streamline the administrative portion.

Ms. Friesen:  So does the minister then plan any changes in the  granting program?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  We have sent a survey out to some 480 people,  organizations throughout the province and have started to receive  responses back.  Those are the questions that we have asked.  We  have asked whether they want more than one application deadline,  any suggestions on how we should streamline the process, so you  can maybe remove a bit of the bureaucratic red tape.  We still  want accountability and I think both sides want that.

      There has to be accountability for the funds that are  expended, but maybe, there might be a way that things could be  dealt with in a more streamlined fashion, so that we are not  spending as much time filling out grant forms and doing reports  and that kind of thing.  We are trying to find a balance in  between those two, a little less bureaucracy, while maintaining  accountability.

* (2100)

      The other part of the process will be nominations from the  community.  I guess we have asked the question on who and what  organization or who should be making nominations.  I think it is  important that we have a rotational‑‑people sit for three years  and then other members of the community have an opportunity  maybe.  That was what I presented.  Does that sound like a good  number of years to serve, and should we stagger them?‑‑so that  you always have more people coming in.

      One of the questions that we did ask, too, was:  Would it be  important for the granting body on a yearly basis to meet with  the heritage organizations to see what their priorities are, what  priorities they have set for the upcoming year or two looking  into the future, so that when they are making decisions on the  grant applications, they have the input from the expertise in the  organizations that represent heritage.

      Those are the kinds of questions we have asked for input on.  We have asked them, too, to rank‑‑I can provide a copy of the  questionnaire, too.  How should grant requests be prioritized?  Should they be on a first‑come, first‑served basis?  Should it be  a percentage of the total requested, regional balance, quality  and that kind of thing?  Those are all questions that have been  asked for input, and the responses are coming back, and we have  got some good responses back so far.

Ms. Friesen:  One of the unusual aspects of the Heritage  Federation was its definition of six or seven disciplines,  including archives, museums, genealogy, archaeology.  Does the  minister intend to continue that representation?  I think it was  a representation which was decided by the community.  It is  unusual, and it is different from other provinces.  Is that  something you plan to continue to still reflect?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  We are not intending to narrow it in any way,  if I can answer it that way.

Ms. Friesen:  That does not quite answer it.  Are those the  bases, are those the groups which you plan to continue to  recognize as granting disciplines?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  That is a good question.  That is not a  question that we did ask on the survey.  I suppose it maybe could  have been one, and I wonder if we could follow up in any way?

      I guess if I could just seek some clarification on the  question.  Is it whether the suggestion might be that we do  change the disciplines or is that something that‑‑

Ms. Friesen:  What I am thinking of is that now you have brought  this into the department, it is not the same way in which the  department, for example, looks at the community.  How, for  example, are you going to integrate or examine the overlap or  look at the conflicts perhaps between your museums granting  program, your other publication programs, et cetera?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Ultimately we might do that.  I think the first  thing we want to do is get a system in place so that the heritage  community still receives grants next year, and if we can put in  place some guidelines and some criteria that satisfy the majority  of those who respond to a consensus of responses anyway, and get  that up and underway, that does not necessarily mean to say that  things will not change, maybe one way then that we can get at the  situation.

      You know, we did that with the arts side of things where you  try to do a little bit of block funding rather than grant project  by project because it does involve a lot of volunteer time and  commitment to fill out applications.

      I think that would maybe be the next step in a process  whereby we look at and evaluate and try not to have organizations  applying in too many different places for money, but making it  easier to apply and get, based on certain criteria and  guidelines.  That may come in the future, but I think the first  priority will be to ensure there is a grant program in place.

Ms. Friesen:  Will you be looking at the review that the Heritage  Federation themselves did and did not have the opportunity to  present to you?  Will you be including that in your  considerations?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  We have asked several times of the Heritage  Federation to share that review with us, and they have to this  date refused.

Ms. Friesen:  Were those requests made in writing, in formal  request?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  You know, the transitional team that has been  working with the Heritage Federation has asked on many  occasions.  I do not recall whether there has ever been anything  in writing.  There may not have been, but it has been a verbal  request.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, my last question  is‑‑and you may, again, have already touched on this with the  member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux)‑‑is about the future of the  reserve fund.  What steps are in process?  How is the minister  handling it?  What kind of responses are you getting from the  community?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, although I have  not received a response from the community, I have sent a letter  out to the community.  We know the $670,000 that has been  allocated for this year's grants is available within the Heritage  Federation, and we are going through the transition so that  everyone that has applied and finishes their project will get  their grant money.  Some of it went from the Heritage Federation  already this fiscal year; the rest of it will flow from the  department.

      But over and above that, there is still a pot of some  $500,000.  Our legal interpretation is that it belongs to the  community in the way of community grants.  That is what we want  to see happen with the money, and we know there are needs out  there that cannot always be met, and maybe it is an opportunity  to do some extra things this year or maybe over a period of a  couple of years.

      I believe the Heritage Federation is meeting on the weekend  with its membership.  They will be discussing that aspect and the  surplus and that kind of thing.  I cannot determine what will  come out of that meeting on the weekend, but I do know that we  believe it belongs to the community.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 5.(a)  Multiculturalism Secretariat:  (1) Salaries $189,800‑‑pass; (2)  Other Expenditures $61,000‑‑pass.

      5.(b) Community Access Office:  (1) Salaries $68,500; (2)  Other Expenditures $10,000‑‑pass.

      5.(c) Manitoba Intercultural Council $220,700‑‑pass.

      Item 6. Expenditures Related to Capital $190,300‑‑pass.

* (2110)

      Resolution 23:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $550,000 for Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship, Multiculturalism, for the fiscal year ending the  31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      Item 7. Lotteries Funded Programs (a) Grants to Cultural  Organizations:  (1) Grant Assistance $4,806,300‑‑pass; (2) Grant  Assistance ‑ Capital $7,032,000‑‑pass.

      7.(b) Arts Grant Assistance $4,307,500‑‑pass.

      7.(c) Public Library Services Grant Assistance  $1,951,200‑‑pass.

      7.(d) Historic Resources:  (1) Grant Assistance  $827,600‑‑pass; (2) Grant Assistance ‑ Capital $400,000‑‑pass.

      7.(e) Recreation Grant Assistance $923,000‑‑pass.

      7.(f) Regional Services Grant Assistance $39,000‑‑pass.

      7.(g) Provincial Archives Grant Assistance $54,300‑‑pass.

      7.(h) Community Places Program:  (1) Salaries $197,800‑‑pass;  (2) Other Expenditures $73,100‑‑pass; (3) Grant Assistance ‑  Capital $4,000,000‑‑pass.

      I have to go back to one other resolution, with your  permission.

      Resolution 24:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $190,300 for Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship, Expenditures Related to Capital, for the fiscal year  ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      7.(j) Manitoba Arts Council $5,345,200‑‑pass.

      7.(k) Multicultural Grants Advisory Council $900,600‑‑pass.

      7.(m) Manitoba Heritage Federation $400,300‑‑pass.

      7.(n) Manitoba Community Services Council $3,643,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 25:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $34,900,900 for Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship, Lotteries Funded Programs, for the fiscal year  ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      The last item to be considered for the Estimates of the  Department of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship is the item of  the Minister's Salary of $20,600, and at this point I would like  to ask the minister's staff to leave the table for consideration  of this item.  Shall the item of $20,600 pass?

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I wanted to ask the  minister about the Queen's Printer.  I gather there are some  policy changes in store for the Queen's Printer, and I wonder if  the minister could give us a quick summary of what she is  anticipating and what she expects the benefits to be.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I do not have  staff here to give any detail, but I can indicate that we looked  at running the Queen's Printer as a special operating agency last  year.  That process has not taken place, and there is a review  ongoing right now within the Queen's Printer and the results of  that review I guess will be known after the review is completed.  It is not as yet completed.

Ms. Friesen:  So the decision is not yet made?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  No, it is not.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 1.(a)  Minister's Salary $20,600.  Shall the item pass?

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I just want to put  some closing remarks on the record, just a couple of minutes.

      I think it should be duly noted that I did not move a motion  to delete the funds from MGAC this time.  It goes to show that I  can learn, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, and no  doubt‑‑[interjection! I see a number of people recall that  particular motion, even though I still sincerely believe that it  was a valid and good motion, and had it received the support it  deserved, in fact, we might have MIC distributing funds today.

      Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I did want to in closing make  some brief comments on the piece of legislation that we have  before us in the sense that there are some positive things that  are in the legislation, some things that we would like to see out  of the legislation.  There are some things that we would like to  see in the legislation, and the biggest thing that we want to see  in the legislation that I did not really get an opportunity,  because of the time to question the minister on during the  Estimates was in fact Manitoba Intercultural Council.  I want to  assure her that it is not because there was a lack of interest,  just a lack of time, in dealing with that particular issue in the  Estimates this time round and, no doubt, next year, because we  will also have a report from her group indicating what they  believe MIC should be doing or what type of a future it holds.  No doubt it will lead to a very interesting debate during the  Estimates next year.

      I did want to comment once again in terms of the Heritage  Federation and again express to the minister that it is  unfortunate that it has happened in the manner in which it has,  but being an eternal optimist, as I am, I do think that there is  some chance that, if the minister herself chose to sit down with  the representatives, they would be able to work something out, no  doubt, at least in terms of co‑operating in finding out what it  is that the government wants to be able to achieve.

      We highlighted a number of areas, both in the Culture,  Heritage and Citizenship areas.  Unfortunately, again because of  the time, we did not get to ask as many questions that I would  have liked to have asked in some of the areas that are still  somewhat unknown to myself.  Hopefully next year, we will get  Culture and Heritage closer to the top of the Estimates so that  we can have a good number more hours, so we can have a bit more  debate.

An Honourable Member:  We cannot trust you, Kevin.  You will move  another vote.

Mr. Lamoureux:  The NDP Leader‑‑he can trust me. [interjection!  It will not be more than 30 hours, but I think 20 to 25 hours of  equal, split time might be kind of a nice thing.  We probably  would not be in the negotiations so I would be able to  participate in a very full fashion.  Unfortunately, I was not  able to this year.

      With those very few words, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, we  are prepared to pass the Minister's Salary.

Ms. Friesen:  I had a few closing remarks, too.  I would like to  thank the minister's staff.  Even though they are not here, she  could convey our thanks to them for coming back and forth to the  table and accommodating the different needs that we had during  the Estimates process.

      I also want to make the point to them and to you that we did  not discuss some things, at length or even at all, that I would  very much have liked to have done, particularly Heritage, the  Archives, the Information Services, recreation policy.  I think  we passed over all of those very, very quickly.  Film policy, as  well.  I think in both of those areas‑‑the last two areas,  Recreation and Film Policy‑‑that there are some things that the  minister probably would have wanted to put on the record and some  questions that we would have had too.

      What we did concentrate on, at least from our perspective,  was Arts and was also the policy and research aspects of the  arts.  My own perspective is that what is happening here in this  department is an increasingly narrow focus.  I very much regret  the absence of any kind of policy research that I talked about at  the beginning.

      I think that some of the monies that were cut from policy  research about two years ago are now beginning to show.  It shows  particularly, I think, in the absence of innovation and in the  absence of a sense of developing audiences and developing a  broader access, not to consumption of cultural activities, per  se, but to participation and to the broader education of the  population and, indeed, of people who will go on to become  professional artists as well.  It is that area that I see  shrinking, and I do not see a departmental focus on that.

      Some of the things, I think, were included in the DeFehr  Report‑‑not all of which I would accept but some of which I still  see the department not making very great strides in.  The obvious  one, of course, is the increasing dependence, in a shrinking  budget, upon Lotteries funds, something that the DeFehr Report  and just about every other report across Canada would have said  was not the direction that culture should be going.

  * (2120)

      I am surprised in some areas of absence of policy in the  department, one of which is, particularly, the absence of  research in sponsorship, the amount of corporate and private  donors that are available in Manitoba for culture.  For a  government which is so clearly dedicated to dependence upon the  market, that surprised me.  I wanted to stress to the minister  again that it seems to me, even for a government which is so  oriented to the market, there are things only government or only  independent public policy institutes can be doing.

      There are some things which the market does reasonably well,  as I said before, and not necessarily equitably, but it does  distribute some goods.  There are some goods which cannot be  distributed by the market, particularly in cultural terms.  I  would like to direct the minister's attention to that as one of  the focuses even for a Conservative government in this period.

      I do think there are areas of relationship between tourism  and heritage, between heritage and education, and between the  arts and education, and between the arts and tourism which are  not being developed by this government, and I think there is a  very direct economic impact that is having.  I would like to see  much more effort made by the department in that area.  Again, I  know some departments are not responsive to it and have not been  in the past.

      So I wish the minister well in that, and that is certainly  one area that I would look for some changes next time, perhaps  even to getting the Winnipeg Art Gallery onto the tourist map  that the province publishes.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I will be quite  brief in my closing remarks and indicate that I want to thank  both of the critics for their co‑operation‑‑well, actually three  critics, the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) also, who has been  hopping from committee to committee tonight, trying to get  through dealing with all of her responsibilities.

      I think we have had some good debate, and philosophically, in  some areas, we may disagree.  Some of our directions may not be  the directions necessarily that other political parties would  take.  Nonetheless, we are government, and we are here to make  decisions, and we are here to try to do the best thing for all  Manitobans.

      In the area of culture and the arts, I indicated that our  focus was on empowering the community and community organizations  to look at the needs.  I do not believe we should be taking a big  brother or big sister approach to directing to a community what  kinds of activities should be happening, that they have the  resources and the energy and the enthusiasm.  We are there to  support community initiative and, yes, provide some leadership.  But I think they know what audiences they may attract and the  kinds of activities that should be undertaken.  So we are there  to provide some leadership, but we also are there to support  community initiative.

      Just to briefly talk about Lotteries dollars and funding for  the arts, and we do go through this debate.  It is too bad the  former member from Crescentwood was not here this year to add his  comments on that subject.  If you look at Lotteries dollars and  what is happening with Lotteries dollars, how government across  the country are looking for ways and means of increasing  Lotteries revenues, it is probably a more stable source of income  generation than the tax dollar is.

      So we have been able to maintain a lot of our Lotteries  programs throughout government and maintain funding for the arts  and heritage through those Lotteries sources.  We will be placing  more of a focus on tourism and culture and heritage over the next  year.  As far as The Multiculturalism Act goes, I would like to  see smooth passage of that through the Legislature this session  so all three parties can show a commitment to the multicultural  community through this legislation.

      I will wrap it up by saying, thank you very much to the staff  of the Department of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship for their  hard work, their dedication and their commitment.  We have had  four good years, and each year the relationships get better, and  we tend to be able to move ahead with policy and programming to  reflect the needs of Manitobans.  Thank you.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I too just wanted  to thank the staff, even Mr. Langtry, for all the work that they  have done.  Thank you.

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

      Resolution 19:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $1,695,100 for Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship, Administration and Finance, for the fiscal year  ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      I would like to, before we end, thank the minister, her  staff, all members of the committee for the professional way in  which they have conducted the consideration of the department.  Thank you very much.

      This completes the Estimates of the Department of Culture,  Heritage and Citizenship.  The next set of Estimates that will be  considered by this section of the Committee of Supply are the  Estimates of the Legislative Assembly.

      What is the will of the committee?  Do you want to recess for  a few minutes before you go on?

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson,  there had been agreement to deal with Justice and Aboriginal  Justice before.  We are quite prepared to deal with it now.  I  can indicate that we will be passing Justice, including the  minister's salary, but we will be keeping Aboriginal Justice  open, and we may get into Aboriginal Justice later, Monday.

  The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  The indication that  I have received is that there should be a consideration of the  Legislative Assembly before we deal with Justice and the AJI, and  other miscellaneous matters.




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  We will then  start the consideration of the Legislative Assembly which starts  on page 8 of your main Estimates book.

      Does the minister responsible have an opening statement?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  None, Mr. Acting  Chairperson.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Does the critic of  the opposition have an opening statement?

An Honourable Member:  No.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  How about the critic  for the second opposition?

An Honourable Member:  None.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Yes, I just have one  question under this area, and the Estimates are obviously  reviewed by members of the Legislature in the committee, but one  of the matters that has been raised in a public way recently  deals with an item under Elections Manitoba, and that is the  whole issue of a referendum.

      There have been proposals and specific pieces of legislation  that have not yet been dealt with in this province, dealing with  a referendum.  I know that elections cost a considerable amount  of money, and I know that not all that money would be required  for a referendum, insofar as you would not have, obviously,  rebates for election expenses, but I would like to know is there  an approximate estimate for a provincial referendum, which has  been proposed publicly in the Legislature by some members.

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):  I  am advised, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, that the cost of the  last election in Manitoba was $3.2 million to run the election,  and that is to say nothing of the cost of reimbursement of  political parties and candidates.  I do not know that number  offhand‑‑another $2.2 million, I am told, so that sounds like a  total of about $5.4 million, $5.5 million which you could expect  to be the cost of a referendum if you had to carry out the same  enumeration process and rent the same number of balloting places  and so on, so those are the numbers I have been given.

* (2130)

Mr. Doer:  So roughly over $5 million.  A second question, there  have been questions to the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) a couple  of weeks ago in the House where he stated that he was, quote:  open to the idea, he did not close the door, he did not open the  door.

      Does Elections Manitoba have a contingency plan?  I  understand it would not have any control of a federal referendum  which has been costed at $100 million; but is there a contingency  plan in the province itself for one?

Mr. McCrae:  Other than the basic machinery that is always there  at Elections Manitoba to cover an election which so often seems  to happen in this province, I cannot say that there is anything.  In fact, I know there not to be anything because there is no  legislation in place that would mandate such a thing.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  I wanted to ask the minister if  there has been any work done with regards to having a list kept  of the voters between.  I know in British Columbia they maintain  a voters' list.  Has there been any comparisons or any work done  in terms of if it is feasible for us to do it here in the  province of Manitoba?

Mr. McCrae:  There has been no study conducted in Manitoba with  respect to maintaining a permanent voters' list.  It is generally  understood, I am led to believe, that method of enumeration or  ongoing enumeration is more costly than the present system that  we have in place.  But we do not have a Manitoba permanent  voters' list as the honourable member knows.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Is the government considering it at all?

Mr. McCrae:  I am told by Elections Manitoba that the government  has given it no instructions or raised the issue.

Mr. Lamoureux:  I would suggest to the minister that it is  something that is worthy of, at the very least, the government to  look into.  In fact, a list of this nature does not just ask to  be provided for a general Manitoba election, but also could be  provided for civic elections, could be provided for things such  as by‑elections and so forth.

      There are many different uses that one could have, with the  overriding concern, one of confidentiality of course; but the  province should not be ruling it out.

      I know the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) had  introduced a resolution in the Chamber dealing with this, and I  believe it was the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) or  someone from the government benches had indicated that this is  something that should be pursued.

      I would encourage the minister, that it is definitely worthy  of looking in terms of what the costs would be and to see if  there would be some sort of an interest where you could actually  provide these lists, maybe not just for provincial general  elections‑‑again of course, with the confidentiality being one of  the most important aspects.

Mr. McCrae:  I have been involved in one way or another in  legislative processes since 1975, and at least since then this  discussion has been had from time to time.  The comments of the  honourable member are worthy of note and may indeed arise in  Manitoba some day, but I do not have any immediate machinery in  place to put such a system in place.

Mr. Lamoureux:  The minister says that these discussions have  happened for a long time, since '75.  That might be the case, and  we can sit around a table, whether it is here, whether it is  through LAMC or whatever committee you might want, or in formal  conversation; but unless, of course, the province makes a minor  commitment to at least look into the possibilities of having  something of this nature, because of today's technology, I would  imagine that it is not going to be as costly as the government  might think, especially if you look at the resources.  We have  one of the best data banks that are here through our health  services, and the medical information is something that would not  be needed, but in terms of the name and address and so forth,  there might be a way in which, given today's technology,  something of this nature could be accomplished.

      The only way the government would be able to find out for  sure one way or the other is, in fact, to at least look into the  matter.  I would suggest on that, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson,  we could go ahead and pass this section, but at least the  government should look into it.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Since there is no  line dealing with administrative salaries, we will begin with  line 1. Indemnities (Statutory) (a) Members $2,464,600‑‑pass; (b)  Speaker's, Deputy Speaker's and Deputy Chairman's additional  Indemnity and Speaker's Intersessional Payment $21,500‑‑pass; (c)  Opposition House Leader, Party Whips $7,500‑‑pass.

      2. Retirement Allowances (Statutory) (a) Allowances and  Refunds $1,288,200‑‑pass.

      3. Members' Allowances (Statutory) $2,782,900 (a) Access and  Constituency Allowance $1,500,100‑‑pass; (b) Living Allowance  $441,600‑‑pass; (c) Committee Allowance $33,800‑‑pass; (d)  Mileage Allowance $219,600‑‑pass; (e) Special Supplies and  Operating Allowance $108,900‑‑pass; (f) Members' Printing  Allowance $223,400‑‑pass; (g) Speaker's Expenses $3,000‑‑pass;  (h) Deputy Speaker's Expenses $500‑‑pass; (j) Car Allowance  $252,000‑‑pass.

      4. Other Assembly Expenditures (a) Leader of the Official  Opposition Party $165,600‑‑pass; (b) Leader of the Second  Opposition Party $15,600‑‑pass; (c) Salaries $1,997,300‑‑pass;  (d) Other Expenditures $902,600‑‑pass; Hansard $673,400 (1)  Salaries $429,900‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $243,500‑‑pass.

       Resolution 1:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $3,754,500 for Legislative Assembly, Other  Assembly Expenditures, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of  March, 1993‑‑pass.

      5. Provincial Auditor's Office (a) Salaries $2,734,000‑‑pass;  (b) Other Expenditures $176,600‑‑pass.

  * (2140)

      Resolution 2:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $2,910,600 for Legislative Assembly,  Provincial Auditor's Office, for the fiscal year ending the 31st  day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      6. Ombudsman (1) Salaries $650,100‑‑pass; (b) Other  Expenditures $83,700‑‑pass.

      Resolution 3:  Resolved that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $733,800 for Legislative Assembly, Ombudsman,  for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      7. Elections Manitoba (1) Salaries $298,100‑‑pass; (2) Other  Expenditures $38,200‑‑pass.

      Resolution 4:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $336,300 for Legislative Assembly, Elections  Manitoba, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March,  1993‑‑pass.

      We can now pay Elections Manitoba.  That completes the  resolutions dealing with the Legislative Assembly.  We can now  continue the operations of the Legislative Assembly.




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  As previously  agreed by unanimous consent in the House today, the Department of  Justice and Aboriginal Justice Initiatives were transferred to  this section of the Committee of Supply meeting in Room 255.

      The only line remaining for Justice is 1.(a) Minister's  Salary $20,600‑‑pass.

      Resolution 95:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $3,735,700 for Justice, Administration and  Finance, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March,  1993‑‑(pass). [interjection!

      Your salary.

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):  My  salary?  You guys had me going there for a while, you know.




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  The committee  will now consider the line and resolution dealing with the AJI on  page 153 of the main Estimates book.

      Item 1. Aboriginal Justice Initiatives $1,000,000‑‑

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Acting Deputy  Chairperson, there is an agreement to hold that item until Monday.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Is there agreement  that we hold this item till Monday?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):  That is agreed, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Okay.  That is  agreed, and we will hold that item till Monday.




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  The committee  will now be considering the lines and resolutions dealing with  the Canada‑Manitoba Enabling Vote on page 150 and 151 of your  main Estimates book.

      Item 1.(a) Partnership Agreement in Tourism (1) Operating  $54,000‑‑pass

      RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not  exceeding $5,807,800 for Canada‑Manitoba Enabling Vote for the  fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1993.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  I did not hear the  Chair.  Which item were you proposing?

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  I am proposing the  resolution of the Canada‑Manitoba Enabling Vote.

Mr. Doer:  The total vote?

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  $5,807,800.

Mr. Doer:  Okay.  I have some questions on it.

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):  Just hold the line a minute.

Mr. Doer:  Yes, I will ask three or four questions and then if  the minister can take those under notice and give it to the  Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) who is usually responsible for  this issue.

      What is the $1 million for Urban Development Agreement for  Winnipeg for?  Does it have any specific purpose?  What specific  function does it have?  Through which department will it flow,  and what are the objectives for that amount of money?  It is a  new sum.

      Secondly, I notice the Core Area Agreement, the majority of  it is for capital.  I would just like some explanation as to the  specifics of the capital expenditures.

      Three, the Partnership Agreement in Telecommunications:  What  component of that is for the aboriginal communication program,  please?

      Four, the specific item for Promotion of Official Languages:  What specifically is that for?  It is 50‑50 cost‑shared recovered  from Canada, and which department will administer it?

      Those are some of the basic questions.  I have some other  questions, but I will just leave those as the basis at this point.

Mr. McCrae:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I shall ask the  appropriate members of Executive Council to review Hansard, which  records the honourable Leader of the Opposition's questions, and  ensure that the answers are provided to the honourable member.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  I also have a question.  Perhaps if  the minister would take it as notice, in regards to an item that  does not appear because it has fallen by the wayside:  in terms  of the Northern Development Agreement, whether there are any  discussions ongoing at the present time in regards to a future  federal‑provincial agreement that will impact on northern  development and the specific reference to the components for the  previous Northern Development Agreement, including economic  development, including ACCESS programs, including infrastructure;  any information the government could provide us on the status of  any agreement that might also affect the Conawapa development‑‑a  federal‑provincial agreement under the Northern Development  Agreement umbrella or a separate agreement.

Mr. McCrae:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I will make the same  response with respect to the question put by the honourable  member for Thompson.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 1.  Canada‑Manitoba Enabling Vote (a) Partnership Agreement in  Tourism $140,000‑‑pass.

      1.(b) Urban Development Agreement for Winnipeg  $1,000,000‑‑pass.

      1.(c) Winnipeg Core Area Renewed Agreement $320,000‑‑pass.

      1.(d) Soil Conservation Agreement $438,000‑‑pass.

      1.(e) Drought Proofing $328,700‑‑pass.

      1.(f) Partnership Agreement on Municipal Water Infrastructure  $1,012,800‑‑pass.

      1.(g) Program for Older Worker Adjustment $1,000,000‑‑pass.

      1.(h) Partnership Agreement in Telecommunications  $375,000‑‑pass.

      1.(j) Partnership Agreement in Forestry $693,300‑‑pass.

      1.(k) Mineral Development Agreement $200,000‑‑pass.

      1.(m) General Agreement on the Promotion of Official  Languages $300,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 128:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $5,807,800 for Canada‑Manitoba  Enabling Vote for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March,  1993‑‑pass.

      I will repeat:  The committee will be considering the line  and resolution dealing with Allowance for Losses on page 154 of  the main Estimates book.





The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  Item 1.  Allowance for Losses and Expenditures $5,400,000.  Shall the item  pass?

* (2150)

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Just one general  question to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness).

      A couple of years ago he, through an untendered contract,  hired an auditing firm that wrote off some $30 million to $40  million from one of the Crown corporations, the Public Insurance  Corporation.  This year he has since found that the write‑off,  which is against the previous deficit, was in fact inaccurate,  and he has now since put that money back into his‑‑this year's  deficit.  It seems to me, where I come from, that is very  misleading accounting.  It misleads the public in terms of the  true picture of the deficit.  It makes the deficit this year or  the current deficit look better, previous deficits look worse.  Can the minister explain how this happens, why it happens and why  it was not just transferred back to previous year's deficit,  instead of the minister using it this year?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Thank you very much,  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, it is good to be back.

      The way the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) portrays the  event and its hard circumstances is factual, but he leaves it, of  course, in a steamy light, as if it is creative accounting at  work.  I am here to say it is not.

      When we hired the outside firm, the best knowledge that we  had at the time, dealing with the MPIC, was indeed that all of  the general insurance, that the liability was understated, the  allowance for losses was understated, and given that there were  still a number of files with respect to re‑insurance that were  open, the best advice from our outside auditor that came in, in  consultation with MPIC auditors, was that there would be a call  on the government and the tune, I think, was around $34 million.  I cannot quite remember.

      That is the case now for three years.  Unbeknownst to us,  about six or seven months ago, MPIC said that no, the liability,  we had over‑provided for losses and now that was not required as  a cash transfer.  We looked up the existing or the traditional  accounting practices, and although the Provincial Auditor‑‑it  will be very interesting what the Provincial Auditor does on  this, because we asked him the question:  Do you want to take it  back to the year from which it came or how do we handle this?  I  am led to believe that our inclusion in it in the terms of '91‑92  was acceptable accounting practice.

      Now, I can tell the member, there are a lot of other horror  stories that have come to bear.  My colleagues on Treasury Board  will tell you, for instance, that we did not provide enough for  allowances and losses in a number of other areas.  I can go on on  MACC; I could go on on CEDF or the Fisherman's Loan Program,  which was part of MACC.  Now we have put it under CEDF.  The  Minister of Housing (Mr. Ernst) is here, and he could tell you  how much we probably did not, when we came into government,  commit to additional allowances in the Housing portfolio.

      If we want to go back, if the member wants to go back and  open the books when we took over government, I can tell him I  would love to do it.  The very same people that did it for us,  and I was talking to the Finance minister from British Columbia,  Glen Clark, today.  I asked him about Ron Hykle, and I asked him  who did their analysis and, of course, there was a billion  dollars found wanting in improper‑‑set aside for allowances, and  a whole host of other areas.  I do not call into question the  legitimacy there.

      All I am saying is that the very same firm that did that for  British Columbia used the very same methodology for our  government when we took over from the preceding government.  By  the way, I do not think there were that many horror stories laid  at the door of the former government.  I will say that for the  record and I think the numbers show that.  There was a slight  increase, but I would have to think the member would take some  considerable pride in being a member of the former government,  that the books were not that far out of whack.

Mr. Doer:  I guess I am getting a little concerned about finances  and government, and it goes beyond partisan politics.  We all  have some pride.  When you lose a lot of seats because you have  taken some painful decisions, you want to get a little bit of  credit for the painful decisions, even if you do not have a lot  of your colleagues around you to share that pleasure.

      There were a couple of items that the minister wrote off.  One of them was Manfor and now there is an item in the Fiscal  Stabilization Fund.  We have had that debate, and we will have it  again the next time the auditor's report is out.  The other one  was the insurance.  What I was so curious about at the time of  the insurance issue was that there was so much money set aside  based on an actuarial report before that dealing with  re‑insurance, that an expert on actuarial calculations on  re‑insurance, who was supposed to be the expert in the country,  was second guessed by an auditing company that put more money  aside than two or three years later proved not to be the case.

      I thought to myself when I got your press release indicating  that perhaps the expert in this area has set aside on actuarial  basis for reinsurance was more accurate than the person who,  quite frankly, did not have that expertise.  I guess what I am  concerned about‑‑and I watched in British Columbia what has  happened, and we have all watched what has happened in  Saskatchewan.

      When governments change hands, I believe an auditor's  statement should be able to be the test, not hiring an outside  audit firm to sort of load up the previous government's‑‑I am not  saying the minister did this.  I guess we have not got time to go  into this debate, but I really think that this is becoming an  important issue.  You have got all kinds of permutations and all  kinds of ways of putting various assets against various operating  situations.

      For example, you sold the Data Services, an agency that  accumulated assets over a number of years, and then you set it  aside into your fiscal stabilization for the future rather than  against the previous year's debt.  Someday, I think we should  have some discussions on these issues, because I would like to  see in Manitoba that there are some common practices of  accounting on these things, so that there is not the temptation  to hire companies that will give you‑‑because there is latitude  "under normal accounting procedures" that allow you to move debt  from one year to the other and I think will tend to mislead the  public, generally, about the situation.  I think it could lead to  bad management in the future.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, the member is right,  and I would welcome that, but the best scrutiny is still the  opposition.  When they are in the Estimates of the Department of  Housing and the Estimates of the Department of Agriculture and  the Estimates of Industry, Trade and Tourism, particularly in  those three areas, when you are putting out funds and advancing  funds in support of either public housing, in support of loans to  farmers and/or support to businesses, ask the ministers about  what allowances are being set aside given that those loans are  not paid back and ask very specific questions.

      I can tell you, since we have been in government, our  Treasury Board in setting budgets has been very vigilant in that  area for a number of reasons.  I mean, you do not have to believe  the fact that this government wants to reflect very honestly and  openly the books, but beyond that, the member for Rossmere (Mr.  Neufeld) is a practising accountant, was very demanding in that  area.  I can tell you now, the new member of the Treasury Board,  the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), who  understands proper allowances, is very insistent that they be set  up.

      As a matter of fact, we are the only province‑‑the member for  Charleswood (Mr. Ernst) will help me here‑‑in Canada that has set  up allowance for the GRIP program.  Because, quite frankly, after  five years, we think that will not be actuarially sound, that  there is going to be a call in government.  We are the only  province in Canada that has set up already the allowances for the  expected loss.

      Now, will we be blamed five years from now‑‑indeed, if ag  prices improve, actuarial soundness of that program comes around  and there is not a call on those allowances and we bring in in  that year $50 million of allowances that we have not needed.

      This is why it is not a perfect science, but I would have to  think you would demand consistency, and you would demand to know  the rationale when we set up our allowances.  Because this is the  area‑‑you are right‑‑where governments can fudge the bottom line  quicker than anywhere.

Mr. Doer:  You would think, therefore, under this scenario, does  it not make sense that if you write off something against a  particular year, notwithstanding who was in office and who was  not, and at a later point it is determined that write‑off was not  proper, does it not make sense to move that money back to the  previous year and have it go against the accumulated debt, rather  than have it show as a financial benefit to the fiscal year under  which any government is always under a lot of pressure?

Mr. Manness:  Whatever practice you have, it has to be consistent  with the opposite happening.  So, all of a sudden, if we go now  and evaluate the public housing stock, and we find that we are‑‑I  mean, I would love to do it today‑‑$500 million short on the  public housing stock, then we also be allowed to prorate it in a  significant fashion through the '80s and the '70s.  That is what  the member is saying, because I can tell you if we did that, we  would help our bottom line significantly.

* (2200)

Mr. Doer:  First, with the public housing stock, you would also  have to show the assets.

Mr. Manness:  We found another way, Mr. Acting Deputy  Chairperson‑‑

Mr. Doer:  So it will not show assets in government.

Mr. Manness:  Not the way we show assets in government today,  no.  We do not put the value on the assets.

Mr. Doer:  I understand that, but the minister understands there  is a difference between a loss in an operating way, say, at a  public insurance corporation, and an asset which has different  values over years.  I mean there is a difference between a house  that you can sell and is an asset, or it is owned by the public,  and something that is an operating loss that is gone forever, but  this is a debate that I should not be engaging in.

      I am glad that the minister has acknowledged the concern I  had.  It is an important item, I think, because governments now  are getting horrible reputations from accountants, from auditors,  et cetera.  You look at what happened in Saskatchewan with the  latest situation; you look at what happened in British Columbia.  It is something we have to come to grips with as legislators.

      Otherwise, the budgets are going to get more and more‑‑bottom  lines are going to become political.  I think that the debate and  the policy should be political.  The disagreements should be  political, but the numbers should be absolutely constant.  [interjection!  I understand that, but you also print them.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  I appreciate the  discussion around the table.  I also appreciate the suggestions  that have been made that there be future discussions on this  item.  I would encourage that.  I would, in fact, want to be part  of those discussions.  We will, however, move in.

      Item 1. Allowance for Losses and Expenditures  $5,400,000‑‑pass.

      RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not  exceeding $5,400,000 for the Allowance for Losses and  Expenditures Incurred by Crown Corporations and Other Provincial  Entities for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March,  1993‑‑pass.




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  The committee  will now be considering the line and resolution dealing with the  Emergency Expenditures on page 156 of your main Estimates.

      Shall item 1. Emergency Expenditures $10,000,000 be passed?

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  One question that the  minister is expecting; this is a recorded announcement.  How is  the forest fire situation in terms of the money end?  Is it  consistent with the answer the minister gave me when the  Order‑in‑Council was signed, dealing with the crop insurance  reconciliation and the emergency money, or is the cheque in the  mail?  How are we doing on that?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  I am not going to  try and recite again in detail the complex arrangement we had.  Maybe the member for Charleswood (Mr. Ernst) remembers the  detail, but the cheque has been received.  As a matter of fact,  the Premier (Mr. Filmon) brought home the cheque from Ottawa, it  seems to me, one month ago.  He was hand‑delivered it by Mr.  Epp.  It was put in his hands, and that whole sordid event came  to an end.  It is bizarre.

      I cannot quite remember how all the balances took place, but  I can tell you we honoured our $38 million debt with respect to  the '88 drought, which flowed in '89 and the federal government  has honoured its $30 million liability with respect to the forest  fires of '89.

An Honourable Member:  The fires of '88.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Shall the  $10,000,000 item pass‑‑pass.

      RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not  exceeding $10,000,000 for Emergency Expenditures for the fiscal  year ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  The committee  will now be considering the line and resolution dealing with the  Community Support Programs on page 22 of your main Estimates.

      Shall item 1. Lotteries Funded Programs $4,812,000 pass?

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  The page, again, this  is?

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Page 22.

Mr. Doer:  Okay, that is the Community Support Programs.  I have  a question on this.

      Yes, there are some grants that have been reduced.  For  example, the Festival du Voyageur has been reduced; the Folk Arts  Council of Winnipeg has been reduced.  The United Way has been  slightly increased.  The Winnipeg Football Club‑‑I am a past  member of the board of directors, so I am not under conflict  anymore‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Only when it was losing money.

Mr. Doer:  Well, it was doing a lot better than it is right now;  in fact, it had a surplus.  It has had its grants reduced.  Can  the minister give us the reasons for those, please?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Acting Deputy  Chairperson, it upsets me because Bob Swain, I just saw him five  minutes ago, and he would have the answers to these.  Somewhat by  agreement, when we entered into agreement with some of the  special groups, there was a schedule and some of them had agreed  to reductions.  Subsequent to the difficulties that we found  ourselves in, we approached these groups and some of them  voluntarily offered to take less.

      Some of them, we made the decision just to provide less.  If  the member wants that detail, we can make it all part of the  public record, I can assure him.  There is an explanation for  each and every one.

Mr. Doer:  Can we have an explanation for the reductions and the  increases just so that we know, and whether, as the minister  indicated, it was by agreement or whether it was by unilateral  government decision?

Mr. Manness:  Yes, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, certainly we  will provide that information.

  The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 1.(a)(1)  Salaries $99,100‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $30,000‑‑pass; (3)  Grants $457,000‑‑pass.

      1.(b) Festival du Voyageur $340,000‑‑pass.

      1.(c) Folk Arts Council of Winnipeg $320,000‑‑pass.

      1.(d) Friends of Winnipeg Pro Soccer $50,000‑‑pass.

      1.(e) United Way of Winnipeg $2,356,500‑‑pass.

      1.(f) Valley Agricultural Society $195,000‑‑pass.

      1.(g) Winnipeg Football Club $350,000‑‑pass.

      1.(h) Capital Grants ‑ Keystone Centre $505,000‑‑pass.

      1.(j) Capital Grants ‑ Agricultural Societies $110,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 15:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $4,812,600 for Community Support Programs,  Lotteries Funded Programs, for the fiscal year ending the 31st  day of March, 1993‑‑pass.




The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  The committee  will now be considering the line and resolution dealing with the  Internal Reform, Workforce Adjustment and General Salary  Increases on page 158 of your main Estimates book‑‑line 1.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  A question to the  minister:  The government has talked a lot about reorganization  and reform and workplace adjustments, et cetera.  I have noted  that in the 1988 Civil Service Superannuation Annual Report and  the most recent one, there is absolutely no change in the size of  the public service.  So we have been reforming and we have been  cutting and we have been reducing in certain areas, community  colleges, Highways, Natural Resources, yet the net number of  public employees is still the same in the provincial public  sector.

      Where are these people being hired?  We know where the people  are being cut.  Where are these people being hired in these  so‑called internal reforms?  Is it in the mid‑management areas,  where are all these people?

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Yes, Mr. Acting Deputy  Chairperson, I do not have exact figures before me, but I will  give you some approximate numbers.  I understand that over the  last two years we have eliminated in government somewhere between  1,300 and 1,400 positions.  I am talking about the provincial  Civil Service.  That returned us to employment levels  approximately for 1986.

Mr. Doer:  Well, our indication is, if you read the other  annual‑‑first of all, positions, as you know, governments create  positions in budgets and then get rid of them in the next budget  and say that they have reduced things, so we know‑‑the minister  shakes his head.  We know that there were some vacant positions,  but the fact of the matter is that our critic identified, there  was basically the same number from '88 to '91; it went up and  then it went down.

An Honourable Member:  Since '90.

Mr. Doer:  Yes, since '90 it has gone down, I do not disagree.

* (2210)

      We know you have cut line Highway employees, we know you have  cut line Natural Resources employees, a lot of people outside of  the city of Winnipeg, I might add.  We know you have cut a lot of  employees out of the community colleges; it was one of the  largest areas of reduction.  Where have you been hiring to get  the same comparable numbers to '88?

Mr. Praznik:  I say to the member, when he identified reductions  in positions in Natural Resources and Highways, there were  reductions in terms of full‑time position equivalents, staff  years, but many of those were made up by the seasonal reductions,  so that where you had someone who was working a year is now  working eight months‑‑that would be an equivalent of one‑third  SY.  So those people are still employed with the province but for  a smaller part of the year.

      On the vacancy management which the member identified, we  have been trying to run about 5 percent vacancy management, 5  percent vacant positions in departments for the last number of  years.  That accounted for, of those 1,300 to 1,400  positions‑‑would be inclusive of the totals of the partial staff  years as well as the vacant positions that we have managed over  those two or three years, so the consequences, that we have  managed to spread those out and did not have, as the member has  identified, a lot of filled positions being eliminated.

Mr. Doer:  Okay, I will ask, have you any more reforms that you  are planning next year in terms of the public service, in terms  of major reductions and reprioritizations, et cetera?  Do you  feel you are on track now?  Have you reached your‑‑I mean, you  have gone up and then you have gone down.  You went up before the  election, you went down.  I seem to recall a similar pattern  between '77 and '81 where it went down and then it went up again,  15 percent, 20 percent spending in '80‑81‑‑[interjection!

      But the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard), that was the year  he was sworn into cabinet, I recall.

  Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Acting Deputy  Chairperson, I can assure the member we have developed five  budgets, and every one of those years we took out positions.  I  can tell him we added in through the course of the year very‑‑I  think we can count them on one hand, the number of add‑back‑ins  in staff positions.

      Now, he may say he has looked at the annual report of the  Superannuation Fund.  It looks like there are a lot of active  files there.  I think what he is saying, or what I know to be the  case, is that there is an awful lot more of work‑sharing.  I do  know that there still may be individuals through a course of a  period, or some small portion of the year that draw a pay cheque  from the government, but I can tell him that global funds  directed to salaries on the government payroll have dropped many,  many millions of dollars.  I would say $40 million or more over  the course of the last four years, and that is the real  indication.  So the staff years are there; we have not added them  back in.

      On his direct question, what are we going to do in '93, '94,  I can tell him that we are beginning the '93‑94 budgeting process  right now, and I can indicate we are still out to hunt to remove  duplication and overlap within government, and we are still going  to try and do things more efficiently administratively.  Yes, we  have some additional further plans.  They are not yet at this  point fully developed, but they will be over the course of the  next number of months.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  In Civil Service Estimates I asked  a question of the minister, and he undertook to provide the  information as to the exact number of either SYs, Civil Service  positions in rural areas versus the city of Winnipeg,  historically over the last 10 years, actual numbers of positions,  in particular, immediately before and after decentralization, and  I am just wondering when the minister can indicate whether he  will be able to provide those figures.  We had hoped to have them  for Decentralization, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, but‑‑

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, the Minister of  Labour (Mr. Praznik) will certainly provide that information, but  I want to point out, like I have said anywhere I have gone and  been asked that question, particularly by leaders of rural  communities who would like to point out that there seems to be  some contradiction, we are decentralizing on the one hand, and  yet it seems like we are taking away government jobs on the other  through budgetary decisions.  I will say the same thing to the  member that I have said everywhere I have gone.  The highest  order here is government efficiency and the government budget.  That will take precedent over the decentralization.  I have said  that everywhere and that is the way we have approached it from  Day One.  So what might appear to be conflict in some areas‑‑I  mean, we made the decisions to decentralize, we made that in  isolation, and almost all the cases, I think we have moved now  some 530 positions.

      In a few instances, decisions that came further in the  budgetary decisions, of course, have superseded that and there  have been some reductions.  That is the higher order.

Mr. Ashton:  I am just asking for the information.  We can get  into that debate, we can talk about the $10 million that was  spent to decentralize, well, $2.5 million to go and create more  jobs and cut, you know, to add one job and take back two.  I just  asked for the numbers in Civil Service, and I would appreciate it  if we could get that information hopefully before the end of the  Session.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 1.  $5,000,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 134:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $5,000,000 for Internal Reform  Workforce Adjustment and General Salary Increases for the fiscal  year ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      The time being after ten o'clock, and as previously agreed by  the unanimous consent in the House this afternoon, we will be  waiving subrule 659 to permit the Estimates of a new department  to be introduced after 10 p.m.

      Also, as agreed in the House, the Estimates for the  Department of Government Services have been transferred to this  section of the Committee of Supply meeting in Room 255.

Mr. Doer:  Excuse me.  Did we do Employee Benefits, page 46?

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  I have not got that  on my agenda.

Mr. Doer:  It is on the agenda, I believe, page 46.  Can I have  leave to make one point here, just before we move off of these  subitems.

      We actually have done this out of order before, I guess,  because we had that as a separate item.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  I understand that  this item was passed with the Department of Labour.

Mr. Doer:  Yes.  I do not know why it was.  But having said that,  I just think that if the government is going to delineate part of  the benefits and as part of a budget exercise, it seems to me to  be a very abstract concept:  a) to not have all costs of the  benefits‑‑the private sector, quite frankly, has benefits in the  26 to 30 percent range for any given employee; and b) have it in  a specific department so there is a clear, budgetary recognition  of those benefits rather than just a large amount of money, that  is, quite frankly, less than what the real costs are to begin  with and not attributed to the departments.

      For example, if you had certain benefits in some departments  higher than other departments, for example, LTD plan, in say,  areas where there is more long‑term disability, if you are going  to have this as a new item and you have put it in the budget in  the last couple of years, I think a) it should be fully costed,  and this is not, and the minister said that last year; and b) he  should work towards a system where that is in the department  budget, so it is accurate.

      I think this is just a partial measure, and if the government  wants to achieve full accounting of these benefits and in most  public or private enterprises that would happen, then I think the  government should look at reform in moving that right into the  department.  I will just leave that with the minister, the head  of Treasury Board.

* (2220)

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Thank you.  This  concludes the consideration for this section.  Could we then move  to Government Services?  Is the minister prepared?  Is he in the  room?

      I understand he will be here momentarily.  Could we recess  for five minutes?  Agreed?  We will recess for five minutes.

                                 * * *

The committee took recess at 10:21 p.m.

After Recess

The committee resumed at 10:24 p.m.




 The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Jack Penner):  We will now be  commencing consideration for the Estimates of Government  Services.  Does the minister responsible have an opening  statement?

Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister of Government Services):  Mr.  Acting Deputy Chairperson, very quickly tonight, and I will  present my Supplementary Estimates '92‑93.  I have to apologize,  they were proposed to be out a lot earlier.

      First of all, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I am pleased to  have this opportunity to present the '92‑93 fiscal year spending  Estimates for the Department of Government Services.  I will take  a minute to give you a little bit of information.  Because of the  time restraint I will not go through the full spiel.  As a  service‑orientated department, Government Services is faced with  the challenge of providing cost efficient and quality service to  other areas of the government.  The recessionary cycle which has  slowed growth in our nation and province has made efficiencies in  government even more important over the past few years.  Our  department has been and will continue to be making sure every bit  of every tax dollar is wisely spent.

      Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, the Department of Government  Services will enter into negotiations of bulk postal rates and a  standardization use of envelopes.  They will continue the  expansion of building cleaning to 30,000 square feet per employee  per shift.  The Workshop/Renovations branch reconstruction will  reduce overhead costs to allow for a more efficient operation.  Also, savings of $500,000 per year are anticipated with the  department's entry into the direct purchase agreement of natural  gas.

      The Remand Centre‑‑as known to many‑‑project will be  completed in the latter part of July, '92 at a total cost of  $26.7 million.  It will be finished in July but probably not  occupied till sometime early‑‑an official opening in September.  We will do a preliminary dry‑run for probably a month, a month  and a half.  This is a state of art facility with secure links to  the Law Courts complex.  Anyone who has not been there or any of  the critics who would like to tour the building‑‑I have been  going there approximately every month‑‑anyone who would like to  tour it, I would be glad to take you over there before we have  the official opening.  You will see the first‑class operation it  is.  I would be glad to take you over there.

      Finally, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, Fleet‑‑the other  important article.  Just to briefly‑‑of what is going on and not  to elaborate on many of our functions is, the Fleet Vehicles  branch will be converted to an SOA status effective with the  approval of the necessary legislation that is before the House at  the present time.  This change will allow the branch greater  management flexibility in order to achieve very specific  performance goals and objectives.

      I know we have a short time today.  I will not go through it  all, and I am going to hear from the critics and then we will get  to my department.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Does the critic for  the official opposition have an opening statement?

Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk):  No, I do not.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Does the critic for  the second opposition have an opening statement?

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I do  not have an opening statement as such.  I just would like to ask  the minister, given the time available to us‑‑I have been pleased  in the past with this minister's willingness to work with the  critics on specific issues and share information outside of this  process.  So I am not so concerned about going line‑by‑line.  There are a few specific areas that I would like to talk about,  particularly the SOAs.  If the minister was in agreement, and if  the critic for the New Democratic Party was in agreement perhaps  we could consider the minister's Estimates as a package and zero  in on those areas where we have specific concerns and then just  pass the whole works in one shot, given that there is an  agreement to pass this before we leave tonight.

Mr. Ducharme:  I have no problem with that.  If you want to do it  all bulk and pass the Minister's Salary, because, I mean, I would  be very frustrated if you did not pass the salary too.  No, that  is the way we handled it before, and I can understand the  department is a service department, and there are a few small  areas that we would like to cover.  If we cannot get all the  information I will get back to you with the information in  writing like we did before.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  I think we all know  the normal procedures of the Estimates debate, that we consider  the Estimates on a line‑by‑line basis or at least  section‑by‑section basis, and I just want to indicate to the  committee that is normally the way things are done.  If we can  agree to consider the whole report at this time, I have no  problem with that.  So if that is the agreement then I would ask  the minister to call his staff and we will proceed with the  consideration.

Mr. Ducharme:  Maybe I will bring forward‑‑here are the people to  keep it rolling.

* (2230)

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  I just want to  remind the committee again that under the normal practices of  debate, the Minister's Salary is traditionally the last item for  consideration of the Estimates of a department.  Accordingly, we  shall defer consideration of this item and now proceed with  consideration of the next line.

      Are we agreed to that?

Mr. Ducharme:  Just to introduce the staff:  Hugh Eliasson, my  Deputy Minister.  It will be his first time as Deputy Minister  going through the Estimates of Government Services, Gerry  Berezuk, Stu Ursel, Mr. Le Clare and Paul Rochon.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Are there any  questions?

Mr. Dewar:  Yes, I was wondering if the minister could give us an  update of the investigation of the Government Services Leasing  department?

Mr. Ducharme:  Yes, if you are referring to the one in regard  to‑‑I might as well put the name forward now‑‑Mr. Sterling  Desmond, the investigation is still being investigated by the  RCMP.  The Civil Service Commission has made a recommendation of  releasing the individual, and he has been released as an  employee.  However, he has decided to aggrieve and the grievance  will be heard before the end of June.

      I have always been up‑front on any other information.  The  same information stands that I have given in the House on  questions I have received in the House.

Mr. Dewar:  Well, will the minister be releasing the internal  audit that led to the RCMP investigation?

Mr. Ducharme:  The internal audit would be‑‑because the  individual is still grieving and the Civil Service Commission is  still dealing with that and also because the RCMP is still  investigating, there will be no release of the internal audit at  this time.

      Generally, when it is dealing with a personnel matter, a lot  of times it has been the policy of this government not to release  this information dealing with personnel.

Mr. Dewar:  Are there any other buildings that are under  investigation by the RCMP?

Mr. Ducharme:  Specifically, this was the only one that was  investigated.  They did go through files, of course, because the  individual was responsible for most of our leasing.  He was our  leasing manager.  Our own department went through files along  with the RCMP, but what we found in the investigation and what  the RCMP is mainly targeting on was the one specific file.

Mr. Dewar:  He made some comments earlier about the Remand  Centre.  What was the cost again?

Mr. Ducharme:  $26.7 million.

Mr. Dewar:  What was the original estimated cost of the centre?

Mr. Ducharme:  The original estimated cost was $25 million, and  as you probably appreciate, I was not involved in the original  $25 million.  The extra would be as a result of doing the  clearing of the soil underneath, putting in the new filtration  system for the gases to make sure that at some time at a later  date you could always go back and check them.  Also, we did add  on the recreation facility.  There is an outside court that was  originally pulled away from the original project.  Now that has  been included also.

Mr. Dewar:  I would like to ask some questions about the Human  Resources Opportunity Centre in Selkirk.  When I was asking the  Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) in Family Services  Estimates, he was saying that it falls under your jurisdiction,  the building.  Is that building currently being dismantled by the  department?

Mr. Ducharme:  I am advised no.

Mr. Dewar:  Have you been approached by the groups there in  Selkirk who are looking at alternatives to the closure?

Mr. Ducharme:  I am advised no.

Mr. Dewar:  So what is going to happen to that facility then,  once it closes down in a matter of weeks?

Mr. Ducharme:  We will go through the normal channels.  As you  know, if there is a government building that does become  available, we consult all departments first and we will go  through that process.  All departments are offered the building  first.  If some other department or the government wishes to use  a building, then they have the first option.

Mr. Dewar:  Have you been approached by any other department of  government interested in that facility?

Mr. Ducharme:  Yes, we have had preliminary discussions  apparently with another department.  It is very preliminary right  now.  This is the option that is available.

Mr. Dewar:  I guess the minister is aware of the current  situation in Selkirk, that some of the current provincial  buildings are rather overcrowded.  Could this facility be used to  ease some of that overcrowding of the current facility?

Mr. Ducharme:  I was out to Selkirk.  I have been out there, and  as you probably appreciate, when departments come forward, they  use Government Services as a facility provider.  They come to us  and then we make a proposal to Treasury Board if they require and  they request more space.  Then we make a submission to Treasury,  and then Treasury decides whether they should have the extra  square footage or not.  Each one is based on each application to  Treasury Board.

Mr. Dewar:  Your predecessor gave us some information on February  1, 1991, and in it, it states there that it is under the subject,  capital construction projects, a detailed list.  It says, Selkirk  leased new space for Highways‑Ag building.  The Selkirk  provincial office is extremely overcrowded, and so on.  It says,  Highways received Treasury Board approval to include this item in  the 1990‑91 Estimates.  Do you know if that was?

Mr. Ducharme:  I am advised that the whole office situation in  Selkirk is being reviewed once again, so when we finish that  review, then we will decide and make a presentation to Treasury.  If the member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar) wishes, I will, after we  have gone through that presentation or that process, advise him.

Mr. Dewar:  I noticed in the local Selkirk paper you had a tender  for office space.  What was that for?

Mr. Ducharme:  I am advised that was Decentralization.  That  would be put out by the Decentralization group, not by our  department.  We have no record of that on ours.

Mr. Dewar:  Speaking of Decentralization, has any Government  Services employees been decentralized to Selkirk, and if so, how  many?

Mr. Ducharme:  Five to Selkirk.

Mr. Dewar:  Where would those five be sent to?

Mr. Ducharme:  We are advised that they are in the Government  Services building on the Selkirk hospital site.  I did visit that  one; it is a District 2 office.

Mr. Dewar:  Do you know if there are any further employees who  are going to be decentralized to Selkirk, and if so, how many?

Mr. Ducharme:  If you are asking from our department, we are not  aware of any at this present time.  But, of course, as you know,  Mr. Reimer, who is in charge of Decentralization, will be going  around and does visit, go around the province, then advises and  corresponds with the different departments to find out who can be  decentralized.  He is going through that process, but we do not  have any out of our department.

Mr. Dewar:  How about some of the other rural areas?  How many  other employees have been decentralized and to where?

Mr. Ducharme:  Land Acquisition, which is part of our department,  will move 34 employees as of March 1993 to Portage la Prairie.

Mr. Dewar:  And that would be the extent of your decentralized  employees?

Mr. Ducharme:  So far.

Mr. Dewar:  I would like to talk a bit about some of the  contracting out of the Government Services department.  I guess  we could talk about contracting out in general.  Have you  increased contracting out in the past year?

Mr. Ducharme:  What we are doing and what we do in our department  is probably consistent in looking at cost ways to do business  because that is our job.  We have contracted out, for instance,  postal services, the trucks, but on the other hand, we have also  increased and decided to do our own computerization,  maintenance.  So if it is efficient to hire our own employees, we  have done that.  We have done that through‑‑as you know, computer  repair is probably so costly, we have brought in our own  maintenance people because of the expense, where in postal we  have contracted out some trucks that we had.  Now we have  people.  So wherever it is most efficient we will do it.  We have  done it both ways.  We have hired our own staff to do our own  work and we have contracted out and will continue to look at  various means to save the government and the servicing business.

* (2240)

Mr. Dewar:  I would like to ask some questions about the  government purchasing policy.  Has the government's department  purchased any items from the United States recently?

Mr. Ducharme:  Not since Christmas, but, to be honest with you,  the Christmas trees were bought from the same place as the  previous government had bought.  I was only kidding, of course.  To give you an idea, total purchases by our Purchasing Branch  during the '91‑92 year was $109 million.  Of this amount,  approximately $600,000 or one half of 1 percent represented  purchases made, remember, from U.S. suppliers.  The greater  portion of these purchases covered medical, aircraft and other  specialty products not available in Canada.  Usually with the  system that we have through the purchasing system set up in  western Canada, WPIN and that, we have been able to purchase from  B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and also our suppliers have been  able to sell to these.  So we actually have a good purchasing  arrangement that is probably going to be nationally‑‑within, I  would say, a year it will be right across Canada.

Mr. Dewar:  Just a few more questions.  I wonder if the minister  could tell us about the Fort Osborne complex and what are his  department's plans for that complex.

Mr. Ducharme:  Preliminary plans now are to continue to look at  it.  We will be making some recommendations probably along the  way to cabinet or Treasury Board, but you have to remember that  if you do anything with that site, you are probably going to have  to‑‑you have probably heard it before, there were not enough  options given and what we are doing now is studying the different  options on the site, and probably it is the same as anything  else.  There are times that you do offer land for sale, but you  have to wait for the right type of market conditions, and what  was proposed there before is not, no one is really building any  large condominiums or building any large purchases right now for  rental.

Mr. Dewar:  Is the property for sale now?

Mr. Ducharme:  Our property is for sale if we get the right price.

Mr. Dewar:  Are there any plans for the government to revitalize  the complex in any way?

Mr. Ducharme:  As you know, there are buildings there that are on  the Heritage list and they will be revitalized.  That is a very  important key in that whole site.

Mr. Dewar:  I will let the member for Osborne‑‑

Mr. Alcock:  I should probably preface my remarks by saying that  in my experience in government, Government Services is probably  the one department that suffers the severest sort of constraints  in government, and probably get the greatest amount of criticism  internally, and yet when you get to work with them, probably does  one of the best jobs.  I am a little interested in this move to  SOAs, and that is really an area that I would like to talk about  in some detail today.

      As I understand the rationale for it, it is that certain  functions in this department‑‑and from the bill that is before  the House, I suspect, and others‑‑have been identified as  potentially benefitting from moving to a different form of  management, some ability to establish a cost level, some ability  to operate on a cost recovery or in some way define the  relationship between the services being provided and the cost at  which it could be built, to put it more on a private sector sort  of system.

      I would like to understand, what are the specific constraints  within the department that have led the minister and the  government to feel that they have to move to this form of  operating structure rather than to simply free the department to  operate by a change in overall policy?

Mr. Ducharme:  I know that the member asked me a couple of  questions earlier this year in regard to it.  Maybe I could go  back and mention that.  I will give you just the general  information I had when I first looked at it.

      As you can probably appreciate, when you are servicing a  government with 2,500 automobiles and you are at the needs of  these different departments, most people always feel that it is  government, period.  In other words, it is all the same people  dealing.

      However, if you make people more accountable, and they know  that they have to give you the cost they must obtain from the  different departments, and your people who are running that  agency have a capital investment that they get into that  mandate‑‑right now, the way it is set up, as you know, is that  they are given their bottom line.  They are given an allowance,  for instance, a capital allowance to start with, and then they  are told to come back the next year.  In between that period,  they can run it probably‑‑they do not have to come back, for  instance, to Treasury Board at every whim of that particular‑‑say  they want to go out and buy a new computer system to update their  vehicles or keep their repair costs.  They do not have to go back  to Treasury Board.  They can go out and purchase that and figure  it over their lifestyle.  As long as they come back at the end of  the year and show the bottom line.  It allows a little more  flexibility in their operating.

Mr. Alcock:  If the minister could just clarify, when you are  using the term "they" and you are talking about the "thems" who  have these budgets that they can manage, you are really talking  about the operating departments that may have a need of vehicles,  for example, who would have the capital budget within their lines  now.  They would purchase, and they would then purchase services  from the SOA?

Mr. Ducharme:  No, it is the fleet that has it, when I am talking  about the SOA.  In other words‑‑I will give you an example.  We  can set a part, we can set a goal over, say, four or five years  and not have, for instance‑‑as long as we come back with the  bottom line each year our course cannot be changed by Treasury  Board, you know, and say to us two years down the road, I am  sorry but you no longer can capitalize your fleet over four  years; you must do it over five years.  If you understand what I  am saying.

Mr. Alcock:  Well, I am not certain that I do.  If I understood  what you said, you said that you would not be affected by  Treasury Board.  I presume that means that you would, by  establishing this sort of mini arm's length arrangement that I  see inherent in, I think it is, Bill 96, is it not, to establish  the SOAs, that you would have some capacity to operate  independent of the constraints of central management.  I am  unclear yet as to what‑‑I mean, other than what you have said so  far is that you will have an ability to budget over, say, a  five‑year period, and I presume then carry some money between  years.  That may be one aspect of it that is not currently  available to operating departments.  I am just wondering, though,  why it is necessary to go the route of setting up another form of  organizational structure within government, why simply that  policy decision could not be made and offered to Government  Services without the additional organizational changes.

* (2250)

Mr. Ducharme:  I was trying to get an example to try to go back  to what I gave you the answer to before.  Right now, if I bought  an automobile, I have to expense it this year under the system.  Under the SOA, if I buy an automobile, I can expense it over the  five years.

Mr. Alcock:  Yes, I understood that part of the example, and from  the remarks of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) in  introducing the bill for establishing these things, he spoke  about things like moving accountability for decision making  closer to managers and allowing people greater ability to make  decisions within their operating branch and then they would be  held accountable for those decisions.  Terrific.  It sounds  really good.

      Why do you need this structure?  Why could you simply not  give to the department or give to the branch the authority to  budget over five years?  Why do you have to go the extra step of  setting up the SOAs?  If it is good to do this, if it is good to  give this kind of accountability to line managers and allow them  to accrue or to save some money and carry it over because they  can manage their expenses a little better‑‑this has been talked  about in government for a long, long time; I appreciate the  direction you are going‑‑I just do not understand why you have to  create yet another form of organizational structure to do it.  Why can you not just change your central manual of administration?

Mr. Ducharme:  We went through this when we set up the SOA.  I  looked at a lot of the other aspects of it about maintenance, et  cetera, and what we are doing now, and I am advised that The  Financial Administration Act does not allow me to do that now  under the system, where under an SOA then I can do it.

Mr. Alcock:  That takes us to the heart of this discussion.  That  is true.  The Financial Administration Act does not allow us, so  we have a choice.  We create yet another management structure for  government that avoids the constraints of The Financial  Administration Act, or we amend The Financial Administration  Act.  They both take a piece of legislation.  They both take some  action from government.

      The government, instead of tackling what I think is the  larger problem, which is an unwieldy form of central management  that robs managers of any kind of ability to be managers, and  dealing with that‑‑and I admit it is a big job‑‑you avoided all  of that by setting up something else.  So now we have more  complex government, and we have another piece of organizational  administrivia to get through instead of simply dealing with the  real problem, which is The Financial Administration Act.

Mr. Ducharme:  Well, generally, I have to say to you that when I  am looking at my department and I see 2,500 automobiles, I am to  suggest ways and means of doing that.  However, as you know and  you have just hit it, the complexity that is out there, I cannot  start going to the other ones.  What I can do is advise Treasury  Board that here is a route to go, that we can probably provide a  better service and maintenance and administration by going to  this particular one, one that we know of and that was the  automobiles.

Mr. Alcock:  Yes, I certainly do not mean to hold this minister  or this department accountable for the failures of the Finance  minister and The Financial Administration Act, but it just  strikes me as passing strange, to quote another member of this  Chamber, that you have not tackled that particular problem.  I  shall not belabour this. [interjection!

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  I am sorry.  The  minister can talk as long as he wants.  Until I recognize him,  his mike will not go on and his comments will not be on record.  Therefore, I will recognize the member for Osborne and ask him to  finish his question.

Mr. Alcock:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I appreciate your  intervening to defend my interests.

      Rather than continue the discussion about whether it should  or should not be, you moved in this direction, and certainly I am  in full agreement with the stated goal of this, which is to allow  managers to manage.

      You mentioned vehicles.  Now there seems to be a bit of a  change from the discussion we had in the House a little while  ago.  I just may have misunderstood you the last time.  I had  understood, originally, that an operating manager in another  department who had an allowance for vehicles‑‑you know, if I am  manager of X branch somewhere and I have three cars at my  disposal that I have requested and money has been included to  provide those to me, can then choose‑‑will now be purchasing  services, if you like, from this SOA, which is now the provincial  garage, and this will be a competitive service to others that I  might purchase privately.

      Now to do that, it seems to me that I have to have, within my  budget, the capital to purchase the vehicle and some operating  allowance to purchase not just gas but also repairs.  From the  answer that was given earlier, it seemed to me, if I understood  it correctly, that the capital is going to be retained within the  provincial garage, so I could not go elsewhere to purchase a  car.  What about the operating?  Will I be able to go elsewhere  to buy a new axle or a tire or whatever?

Mr. Ducharme:  I guess what we did not say in the House before  was that there was the three‑year trial period.  We have to have  a‑‑after the three years, definitely, yes.  You will be able to  do that, after we have reported back with our annual, and we will  be reporting back to Treasury Board, but the anticipation is  three years.

      The member did mention many, many other departments.  I  cannot speak for them, but I am saying that out of my department  this was probably the best one to try it out, because it is  probably one of the things that is most abused because people  take it for granted that we supply the automobiles at whatever,  and not cost them out to their true form, and this is one way of  doing it.

Mr. Alcock:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, yes, and not take  advantage of some economies that they might otherwise if they had  some incentive to do so.  I concur with that.

      Now you are talking about an SOA for‑‑I suppose the other  thing, too, in Government Services, you have a series of services  that can be costed, and there is some sort of competitive measure  to cost against, unlike police services or court services or  whatever, it might be a little more difficult to establish such a  regime in.

      You mentioned a change, too, where internally you had  established a computer repair service.  I just became aware of  this actually two days ago.  I would like to know:  Are you  intending to move to an SOA with this particular unit?

Mr. Ducharme:  Well, there has been no anticipation of that at  this time.  What we have primarily gone to is found that the  costs of servicing computers, we could do them much cheaper the  majority of the time.  The reason for that is, as you know, a  secretary can call someone in and he only spends five minutes  there.  He finds out that she maybe forgot to put the right plug  in the right place, and it was only a five‑minute call, whereas,  you know‑‑and you have been involved in computers‑‑somebody else  will charge two hours to get there and maybe we had somebody on  site at the time.

Mr. Alcock:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I would like just to  pursue this one more step, because when I say I just became aware  of this the other day, it was because I have two of my boxes  apart changing boards right now, and it was suggested to me that  one of the things I might do was seek repair services through  Government Services and that they would then supply the service  and then they would bill me in some fashion for the service  supplied.

      If they are not functioning as an SOA or not intending to  move to begin functioning as an SOA, how are they establishing  the pricing for that?

Mr. Ducharme:  I guess it would be the same as if we had to do a  chair for you and reupholster a chair in our factory and stuff  like that.  We do it at our cost.  We book you out at our cost,  just being nice people to you, that is all.

Mr. Alcock:  I am tempted to talk about my $96,000 bunk beds, but  I shall not because I would not want to use up the time of this  committee doing that.  That is a 10‑year‑old example‑‑or actually  an 11‑year‑old example.

* (2300)

      There is some difficulty‑‑and I assume that ultimately what  you are headed to in the SOA simply charging out at your cost may  not be at the competitive rate.

Mr. Ducharme:  What we do now, same as probably the City of  Winnipeg, we have always kept some private around to know what  they are charging, so we use that as a comparison.  City of  Winnipeg does that with all their public works.  They do 15 or 16  percent of their own in‑house and they compare to the private.  So we do that also, we compare to the private costs.

Mr. Alcock:  I think I will simply close any questioning I have  with just a couple of remarks right now.  I note that we are at  eleven o'clock.  I note that there was an agreement to try to  deal with this issue area within that time, and I am not certain  whether the member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar) has additional  questions.  Maybe I will just bring my questioning to a close now  with the following remarks.

      I am going to be discussing at some length with the Minister  of Finance (Mr. Manness) the concept of SOAs.  I would be  interested if the minister were available for that debate on that  bill in committee, because I want to better understand the  concept and this problem of not dealing with what I believe to be  the fundamental issue, The Financial Administration Act.  Having  said that, and assuming that the Finance minister is going to be  no more receptive to my suggestions in that area than he is in  any other area, you are going to get launched on this new path,  and I wish the department well.

      I really think that failing a more appropriate change of the  management structures of government, this is as good a way as  any, and I think this is a good department to start it in and to  give people an opportunity to show what they can do, because my  underlying faith is that the department can do an awful lot and  can do a lot to turn around perhaps some of the less than  complimentary reputation it has had internally.  I have great  faith in both the minister and the management of the department  to do exactly that.

      With that, I will pass it back to member for Selkirk.

Mr. Ducharme:  I guess just to re‑emphasize why I went to SOA on  the vehicles is that when you look at, you can do a better  cost‑‑and try to figure out when you have 2,600 vehicles and they  are roughly doing in the vicinity of 59 million kilometres‑‑and  that is probably why this particular one out of our department  was the one that we suggested at this time.  To the same member,  I hope it is successful, because if it can give us service and  keep the employees happy the way they have come along on this  one, we have gone a long way.

Mr. Alcock:  I am sorry, Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, there was  just one final‑‑the minister did say in the presentation on the  SOAs too that there had been extensive discussions with both  management and the bargaining unit and all of that, and that  there was, as I understood, a working together on the part of all  parties to implement this process.

Mr. Ducharme:  Yes, as a matter of fact, we were able to put an  employee on the advisory board and he will participate and they  elected that person as select, and the employees seem to be very,  very keen on what is going on.  They feel like a little family  out there that really is keen to keep this going.  We have a very  good person running it and we have kept that person, who will  continue to run it, by the name of Dennis Ducharme, no relation.  Most people who have dealt with Dennis know he does a superb job.

Mr. Dewar:  I have no questions.  I want to thank the minister  and his staff this evening.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 1.  Administration (b) Executive Support:  (1) Salaries  $335,500‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $41,600‑‑pass.

      1.(c) Finance:  (1) Salaries $799,700‑‑pass; (2) Other  Expenditures, $144,600‑‑pass.

      1.(d) Human Resource Services:  (1) Salaries $547,000‑‑pass;  (2) Other Expenditures $72,900‑‑pass.

      1.(e) Systems:  (1) Salaries $343,000‑‑pass; (2) Other  Expenditures $63,100‑‑pass.

      1.(f) Lieutenant Governor's Office:  (1) Salaries  $85,900‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $66,500‑‑pass.

      Item 2. Property Management (a) Executive Administration:  (1) Salaries $137,900‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $16,300‑‑pass.

      2.(b) Physical Plant:  (1) Salaries $19,238,700‑‑pass; (c)  Other Expenditures $13,825,900‑‑pass; (3) Preventative  Maintenance $169,500‑‑pass; (4) Less:  Recoverable from Other  Appropriations $1,886,000‑‑pass.

      2.(c) Workshop/Renovations:  (1) Salaries and Wages  $2,436,300‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $252,100‑‑pass; (3)  Workshop Projects $3,283,300‑‑pass; (4) Less:  Recoverable from  Other Appropriations $5,072,800‑‑pass.

      2.(d) Leased Properties:  (1) Salaries $45,000‑‑pass; (2)  Other Expenditures $83,574,400‑‑pass.

      2.(e) Property Services:  (1) Salaries $350,100‑‑pass; (2)  Other Expenditures $248,100‑‑pass; (3) Less:  Recoverable from  Other Appropriations $244,300‑‑pass.

      2.(f) Security and Parking:  (1) Salaries $2,720,300‑‑pass;  (2) Other Expenditures $660,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 59:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $119,754,800 for Government Services,  Property Management, the fiscal year ending the 31st day of  March, 1993‑‑pass.

      Item 3. Supply and Services (a) Executive Administration:  (1) Salaries $145,500‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $8,300‑‑pass.

      3.(b) Fleet Vehicles:  (1) Salaries $0‑‑pass.

      3.(c) Office Equipment Services:  (1) Salaries  $499,600‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $1,337,500‑‑pass; (3)  Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations $1,741,200‑‑pass.

      3.(d) Purchasing:  (1) Salaries $1,398,600‑‑pass; (2) Other  Expenditures $284,000‑‑pass.

      3.(e) Material Distribution:  (1) Salaries $739,700‑‑pass;  (2) Other Expenditures $5,327,700‑‑pass; (3) Less:  Recoverable  from Other Appropriations $5,566,400‑‑pass.

      3.(f) Telecommunications:  (1) Salaries $614,100‑‑pass; (2)  Other Expenditures $2,097,600‑‑pass; (3) Less:  Recoverable from  Other Appropriations $1,756,800‑‑pass.

      3.(g) Postal Services:  (1) Salaries $696,500.

Mr. Alcock:  Mr. Acting Deputy Chairperson, I am sorry, do not  call the staff back for this one, but I would be remiss if I did  not say one thing about this particular line.

      I am delighted with the Postal Services.  I just want to say  one very simple thing:  I am delighted with the changes in the  Postal Services, the folks down there have been absolutely superb  in the service that they have offered us recently.  It has just  been a really wonderful change.  They have been really helpful.

The Acting Deputy Chairperson (Mr. Penner):  Item 3.(g)(1)  Salaries $696,500‑‑pass; 3.(g)(2) Other Expenditures  $232,400‑‑pass; (3) Postage $5,344,200‑‑pass; (4) Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations $5,172,500‑‑pass.

      3.(h) Land Acquisition:  (1) Salaries $1,468,400‑‑pass; (2)  Other Expenditures $267,800‑‑pass.

      Resolution 60:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $4,770,000 for Government Services, Supply  and Services, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March,  1993‑‑pass.

  * (2310)

      Item 4. Accommodation Development:  (a) Salaries  $2,032,200‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $646,000‑‑pass; (c)  Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations $500,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 61:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $2,178,200 for Government Services,  Accommodation Development, for the fiscal year ending the 31st  day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      Item 5. Land Value Appraisal Commission (a) Salaries  $86,300‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $45,700‑‑pass; (c) Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations $69,600‑‑pass.

      Resolution 62:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $62,400 for Government Services for the  fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      6. Disaster Assistance (a) Emergency Measures Organization:  (1) Salaries $523,300‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures  $187,200‑‑pass.

      6.(b) Disaster Assistance Board:  (1) Salaries  $135,400‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $15,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 63:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $860,900 for Government Services for the  fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      7. Expenditures Related to Capital (a)  Acquisition/Construction of Physical Assets‑‑Government Related  $13,271,300‑‑pass, Recoverable from Canada $1,117,900‑‑pass; (b)  Vehicle Replacement; (c) Departmental Capital $249,900‑‑pass.

      Resolution 64:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $13,521,200 for Government Services,  Expenditures Related to Capital, for the fiscal year ending the  31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      Since the minister's staff is not here, 1. Administration (a)  Minister's Salary $20,600‑‑pass.

      Resolution 58:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty  a sum not exceeding $2,520,400 for Government Services,  Administration, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March,  1993‑‑pass.

      The time being after 11 p.m., committee rise.



* (1900)

Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Order, please.  Would the  Committee of Supply please come to order.  This section of the  Committee of Supply will be dealing with Estimates for the  Environmental Innovations Fund, page 157 in the Estimates book.  Does the honourable minister wish to make an opening statement?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  I presume, with  the agreement of my critics, that we will sort of roll the  Innovations Fund in with the Department of Environment Estimates  and keep moving through it if that is‑‑Is it the desire to start  with the Innovations Fund?  I can give my opening remarks and  then we will go to the Innovations Fund immediately?  That is  what the Chairperson called.

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Just to clarify that the  Estimates for Citizenship and multiculturalism are going on in  the other committee and that I want to, within the hour, that we  would break here, Natural Resources is going to come in and then  I would go for an hour to the other committee and then return.

Mr. Cummings:  It is my intention to abbreviate my opening  remarks.  What I would want to point out is the fact that the  Department of Environment has been playing a critical role and  contributing to our government's commitment to sustainable  development.  There have been a number of areas that we have  included in our Estimates for this year that I think will help to  substantiate that claim.

      The department put together, as part of their planning  process, a mission statement which they revised to read:  to  ensure a high level of environmental quality for present and  future generations of Manitoba to acknowledge the department's  regulatory role in defining environmental quality targets and  targeting compliance, but also recognizes the importance of  promoting activities carried out by the department and others  that we meet those targets.

      The department identifies four areas of commitment as the  basis for carrying out our mission.

      First of all, a commitment to pollution prevention,  importance of expanding our focus on pollution control to  pollution prevention.  It will intensify the development of ways  to go beyond our regulatory mandate and build effective ways for  anticipating and preventing potential problems.

      A commitment to service.  The department does provide a range  of services to ensure a high level of environmental quality, and  the department is committed to emphasizing a service‑oriented and  consultative approach in carrying out its mission.  We believe  that this was enhanced through our decentralization commitment  that was made some three years ago.

      A commitment to accountability.  Given the complexity of  environmental challenges currently facing the department, it is  impossible to address these all in the same way and to the same  degree.  The department will provide ongoing reporting of its  priorities and strategies.

      There is a commitment to quality, delivering quality service  and knowing that our customer, i.e. the public, what their needs  are in pursuing excellence in providing those needs.  The  objectives of the department are to deal with water quality, to  ensure that there is an environmentally safe disposal of waste  including solid, hazardous and liquid; to ensure high level of  air quality; to maintain our scientific knowledge base and their  capacity in regard to both global issues and point and area  sources of emissions; to ensure protection and rehabilitation of  soil vegetation and wildlife; to ensure that effective and  efficient support for public health programs is established.

      Part of our strategic plan.  The department has been  developing long‑term plans through a series of workshops.  The  department, when that is completed, will have an internal review  of this plan to identify implementation opportunities and how it  can be integrated into day‑to‑day operations.

      Several programs under waste reduction and prevention will  come into effect in fiscal year '92 to support The WRAP Act and  our goal of 50 percent reduction in solid waste.

      The fiscal support funding program such as the Innovations  Fund will be made available to projects in support of the WRAP  program objectives.  Beverage container and packaging regulations  are now coming into effect.  This regulation will be to ensure  that container recovery meets or exceeds levels achieved in other  provinces.  This will be done by filing of waste reduction plans  by distributors, licensing the distribution of beverages,  establishing target recovery rates, establishing a program to  monitor the recovery, establishing penalties for not meeting  those targets, retailers to either install recycling bins or  inform customers of closest recycling depot, container processors  to provide recovery information.

      An information management system is being established to  ensure that data are collected and evaluated.

      Newspaper recycling.  We have made a commitment of $200,000  towards the improvement of newspaper recycling capacity in this  province.  Of that, $100,000 has been earmarked and has been  expended in rural Manitoba, and the balance is available for use  within the city of Winnipeg.  There obviously will be some  further opportunity to discuss that.

      Tire recycling and recovery.  As we talk, there sits on my  desk a paper for a request for proposal that we will be dealing  with in the public sector in the next short number of weeks to  start the capacity building and the ability to recycle tires out  of the waste stream.

      Oil recycling.  We are developing regulations that will lay  out the standards to be met for recovery and recycling, and the  petroleum products industry has pledged its support with  collection and recycling to take place later this year.

      Regional recycling networks have seen a wide acceptance.  There has been an expansion in the level of recycling and waste  reduction activities carried out across the province.  The  priority up till now has been establishment of regional recycling  networks through some support from the Innovations Fund to  support technical and practical assistance to communities.  The  time has come to strengthen this co‑ordination among regions so  that the information may be shared.  I can talk about that later  on in my Estimates.

      Regional waste management:  In the fiscal year '91‑92, the  department organized a program to promote regional waste  management solutions as a very effective way to reduce the sheer  numbers of waste disposal grounds that we have across rural  Manitoba.  That has been supported by the Association of Urban  Municipalities and the Union of Manitoba Municipalities, and I am  very pleased with the relationship that we have been able to  develop with them.  The challenge of achieving sustainable  development means we must rely on new and effective ways to  ensure our environment is protected.  Regulatory strategies  provide a critical set of tools, but the department is actively  exploring ways to apply policy approaches that are based on the  efficiency of marketing mechanisms in allocating costs.

      One of the areas that has taken a considerable amount of time  from a very small section of my department, I suppose, is the  Ozone Depleting Substances program.  The regulation will come  into effect July 1.  The act has been proclaimed, and this action  is consistent with efforts being developed across the country and  around the world.

* (1910)

      Our program is being viewed by a number of jurisdictions  across the country as one from which they can pick up ideas and,  to some degree, follow along.  In fact, we are very much in line  with the national standards and protocol.  Very briefly, it  requires mandatory recovery and recycling of designated CFCs,  proof of training prior to servicing equipment, record‑keeping  requirements, record‑keeping for wholesalers as well‑‑servicing  of refrigeration and air conditioning and fire extinguishers is  prohibited unless recovering is available‑‑and labelling to  identify ozone‑depleting substances, removal of certain hand‑held  Halon‑based fire extinguishers and the use of ozone‑depleting  substances for flushing or leak testing is now prohibited in most  circumstances.  The use of a designated ozone‑depleting substance  as a solvent will be prohibited in the future, and the use of  designated ozone‑depleting substances for sterilants will be  eliminated by 1994.

      All of these steps are not without some difficulties, but I  would point out that we have been able to second a person from  the private sector to provide training.  The numbers that have  been trained are quite significant.  I will have to get the  details of the numbers shortly, but we actually have other  jurisdictions coming to pick up on our training program so they  can implement it within their own responsibilities.  We have  found that private sector has virtually paid its own way in  making sure that they are now trained.

      The Innovations Fund:  Through the fund, we have provided  support to 37 projects, which include recycling, collection,  composting, education and awareness, support for regional waste  management incentives, Environmental Youth Corps, conferences,  CFC training, Earth Day and network support involving the  commitment of some $737,000.  We expect to substantially expand  the scope of this type of funding consistent with the initiatives  that were announced in the provincial budget.

      The Youth Corps was a program that was designed for  participation by Manitoba's youth.  We were able to, with a very  minimal amount of investment, I have to state, impact with some  65 projects that were funded under this program.  A total of  6,510 youths were involved in the Environmental Youth Corps  project.  Including administrative costs, we were able to get  that many people involved in community activities for $200,000 in  total.

      We paid for supervision, which created a total of 264 weeks  of employment.  The projects that were carried out were of this  general nature:  rehabilitation of natural environment and local  parks; tree planting; recycling; community enhancement;  riverbank, lake shore restoration and rehabilitation; composting;  fish habitat restoration; wildlife habitat restoration and  rehabilitation or protection; flora and fauna protection; and  wildlife conservation.

      Manitoba and the Department of Environment have been quite  active in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.  A number of key activities that were accomplished over the past  year‑‑The Canadian National Packaging Protocol, where the  Canadian Code of Preferred Practice was produced by a  multistakeholder task force, I believe, is a good example of  industry voluntarily becoming involved in a process that it is  much better that they lead rather than be regulated into.

      The criteria for risk management and cleanup of contaminated  sites were produced in '91 to allow a nationally consistent  approach to contaminated site management.  Interjurisdictional  agreements were developed to cost‑share the clean up of high‑risk  orphan sites and to demonstrate new cleanup technologies.

      In '91 steps were taken to develop a comprehensive national  approach to air quality management.  These steps included a  strong commitment toward the goals outlined in the Strategy on  Global Warming.  This will commit all jurisdictions in Canada to  co‑operate on improving air quality.

      Co‑operative principles for the harmonization of  environmental assessment have been developed, and improvements  were made in the strategic planning process to ensure that speedy  action is taken on key environmental issues.

      CCME has been the organizing centre for developing a national  action plan for recovery, recycling and reclamation of CFCs.

      We have been involved in federal‑provincial joint panels and  the establishment of those panels and co‑operating with the  federal government on two panels that are presently underway in  this province, obviously the Conawapa and the North Central  Transmission Line.  In both cases, the panels will undertake  extensive public consultations.  The joint panel currently  carrying out scoping meetings for Conawapa, participant  assistance was to the total of $250,400, up to this point, for  eligible interveners.  In scoping, the panel consults with the  public to identify and prioritize the issues and to assess these  issues.  Information from scoping meetings is used to develop  guidelines for the proponent.

      Following the conclusion of the scoping phase, the  Participant Assistance Committee will reconvene to consider  participant assistance to review the environmental impact  assessment and provide input into the hearing.

      The North Central Transmission Line, which will serve several  aboriginal communities in the North, is also subject to a panel  review.  This joint panel is preparing its community meetings and  is currently confirming them for June and July.

      With increasing concern for the environment, the department  receives a growing number of requests for information.  Our  public outreach this year has continued to be expanded,  particularly through the department's regional offices and will  include materials such as the Be a Friend of the Environment  series that we initiated last year and, of course, through the  Environmental Youth Corps.

      The objectives will be to improve knowledge and understanding  of the issues, to increase public participation in departmental  programs, to improve the department's capability to respond to  information needs and to ensure that communication is a two‑way  communication with the public.

      Targets of the outreach strategy will be schools, businesses,  organizations, environmental and public, staff of municipalities  and departments and as wide a range of the public as possible.

      Shoal Lake has been one of the ongoing issues which I am sure  the members will want to question me on later.  The  Manitoba‑Canada Water Quality Monitoring Agreement is in place  now and helped to collect data from approximately 50 locations.  Souris River water quality monitoring is ongoing to protect our  interests regarding any impacts from Rafferty‑Alameda to make  sure that we receive our proper quality and quantity of water.

      Legislative amendments, the members are fully aware of.  The  Dangerous Goods Handling and Transportation Act, Sections 8 and  10 are proclaimed effective the end of this month.

      Private sewage disposal system regulation is in a  consultation process with various municipalities seeking their  input on what its best structure should be.  Some joint research  is being done, particularly in the area north of the city of  Winnipeg along the Red River.  We are working on our next State  of the Environment Report.  The Clean Environment Commission's  report on the Assiniboine and Red Rivers will be out very shortly.

      We are very much involved with Natural Resources and the  zebra mussel program, which is taking some considerable amount of  time of some of the departmental staff and is causing a great  deal of concern, because it is virtually impossible, in the eyes  of many people, to totally guarantee that zebra mussels will  never arrive in this province.  Their arrival is probably  imminent.

      Hazardous Waste Management:  We all know that the corporation  has successfully found a site, has gone through what I believe  were successful hearings and will help us to have safe  collection, storage and treatment of hazardous waste.

      The Clean Environment Commission expects to be involved in a  number of public hearings, the Pembina Valley water supply  project being one of them.  They have now completed the Hazardous  Waste Management Corporation's review.  They will be publishing a  hearing process called A Process Guidelines and a Citizen's Guide  to the Public Hearing Process later on this year.

* (1920)

      Sorry, that took so long, Madam Chairperson, I prefer to  answer questions.

Madam Chairperson:  Does the critic for the official opposition  wish to make an opening statement?

Ms. Cerilli:  No, Madam Chairperson, I will just move right into  questions.

Madam Chairperson:  Does the critic for the Liberal Party wish to  make an opening statement?

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Yes, Madam Chairperson.  Very  briefly, I want to get into the details as soon as possible, but  I do think it is important to reflect on the past year for this  department, and the coming year.

      This department spends not a lot of money when compared to  other departments, compared to the government at large.  The  truth is, Madam Chairperson, that its legislative and social  utility as a department is far beyond what the dollars would  suggest.

      Its primary role, in my view, is to act as an enforcer.  Part  of enforcing, of course, is leading; you do not just enforce with  the stick, you can enforce with the carrot.  The department is  called upon to put into place legislation and then to enforce  that legislation.  We can sit here and the minister can discuss  all the wonderful things that should happen with respect to the  environment, but if it is not enforced, it does not really mean a  lot.

      It must not only be the law, but it must in fact be enforced  as the law throughout the province.  My concern stems not just  from lack of enforcement in the community at large, but I sense a  lack of willingness on the part of the government itself to live  within the standards it purports to set for the outside community.

      Madam Chairperson, that has become a great disappointment to  me in the past year.  This minister's response to the Clean  Environment Commission report on Abitibi‑Price's logging in  Nopiming Park, was an enormous disappointment to me and, I  believe, to the community at large.

      This government's inability to deal effectively with the  recycling issue and to capture, I think, sufficiently the public  willingness to participate in these programs is a source of  disappointment.  Madam Chairperson, there are a whole host of  issues on which I think this minister, while I do not doubt or  question his integrity on these issues and his desire to do what  is right in the area of the environment and environmental  regulation, I really question the sustainable development  rhetoric which comes consistently from many ministers in the  government.  I question it because I have not seen it put into  practice in the world outside this Legislature.

      Truckloads of contaminated soil were dumped at the corner of  Inkster and the Perimeter Highway some months ago.  Madam  Chairperson, that is surely not leading.  That is surely not  sending a signal to the community that we want to deal  responsibly with contaminated waste.

      The Manitoba Hazardous Waste Corporation said at the CEC  hearings that 80 percent of the adverse effects of the  contaminated substances it was dealing with would come from the  contaminated soil operation‑‑83 percent to be exact.  The  department sanctioned dumping 10,000 cubic yards of this soil on  a public highway with no signage, no posting, no nothing,  certainly no treatment.  Enforcement was stated at the CEC  hearings recently into the Hazardous Waste Corporation.  It was a  statement from the officer of the department that enforcement was  less than aggressive‑‑I believe were the terms used.  That I  think is an interesting statement, because I think it belies that  there are problems with enforcement.

      I would suggest that is a gross understatement, but it is an  indication that even within the department there are real  concerns that enforcement is just not being done to the same  level that other jurisdictions around the world and even on this  continent are doing, and they are doing far more than we are in  Manitoba.

      So, Madam Chairperson, I sense a fear and I sense a  foreboding in the department about the future and about, gee, if  we let the environmentalists get their way too much, too often,  we are going to be in deep trouble, even though we know that in  time, of course, what they see now as necessary will seem like  foolishness that it was not in place at this point.  Ten years  from now, we will be sitting here, I speculate, saying that  things that the department is nervous about today are ridiculous  and should have been in place years ago.  I sense a desire to  restrict and constrict the effectiveness and the power and  authority of outside groups like the CEC and like the joint  environmental panels that are going to be reviewing Conawapa,  Repap, North Central Transmission Line and Bipole III.

      So, Madam Chairperson, I have an uneasy feeling about the  department's real commitment to the environmental needs and  desires of the community at large and that is no less so with the  federal government, but I sense a general restrictiveness, a  general approach towards these issues which is to try to contain  them and to contain the need for the department to act.  That is  a concern.

      In closing, I want to highlight for members here that when we  come to the appropriation under the Manitoba Hazardous Waste  Corporation, I will at that time‑‑but I will indicate now‑‑that I  will be declaring a conflict of interest due to my employment,  and I will not be in the Chamber for consideration of that  appropriation.  Thank you.

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

Mr. Cummings:  Yes, perhaps while staff is coming in, maybe I  could usefully use a few minutes to again remind my colleague  from St. James that the soil that he is so concerned about that  was removed from the site where the Remand Centre is being  constructed was of a low enough level of contamination that it  did not fall into hazardous waste category.  That does not mean  that is a practice that we will be using on an ongoing basis, but  it does mean that we did not check our brains at the door when we  went into the minister's office.  Some sanity and common sense  has to be used as well in dealing with these issues.

      I think Marianne wants to talk about Innovations Fund before  she leaves.

Ms. Cerilli:  While the staff is being seated, I had sent a note  over about the appropriation for the staff for the Innovations  Fund, which I understand is a Sustainable Development unit which  is in the Department of Natural Resources, and I do not have the  book for that department.  I am just wondering if there is a way  that I can just get that page from the Department of Natural  Resources Estimates' book copy as we are proceeding.

Mr. Cummings:  Madam Chairperson, the Sustainable Development  unit is composed of a number of people.  It is lodged with  Natural Resources.  We are talking about the staff numbers.  There is not a significant designation of staff for that unit in  terms of handling the Innovations Fund.  Each department that has  been responsible for applications to the fund is required to do  the paperwork and the administration or the management of the  paperwork in terms of applying to the fund.  The Planning &  Innovation branch of my department handles the majority of the  work because, primarily, most of the applications come through my  department, through the Department of Environment.

      The initial screening on requests that come in from the  general public may very well start with Sustainable Development  unit.  They also co‑ordinate the applications that are brought  forward to the Sustainable Development Committee for a final  approval after they have provided evaluation before they go on to  Treasury Board and cabinet.

* (1930)

      To see whatever that figure is, and Natural Resources might  be able to supply it, you would not gain any insight in terms of  what happens with the Innovations Fund.  I understood your  question more about whether Natural Resources‑‑or for that matter  Agriculture or I, T, and T‑‑used funds out of the Innovations  Fund.  They would sponsor certain applications.  I, T, and T has  specific allocations for industrial environmental innovations, a  specific $300,000 amount that is assigned to I, T and T to  specifically apply to projects that may come up through their  department, but if they accept those projects they then follow  the same flow as all the rest.  They come forward to the same  cabinet committee and on to Treasury Board as all the rest, but  there is a specific chunk that is provided there so that they  know that they can apply that or encourage activities related to  projects that they are dealing with.

Madam Chairperson:  Does the honourable Minister of Environment  wish to introduce his staff?

Mr. Cummings:  Certainly.  Norm Brandson, Deputy Minister; Jerry  Spiegel, Policy; Wilf Boehm, Financial Manager; Larry Strachan,  responsible for Licensing; and up in the gallery is Carl Orcutt.

Ms. Cerilli:  Madam Chairperson, I am interested in some of the  comments made by the member for St. James and I, too, am  concerned that the government is not doing near enough in areas  related to the Innovations Fund.  I have with me materials from  other provinces which talk about what is going on in other  regions with respect to developing fees for emissions and taxes  on waste material and all other sorts of economic instruments  that can be used to generate money to create such a fund as we  are dealing with today.  It seems to me that the small amount  that we are doing in Manitoba is just the tip of the iceberg.

      I have a number of concerns with regard to the management of  the fund.  The comments the minister made were news to me,  because the brochure that advertises the fund indicates that the  Sustainable Development Co‑ordination Unit is the organization  that does some screening.  Maybe that is where I can start off  and ask the minister to clarify what kind of committee is it that  is reviewing these applications.  I have heard concerns from  applicants and those who are involved with the fund that there  seems to have been some problems with the screening.

      So let us just start off with clarifying.  What is the  structure for how this is administered?  Is there representatives  from the departments that the minister has listed?  Can he  clarify that?

Mr. Cummings:  I have no problem in answering the question about  whether or not there is an ample screening process for the  Innovations Fund.  It is so ample that, in many respects, I find  it seems to have perhaps more screenings than I might initially  apply myself.

      The fact is that the member may be hearing some frustration  from groups that would consider themselves lobby groups, who feel  that they should receive ongoing operating funding out of the  program.  That is definitely a nonstarter.  There may be other  ways that they can acquire support from the public, but it will  not be through this process.

      Secondly, in establishing the fund, we made a very  fundamental decision as a government that we were not going to  provide hidden taxes, or cream off in ways that would not be very  obvious to the public, resources which would then end up being  discretionary spending in this department or in other  departments.  Philosophically, I think we have to view that as  something that was not an easy decision.  It is always nice to  have sources of money, and certainly the options that I am  referring to were examined.

      I can point to other jurisdictions where there is an  environmental levy on disposable containers, for example.  Saskatchewan just doubled theirs.  The dollars that they are  taking out of the beverage container industry and the support of  environmental projects is quite enormous.  Those, in fact, we  believe are viewed, when you look at them critically, as hidden  taxes.  If you view beverage containers as a percentage of the  waste disposal problem, they are about 1 percent.  Yet in a lot  of these jurisdictions they are probably contributing 50 percent  of the cost towards remediating problems where there is  discretionary spending allowed, in some cases more than that.

      I think the figure in B.C.‑‑and I invite staff to correct me  if I am wrong here.  It seems to me the figure that B.C. will be  taking out of the beverage container industry this coming year is  $76 million worth of discretionary spending.  You could argue  that it would be nice to have that discretionary spending, but  there has to be some principles applied on how we raise tax  dollars as well.

      We made the decision that dollars would be raised and they  would be designated for programs that were identifiable, so there  was no guessing about where we were getting the dollars or where  they were going.

      The other thing that happens is that‑‑and we were criticized  to some extent a year ago‑‑they felt that there were some  programs that were justifiably departmental programs that were  getting funded out of the Innovations Fund.  We have limited that  to a very large degree.  But in other jurisdictions there is a  very wide latitude on a lot of things that have, in fact, been  considered departmental responsibilities that have been funded  through these types of environmental levies.

      The approach that we were taking, and I referred to it in my  opening comments, about the fact that there were two  announcements in the throne speech.  One was that there would be  a tax on diapers and that there would be a tax against used  tires.  Both of those announcements will be in place this  summer.  Those dollars will be allocated to the Environmental  Innovations Fund.  At the same time, we will probably re‑examine  and review the criteria for this fund, because as you will see  the figures that are in front of you, the dollars in the fund are  somewhat reduced from the original dollars.  That is a straight  result of the Manitoba Liquor Commission increasing the amount of  money that they are paying out for the bottles that are being  returned and pay more dollars to Manitoba Soft Drink Recycling to  handle that increase to volume.  The money that is available to  the Innovations Fund is whatever is leftover after the  five‑and‑ten cent environment levy that was imposed on liquor  bottles.

      As their costs rise, the amount of money available in the  Innovations Fund has reduced, and we intend to deal with it in  the way that I just talked about.  But we have rejected the idea  of imposing environmental levies at random, or imposing deposit  fees and then scooping the unreturned deposits or activities of  that nature.  Because the same principle could apply for a tire  system, where one could apply a $5 tax on tires, find that it  only costs $4 to run the system and scoop the profits out of it.  That would be nothing more than a hidden tax, and probably not  really acceptable to the public as a whole.

* (1940)

Ms. Cerilli:  The minister, I think, alluded to one of the issues  I wanted to raise, and that was the fact that in the two  different budget documents, the one on revenue, the environment  protection tax generation is $1,800,000.  Then, when we look at  the line in the budget document for the Environment Innovations  Fund, it is somewhat less, $1,171,000.  Can the minister explain  why there is less money in the fund than is being generated under  the tax on the liquor bottles?

Mr. Cummings:  The difference is that the dollars that are sent  to the fund are the dollars that are left over after the Liquor  Commission runs its return program.  The alcohol beverage  container recycling program is expected to take $600,000, so that  would account for just about the difference of $600,000.

Ms. Cerilli:  Well, that is going back to the Manitoba Liquor  Control Commission to cover the cost of the program.  What kind  of costs is it covering?

Mr. Cummings:  The cost per pound or the cost per bottle of  container that they are returning plus they have a contractual  arrangement with MSDR which, I am guessing, but I think it runs  in the neighbourhood of 6 cents a pound.

Mr. Edwards:  Madam Chairperson, can the minister indicate how  much of the Environmental Innovations Fund was paid out in the  last year to other departments of government?

Mr. Cummings:  I gave the critic from the New Democratic Party a  breakdown of the list of materials.  I should perhaps get another  copy of that and give it to the member for St. James (Mr.  Edwards) as well.  Direct payments to other departments would be  zero, but there are programs that did involve other departments,  and that is why I pointed out the $300,000, for example, that is  a direct allocation to I, T and T, which they then have to  account for back through the fund.

Mr. Edwards:  Madam Chairperson, how much went to the Department  of Natural Resources or programs administered by the Department  of Natural Resources?

Mr. Cummings:  I wonder if the member would wait for a couple of  minutes, and I will try and compile what that might have been.  I  think it is a little difficult to pull it together in terms of  the precise dollars.  I can say that if you are asking the  question, did we fund anything that Natural Resources is doing  that would replace what was a normal program line for them, the  answer is no.  The same thing is true of the Department of  Environment.  We did fund some educational material, but it was a  function of‑‑we just would not have published that material if we  had not been allocated that money out of the Innovations Fund.

Mr. Edwards:  Madam Chairperson, I recall that last year, when we  went through this, some monies had been taken out of the  Innovations Fund, I believe, to pay for some part of the Dutch  Elm Disease program.  Did anything like that happen this year?

Mr. Cummings:  Not that I can immediately call to mind.  We are  looking at the list of projects, and there is nothing that falls  into that range.  I do not have a copy just in front of me.  I am  looking over Wolf's shoulder here.  But the fact is, a moment  ago, I referenced the Department of Environment.  The figure that  we used to publish some materials was $700, so it was not that we  were pillaging the fund in any way.

Mr. Edwards:  No, I am not going to get exercised about $700 for  pamphlets, but Madam Chairperson, last year this fund funded  things which could hardly be called innovations.  They were  essentially funding programs which had been funded previously by  the government but that the government had decided for one reason  or another not to fund to quite the same degree, and the  Environmental Innovations Fund was tapped to make up for some of  the shortfall.  One of them was the Dutch Elm Disease program, a  very worthy program, but what I questioned was the  appropriateness of taking funds from the Environmental  Innovations Fund to cover it.  I do not have the benefit of the  list the minister has provided to the member of the New  Democratic Party.  What I am asking is:  Was any funding given  this year for the Dutch Elm Disease program through the  Department of Natural Resources?

Mr. Cummings:  The answer is no, there is nothing.  I will  provide the list.  There is nothing of that nature.  I should  take the opportunity to point out on the record the nature of the  projects that were involved.  The member could, if he were in a  mischievous mood, characterize the Regional Waste Management Fund  as something that is not necessarily an innovation, but that is  the type of projects or program initiative across the province  that we involved.  What that was was an offer to municipalities  which were prepared to regionalize their waste disposal; in other  words, close down a number of smaller waste disposal sites and  put in a well‑engineered central site or regional site.

      We provided grants, up to a maximum of $20,000, to help with  that.  The fund was established as $120,000 to attract the  interest and see what interest was there.  It was paid out to the  Solid Waste Area Management, Eastman regional development, The  Pas, Virden, Gladstone, Neepawa, Interlake Development  Corporation.  All those areas are working on regional waste  concepts.

      The general projects envisaged, as I had said earlier, the  Environmental Youth Corps, Elm Creek recycling, Killarney  composting‑‑St. Vital School Division had a special  project‑‑Residents Against Waste, Winnipeg Packaging, Mine  Tailings Research Centre, which was to try to get some additional  technology available here in the province, oil recycling.  Earth  Day received a small grant as well‑‑primarily, though, directed  at increasing recycling capacity.

      I would have to indicate that having done this now for two  and a half years, we are getting a building network across the  province.  Probably, there will not be such a draw on this fund  for recycling projects in the future; it will be reduced somewhat.

Ms. Cerilli:  The list that the minister was just referring to,  how many of those projects that are listed were actually done by  another body than the group that is listed, they hired a  consultant or another organization?

Mr. Cummings:  There would be half a dozen.  Some of the regional  waste disposal ground applications, that was to support  engineering and conceptual justification, a waste oil study that  the Brandon Economic Development Board was involved in‑‑and there  is background to that, too, that the member might be interested  in, because Brandon has long hoped to bring a rerefining capacity  into the province.

* (1950)

      There is an obvious association with the fact that there is  already a major oil company involved in Minnedosa producing  ethanol, so it would seem like a logical extension of that  possibility to continue to work.  They have looked at a number of  things through their study, of course, not just that.  I cannot  think of too many other examples where there would be anything  that would fit in the category you described.

Ms. Cerilli:  Can the minister then go through the list and point  out for me specifically which projects were done by a third party  and what the name of that third party was?

Mr. Cummings:  I do not think I could go through and point out  the name of the third party.  I can tell you that on the  regionalization of waste management there was one company that  did maybe three of them, so they would have received a benefit  more than once out of it.  But the money did not go to them; it  went to the community to assist them with funding of whoever won  the contract to do the work for them.  It happened that there was  one company that won more than one contract.

      Community recycling outreach workers, Waste Stream Management  has received a grant, educational materials.  None of these are  fitting into the Westman Recycling Council.  I am not sure that I  can properly answer the member's question without going back and  producing a detailed analysis, which we have further back  somewhere in the department, of who is physically going to put  the shovel in the ground.  If the member thinks it is worth  knowing, I could provide that, but you might fall asleep before  you got through it all.  It is quite weighty.

Ms. Cerilli:  It is an issue that has been dealt with before.  I  do not know if it was this session, or it must have been the last  session, where we had Moore Consultants, Jim Moore, who received  a grant, and there was some concern about that.  I think that one  was an example of a consultant.  But I am interested, if not  right now, to get the information of what third parties were  receiving money under this program to do work on behalf of a  community organization.  I would ask the minister, at some point  after we have finished the process, to provide that one for me.

Mr. Cummings:  That is not a problem; we will provide it.  But  you probably will not get it for a few days, if the member can  wait.  The issue, however, of the variety of things that are  involved here‑‑for example, the putting together of the ICASE  proceedings, that has gone to the United Nations conference as  required reading, and has allowed Manitoba teachers to contribute  on a global scale what information they were able to bring  together during that conference.  That is an example of where you  are not going to‑‑something you will never see happen again.

      If you want to question the innovation, it has certainly  brought together new information and a unique group of people.  That is one large one where ultimately they had to pay to have an  editor pull things together.  A lot of these other ones, I do not  think there was any third party that really received any benefit  out of this.  When you look at the community‑based organizations  that received the funds, they undoubtedly paid someone, but not  as a result of that person soliciting more because they had work  that they wanted done.

Mr. Edwards:  Madam Chairperson, having looked at the list that  the minister has provided, I do not have many more questions in  this area, but I would like to know what the grants to the Town  of The Pas, Town of Virden and Town of Gladstone were about.

Mr. Cummings:  They were paid out under the Regional Waste  Management Fund, which is the heading that they are listed  under.  That would be to deal with their regional waste  management process, bringing together either more than one  jurisdiction, closing at least more than a couple of disposal  grounds or amalgamating them were mainly the criteria that the  committee applied to this.  This was not a hard program to get  involved in, but it required matching dollars from the  communities that applied.  I think perhaps that is the missing  link that the member is looking for when he questions whether  those grants were useful or not.  They are met by matching  dollars on the other side, which requires them to have some  commitment to the project.

Mr. Edwards:  I was not questioning the usefulness.  I was just  questioning what they were about.  Well, just on that issue of  regional waste management, I notice from a recent resolution of  the Union of Manitoba Municipalities, which they passed recently,  a resolution of their board of directors, saying‑‑and this April  23, 1992, very recently‑‑that current legislation does not  provide for the formation of a multimunicipal incorporated  regional waste management authority and they resolve to request  the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) to review the  pertinent provincial acts and propose amendments if necessary.  Now, they say the Minister of Rural Development‑‑it is obviously  an environmental issue though that this minister is very involved  in, very interested in.  Is there a move to put into place the  legislation that the UMM speaks about to provide for the  multimunicipal incorporated regional waste management authorities?

Mr. Cummings:  Yes, there is a willingness to deal with this.  I  am told that there are other tools available to the various  municipalities that would allow them to run joint ventures.  They  find them cumbersome and unattractive, and they would like to see  a revision of the act.  I am not unfamiliar with the problems of  The Municipal Act.

      It is an older act that needs a lot of overhaul, but it is an  enormous undertaking.  Whether it was myself when I was in  Municipal Affairs or any of the subsequent ministers, it is not a  task that anyone would relish.  It would consume ministry for the  better part of a year to get the job done.  So minor tinkering  with it has been avoided because it is an old bill that needs to  be redone.

      I think there are ways that we can deal with the problems,  and I am not unaware of them, because I have got it right in my  own back door.  The R.M. that I live in and the Town of Neepawa  have identified this is a problem as well.  So, yes, we hope to  be able to work our way through it.

Ms. Cerilli:  As I look through the list I notice that the Fort  Whyte Centre is not on here.  I seem to recall seeing Fort Whyte  Centre getting money in the Order‑in‑Council.  Is that not from  this fund?

Mr. Cummings:  Their application for this year, I believe, was  deferred.  They have Composting Caravan, that Fort Whyte ran last  year, was the fund that was the dollars that they would have  received.  I am not sure if that is listed this year or a  previous year allocation.  I think it was the previous year  allocation.

Ms. Cerilli:  If we do the calculations for the amount‑‑

Madam Chairperson:  Excuse me.  Order, please.  The hour being 8  p.m., it is my understanding we are supposed to change  departments now.

      Shall we recess and call the other department in?  Agreed.

* * *

The committee took recess at 8 p.m.

After Recess

The committee resumed at 8:03 p.m.




Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Order, please.  The  Committee of Supply with reconvene.  This section of the  Committee of Supply will now be dealing with the Estimates for  the Department of Natural Resources.  We are on page 128.

      Item 3. Resource Programs, (c)(2) Crown Lands Administration  (a) Salaries.  Would the minister's staff please enter the  Chamber?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  They are  coming, Madam Chairperson.

Madam Chairperson:  Item 3.(c)(2)(a) Salaries $549,900‑‑pass;  (2)(b) Other Expenditures $151,800‑‑pass.

      (3) Crown Lands Registry (a) Salaries $300,700‑‑pass; (b)  Other Expenditures $196,900‑‑pass.

      Item 3. (d) Forestry:  (1) Administration (a) Salaries.

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Madam Chairperson, I will wait  till the staff take their seats.

An Honourable Member:  Paul, do you realize we have one hour?

Mr. Edwards:  Yes, we have one hour.  I know that.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  I believe the honourable  Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) wishes to introduce new  staff.

Mr. Enns:  Just to introduce additional staff.  Mr. Dave Rannard,  Director of Forestry Branch, has joined us.  He has a bit more  spare time this time.  We are not burning quite as much of our  forests up this year as we have in other years.

Mr. Edwards:  The Clean Environment Commission issued a report a  couple of months ago commenting on Abitibi‑Price in Nopiming Park  clearly indicating that they felt the direction of the government  logging and parks had been wrong.  Can the minister indicate‑‑I  am sure his department has had a chance to review the  recommendations in that report‑‑which, if any, of the  recommendations with respect to forestry and forest management  the department does not agree with?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, it is not a question of the  department taking a position with respect to a specific  recommendation of the Clean Environment Commission.  This  department has had the responsibility of managing the forests of  Manitoba for some 60 years now, since the transfer of resources  from the federal government was made to the provinces back in the  '30s.

      We believe it is not a question of defending departmental  turf, if you like, it is simply a question of recognizing the  mandate of this department.  We have a Forestry Branch that has  had the responsibility for many years to make the management  decisions vis‑a‑vis the forests within Manitoba.  It is from that  general point of view that we will continue to make those  management decisions.

      We certainly recognize, and we are not oblivious to the fact  that there has been concern expressed from different sources  within the province with respect to not only logging activity,  but any kind of activity within some of our parklands.  I think  it is important for the record to simply understand how it is  that we have the conflict that the Clean Environment Commission  with this recommendation tends to focus on.

      The Forestry Branch was there first.  The forestry reserves  were there first.  We had substantial lands set aside that came  under forestry management.  It was laterally in the '60s and in  the '70s.  For instance, it was my pleasure to be part of the  government in 1979 that decided to create Nopiming Park largely  on what was already and always had been for many years a forestry  reserve.

      Similar comments can be made for the area that my friend the  member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) represents.  When Parks  people came to government at that time and said, look, we want to  create an additional provincial park, the Forestry people said,  fine, we do not mind you overlaying a park on top of an existing  forest reserve.  They did so because (a) the area was defined,  (b) there was some access‑‑forestry resources roads had been  built through these areas, which made it attractive to Parks  planners to look at these designated lands.  There was a common  understanding and a commitment that there would be multiple use  of that piece of land.

      That is how many of our provincial parks came into being.  Indeed, it should be noted that in Manitoba we have a much higher  number of acreage set aside in our provincial park system than do  some of our sister jurisdictions, by that co‑management, if you  like, or that co‑operative agreement between the Forestry Branch  and the Parks Branch.  What we are faced with now and what the  Forestry Branch is faced with now, who, on the one hand, had the  responsibility of assuring that available timber would be  available to those 10,000 Manitobans who make their living from  extraction of our forestry resources, logging and so forth, that  we now find the goal posts moving on us with the suggestion being  made that we ought not to be doing any logging in parks.

      That is a fundamental and major policy question that not only  this department but indeed the government is being challenged  with, and we are accepting that challenge.  We are doing so, we  think, in a responsible way by, in the first instance, allowing  Manitobans, ordinary Manitobans, many of them who live in the  regions affected, to express their opinion about how we go about  to try to resolve that conflict that has arisen and has been  focused on by the Clean Environment Commission's recommendations  that, ergo, we should cease and desist from all further logging  in provincial parks.

* (2010)

Mr. Edwards:  It is just a bizarre concept to me that you would  have a provincial park and allow logging in the provincial park.  I do not understand what a provincial park designation means, if  it means that the government can go ahead and grant timber  licences and mining permits and everything else, to just go on as  if the park did not exist.  I mean, that is what we do in the  rest of the province.

      So what is the point of making it a park?  What protection  exactly is afforded to the flora and fauna of an area designated  as a provincial park?

Mr. Enns:  I suppose the most demonstrable way that I can bring  that home to the honourable member, and indeed to the Val Weriers  of this world, is to suggest to them that the area that this  government, my department, is now being hard‑pressed to stop all  that unacceptable logging activity in Nopiming Park, for  instance, to be specific‑‑that is the specific park that is under  question, I assume because it is viewed by the honourable member  and others as being a desirable forested area, lending itself to  park purposes and worth protecting.

      I say that, I point that out to him, because that area has  been logged for the last 60 years.  If that area has been logged  for the last 60 years, it tells you‑‑with the kind of management  that our Forestry Branch has exercised in that specific area, it  should give you some confidence as to the sensitivity with which  one of our major firms, Abitibi‑Price, has logged in that area.  The very area that I am being pressed to put immediately under  protection or else it will be lost forever, has been logged for  the last 60 years.

      I say to myself and I say to members opposite that speaks  reams of the kind of responsible management that not this  minister, my predecessors, other governments before me for the  last 40, 50, 60 years, that they have exercised a great deal of  prudence, a great deal of caution, in applying responsibly a  multi‑use approach to parks.  If the honourable member, on the  other hand, says, let us just do away with it, he says that  10,000 jobs are not important, that if that results in a  substantial decline in the Manitoba economy, then that is another  issue.

      I am simply saying that if Nopiming Park is being held up, if  the Whiteshell is being held up, if it is being suggested‑‑and I  think it is being suggested‑‑that we have beautiful parks in  Manitoba, that we have a wonderful environment in our parks in  Manitoba, well, I am saying to you that the policy that  heretofore has been in effect has obviously not damaged them or  else there would not be this sudden onrush for protection.  I  think, Madam Chairperson, my Forestry director, my Parks  director, myself as minister should be cautioned, should be told  to be prudent about how we continue to manage those areas, that  we do not allow forestry activity to take place right to the  banks of a particular river, that we do not allow forestry  activity to take place in selective portions of the park.

      I remind the honourable member, fully 80, 85 percent of the  park is not logged, but it has been told to us, and we have  worked with these people over these last number of years, that  information was also made available to the commissioners of the  Clean Environment, that certain percentages, 5 or 10 percent, are  extremely important to the ongoing viability of that particular  forestry operation in the northeast part of the province.  I have  certainly received many hundreds, if not several thousands, of  letters from individuals across this province indicating that we  should exercise a great deal of caution before we move  arbitrarily in changing the goal posts, in changing the rules.

      Madam Chairperson, that is precisely what this department  intends to do.  We attach a great deal of importance to the  up‑and‑coming hearings that will take place throughout the length  and breadth of this province, including the city of Winnipeg,  commencing some time in mid‑September.  We have not set a  specific date, but the commitment is there for these hearings to  commence this fall.

Mr. Edwards:  Madam Chairperson, similarly the company, the  environmentalists and I know this department took a keen interest  in the Department of Environment, through its appointments to the  Clean Environment Commission and its representation to those  hearings, took a keen interest in the public hearings which took  place leading up to the decision of the Clean Environment  Commission on Nopiming Park and Abitibi‑Price.  That was a full  and frank public discussion, and it was not on the many natural  resource issues that the minister intends to have his discussions  about.  It was specific to that situation, on Nopiming Park and  Abitibi‑Price, and the decision happened to be against the  government's interest.

      They gave the CEC the back of their hand as a result, very,  very definitively and very clearly.  The fact is that the  government has been called to account for what this minister  terms multi‑use, and what is in a sense, in essence, the same  management practices inside a provincial park as anywhere else in  the province.  The question remains:  What protection exactly  does being in a provincial park afford in terms of the wilderness  and the flora and fauna in the area?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, the honourable member needs to be  corrected on two counts:  No. 1, it is not the same business with  respect to resource or logging in our provincial parks as  anywhere else in the province.  There are much stricter rules,  zoning rules, supervision that apply to any of the logging that  is done in our provincial park system.  They are quite different.

      It should also be noted that after the ruling, some of the  very environmental groups that the honourable member refers to  came to Abitibi, came to government, met with my colleague the  Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings) and suggested different  ways of resolving this issue, and the honourable member raised  issues here in this Chamber, among them‑‑I do not wish to  indicate something that he may not have said, but I can certainly  refer to Hansard.  I believe the honourable member also  suggested, as did some of the environmental groups that were  concerned about this area that consultation should take place,  perhaps a redefinition of park boundaries should take place that  would clarify and could separate the questions of where logging  could take place and where it ought not to take place.

      If a decision is that it ought not to take place, period, in  our parks, simple.  Then, obviously there is a challenge to the  government to look very hard at the current boundaries of the  parks system and see whether or not we cannot acknowledge the  legitimate concerns of the many hundreds if not thousands of  people that are involved that gain their livelihood from this  activity.

      Madam Chairperson, that is precisely what we intend to do.  You know, I do not think we are that far apart.  I appreciate,  and it is a challenge within the different disciplines, within my  department.  That is what makes the Department of Natural  Resources the interesting department that it is.  Certainly, my  Parks director is not unaware and brings forward in our internal  discussions about today's concept of what should or should not  take place in parks.

      On the other hand, my Forestry director speaks, and has to  speak forcibly for the responsibilities attached to his  particular branch, in this case Forestry.  So that makes for  interesting professional, disciplined discussion within the  department.  That mirrors, quite frankly, what is taking place in  the general public.

      Because our current parks land legislation allows for  multiple use, allows for resource extraction, for that reason, we  get a failing grade from the park watchers, particularly from our  more militant environmental friends, because that presumes that  every acre of parkland is available for some form of development  or forestry extraction.

      Now, I am not happy with that as a Parks minister.  That is  why I want a new parks act drawn up, because I recognize that  today is the 1990s.  What seemed like a very good, common sense  arrangement in the '60s and, indeed, in the '70s that facilitated  both forestry industry and Parks interests is not necessarily  flying today.  On top of that, we have, of course, the further  commitment that this government and my Premier (Mr. Filmon) has  made to the Endangered Spaces Program.

      We envisage, at least I envisage, that existing provincial  parks along with the current federal park that we have at Riding  Mountain along with the proposed parks such as Churchill and,  perhaps, at Hecla, that they will be part of the Endangered  Spaces areas that will be designated in Manitoba.

* (2020)

      To do that, of course, we have to resolve the issue with  respect to logging and other resource extraction which is the  criteria by which Endangered Spaces will be designated.  So those  are the issues that I look forward to having a full and frank  discussion with many Manitobans during the course of these  hearings that have been alluded to on several occasions now.

Mr. Edwards:  Madam Chairperson, our time is very short so I am  not going to pursue the issue except to comment that the  negotiation process which was entered to, and I think was so  productive for so long between the environmentalists and  Abitibi‑Price actually led to an agreement which fell apart  because of unfortunate circumstances having nothing to do with  the substance of their arrangement.  Both parties were agreeable  to the appointment of the mediator.

      Unfortunately, the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Cummings)  saw fit not to take them up on that, which I see as an issue of control, in which the Minister of the Environment was not wishing  to relinquish control to parties that had come to an agreement on  their own.  It was very unfortunate in my view, but there is no  question that the arrangement, as I saw it, and I did not see the fine print, but it did include changing park boundaries to  accommodate some of the logging desires of Abitibi‑Price.

      I have no desire to see job losses anywhere in Manitoba,  least of all in the forestry industry.  However, the balance does  have to be struck and I am glad the minister indicates that he  recognizes that a park must mean something, wherever the park  is.  This minister set up Nopiming Park, or his government did in  1979; that is good, I am glad about that.  That should mean  something.

      The park should mean something other than the land outside  the park in terms of protection.  He says it means stricter  regulations and zoning requirements.  I would like to see what  those are, and maybe he can provide them to me in due course.  I  would like to see exactly what distinguishes, in terms of the  department's review of a logging application, a park today from  nonparkland areas.

      Let me move on briefly on the issue of Dutch Elm Disease and  refer to the March 19, 1992, memorandum tabled in this House by  the minister which was to Mr. Rannard, the director of Forestry  Branch, from Richard Westwood, chief of Forest Protection.  It  was tabled in this House by the minister on April 10, during  Question Period.

      It indicated in the conclusion of that memorandum that the  province was just maintaining the acceptable 2 percent level.  They had to reduce the overall geographical extent of the  program, cut out communities and buffer zones due to budget  constraints.  This is the final sentence:

      At this time it is difficult to predict if the reduction in  the program over levels established in the 1987 to 1990 period  will cause an eventual resurgence of the disease and escape our 2  percent goal.

      Essentially concluding that, budget constraints were calling  into question this government's ability to maintain the 2 percent  target.  Is that still the case?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, we have confidence that the 2  percent level of disease or dead trees and their removal will be  maintained with resources that are currently being applied by the  city and ourselves.  The fact that a forestry biologist within  the branch raises the question, as he legitimately should, and  raises the caution that we ought to monitor the situation  closely, that we ought to be prepared if, indeed, that the  mortality rate of 2 percent or less would be increased if  additional funds were not made available in the future, is  something that we will do precisely as suggested by Mr. Westwood.

      I might say to the honourable member that we have been  fighting Dutch Elm Disease since the early '70s or mid‑'70s, '74,  '75.  It was contributed to at the provincial level, recognizing  at all times that it is essentially in the city of Winnipeg, of  course first, an immediate responsibility for the City of  Winnipeg.  But we recognize as a government, as have previous  governments recognized, the importance of maintaining the  beautiful elm shade trees that we have in our capital city and,  since we have started fighting Dutch Elm Disease, have made a  direct contribution to the city's efforts.  That level of  contribution I might say in the '70s was in the order of  $150,000, $160,000.  I say this not to appear immodest, but when  I became Minister of Natural Resources in '78‑79 or '79‑80, I  doubled that amount to $350,000 under my stewardship at that  time, and I put on the record that amount was not changed.  It  did the job of by and large working towards these guidelines of  keeping it at the 2‑percent level.

      The 2‑percent level, by the way, is not just an arbitrary  level.  Experts have said that is the optimum use of public money  in controlling the spread of Dutch Elm Disease and, obviously, I  cannot fault that decision.  The fact of the matter is that here  in Manitoba and in Winnipeg we have done an exceptional job of  restraining and restricting the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.  Many jurisdictions who have not, you know, acted as we have acted  have lost their trees in a very few decades.  That level, by the  way, of funding of $350,000 a year was deemed to be appropriate  throughout the seven years of the Howard Pawley administration.  Dutch Elm Disease was there as it is today, and I had no  citizen's committee, least of all heavy‑duty Tories leaning on me  suggesting that $350,000 was not an appropriate level.  That  remained unchanged for the first two years of the Filmon  administration until it was my turn to come back in the ministry.

      I was persuaded that partly, although I do not state this as  empirical fact, but we did recognize, and certainly as a farm boy  myself, that we had come through a four‑ or five‑year, six‑year  period of drought.  These were just gut feelings, if you like,  and good advice from my foresters who said that when you have a  disease present, as with anything, any added stress could  increase the odds.

* (2030)

      I was persuaded that to ensure that we maintained the 2  percent or did a bit of catch‑up that we doubled that to  $700,000.  I was also persuaded when faced with some serious  budgetary questions when I had to examine when every $100,000  spent in the department meant, in some instances, jobs for  people.  When I had to ask my manager in the department to lay  people off, I examined every program as to whether or not the  proper allocation of resources was being made.  I was told that  we could bring back‑‑and I refused to accept the word "cutback."  It was an accelerated program for four years.

      We are now back to the same level that nobody criticized my  predecessor government for for seven years during the '80s when  they were fighting Dutch Elm Disease, and they were not under the  same budget restraints that my managers had to work under in the  spring of '90‑91.  So for those reasons, I am satisfied that the  program that we are engaged in is an effective one.

      I was further moved to, nonetheless, put some additional  monies into it because, you know, although we can congratulate  ourselves with maintaining it at the 2 percent level, the truth  of the matter is if you do simple arithmetic, in 36 years we have  lost half our elm trees.

      I was not satisfied that although the City of Winnipeg was  involved in a reforestation program, they were doing that solely  on public property.  I do not fault them for that.  Their  immediate responsibility was on their boulevards, on their land  where they were cutting down elm trees and replacing it with  their reforestation program, but we were losing more trees than  we were reforesting.

      That is why I decided to put the additional $200,000 that we  have added on top of the $350,000 on a plantation program.  Madam  Chairperson, that plantation program is not just a matter of  going around planting trees.  We have a registry of homeowners  who have lost beautiful elm trees, who have registered with us,  who have registered with the city, and where they have lost elm  trees.  These are the people who, in a systematic way, are being  offered and provided with a replacement tree.

      I believe that is sustainable development.  Just making sure  that we cut down and remove the dead and diseased trees at the  rate of 2 percent a year is not sustainable in itself.  In a  generation, in 30, 40 years, we will have lost a very substantial  amount of our beautiful tree cover in this city.  I take some  pride in seeing that is not happening.

Mr. Edwards:  Question on this area, Madam Chairperson.  I  appreciate the minister.  It has grown, the budget has grown.  It  was under his administration that it grew.  I accept all of  that.  The point is that costs do increase; the point is that the  cost of not doing this is horrendous, not just in terms of the  effect on the community of losing the trees, but when one takes  into account the cost of removal which is horrendous.  There are  various estimates that have been given, but one of them suggests,  and this is again by the chief of the Forest Protection, Forestry  Branch, Mr. Westwood, that during the next decade Manitobans  would be faced with a $25‑million tree removal bill, and a  $28‑million bill for replacement of trees if the rate of 2  percent were even doubled to 4 percent.  Now those are horrendous  figures which come from the chief of the Forest Protection,  Forestry Branch, Mr. Westwood.

      Madam Chairperson, what I would like the minister to comment  on is whether or not he takes any issue with Mr. Westwood's  statement that, as at prior funding rates, that is the $700,000  per year:  We can manage the program with a 2‑percent annual loss  rate in terms of tree replacement and tree removal.

      That is his statement that is the second last paragraph of  the memo that the minister tabled.  Under present budgets, that  is the $700,000.

      He goes on to say:  In our opinion our program sits on the  bubble.  We are just maintaining that 2‑percent level with the  $700,000 again.

      Then he goes on to say:  If we lose another $350,000 we have  to cut out communities in buffer zones, and at this time it is  difficult to predict if the reduction in the program over levels  established in the '87 to '90 period will cause an eventual  resurgence of the disease.

      Does the minister dispute that the reduction back to $350,000  has thrown the 2 percent level into doubt as an achievable goal,  given Mr. Westwood's clear indication that it has thrown it into  doubt?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, I am going to see whether we cannot  reach some agreement with my critic, because I did appreciate  that sometimes when we have our differences they are compounded  if we argue about fundamental facts.  It seems to me, and  certainly as expressed by the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms.  Friesen) who often raised this matter on behalf of the official  opposition, that there is a general acceptance both by city  officials and by those who are elm tree watchers‑‑and I would  like to include the honourable member for St. James‑‑that the  2‑percent figure is acceptable as being the optimal management  figure that we should strive for.  At issue is‑‑and that is the  question that Mr. Westwood raises‑‑whether or not that level can  be sustained.

      I refer the honourable member then to page 96 of his  Supplementary Information for Legislative Review book where the  statement is at the bottom of page 96, where we make a very  understandable and firm commitment with respect to our policy:  Dutch Elm Disease control through reducing tree mortality to 2  percent or less in urban centres and communities and through  reduction of hazard and disease on trees.

      That is our stated objective.  We will carry that out.  We  are doing it now, and I have no quarrel with an official of my  department that raises the question as to whether or not we will  be able to continue that.  We can certainly raise this next year  or even if we have evidence mounting that in the fall cleanup we  ought to raise it, then that will be done.

      A commitment that I am making and I have made to the city and  I make to the honourable member that that is the optimal  management level that we ought to strive for and the department  is committed to it.  Now, I go on to say, because Dutch Elm  Disease is not unique to the city of Winnipeg, we are engaged in  some 40, 44, I believe, municipalities and communities throughout  the province of Manitoba who have also suffered from the  onslaught of Dutch Elm Disease.

      In fact, when taken in total, our expenditures on controlling  Dutch Elm Disease is in excess of a million dollars.  It is in  the order of $1.5 million, I am told by my Forestry  director‑‑$1.5 million.  Now, I ask my honourable critics, when  you are overviewing the overall responsibilities of this  department as to the maintenance of our parks system, to the  maintenance of our water control systems‑‑this morning the  honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans) was advised that  our total capital spending on water drainage projects is $1.7  million‑‑well, we are spending $1.5 million in fighting a disease  that we cannot beat, but we are doing it because we believe,  aesthetically, it is worthwhile doing it, because citizens of the  province want us to do it, and because we are doing it relatively  successfully.

      You know, I am coming to the opinion that if we had any trees  left in the city of Winnipeg, I would still be asked to spend  $700,000 to control Dutch Elm Disease when there was nothing to  do anymore with it.  I would ask you, if I were quarreling, if  the department was taking issue with my critics on this program,  if we were taking issue that, no, 2 percent is not an acceptable  figure, 5 percent is acceptable to us, then you have got  something to fight with.

      But we all agree, the city foresters, our foresters, Dr.  Westwood agree that 2 percent is the optimal management level in  terms of trying to control this disease.  So you are challenging  me, and Dr. Westwood has raised the concern whether or not we can  maintain at that level.  I have to rely on the information that I  have from professional staff that we can.

Madam Chairperson:  Item 3.(d) Forestry:  (1) Administration (a)  Salaries $604,100‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $84,900‑‑pass;  (c) Grant Assistance $26,000.

      3.(d)(2) Forest Management:  (a) Salaries $732,700‑‑pass; (b)  Other Expenditures $145,500‑‑pass.

      3.(d)(3) Silviculture (a) Salaries $733,100.

* (2040)

Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Madam Chairperson, one question on  this line.  I notice in Other Expenditures, and the importance I  feel of Silviculture and the minister has indicated how  reforestry and such and maintaining our forests is so  important‑‑in his explanation he says, a reduction of $555,000  reflecting a reduced requirement for seedling production.  Can he  explain that, and can he explain the cut in this portion of the  department?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, the entire reduction is as a result  of the reduced demand from those obligations that we had  principally with Repap and to some extent with Abitibi, but I  understand principally with Repap for considerably less  seedlings, numbering upwards to three million.  That has forced  us to make the policy decision to operate the Clearwater Nursery  up at The Pas on a summer basis only.  We do that because it is  obviously less expensive to operate during that period of time,  and we have essentially not planned for, and that is reflected in  this reduction for operation during the winter months.  We have  been able to provide the necessary seedling amounts that we are  under contract and otherwise obligated to provide through the  nursery facility at Hadashville, as well as with the contract  that is operable with the Sioux‑McDonald Native people just south  of Portage who grow about a million seedlings or 900,000  seedlings for us.

Madam Chairperson:  Item 3.(d)(3) Silviculture (a) Salaries  $733,100‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $2,481,500‑‑pass.

      3.(d)(4) Forest Protection (a) Salaries $694,700.

Mr. Clif Evans:  Madam Chairperson, just a quick question here.  Going back to the Dutch Elm Disease issue, I would just like to  ask the minister, when municipalities and villages contract the  pesticide control of Dutch Elm Disease through the Natural  Resources department, the contractors who are involved in the  actual work, are they under control of the Natural Resources  department?  Whose control are they under when they do apply the  pesticide and whose responsibility is it at the time of the  application, and how are the people who do the spraying monitored  as to per the regulations and policy of the spraying itself?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, I am informed that the  responsibility resides solely with the municipal authorities,  just as it does here in the city of Winnipeg.  We do, however,  monitor the program.  Inasmuch as these funds are specifically  provided for Dutch Elm Disease cleanup and control, there is, in  the normal course of business, no doubt, prior to providing the  money assistance, we, in fact, do a check as to whether or not  the work has been carried out satisfactorily.

      In addition to that, I am advised that we do accept, as our  responsibility, to control in some instances the buffer areas, if  there is tree growth in around a community or municipality where  it is applicable.  The incidence of elm trees is not everywhere  in the province.  They are site specific, usually along river  banks, communities that are in around rivers and streams that  have a Dutch Elm population in the first instance.

      But the responsibility, whether it is spraying, whether it is  the work that is being carried out, is, in fact, directly that of  the municipality.  They hire contractors‑‑or do if they have  their own public works people or wish to employ their own  municipal staff to do that‑‑to remove and cut trees.  They have  guidelines that are available.  The honourable member is aware  that we are concerned about not widely distributing the diseased  woods, that the disease is spread in that manner.

      We have fairly specific and restrictive guidelines as to how  the cleanup is to be done.  But that is the responsibility of the  municipalities, and for the honourable member's information, some  621 over $1,000, in excess of $.5 million, is provided for this  work, along with a sanitation crew who inspects the sites to see  that the removal of the dead and diseased trees is done in  accordance to the regulations the department has.

Mr. Clif Evans:  I am talking specifically about spraying‑‑not  cutting down, spraying.  There are regulations and a pamphlet as  to how they are to go about, when they do the  spraying‑‑conditions, criteria.  I am asking the minister:  Who  is responsible to monitor that, the actual spraying?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, I am advised that the same answer  applies, that it is the responsibility of the municipality.  Indeed, it varies with respect to different by‑laws and  regulations that municipalities have.  As you know, in the city  of Winnipeg, the City of Winnipeg will not spray if individuals  make that decision‑‑in writing, I think; it is a procedure that  they have to follow.

      We are not directly involved in the operation, but again, we  do monitor the operation and to that extent provide some  direction.  There are regulations and guidelines that have been  established for the spraying operation by the Forestry Branch.  But we do not have the jurisdiction in a municipality or in the  City of Winnipeg, necessarily, to enforce them.  We provide  supervision, if you like, or monitoring, because we, over the  years, have garnered some of the best information that we have in  terms of how to most effectively control this disease, and we  passed that on in the form of guidelines and regulations to the  municipalities.

* (2050)

      I should add that the applicator, the actual contractor or  the person doing the spraying, does have to have an appropriate  licence from the Department of Environment.  I would suspect,  knowing those fellows, those fellows and gals‑‑gals and fellows,  those women and boys‑‑that they will put them through a pretty  significant process before they get their licence.  I like to be  gender correct here, Madam Chairperson.  I am having some  difficulty here in learning the new rules.

Madam Chairperson:  Item 3.(d)(4)(a) Salaries $694,700‑‑pass; (b)  Other Expenditures $1,293,300‑‑pass.

      3.(d)(5) Canada‑Manitoba Partnership Agreement in Forestry  $2,773,100‑‑pass.

      3.(e) Fisheries:  (1) Administration (a) Salaries $431,700.  Shall the item pass?

Mr. Clif Evans:  I know we are short in time here, Madam  Chairperson.  I have some specific questions in Fisheries that I  am not going to go line by line on this, but just go to different  areas.

      Firstly, I had indicated in my opening that there had been  applications or requests for hatcheries within my region.  I  would just like to know what the minister's department is going  to do about and what he has been doing and how he has been  negotiating or discussing the issue with the Dauphin River  Reserve as well as the request by Fairford Reserve for hatcheries  in their areas.

      What has the minister's department done about these two  issues?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, I have to acknowledge that we have  certainly had discussions with these people.  There are ongoing  requests from different sources with respect to further activity  on the part of this branch, particularly in the business of  operation of hatcheries.  I was pleased that early on, on my  return to the ministry, that we were able to revitalize a  hatchery that had been closed for a number of years up at Grand  Rapids.  That hatchery operation is running, and we will be  entertaining additional hatchery operations in the future.  Again, it is a question of available resources.  But I do not  quarrel with the honourable member, there is a great deal of  interest, particularly on behalf of those who watch the fishing  industry, that this aspect of the department ought not to be  neglected.

      Madam Chairperson, perhaps you will allow me to introduce Mr.  Joe O'Connor who has joined us, who is currently the acting  director of Fisheries.  As I indicated earlier, Mr. Worth Hayden,  a long‑time director of Fisheries, is being transferred or is in  the midst of being transferred to accept the responsibilities as  regional director in Gimli.

      I am doing that because he expressed a particular desire to  be closer to the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif  Evans), and I am sure he will get along very fine.

Mr. Clif Evans:  I want to deal with one specific before some  closing remarks.  The minister is aware and had met and was  lobbied by fishermen representing two areas:  the Grand Rapids  area and Area 6.  The indications after that meeting‑‑and the  minister had indicated to me that at that time that he was in  fact going to allow three and three‑quarter inch mesh in the  Grand Rapids area, and also indicated that he would not allow  three and three‑quarter inch mesh to the request of the Area 6  fishermen.

      Also, I felt by his indication that at the time the three and  three‑quarter inch mesh in Grand Rapids was going to be on a  trial basis.  I would like to ask the minister why the people in  north basin are under the assumption the three and three‑quarter  inch nets are allowed to be used by the whitefish fisheries?  Is  that true then?  Has that come from the minister?

Mr. Enns:  Madam Chairperson, the honourable member is correct on  some of the information that he and I have chattered about.  He  is certainly aware of the request from the Grand Rapids people  to, on an experimental basis, try the three and three‑quarter  inch mesh.  Subsequently to my discussions with them and subject  to the biological advice that I have received from my Fisheries  people, we have met and agreed to extend the use of the three and  three‑quarter mesh to the Area 6 fishermen in Sturgeon Bay, as  well as the Grand Rapids area.

      It should be noted this is for the summer fisheries only.  This is not the whitefish fisheries and that process will be  carefully monitored.  It is not an extension of the reduced mesh  size to the white fisheries, but it is the belief and the best  judgment on the part of our Fisheries biologist that we can do a  trial run.  That has been made very clear to the fishermen with  whom we have met in the past little while, that they will  co‑operate with us, they will do some more intensive checking as  to the results of the three and three‑quarter inch mesh fishery  at the end of the season and make future decisions.

      This is an experimental run at the smaller mesh size in these  areas for the summer fisheries only.

Mr. Clif Evans:  I would just like to get something definitely  clear then.  Only in these two areas has three and three‑quarter  inch mesh been allowed from the minister's department.  Just in  these two areas, not the north channel, not Bloodvein‑‑I forget  what area‑‑Area 5, not in Area 3, not in any other areas for  summer fishing has this been allowed by the minister.  Two areas.

Mr. Enns:  The use of the smaller mesh specifically to the two  areas as defined by Area 6 for summer and fall only, which in  essence precludes the whitefish.

Mr. Clif Evans:  In other words, any whitefish fisheries that do  fish in Area 6 or Grand Rapids, then they are allowed also to use  three and three‑quarter?

Mr. Enns:  I am advised that there are boundaries, as the  honourable member is aware, that signify different areas and the  white fisheries are not allowed to fish in these areas.

Mr. Clif Evans:  Just before my closing, I would appreciate and  put on record that I would like to, at the minister's earliest  convenience, speak with him on this matter, perhaps tomorrow  even, on the allegations, hearsay, fact or whatever that I have  had over the past four or five days on this issue.  I think it is  important enough that the minister and I meet along with Mr.  O'Connor and the deputy minister to this, so that I can get what  I am hearing straight because it seems to have created quite a  stir.  I do not know if the minister is aware.

Mr. Enns:  Sure, I am willing to do just that.  I appreciate that  there have been‑‑as always is the case, we have received  representation not to make any changes, we have received  representation to make the changes.  We have not made final  decisions, I repeat.  It is a trial run, if you like, in these  restricted areas for the smaller mesh size, but I will be happy  to give the honourable member an opportunity to visit with myself  and staff directly on this matter and afford him an opportunity  to get a full understanding of what it is that the department is  doing.

* (2100)

Mr. Clif Evans:  I do appreciate that.  It has been in the last  three or four days a hectic time for me in my constituency, and I  have stories coming from every which way, and I would like it  clarified by the minister's office as soon as possible.  Thank  you.

Madam Chairperson:  Item 3.(e)(1)(a) Salaries $431,700‑‑pass; (b)  Other Expenditures $89,200.  Shall the item pass?

Mr. Clif Evans:  If the minister would also, because we are also  out of time, we go page by page up to‑‑[interjection! No, cannot  do?

Madam Chairperson:  Regrettably, we have to have on the record  each item, each line passed.

      Item 3.(e)(1)(c) Grant Assistance $6,000‑‑pass.

      3.(e)(2) Fish Culture (a) Salaries $635,400‑‑pass; (b) Other  Expenditures $249,600‑‑pass.

      3.(e)(3) Fisheries Habitat Management (a) Salaries  $305,100‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $75,400‑‑pass.

      3.(e)(4) Sport and Commercial Fishing Management (a) Salaries  $277,000‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $80,300‑‑pass.

      3.(e)(5) Northern Fishermen's Freight Assistance  $250,000‑‑pass.

      3.(f) Wildlife:  (1) Administration $558,400‑‑pass.

      3.(f)(2) Game Management $395,900‑‑pass.

      3.(f)(3) Habitat Management $1,456,300‑‑pass.

      Well, I just want to confirm that Hansard indeed can hear me  over the roar of the members in the House.

      3.(f)(4) Endangered Species and Nongame Management (a)  Salaries $410,600‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $121,600‑‑pass.

      3.(f)(5) Fur and Commercial Wildlife Management (a) Salaries  $559,000‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $313,200‑‑pass; Grant  Assistance $89,900‑‑pass.

      3.(f)(6) Canada‑Manitoba Waterfowl Damage Prevention  Agreement $474,500‑‑pass.

      3.(g) Policy Co‑ordination:  (1) Salaries $574,100‑‑pass; (2)  Other Expenditures $35,300‑‑pass; Grant Assistance $5,000‑‑pass.

      3.(h) Surveys and Mapping:  (1) Administration (a) Salaries  $330,500‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $48,100‑‑pass; (c) Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations $20,000‑‑pass.

      3.(h)(2) Field Surveys (a) Salaries $692,400‑‑pass; (b) Other  Expenditures $239,100‑‑pass; (c) Less:  Recoverable from Other  Appropriations $350,000‑‑pass.

      3.(h)(3) Mapping (a) Salaries $466,100‑‑pass; (b) Other  Expenditures $104,200‑‑pass; (c) Less:  Recoverable from Other  Appropriations $60,600‑‑pass.

      3.(h)(4) Map Distribution and Remote Sensing (a) Salaries  $481,600‑‑pass; (b) Other Expenditures $371,400‑‑pass; (c) Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations $185,000‑‑pass.

      3.(h)(5) Data Management (a) Salaries $421,900‑‑pass; (b)  Other Expenditures $143,100‑‑pass.

      3.(j) Sustainable Development Co‑ordination Unit  $177,100‑‑pass.

      3.(k) Habitat Enhancement Fund $50,000‑‑pass.

      3.(m) Natural Resources Institute Grant $20,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 106:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $43,553,200 for Natural Resources,  Resource Programs, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of  March, 1993‑‑pass.

      4. Expenditures Related to Capital $5,639,300‑‑pass.

      Resolution 107:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $5,639,300 for Natural Resources,  Expenditures Related to Capital, for the fiscal year ending the  31st day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      5. Lotteries Funded Programs (a) Special Conservation Fund  $250,000‑‑pass; (b) Endangered Species Fund $250,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 108:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $500,000 for Natural Resources,  Lotteries Funded Programs, for the fiscal year ending the 31st  day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      Item 1.(a) Minister's Salary $20,600.

Mr. Clif Evans:  Madam Chairperson, I just want to put on record  that because of the situation with the time element that we have  with these Estimates this year, there are issues that we here on  this side and myself in particular, did want to raise with the  minister during the Estimates.  We passed on certain things, like  through the Wildlife section, more on the Fisheries I feel was  tremendously important, there were lots of questions to ask.  More on Forestry, game ranching, questions that if we had the  time, I am sure we would have asked and the minister would have  answered.

      Hopefully, we will get the opportunity to ask the minister,  in concurrence, a few more questions that we may have.  I hope  the minister will, in fact, be supportive and helpful in his  answers.  Thank you.

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

      Resolution 104:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $4,107,100 for Natural Resources,  Administration and Finance, for the fiscal year ending the 31st  day of March, 1993‑‑pass.

      This concludes the Estimates for the Department of Natural  Resources.




Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  The committee of  Environmental Innovations Fund will reconvene.  We are on Item 1.  page 157, $1,171,000.

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  One of the other questions I  want to raise here is with respect to‑‑I have here‑‑the other hit  list, the list of other products that would become  revenue‑generating for the Innovations Fund.

      I have here, besides liquor bottles, we could be considering  diapers, disposable products, Safeway bags and newsprint‑‑is it  oil?‑‑tires.  What are the other items that are going to be  brought in and how much revenue is expected to be generated from  those?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Again, while the  two that I indicated, diapers and tires would provide some  revenue for the Innovations Fund, if you look at the long‑range  projections for the tire revenues, they are designed to  self‑destruct.  In other words, when a process is up and running,  when a system is in place with a recycling cycle complete, the  dollars would be contained at arm's length, separate and apart  from government.  It would not continue as a tax.  Present plans  are that it would change to a WRAP levy which would be managed by  a combination of industry and government officials, strictly to  deal with cradle‑to‑grave management of tires, speaking of that  specific item.

      There always remains the possibility that some small  unidentified amount might remain as a tax, but primarily we  believe that the public looks to these types of levies to deal  with the particular material that is involved.  In other words,  the cost of handling beverage containers or tires should reflect  the cost of handling them, not the cost of handling them plus 20  other products in the waste stream.  We have the flexibility  under the WRAP Act to levy in a number of different areas.

* (2110)

      Newspaper, I am presently reopening‑‑I am not sure, if they  have not received the letter, they will get it within the next 24  hours‑‑the publishers, we are reinitiating discussions with them  to initiate a WRAP levy which would provide some additional  revenue for newspaper recycling.

      If I could just expand on that a little bit, I believe that  the market for old newsprint is growing.  The capability of  collecting it is growing, and initiatives that the city is  considering at this point when all of those factors come  together, I believe, now is the time, between now and fall, that  we will see rapid development in that area as well.

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

      To address the tax issue, primarily yes, those are all  candidates, but I should warn the member that it is not our  intention to simply make them candidates for revenue.  They are  candidates to generate revenue, a large portion of which will be  used to deal with that material in the waste stream.  Oil would  be another example where we need to have a regulatory capacity,  and a capability within the province to deal with the material  for recycling.  All of that will require some revenue but not  choosing to use that product to price it through taxation at a  level that might make it uncompetitive with other jurisdictions.

Ms. Cerilli:  Is it too early to get some idea of the anticipated  revenues?

Mr. Cummings:  Well, yes.  I would suggest the projected revenues  of the two identified areas could be as much as $3 million  annually, given that we are already partway into the fiscal year  and no tax has been imposed.  That could be somewhat reduced for  the first year.

      I also indicate that in the long term the tire tax is not  expected to be a continuous source of revenue.  Those dollars  will flow into dealing with the tire itself and closing the loop.

      The other items, it would only be speculation.  Again, we are  not attempting to skim from recycling programs just to be able to  produce additional revenue for the government.  That is about the  best I can answer at this point.

Ms. Cerilli:  It is interesting what is going on in some  jurisdictions.  I have a report from British Columbia of a waste  discharge permit fee system, which has a number of fees and all  sorts of waste streams and emissions.

      One of the other interesting things that they are doing in  B.C., and I do not know which city, if it is Vancouver or  Victoria, where they have vehicle emission inspection stations  throughout the city, and you have a computer printout and it  tells you the carbon monoxide emissions of your car.  Apparently,  this is generating revenue which is supplementing a fuel tax.

      Are there any considerations for things like that in the  province in conjunction with the municipal governments?

Mr. Cummings:  Any of those suggestions I suppose are possible.  We have looked at a possible emission testing regime.  The fact  is that Manitoba does not have an emissions problem.  That does  not mean that we could not start doing more to regulate what is  occurring in the province.

      Interestingly enough, one of the positive aspects of emission  control on vehicles is that, very quickly, operators who wish to  haul into other regulated jurisdictions have to make sure that  their equipment is capable of meeting standards.  There may well  be economic opportunity in the next few years for people who wish  to assist with testing and certifying.  That is not yet available  to us.

      Emissions trading is always a possibility, but it is not a  really popular idea.  It certainly has its downsides.  I can tell  you that in terms of water quality we have said it is either  suitable to be discharged or it is not, based on the receiving  waters.

      It should be indicated that Manitoba, through CCME, is  sponsoring a national workshop on economic instruments later this  month, which addresses and tries to address in some uniform way  the questions that you are raising about whether taxation or  economic instruments of another nature can be used to impact on  what is happening in the environment.  Also, I think it is useful  to have some standardization across the province in that respect,  or across the country, pardon me.

Ms. Cerilli:  The minister must be aware through the environment  committee nationally that B.C. is going to implement an entire  emissions scheme starting July 1, I think.  I just want to press  a little bit the position, the policy that the government is  undertaking, of not considering these to be appropriate for  generating revenue.  I do not understand it.  This is not  something new.

      I think I was reading in here that France has been doing this  since 1969 and there are jurisdictions in the U.S. that have  these similar programs.  This, to me, is sustainable  development.  You may talk about some of the other small  initiatives that go on in the province, but this to me would be  the kinds of steps that we need to be taking, getting a little  more bold perhaps.  I appreciate what the minister said earlier  about trying to weigh the percentage of emissions between  industries and make sure that you are not unduly taxing one kind  of industry more than the kind and the amount of pollution or  waste that they are generating just because they are easier to  tax.

      I would hope before too long we are going to see these kinds  of economic instruments as something that will be considered just  part of doing business, and that is the way it is.  I would maybe  like to have the minister comment just to see what has happened  with our Manitoba booklet, Harnessing Market Forces to Support  the Environment.  When I was reading the back, the back is fairly  limited when it talks about the action plan, even though it went  through a lot of the measures that are being used in other  provinces.  Maybe just ask the minister to describe more of the  reasons for the position that he has given regarding these kinds  of programs.

Mr. Cummings:  First of all, we have the capability to deal with  the issues that the member raises.  The question is whether or  not choosing those types of instruments to deal with our  environmental concerns is the best approach.  B.C. has a high  density traffic problem in the lower mainland and prone to  inversions, as I understand it, and has to deal with its  emissions problem because that is there every day and a very  obvious concern.  They also impose a tax on downtown gasoline as  opposed to suburban gasoline to pay for their monorail and other  transportation innovations.

* (2120)

      That may well work in their community, but I think there  would be hell to pay if we imposed a tax on gas sold within the  Perimeter in Winnipeg and not on the outside in order to  encourage people to use mass transit here in Manitoba.  All that  would happen is that Winnipeggers would buy their gas outside the  Perimeter.  So that, in itself, does not indicate that what works  in one jurisdiction is necessarily a suitable economic instrument  in others.

      We have also seen the national taxation that occurred of  gasoline a few years ago which was to impose conservation on us.  To some extent it worked because vehicles are more efficient  today, but there are also more vehicles on the road.  So there  are a number of different ways that you can use economic  instruments.  I believe the principle that should be behind those  that are problems is that the cost that is imposed against them  be the cost of dealing with them in the waste stream if they, in  fact, produce waste, or to direct people towards less polluting  and more efficient sources of fuel for energy.

      Those are the kinds of discussions that will have to come out  of a long‑term discussion and plan for the use of economic  instruments.  I suppose you could also look at taxes on gas  versus natural gas.  We have a very obvious problem at the  national level in dealing with that because Alberta's emissions  are up as a result of production of natural gas and propane.  If  you, across the board, impose penalties related to that, Alberta  will be penalized for producing cleaner burning fuel, but Ontario  and Manitoba, to some extent, and Quebec and some of the American  states will ultimately use in order to keep their emissions down.

      So it is not just a simple formula that can be applied when  you get into those types of taxation issues.  The market forces  have to be combined with the environmental problems that are out  there in order to achieve the ends that we both believe need to  occur, but you cannot make blanket statements on what will work.  Emissions trading, for example, Manitoba has two of the spot  sources for sulfur emissions, and we are reducing our emissions  within the global requirements, and yet, we are probably not  helping the areas where they are having trouble with acid rain  very much, because tests do show that probably where our sulphur  is falling is not creating the problems that are evident in other  parts of the continent.  So there are also reasons to reduce  emissions just so you do not have the overloading in a particular  air shed, as they refer to it, as opposed to just doing  across‑the‑board removal.

      You can even look at a global argument, whereby, if you want  to, overnight, reduce the amount of emissions and global loading  in the air, the most efficient use you could make of that  opportunity would be to go into some of the Third World countries  and spend the same amount of money that you would spend here in  increasing what are already some fairly high‑efficiency  operations.  The last 20 percent of those are very costly.  The  argument can be made very soundly that foreign aid to countries  that have emission problems‑‑and help them with the first 50  percent, rather than the last 50 percent we are trying to get out  of ours, will do more to reduce the emission of global warming  gases than any other thing that can be done.  That is one of the  major topics of discussion at Rio.

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Rose):  Item 1. Environmental  Innovations Fund $1,171,000‑‑pass.

      Resolution 133:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her  Majesty a sum not exceeding $1,171,000 for Environmental  Innovations Fund for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of  March, 1993‑‑pass.




The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Bob Rose):  It is my understanding we  are moving into Current Operating Expenditures for Environment,  page 53.  Is that correct?

      Item 1. Administration and Finance (b) Executive Support:  (1) Salaries $291,700‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $84,100‑‑pass.

      1.(c) Planning and Innovation:  (1) Salaries $475,400.

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I am sure  the minister will appreciate that we may ask questions outside of  the particular scope of the line we are asking, but we are trying  to get through this with as little disruption as possible.

      I have received a number of pieces of correspondence from  people who would like this government to participate in the  Pitch‑in week, in the Pitch‑in program, which the government,  heretofore, has not joined in.  I see the minister and his staff  smiling.  I assume they have heard this question before.

      I wonder if they can indicate what is holding them back from  joining with this group, which seems to have garnered support in  other provinces.  I am not an expert on it, but I would  appreciate the minister's comments.

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  One of our  concerns about the‑‑first of all, let me preface my remarks by  saying I do not wish to degrade or speak against the Pitch‑in  process or the Pitch‑in program, but we made a decision, after  some considerable thought, that we would not see that as the best  use of our dollars, even though there was some leveraged  activity.  Primarily what we saw ourselves buying was a very good  promotion package, and there is nothing wrong with that, but we  made the decision that our dollars would provide more net benefit  if they were used in another manner.

      We do not have a lot of discretionary dollars.  There are  dollars in the Innovations Fund for certain one‑ or two‑time  opportunities, but we did not choose to go that route.  Winnipeg  has a‑‑I cannot remember the name‑‑what I am trying to remember  to answer the member's question is about the same time as  Pitch‑in was approaching us with the project, the City of  Winnipeg implemented its own antilitter program and that more or  less finalized our thinking that perhaps there were other ways we could put our dollars to work without putting it in that program.

      As I said at the start, I am not out to denigrate the  program, but it was a promotion program and we have a lot of  people out there promoting today.  We have a lot of local  recycling organizations, a lot of schools, and we made the  decision by prioritizing that this is where we would spend our  money and focus it through the community organizations and the  Environmental Youth Corps would be another example of where we  have had a lot of action.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, how much money were they  asking for?

Mr. Cummings:  It has been quite a while since I dealt with this  issue.  I am going strictly by memory, $50,000, in that range, or  $35,000 to $50,000, something like that.  That is strictly by  memory.

Mr. Edwards:  Yes, I appreciate that it is not an exact figure,  but the minister indicates there is some other kind of antilitter  program he mentioned in his first response.  What is he replacing  this Pitch‑in program with, if anything, in terms of provincial  initiatives to do the same type of work?‑‑which is important to  get people involved in an organized way in cleaning up litter  wherever it be outdoors.

      If I can say by way of comment, I think the minister is  right.  It is probably a very good promotional campaign, but he  is also right when he says that is important, and if it is  structured in terms of time, a week, or a month, and it gets  every Girl Guides group and every Boy Scouts group and school  kids and everybody else involved in cleaning up outdoors, that is  worthwhile.

      Is there a similar program that the minister is envisaging  putting into place, or supporting as a more effective use of  those dollars or, indeed, less dollars?

* (2130)

Mr. Cummings:  I do not think it was a matter of either/or.  It  was a matter of allocating dollars that were somewhat scarce.  Frankly, I think at the time this decision was made, we were  talking about sponsoring a major ICASE conference here in  Winnipeg, where we were in‑servicing, hopefully, hundreds of  different teachers.

      Not exactly a trade‑off of litter cleanup, but in terms of a  trade‑off of having access to influence the future generation, it  probably was equally as valuable a direction for dollars.  Again,  it is not a direct trade‑off, but those are the kinds of  decisions that we have to make when there are not a lot of  dollars floating around.  I do not regret making them; I just do  not think I can characterize this as a direct trade‑off.

      The community organizations‑‑and perhaps there is a  difference between city and rural.  As I indicated earlier, the  city had instigated its own litter cleanup program through City  Council‑‑quite successful; local BIZ is involved as well.

      Across rural Manitoba we have had a real upsurge of volunteer  and workshop‑based recycling and cleanup programs that we have  supported by other means.  I think they have been very successful  on a year‑round basis.

      It simply was a decision of priority.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, the Department of  Environment recently advised the Manitoba Water and Waste  Association that they were going to further reduce their role in  organizing and administering the Annual Water and Waste Water  School.

      I see, again, the minister probably has had this question  before.  He seems to find‑‑

Mr. Cummings:  About 50 times.

Mr. Edwards:  About 50 times, he says.  Well, maybe he can put on  the record here today what was wrong with the Waste Water School  that merited withdrawing the funds.

Mr. Cummings:  Yes, when I say 50 times, I think I probably had  that many different plant operators who contacted their council  all saying, well, we are going to lose our school.  All of which  is wrong, all of which was based on the premise that we indicated  to them that yearly the Department of Environment has to apply  quite a bit of staff time, albeit probably one person, but quite  a significant chunk of their workload for preparation of this  school.

      We are quite prepared to support it with resources, with  training personnel, and so on.  We asked them, through their  organization, to accept more responsibility for their own  technical improvement in terms of planning the program.  Now, we  were talking about planning the meeting rooms and organizing the  general approach to the school.

      We also indicated, but it apparently fell on deaf ears or  someone out there has an agenda that they simply want things to  stay the way they were and are either unwilling or reluctant to  look at change.  We are also seriously interested in looking at  standardizing some kind of training, perhaps some kind of a  certificate course through one of the community colleges,  something that an operator could nail on the wall and point to if  somebody questioned the way he was operating the plant or if he  went looking for a job.  That is the kind of approach that we  were taking.  It may be a misunderstanding.  Certainly, they have  had letters from us indicating that we are not withdrawing  support for them, but we are looking to reorganize it, that there  will be a Waste Water School this year, a similar format as there  was before.

      But as all professional groups evolve, I think it is time  that they have a little bit more independence and they will still  have the support of the Department of Environment, albeit we are  the regulators and we will eventually come around to see how well  they are operating in the end.  So it is not a lack of support or  commitment, but we are looking at some changes.

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Rose):  Item 1.(c) Planning and  Innovation:  (1) Salaries.

Ms. Cerilli:  I appreciate that we are going to be able to ask  questions throughout the department, we are not going to have go  line by line.  I just want to ask one question about WRAP and  then I would like to go on to some other sort of local concerns.  Is that what we are doing?

      There was some concern expressed to me that when the  regulations came in for the beverage containers that the target  reduction for 65 percent was somewhat lower than what people had  hoped for and I think which was even proposed in some of the  government's own documents.  If we are trying to achieve a  50‑percent reduction in total waste by the year 2000, we are not  going to do it by having that kind of a target on one of the  waste stream items that is probably one of the most easy to  collect.  To have the minister explain what happened, why are we  only shooting for 65 percent?

Mr. Cummings:  Well, to begin with, the industry thinks it is  unachievable, given the time frame that was imposed.  It is a  definitive one‑year time frame, and industry is very concerned  that they will not be able to make it.  I believe the number was  arrived at after a considerable amount of discussion and looking  at what was happening in other jurisdictions.  I am reminded that  I actually added 5 percent onto what the industry thought was  possible.  They felt they could only achieve 60 percent.  I  arbitrarily added five, and that is in fact higher than the  target rates in Ontario right now, believe it or not.  I find  that‑‑the head of my policy section is nodding his head.  I am  taking his word for it.  That is higher than what they are  achieving, I am told, in Ontario today with their blue box  program and everything else

* (2140)

      So I agree that when you look at beer bottles, for example,  where they are getting 95 percent return, that it appears low,  but it is within the realm of reasonableness when you look at  what is happening in areas where you supposedly have a good  return system.  If I am not mistaken, Saskatchewan has not hit 70  percent yet, even with their Sarcan program.  I stand to be  corrected on that one, but I know they are not really high.  They  might be around the 70 percent range.

      It was not a sop to the industry, nor was it intended to let  them off the hook because there are deadlines behind it.  I have  to say though, if you want to put it into the context of 50  percent reduction by the year 2000, you could leave‑‑your  beverage containers are a small portion.  You want to hit the big  numbers, that is in newspaper, cardboard, tires.  I agree that we  have to get the beverage containers away, because they are a  litter and waste problem and there is valuable material in the  aluminum, but the big numbers are in the other materials, as I  mentioned.

Ms. Cerilli:  Just to stay with this then, what are the  negotiations going with the major newspaper companies with  respect to having them develop some program for taking some  responsibility in this area?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  The WRAP  program envisages distributor responsibility, which means that  there would be a levy that they would pay towards a fund that  would ultimately go to encourage reduction at some part of the  system.  One of the things that has always been a problem is  availability in markets.  We have seen a low over the last year,  starting to see a stronger market again now, as I understand it.  So there is availability to move the material.  The collection  system today is not totally paying for itself.  I would envisage  that they would consider some sort of a levy on a per‑tonne basis  that could then aid either the collection or the ultimate  shipping to a suitable recycling process.  Abitibi‑Price Pine  Falls operation hopefully will be a part of a provincial system.

      Our regional recycling programs in rural Manitoba, some of  them are shipping into Saskatchewan on the west side of the  province.  It is going for pulping into egg cartons, that sort of  material.  There are a number of markets locally opening up here  in Winnipeg, plus there are brokerages that are brokering it into  de‑inking facilities further away, and as the price has risen  they have been able to demand more paper.  I am hoping that the  newspaper publishers in this province plus the flyer components  will contribute towards the cost.

      I am deliberately not talking about a figure, because there  have been figures talked about before, but as I reopen  discussions with the publishers I want to leave that an open book  until we have a fair discussion with them.

Ms. Cerilli:  The minister says that he is hoping.  I am hoping  for a little bit more specific indication of what is happening in  this area, what kind of commitment is there from the paper  publishers to get involved in this kind of initiative.

Mr. Cummings:  I guess I probably did not choose my words  correctly.  I have the ability to regulate it, and I will, but I  intend to sit down with the publishing community and hear their  input.  I do not think they are reluctant to enter into that  discussion.

      They are voluntarily paying $10 a tonne to the Pembina Valley  Recycling Corporation to assist them with their paper, the amount  of ends off the rolls of the unsold newsprint.  All of those  things that have come to the attention of the publishers in the  last couple of years as a result of our WRAP program.  Those are  all actively being recycled, and they were not before.

      So there has been some small movement, and I do not  anticipate that we will have too many editorials condemning the  government for increasing newspaper recycling through whatever  means we ultimately settle on.

Ms. Cerilli:  I want to raise a few local issues.  One has to do  with cottage development in Lac du Bonnet.  I have been told that  there are approximately 1,000 cottages approved for this area on  both sides of the river. [interjection! Yes, the Lee River.  There are sewage problems for both the Winnipeg and Lee Rivers.  There has been no environment study done.

      One of the questions I have with respect to this, is there a  policy that limits the number of cottage developments that can be  zoned, given an area like this?

Mr. Cummings:  I would ask you to repeat the last part of that  question.

Ms. Cerilli:  There are a number of issues surrounding this.  There are the sewage issues, the septic field issues, but there  is also the density, and I am concerned, and residents around  there are concerned about the density of the development in what  should be a cottage area, and it is being developed like a  subdivision, or even more densely I think.  I have not been  there, but this is what has been described to me.  So one of the  policy issues that arises from this is, are there are limits to  the way that these kinds of areas can be zoned for cottage  development?

Mr. Cummings:  Well, part of the question is a land‑use issue as  much as it is an environment issue.  Obviously, any activity that  occurs there will not be allowed to violate our act, discharges  as an example.  But density of development‑‑albeit it might  alienate some of the local cottagers who were there before and do  not want company, it is the responsibility of the local authority  to decide what location they are prepared to allow development in  and then justify that development through the regulatory bodies;  if it is Crown land, getting the original permits for land use  and then all of the appropriate zoning and regulatory permits  that they would require for any kind of development.

      If you are talking about taking pristine wilderness‑‑and I do  not think you are, because part of the area that I have been in  has been populated for years, albeit not very heavily.  So, to  some extent, the land owners in the area, if they object, have to  deal with their local councils in terms of what is planned for  that area.  Some of the subdivisions that I have been aware of  there are well‑planned and contain all of the elements of  protection from the environmental point of view.

      I can well appreciate that if‑‑and I know there are people  who have had cottages there for two generations now, and all of a  sudden see a subdivision of 50 cottages going in somewhere not  very far away from them, that they could be upset.  But I do not  think this department, in and of itself, would stop it nor  necessarily should it.

Ms. Cerilli:  I realize it is a zoning issue and currently that  is held by the local council.  What I am wondering though is, if  this is not an issue of sustainable development and of developing  policies in consultation with those agencies that are going to  deal with density in these kinds of regions.

      I would think that some of the problems that they are having  with respect to the impact of sewage are going to be compounded  by the big increase of development.  If there were not as many  cottages there, that does not excuse improper storage of sewage.

      Does the minister see room to develop some policy, from an  environmental point of view, to ensure that there is a  sustainable use of land in areas such as along the Winnipeg  River?  I do not know how close this is to the Seven Sisters  area, let us say, an area that I am familiar with, but does the  minister agree that there is not a role from an environmental  point of view in trying to develop zoning policies that are going  to reflect sustainable density in these kinds of areas?

* (2150)

Mr. Cummings:  We are represented at all aspects of decision  making on these types of situations, as I suggested, through  provincial land‑use appeals, interdepartmental discussions where  there are subdivisions that are brought to our attention.

      I am told by the department that there has been some  improvement in the planning of the subdivisions, and that, in  fact, there has been an attempt to have some of the  cottagers‑‑this may be the area you are referring to, I am not  sure‑‑moved to lower density locations in order to not overstress  the facilities.

      This has been going on for, I am told, more than a decade,  and we have not identified any, from the environmental control  side, problems that we cannot deal with.

      I do not disagree, however, from a broad policy issue, with  people wanting to have the opportunity to cottage or to have a  second residence if they wish, or to camp and get out and enjoy  what is one of the greatest aspects of this province.  It has to  be done with some delicacy so that you do not have an environment  problem.

      You only need to look at this province on a map.  We are one  million people in one of the larger provinces in this country.  It is certainly above‑average size, and if we cannot have  cottaging under these circumstances, then our world has gone  crazy, frankly.

      It is more a planning issue, and planning has to have an  environmental component to it.  We believe we have a handle on  that, but complaints that you were raising about density, we are  aware of some density problems and there has been some work done  on that, as I understand it.  But, again, I think it is probably  the old versus the new in some respects as well.

Ms. Cerilli:  I guess what I am suggesting is that there is a  role for the provincial government to play in these areas with  respect to having some kind of assurance that there is going to  be policy considerations in all the municipalities, but I want to  ask if there has been an investigation of septic fields running  into the river, or the sewage in this development on the Lee and  the Winnipeg Rivers area.

Mr. Cummings:  We can ask if there has been any contact made with  us.  No one at the moment recognizes that area as a problem.  I  do not recognize the name of that development, frankly.  We will  look at it if that is your request.

  The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Rose):  Item 1.(c) Planning and  Innovation:  (1) Salaries $475,400‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures  $105,900‑‑pass.

      Item 1.(d) Financial and Administrative Services:  (1)  Salaries $757,200‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $198,400‑‑pass.

      Item 2. Environmental Management (a) Environmental  Operations:  (a) Salaries.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, for the minister, part of  the job of this Environmental Management area is enforcement in  some way or other of the environmental laws and regulations that  we put into place in the province.  As I referenced in my opening  comments, I have a lot of concerns about this department's  enforcement and its vigilance and aggressiveness when it comes to  enforcement of the regulations and laws we have put in place.

      I also referenced some comments which were interesting at the  CEC hearings in Letellier last week.  Under questioning from Mr.  Pannell, a representative of the department at those hearings  made what I do not think was an untoward admission but rather  reflected his feeling, which I think, if anything, underestimates  the lack of aggressiveness with which the department pursues  enforcement.  Does the minister share those views that there is a  lot more that could be done in terms of aggressively enforcing  the laws and regulations for which this department is responsible?

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I suppose that the member  could continue asking me until I put something on the record that  somehow says that we could do a better job of enforcement.  I am  sure there is not a policeman in the country who would not say  that he could do a better job of enforcement given additional  resources, given additional equipment, given additional time, et  cetera.

      We can always do more.  I will not shy away from that, but I  do not think that there is a situation developing where we have  an out‑of‑control industrial scene out there that we are not  properly following up on or regulating.  The City of Winnipeg,  through its own enforcement of The Environment Act or its own  regulations that fall under The Environment Act, has done an  increasingly good job.  A number of their people are, I guess,  former Department of Environment employees that they have upped  the ante on in terms of salary and hired them away from the  province.  I do not know if we have a number, but it is not  insignificant that that has occurred.

      If you were to ask me as minister, or ask the department, I  am sure that we would say that if we could have more personnel,  we could do more.  Almost every department in every province  would say that, but I am not apologizing for the system that we  have in place.  If Sections 8 and 10 are proclaimed in The  Dangerous Goods Handling and Transportation Act, I would a lot  sooner be in the position to know that we have the regulatory  authority and the act behind us so we can move when we have to,  than to be in the other position which is that you have lots of  personnel but you do not have the regulatory regime with which  they can work.

* (2200)

      So, from the positive perspective rather than the negative, I  believe that we are positioned so that we can move toward the  type of regime that is envisaged, for example, by the Manitoba  Hazardous Waste Management Corporation to make sure that we are  able to identify and make sure that they are handled properly,  the wastes in this province.

      I do not view our problem as having a large act of  underground sector that is dealing with hazardous waste.  Some  people feel there is activity out there that is illegal and  unlicensed.  If they are prepared to provide us with evidence, we  are prepared to deal with it.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I guess I would feel more  secure if in fact we had a more aggressive enforcement and there  were no charges.  Then I think we could say, we have checked, we  have looked, and there is not a breach of the laws and  regulations.  My concern is if there are problems, we will not  know about them.  I had just asked the minister in the last year  how many prosecutions have there been under The Dangerous Goods  Handling and Transportation Act or The Environment Act, and I  believe there is also some provision for provincial offences  under The High Level Radioactive Waste Act.  I am not sure of  that, but how many prosecutions were laid in acts under the  responsibility of the Department of Environment in the last year?

Mr. Cummings:  I guess this total figure here, 431, is the total  number of warnings, common offence notices.

Mr. Edwards:  Well, the member mentions 431 warnings or Crown  offence notices.  I am confused.  Is that 431 offence notices  that were taken to court or can he break that figure down?

Mr. Cummings:  Okay, there were five prosecutions, there were 49  fines and 431 warnings.  I did not total the other 54 in, so that  would be a total of 485.

Mr. Edwards:  Is it five prosecutions?

Mr. Cummings:  Yes.

Mr. Edwards:  Of the five prosecutions, were any carried through  in the course of the year to a trial, to a conviction?

Mr. Cummings:  Five.

Mr. Edwards:  What were the fines in those cases?

Mr. Cummings:  The department says, their view of them was that  they were small.  I do not think I have the figure here, but I  think one of the aspects that this reflects is the severity of  the violation and the way that the courts viewed it.  I might  differ with that, but I guess, as the member well knows, that  might be my opinion, but the courts have ruled.

Mr. Edwards:  The way around that, if the minister disagrees, to  my knowledge, is just to put in a minimum fine which judges then  have to respect.  Just so I am clear, there were five  prosecutions last year.  Is that up from the year before or down?

Mr. Cummings:  I am told, roughly the same.  There is a subnote  on this note that says that there are a number of charges pending  that would probably impact on this total if you were to refer  them all back to the period in which they were laid.  But I am  not aware of what that number is.

Mr. Edwards:  With respect to the proclamation of Sections 8 and  10 of The Dangerous Goods Handling and Transportation Act.  There  is a section in that act that talks about the Crown being bound;  there is a section that requires, in Sections 8 or 10, those who  were transporting dangerous goods have a certain period of time  to apply for the licence and receive the necessary licence from  the department.  Will government departments who are transporting  dangerous goods be required to apply under the act for licences  just like other people in the private sector?

Mr. Cummings:  Any transportation of goods always was covered  even without proclamation of 8 and 10.  So nothing changes in  that respect except that we will have a better invoice manifest  system for all the products that we can enforce under 8 and 10.

Mr. Edwards:  Will the government departments have to comply with  Sections 8 and 10 within that specified period of time that is  set out, I believe in Section 10?  I do not have it in front of  me, but there is a grace period, as I recall.

Mr. Cummings:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, I do not think that  government departments will be getting any grace period even.  We  expect them to comply.

Mr. Edwards:  With respect to my earlier comment, with respect to  the soil for the Remand Centre north of Portage, the minister  indicated that it was not at a level that required a licence.  That is very strange to me, given that I have visited the site at  the Remand Centre and the workers there said to that it was  absolutely saturated soil.

      I would have a hard time understanding how that soil could  have been saturated to a point that it did not require a  licence.  Is he saying that the entire soil that was put at those  locations was tested and was found not to be contaminated  sufficient for a licence?  Maybe he can explain at what levels it  would have been and what level it was at.

Mr. Cummings:  It was tested and it was not contaminated at a  level that would cause it to be classified as a hazardous waste.  As I indicated, I believe in the House a couple of weeks ago or a  week ago, we proceeded with some caution to check the soil, to  contact the municipality and to do a few other things that  indicated that we wanted it treated with caution at least.

      What you probably would have here is a situation that I think  would not be uncommon in a number of cases.  You might have found  a hot spot that could be classified as hazardous material, but  you would not find very much of it.  That is probably where the  separation of material will ultimately break down in the way this  waste is handled in the future.  The more heavily contaminated  sites or portions of sites will be identified and probably  treated much more carefully in the manner in which the Hazardous  Waste Corporation is prescribing, but some of the more likely  contaminated materials may be suitable for some sort of a soil  farming process.

      If you would just wait a minute, I think I have a note coming.

      Mr. Acting Chairperson, if I can just finish the answer on  that.  This will be a situation‑‑and I should have thought of  this earlier‑‑I believe that there needs to be some review of  waste regulation, that we can designate materials that are sort  of in this gray area more clearly, so that there is a definite  description, whether it will be classified as a special waste or  whatever.  It is the same argument, only in reverse, that we had  over pesticide containers, where if it was a fraction over, we  considered it a hazardous waste, and yet when the pail was  full‑‑the empty container is considered a hazardous waste but the  full container was not.  That type of regulatory regime does not  lend itself to easy management in my opinion.

* (2210)

      I believe that management of these varying types of  contamination that you will find in excavating contaminated sites  is also‑‑an example would be if you took a hundred truckloads of  dirt, which might well be what we are talking about here, out of  a site, you are going to get extreme variations within the site  itself as to what is contaminated.  If those hundred truckloads  are in Thompson or Flin Flon or Brandon you are going to haul  them all to one site to be treated when they are a very, very low  level of contamination.  In my view, what you need to be able to  do‑‑and some kind of practical application, and I am virtually  blue‑skying here, so I hope the member realizes that‑‑but in  viewing this material, are you going to truck that hundred  truckloads of very lightly contaminated material?  You will burn  more diesel fuel in the trucks, and spew it out into the air than  what will come out of that soil, hauling it 200 miles to have it  treated.

      But if there are a half a dozen or a dozen of those  truckloads that could be identified as the heavily contaminated  part of the site, they can be hauled to an area where they can be  more specifically treated for the type of remediation that they  require.  Then some of the lightly contaminated materials can  maybe be treated in another way.

      I do not have the answers.  There are people out there who  are suggesting some very good answers, from the Hazardous Waste  Corp., from the petroleum industry, from the department.  Ultimately we will have to make a decision on what is the best  way, and we will put a regulatory regime in place, but we do not  have the facility even to deal with it today.  We are on the way  to getting one, so I think that is only appropriate that we  answer those questions as we move in that direction.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, was the quote in the local  paper correct with respect to the volumes that someone indicated  was quoted from the department as saying a hundred times the  10,000 cubic tons which were dumped at that site comes out of the  city of Winnipeg in any one year.  Is that correct?  I mean, is  this that big a problem in the city?

Mr. Cummings:  I think the member has put his finger on the  enormity of the problem that we have with petroleum‑contaminated  soils, and why there has to be some sensibility in how we deal  with it.  I am told that figure could conceivably be correct.  There is no way of confirming it, that is for sure.  It also  indicates why there are people out there who are promoting  remediation onsite by putting ventilation and forced air  circulation into contaminated sites and vaporizing the material  right onsite without having to take it away.

      Now, there are a lot of locations where you cannot do that.  We know that.  You would not want to do that next to a  residential area, not likely‑‑that sort of thing.  When you start  talking about volumes, that is the kind of problem we have to  deal with as a department.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Acting Chairperson, in this case, where  admittedly the minister indicates or appears to indicate that  there may have been some portions of the soil which were more  heavily contaminated than others, of that we are really clear,  although overall I gather the impression was that it was not that  heavily contaminated to necessitate a licence.

      But would it not have been prudent to, at least, have posted  some warning to the public, put some sort of barrier around it,  whether that be a simple rope or some way of identifying this as  contaminated soil, albeit perhaps minimally contaminated?  I  mean, it is rather shocking, and it was to the R.M., I might add,  that this was dumped and there was no indication at all that it  was anything but pure soil that the Department of Highways was  going to be using.

      In fact, it was contaminated soil.  It strikes me that, while  the minister may make a claim that it did not necessitate a  licence, to go the second step and say it required no warning, no  identification at all.  There was essentially for the public's  view a complete denial that this was contaminated at all.  There  was no indication that it was, and it was publicly accessible  property.

      It was at the Perimeter and Inkster Boulevard, not at Portage  and Main, but that property was publicly accessible.  There was  no barrier around it.  Would the minister not consider that  environmentally prudent to have at least given some indication to  the public that this was contaminated soil?

Mr. Cummings:  I suppose it is like safety for school buses.  You  can never say that anything is perfectly safe or that you have  done everything imaginable to protect the public or, in the case  of school buses, students.

      Certainly, you could argue that perhaps we should have put up  some signs.  I am not sure what you would put on the signs.

Mr. Edwards:  Contaminated soil.

Mr. Cummings:  Well, true.  But then do you put down the level of  contamination?  Do we say, it is not hazardous, but this  soil‑‑you get into a description then of it being contaminated.  The reason that I put it in that sense is that we had a number of  dumpsters full of contaminated soil, I believe, a lot more  heavily contaminated than this, in south Winnipeg, covered with  tarps, a ventilation system under, presumably safely handled,  protected from the public, but ultimately not accepted by the  community.

      Yet the gas station that was there previously probably  emitted a whole lot more gas through its vent pipes into the  atmosphere than that contaminated soil did sitting there in the  dumpsters under a tarp, but it was the impression that was  created that this was somehow going to blow up or burn.  I guess  that is the concern that I have.

      The member is correct.  We could have put up a sign.  Perhaps  I could even acknowledge it would have been the right thing to  do, but at what point do you have an obligation to inform the  public, and how do you inform them so that you do not create  panic or undue concern?  This material was not a hazard to the  environment.  By and large, if you walked in it‑‑who would have a  reason to walk in it?‑‑the most important sign would be "keep  out."

The Acting Chairperson (Mr. Rose):  Does the honourable member  for St. James (Mr. Edwards) wish to yield to the honourable  member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli)?

Mr. Edwards:  I think that what might have been a good start  would just to have been to put "contaminated soil, keep out."  Because you cannot figure out what to put on the sign is hardly a  reason not to put up a sign.

      I appreciate the minister's acknowledgement that these things  could perhaps be rethought in hindsight, but I certainly  encourage him to not do nothing because it is not perfectly clear  what should be done.  What was clear was, I think, that something  should have been done.

      It is true.  You can question, well, if somebody had walked  through it, would there have been any risk?  But, you know, for  all the department knew, there were kids playing in that soil.  I  mean, it certainly could have happened.  It was publicly  accessible land.  The public deserved to have some notification  and some warning

(Madam Chairperson in the Chair)

      I do not intend to pursue this area beyond that, but I  certainly leave that with the minister that standards are  increasing.  This stuff should be treated.  It will be treated  when we get a treatment facility.  I acknowledge it is a  developing field, but I do not believe that was a particularly  wise choice in that sense.

      Finally, if the minister maybe could clear up the  misunderstanding with the R.M., because I have spoken to them  recently; they have spoken to me.  They deny having  notification.  I am not here to say who is right and who is  wrong, because there are two different stories.

      Is there a letter that the minister can table around about  when the soil was taken out there?  Is there any correspondence  to the R.M. which might indicate, might conclusively show that  they received notice?‑‑because they say they got no notice.

  Mr. Cummings:  There may well be a letter.  I am not sure whether  I can produce a letter, but the information we received from my  department was that they had consulted with the R.M.  Perhaps it  was the local councillor that they talked to rather than the  reeve or the secretary‑treasurer, or maybe it was the  secretary‑treasurer and not the councillor.

      I guess I take some umbrage at this line of questioning,  because it seems to imply that there was some sort of  environmental or physical hazard that was associated with this.  This is not very highly contaminated material.

      To create the aura around something like this seems to me to  be a little bit unreasonable.  The member has every right to kick  me around a little bit if we have done things less than  meticulously every time, and I understand that, but I look at the  myriad of materials that we deal with in everyday life, and I  will bet you there are not too many back‑yard garages in this  town that you can go into that do not have a container of  pesticide or perhaps a couple of gallons of gasoline for running  the lawnmower, and it ain't labelled.

* (2220)

      One of the things that concerns me about all of these debates  are that we tend to view things with a doomsday scenario‑type  approach.  The member has been quite gentle about this, so I am  not going to harangue him in return, but I do believe we have  some obligation to the public to act reasonably in the face of  the problems that we are dealing with.  I have acknowledged that  some kind of signage would have been an increased level of  safety, if that is what it takes.

      I do think, in all of these things, we have to acknowledge  what the degree of risk is.  Believe me, it was my opinion, on  the advice of the department, that that was not a high risk that  we were undertaking, that the greater risk was to have left it  underneath the building and potentially have, at some point in  the future, fume accumulation that could have either caused  sickness or whatever else.

Ms. Cerilli:  I would like to deal with a couple of local  issues.  One of them:  I would like to start off by asking the  minister if there has ever been a review of the city's  transportation systems in Winnipeg, an environmental review.

Mr. Cummings:  Not specifically.

Ms. Cerilli:  If there were going to be a review of a highway,  would it be a Class 3 development and would that mean that there  would be some involvement by the provincial government?  If there  were a major four‑lane boulevarded highway that was being  constructed, would there be a review of that within the city?

Mr. Cummings:  Yes.

Ms. Cerilli:  Even if the road were going to be constructed in  pieces, sections at a time, at the beginning it may not be a  complete, full‑lane boulevarded highway, but eventually the  15‑year plan was to have that kind of access route?

Mr. Cummings:  I believe, first of all, you would have to  appreciate that a review of a major thoroughfare is done, first  of all, in the context of the planning and the environmental  impacts that flow from that planning or are identified as a  result of that planning.  If the member is talking about  replacing or upgrading an existing roadway, it might get a  different kind of review than if you are talking about a new  development into a new section where there was previously no  traffic.  That would be, obviously, a different approach.

Ms. Cerilli:  I am referring specifically to the highway that is  on the books with the city that is going to join the new Kildonan  Bridge with eventually, I think it is, the Trans‑Canada, south of  Plessis Road.  Since working on this issue, it started off with  local residents in Transcona‑E.K. area trying to preserve the  heritage prairie, and now we realize what we were being told  initially was going to be an access road is actually eventually  going to become this beltway.

      The concern that I have is that it is going to be put in in  stages, and that there should be an environmental review of the  entire plan before they start constructing the initial stage,  which would be the part that would affect the grassland.  So, can  we get some confirmation that there would have to be a complete  environmental review as per a Class 3 development and this would  have to be done on the entire plan that is on the books for the  highway?

Mr. Cummings:  In that specific issue we have already notified  the city that they will have to file for a licence.  In terms of  the member's question about does there have to be a review of the  whole as opposed to a review of the part, it depends what they  bring forward as their plan for development.  Certainly, I  suppose that if the city said they were going to build part of it  that would be what they would put in a proposal for.  They might  well choose to take a different route at some point in the future  and therefore might not apply for the second part.  The line  becomes drawn where the city and the province or the regulators  agree on what is classified as the development.

Ms. Cerilli:  It has been confirmed at some point that this is  going to be the thoroughfare which connects the bridge and the  Trans‑Canada Highway, and the concern is we would get down the  road, so to speak, and the important part of changing the plan  which for a lot of other environmental reasons, or a lot of  environmental reasons is not the best city planning for this  area, that there should be a complete review of the entire  proposal, which as I said is on the city books, before they can  construct any part of it.

Mr. Cummings:  Well, again, there is always this disagreement  between those who are proponents and those who are opponents, in  some cases, about whether or not planning or environment has the  best plan of stopping a project.  Many people approach The  Environment Act with the view of using it to stop a project,  without talking about this one specifically, rather than deal  with the planning issue which says, first of all, do you even  want it?  Then if you decide you want it, under what conditions  can you build it, and where?  That is where the environmental  concerns become considered as part of the overall approach.

      Yes, environmental concerns could stop the project, but first  of all there has to be a planning decision so that you then deal  with the environmental aspects of the development as it is put  forward and designated as a development.  That term is used very  specifically because that is a term in the act that requires them  to have a licence.

* (2230)

      Geographically, every time you build a road‑‑in fact, we  frustrate the Department of Highways in many cases, asking them  to prepare environmental statements and acquire licences in some  cases for a lot of things that they do across the province.  Ultimately, the planning decision and the environmental decisions  have to be integrated, and that is exactly what you are talking  about in this project.  If the plan is that they want to build in  that general area, and then bring forward the specifics of it  under their development plan, then the environmental concerns  have to be dealt with at that point.  I suspect that we are  overreaching a little bit if we say we want to know what you are  doing with the next five miles before we give you a licence on  the first four.

      I cannot answer the specifics of your question beyond the  fact that the city has been notified it must acquire a licence to  start that construction.

Ms. Cerilli:  Another concern is that part of the review would be  the kind of access roads that region requires and that there  would be some environmental consideration of all the different  options.  I have a copy of the map here which has all the  proposed developments to surround the thoroughfare in the area  that is most concerned about this right now, and even the style  of that development all predisposes the development of this  highway and so everything has been constructed with that in  mind.  The options are being presented as being very limited.  My  concern is that we are starting from square one using an  integrated approach, as you have suggested, and we are not going  by proposals that have been sketched out from the '60s, which is  where this has come from, as I understand it.

      I think that there is a difference between suggesting that we  should be not just allowing the additional assessment of five  miles of road at a time, but to do a comprehensive environmental  review of different options for highway construction or road  access construction in a new area.  Would you agree?  Am I being  clear at all?

Mr. Cummings:  First of all, commenting on the specifics of this  one, I could get myself hung until I have seen the specific  proposal, but I have to go back to the original responsibility  which is, first of all, there is a planning decision that has to  be made.  I suspect maybe it has been made, but the amount of  development that is going into an area is going to produce a  specific amount of traffic.

      If they are producing a thoroughfare to handle that amount of  traffic, that in itself was not an environment issue.  That is a  planning and management issue.  Where they start to have an  impact on whether there is endangered space or whether there is a  river or whether there is prairie, they then have to deal with  the‑‑when they have that demand there, they have to then look to  the Environment department for a licence.

      An example, I guess, is that I do not view it as strictly an  environment problem to study a whole transportation sector in  that corner of the city.  That is a planning responsibility.  You  could use the word "environment" and say that if there are twice  as many cars going down the street, they are spoiling your  environment.  It is not the Environment department that is going  to offer the citizens on that street very much protection.  They  will have to look to their city councillors as to the planning  that funnels those cars onto that street on them.

      The Environment department might well become involved if  there becomes a noise level that exceeds certain concerns in that  sort of issue, but again the planning has to be done so that you  can then address what impact it will have on the environment.  Our basic responsibility, as I mentioned them in my opening  comments, can be boiled down to dealing with emissions to soil,  water and air.

      The Environment Act does have other aspects where it talks  about when you are doing studies to look at social and economic  aspects of them.  So I really think the important part is that if  the city or any other jurisdiction is doing planning, that before  they start moving they have to deal with the environmental  aspects of that.

      We are moving some considerable distance in that respect.  The city and the province have had a long‑standing disagreement  over the Charleswood bridge, as an example.  I have always  maintained that at the start if the city planners had addressed  the questions that were expected to be addressed, that issue  would be long forgotten.

Ms. Cerilli:  I wonder if we do not have the same case here,  where the issues are the proximity of this kind of highway being  planned to be put through a major, new residential development,  and the consequence with safety and noise and the implications  for transportation, transit.  Those are all the kinds of things  that I would hope would be considered in an environmental review  of this kind of highway.

      By the comments you just made, I am wondering if the need for  the licence is more dependent on those factors or if it is  dependent on the prairie being there, or if it is both?

Mr. Cummings:  I do not think I will venture to answer that  question, because again we have not seen the specifics of their  development.  I do not intend to wade into a dispute between,  perhaps, the city planners and the local residents until I have  seen the parameters that they are concerned about.

Ms. Cerilli:  So that was one of the other questions I was going  to ask, if they have asked, if they have filed any kind of  application yet for the licence, and it is pretty obvious they  have not.

Mr. Cummings:  No.

Ms. Cerilli:  This is very difficult because we know, and I have  in front of me maps that show what the proposed development is,  so I would hope that when the application is made we will be able  to compare it to the entire construction of what is on the  books.  City officials have confirmed that it would hook on to  Fermor.  As I said earlier, what started out with a small access  road through the Regent prairie has turned into much more concern  about the other problems with safety and noise and vibration so  close to these residents.

      Maybe we just could ask if the minister would consider  keeping me up‑to‑date on this issue if he gets information as  things proceed, if he would let me know.

Mr. Cummings:  Yes, I have no problem with that.  I also would  ask the member, therefore, to talk to those citizens who are  concerned to remember that their first avenue to look to for  redress is the planning.

Ms. Cerilli:  I also want to deal with another local issue, and  that is the Domtar hazardous waste near Devonshire Drive, just  down the road from the proposed highway.  I want to ask the  minister if there has been any progress on dealing with Alberta  to ensure that we can ship the soil there so it can be tested.

Mr. Cummings:  We still expect it will go.  There is no problem  in completing the shipment, but we have not been able to do it  yet.

* (2240)

Ms. Cerilli:  I am sorry.  Did you say there has not been an  agreement?

Mr. Cummings:  I do not think we have an agreement in hand.  It  is not because we do not think we will have one shortly or be  able to do it.  We do not anticipate a problem, but the shipment  has not been cleared to go at this point.

Ms. Cerilli:  Is the agreement just waiting for the passage of  Bill 53 or is there something else?

Mr. Cummings:  As I am sure the member knows, the gentleman who  is dealing directly with it is not here this evening, so I am  going to have to do a little digging here.

      We expect it to go late June so that is where we are right  now.  That is the anticipated date of shipment.  Alberta  environmental approvals have been somewhat delayed, but the  anticipated shipment is very shortly.  I suppose if it does not  happen in the next ten days it will be the first week of July,  but I and my deputy have certainly not had any indication that it  is likely to be a problem in the end.

      Alberta does have good opportunity‑‑perhaps if the member  will allow for me to be a little bit philosophical‑‑and as much  as Alberta does have a situation, whether it is this material or  others where they simply do not want the importation of any  hazardous waste, that is one of the concerns that gets run up a  flagpole out there.  The opposition questions the government  every time they think there is anything that even resembles  hazardous materials coming across the Alberta border.

      One does not want to be a repository for hazardous materials,  but there are a lot of advantages to regional management of these  types of materials.  That was the original concept 10, 12 years  ago that western Canada would deal with its hazardous materials  and other materials on a regional basis.  That has never come to  fruition, and we are probably reaping a little bit of the results  of not having a regional concept in place.

Ms. Cerilli:  I understand that the air monitoring in that site  has been set up.  Have there been any results from samples taken,  and can you share that with me?

Mr. Cummings:  The sampling was and I believe has begun, but we  do not have any results with us here tonight.  I suspect that if  you have activity on a site you are not going to have a problem.  Now I think there is some activity that has started there so that  we should have some results, but I do not have them with me  tonight.

Ms. Cerilli:  Is the minister saying that there has not been  enough activity on the site, because the last time I was there  there was an awful lot more concrete that had been churned up.  [interjection! Oh, there has been.

Mr. Cummings:  The local committee, I understand, is working with  the sampling and literally helping with the input as to what  sampling is being done and helping in the choice of locations, I  suppose.  So the advisory committee is quite closely involved and  we intend to keep it that way.

Ms. Cerilli:  Does the minister have a revised time schedule that  they are aiming for at this point?

Mr. Cummings:  We do not have a time schedule other than the  original time objectives that were laid out, and we know that we  have not been able to maintain them.  Bill 49, however, will give  us some of the leverage that will strengthen any orders, or give  us the authority we have been looking for, for orders.  I have to  indicate that Domtar still accepts their responsibility.  Part of  the delay in getting these soil tests approved is what is holding  up taking direct action on putting the equipment in place until  they have at least run a few samples.  It would be a little bit  foolhardy to start moving the equipment, but yes, we are behind  schedule.

Ms. Cerilli:  Have the other work orders all been complied with?

Mr. Cummings:  I believe so.  I am not aware of any that are  outstanding.

Ms. Cerilli:  I think I had questioned before if there is any  more certainty about the success of what they are going to try to  do with the soil.  I am quite concerned that if the tests are not  successful, then there is going to be another long time before we  know what is going to happen next, and people have gotten quite  excited about what is going to take place and they are prepared  to have the structure there.  I am concerned that if this does  not work, then we are going to be going through another year of  just trying to figure out what to do.  Is that something that is  a possibility, or are there other alternative plans that could be  looked at right away?

Mr. Cummings:  We are not convinced that they would not be able  to use other technologies if they decide against this one.

      There are other possibilities.  I have at least once or twice  mentioned that there are processes in the States that might be  adapted.  In fairness to the community, the task force or the  advisory group, at least unofficially, some of them had indicated  that if worst came to worst that they would not be opposed to a  mobile incinerator if they knew it was only going to be there for  a short period of time.

      I am not advocating that at this juncture, but what the  company has indicated is that they are not advocating it either  because they do not think they could satisfy the community.  Wherever they have tried to site an incinerator before near a  community, it has been rejected.  That is why I mention it, in  fact, as a compliment to the local residents that they are  saying, we are prepared to tolerate some of the work that might  have to be undertaken as long as it is going to result in the  conclusion of these cleanup sites.  I think we will stand behind  the TACIUK process until it is proven that it will not work.

Ms. Cerilli:  I want to raise a different issue with respect to  legislation that is before the House, The Farm Practices  Protection and Consequential Amendments Act.  There is an  indication that this legislation should only be brought in with a  review of livestock regulations under the Environment Act, and  there has been concern, as we have seen in the number of issues  that have been discussed in the House, that we know that these  regulations with respect to the siting of lagoons, procedures  dealing with effluent are quite weak.

      I am wondering if we can expect that these things are going  to be dealt with soon after this bill passes the House, and why  it is that those things are not happening at the same time when  the government's own preliminary review of the agricultural bill  was developed and circulated that indicated that?

* (2250)

Mr. Cummings:  The issue that the member raises is legitimate.  There is a committee reviewing livestock regulations.  As a  member of the agricultural community, I know I concur  wholeheartedly with something the Minister of Agriculture (Mr.  Findlay) said not very long ago, and that is that the  agricultural producers have come a long way in recognizing what  impacts they are having and in wanting to deal with them, whether  it is through pesticide use or agricultural practices or  conservation practices.

      The problem is that today municipalities could set their own  standards and require livestock operations to live by them.  They  are reluctant to do so.  They could do that with the support of  our department and the advice of the Agriculture department but  they would probably incur some significant problems.  They would  get some willing compliance; where they had unwilling compliance  it would create some difficulty for them.

      Their leverage is through the planning act.  They could agree  to developments, subject to certain conditions, that we could  help them develop if they chose to, or with the combined  knowledge of ourselves and consultants in the Department of  Agriculture, they could very easily establish base‑line  requirements, but then require the proponent to do all of the  monitoring and produce the results, knowing that they would have  the strength of The Environment Act to follow it up if the  operation ended up being in violation of the act.

      I have no indication at this point that that is likely going  to happen.  Some municipalities have indicated that they want The  Environment Act implemented on agricultural activities.  I am not  anxious to move wholeheartedly in that direction.  That is why I  am looking at what advice may come from a committee of  cross‑sectoral responsibilities.

      I think we need to recognize that compounding the regulatory  regime in rural Manitoba is not very conducive to the expansion  of livestock, which, in many parts of Manitoba right now, are  seen to be one of the bright lights in the agricultural scene.  We had a misfortune this past summer to have three or four  livestock operations that found themselves in violation of The  Environment Act.  They were dealt with appropriately.

      We have seen the industry, particularly the hog industry,  voluntarily moving to inform their members and to encourage their  members to meet or exceed all relative standards.  Given the  volume of hogs that is produced in this province, I am not  unhappy with the changes that are occurring out there.  But this  government will only move after we have had considerable  consultation and try and make it so that it is a situation that  benefits everyone.

      The agricultural community is trying to work with rural  residential situations today that they did not anticipate 10  years ago.  So the mood of the agricultural community is much  different in recognizing their own responsibilities.  But you  have got a lot of existing situations out there that are going to  be very difficult to change.  It is the new ones that we need to  be working with, first of all.

Ms. Cerilli:  I fail to see the advantages from an environmental  point of view‑‑and maybe there are not any; maybe these are  regional considerations‑‑but to see the advantage of having this  dealt with at a municipal level, I would think that this is an  issue for development of provincial standards.  Can the minister  explain what would be the advantage of going to the municipal  approach?

Mr. Cummings:  Frankly, we have a problem very similar in rural  Manitoba to what we were just discussing in the city of  Winnipeg.  The difference is we are talking about hog lagoons as  opposed to a roadway, that very likely the Pur‑A‑Tone hog  proposition that was put forward in the Dauphin R.M. very likely  could have met all environmental standards.  The neighbours just  did not want them there.  So, no matter what the environmental  regulation said, if that was the only criteria upon which it was  judged, they would have had a hog operation for neighbours.  It  was a planning issue.  They just did not want them there, and  that is why one has to be very conscious of how you deal to put  regulatory regimes in place that maybe do not even address the  question.  Again, I am reluctant to see The Environment Act used  as a cudgel when it is not the environment that is at risk; it is  people's sensitivities that are being upset.

      The same thing is true in a number of other situations that I  could, I suppose, enumerate across the province.  We always hear  about the bad things that happen.  We do not hear about the  success stories, but we also do not hear about the properly  planned rural communities that say:  Once you are two miles out  of the local town, you are going to have to live with the country  air.  It is not zoned conditional for feedlots or hog  operations.  It is zoned agricultural first, livestock operations  permitted, and I was shocked when I found that there are some  R.M.s in this province who darn near have the whole R.M. listed  as agricultural conditional.  It shows the change in our society  where agriculture is in the minority and, while everybody wants  green, it is all right if it is somebody else's green, but then  it does not smell.

      So I am being somewhat defensive inasmuch as I do not want to  see environmental regulators moving into rural Manitoba, deal  with a problem that is not only an environment problem, it is a  rural residential and an agricultural planning problem that needs  to be dealt with at that level as well.  If we only have The  Environment Act to depend on in terms of where we might locate  hog barns or chicken facilities, which can be even more obnoxious  in some cases, if The Environment Act is the only protection that  the public thinks is good for them, they may very well find that  they can meet The Environment Act, it is The Planning Act or the  fact that they just do not want them for neighbours that will be  the problem.  I recognize the issue of prior approval versus  violation after the fact, and I think that is one of the  questions that we need to deal with in terms of standards for  construction of new facilities.

* (2300)

Madam Chairperson:  As previously agreed, the hour being 11 p.m.,  what is the will of the committee?

An Honourable Member:  Committee rise.

Madam Chairperson:  Committee rise.  Call in the Speaker.




Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  The hour being past 6  p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 10 a.m.  tomorrow (Friday).