LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA

Wednesday, June 24, 1992

 

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

 

PRAYERS

 

Speaker's Statement

 

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Routine Proceedings, I have a statement  for the House.

       I must inform the House that Edward James Connery, the  honourable member for Portage la Prairie, has resigned his seat  in the House, effective June 23, 1992.  I am therefore tabling  his resignation and my letter to the  Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council advising of the vacancy thus  created in the membership of the House.

          

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

 

PRESENTING PETITIONS

       

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  I beg to present the petition of  Violet Thurston, Eleanor Heminger, Elio Mancinelli and others  requesting the government consider restoring the former full  funding of $700,000 to fight Dutch elm disease.

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present  the petition of Carol Kendrick, Angele Kernel, Ted Zarn and 1,100  others requesting the government consider reviewing the funding  of the Brandon General Hospital to avoid layoffs and cutbacks to  vital services.  That is the latest batch.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  I beg  to present the petition of Kim Lalonde, Brenda Osborne, Kathy  Clark and others urging the government consider establishing an  office of the Children's Advocate, independent of cabinet and  reporting directly to this Assembly.

 

PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES

 

Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  Mr. Speaker,  the Committee of Supply sat yesterday afternoon and last evening  and has considered the concurrence motion, directs me to report  progress and asks leave to sit again.

       I move, seconded by the honourable member for Sturgeon Creek  (Mr. McAlpine), that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

 

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

       

Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister responsible for Seniors):  Mr.  Speaker, I have a ministerial statement.

       It gives me great pleasure to invite the members of this  House to join me in celebrating tomorrow, Thursday, June 25, as  Seniors Day in Winnipeg.  This celebration is one of the many  related activities held in communities throughout our province in  the past several weeks to mark June as Seniors Month in Manitoba.

       Seniors Month gives us a special opportunity to thank our  seniors for their role in making Manitoba what it is today, a  strong, economically vibrant partner in a nation that has earned  international acclaim for the highest standard of living in the  world today.  This unsurpassed quality of life has grown out of  the efforts of our seniors, the men and women who tilled the  soil, raised families, fought for our freedom, built our  communities and took bold risks.

       Seniors' contributions have had an enormous impact on our  lives and continue to enrich our communities.  Their knowledge  and experience guides our youth in their quest for a better  tomorrow.  Their energy is an inspiration and motivation to all  of us.

       As we gather tomorrow, we will recognize Seniors Day.  It is  fitting that we consider and acknowledge how much our seniors  have shaped the quality of our existence in the past, present and  the many years to come.

       Mr. Speaker, in recognition that senior citizens'  achievements have improved our lives and continue to give us  great hope for the future, I ask the members of this House to  join me in extending sincere thanks and best wishes to all  Manitoba seniors.

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Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Mr. Speaker, we are happy that at  least this government has continued this tradition of recognizing  Seniors Day, which was started by the NDP.

       While we are happy about this continuation of this tradition  on behalf of our citizens who have contributed their lives and  their talents for the improvement of this province, we are very  unhappy and disappointed on behalf of seniors on the failure of  this government to again correct the deindexing of 55 Plus for  our unfortunate senior citizens.

       We are unhappy on behalf of seniors, for they are again  imposing a new tax on the Blue Cross, which will have its  detrimental effect on the bulk of our senior citizens, but  Seniors Day should be continued, and all good practices should  have their day in this Legislature.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, tomorrow will be Seniors Day at the Legislature, and  along with the New Democratic Party and the Conservative Party,  we welcome the seniors here.

       However, we wonder about the amount of money that will be  spent on that particular enjoyment of that day here at the  Legislature when money has been denied those very same seniors in  programs such as 55 Plus which is no longer indexed, and never  was indexed under the NDP, and the Shelter Allowance‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

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Point of Order

       

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I do not believe  it is in order for any member of this Legislature to mislead this  House‑‑

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

* * *

Mrs. Carstairs:  The seniors know how much money they got under  the NDP.

       Mr. Speaker, the other issue, of course, is that the shelter  allowance has also been frozen.  So there is a lack of funding to  make those very seniors, the so‑called economically vibrant  partners whom the minister makes reference to in his notes today.

       So while they are wandering around the Legislature tomorrow,  I only hope that some of those who are able to come will be those  individuals who would be able to come more easily if they had  enough money on a day‑to‑day basis for their food and their  shelter and, tragically enough, do not have enough money on a  day‑to‑day basis because of the unwillingness of this government  to meet their needs.

             

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

 

Economic Growth

Summit Formation

 

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, my  question is to the Premier.

       In December, six months ago, the Premier made four economic  boasts in this House, in Hansard, about the Manitoba economy.  He  boasted that the Conference Board had predicted Manitoba would  have a 4 percent growth in 1992.  He boasted that his policies in  government had resulted in an 8.7 percent unemployment rate.  He  boasted that manufacturing employment was up over the previous  year.  He also boasted that investment in manufacturing in 1991  would be some 7.7 percent.

       Mr. Speaker, six months later, we have the reality of those  boasts, the reality that the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr.  Connery)‑‑the former member for Portage la Prairie‑‑was  commenting on yesterday in terms of the lack of economic  performance by this Premier and his office.  We see that now the  Conference Board is predicting 1.1 percent growth.  We now see  that Manitoba's unemployment rate is 5,000 people per month  higher than December 1991, when the Premier made those  predictions.  We see that the manufacturing sector has declined  from 55,000 to 51,000 in May 1992, and we see that investment in  manufacturing declined 38 percent.

       Will the Premier now, instead of boasting about the future,  take really strong action as chair of the Economic Committee of  Cabinet, and will he call together the various groups in  Manitoba, business, labour and government, to work together and  call together an economic summit to get our province moving again?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, we see the prince of  darkness again quoting statistics that he likes to quote about  1991, always looking through the rearview mirror and gloating  about the difficulties of the Manitoba economy.

       Manitobans are not looking for that kind of leadership.  Manitobans are looking forward positively.  They know the  statistics that we quoted in December for 1992, for 1993 and for  1994 are still valid.  We are going to be, according to all of  the recent economic forecasts, in the top three or four in the  country, above the national average in growth for '92, '93 and  '94.

       In fact, the most recent survey that was just out yesterday  from CIBC says:  The recovery in 1992 is expected to be somewhat  stronger than the national average in Manitoba.  Manufacturing,  Manitoba's largest goods producing sector, is expected to reap  some of the fruits of diversification away from Agri‑Food and  also to benefit from the pickup in North American economies.

       They go on to talk about agriculture having a better year.  They go on to say that overall, in '92, '93, '94, we will  continue to outperform the national average.  That is the  forecast, and it remains valid, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Doer:  I would refer the Premier back to his own boasts in  December, in Hansard, when this session first started, Mr.  Speaker.  They are all his words in this Chamber.  These were his  so‑called forward‑looking views six months ago, and he is wrong,  wrong, wrong all the way through his predictions.

       One of the things that is becoming abundantly clear, Mr.  Speaker, is that this Premier and his office do not listen to  Manitobans.  Whether it is legislation on social assistance, they  were not listening to Manitobans.  Whether it is legislation on  child advocates, they were not listening to Manitobans.  Whether  it is legislation dealing with police, they were not listening to  Manitobans until they were forced to do otherwise.

       On and on and on‑‑with the economy, they are not listening to  Manitobans.  In fact, this Premier is not even listening to  members of his own caucus, Mr. Speaker.  He is not even listening  to members of his own caucus.

       Mr. Speaker, I would ask this Premier to change his style and  change the style of his government and call together an economic  summit so that all Manitobans would have access to the Premier in  terms of the province, so that we can work together in a  consensus with all Manitobans rather than a few select members of  the economy whom the Premier chooses.  Will he call an economic  summit and involve all Manitobans in that?

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Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, you know, again, the Leader of the  Opposition is wrong, wrong, wrong.  Number one, he is basing all  of his information on last year's statistics.  He is not looking  at all of the forecasts‑‑'92, '93 and '94‑‑which are saying that  we will outperform the national average in '92, '93 and '94.

       Secondly, he says that this government has not listened.  On  the bill, with respect to‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Doer:  Again, Mr. Speaker, all the predictions the Premier  made in Hansard in December are wrong.  All the predictions of  the Premier, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) and the  Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) last year  at this time are all wrong.

       Mr. Speaker, we need an economic approach that involves all  Manitobans, not just a select few.  Why will the Premier not call  an economic summit, an economic summit that was just called with  business, labour and government in British Columbia‑‑a province,  by the way, that is predicted by all the forecasters to lead all  other provinces in Canada?  They are working with a consensus  approach to their challenges, to their problems.

       Why will the Premier not call an economic summit with all  Manitobans being involved in a consensus way to solve our  problems rather than just a select few who have the ear of the  Premier?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, as I was saying when I was so rudely  interrupted, the Leader of the Opposition was wrong when he said  that we did not listen to the presentations of the City of  Winnipeg Police Association.  All of the changes that they had  advocated were indeed made.  Their president, as well as the  commissioner of Parks and Protection, stood up last evening at  committee and said they supported the bill.

       Secondly, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Child Advocate,  that bill was just passed this morning, and nobody voted against  it in this House.  So if it so wrong, why did the opposition not  vote against it?  Again, he is wrong‑‑again.

       With respect to the issue of a summit or a discussion of all  groups in the economy with respect to the economy, I attended  last Thursday and Friday a two‑day session of the Economic  Innovation and Technology Council, at which point one of the  decisions that was made by that council was to hold just such a  seminar, just such a conference in Winnipeg or in Manitoba this  coming fall.  I know that plans are well underway for that to  take place.

          

Rural Economic Development

Video Lottery Revenues

 

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

       Mr. Speaker, this government has failed dismally in its  economic development plan for rural Manitoba.  The only major  effort they had to stimulate the rural economy was the Repap  deal, and that was a failure.  They broke their promises on Video  Lottery Terminals, and they offloaded costs onto municipalities  with roads.

       Mr. Speaker, video lottery revenue was promised to be spent  to stimulate rural economic growth and to create permanent jobs  rather than to cover up government cutbacks in Natural Resources  and student funding.

       Will the minister give his commitment that money from Video  Lottery Terminals will be put back into the rural economy to  stimulate it, to have economic growth and to have real jobs, not  cover‑ups?

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Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  I  certainly do not accept any of the preamble that has been put  forth by the member for Swan River.

       Mr. Speaker, let me just give you an illustration of what has  happened in terms of rural economic development issues in this  province since this government has been in power.

       Mr. Speaker, first of all, it was this government that  introduced the Grow Bonds program in Manitoba, which allows  communities to invest in themselves.  It was this government that  introduced the Community Choices Program which allows communities  to also come together and identify their strengths.  It was this  government that indicated through the REDI program‑‑they  introduced the REDI program, and under the REDI program, $2.4  million this year is going to rural economic development  initiatives.

       Mr. Speaker, it is also this government that has put a  substantial amount of money into the rural economy through the  GRIP program.  I will not accept any of the rhetoric put forth by  the member for Swan River.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Well, the minister is not listening to rural  Manitobans.  Millions of dollars have been raised on Video  Lottery Terminals; 95 percent of this money comes from rural  Manitoba.

       Since all of the revenue comes out of rural Manitoba, why is  the Minister of Rural Development allowing the money to go back  into general revenue rather than to economic growth, as he  promised?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Speaker, it is only a mere four or five days  ago that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) stood in his  place, as the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) did, and  criticized this government for not putting forward employment  programs for the youth in Manitoba.

       We have done just that.  We have put forward a program for  rural Manitoba, for rural students to get involved in programs  that will assist those students in terms of employment, but  secondly, will assist in terms of developing our infrastructure  in the rural part of our province.  That is also a part of rural  economic development in this province.

             

Minister's Commitment

       

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  $3.5 million‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for Swan  River, with her question.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Since this government has broken its promises on  decentralization, and mayors and reeves across the province are  upset with this government on this decision to take Video Lottery  Terminal funds out of economic development, when is this minister  going to show some leadership, stand up for rural people and urge  this government to have some commitment to economic growth, real  economic growth in rural Manitoba?

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr.  Speaker, I am extremely happy that the member raised the question  of decentralization, because 720 jobs will be decentralized to  rural Manitoba as a result of the decentralization initiative.

       Mr. Speaker, $25‑million worth of payroll will be going into  rural Manitoba as a result of decentralization.  Another $750,000  will be going into rural Manitoba as a result of a youth  employment program for our parks through the Green Team project.

       This is a sincere and a serious commitment to the economic  development policies for rural Manitoba.

            

Constitutional Proposal

Public Hearings

       

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, the ongoing constitutional negotiations cause us grave  concerns.  It would appear that the Premier is going to be  meeting with other Premiers if he accepts the invitation for  lunch with the Prime Minister next Monday, and we are concerned  as to what his position will be at those discussions.  We asked a  week ago, I specifically asked him, if, when the tentative  agreement among First Ministers was reached, the public would be  given the opportunity through public hearing process to give  their opinions as to whether they accepted that tentative deal.

       Well, Mr. Speaker, it appears that we have come a long way  from the original position of the people of this province, as  reported in the Meech Lake task force report, because in that  task force report, I can find the following quotation:  The task  force recommends that public hearings be held at the federal and  provincial levels of government after the First Ministers develop  a proposal for constitutional change and prior to the signing of  the proposed constitutional change.

       Mr. Speaker, my question is:  How does the Premier reconcile  his answer to my request last week and this recommendation in the  task force report?

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Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Very simply, Mr. Speaker, we are  going to have the proposals go before a public committee of this  Legislature to be reviewed and commented on by the public before  any resolution will be voted upon in this Legislature.  So the  public will have full input and full opportunity to do that.

       I have said before that I would not presume to sign away the  rights of the people of Manitoba.  Their rights are guaranteed in  the rules of this Legislature, rules that were changed by both  parties in this Legislature who existed in 1984 and who were  committed to that change in rules.  We will abide by that change  in rules, which means that the people will have the opportunity  to review any proposal prior to any vote taking place in this  Legislature.

            

Spending Powers

       

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, the reality is that the spirit of the task force report  on Meech Lake was that they would be given the chance to comment  before the negotiation of the final proposal, and they are not  being given that opportunity.

       We have other areas in which this government is separating  itself from the task force reports that have been done.  The  Meech Lake Accord proposed that individual provinces receive  compensation for opting out of national programs without any  requirement for national standards‑‑that was the Accord‑‑but  merely compatibility with national objectives.

       The first Manitoba task force said this proposal should  simply be scrapped.  The second Manitoba task force said that  spending power should only be included in a review of the  division of empowerment that included, and I quote:  the  possibility of increased federal government involvement in policy  fields, increased involvement in policy fields which might  benefit from national policy making and/or co‑ordination.

       Now we have come full circle, and the rolling draft contains  a spending power clause that is virtually identical to the one in  the Meech Lake Accord.

       My question for the Premier is simple:  How does he justify  this vast distance which has been apparently travelled by his  government?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Wrong again, Mr. Speaker.  The  consistent position of the Minister responsible for  Constitutional Affairs (Mr. McCrae) has been that we prefer the  Dobbie‑Beaudoin wording, and we have stayed by that position at  the table all the way through.

           

Multiculturalism

 

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, the second Manitoba task force recommended, quote:  that  the unique place and role of Quebec be recognized in a Canada  clause along with the equality of the provinces, recognition of  aboriginal peoples, duality, multiculturalism and an affirmation  of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

       That is not what is in the rolling draft texts.  The rolling  draft texts make no reference whatsoever to multiculturalism, and  they extend further derogation of the Charter to aboriginal  peoples and to the people of Quebec.

       Can the Premier tell us today exactly what his position is  and what position he will be taking to the Premiers' and Prime  Minister's table on Monday at lunch?

       Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, as I understand, the  purpose of the meeting is to review the considerable areas of  disagreement that are contained within the current rolling draft  text, areas of disagreement that the Leader of the Liberal  Party's questions bring out.

       We will be attempting to achieve, as much as possible, the  positions that were put forward by the Manitoba All‑Party Task  Force.

            

Economic Growth

Government Policy Performance

 

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I have a question  for the Minister of Finance.

       There are many statistics that reveal the serious economic  stagnation that is occurring in this province.  My Leader  referred to some of them‑‑declining manufacturing, lagging  investment, heavy unemployment‑‑but probably one of the key  indications of Manitoba's decline is the loss of our people to  other provinces.  Some of the best and brightest are leaving.

       Figures that we now have, Mr. Speaker, show that in the first  quarter of this year, we lost more people than in the first  quarter of last year.  In fact, since this government assumed  office in the spring of 1988, we have lost over 36,500 people to  other provinces.  That is almost as large as the city of Brandon.

       My question, therefore, to the Minister of Finance is:  Will  he and his government now admit that its economic policies are  totally failing?

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Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I  categorically reject the assertion of the member for Brandon  East.  I watched and waited very carefully for census statistics  to come out, and it showed that the growth of the province  continues at a rate which although not incredibly fast, still is  growing in a positive sense.

       Again, I have to chastise the member for trying always to  dwell on the negative.  Mr. Speaker, I would have to say for the  record‑‑and this is basis of the middle of June‑‑this is the area  in which we are performing above the national average.  Of  course, you will never get this from members opposite.

       In business bankruptcies, we are far above the Canadian  average as far as a diminution of that indicator.  The CPI in  this province is far below that in Canada; housing starts, urban  areas, 75 percent in Manitoba as compared to 42 percent in  Canada; manufacturing shipments in the province of Manitoba far  above the Canadian average; personal bankruptcies, again, far  below the national average; private nonresidential investment  intentions, again‑‑and the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr.  Stefanson) has talked about this often‑‑retail trade, well above  the national average; and the unemployment rate far below the  national average.  You never hear these types of statistics from  the member opposite.

             

Population Statistics

       

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Well, if it is so great, why  is everybody leaving Manitoba, Mr. Speaker?‑‑36,000 since this  government took office.

       My supplementary question to the minister is:  Can the  minister explain why Manitoba is steadily shrinking within the  Canadian nation, because when this government assumed office,  Manitoba equalled 4.2 percent of the national population total  and today, I regret to say, we have shrunk to only 4.0 percent?  Why are we becoming less significant in the Canadian nation?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Well, that is the  mind‑set of the member opposite.  He measures significance in the  terms of numbers, Mr. Speaker.  That is his ultimate determinant  factor.  I would say to him, if he believes that Manitoba is not  significant in the context of Canada, then I am saying he is  doing a tremendous disservice, not only to all the people, but  specifically to his constituents.

       Mr. Speaker, I do not know for sure why it is that the census  and the number of people in the province of Ontario have grown  beyond 10 million.  I think it has something to do with the  institutional make‑up of this nation.  It is one of the reasons  why this government is pressing so hard for Triple‑E Senate  reform.  Where are the members opposite?  Where does the member  for Brandon East stand on an issue like that?

       So, Mr. Speaker, obviously, within the Canadian context, if  Ontario and British Columbia have numbers that are going at a  much higher rate than those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan,  obviously, our share is not going to grow, but I would say to  him, Manitoba is not any less significant because of that factor.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  The honourable minister knows that I am not  reflecting on the quality of our people.  We have the greatest  people in the world.  I am talking about the magnitude, and you  know that very well.

       My question to the minister is:  When will this government  change its economic policies so that we are going to have more  job opportunities for our people in this province and help to  slow down, if not entirely eliminate, this brain drain that is  occurring?

       I note, Mr. Speaker, that our rate of population loss on an  annualized basis is the second worst in Canada.  We are nine out  of 10.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, when are the members opposite going to  stop voting against budgets which provide for tax decreases?  When are the members opposite going to stop voting against  budgets that provide increases in a number of social areas, going  to stop chastising the Minister of Rural Development (Mr.  Derkach), who is trying to take some money and put it into  employment opportunities?  When are the members opposite going to  live up to what they did when they were government and saddled  this province with the highest taxation load in the country?

       So, Mr. Speaker, I can point fingers, too, but the reality is  we have a course; we are following it; we are staying out of  debt.  We are managing well, and we are giving those credits  within the Canadian context.

           

Post-Secondary Education

Accessibility

 

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Students at St. Boniface College  and Brandon University are facing fee increases in the region of  15 percent.

       Mr. Speaker, these students live in small communities, where  there are almost no jobs available and fewer jobs since this  government cut the support for student employment by more than 50  percent.  These students already have high debts.  They are not  eligible for UIC‑based training.  Our community colleges have  long waiting lists; in some cases, more than a year.

       I want to ask the Minister of Education:  Does she have a  plan?  Does she have any emergency response to these Manitoba  families who in 1992 are seeing further education slipping out of  their grasp?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  We  certainly support the students in Manitoba and are interested in  people studying, both those young people who are studying  sequentially and also those Manitobans who are returning to  school and have other responsibilities.

       We have maintained that commitment through our support for  the Student Aid program in Manitoba, which I will remind the  member is a bursary program.

 

Universities Review

Timetable

 

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Will the minister tell us when, in  the fullness of geological time, she is going to introduce that  university review, and will she tell us how students will be  represented on that review?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr.  Speaker, she will not have to wait quite that long, and it will  be very soon.

 

Post-Secondary Education

Accessibility

 

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, will the minister  ensure that the university review, when it does emerge from the  myths of history, will examine the crucial issues facing  Manitobans, and that is, accessibility to university education?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr.  Speaker, we have taken the issue of the university review  extremely seriously.  We have developed a mandate which is very  wide in scope and which, I believe, will certainly address the  issues that the member opposite has raised today.

           

Dutch Elm Disease

Research and Development Funding

 

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.  Speaker, the pioneers who established the city of Winnipeg had  some vision.  They had some vision to make this a beautiful place  to live by planting thousands and thousands of trees.  Unfortunately, many of those are elm trees and subject to Dutch  elm disease.

       Can the Minister of Natural Resources tell this House whether  he met, or any of his department met, this week with Dr. Carl  Hubbes, who has been working at the University of Toronto on a  vaccine which will prevent Dutch elm disease but has indicated  that he might be forced to stop that research because of  insufficient funds?  Did the minister have officials meet with  him, and what did they learn from that meeting?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker,  Dr. Dubis's [phonetic! research with respect to potentially  finding a cure for Dutch elm disease first came to the attention  of myself and my department three years ago, when I was  increasing the level of the Dutch elm disease program to the City  of Winnipeg.  It was then the considered opinion of both the  professional staff of my department and of the city forestry  people that monies the city and the province had could best and  should best be applied to the managing of the disease as in fact  we are doing, as in fact I have been encouraged to do virtually  every day by members opposite, in doing precisely the program  that we are.

       With all the respect that I have for Dr. Dubis's [phonetic!  research, it simply has not been supported, nor is it hopeful  enough that a cure in fact can be found.  He himself suggests  that it may be found in five years or in 10 years.  There is no  guarantee to that.

       I have suggested to him at that time‑‑and I say this very  publicly‑‑we, as taxpayers, support a major research institute  called the National Research Council operating out of Ottawa.  Surely, if this Dutch elm disease is not a problem unique to  Winnipeg or to Manitoba, if among his peers it can be construed  as a worthwhile research project, then quite frankly the National  Research Council bears some responsibility in providing support  to Dr. Dubis [phonetic!.

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Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, the name is Hubbes, and I can only  assume that he has not read the research project work since he  obviously has not clearly understood the spelling of the man's  name.

       The government has indicated that they thought it was better  to spend money on managing the disease, but in fact they have  decreased the money they are spending managing the disease.  They  have also made the decision they are not going to fund R & D in  this area even though they have strongly advocated funding for R  & D in a number of presentations and election campaigns.

       Can the Minister of Natural Resources tell the House why this  government has chosen to put no money into research to find a  cure for this particular disease?

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Speaker, quite simply because the best  professional advice provided to this government and indeed to  former governments was that the monies currently being spent in  controlling Dutch elm disease are being spent in the most prudent  manner.  There has never been a professional case put forward,  obviously, for the good doctor to attract the kind of research  dollars‑‑even the potential for a cure.  My foresters quite  frankly tell me that it is blowing money into the wind, and if we  have any monies available, I am being advised to help in the  maintaining of control of dead and diseased trees in precisely  the manner we are.

Mrs. Carstairs:  But that is in fact exactly what the government  has done.  They have cut the program.  They have cut the program  they already were funding.  Can the minister explain to this  House why there is now less money available for the prudent  program he is now advocating?

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Speaker, let me state it very clearly.  Never  before in the history of this province‑‑never before since the  onslaught of Dutch elm disease has a provincial government  provided the level of funding that this government, my  government, is providing for Dutch elm disease.

       That is a categorical statement.  We are providing $1.5  million for the fighting of Dutch elm disease, more by several  hundreds of thousands than any previous government in the  province's history.

Pharmacare

Calcium Supplements

       

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  To the honourable Minister of  Health, I recall the Biblical story of an old woman who was sick  for 12 years, and being unable to get the attention of the Lord  Jesus Christ, she approached the back and touched the hem of the  garment, moved by the faith that by doing so she would get well.

       Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health, ignoring the  recommendation of the Centre for Health Policy studies, delisted  a dozen forms of calcium from the eligible list in the Pharmacare  program.

       My question is on behalf of sick seniors, particularly  women:  Will the honourable Minister of Health explain to this  Assembly why his department ignored the recommendation that they  first conduct a utilization study before doing the delisting?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I would  be totally pleased if someone would find a cure for the common  cold as well.

       Mr. Speaker, I take my honourable friend's question quite  seriously, but I want my honourable friend to understand that in  the establishment of the included products that are reimbursed  under the Pharmacare program, we engage the professional minds of  pharmacists in the province of Manitoba, who recommend to us  those products, pharmaceuticals and even some over‑the‑counter  products which, in their professional opinions, are effective and  ought to be made available through the prescribing mechanism of  pharmacists, hence reimbursable under the Pharmacare program, Sir.

       Now that professional advice has said to us that there are  many over‑the‑counter calcium replacements, including TUMS, by  which individuals can access calcium needs.  They have  recommended to government that we examine that list and have made  recommendations to government that some of the products be not  reimbursed under the Pharmacare program because they are  available either as over‑the‑counter or in other equally  effective nonprescription sources, Sir.

Mr. Santos:  Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the suffering women,  senior citizens, may I approach the minister and touch the hem of  his garment and ask him to list again at least one form of  calcium supplementation so that these women may be safe from  osteoporosis, which is a crippling disease and not like a common  cold?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I will even shake hands with my  honourable friend if you get rid of this cold.

       Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend is attempting to paint a  picture where there are no available calcium products to women  and others who may well wish, under a doctor's advice, to  supplement their calcium.  That is not the case.  There have been  a number of over‑the‑counter products that individuals have  bought.

       The recommendation from the professional pharmacy group,  pharmacists, professionals‑‑and I realize my honourable friend is  advocating on behalf of possibly a constituent, but professionals  have recommended that we do not have the need to make  recommendations and reimbursement under Pharmacare for calcium  products available as over‑the‑counter products.

           

Northern Manitoba

Employment Creation Strategy

       

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the  Premier.

       The resignation yesterday of one of the Premier's own caucus  colleagues demonstrated what we have been saying for years, that  this government is not listening and is particularly not  listening to rural and northern Manitoba.

       Northern Manitoba, Mr. Speaker, has the highest rate of  unemployment of any region in the country, and yet this  government has cut back in terms of job creation programs  affecting remote northern communities.

       My question is simple, to the First Minister:  When will he  listen to northern Manitobans and reinstate the kind of funding  cutbacks we have seen to CareerStart and the Northern Youth Corps  program, which is leaving a devastating situation in terms of  unemployment in those communities?  When will he start listening?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, the figures that I saw  not too long ago indicated that the highest per capita income in  the province today is in the city of Thompson, represented by  that member for Thompson, of any city or town or village in this  province.

       This administration has spent four years trying to work at  problems that were created and unsolved by the former  administration.  We have, for instance, entered into a trilateral  agreement to build the northeast hydro line to serve seven native  communities in northern Manitoba, to invest some $80 million in  infrastructure to lower substantially their costs of  hydroelectricity.

       Today, right at this very minute, the Minister of Energy and  Mines (Mr. Downey), the Deputy Premier, is signing with Split  Lake an agreement that will provide over $45 million of funding  to the Split Lake Cree Band, the largest input of financial  contribution that community has ever seen in its history, as a  result of the efforts of this government.

       I can say, despite the fact that the northern flooding that  affected that band occurred under the Schreyer government in the  mid‑'70s, it took this government's commitment, this government's  integrity to work with the Split Lake Cree so they could get that  kind of agreement.  No other administration has been able to do  it.  No other administration has put that kind of money into the  North that this administration has, Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Ashton:  Mr. Speaker, the Premier does not understand.  Thompson, for example, has had 6,800 applications for welfare,  thanks to the failure of this government in terms of economic  policy.

       I want to go further and ask as my final supplementary:  When  will this Premier stop designing programs on job creation for  Tuxedo and recognize, in remote northern communities that have no  jobs, have no tax base and have no funds, that they get no job  creation under the kind of programs this government has brought  in?  When will he listen to the people of the remote communities  of northern Manitoba?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, that kind of irrational ranting and  raving is what produced the kind of irrational policy that the  New Democrats applied to northern Manitoba, where, in the words  of his Leader, they devised a plan that paid people to plant  flowers along the roadways of the North, that paid people to put  up signs, those green and white Jobs Fund signs, paid them a  fortune, and all they ever saw by way of economic development and  long‑term infrastructure were those signs.

       What we see today, of course, is the hundreds of millions of  dollars of debt that was created by that kind of irrational  spending that occurred under the NDP.  Of course, the member for  Thompson was there every step of the way, counselling that kind  of irrational throwing away of money and building up of debt for  this province.

Mr. Speaker:  Time for Oral Questions has expired.

            

Introduction of Guests

 

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to recognizing the honourable member for The  Maples for a nonpolitical statement, I would like to draw the  attention of honourable members to the loge to my right, where we  have with us this afternoon Mr. Sid Green, the former member for  Inkster.

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

            

NONPOLITICAL STATEMENT

       

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for The Maples have  leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [Agreed!

Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, in April of this  year, the Winnipeg Hawks Triple "A" Bantam Red hockey team  captured the Western Canadian Bantam Championship in Red Deer,  Alberta.

       Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize the members of the  team and the coaching staff.  Congratulations to:  Dorian Anneck,  Chris Brett, Jeff Chatyrbok, Mark Dawybida, Tony Ducharme, Billy  Ewanchuk, Kyle Janssen, Chris Kavanagh, Clayton Lyons, Craig  Malaschuk, Ryden Marko, Kevin Medwick, Juilien Phillips, Edmond  Turcotte, Jason Klos, Vince Kluz, Curtis Menzul, Craig Slasor,  Justin Kurtz, head coach Wayne Chernecki, assistant coaches Glen  Harrison and Brian Kizuik, parent representative Bill Kitchen,  team manager Donna Medwick.  Thank you.

           

ORDERS OF THE DAY

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker,  with the leave of the House, I would like to seek permission to  have the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections sit at  2:30 p.m. to consider the report on Judicial Compensation.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable government House leader have  leave for the Committee on Privileges and Elections to‑‑

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, there  is no leave from our side for sitting this afternoon.  Discussions may continue, I believe, between the individuals  involved.  Our critic has to be in the House to deal with a  number of bills.

Mr. Speaker:  Leave is denied.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, would you call bills?  We will  continue from where we left off earlier on this afternoon.

       I would ask you to call Bills 34, 49, 79, 82, 93, 96 and 98  in that order.  Of course, all of those bills will require the  leave of the House.

 

THIRD READINGS

 

Bill 34‑The Surveys Amendment Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave of the House to have third reading  of Bill 34, The Surveys Amendment Act?  Is there leave?  Leave.  It is agreed.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  By leave, Mr.  Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Natural Resources  (Mr. Enns), that Bill 34, The Surveys Amendment Act (Loi  modifiant la Loi sur l'arpentage), be now read a third time and  passed.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 49‑The Environment Amendment Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 49, The  Environment Amendment Act?  Leave?  Leave.  It is agreed.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I  move, seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings),  that Bill 49, The Environment Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi  sur l'environnement) be now read a third time and passed.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 79‑The Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 79, The  Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act?  Is there  leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  It is agreed.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  I move, seconded  by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), that by leave  Bill 79, The Highways Protection and Consequential Amendments Act  (Loi sur la protection des voies publiques et apportant des  modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be now read a third  time and passed.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 82‑The Farm Practices Protection

and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 82, The  Farm Practices Protection and Consequential Amendments Act?  Leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  It is agreed.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I  move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr.  Findlay), that, by leave, Bill 82, The Farm Practices Protection  and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi sur la protection des  pratiques agricoles et apportant des modifications correlatives a  d'autres lois), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I just  want to say in response to the committee hearings that we had on  this bill that I believe they reflected the concerns that we  stated in this House during second reading debate dealing with  the need to deal with companion issues, dealing with the  environment and zoning and guidelines.  I believe that point has  been made very clear to the government during those hearings, as  well as by the opposition in this House, and we will be following  that closely with this minister, following the passage of this  bill.  We will be supporting the third reading of this bill as we  did during second reading with those concerns being registered  and will ask the minister to move quickly on those other related  issues.

       We did have an opportunity to improve the bill as well last  night with some removal of a clause that was somewhat confusing  and ambiguous insofar as its meaning.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is third reading of Bill 82, The Farm Practices  Protection and Consequential Amendments Act.  Is it the pleasure  of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

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Bill 93‑The Mental Health Amendment Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 93, The  Mental Health Amendment Act?  Leave.  It is agreed.  Third  reading, Bill 93, The Mental Health Amendment Act; Loi modifiant  la Loi sur la sante mentale.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I  move, seconded by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik), that Bill  93, The Mental Health Amendment Act, be now read a third time and  passed.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 96‑The Special Operating Agencies Financing Authority Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 96, The  Special Operating Agencies Financing Authority Act?  Is there  leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  It is agreed.  Third reading, Bill 96, The Special  Operating Agencies Financing Authority Act; Loi sur l'Office de  financement des organismes de service special.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I  move, seconded by the Minister of Rural Development (Mr.  Derkach), that Bill 96, The Special Operating Agencies Financing  Authority Act, be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, very, very  briefly, we are not happy with this bill whatsoever.  I think  information to that extent was provided to the committee last  night.  We see that as a proliferation of agencies.  We are not  convinced that there will be any value to the government, to the  taxpayers of Manitoba through these agencies.

       It seems to be a proliferation of bodies that are really  unnecessary.  We are always in favour of ways and means to  improve efficiency in government spending, but we do not think  that this is a way to do it.  We are not convinced.  The whole  area seems to be very fuzzy, Mr. Speaker,

       It is not clear to us that anything positive will be  accomplished by this.  So on this account we on this side cannot  support this legislation.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, I want to be quite  brief.  I was at committee last night when this view went before  the standing committee, and we heard from representatives of the  Manitoba Government Employees' Association and, quite frankly, we  are quite surprised when they contradicted the Minister of  Finance (Mr. Manness) with respect to the consultation that  supposedly went on before this bill was introduced.

       The fact of the matter is that there was no substantive  consultation.  There was, as is traditional with this government,  a declaration that this was going to be done and that is the way  it was.  But I want to put on record, I guess, two overriding  concerns that were already mentioned by my colleague from Brandon  East (Mr. Leonard Evans) and mentioned by others that the  government on this occasion is speaking out of both sides of its  mouth.

       It says that these kinds of arrangements are going to create  for a more businesslike atmosphere in parts of the department,  and they say that it is going to expedite, I guess, the work of  administrators and managers in those areas, when it is argued  against such efficiencies in agencies like the Manitoba Energy  Authority and Manitoba Data Services and others.

       Mr. Speaker, there are two other significant problems with  this legislation.  Number one, let it be very clear that these  new financial authority agencies are going to have the authority  to hire consultants and hire people who are noncivil servants.  They are going to become the new gateway for political patronage  appointments.  They are going to be the new avenue for agencies  within various departments, separate entities to hire political  operatives in one form or another.

       The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) said in his remarks  that was not going to happen, but notwithstanding the good  intentions, the fact is that there is no rational reason at this  point for the introduction of these small minicorporations within  the department.  They serve no useful purpose that could not be  served by the efficient running of government departments at the  present time, that the current system of charge‑backs, if the  government wished to refine it, could offer the same kinds of  advantages that these new SOAs, special operating agencies as  they are called, Mr. Speaker, the same kind of efficiencies could  be achieved with good management within the department.  In fact,  the former Minister of Government Services said they had already  been achieved in the Fleet Vehicles branch of the Department of  Government Services.

       Mr. Speaker, the government is going to get its way, assuming  it comes to a vote, but we want on record that this is no panacea  for some of the problems that are plaguing this government in  particular.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is third reading of Bill 96, The Special  Operating Agencies Financing Authority Act.  Is it the pleasure  of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Mr. Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Mr. Speaker:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Some Honourable Members:  On division.

Mr. Speaker:  On division.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 98, The  Manitoba Multiculturalism Act?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, my  apology.  I am wondering if we can delay the third reading call  of Bill 98, and go to Bills 86, 87 and 101.

 

Bill 86‑The Provincial Police Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act

       

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 86, The  Provincial Police Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act?

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  I just wanted to speak on the bill.

Mr. Speaker:  Okay, just hold, we are ascertaining leave.  There  is leave for third reading of Bill 86?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  It is agreed.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker,  with leave, I move, seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr.  Cummings), that Bill 86, The Provincial Police Amendment and  Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Surete  du Manitoba et apportant des modifications correlatives a  d'autres lois), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Speaker, very briefly I want to put some  closing comments on the record with respect to both Bills 86 and  87.  My comments will relate to both.

       We heard last night from a very large group, and a very  persuasive group, of police officers in this city, as well as  representatives from the City of Winnipeg‑‑I am sorry, I might  add, as well, there was a representative from the City of Brandon  police‑‑who came to our committee last night to put on the record  their concerns about the proposed amendments of the Minister of  Justice (Mr. McCrae).

       Thankfully, Mr. Speaker, after an arduous process, quite a  lengthy hearing of the committee, a resolution was reached which  accommodated the legitimate desires of the police constables  involved and the police forces of this province, to be heard on  these issues and to have a voice in how they are to be judged in  executing their duties.

       I, at this point, want to put two things on the record.  Firstly, I do acknowledge and I do appreciate, and I think all  Manitobans recognize that the minister did the right thing last  night by sitting down with the police, albeit far after he should  have done that.  But he did sit down with them, and they did come  to a resolution, and it was acceptable to both sides.  The second  comment I want to put on the record is that process, which  occurred right around midnight last night, after five hours of  hearings, should have occurred, it is our view, months before.

       Concerns about the Law Enforcement Review Agency, the  Manitoba Police Commission and the regulation and enforcement of  standards and discipline within the police force have been issues  that have been before this minister, debated in this House for  years, for at least as long as I have been here, in the last four  years.  It is, I think, a sign of the arrogance of the minister  that he would presume to come forward with legislation without  having consulted beforehand.  Again, I acknowledge that at the  end of the day that occurred, and that is good.

       My only statement here today is that should have happened  some time ago.  I look forward to a new relationship between this  government and the police forces whereby they will get together  ahead of time and consult about what is going to be in this  bill.  Nobody expects them to agree all the time.  But the least  that can be expected by members of this House, by the police  forces themselves, is that the minister would come forward at a  date when he is coming up with the solution to the problems, when  he is actually formulating his ideas as to what should be in the  bill, not after he is committed to the bill, not after he has  tabled it in this House, Mr. Speaker.

       I leave those comments on the record.  I am pleased that we  do have a resolution which appears to be workable and acceptable  to the police persons of this province.  I want to acknowledge  and thank the many police officers and their supporters who came  forward last night, literally in the hundreds.  It was a very  clear, very convincing sign that they were concerned and that  they had not been listened to up to that point.  The minister  did, at the end of the day, thankfully, listen to their concerns  and make amendments accordingly.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is third reading of Bill 86, The Provincial  Police Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act.  Is it the  pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed and so ordered.

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Bill 87‑The Law Enforcement Review Amendment Act

       

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 87, The  Law Enforcement Review Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur  les enquetes relatives a l'application de la loi?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  It is agreed.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I  move, seconded by the Minister of Culture, Heritage and  Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson), that Bill 87, The Law Enforcement  Review Amendment Act, be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, like the member for  St. James (Mr. Edwards), my comments on Bill 87 will also reflect  in general my comments on Bill 86.  I am dealing with both issues  basically at this time.

       Mr. Speaker, we, too, in the New Democratic Party, are very  pleased that the matter was resolved late last night.  The bill  that went to committee yesterday at 10 a.m. and emerged last  night at approximately midnight was substantially different‑‑the  two were substantially different‑‑and in fact, one could say  there was a new bill that was put in effectively last night.

       We are pleased with that.  I want to say at the onset, we are  pleased the government heard the wishes of the public, through  the forum of several hundred police officers and their families  and others who made representation last night, who made their  views known to the government.

       The unfortunate aspect of this whole process is that we  raised these concerns for weeks in this House.  For weeks, at  least on four separate occasions, I stood up in this House and I  queried the minister on this bill.  Right from the start, on  principle, I laid out our opposition and our concerns with this  bill.  Each time the minister was evasive; the minister dismissed  our claims, and it was basically a steadfast position, an  unbending position, an unyielding position.

       The minister never gave our concerns the opportunity to even  review or discuss, he simply dismissed them in this Chamber.  That spoke to the entire process.  Last night at the committee  hearings, we heard that the Winnipeg Police Association requested  last December from the Department of Justice under Freedom of  Information, the recommendations of the ministerial committee  dealing with changes to the Law Enforcement Review Agency.

       Mr. Speaker, the Police Association obtained some documents,  but they did not obtain 11 pages which consisted of  recommendations to the minister as to how to change LERA.  That  was in December 1991.  At that time, they had approached the  minister and said, what are you talking, what are you looking at,  what are you thinking about, what direction are you going in, we  want to discuss it with you.

       The minister failed to respond and provide that information.  Subsequently, months later, the minister, with no report, with no  background, with no review, introduced in this Chamber a bill to  change LERA substantially.  The minister then marched out of this  House and at a press conference said the change was being invoked  for two reasons:  efficiency, it would be more efficient, and it  would be speedier.  Those were the two reasons.

       Now, Mr. Speaker, during this session, we, in the New  Democratic Party, have supported most of the government's  initiatives in terms of the Justice department.  We supported  most of those initiatives because they were based on a sound  process.  Generally, in fact, most of the recommendations from  the minister were as a result of the Law Reform Commission  process.

       In most of the cases we supported, we made suggestions and it  went back and forth.  This LERA initiative came out of nowhere,  it had no consultation.  The minister marched out of the House  and announced that it would be more efficient and more  effective.  That was shown to be hollow and that was shown to be  shallow, and that was shown to be inaccurate.  There was no  consultation.

       It was not an attempt to be more effective, and it was not an  attempt to be more efficient.  In fact, to this day, we do not  know why the government proposed the ill‑fated measures that it  did.  We do not know what the reason and rationale was behind  it.  Now, I will grant that there are problems with LERA.  There  were improvements required in LERA, there is no question, but  there was no consultation with anyone involved in LERA.

       The City of Winnipeg, in the form of the mayor, wrote the  minister and said, Mr. Minister, please give us time to review  these proposals, so we can know how to deal with our employees.  The minister said, no.  The minister did not even talk to the  Brandon police force.  That came out at the hearings last night.  The minister had some discussions‑‑yes, there had been some  discussions with the Police Association president.

       Mr. Speaker, we opposed the bill on principle.  We opposed  the bill after having talked with the community.  We opposed the  bill after having talked with the Police Association and others.  Where was the government?  Why was the minister not listening?  If the minister would have paid even a little bit of attention to  what was going on, he would have known there were concerns, he  would have known there were problems.  The matter could have been  resolved in an amicable fashion.

       As it was, we were forced into a situation where members of  the public, who generally do not like to take public stands  because of their position, were forced to appear en masse in  front of the minister and say, Mr. Minister, stop this process;  it is wrong, Mr. Minister, stop this process.

       I will grant you, they succeeded.  We suspect that in the  morning when we had heard that there might be representation that  perhaps the government could at last be forced, could at last see  the error of its ways, could at last begin to do, at least in 24  hours or in eight hours, what the government had failed to do in  three weeks, and that is consult with the affected population.

       Mr. Speaker, over and over again, the issue that came out at  yesterday's hearings was that this bill was unfair, something  that we had said from the very start, this was an unfair bill.  It was felt by the rank and file as unfair.  I suggest that any  fair‑minded representative or constituent would say, when looking  at this bill, that it was unfair.

       Fortunately, by eloquence, by sheer numbers, by some  persuasion, the members who attended last night and most of them  were police officers and their families, most from Winnipeg, some  from Brandon, they were able to persuade the government of  something that we were unable to do in this Chamber for many,  many weeks.  They were able to force the minister to do what he  should have done in the first instance‑‑listen, make some changes.

       The minister brought forth nine changes last night to the  bill.  It effectively is a new bill and we welcome that.  I am  going indicate that we will be supporting this new bill because  that is what it is.  We are going to miss the part that is  billed, it was first introduced last night at twelve o'clock.  That is what we are going to do.  The previous bill, we voted  against in this Chamber on principle, and we told them this was  going to happen.  We had told them for three weeks.  Fortunately,  the government, the minister, saw the error of his ways,  introduced a new bill last night, and we will support it.

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       The bill does not go entirely all of the way to meet all of  our concerns, but given what we were faced with yesterday at 10  a.m. and given what came back last night at 12 midnight, we in  the New Democratic Party are going to support these changes to  LERA, but we want to remind the minister and the government to  start listening, because this is not the only case and the only  bill that I have had occasion to participate in this Session  where the government has not been listening to the public.

       This one served to illustrate, however, that the public can  be heard and that if they get out their message, even in this  instance, that steadfast minister who refused to listen to any of  our concerns for three weeks, in a mere several hours last night,  could be persuaded.

       So the hope is there.  Hope springs eternal.  Mr. Speaker, we  urge the minister to continue the dialogue that he launched in  those few hours last night to move away from the last three or  four weeks of steadfast nonlistening and move towards the path of  consulting, the path of listening to the public, the path of  going forward and listening and incorporating people's concerns  before moving.  If the minister were to do that, I think that he  would have saved himself a good deal of difficulty last night and  will save himself a good deal of difficulty in the future.

       There are things that still have yet to be done with respect  to LERA.  I hope it continues to be examined.  I hope changes are  looked at, and I hope they are looked at in consultation with all  of the citizens.

       When we talked about this bill in the House, we indicated it  just does not deal with the police.  The minister is fond of  saying that it is a public bill.  That is right.  This bill  affects every man, woman and child in the province of Manitoba.  It is a significant bill, because the justice and its perception  in society is one of the most fundamental characteristics of our  society.

       The rule of law indeed is considered the fundamental basis of  our society, so this bill touches every man, woman and child.  The bill that the minister wrought forth the last month, Mr.  Speaker, was found to be unfair.  The new bill that emerged last  night goes a long way to redressing the inequities and the  unfairness.

       The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) indicated that I said  it several times.  I said it for three weeks, Mr. Speaker, and  the minister did not listen.  It took 300 police officers to get  the minister to listen.  I am only sending a message to the  minister that I hope he hears.

       He mentioned last night in the press conferences and the  scrums that this was the dawning of a new age of consultation  that was occurring in Manitoba.  I hope that is true, Mr.  Speaker.  So I can indicate that we will support this new bill  because it is fair, it is fairer, it addresses most of the  concerns we raised, and with those comments, that concludes my  comments.  Thank you very much.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  for the House, third reading of Bill 87, The Law Enforcement  Review Amendment Act.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt  the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed and so ordered.

 

Bill 101‑The Statute Law Amendment Act, 1992

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 101, The  Statute Law Amendment Act, 1992?  Leave.  It is agreed.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  I move (by  leave), seconded by the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst),  that Bill 101, The Statute Law Amendment Act, 1992 (Loi de 1992  modifiant diverses dispositions legislatives), be now read a  third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, I am going to take  this occasion to comment on a practice, with respect to this  bill, that has been adopted by this government, that we in  principle think is wrong, with respect to The Statute Law  Amendment Act and specifically one of the subsections,  specifically subsection 27(1) through to 27(7) dealing with The  Public Schools Act.

       As a preamble, let me make it very clear that in my comments,  I am not dealing with a substantive issue which can be debated in  another form at another time with what the government is trying  to do in those subsections.

       The issue that I am rising on today is a question of  principle.  It is a principle that I think has been overlooked in  this particular statute amendment, and that is, the amendment  introduced under The Public Schools Act, by the government,  changes the law.  It introduces expenditure items of many  millions of dollars, Mr. Speaker.

       The government has chosen to put that change into a statute  law amendment.  My recommended course would be for the government  to introduce a bill amending The Public Schools Act or  alternately setting up a private schools act or whatever.  The  point is, the government is choosing to do through The Statute  Law Amendment Act what they should be doing in a separate bill.  The difficulty with that is that it does not allow for meaningful  debate of this particular item, Mr. Speaker.

       Now Mr. Speaker, we queried the minister at committee stage  this morning on this bill, and the minister indicated that  initially this amendment was being introduced to "clarify"  changes that already had been passed but not proclaimed by the  Legislature.  That is fine.

       We then asked the minister what those changes were, and the  changes that were to be clarified in this bill were not  clarified.  In fact, the changes that are made in this bill are  substantively new law that allows for new rights on the  expenditure of different funds, and that is a great leap from  clarification.  The minister admitted that at the committee  stage.  She admitted it would set up new rules, new regimes and  qualify new schools and agencies for funding.

       That, to our mind, should be the subject of a separate bill,  or separate legislation, not included at the end of a session in  a bill which is specifically designed to deal with administrative  and with legal clarifications and changes.  We are finding no  fault with all of the other changes, Mr. Speaker.  What we are  having difficulty dealing with is a substantive change in the law  that is done to the Statute Law Amendment.  We do not think this  is correct.  We think this should be a subject of a separate  piece of legislation.  If one examines Hansard, one will clearly  see that the minister admitted that a new regime was being  established by virtue of this particular amendment.

       Those, Mr. Speaker, are basically my comments with respect to  this particular amendment.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is third reading of Bill 101, The Statute Law  Amendment Act, 1992.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt  the motion?  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Mr. Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

An Honourable Member:  On division.

Mr. Speaker:  On division.  Done.

* * *

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to call third readings on  private members' Bills 52 and 90, and I guess that ought to be  preceded by Report Stage.

         

 

THIRD READINGS‑PRIVATE BILLS

       

Bill 52‑The Pas Health Complex Incorporation Amendment Act

       

Mr. Speaker:  Bill 52, The Pas Health Complex Incorporation  Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi constituant en corporation  "The Pas Health Complex," standing in the name of the honourable  member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin).  Is there leave?  No?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  Leave is denied.

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Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I just  want to put a few comments on the record on behalf of the member  for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) and thank the government for moving  this bill along.

       The member for The Pas, as the House knows, is attending on  government business with the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) at Split  Lake today, and he would have liked to have had an opportunity to  speak at third reading.

       The volunteers at The Pas Health Complex and the community of  the Pas very much support this bill and very much want to see the  amendments to the incorporation act passed by this Legislature.

       We were sorry that we could not get this bill passed last  year, but we thank the co‑operation of the members opposite this  year.  I think this bill being passed by the Legislature is in  the best interests of The Pas community and the many volunteers  and staff who work diligently on behalf of patients and the  community of The Pas and its related areas.

       So, I would like to thank the House, and on behalf of the  member for The Pas, we will be voting for this bill on third  reading.  Thank you.

       I move, seconded by the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton),  that Bill 52, The Pas Health Complex Incorporation Amendment Act;  Loi modifiant la Loi constituant en corporation "The Pas Health  Complex," be now read a third time and passed.

Motion agreed to.

 

REPORT STAGE‑PRIVATE BILLS

 

Bill 90‑The Seven Oaks General Hospital Incorporation Amendment  Act

 

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I would ask if there  is leave of the House to allow me to both report on behalf of the  member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) and give third reading to the  bill.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  We will do one at a time.  We will  do the report stage.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Is there leave?

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for the honourable member for  Inkster to do it on behalf of the honourable member for The  Maples.  Leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for  St. James (Mr. Edwards), that Bill 90, The Seven Oaks General  Hospital Incorporation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi  constituant en corporation le "Seven Oaks General Hospital"),  reported from the Standing Committee on Private Bills, be  concurred in.

Motion agreed to.

 

THIRD READINGS‑PRIVATE BILLS

 

Bill 90‑The Seven Oaks General Hospital Incorporation Amendment  Act

       

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Again, Mr. Speaker, with the  leave of the House I would ask if I could read the member for The  Maples' (Mr. Cheema) bill for third reading.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 90, The  Seven Oaks General Hospital Incorporation Amendment Act (Loi  modifiant la Loi constituant en corporation le "Seven Oaks  General Hospital")?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  Leave.  That is agreed.

       Is there leave for the honourable member for Inkster (Mr.  Lamoureux) to bring forward the bill on behalf of the honourable  member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema).  There is leave?  That is  agreed.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable  member for St. James (Mr. Edwards), that Bill 90, The Seven Oaks  General Hospital Incorporation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la  Loi constituant en corporation le "Seven Oaks General Hospital")  be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to put a very few  words on the record and acknowledge the willingness of the  government, in particular the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard)  with the co‑operation of all members of this Chamber, that we  were able to bring in this bill which is a bill that is very  necessary and thank them for allowing us to have it read a third  time and passed for Royal Assent, possibly later today.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the  motion?  That is agreed?  Agreed and so ordered.

* * *

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker,  would you call adjourned debate, third readings, in this order,  Bills 42, 76, 78, 98, 70 and 85.

(Madam Deputy Speaker in the Chair)

 

DEBATE ON THIRD READINGS

         

Bill 42‑The Amusements Amendment Act

       

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading, Bill 42,  The Amusements Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les  divertissements, standing in the name of the honourable member  for Thompson (Mr. Ashton)?  Is there leave to permit the bill to  remain standing?

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I am prepared  to speak on this particular bill.  Indeed, as the Leader of the  Opposition, our Leader (Mr. Doer) points out, the full weight of  the government, this big, brave Conservative government is being  brought to bear on a couple of dozen projectionists‑‑a couple of  dozen projectionists.

       You know, the story of this fight is an interesting one,  Madam Deputy Speaker.  This goes back to the late 1970s when the  then Conservative government attempted at that time to de‑license  all projectionists, and they trotted out the same arguments  then.  They said everything is changed, there are no longer the  safety problems in terms of projectionists.  That, in and of  itself, was a reason to de‑license the projectionists.  Well,  indeed, times had changed, but the concerns were still there in  terms of safety.  The requirement for trained individuals to  operate as projectionists was there.  What happened?  The  projectionists fought the then‑Conservative government, and the  Conservative government backed down in terms of the major urban  centres and continued to require licensing of projectionists.

       So that is what happened in the late 1970s.  This has been a  fight that has taken place in other areas.  In Alberta the  projectionists have fought successfully against similar  attempts.  But, you know, one of the first things this government  did when they were elected in 1988 was target, guess who?‑‑the  projectionists again.

       In fact, successive Ministers of Labour in a row tried to  sneak it in every year in Statute Law Amendment.  I refer to the  comments made earlier about the abuse of Statute Law Amendment  that our Justice critic referred to in terms of this Bill 101  this year where they are again trying to ram through particular  items.  But as the former member for Portage tried‑‑I guess we  can call him Ed Connery now‑‑Ed Connery tried, Gerrie Hammond  tried. [interjection! That is right, we can call him Ed.  We are  allowed to call him Ed, the former member.

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       They try to sneak it through on Statute Law Amendment, and  along came the current Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) who I  cannot refer to by name.  But the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr.  Praznik), he picked up the torch from the previous Ministers of  Labour, and guess what?  The projectionists were targeted again.

       We tried last year in terms of Statute Law Amendment, but I  am sorry, each and every time the Ministers of Labour tried to  sneak it through in Statute Law Amendment, some of us on this  side were alert enough to the fact and we put a stop to it.  So  now the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) has gone one step  further.  He has introduced a bill of the Legislature.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, let us look at this.  There are 101  bills that have been introduced.  Some of them are very formal  bills.  Many of them are opposition bills that have been  introduced in this Legislature.  The current number of government  bills is not even more than 60.  There is a lot of time and  effort that goes into preparation of bills, translation of bills,  and publication of bills.  The time we spend in first reading,  second reading, committee and third reading, out of the 50 or 60  bills that this government thought were important enough to bring  before this session of the House, one of them was to de‑license  projectionists.

       Well, indeed, the big, brave Conservative  government‑‑[interjection! Well, the Minister of Labour (Mr.  Praznik) talks about dinosaurs.  He need only look into the  mirror to see the dinosaurs in this Chamber.  They are following  the lobbying efforts of the movie theatres who do not want  licensed projectionists because they do not want to have fully  trained and qualified individuals working there so they can cut  the amount they pay the projectionists.

       This minister is leading the charge.  Well, if anything is a  greater example of the pathetic degree to which this government  will go to implement the kind of agenda we see from the Chamber  of Commerce, it is the projectionists bill, Bill 42, Madam Deputy  Speaker.

       The minister laughs.  He should talk to the projectionists  instead of being the "yes" man for those who are lobbying to  de‑license projectionists.  We, only this morning, talked to the  projectionists who are quite concerned and upset that they were  unable to‑‑they did not get the notice in terms of the bill.  They would love to have made a presentation at committee.

       But you know, Madam Deputy Speaker, it just goes to show the  inability of the Premier (Mr. Filmon) to listen‑‑he does not even  listen to his own caucus members‑‑is something that is being  followed by other ministers, in particular, the Minister of  Labour (Mr. Praznik).  The Minister of Labour did not want to  listen to the projectionists, did not even bother to go and  listen to their concerns that is brought in this bill.  So one  out of‑‑

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Our department met  with them.  I have spoken with them.

Mr. Ashton:  Well, the minister says his department met with  them; and he has spoken to them.  Probably, some of his best  friends are projectionists, Madam Deputy Speaker.  The bottom  line is he has ignored them, he has not listened to them.

       We have a bill before us, Bill 42.  Well, Madam Deputy  Speaker, I could list 100 other bills, 100 other things that the  Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) could be doing in this House  besides Bill 42.  I could list all sorts of changes that the  minister might want to implement in terms of making greater  fairness in our Labour Relations Act, instead of Bill 85 which  makes it more and more patently unfair.

       I could talk about dozens of suggestions that could be made  in terms of employment standards, in terms of employment  standards dealing‑‑[interjection! The minister talks about  dealing with a changing world.  What about dealing with the  changes in terms of family, in terms of implications, in terms of  leave, parental leave, bereavement leave?  What about the many  suggestions?  I made those in committee in terms of debate on the  Labour Estimates.  So I ask the question, to look at it.  [interjection! If there had been 300 police in committee on Bill  42, maybe they would have backed down on this bill as well.

       We have seen the legislative process grind at one of the  lowest levels I have ever seen it.  This government is a  government that is coming apart at the seams.  It has  resignations, as we saw yesterday, from the member for Portage.  You know, Madam Deputy Speaker, on bills it cannot even get its  act together on something as important as matters affecting the  police force.

       We saw yesterday a committee that was adjourned more than it  actually sat, I think, for some parts of the evening, while the  minister was doing shuttle diplomacy, trying to bail out in a  face‑saving way the fact that he had botched the bill.  This is  an incompetent government.  This is a government that has lost  sight of all sense of priorities.  We have a government, the big,  brave government, prioritizing as one of the top 50 or 60 matters  that should be dealt with by legislation, the elimination of  licensing for projectionists, Madam Deputy Speaker.

An Honourable Member:  Some priority.

Mr. Ashton:  Some priority, and indeed some government.  [interjection! The member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak) suggests  they make a movie about it.  We already know what the title is  going to be.  It already exists on another one; it has been  referenced by members of this House:  "Blame It on Rio."

       While the First Minister has been in Rio meeting with  governors and Prime Ministers, while he has been doing that,  while he has been travelling the world, solving the problems of  the world, we know how the government has prioritized one of the  major problems facing Manitoba in 1992 is the fact that we have a  few dozen projectionists that have to be licensed, as they have  been for decades in this province.  That is one of the major  problems.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, this may be seen by some as a small  bill, but this bill says volumes about the misplaced priorities  of this government.  That is why we oppose Bill 42.  We will  fight for the few dozen projectionists and we will say to this  government, it is about time they stop prioritizing the kind of  antilabour initiative that this is, that is driven strictly by  the lobbying power of corporate and business interests, and start  dealing with the real problems of Manitoba, not something like  Bill 42.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The  question before the House is third reading of Bill 42.  Is it the  pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

An Honourable Member:  On division.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  On division.

 

Bill 76‑The Pension Benefits Amendment Act

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Third reading, Bill 76, on the proposed  motion of the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), The  Pension Benefits Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les  prestations de pension, standing in the name of the honourable  member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  I also have some comments on 76.  I  want to indicate, Madam Deputy Speaker, I think the concerns of  our caucus were put through very eloquently by the member for  Wellington (Ms. Barrett), who spoke both on second and third  reading in terms of a number of problems with this particular  bill.

       I wanted to indicate, Madam Deputy Speaker, we voted against  this bill at committee stage, in the committee, because this bill  does a number of things that we feel moved this area, in terms of  pensions, into areas that we do not agree with.  We feel this is  not a positive development for pension legislation in Manitoba.

       I mentioned before, Madam Deputy Speaker, we are concerned  about the movement increasingly toward self‑directed individual  retirement plans rather than the traditional group plans which  have provided significant financial benefits for those who have  been part of those group plans for many years.  We feel that is a  wrong move on the part of the government.  In fact, even  investment analysis has indicated that is a risky move.

       We are concerned about the government's failure to understand  the issue of pension surpluses.  This has been a major concern to  employees for many years.  Many employer‑ and employee‑funded  pension plans have developed significant surpluses over the years  because of the collective investment of those funds and the  return on those investments.  Madam Deputy Speaker, this matter  was dealt with in committee when the question was asked by a  number of people with differing views on this as to who owns the  pension surpluses.

       I want to indicate very clearly the view of the New  Democratic Party is that those pension surpluses are the  propriety right of the employees.  The employees are the ones who  are the beneficiaries of the pensions.  Pensions are deferred  income.  They are very much a part of, if there is a collective  agreement, the collective bargaining process, and the discussions  and negotiations that go on.  They are very much a part of it  even as individuals, if they do not have a union, if there is not  a collective agreement in place.

       The bottom line is this government, instead of allowing the  kind of access that employers are going to increasingly have to  pension surpluses, should be saying very clearly that is  unacceptable.  There have been many incidences of that.  I point  to the situation a number of years ago with Dominion stores in  Ontario where they essentially drained the pension fund of its  surplus.  In fact, there was a sale that took place that was  specifically aimed at accessing the pension plan surplus.

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       We see cases of that today, Madam Deputy Speaker, in a number  of jurisdictions, where businesses are treating the pension  surpluses out of the employees' pension plans as surpluses which  they can tap into for their own business concern.  We are seeing  people purchase companies for very little more than access to the  pension surpluses.

       Let it be very clear that when companies contribute they  contribute at a set rate.  If there are surpluses that involve  the employee pension plan fund having some additional revenue in  it, that should be given to either enhance the benefits of the  employee or in the form of some sort of rebate in terms of  employee contributions.  That is only fair, but this government  has not recognized that in this bill.  That is a negative  direction.

       I mentioned earlier about the move this government has made  to totally open up the issue of pension splitting.  I want to say  that this is an area where I think the government has moved  hastily in response to some legitimate concerns that have been  expressed, most notably at committee, not only this time but in  terms of pension legislation that was brought to committee last  session.

       I want to say that I share the concerns expressed by the  member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett).  Our entire caucus shares  those concerns.  We are going to see an imbalance because of this  legislation between the holder of the pension plan and the  individual who does not hold a pension plan.  In most cases,  women will be the most vulnerable, but not in all cases.

       There are indeed situations where women have the superior  pension plan, and it is the husband who is in the more vulnerable  position.  We feel it would have been far more appropriate in  this area if the minister had insisted on moving, that there be  far greater regulation and protection of the rights of the more  vulnerable person in this case.

       I agree 100 percent with the member for Wellington there will  be cases of abuse and that people will trade off the house and  other assets, or indeed custody of the children, for access to  the pension plan.  I will go further, Madam Deputy Speaker.  I  will say there will be a particular problem because most women,  in the situation of a marriage breakup, often end up in absolute  poverty.  The highest percentage of people who end up in poverty  are often women who previously in a marriage had some level of  security, some level of income, who following the breakup of a  marriage are completely vulnerable and end up in poverty.

       It has been shown statistically that following the breakup of  a marriage often the real disposable income available to the  majority of individuals, the men, the husbands, actually  increases while the disposable income of women who are divorced  drops dramatically. [interjection!

       I appreciate the applause from the member for Pembina (Mr.  Orchard) on this.  I am glad to hear he is concerned about  pension splitting.  What is going to happen is we are going to  end up in a situation where women are going to be even more at  risk in their retirement years, because they are going to be  pressured into not accessing the pension plans; they are not  going to have access to future pensions; they are going to suffer  even increasingly in their retirement years.

       So this is a matter of principle, Madam Deputy Speaker.  Our  caucus is opposing several of the directions in this bill, and we  feel the government once again, particularly in the area of  pension surpluses and group pensions, is following the Chamber of  Commerce agenda.

       It is about time we saw some balance from this government and  that it looked at the real concerns of Manitobans in terms of  pensions.  This bill does not do that.  That is why we are  therefore going to be opposing it as we did on second reading at  committee stage.

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Madam Deputy Speaker,  I will only take a few moments to put a few comments on the  record in response to the remarks of the member for Thompson (Mr.  Ashton).  I would just like to point out to members of this House  on the ownership of pension issue in which the member indicates  clearly that the NDP position would be, by legislation, to grant  ownership of all surpluses to employees.

       This legislation deals with that particular issue in two  manners.  Firstly, for new pensions it requires that issue be  settled in the establishing documentation of the pension.  So  that becomes an issue in new pension plans for negotiations  between the employers and employees.  With respect to existing  pension plans, this legislation simply allows the governing  documentation in those plans to be effective.

       If one were to take the New Democratic position, which would  be to establish in law ownership of those pension plans contrary  to the government documents of those plans, it would amount‑‑in  some cases, where the plans were negotiated and ownerships were  agreed to, it would be on the part of the employer‑‑to  expropriation.

       So the fact of the matter is this legislation allows the  governing documents to be the determining factor on existing  plans as to who owns the surplus.  With respect to the  pension‑splitting provisions, and the member for Thompson (Mr.  Ashton) talks about Chamber of Commerce agendas, I would just  like to clearly indicate on the record at this time that the  proposals under this bill are supported by the Manitoba Teachers'  Society.  Despite the fact that the Manitoba Federation of Labour  did not comment on the matter, the Manitoba Nurses' Union  supports this provision. [interjection! Well, I am talking about  the credit pension‑splitting provisions.

       The Manitoba Nurses' Union is on the record as supporting the  credit‑splitting proposals in this bill.  There are a dozen other  unions who have also indicated very clearly that they support the  part of the bill with respect to mandatory credit splitting and  the ability to mutually opt out if there is agreement with  certain provisions.

       So I think it is very important to put on the record that  with respect to the pension‑splitting provisions of this act, the  changes that allow parties to opt out by mutual agreement, that  there is no consensus among the labour movement as to what should  happen.  There is clearly division, and there is division for  good reason, because there are obviously views on this matter,  both of which are very legitimate.

       This government chose to support the principle that women and  men should have the right to make their own decisions on matters  regarding their assets, rather than what some have argued, some  may refer to as a very patronizing view, that government should  settle that issue.  So I wanted to make those two points on the  record, Madam Deputy Speaker.

       I would thank all members who participated in this debate.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The  question before the House is third reading of Bill 76.  Is it the  pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?  All those in favour,  please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Some Honourable Members:  On division.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  On division.

 

Bill 78‑The City of Winnipeg Amendment Act (3)

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Third reading of Bill 78, on the proposed  motion of the honourable Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik), The  City of Winnipeg Amendment Act (3); Loi no 3 modifiant la Loi sur  la Ville de Winnipeg, standing in the name of the honourable  member for Concordia (Mr. Doer).

       Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave to permit the bill  to remain standing?  Leave?

Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Madam  Deputy Speaker, I understand that the reason why there is some  commotion is that the member for Concordia (Mr. Doer) wishes to  address the bill later this afternoon or during this debate.  I  think we would deny leave to stand, but we will certainly try to  accommodate all members who would like to speak on the other side.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave to permit the bill to  remain standing in the name of the honourable member for  Concordia (Mr. Doer)?  Leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.

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Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I had the  opportunity to speak on this at second reading.  I am glad to be  able to respond to some of the concerns that I heard at the  community committee and to add some additional comments to our  concerns about Bill 78, yet a further bill dealing with the City  of Winnipeg.  It is, as I said at second reading, one of the  government's many bills which mixes a series of purposes.  The  government chooses to do this for obvious reasons.

       In this case, what they did was to choose to include a large  section dealing with French language services with a variety of  other issues of diverse origins and purposes, dealing with,  amongst other things, community committee issues and some  environmental issues, as well as some issues dealing with  political process at City Hall and some issues concerning by‑laws  and timing on variances.  So it was a wide‑ranging bill, Madam  Deputy Speaker, not one that was perhaps focused in its  intentions.

       There were a number of sections dealing with the French  language services.  On this subject, Madam Deputy Speaker, I  spoke last time.  If I can repeat myself in French this time:

       Je crois que l'objectif du gouvernement provincial, c'est a  faire plus precises les responsabilites de la Ville de Winnipeg  en ce qui concerne les services dans la langue francaise.

[Translation!

I believe that the objective of the provincial government is  to make more precise the responsibilities of the City of Winnipeg  with respect to French language services.

[English!

       The French language sections have been included in this bill,  The City of Winnipeg Act rather, since 1971.  At that time, the  old St. Boniface became part of the city.  The purpose of those  sections was, in fact, to retain the existing practices in the  old city of St. Boniface, to retain in fact the sense of  community in what is now called old St. Boniface, perhaps in a  more colloquial sense.

       Sections of the act have from time to time caused some  difficulties and confusions and have not always perceived to have  been useful in practice.  This bill attempts to clarify those  services, the locations, and the particular boundaries within  which such services should operate.  We anticipate that this  legislation provides the clarity requested by the community on  several occasions, including the community hearings and, of  course, at the Cherniack committee some years ago.

       However, Madam Deputy Speaker, there are two parts of this  bill which give us great cause for concern and which we spoke  about in this House earlier on and which we attempted to amend  unsuccessfully in committee.

       First of all, the section 494.71(1), which deals with  construction over waterways, has a number of objectionable  accounts.  First of all, it gives full authority for construction  over waterways and for the regulation of such buildings, a very  wide definition in fact of buildings to the municipal  government.  It seems to me that there is a very strong case to  be made for joint provincial‑municipal responsibility for  waterways, and particularly, first of all, for provincial policy  to preserve and protect our rivers and streams.

       We all know and we all come from different constituencies,  and we will know, particularly on the edges of Winnipeg, the  great difficulties that there are with septic fields, the  difficulties that the rivers and streams of Manitoba have with  waste effluent, with the dumping of snow, for example, by various  municipal governments in and around the city of Winnipeg and  pouring chemicals in many cases into places like Omands Creek and  the Seine and other smaller rivers and streams in the city.

       There are many other areas, I think, of environmental concern  which people would want to discuss relating to the rivers and  streams of Winnipeg.  I think all urban and suburban MLAs are  very much aware of this problem.  What we see here is a  government which has reached no agreement in four years with the  city over the protection of waterways.

       Two or three years ago they touted the idea of a joint  provincial‑municipal waterways commission.  They reached no  agreement on that.  There seems to have been no further  discussions with the city on this issue.  The whole principle of  sustainable development, one of the things which this government  hangs its political hat on, seems really to have had very little  impact upon the city of Winnipeg.

       We have a Capital Region Committee, which is moving at  perhaps the rate of‑‑very small, slow discussions, not even  changes, I would say.  For two years, they have really had a  series of discussions about a variety of issues that face the  whole of the metropolitan area.

       So the kind of policies, agreements and principles which  should be there for the protection of the rivers and streams of  this area are not in place.  What the province has done, as it  did in Bill 35, is in fact to turn over full jurisdiction to the  city.  Now, there is in this bill a saving grace.  The city must  have by‑laws on waterways, but it must hold public hearings when  it has a version of those by‑laws, and that is important.

       I commend the government for that, but in a manner which is  becoming very consistent with the way in which this government  operates, one hand is given and the other hand is taken away.  That very principle of public hearings is undermined by a  subsequent clause in the legislation, 494.71(3), which says that  for changes of a minor nature which do "not prejudice the rights  of any person", the city may dispense with that very important  public hearing.  It is that that concerns me particularly about  this bill.

       First of all, the principle, the record of the city on  waterways and, thirdly, this opportunity that the province is now  offering them to forgo the principle of a public hearing.  I am  concerned, as I said in the committee, by the phraseology, "the  rights of any person."  That seems to me to be‑‑does not confirm,  it does not give to the city of Winnipeg the importance of  confirming the rights of a community.  A corporation is a person,  an individual is a person, but, as I understand it, although I am  not a lawyer, the rights of any person does not cover the rights  of a community.

       Indeed, if we look at the French version of that particular  paragraph, it gives us even greater cause for concern, because it  adds to the ambiguity of the English section.  It says, in fact:  "ne brime aucun droit."  We can translate that as "not breaching  any law" or "not breaching any right", the rights of an  individual, the rights of a corporation, the rights of a  community.  Those kinds of interpretations are not there.  There  is an ambiguity, I should say, in the translation that is  available there.

       I ask the minister to check into that.  I do not know whether  he will be bringing amendments at this time or not, and it may be  that he has an alternative legal interpretation or linguistic  interpretation than I do.  If that is so, we certainly look  forward to hearing about it.

       I do note that the community that I represent, Wolseley, has  had many close calls with the desires of some people in the  community to build commercial buildings over rivers and streams,  in our case, particularly, Omands Creek.  The member for St.  James (Mr. Edwards), whose riding abuts on the other side of  Omands Creek, has spoken on this in second reading and supported  us.  The Liberal Party supported us in the amendments that we  made on this.

       I recognize the common interest that we have around Omands  Creek.  I recognize the common concerns that we have about  maintaining community interest.  I think we both recognize that  the action of the community on both sides of Omands Creek has  been most significant in saving it on several occasions from  commercial construction.

       It was also served, as I mentioned in the second reading, by  the alert action of the last New Democratic government and its  creation of Bluestem Park, which has in fact increased public  access and public concerns for Omands Creek.  That really is, I  think‑‑that public concern, that public access is one of the  things that we want to maintain.  So we reject the opportunity  offered to the city to withdraw the rights of public hearing.

       We need to guarantee public hearings.  We especially need  openness, I believe, in a municipal government which is going to  be one of 15 councillors, and where each councillor will now be  responsible for at least twice as many constituents as he was  before, and the distance between the city councillor and the  constituents will certainly have grown.

       Indeed, as I constantly try to put it in the context of my  own constituency, people who live at the corner of Sherbrook and  Portage Avenue, people who are very much inner‑city people with  all of the difficulties that they face, issues of poverty, issues  of trying to maintain neighbourhoods in inner‑city communities,  are being represented now by a councillor who is responsible to a  far larger number of suburban residents, people in fact whose  residences are on Kenaston Boulevard in some cases.  So it is now  a very diverse constituency by a councillor, and whoever is  elected is going to face many of those same difficulties in being  in touch with their constituents.

       So in that context and in the context and the desirability of  the openness of government, we opposed this particular section.  As I said, we were pleased to have the support of the Liberal  Party on this amendment which, of course, the government voted  down and unfortunately failed.

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       Finally, Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to talk about the  community committees, because we also have some very serious  concerns about this section.  I outlined our concerns on this in  second reading.  I want to emphasize that a number of members on  our side have received a large number of letters about this  issue.  Over 150 letters have been received in our caucus about  this particular issue, so our concerns were confirmed by those  letters and by the people who appeared from various parts of the  city, not just from the unicity but from some of the suburbs as  well, who came to argue for the existing system, that is, of the  opportunity for community committees to have the final, political  say on variances and, in fact, the local decisions.

       They spoke of the need for communities to make local  decisions, something that the minister derided as parochial.  They spoke of the need for decisions to be political and  accountable and to be made by those people who are most  accessible to their constituents, but something again which this  government derided as too political and too local.  The people we  heard wanted those decisions to be local, they wanted  neighbourhood decisions.  They spoke about not just the outcome  of the decision, but the process of a community coming together  with its councillors to discuss, to debate and to resolve the  issues which are brought before a community.

       We heard a variety of people:  a planner, for example, who  spoke of the difficulty of taking people from local  constituencies to City Hall to make presentations to a committee,  the standing committee of City Council which this minister wants  to be the final court of appeal on local decisions, a committee  which changes its personnel every year.  So much for consistency  and for larger scale planning.  The planner spoke of the  difficulties that people faced who have never been to City Hall  and who go to appear in front of a committee on which their own  representatives do not appear.  They feel very distant and, in  fact, often quite overwhelmed by the situation, and there is  another option.

       There is the option of community committee which is there in  the existing act.  The planner emphasized that every community  has different by‑laws, and that community committees were, in  fact, as the Cherniack report will say, set up to create the  political communities that will help to decide local issues.  That is their purpose, and there is an opportunity in the last  Bill 35 for that to happen.

       Councillor Timmers of the inner city spoke on the importance  of accountability, of the importance of a city councillor elected  by local people being responsible and being seen to be making  those decisions, not back‑room decisions, not the tit for tat  that has gone on in gang politics at City Hall, but a city  councillor elected locally making local decisions, so that  accountability and accessibility is, I think, very important.

       The residents of Armstrongs Point came to represent the  neighbourhood associations of all of the inner city.  They spoke  about the impact of this on the inner city and upon the sense of  neighbourhood, and again the issue of accountability was stressed  by all of those inner‑city neighbourhood groups.  Madam Deputy  Speaker, every one of those people who presented shared one  opinion.  They said, we have that existing power under Bill 35;  give it a chance.  Some communities have only operated with it on  one appeal, some have had several appeals, but every one of them  said, the minister has no evidence that this is not working; give  it a chance, and then in three years, after the next City Council  is over, come back to us if it is not working, if it has created  havoc, if it has created the difficulties that the minister  somehow, in his mind, must be assuming are there.  Tell us them,  and then let us look at it.

       But the minister and the government voted down the amendments  that we proposed on this, Madam Deputy Speaker, and it became  clear, as they were speaking, that in fact the government had  made a mistake last time on Bill 35.  They had made an error, and  the community had taken advantage of it.  The minister had never  intended, he said, that community committees be used as appeal.  He was perhaps somewhat disconcerted and was now seeking to  rectify the error that he believed had been made and the  advantages that had been taken of it by local communities.

       But who agreed with him?  Not one of the presenters spoke in  favour of this.  There was one submission, a written submission,  which came later, and it did deal in some part with the  amendments to The City of Winnipeg Act.  The large part of it, in  fact, deals with sections on time limits on variants, but there  was the first section which dealt with the appeal process from  the board of adjustments.

       This particular brief said, very briefly:  The appeal process  from the board of adjustments to community committee is  self‑defeating.  Once more, politics will result in arbitrary  decisions.  A far better solution is to refer appeals to a  standing committee.

       Exactly the same viewpoint of the minister, that these  decisions are too political to be made by a local committee.

       Well, who wrote this, Madam Deputy Speaker?  This came from  the commercial real estate services of Pratt, McGarry Inc., who  represent over 50 landlords and over 2 million square feet of  commercial space.  I do not know if they represent the entire  real estate community.  I am sure that cannot be the case, but I  am concerned that this is the only representation and that it  spoke in almost the same words as the minister.  It is, as it is  put bluntly in this document‑‑one might say if one were not more  charitable‑‑almost a ludicrous argument.  It is a very peculiar  definition of politics.  Politics is about priorities, it is  about choices, and it is about politicians being accountable and  accessible to the people who elect them.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, in closing, I want to emphasize  that this is a step backward.  We were disappointed that the  Liberal Party did not support us in our opposition to this, but  it is consistent‑‑I will commend them on this‑‑it is a consistent  position for the Liberal Party to take, because they were, of  course, in favour of the 15‑member council.  They were in favour  of the change in boundaries, which, in the case of my community,  has resulted in a de facto pie‑shaped ward.  They were in favour  of reducing the accessibility of people to their councillors by  creating a much smaller City Council.

       So it is a step backward in civic government, we believe,  Madam Deputy Speaker.

       I want to close with the words of Catherine Collins,  President of the McDermot‑Sherbrook Residents' Association, who  also took the time to write to the committee.

       As far as we are concerned, she said, Bill 78 is a step  backwards in civic government.  Our elected representatives and  our local community committee are accountable to us because we  elect them.  Bill 78 removes their authority and the  accountability of the entire municipal government.  Bill 78 will  do a great deal of damage to the poorer parts of the city which  are already under a great deal of stress.

       She represents a community committee which is certainly under  a great deal of stress and has faced some very difficult  situations recently at City Council and with decisions made at  City Council, and I commend her for taking the time to write and  welcome these particular kinds of representations.

       With that, I will close.  I regret the changes this  government has made.  I welcome the support of the Liberal Party  on the environmental issues.  I note their consistency in  opposing community committees and the role that they should play  in local democracy.

       Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to  simply reiterate briefly the comments that I made at second  reading with some additions at this point now that the bill has  gone through committee.  The bill, of course, has been spoken to  at length by the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) with  respect to the provision of French language services.

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       I want to state again for the record that I believe this  government made an error and showed its arrogance upon being  elected in a majority position, by revoking the section of The  City of Winnipeg Act put into place by the former member for  Wolseley, Mr. Harold Taylor, when he was on the committee back in  1989, and put into place against the wishes and the votes of the  Conservative government at the time, the provision which  prevented construction of commercial buildings over waterways in  this city.

       That was an issue that he had been involved in and fought  for, for many, many years.  It was an issue that I came to when I  came to represent the area, and it of course came to a crescendo  when the owner of property immediately east of Omands Creek, the  owner of a 500‑yard piece of property, a strip going on the north  side of Portage Avenue, decided to put up an office building and  a car wash over Omands Creek, essentially destroying the linear  green belt of Omands Creek Park and Bluestem Park in that part of  the city.

       Now this provision which was put into the act at the behest  of Mr. Taylor was extremely progressive and was extremely  popular, and that is important to note.  I do not know where this  government got its advice on that provision in having it  repealed, but I received nothing but accolades, as did the former  member for Wolseley, for putting that into place in the first  place.

       Let me just cite some of the supporters for that amendment.  In particular, I recall the Real Estate News, the editorial page,  a lengthy editorial proclaiming this amendment as progressive and  necessary.  Now, the Real Estate News has not, in my experience,  been noted for its support generally of issues put forward by  members of the Liberal Party, supported by members of the New  Democratic Party as that was, but they did.  They took a stand;  it was greatly appreciated, and I believe it correctly read and  tapped the desire of Winnipeggers to start protecting our  waterways.

       What occurred in that proposal by that developer was that he  was going to get around The Rivers and Streams Act by building a  concrete platform which in no way diverted or impeded the flow of  the river and did not affect the bank stabilization.  With some  very, very specific technical drawings and engineering plans the  development was not going to kick into place, in other words, the  rivers and streams provisions, and then the building and carwash  could be built on top of the platform.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I recall that committee meeting.  I  recall the government of the day voting against that amendment  but eventually putting it into place, because they wanted the  rest of the bill to go forward.  That, frankly, was a sign to me  that minority government works, and worked then and worked quite  well.

       I really thought that once the reviews of that amendment were  so positive, I thought the government might see the wisdom of the  amendment and say, listen, we opposed it then but, obviously, the  support is there.  In fact, there was no one, to my knowledge,  who did not support it, at least no one who got into contact with  me except, of course, that specific developer.

       Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, that unfortunately was not the  case.  Very shortly after the September 1990 election, very  shortly after this government was returned with a majority, what  did they do?  They buried a provision in a City of Winnipeg  amendment act deleting that section of The City of Winnipeg Act.

       That, in my view, was a very regressive move  environmentally.  They referred the matter, of course, back to  the City of Winnipeg, the same people who had consistently shown  themselves willing to allow that type of incompatible destructive  construction over Winnipeg's few but very important waterways.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, the government of the day repealed that  section with their new‑found majority.  It was a mistake.  They  sent it back to the City of Winnipeg, said, you deal with it in  Plan Winnipeg.  The City of Winnipeg has not dealt with it.  They  have not brought in a by‑law saying anything about construction  over waterways.

       Now the government finds itself in the position of having to  demand that the city put into place some sort of by‑law dealing  with commercial construction over waterways.  So, to that very  limited extent, this could be seen as positive, because at least  now they are saying to the city, look, you have to come up with a  by‑law saying something about construction over waterways.  You  cannot just leave it.  We intend you to do something, but what  this government has not done, has not been willing to do, is show  any leadership with respect to the City of Winnipeg in showing  the way towards sustainable development, showing the way towards  environmental sensitivity and leading with respect to protecting  our very important and, I might add, limited waterways in this  city.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to have seen that  provision applied province‑wide.  I believe it is a provision  whose time had come back in 1989 when it was put in just with  respect to the City of Winnipeg.

       Obviously, the government does not feel the same way and is  content to leave it to the City of Winnipeg‑‑I again stress, the  same people who consistently were willing to allow commercial  construction over Omands Creek and other waterways in this city  are content to leave it to them, to deal with this.  This is an  issue the province should show leadership on and should not shy  away from letting the City of Winnipeg know, letting other  municipalities know in this province, how they stand on the issue  of waterways.

       Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, they have taken this step and said  to the city, now you must come up with a by‑law.  In that very  limited sense and with the caveats of my prior comments, that the  whole chain of events stemming from repealing that section has  led to this, that could be seen as somewhat, and I stress  somewhat, positive because at least the city is going to have to  do something.  Presumably some accountability will flow from  their decision.

       I hope, and I have got to say I do not expect, but I do hope  that the city councillors see the wisdom of the initial provision  put into place by Mr. Taylor, and with the assistance of both  myself as the MLA for St. James and our caucus of the day, in  putting the initial restriction into place.  Madam Deputy  Speaker, those are my comments.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  As previously agreed, this bill will  remain standing in the name of the honourable member for  Concordia (Mr. Doer).

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Madam Deputy Speaker,  I waive my opportunity to hold the bill.  Our critic has  articulated our concerns.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The  question before the House is third reading of Bill 78.  Is it the  pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

       All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Yeas and Nays, Madam  Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  A recorded vote has been requested.  Call  in the members.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is third reading of  Bill 78, The City of Winnipeg Amendment Act (3); Loi no 3  modifiant la Loi sur la Ville de Winnipeg.

       A STANDING VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:

              Yeas

       Alcock, Carstairs, Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Driedger,  Ducharme, Edwards, Enns, Filmon, Findlay, Gaudry, Gilleshammer,  Helwer, Lamoureux, Laurendeau, Manness, McAlpine, McIntosh,  Mitchelson, Neufeld, Orchard, Penner, Praznik, Reimer, Render,  Rose, Stefanson, Sveinson, Vodrey.

              Nays

       Ashton, Barrett, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Evans  (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Hickes, Maloway,  Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis,  Wowchuk.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 30, Nays 18.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

 

THIRD READINGS

          

Bill 98‑The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker,  with leave of the House, I would like to move, seconded by the  Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson),  that Bill 98, The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act; Loi sur le  multiculturisme au Manitoba, be now read a third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 98, The  Manitoba Multiculturalism Act?  Leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  It is agreed.

Motion presented.

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Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, I am rising to put  some thoughts on the record with respect to Bill 98.  It has been  a bill that the government has made a commitment to as an  extension of its multicultural policy.  It is a bill that is  important to Manitoba to ensure that laws reflect the  multicultural nature of our society, and it is a bill that I hope  that all Manitobans would support in principle.

       Even though there is some dispute over the interpretation of  multiculturalism, even over the application of multiculturalism  and what it means, I would say that the intent of this bill is  favourable and is positive, and I have said that a number of  times.  I have said that we support the bill and we support that  Manitoba have a multicultural act.

       I would remind particularly the member for Inkster (Mr.  Lamoureux) that our party has a history and a commitment to all  the visible minorities and ethnic minorities in our province, and  that we have a long history of enacting human rights legislation  we brought to the province.

       We brought the Manitoba Intercultural Council to the province  and The Manitoba Intercultural Council Act to the province.  We  brought a number of other services.  We developed what has been  called one of the best English as a Second Language programs to  the province which this government has changed, has gone along  with their Tory counterparts to change to make it less accessible  and sensitive to people's needs.

       I would remind the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) as well  that developing the Settlement Services Branch was also an  initiative of our party when we were in government, that there is  also a development of the immigrant access centre, and that we  also developed an affirmative action program for the government.

       I would also like to remind members in the House that the  number of individuals who would be targeted in the visible  minority category has decreased under this government, and it was  due to the affirmative action program that our government, the  NDP government, put into place that ensured that there was some  equalization so that the Civil Service would reflect the  multicultural and multiracial nature of our community.

       This act that was promised by the government was delayed in  such a way, I believe, to not allow full consideration and full  debate by the public.  We were waiting all session.  It was  promised in the throne speech.  The government claims that they  have been consulting on this.  The real concern is why was it  brought in so close to the summer holidays so that the  communities were rushed to have their comments considered.

       We saw no specific indications by the government on what was  going to be included, and I was quite concerned when I contacted  members of the Intercultural Council before the bill was tabled  that they were not quite sure what was going to be included in  this bill.

       I guess I want to remind the House as well that this is not  the Multicultural Secretariat act, that this is not the  Multicultural Grants Advisory act, that this is the multicultural  act that is supposed to encourage all of government to be  sensitive to the needs of our multicultural, multiracial  society.  I think in the Free Press it used the phrase,  "bureaucratic turf‑splitting," to describe the bill.  I am quite  concerned that the bill is not going to go far enough in ensuring  that the multicultural policy of the government is actually going  to reach all of those individuals out there who want to be  assured that there is a commitment by government that they have  the right to promote and practise their culture.

       That is what this bill is supposed to do.  It is supposed to  not only declare that citizens have that right, but it is  supposed to declare that the government is committed to ensuring  that right is upheld and supported by the government.  It is  supposed to ensure and recognize that one of our strengths is the  diversity of our community cultures.  It is supposed to recognize  that there is a tendency for minority cultures to be subsumed, if  you will, and that there is a need for special programming to  assist those communities, the need to promote and preserve their  culture, to ensure that they are going to have the resources to  do that.

       It is important for that reason, I think‑‑that is, the  government has opened the door to including a policy section in  this act, that they would make it a strong affirmation of their  commitment to the kinds of initiatives that are going to ensure  that that take place.  I am not convinced that this act is doing  that in as strong a way that a number of people would like to see  it.  I am concerned that there is not the strong commitment in  the legislation to ensuring that there is heritage language  programming; commitment to ensuring that there is employment  equity; that there are services for newcomers so that they will  be able to learn the official languages of our province and that  they will be able to access all of the opportunities, the  training opportunities, that they need to become full  participants in our society.

       I am not convinced that there is a strong enough commitment  to promoting cross‑cultural sensitivity throughout government  agencies, and to develop that within the community at large.  As  I said earlier today in the House, I was concerned, and still am  concerned, that there is not enough emphasis to deal with racial  discrimination and to make a commitment to eliminating racial  discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of  religion, which is another aspect of multiculturalism that often  goes unconsidered.  The amendments that were proposed in the  committee would have done all those things and it would have done  it in a way that I had hoped would have been reasonable, because  it would have drawn directly from the wording and the spirit of  the government's own multicultural policy.

       The other issue that is of great concern with respect to the  bill is that it has left out the Manitoba Intercultural Council,  and it has left out linking the Manitoba Intercultural Council  with the other agencies and giving it some equal status in The  Multiculturalism Act.

       As I said, this is not the Multicultural Secretariat act or  the Grants Advisory Commission act.  This is the act that is  supposed to be the multicultural act to bring together all of the  policy and programs and a commitment to those policy and programs  into one act.

       We have said before that the minister had made a commitment  that all of these issues would have been dealt with together.  I  notice that there were some news releases today from groups that  made presentations that were saying that the avenue to go is to  develop companion legislation to deal with employment equity and  contract compliance.  That is necessary to deal with the  specifics of implementation, but I think that a commitment to  that would also have been appropriate in the act.

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       That is directly the kind of recommendations that the  Manitoba Intercultural Council was making.  I think that the lack  of consideration of those recommendations by the minister or the  lack of follow through has caused us some concern with respect to  her commitment to ensuring that there is a body like MIC that is  there to advise government and has that grassroots community  contact.

       There was concern expressed at the hearings that in some ways  this bill is in a quandary, because on the one hand it is talking  about inclusiveness and equal participation and those ideals,  that it has become politically inexpedient to not agree with.  I  sometimes question that that is the influence of this government,  political expediency.  I am concerned that the lack of commitment  to having that grassroots agency that is going to link the  legislation with the community and link the minister with the  community is not part of the act.  Having an act that is supposed  to be about inclusiveness that does not specify how this is going  to happen is indeed a limitation.

       Mr. Speaker, there were a number of presenters at the  hearings that felt that the process that this bill was created  under and brought in was not as inclusive as it should have  been.  They were recommending that there be a delay.

       So there are a couple of reasons for wanting a delay.  One of  them is because of the lateness of the tabling of the bill.  I  think that is especially true for a bill that is dealing with the  kind of communities that we are dealing with in multiculturalism,  the kind of organizations that would want to come out in full  force to make their thoughts known on the legislation.  But the  other reason that the delay for the bill was recommended was that  it should not happen until after the Manitoba Intercultural  Council review has taken place.

       There has been some concern, as I was saying earlier, about  the government's commitment to that organization and its  commitment to having democratically elected, grassroots community  leaders advising the government.  It is a concern that the  government is trying to exert more control over MIC and that they  are not being included in this act until that control is  assured.  They have done it in a number of ways.  They have  decreased the funding for the Intercultural Council; they have  eliminated their community outreach staff; they have taken away  their granting authority which gave them that much more  importance in the community.

       Another thing that I think they have done is they have  influenced‑‑some would even say, through the Secretariat‑‑that  they be preoccupied in this navel gazing of trying to reassess  what their role should be.  Well, until they did all those other  things, the Intercultural Council was operating quite fine.  But,  by requiring them to continually reassess and reassess what their  mandate is, the organization has not been as active in the  community as it used to be.

       It is also compounded, I think, because a number of the  appointments, it has been suggested to me, who are on the  council, do not support the council's existence.  These are some  of the things that have been suggested to me.  So all of these  kinds of things have been happening with MIC.  Now there is going  to be a review, and there is a lot of concern that review is not  as independent as the minister claims.

       I, for all of these reasons and for the reason most clearly  of wanting this government to make a strong commitment to having  the kind of grassroots democracy advising the minister on these  issues that will be in place‑‑Mr. Speaker, democracy is not a  neat and tidy process at all times.

       I am concerned with the minister's and the government's  concern to exert some control over what was happening with MIC  previously.  It has been acknowledged that it was a very lively,  active body that oftentimes engaged in some conflict.  I have  always said that I think that that kind of exchange is very  healthy.  That kind of exchange happening on a body such as this  was healthy, especially if all those individuals who are engaged  with MIC were representative and elected from their community.

       I am concerned that cannot take place as well because of the  number of political appointments and arrangements that have been  included on the MIC executive.  So I think that we have some  legitimate reasons for concern that the review of MIC take place  before the act is brought into force.

       For that reason, I move, seconded by the member for Burrows  (Mr. Martindale),

       THAT the motion of the Minister of Finance for third reading  of Bill 98, The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act, be amended by  deleting all the words after "THAT" and substituting the  following:  Bill 98, The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act, be not  now read a third time, but be read a third time this day six  months hence.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  This amendment is debatable.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I have a number of  concerns that I want to put on the record with regard to the bill  itself, but first what I want to do is to address the motion that  has been brought forward by the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli).

       I must say that I am somewhat disappointed.  I am  disappointed primarily because the member for Radisson obviously  did not listen to what was being made in terms of presentations.  She has obviously not been listening to the different ethnic  communities.  Her and I both‑‑and I will acknowledge the member  for Radisson attends a large number of events, as I do, as the  minister responsible does.

       I feel that this particular bill, even though there are all  sorts of wonderful things that we too would like to see in this  piece of legislation‑‑we would love to see lots of wonderful  things in this legislation.  As we had pointed out in the  committee, this is a starting point.

       This is not the first time this Chamber is going to see a  multicultural act.  I am expecting the minister to follow through  in the next session, based on recommendations, on a multicultural  act, because failing that, we will be introducing amendments to  the current act.  Unfortunately, and I do not know if the member  for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) realizes this, she is putting into  jeopardy the multicultural act.

* (1640)

       I am sure that if she consulted with the different ethnic  groups she would find that the principles of this particular act,  in particular the area around Clause 2, is an area which should  be passed, that there really is no need to delay it.  What is the  difference if we delay it today and have the act "hopefully" come  back in next year?

       There is no guarantee that the act would in fact come back if  you move a six‑month hoist.  We could prorogue the session as we  have done in the previous five sessions.  Then we have to wait  for the minister to take the initiative once again, as we have  stood up on numerous occasions demanding the minister live up to  the throne speech and bring forward a multicultural act.

       Mr. Speaker, even though, as I say, there are a number of  things that we would have liked to have seen in this act, we will  be introducing a bill, a private members' bill in the next  session in hope that we will see some positive changes to the  multicultural act.  We will say that we are disappointed that it  did not go as far as we would have liked to have seen it gone,  but we are going to acknowledge that this is as far as this  particular government is willing to go on the multicultural act  at this point in time.

       I share many of the concerns that the member for Radisson  (Ms. Cerilli) has put on the record.  We had suggested‑‑we had  heard during a throne speech from this government that the  multicultural act will be introduced in this session, and it was  only introduced a couple of short weeks ago.  In fact, it was  only called for second reading twice.

       The community, the different ethnic groups and individuals,  did not have an opportunity to give as much input as we would  have liked to have seen them give, but I know‑‑as the minister  responsible, as the critic for the New Democratic Party, as I  did‑‑when the bill was introduced we ensured that we put out as  much material and called as many individuals as possible, so that  they would in fact be aware.  There was an onus on us to consult  and come back and report as to what we feel is the proper way to  proceed with this particular bill.

       I have come, or the Liberal Party has come, to the conclusion  that this bill should be allowed to pass, and it should be  allowed to pass when this session comes to an end.  If the member  for Rossmere were sincere in her comments‑‑[interjection!  Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), I stand corrected, I stand corrected.  If  the member for Radisson‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

 

Point of Order

       

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I think  the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) just referred to the  member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) as the member for Rossmere.  I  do not think either of them would particularly care to be  confused, especially on multiculturalism.  So I would ask the  member for Inkster to withdraw that.

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable member does not have a point of  order.

* * *

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I would refer to the member for  Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), the critic of the NDP party.  If she were  sincere in wanting the public to have more notice, that was an  option.  Why did she not just stand and continue speaking on Bill  98?  Why did she not argue‑‑

Mr. Ashton:  You would not let her.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, the House leader of the New  Democratic Party (Mr. Ashton) says I would not let her.  It is  not up to me to decide.  The rules allow for every member of this  Chamber to speak.  She could even have done what I did and taken  the Leader's designate, but she and the New Democratic Party were  quite content to see Bill 98 pass this Chamber as it was.  They  knew there was a majority government.  There was only one party  in this Chamber that was arguing for change and put that as a  condition in order to get out of here.

Now, Mr. Speaker‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

 

Point of Order

       

Ms. Cerilli:  On a point of order, I think that if anyone in the  Chamber or outside the Chamber checked the Hansard, they will see  on the committee that I proposed‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member does not have  a point of order.

* * *

Mr. Lamoureux:  I want to address how consistent the New  Democratic Party was in committee.  They introduced an amendment,  an amendment that is two pages.  It is fairly extensive, and it  virtually took from, verbatim I understand, in terms of the  policy, the government's policy.  My question to the member was:  Has she consulted with anyone?  Has she consulted with MIC?

       Her response was:  Well, I have talked to a couple of  individuals of MIC and possibly some other people.  She did not,  Mr. Speaker‑‑

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  What is the harm?

Mr. Lamoureux:  The member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) said:  What  is the harm?

       Well, I had abstained from voting, and I want to tell the  member why I abstained from voting‑‑because right after that I  moved a motion in which the member for Rossmere‑‑Radisson (Ms.  Cerilli) voted on, and that amendment was, acknowledge and  respond, and this is for the minister's responsibilities:  (e)  acknowledge and respond to issues brought to the minister's  attention by the Manitoba Intercultural Council established under  the Manitoba Intercultural Council, and to consult with that  council on all proposed changes to this act.

       Mr. Speaker, she voted for that.  She has a double standard.  Here she introduces with no notice to myself a lengthy amendment,  no recommendations, no assurances from the member for Rossmere  that she had a consensus from MIC‑‑for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli).

       Mr. Speaker, I will say right now, whenever I say Rossmere,  replace it with the word Radisson.

       She cannot have it both ways, and she tried to get it both  ways.  Now, the reason why I bring this up is because the member  for Rossmere‑‑Radisson‑‑had ample opportunity‑‑my apologies to  the member for Rossmere.

* (1650)

 

Point of Order

       

Mr. Harold Neufeld (Rossmere):  I believe that three times now  the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) has confused me with the  member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli).  I think I deserve an apology.

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable member does not have a point of  order.

* * *

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, knowing the support for the  multicultural community that the member for Rossmere (Mr.  Neufeld) has, I will apologize for making reference to him,  because I know he too wants to see this bill pass.

       Mr. Speaker, the reason why I emphasize this is because with  all sincerity the New Democratic Party had an opportunity to  ensure that the debate occurred and they have forgone that  opportunity.  Now they are introducing a motion, if it were to  pass, that could jeopardize The Multicultural Act.  Now, I know  and I have concerns in terms of what the New Democratic Party's  real position is on this act, and the reason why I say that is  because during second reading, you will recall, I asked for a  recorded vote.  The reason why I asked for a recorded vote was  because I was interested, given the remarks that were put on the  record from the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) in what it is,  if they were going to vote for it or against it.  Now, I turned  to my colleagues and suggested that they watch what the member  for Radisson said, and she said no.  That is the reason why I  asked for a recorded vote.  Did she mean no?  She ended up coming  back in saying yes.

            

Point of Order

 

Mr. Ashton:  Yes, Mr. Speaker, I mean, we allow some latitude in  debate on bills, and I think we have allowed particular latitude,  but it is not in order for the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux)  to now be debating essentially what he thought happened on the  second reading vote.  We had the second reading vote.  It was  very clear what had happened, very clear in terms of anyone who  was in this House, and whatever opinions the member for Inkster  had, or whatever delusions he should save to himself and not  waste the time of the Legislature.  He is out of order.

Mr. Speaker:  On the point of order raised, I would like to  remind the honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) that  what is before the House at this time is the hoist motion as  moved by the honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), and I  would ask the honourable member for Inkster to keep his remarks  relevant to said amendment.

* * *

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, what I have been suggesting, for  those that are questioning the relevance, and I know that the NDP  feel very sensitive on this, is that it is relevant.  Mr.  Speaker, if the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) is willing to  stand up and say that is not in fact the case, I will apologize  to the member.

       Having said these few words on this particular motion, I am  going to encourage all members of this House, of this Chamber, in  particular the member for Radisson and her caucus, to really  think about what it is that she is saying, think about what it is  that she is doing.  I recommend to the caucus to not allow this  amendment to pass, because if it were to‑‑even without the NDP  support I am sure it will be defeated.  I would conclude by  saying that we will be voting against the member for Radisson's  amendment, and I will put the rest of my remarks on the record  once we get into the third reading, in hopes that this bill will,  in fact, pass.

       Thank you.

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Mr. Speaker, a motion to hoist is  not a denial.  It is merely a deferment; it is a postponement.  Any fair‑minded person will acknowledge the importance of the  very introduction of The Multiculturalism Act in Manitoba, but we  have to look into the quality of the act itself, whether it is  dealing with the multicultural aspects of our society or not.

       This is simply the shell of a very insidious development in  the governing of the multicultural community.  We should not  forget that a culture is the totality of a people's shared  values, of what they hold desirable or important, including their  collective accomplishments, their common goals and hopes for the  future.

       This Multiculturalism Act is defective in two aspects.  It is  a basic derogation of democratic principle, because the act is  substituting a nonelected, nonappointed body in the form of a  Multicultural Grants Advisory Council in place of a grassroots  representative democratic body known as the Manitoba  Intercultural Council.

       It is a basic doctrine of democracy, one of the shared values  of every enlightened and civilized society, that the authority  and power to govern derives from the consent of the governed.  I  repeat that basic principle of democracy.  The authority and  power to govern derives from the consent of those who are  governed.  Once this is denied, and it is denied because of this  substitution and replacement of a representative, democratically  elected body with an appointed, autocratically, unilaterally  selected body to exercise the decision‑making power which affects  the affairs and fortunes of the multicultural communities.

       Therefore, we are trying to delay this very magnificent  milestone in the advance of multiculturalism in this province  because of this denial of a basic, and fundamental, democratic  principle.

       Another odious, unacceptable development within the framework  of what apparently is a desirable multicultural act is the  insidious centralization, concentration and autocratization of  power.  Let me be specific and cite the evidence.

       Section 6 states:  "the minister may establish an office, to  be operated by the secretariat, to provide practical assistance  to groups and individuals in dealing with departments or agencies  of the government."

       Section 7:  "the minister may make grants for the purposes of  this Act out of money appropriated by the Legislature for those  purposes."  The word "may" implies the opposite.  The minister  may not.

       "May" means "may" or "may not," so that it is entirely within  the unbounded discretion of the minister‑‑with due respect to the  present occupant of that position‑‑it is simply an unbounded  discretionary power on the part of that office‑‑I am talking of  the office, not of the person‑‑to establish or not to establish a  secretariat, an access office, for the benefit of the  multicultural community to grant or not to grant . . . .

* (1700)

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  When this matter is again before  the House the honourable member for Broadway (Mr. Santos) will  have 35 minutes remaining.

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

           

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

 

House Business

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, on  House business, again I would ask for leave of the House to call  the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections at 7 p.m.  tonight in Room 255 to consider the review of the judicial  compensation proposal.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave of the House to call said committee?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  Leave.  It has been agreed to.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS

 

Res. 24‑Economic Summit

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, as  per agreement between the three parties, we are prepared to  provide unanimous consent to the Leader of the opposition party  (Mr. Doer) to bring forward a resolution that is on the Order  Paper at this time.

Mr. Speaker:  Which one?

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, it is not in order, but we waive the  condition that we speak from the top, and it can be brought  forward, and I will let the Leader of the Opposition address the  specific resolution.

Mr. Speaker:  Which resolution do you want to bring forward at  this time?  Which number?

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Number 24.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave of the House to bring forward  Resolution 24 of the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr.  Doer), Economic Summit.  Is there leave?

An Honourable Member:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  There is leave.

Mr. Doer:  I move, seconded by the member for St. Johns (Ms.  Wasylycia‑Leis)

       WHEREAS Manitobans across the province from all sectors of  the economy are concerned about the impact of the recession; and

       WHEREAS unemployment is rising, people are being forced out  of work because of free trade and other economic forces; and

       WHEREAS northern Manitoba has the highest unemployment of any  region in the country; and

       WHEREAS there is no labour force strategy that focuses on the  need for training and retraining; and

       WHEREAS jobs in the transportation sector are being  devastated by the deregulated free trade environment; and

       WHEREAS farmers are losing their livelihood and the rural  infrastructure is being eroded rapidly; and

       WHEREAS Manitobans from across the province have a variety of  ideas, solutions, and innovative strategies that can help pull us  out of this recession;

       THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of  Manitoba recommend that the Premier consider convening an  economic summit immediately which includes farmers, labour  leaders, business leaders and other concerned Manitobans that  would work together with the government to find solutions and new  ideas to help resolve our economic crisis.

Motion presented.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, this resolution may finally reach  consensus in this Chamber, and I would hope that all members  likely voted last evening who supported the resolution.

       The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) looks up from his seat  like the cat that swallowed the canary, but I would note that the  Premier (Mr. Filmon) today acknowledged the fact that an economic  summit is a good idea.  In fact, 30 business leaders that are now  part of the Economic Innovation group and the two labour members  that are part of that group, and the few academics that are part  of that group are making the same recommendation.

       Now, I have asked this question in the Chamber 10 times at  least in the last six months, and the Premier says it is a bad  idea.  Fine, if he wants to say it is a bad idea because the NDP  is asking for it, so be it, but if he wants to acknowledge the  merit of the idea because his own Economic Innovations Council  has now recommended the same thing as what the opposition has  been recommending for the last year and a half, so be it.  I do  not care who gets credit for it, Mr. Speaker.  I just want it to  happen.

       I think if this Legislature supports it, along with the  economic innovation council of the government, fine.  So let us  not play games and amend it, and let us not play games and debate  it into six o'clock.  Let us give the force of this Legislature  as reinforcement to the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) commitment today  in Question Period, wherein he stated, as I recall correctly, and  I have not got Hansard, that he has already received a similar  recommendation from the Economic Innovation Committee of cabinet,  and that they will be proceeding accordingly in the fall.

       So we do not have to waste a lot of time debating this or  speaking it out or amending it or whatever else, because really  we should just agree that a summit is good for us.  If you look  at the RESOLVED, the summit that we are recommending‑‑and the  RESOLVED is the operative section of any resolution‑‑the RESOLVED  basically says that we recommend to the Premier (Mr. Filmon).  I  know the government will not like all the WHEREASes and that is  fine, but we are dealing with the RESOLVED, because that is the  motion that goes on the records of this Legislature.

       Mr. Speaker, it basically says that all of us, farmers,  labour, business, and government should be working together to  develop a consensus to deal with our economic crisis, to find  solutions and new ideas.  Now there is not one word in the  RESOLVED, I would suggest, that members of this Legislature can  disagree with, not one word in the RESOLVED.  In the WHEREASes I  know we will disagree, we have traded statistics around this  House long enough, we can disagree with‑‑let us just state that  disagreement as a given.  Let us not restate it.

       There is a tremendous advantage, in my opinion, of people  working together.  Our strength in this province is our people.  We do not have all the proper locations in terms of being close  to all the large markets, although we have a tremendous location  in terms of time zones and geographic location.  We have some  assets in raw resources.  We have some assets in a diversified  economy, in manufacturing, in agriculture, in mining, in  forestry, in service sector, in some health care sectors.

       We have some advantages in terms of a highly skilled work  force in our province.  We have other advantages, Mr. Speaker,  but our greatest advantage has always been the people of this  province.  When we ask the people of this province to work  together, they are generally much better than one sector or  another sector of the economy working apart.

       If the business community is only working with the  government, or if the labour community is only working with the  government, or if the agricultural sector is only working with  the government, in isolation from each other, they are obviously  presenting their agenda.  But when you get them working together,  in the same room faced with the same challenges and the same  economic reality, they come up with ideas, and they develop  consensus that provides the kind of agenda for government that I  think is really necessary in this province.

       We were in last place last year in economic performance.  I  know the government says now, that was last year, this is this  year, and the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) has been raising a  lot of very important statistics as well, but that does not mean  that we should just develop our agenda for the economy as if it  is business as usual.  It means that we should use new ways of  reaching out.

       * (1710)

       Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of sitting in on an economic  summit with people from the business community, and labour  community, and government community in the early '80s.  I  remember sitting in a room with Kevin Kavanagh; Otto Lang; Howard  Pawley‑‑at the time I was not in government‑‑Vic Schroeder;  Muriel Smith‑‑I cannot remember all the other people‑‑I think a  person from the National Farmers' Union; Jackie Skelton; the  former president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce who is now  on the board of directors of the Environmental Sustainable  Development Centre, Mr. McGinnis.

       There was a terrific amount of discussion that went on, and  it was all focused on, not what can this province do for me, but  what can we do for this province collectively.  I believe if the  government were to call this summit together, they would get the  same kind of advice from all different groups as what I thought  we had in the early '80s.

       You know, many of the health initiatives that are being  announced by the government today came out of a consensus from  people, from Manitobans.  They were from Manitobans from all  walks of life and from all political parties.  I mean, we know  what Otto Lang's politics were, and we know what other members of  that body were.  But they all came there, not with political  uniforms or not with uniforms from the sector of the economy that  they represented, they came there as Manitobans to work together.

       Mr. Speaker, this was the first summit in Canada.  It was in  Manitoba.  People studied this from far and wide.  Some of the  experience was used in Australia.  Some of the experience was  used in other countries.  In fact, even Brian Mulroney's staff  came in here, after his election in '84, for his first summit  when Stanley Hartt was putting that together.  Unfortunately,  that federal summit was more of a public relations summit than a  real substantive summit where you really do develop an agenda and  a consensus.

       Mr. Speaker, right now, in British Columbia, a province which  is now predicted to lead the country, there was an economic  summit two weeks ago, the business community, the labour  community, and the government.  There was a tremendous amount of  consensus about how B.C. should work together, how the various  sections in the British Columbia economy should work together to  develop an agenda for British Columbia.

(Madam Deputy Speaker in the Chair)

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I only refer to the reports from the  Economic Council of Canada, and the reports, even some of the  people who are economic gurus that are studied by members  opposite, I think, many reports about the Canadian economy have  identified the same problem.

       Canada has to be a country where greater productivity is  achieved through greater consensus and greater co‑operation.  Countries like West Germany and Japan and some other northern  European countries that have all of the groups working together  are doing better than those countries that have groups working  against each other, where there is constant conflict.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I would encourage the member for  Lakeside (Mr. Enns) to go door to door with the member for  Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) in the next provincial election.  [interjection! Well, okay, I will stop that.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I have also suggested to the  government, with the greatest respect, that we go with an  all‑party committee on the economy.  We are pledged, also, to  have an all‑party committee on the economy like we did on the  constitution.  So Resolution 25 as opposed to Resolution 24‑‑and  I would hope the member for Lakeside reminds his cabinet and his  caucus that we did offer and we continue to offer our complete  co‑operation on an all‑party committee on the economy.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, that is off the topic, because I  believe this resolution for all parties of Manitoba and our  economy to have an economic summit is indeed an idea that is long  overdue.  There are too many good ideas and good people in this  province to be left off in their separate sectors to be dealing  with the government and leaving the government on an individual  basis.  We get that as opposition parties.

       We get groups coming to us, manufacturing groups,  small‑business groups, farmers, labour groups, environmental  groups, we get them coming to us.  But I like sitting in the room  with everybody together because then you are not saying, we want  you to do this.  We are developing an agenda through much more  consensus, through debate and through discussions about what the  winning and losing industries of Manitoba will be now, and what  we could do to create jobs and opportunities in the future, what  kind of infrastructure do we need in terms of our labour force  adjustment strategy and labour market training to get us there.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, this idea is not revolutionary.  This idea is not difficult to accept.  If we see the government  amend it or if we see the government speak it out, we will know  where the government is at.  Where they are at is that they  cannot even give the Premier (Mr. Filmon) a recommendation from  this Legislature to support the recommendation they have from  their own economic innovation fund.

       I am not going to speak any longer.  The countries of the  world that are successful have a co‑operative relationship with  business, labour, agriculture and government.  The provinces that  right now are predicted to be No. 1 in the economy have developed  a co‑operation between business, labour and government‑‑the  Harcourt government of British Columbia.

       We must do the same thing.  If we fail to do so, we do so at  our continued peril.  I urge all members of this Legislature to  not play parliamentary games with this resolution but to support  it and let us get on with the rest of the business of this House.

       Thank you very, very much.

Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to rise to put a few comments  on the record as it relates to the resolution before us today.  It is actually encouraging to hear the Leader of the Opposition  start to talk about people working together in partnerships  because, based on his comments over the last few months, one  would certainly wonder in terms of the lack of confidence that he  far too often shows and his party far too often shows in this  House in terms of Manitobans and their ability to compete and  produce, and compete with people throughout the world.

       That is something that our government works on day in and day  out, each and every day interacting with Manitobans, dealing with  Manitobans in terms of how to improve the economic situation of  our province.  That has led to some innovative approaches to  economic development that I feel will produce very positive  results for Manitobans over the weeks, months and years ahead.

       That is what has led to programs like Grow Bonds that get the  communities themselves involved, the people of communities coming  forward and investing their hard‑earned money in economic  opportunities in their local communities‑‑a very innovative and  aggressive economic development capital fund for rural Manitoba.

       That also led to a program that I am sure the Leader of the  Opposition (Mr. Doer)‑‑he did support, I believe, the Crocus  Fund, the establishment of the second employee‑ownership fund in  all of Canada.  In fact, this one has some unique features, has,  once again, government and labour working together; the Grow  Bonds, government and rural Manitobans working together.

       The Vision Fund is the fund that is able to take equity  positions and profitable companies, again, an opportunity for  government to interact with, in this case, the private sector.  They put money into the fund.  Government puts money into the  fund.  Once again, a capital resource that is available for  Manitobans to invest in their economic future, Madam Deputy  Speaker.

       So day in and day out we have an opportunity to interact with  Manitobans and work on the economy and the economic development  of our province.  I go back to February 17, which, I believe, was  the first or second day of our session, when the members across,  the members of the opposition, brought in a motion for a matter  of urgent public importance. [interjection! February 17 was the  date; I have got a copy of Hansard in front of me.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, we all agreed unanimously in this House  to support a matter of urgent public importance and have a  debate.  But what was disturbing is the void‑‑it is a repeat, and  I have to do this occasionally to be sure that my point gets home  with members of the opposition.  What is showing is that, if you  go back in Hansard and read some of the debate of that day, the  complete lack of substance and ideas coming from the opposition.

       A forum, an opportunity to put some fundamental principles,  some ideas, some innovation on the record in terms of their  vision, their ideas, what direction Manitoba's economy should  go.  What do we get?  Nothing.  No substance, no ideas, no  concrete proposals, nothing in terms of any positive  recommendations.  I do not even believe‑‑I have got the Leader of  the Opposition's (Mr. Doer) comments; I am not even sure he  refers to his summit back then.  But, Madam Deputy Speaker,  clearly a forum for them to come forward with some of their ideas  and to stimulate debate‑‑sorely lacking in terms of any substance.

       When it comes to the economic development of Manitoba, we  have a plan; we have a program that we have worked out with  Manitobans.  There are many elements to it, and I wish I had the  time to walk through it systematically, so that once again the  Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) and his party could start to  develop a better appreciation and understanding.

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       I will touch on just a few fundamental aspects of economic  development.  One is that they seem to miss far too often is the  value of a positive economic climate for your province or for  your region.  One need look no further than the days of the NDP  government from 1982 to 1987 to realize how they do not  comprehend that very fundamental, that very important aspect of  economic development.

       I have read some of these into the record in the past, but I  have to admit, they are worth repeating for the benefit of the  members across the way in terms of recalling what they did during  their term of office in terms of economic development, and the  detriment and the impact they had in a negative aspect, Madam  Deputy Speaker, to the economy of Manitoba.

       I will only touch on a few of them in terms of the increase  in retail sales tax from 5 percent to 7 percent, introduced and  increased the payroll tax 2 1/4 percent a payroll, introduced a  personal net income tax and surtax, increased corporation income  tax from 15 percent to 17 percent.  The list goes on and on,  Madam Deputy Speaker, and I have read it into the record before,  and I am sure the members can look back in Hansard.  The total  cost to the taxpayers of Manitoba of those tax policies, $820  million, creating an environment in Manitoba which was the second  highest overall tax zone in all of Canada.  Talk about deterring  economic development with those kinds of tax policies.

       If you look at Manitoba today in terms of our positioning  within Canada we are now positioned approximately sixth in terms  of the total tax climate of Manitoba, much more favourable and  creating a much more solid foundation, Madam Deputy Speaker, for  economic development in our province.  Anybody who is in this  Chamber who thinks that there is a quick fix to economic  development is not in the real world.  Some have tried by taking  taxpayers' hard‑earned money and squandering it in some respects  in terms of the attempts at economic development in ventures that  ended up going out of business, costing the taxpayers money.

       We can go back again to the time frame of '82 to '87 and look  at the dollar losses in many of our Crown corporations and some  of the poor investments of the government of the day totalling  over those five years approximately $500 million, Madam Deputy  Speaker.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, we take the hard‑earned tax dollars of  Manitobans very seriously, and it is with that in mind that we  have dealt very frugally with our expenditures, and that is a  major part of the economic climate that you create is in terms of  how you as government lead by example in terms of controlling  your own costs and creating, again, a positive economic climate.

       I want to talk about a couple of other programs.  We have  talked a lot, and I know the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs.  Carstairs) has expressed concerns on many occasions about  training and the value of education, and we agree with  that‑‑fundamental to economic development.  It was with that in  mind that our government brought in the Workforce 2000 program,  Madam Deputy Speaker.  If you look at the statistics for 1991‑92  some 15,000 employees benefitted through the utilization of  Workforce 2000 and the anticipation is that is the program that  will continue to be utilized extensively, and one of many  programs that is being utilized to enhance and promote skill  development and further training in terms of the employee base  and the labour pools of Manitoba.

       The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) I think spends a  great deal of time going through economic indicators and  attempting to define the gloomiest and the doomiest that he can,  but if you look through the list today and look at the  projections for Manitoba, Madam Deputy Speaker‑‑and I will not  walk through all of them‑‑if you look at the economic growth,  while no province within Canada is pleased with the projections  in '92, Manitoba is projected to be third in the country in terms  of economic growth for 1992.  Next year we are projected to have  the fourth best growth rate in all of Canada.

       In terms of capital investment in the manufacturing sector we  are expected to lead the nation, an increase of some 31 percent,  whereas Canada as a nation is actually dropping by 4.2 percent.  In terms of manufacturing shipments, Madam Deputy Speaker, last  month we had the best growth amongst all provinces within  Canada.  In terms of bankruptcies, again, we heard today in the  House that in 1991 Manitoba business bankruptcies declined by 1.7  percent, the second best of all provinces within Canada.  In  terms of our unemployment rate we continue to have the third  lowest unemployment rate in all of Canada, and you can look at  housing starts, and you look at retail sales, we are comparing  very favourably and we are above the Canadian average in all of  those areas.  So when you look at the projections for Manitoba in  1992 and 1993, using the traditional indicators, most analysts  are suggesting that Manitoba is on the rise.

       Just a couple of other brief points I want to make.  An  interesting survey was done by the Canadian Federation of  Independent Business, which is really a majority of small  businesses.  They did a survey of almost 16,000 of their  members.  The questions related to conditions necessary for firms  to hire more employees than presently planned.  The biggest  concern, the concern of 80 percent of them, was that increase in  customer demand occurs.  They need more consumer demand and so  on.  That makes sense; I think we all recognize that.  That is  something that is required.  Consumer confidence throughout our  nation in terms of consumer spending will certainly stimulate our  economy.

       The second biggest area of concern was more confidence in  provincial government.  That was some 54 percent, I  believe‑‑expressed that as the second major concern in terms of  hiring more employees than presently planned:  obviously a  concern for small businesses.  But when you look at the  provincial breakdowns, while within Canada it was 44.7 percent, I  should correct, Manitoba was down to 26.2 percent, the lowest of  any province, clearly showing that the business community within  Manitoba is telling us that by and large the policies of this  provincial government are on the right track.  You go to  Ontario‑‑52.7 percent, double the rate in Manitoba in terms of  confidence of business in the job that their government is doing.

       So I encourage the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) and  his party:  get out and talk to some of these people.  Talk to  them about what they want.  Talk to them about taxes; talk to  them about government expenditures.  Talk to them about the kind  of economic environment that should be created in this province  for long‑term growth and long‑term quality jobs, and you will get  the answers.  You will get the answers that will concur with many  of the things that this government is doing, Madam Deputy Speaker.

       Prior to concluding, I want to speak very briefly about the  Economic Innovation and Technology Council.  We had the bill at  committee just the other day.  We have 29 outstanding Manitobans  serving on that committee, many important functions in terms of  the development of innovation and technology in our province, a  fundamental part of their role.  It is spelled out within the  act, the enhancement of awareness and the dialogue and so on with  the stakeholders of Manitoba, which really are all Manitobans.

       We have a great deal of confidence in that committee which  has business, has labour, has academic and research and is well  represented with some outstanding Manitobans who are going to  help this government and Manitobans to continue to grow and  prosper.  We are very pleased with the job that they are doing to  date.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       It was with that in mind that I want to move the following  amendment.  I move, seconded by the member for Charleswood (Mr.  Ernst) that Resolution 24 be amended by deleting all words from  the second clause beginning with the word WHEREAS and all  subsequent clauses, and replacing them with the following:

       WHEREAS Manitobans across the province from all sectors of  the economy are concerned about the impact of the recession; and

       WHEREAS the government of Manitoba has worked through these  difficult economic times to establish an environment that is  conducive to investment in and expansion of existing and new  industry and business; and

       WHEREAS the economic future of Manitoba depends on its  ability to create and apply new ideas that make it more  competitive in the global economy; and

       WHEREAS efforts in support of enhanced competitiveness must  be both intensive and ongoing; and

       WHEREAS the government of Manitoba has established the  Economic Innovation and Technology Council involving members from  labour groups, businesses, academic and community sectors, as  well as other concerned sectors of Manitobans; and

       WHEREAS the role of the council is to provide a forum for  consultation and dialogue between government, business, labour,  research community and the general public and to bring together  all groups with a stake in research and the growth of our economy.

       THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of  Manitoba fully support the province's new Economic Innovation and  Technology Council in its efforts to foster economic development  and to support economic restructuring through innovation and the  development and commercialization of technology so as to enable  Manitoba to compete effectively in a global market economy; and  endorse the Economic Innovation and Technology Council's efforts  to provide a forum for dialogue and to sponsor interaction  between and among stakeholders.

       Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion presented.

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Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, you know this government is so two‑faced  on these things.  They talk all day long about providing positive  ideas and the first time they get one that we actually can debate  in this Legislature with an opportunity to vote on it, they put  in a self‑serving amendment.

       Mr. Speaker, the arrogance of the Premier (Mr. Filmon), just  sitting there, making the comparison between a debate in this  Legislature and the economic summit that we have proposed in this  legislation, shows us why this Premier is stewarding a province  that was in last place in 1991 and in last place in many of the  private‑sector indicators.  He is all public relations and  absolutely no substance.  The member talks about the‑‑he is happy  about a last place performance in 1991.  They talk about what is  going to happen in '92 and '93.  You know, Mr. Speaker, by the  end of 1993, Manitoba will not be back to where they were on  January 1 of 1991 in terms of growth, investment and  opportunities in this province.  Three years of stagnation, three  years of absolute treadmill economic development under the  leadership of the Premier as chairperson of the Economic  Committee of cabinet, and they give us these absolutely  hypocritical amendments, self‑serving amendments, in this Chamber.

       We had a chance today to recommend to the Premier that he  follow through on what he actually confirmed in Question Period  today, on calling an economic summit of business, labour, farmers  and government.  That was the resolution‑‑not the all‑party  committee, that was the other resolution‑‑that was the resolution  before the Chamber.  That is something that just took place in  British Columbia two weeks ago.  No wonder Mike Harcourt and the  government of British Columbia is predicted by all the economic  people across Canada to be in first place this year and the year  after and the year after that.

An Honourable Member:  So I suppose Chinese money has nothing to  do with it.

Mr. Doer:  It does have something to do with it, but I would  encourage the Premier to look at the successful countries now in  the world.  They have co‑operation with business, labour and  government on developing our economy.  Now I want to know why the  Premier could oppose a resolution and have to amend a resolution  that said, "Therefore be it resolved that this Legislative  Assembly of Manitoba recommend that the Premier consider  convening an economic summit immediately which includes farmers,  labour leaders, business leaders and other concerned Manitobans  that would work together with the government to find solutions  and new ideas to help resolve our economic crisis."

       So, Mr. Speaker, the Premier plays politics and his caucus  plays politics with the resolution.  That is what it comes down  to, because the Premier on eight occasions in this Chamber said  that having an economic summit was a bad idea.

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Doer:  I will give him the Hansard.  A number of other times  the Premier said having an all‑party committee dealing with the  economy was a bad idea because this Chamber was the place to  debate.  He had two different answers to the question.  Now that  the NDP has recommended it for a year and a half to deal with the  dismal economic performance of the Premier and his government,  something that has been identified by our caucus and by the  member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) on a daily basis to deal with  this last‑place performance, they amend it, because now the  Premier is going to convene one because his own economic  innovation committee is saying the same thing.  Business is  saying the same thing as the NDP in terms of this resolution,  saying this Premier needs new ideas and needs to develop a  consensus in this province.  Hallelujah, the Premier has  confirmed today that he has finally changed his opinion, his  stubbornness on this issue, and finally has admitted that this  government is bankrupt of ideas and needs an economic summit to  get this economy going.

       Mr. Speaker, you know the Premier (Mr. Filmon) says he does  not like to look at what he said in the past, and I do not blame  him.  I do not blame him.  You know, when we asked the question  in December, he said, oh, I am looking at the future, I am  looking at '92.  When we asked the question a year ago, he said,  oh, I do not want to deal with what just happened the last year,  I want to deal with what is happening in the next year.

       Well, let us take a look at what he said six months ago about  what was going to happen when he lectured us about asking him  about his performance.  First of all, we found out three months  later he was a last‑place government on economic growth which  measures private and public sector investment.  He was in last  place in many of the private sector indicators.  This was after  he told us a year ago, all he was going to do was step aside.  I  am a step‑aside Premier, I am a step‑aside kind of person.  I  will just sit in my office and just let the thing go along and  hopefully it will work its way out.  I will just step aside and  let things work themselves out.

       Mr. Speaker, we have seen the results.  You have got the  report card, last place‑‑last place in terms of private sector  investment in many categories, second last in terms of  manufacturing investment, last place in terms of residential  construction investment, second only to Newfoundland in some  other investment factors, declines of 30 and 40 percent in many  of these private sector places.

       Well, December, he said, just look at the future.  Do not  look at the past, that is negative, look to the future.  Fine,  six months later, we look at what the Premier (Mr. Filmon) said  to look at in terms of the future.  He said to us, 4 percent  growth in December, the first Question Period of this Chamber, 4  percent growth.  What are the growth predictions right  now?‑‑1.1.  He is wrong.

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       He said to us the unemployment rate would be 8.7 percent.  It  is 9.7 percent, it is averaging 5,000 more people than what the  Premier predicted.  Wrong again.  He said to us, look at the  manufacturing jobs in this province.  They are down 5,000 from  December of 1991 when this Chamber first sat.  Wrong again.

       So, Mr. Speaker, I do not blame the Premier for saying, look  at '98 and '99 and 2000, because he does not want to look at what  he said a year ago.  He does not want to look at what happened on  the bottom line a year ago.  If he brought this bottom line to a  group of shareholders or a nonprofit organization, they would  fire him.  Last place, they would fire him; 10 out of 10, dead  last, they would fire him.

       The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) knows that is true.  He  knows that is true.  Last place for economic performances for  most people means you are out the door.  They will try somebody  else.  Well, Mr. Speaker, I was in a caucus that left a $55  million surplus, and I will go not by the record for the Premier  (Mr. Filmon) opposite, I will go with the record and absolute  empirical evidence of the auditor's report.

       Mr. Speaker, this government promised‑‑I remember the  Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) when he was in opposition; I  remember the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) when he was in the  opposition; I remember the hotshot Leader of the opposition who  was called the mouse that roared at that point when he was in  opposition.

       They said that they would always balance the books.  They  used to lecture the former Premier Pawley about the finances.  So  they inherit a situation where they are getting $4 million a  month in surplus revenue.  It was not all because of the former  government, some of it was because of revenues in mining, some of  it was because of equalization and some of it was because of the  actions of the former government.

       The bottom line is that when he walked into the Premier's  office, he was getting $4 to $5 million a month more than what  the province was spending on all costs.  Mr. Speaker, when you  take the Fiscal Stabilization Fund and read the auditor's  comments about his action, he is now spending $530 million.  So  you are now spending‑‑[interjection! Well, Mr. Speaker, the  Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) knows that the interest  payments in Manitoba, when they took office, were one of the  lowest in Canada‑‑[interjection! Well, I will show them again the  Toronto Dominion Bank statement.  The $55 million surplus that he  inherited included interest rate payments.

       The swing of the deficit under this Premier (Mr. Filmon) has  been $600 million.  Howard Pawley's swing went from Sterling  Lyon's deficit of $280 million, and it was about a $400 million  swing and then it went down.  You know what, and I know they do  not like this and I know they will not admit this, I know they  will not like this, but the member for Tuxedo (Mr. Filmon) has  run the deficit up $600 million and he has not told us yet what  he is going to do about it.

       He is doing the same thing as Grant Devine.  Well, they  laugh.  Conservatives‑‑that is right, it is not so funny, because  it is a lot of change in terms of the deficit and the financial  situation of this province.  We have a situation now where  private sector investment, and the member for Osborne (Mr.  Alcock) has identified many of those factors and we have  identified many of those factors, is way down below 1988 levels.  Employment is down below 1988 levels; good‑paying jobs in  manufacturing, research and development, telecommunications,  transportation are all down.  The population is stagnating.  We  have less people today than 12 months ago in this province, just  exactly the same as Sterling Lyon.

(Madam Deputy Speaker in the Chair)

       Madam Deputy Speaker, what have we got to show for it?  We  have a very serious problem.  So, when we propose an economic  summit, which I thought was a rather innocent recommendation,  something that West Germany and Japan and other leading  industrial nations do in terms of economic development and  co‑operation, this government amends it and plays self‑serving  games, Madam Deputy Speaker.

       They congratulate themselves on their Economic Committee of  Cabinet chaired by the Premier (Mr. Filmon), the council now that  is costing the taxpayers about $880,000 a year, and we have not  seen one dollar of benefit for the people of Manitoba in terms of  results.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, when we start seeing employment levels  above 1988, when we start seeing manufacturing jobs above 1988,  when we start seeing transportation jobs above 1988, when we see  research and development jobs above 1988, when we start seeing  population growths year over year higher than what we saw in the  '80s, when we start seeing some bottom lines, we will say,  hallelujah.

       But, on every major economic indicator, this Premier (Mr.  Filmon), this member from Tuxedo, has failed the people of  Manitoba.  I know he has ridden a little post‑Meech Lake  surfboard to what he thinks to be economic success, but on all  the economic indicators this Premier has failed.  He is in last  place and self‑serving amendments will not get Manitobans working.

       Thank you very, very much, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I am delighted  to follow the mouth that roared.

Mr. Doer:  You are the mouse that roared.  I have the cartoon and  I will bring it tonight.

Mr. Filmon:  You are the mouth that roared.  I have not developed  a lisp. [interjection! Well, I think perhaps my writers should go  over and assist the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer); that was  quite a contribution he made.

       At least when he was the president of the Manitoba Government  Employees' Association, from time to time he came up with some  reasonable contributions, as when he said that the New Democratic  Party's Jobs Fund, all it did was plant flowers on the side of  the highway and put in signs all over the province.

       Then, of course, when he called his now colleagues  "white‑wine socialists," I remember that one very, very well.  He  also called them fraudulent from time to time.  Of course, that  was before they offered him the leadership of the party and then  he said, oh, I have changed.  You are all nice people.  Where do  I sign?

       Madam Deputy Speaker, we know the principles of the Leader of  the Opposition (Mr. Doer).  He says, I have principles, and if  you do not like those, I have got another set of principles over  here that you might like.

       In any case, the issue here is not the matter of an economic  summit.  The matter of an economic summit is a good idea.  It is  a good idea, but it is not a partisan idea.  It is not an idea  that is the domain of a political party, and it should be  appropriately conducted by somebody who does not have political  motivation, such as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) or  the Leader of the government, for that matter.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  You do not call the state of the  economy a political issue?

Mr. Filmon:  The member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) thinks that  the state of the economy should be a matter of a political  issue.  She thinks that it ought to be the matter that she could  use for cheap, partisan purposes.  We believe that the economy is  too important for that.  We believe that the economy should be a  matter of getting everybody together to work for the betterment  of our province.

       That is why it is absolutely essential that something like  the Economic Innovation and Technology Council ought to do that,  because it has representation from organized labour; it has  representation of people who are involved in economic development  measures for our aboriginal community; it has people involved  from the farm sector, from the rural sector, from the  manufacturing sector, from the service sector, from all sectors  of the economy.

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       People who are not there because of their partisanship;  people who are not there because of their political leanings;  people who are there because they want to contribute to the  structuring of a new, improved and strengthened economy in this  province, because we are going through very, very difficult times  across this country.

       Country‑wide there is a massive restructuring taking place, a  massive restructuring that is seeing us move from a production  economy to an information‑based economy.  I can tell you that in  some provinces that restructuring is absolutely just  devastating.  The province of Ontario has lost 150,000  manufacturing jobs that will never come back again.  That is not  because of any particular political decision.  That is there  because of the fact that there is a restructuring taking place as  we move from this production‑based economy to an  information‑based economy.  What we need to do, of course, is to  recognize that change, to evaluate what it means for this  province and to utilize the forces that are out there, all of the  forces that are working for a better Manitoba:  the labour  community, the business community, the innovators, the people  from the academic community, the farm community, all elements of  society to work together to make this transition.

       It is that transition that is going to be the biggest, single  challenge that we and every other province in this country face.  So to go and take a look and blithely identify for their own  partisan purposes the number of jobs that have been lost in  manufacturing because factories that no longer can compete in the  new era of economy‑‑[interjection! No.  It is the businesses that  cannot compete, very clearly.  You see, the members opposite were  not even listening when the Minister of Industry, Trade and  Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) pointed out what businesses are saying,  what the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is saying  about what it is that is preventing them from investing.

       In other provinces it is their lack of confidence in  provincial government policy.  In fact, in provinces such as  Ontario, twice as many, over 50 percent of the businesses are  saying that they are not investing because of a lack of  confidence in provincial government policy.  That is not the case  in Manitoba, not the case.  Half that number, 26 percent give  that as a response.  They cite many, many other areas as being  important to them.

       Of course, in every province they talk about the tax regime,  because in order to be competitive the tax regime is paramount in  their bottom line.  In this province, this is the only province  in the country that five straight years has not raised any of the  major taxes, has not imposed any additional burden on individual  Manitobans or the business community despite the fact that we  were left with a situation by the New Democrats, who want to talk  about their growth in government, the growth that was all based  on the tax dollars that they confiscated from the public in order  to feed into the economy to create artificial growth.  That is  all that growth was, and the only thing that we had left to show  for it by 1988 was the second highest overall tax regime in the  country and a per‑capita debt that was amongst the highest in the  country, leaving us with annual interest costs of $550 million.  You want to talk about growth?  I will talk about growth.

       When Howard Pawley took government in 1981, $100 million a  year was going to interest costs.  When he left government it was  $550 million a year.  That is growth‑‑growth in interest payments  annually; growth in the amount of taxes that they had to take  away from the people of Manitoba in order to pay for that  interest cost on the debt that they created.  That is the only  growth that the people experienced of a long‑term nature out of  New Democratic policies.

       That is the kind of administration we are dealing with.  [interjection! Come and listen.  If you cannot take it, do not  leave, please.  You see, Madam Deputy Speaker, the truth hurts.  When New Democrats are faced with the reality of their policies,  with the effect that their policies have on the real business  investment decisions, they run.  They cannot stay here even to  listen to the sad tale of havoc that they wreaked on this  province.

       So that is why this government is taking an entirely  different perspective rather than taking a pure partisan  perspective and saying, what we have got to do is get people of  all different politics together in a room and come out with the  answers.  No, we have to go to the people who are making the  decisions with their pocketbooks, with their time and their  energy and their talent, who are saying, I am going to put my  time and energy on the line.  I am going to invest it in this  province because I believe in this province, I believe in its  future, I believe in its growth potential.  Those are the people  whom we should be listening to, not to some people who are  politicians on the other side of the House who are trying to make  short‑term hay for their own personal purposes.  No, that is not  where the answers are.

       That is why the answer lies with an organization like the  Economic Innovation and Technology Council that is broadly  representative of the people out there who take the real risks,  who have to put their own personal welfare on the line, who have  to put on the line the welfare of their industries, the welfare  of all of their employees and the welfare of their future  economic well‑being in this province.  That is why we turn to  people like that who broadly represent all of the sectors of  society, who broadly represent the real people who are out there  working, taking risks and creating opportunities, not the people  like the academic from Wolseley who sits there offering pious  responses day after day and quoting scripture and history, Madam  Deputy Speaker, without ever having risked her own energy or  efforts to make anything work in this world‑‑[interjection!.

       No, I do not want to talk about the professional politicians  who have never worked in the real world, who have lived in their  ivory towers.

            

Point of Order

       

Ms. Friesen:  Point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker.  I want to  respond to the Premier speaking of teachers and people‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for  Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) does not have a point of order.

* * *

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, it is because of the attitude of the  member for Wolseley and others like her that the New Democrats  had to raise the personal income taxes in this province 138  percent in their six and a half years in office.  It is because  of the attitude of the member for Wolseley and others like her,  who always say give more, give more, give more, who always want  to take from the taxpayer and force the taxpayer to pay for her  interests.  That is exactly why we want to turn this issue over‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

* (1800)

 

House Business

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I  am mindful that the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs)  did not have an opportunity to speak on this resolution, but I  know there will be more debate in this vein later on, because  there will certainly be many money bills that are coming where  all members will have an opportunity to engage in debate.

       Mr. Speaker, I am seeking unanimous consent of the House to  sit beyond 6 p.m.

Mr. Speaker:  First of all, let us ascertain, is it the will of  the House that the Speaker not see the clock until we resolve  this House's business matters?

An Honourable Member:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Okay.  That is agreed.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, I would also ask unanimous consent to  waive Rule 65(11) as it is likely that Committee of Supply will  sit beyond 10 p.m., so that motions may be moved after it rises.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to waive Rule 65.(11)?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, the House will continue to sit at this  time.  I do not know whether I have to have unanimous consent or  I already have it.  I would suggest we go back to completing  discussion on third reading of bills, and I think we were engaged  in an amendment on Bill 98.  I would suggest that we pick up at  that point.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to sit beyond six  o'clock?  That is agreed.

 

Committee Changes

 

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to recognizing the honourable member for  Broadway (Mr. Santos), the honourable member for Point Douglas  (Mr. Hickes) with committee changes and the honourable member for  Gimli (Mr. Helwer) with committee changes.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I move, seconded by the  member for Broadway (Mr. Santos), that the composition of the  Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections be amended as  follows:  Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) for Burrows (Mr. Martindale).

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?  Agreed and so ordered.

       The honourable member for Gimli with his committee changes.

Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  I move, seconded by the member for  St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that the composition of the Standing  Committee on Privileges and Elections be amended as follows:  the  member for Roblin‑Russell (Mr. Derkach) for the member for  Brandon West (Mr. McCrae); the member for Ste. Rose (Mr.  Cummings) for the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard).

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to recognizing the honourable member for  Broadway (Mr. Santos), I would ask the House for a retroactive  leave.  Inadvertently, when I recognized the honourable Leader of  the Opposition (Mr. Doer) to bring forward Bill 52 on behalf of  the honourable member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin)‑‑I am asking for  leave of the House to clear up the books.

       Is there leave to allow the honourable Leader of the  Opposition to bring forward Bill 52?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  Okay, that is done.  Thank you very much.      

 

DEBATE ON THIRD READINGS

 

Bill 98‑The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Now, resuming debate on the motion of the  honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), and right now it is  standing in the name of the honourable member for Broadway (Mr.  Santos), who has 35 minutes remaining, I believe.

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Mr. Speaker, let us not forget  that The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act deals with the culture of  all Manitobans, which by definition that particular culture is  multicultural in nature.  Culture is the totality of the people's  shared values, their collective achievements and their common  aspirations and hopes for the future.  A more enduring basis for  any culture is the character and courage to accept what has  already been accomplished rather than hope for some grants of  money or some kind of temporary benefits.

       Mr. Speaker, we view the very introduction of this first  multicultural act as, on the surface, a significant milestone in  the recognition of Manitoba as a multicultural society, and yet  we deplore the glittering generalities of the wordings of the  statute itself.  We deplore the absence of a specific program of  activities, of behaviourally measurable objectives in terms of  substantial issues that face the multicultural communities, such  as the issues of the Affirmative Action Program, employment  equity, equality for social and economic opportunities and the  struggle to stamp out racism in our society, in our community.

       It has sometimes been argued that, because this is the first  multicultural act, let us, therefore, docilely accept it, because  we can improve upon it later on.  If a person is thirsty and he  wants a drink, he does not simply accept the first offer of a  drink, if the drink consists of automobile transmission fluid.  Rather, it might be wiser for him to wait six months for a good  drink like gin and tonic, scotch and vodka, rye and water, Bloody  Mary or a drink they call "Sex on the Beach."

       If a person is desperately hungry and he is offered at the  first opportunity a whole loaf of bread but the bread is mouldy  and rotten, it might well be wise for him to wait for six months  so that he could have the second opportunity for a freshly baked  health‑related, sweetly smelling bread.

       In introducing this multicultural act, this government is  insidiously introducing undemocratic arrangements in structure in  our system of governance of the multicultural community.  It is  trying to replace a democratically and representative‑elected  body like the Intercultural Council with an autocratically  appointed, unilaterally selected body of elites that are  accountable to no one but the minister.

       This is a denial of the very basic principle of our  government, a part of our shared‑value system in which the  legitimacy of those in authority will be recognized if they are  derived from the concern of those whom they are governing.

       The same thing with the decisions that affect the granting  authority of government.  If the granting authority is  monopolized by the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism  (Mrs. Mitchelson) and refuse the sharing of such authority with  the consent of those who are primarily affected by the decisions  that are to be made.  There is a denial of the democratic  principle that the legitimacy and acceptability of authority to  allocate money derives from the consent of those taxpayers, who,  in the first place, are the ones who provide the money.

       In introducing The Multiculturalism Act, we cannot permit any  derogation of the basic democratic principle.  We cannot  legitimize and allow the unilateral grab for power without  accountability and responsibility to those who are primarily  affected by the decisions.

* (1810)

(Mr. Jack Penner, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

       We would like to see a multicultural act that deals with the  basic issues of multicultural society, such as affirmative action  programs, employment equity, and enforcement, to assure not only  vague generalities but actual achievement in terms of equality of  opportunities.

       The one redeeming feature of this act is the recognition in  the preamble of Manitoba as a multicultural society, not being a  collection of separate societies divided by language and culture,  but being a single society united by shared laws, values,  aspirations and responsibilities within the Manitoba community.

       The failing of the act is that it does not specify what a  specific program of legislation, enlightened and progressive  legislation, a program the government commits itself to do for  the multicultural communities, is.  It does not specify how such  programs will advance the freedom and opportunity to participate  in the decisions that are made within the multicultural society.

       The denial of the fundamental democratic doctrine is strong  enough reason for the motion to hoist and delay this legislation,  in order that we can remedy a defect, not of the surface, but a  defect in the very substance of the legislation itself.

       If only the Manitoba Intercultural Council would be  recognized by the legislation, if only the legitimacy of this  duly elected body would be linked with the advisory council to  the honourable Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, if only  the minister were willing to share some of the premises of the  allocations the budgetary allocative authority‑‑in the fair  distribution of grants, if only the minister would assume the  duty and obligation to create, as a matter of duty, the Access  Office for multicultural problems, then this legislation would  probably be better legislation.

       It is the collective power of the people, duly organized and  structured according to established procedures, that creates the  legitimacy of political authority in government.  But, if the  government itself denies the very foundation of that authority by  denying the grassroots consent of the people they are trying to  govern, that is just the surface of autocratism that we cannot  tolerate in our democratic society.

       One of the enduring principles that we recognize is that the  body politic should be accountable to those people whom they  govern, and that has been the genius of our parliamentary system  in our society.  The voters will elect the government.  The  government therefore exercises delegated powers from the voters,  and when the voter is not satisfied, the voter can turf out the  government and reclaim to itself that legitimacy of authority.

       But in the structuring of the governing of multicultural  affairs, there is no democratically elected structure.  The  instrumentality, the agency, the decisional unit is in the palm  of the minister herself, unless the minister is a person like the  present minister of Multiculturalism.

       We cannot foretell the future, because somebody else in the  future may sit in that position and exercise the autocratic  authority in the arrangement and in the processes of the  multicultural affairs of this province.  Remember that we are not  dealing with particular persons or particular instances or  particular situations.  We are trying to devise and design a  system of governance that is justifiable in terms of the basic  value of our democracy.

       The Manitoba Intercultural Council is a legitimate, elected,  representative body.  That is the institution that was originally  created in designing the multicultural affairs of this province.  Let not the government deny that basic principle that the elected  procedure, accountability to the communities themselves, will be  the ultimate standard by which the performance of government will  be judged and will be evaluated.  Otherwise, we will be governed  unilaterally without any responsibility or accountability,  because it destroys the very basis of democratic representation  in our institutions and agencies of government.  Thank you, Mr.  Acting Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Penner):  Is it the pleasure of the House  to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Penner):  All those in favour of the  amendment to the motion, will please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Penner):  All those opposed, would you  indicate by saying nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Penner):  I would declare the Nays have  it.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Yeas and Nays, Mr.  Acting Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Penner):  A recorded vote having been  requested, call in the members.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House on the motion of the  honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), seconded by the  honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale), that the motion  of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) for third reading of  Bill 98, The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act, be amended by  deleting all the words after the "that" and substituting the  following:  Bill 98, The Manitoba Multiculturalism Act, be not  now read a third time but that it be read a third time this day  six months hence.

       A STANDING VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:

              Yeas

       Ashton, Barrett, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Evans  (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Harper, Hickes,  Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Wowchuk.

              Nays

       Alcock, Carstairs, Cheema, Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach,  Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst, Filmon, Findlay, Gilleshammer,  Helwer, Lamoureux, Laurendeau, McAlpine, McIntosh, Manness,  Mitchelson, Penner, Praznik, Reimer, Render, Rose, Stefanson,  Sveinson, Vodrey.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 17, Nays 28.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is defeated.

 

Committee Change

 

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Yes, Mr. Speaker, I move,  seconded by the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock), that the  composition of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections  be amended as follows:  St. James (Mr. Edwards) for Osborne (Mr.  Alcock). [Agreed!

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question on Bill 98?

Mr. Lamoureux:  I wanted to spend just a few minutes to talk  about Bill 98.  As I had alluded to previously, Mr. Speaker, this  is a bill, in which not necessarily we agree with all aspects of  what is in the bill, but we do believe that it is in the best  interest of the citizens of the province that this bill does pass  at this time.

       I was very pleased, Mr. Speaker, that an amendment that we  had put forward, an amendment that we had fought very hard for as  a compromise of sorts in order to allow the bill, if you will, to  go to committee somewhat prematurely, was accepted.  We think  that is a positive thing.  Now, we also believe still that the  Manitoba Grants Advisory Council should not be the one that  should be handing out multicultural grants and are extremely  pleased that we have not legalized any politically appointed body  to hand out those grants.

       We are also disappointed that another amendment that we  brought forward to the committee in fact was defeated.  I  appreciate the support from the New Democratic Party on this  particular amendment, because we in the Liberal Party believe  that MIC does have a very valuable role to play.  Now, Mr.  Speaker, the amendment that we felt was being brought forward was  in fact a very responsible amendment and felt that it was very  unfortunate that the government decided not to include it.

* (1850)

       Mr. Speaker, I could go on and on in terms of talking about  the Manitoba Intercultural Council, but I am somewhat reluctant  to in the sense that I know that the minister has heard me on  many occasions on the importance of the Manitoba Intercultural  Council.  Our position has not changed.  The response has  consistently been from the minister that because Mr. Blair is  going to be doing a study on MIC, they are now going to wait  until the recommendations come forward.

       Well, Mr. Speaker, I think that was a convenient way for the  minister to avoid putting the Manitoba Intercultural Council into  the legislation.  The reason why I say that is because, when we  had introduced a private members' bill to this Legislature, the  minister stood up to speak on it and told me that what she was  looking at, she did not want to address the MIC in a piecemeal  fashion, that she wanted to look at it and incorporate it into a  multicultural act.

       Well, the minister had plenty of time to do that between the  moment she said that to the moment that the bill was introduced.  As I say, we found that it was unfortunate that the government  waited so long in the session.  We had stood up during Question  Period to ask the minister when she was going to be bringing  forward this bill but, unfortunately, we did not see the bill as  soon as we would have liked to have been able to see the bill.

       Now, Mr. Speaker, I have often made reference to Clause 2 of  the legislation, because this is a piece of the legislation that  really, we feel, does a lot and says a lot, and individuals in  the different communities, I believe, feel that this is at least  better than having nothing.  That is why we had felt that it was  so very important that we take this as a two‑step approach.  We  have a multicultural act that we want to see passed.  We also  want to see some changes.  We were fortunate in the sense to be  able to convince the government to withdraw the MGAC, but that is  only one aspect.

       We want to be able to see additional amendments to this bill,  and that is where the second step is.  I encourage, Mr. Speaker,  the minister to go through some of the presentations once again  that were made before the committee‑‑there were a number of ideas  that came out of there that I believe this Legislature can and  should address‑‑but also to recommend to the minister and to the  New Democratic Party that any changes to the multicultural act  should be, at the very least, vetted through the Manitoba  Intercultural Council.

       If, whether or not, the government agrees with whatever the  recommendations they might have as a council, they can do  whatever they want.  If they agree with it, fine.  One would  think, if they follow up on a recommendation and agree to  implement that recommendation, that she will get much more  support, that we will not see the type of presentations that were  made before committee, that we will not see the concerns that  have been expressed as much as they have during second reading  and so forth, that there are, in fact, a number of things that  could make this bill better.

       Having said those very few words, Mr. Speaker, I want to  recommend to all members of this Chamber to vote in favour of the  amended multicultural act and only hope that we will see  additional changes to the act, because as I have pointed out‑‑and  one could even go right into the act itself, where there is made  reference to the Community Access Office, where it says that "the  minister may establish."

       Mr. Speaker, that particular portion of the legislation does  not really make a commitment.  The reason why I say it does not  make the commitment‑‑right now the minister may establish.  It  does not call upon the minister of the day to continue or to  create.  Obviously, it has been created, and hopefully through  time, we will see this particular office up and running and doing  a number of services to the community, things such as what the  minister had proposed as an amendment during the report stage,  which was the whole question of racial harmony.  The member for  Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) brought in an amendment last night that we  believe is something that should be in this form of legislation.  The member for Radisson brought in some other ideas that I  believe are essential.  On many different occasions, I myself  have made recommendations as to what we believe are necessary to  have in a multicultural act.

       Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we see that we are in a situation  where there is a majority government.  A question for us that has  to be answered is‑‑ultimately, the majority government can pass  whatever it wants if it is willing to use the different means  that are made available to it, the different tools that are made  available to the government of the day.

       So even though, as I say, we wanted to see additional  amendments, we wanted to see more co‑operation because the Leader  of the Liberal Party in her opening remarks said this is a piece  of legislation that should have come in with unanimous support, a  lot of support, morale support, not only from inside this  Chamber, but outside of this Chamber.

       Unfortunately, because of the manner in which the legislation  was brought in, because of the manner in which this legislation  was not consulted with, the numbers of individuals, in  particular, the Manitoba Intercultural Council that made a number  of recommendations, we did not see what the minister's position  really was on it.

       Again, I am going to conclude by saying that we want this  bill to pass.  We perceive this bill as a first step.  We will be  introducing, no doubt, future private members' bills if the  minister does not accept the responsibility of bringing  additional amendments to this bill.  I only hope that, in fact,  one of those amendments that we will see from Mr. Blair‑‑and I  have been assured that Mr. Blair will be in fact meeting with all  different ethnic communities.  In addition to that, he is also  going to be meeting with the members of the Legislature, and I  will definitely take that up and look forward to my meeting with  Mr. Blair in hopes that we can be able to really and truly do a  service to the province of Manitoba.  Thank you.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I speak today on Bill  98 because of the importance of multiculturalism.  I have been  committed to multiculturalism personally.  I know it is very  important for our own family.  In fact, I have had the experience  of seeing some of the growth of Manitoba in recent years in terms  of multiculturalism.  I attended many of the founding meetings of  the Manitoba Intercultural Council.  In fact, my wife was an  elected representative from Thompson for a number of years when  it was first established.

       I can indicate that multiculturalism to my mind goes to the  heart of the Canadian identity.  That is why I stand in my place  to speak today.  I think it is important to put on the record  very clearly what was said and what is being said by the New  Democratic Party in terms of multiculturalism.

       I want to begin, by the way, Mr. Speaker, by correcting some  misinformation that the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) put on  the record about what happened in second reading.  I would like  to note for the record that the Liberals spoke on Bill 98.  We  attempted to be recognized, and in fact, the member for Inkster  was recognized instead of one of our members, similar to what, I  might add, happened earlier in private members' hour when I feel  the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) was unfairly  missed and should have had the opportunity to speak.

* (1900)

       So we attempted to be recognized, Mr. Speaker, and through an  error at that time in terms of the normal process, we were not  able to do so, but let us go one step further and recognize that  the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) spoke every time the bill  was called.  He had indicated he wanted to filibuster the bill  and having had the opportunity to speak at length on previous  bills, it should be put very clearly on the record that we were  caught in the position of not being able to speak on the bill for  more than 10 minutes without running the risk of not getting the  multicultural bill to the committee to hear the views of the  multicultural communities.

       So it was because of the tactics of the Liberals that debate  was cut short on second reading.  We voted in favour of the  principle of a multicultural bill.  That is very clear.  We also  went to the committee to hear the concerns of the multicultural  community and to propose amendments to make it a better bill.

       Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is the bill was not  significantly amended.  The bill includes a number of fine  statements about multiculturalism, but it does not go anywhere  near as far as we should in terms of multiculturalism.

       Mr. Speaker, multiculturalism is more than about culture and  heritage.  It is more than about fine ideals.  It is about  day‑to‑day life, and we need a multicultural policy in every  facet, including in terms of economic concerns, so we get full  equality in this province for everyone regardless of their  ethnocultural background.  That is something the MIC has been  pushing for, for many years.  That is not fully represented in  this bill, so there are many faults.

       What I want to indicate is that is why we called for an  opportunity to do it right, not to kill the bill.  We did not  vote on the hoist to kill the bill.  We are back here in October,  by agreement of all three parties.  We have a guaranteed fall  session for the first time, Mr. Speaker, in a considerable period  of time, a guaranteed fall session.

       We could have brought this bill back in.  We could have  properly consulted with the multicultural committee.  We could  have made it a far better bill if we had accepted the hoist and  brought it back in.  Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are wrong if they  believe that introducing a private members' bill is going to  correct any weaknesses in this bill, because there was not a  single private members' bill in terms of matters of public  concern in this session that has been passed.

       It is very rare that they ever pass.  We have even had bills  such as the antisniff bill which was passed and never enacted,  Mr. Speaker.  The only real opportunity is through a government  bill.  This is not necessarily the first step and that concerns  us.  There needs to be the second step.

       That is why, Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that the Liberals  and Conservatives have voted down our hoist motion, we will be  continuing to push for a real, substantive multicultural bill  that goes beyond some of the principles outlined in this bill,  that goes into some real substance in terms of multiculturalism.  Indeed, we will be raising that in the next session of the  Legislature.

       We need a substantial, substantive multicultural act, Mr.  Speaker.  While this may be not a negative bill per se, while it  may take some positive steps by even recognizing the concept, it  can be far better.  So we, the New Democratic Party, say, do it  right; do it right when it comes to multiculturalism.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  for the House is third reading of Bill 98, The Manitoba  Multiculturalism Act; Loi sur le multiculturalisme au Manitoba.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed and so ordered.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I would like the record to indicate  that there was unanimous support for this particular bill.

* * *

Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Yes, I  believe, Mr. Speaker, if you would call for further debate on  third reading, Bill 70.

       

Bill 70‑The Social Allowances Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

       

Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Finance (Mr. Manness), Bill 70, The Social Allowances  Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi  sur l'aide sociale et apportant des modifications correlatives a  d'autres lois, standing in the name of the honourable member for  Burrows.

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, I regret that I have  to speak on this bill tonight.  We had hoped that after the  minister listened to public presentations last night in  committee, that he might have changed his mind, that he might  have listened to the community, that he might have learned from  his mistakes, that even though he consulted the SARC committee  and did not follow all of their recommendations, that he might  have listened to the people he did not consult with, namely the  churches in the inner city of Winnipeg, the Manitoba Anti‑Poverty  Organization and Choices, and that he would have listened to  their advice because they were unanimous.  They all condemned the  major flaw of this bill.

       He did not consult with them.  In fact, he did the opposite.  He bragged about how he had consulted people.  Well, the only  people he consulted were people from rural Manitoba, elected  officials, and one representative from the City of Winnipeg in  spite of the fact that the vast majority of people who will be  affected by this capping of welfare bill, the vast majority of  people affected by this are residents of the city of Winnipeg.

       The minister could have called these groups.  The minister  knows about the existence of the Manitoba Anti‑Poverty  Organization.  He knows about the other groups in the community,  and he did not ask them.  He did not ask the people who are the  most affected, and that is the poor and the people who are  working with the poor.  In fact, the minister last night talked  about whom he did consult, but he did not talk about whom he did  not consult.

       Mr. Speaker, we are opposed to the main flaw of this bill,  namely the capping of welfare.  The minister, though, is being  very coy about this.  He is hiding behind his regulations.  He  will not tell us whether or not he is offloading $5.6 million in  expenses to the city of Winnipeg.  We asked him in Question  Period.  We asked him in committee last night.

       We said, you must have taken this to Treasury Board.  What is  the financial implication of this bill?  How much are you going  to save or how much are your expenses going to increase?  The  minister will not tell us.  He is hiding behind his own  regulations.  So all we can assume is that the bill and what the  minister says in the bill is what is actually going to happen.

       I wish that I could take the minister with me canvassing in  Burrows.  Burrows is one of three constituencies and the riding  in Canada that has the second highest incidence of poverty in  Canada, Winnipeg North Centre federal riding.

       Door after door he will see many people who live in  incredible poverty, and I know that, probably, all members here  have pockets of poverty in their constituencies including in  rural Manitoba.  But there is an extremely high concentration of  poverty, probably exceeded in Broadway and Wolseley and Point  Douglas, but numerous people living in poverty in Burrows.

       I can remember campaigning during the election and going into  a home where there were children present and there was no food in  the house.  So I went to my former place of employ, to North End  Community Ministry, and got groceries for this family.  People in  this household had obviously been sniffing.

       We have an antisniff legislation that was approved by all  three parties in this House and has not yet been proclaimed.  Why  is that?  Does the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) not care  about the problem of sniffing and children, especially, who are  being affected by this problem in our community?

       I know that the minister has agreed to come with me to a food  bank outlet.  I have yet to take him up on that since he accepted  my offer; but I will.  We will go perhaps to Colony Street, to  West Broadway Community Ministry and their food handout at All  Saints Church every Tuesday morning, where there are up to 150  people accepting food for at least 300 people in families, or to  North End Community Ministry where they have a sharing circle  every Wednesday morning and up to 150 people come for food from  the food bank.

       I would like the minister to come and sit at the back of the  sharing circle and listen to the stories of people as they talk  about their problems on social assistance, as I do and as the  member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) does, as we go and we try  to answer some of their problems about social assistance and this  minister's department.  We believe we are going to hear a lot  more complaints if this bill goes through as is and the minister  does what he says he is going to do.

       Well, we are not really sure that he is going to do what he  says he does because the minister will not come clean with us.  He will not tell us exactly what the implications of this bill  are, whether they are going to pick up more responsibility or  whether the City of Winnipeg is going to be forced to pick up  $5.6 million of additional expenses.  We wish the minister would  tell us now instead of waiting for the regulations.

       Well, why is this government not following the  recommendations of the SARC report?  Why will they not pay above  the minimum rates?  Well, either they are trying to save money or  they do not care.  It could be that in their obsession with  reducing the deficit and keeping government costs down that they  have decided that this a very convenient way of saving at least  $5.6 million of expenses just in offloading to the City of  Winnipeg; or it could be that they do not care.

* (1910)

       Now we have heard the members side say, oh, we care about  these things and that is why have made priorities of certain  government departments.  I have even listened to speeches from  government members, even backbenchers.  It was a common thread  through one of their speeches during budget debate, probably all  written by the same person.  They said, we are the kind of people  who care.  Well, if you care, you would not be supporting this  bill.  If you had been in the committee the other night‑‑and some  members opposite were at the committee the other night‑‑they  heard Greg Selinger, city councillor, say the implication of this  bill if implemented is that it is going to force more children  and adolescents onto the street in Winnipeg where they are  victims of prostitution and homelessness, where they are  extremely vulnerable.  That is what City Councillor Greg Selinger  said, this bill will force more youth onto the street.  If these  members cared, they would not be doing that.  They would not be  forcing more adolescents onto the street in Winnipeg where they  are extremely vulnerable.

       Another example that was used, the Social Planning Council of  Winnipeg pointed out that there is a very large difference  between the infant allowance for food between the city and the  province.  The City of Winnipeg infant food allowance is $160.  The provincial infant food allowance is $85.  If members opposite  cared about infants, they would not be passing this bill as is.  They would have supported our amendments last night, because what  they are doing is they are taking food out of the mouths of  infants.  It is very obvious from the social assistance rates.

       If they cared, as they say they do, they would not be passing  this bill as it is.  Why is this government passing this bill  without amending it?  If they cared, they would not be reducing  expenses on the backs of the most vulnerable members of our  society.  If this government cared, they would not be doing that.

       Mr. Speaker, the presentations at committee were very  interesting.  For example, the Manitoba Anti‑Poverty Organization  submitted a brief, three pages, but very interesting, very well  written.  For example in the third paragraph, and I quote:  The  stereotype of people who are on welfare as being lazy,  irresponsible and drinking their money away does not wash.

(Mr. Bob Rose, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

       The people we talked to at MAPO are caring and responsible  and are on the system by circumstances not by choice.  The  frustrations of being on welfare can destroy a person's  self‑esteem and emotional well‑being.  This becomes even harder  when money is constantly being juggled around each month for  things not covered in the initial budget.

       Then they go on to itemize things that are not covered in a  social assistance budget.  In fact, one of the things that I came  across, which I found very interesting and which I believe MAPO  has access to and used in presenting their brief, is guidelines  written by home economists employed by the Department of  Agriculture of the provincial government.

       It talks about minimum costs for different items in a  household, yet when you compare that schedule or table with what  people on social assistance get, you will find that there are  huge differences between what a home economist in the Department  of Agriculture says a family needs to survive on or to live on  adequately and what people actually get on a social assistance  budget.

       But did the minister consult with MAPO?  Did the minister  consult with churches?  No.  He probably did not even consult  with the staff, the home economists in the Department of  Agriculture who are experts in devising household and family  budgets.

       On page 2, they said, and I quote:  Food banks are already  overloaded and provide a temporary, band‑aid solution.  Food  banks are for emergencies only and will not carry a person  long‑term.  If a person needs more than a couple of days food  assistance depending on their circumstances, sometimes welfare  will provide an emergency food voucher.  Unfortunately, the  person is then dealing with an overpayment, causing even more of  a strain on their budget for the next few months until the  overpayment is cleared up.

       Well, as we heard from Mr. Selinger last night, there is a  food bank in Winnipeg.  We all know about Winnipeg Harvest.  But  do people know that they are distributing food through 173  different churches, social agencies and organizations, mostly in  the inner city of Winnipeg but certainly not confined to the  inner city of Winnipeg, because at Transcona United Church they  are serving huge numbers of people every week, over 700 families  a week being served out of Transcona United Church, and we  commend them for that.  But we have a philosophical problem.  The  problem is we do not believe that food banks are an adequate  response to poverty in our society.  They are only, at best,  Band‑Aid.

       It is very significant that David Northcott from Winnipeg  Harvest has changed his position.  Whereas at one time he was  opposed to lobbying on behalf of Winnipeg Harvest food bank, now  he has publicly said that he is joining with other organizations  to lobby governments to do something about poverty in the  province of Manitoba.

       This problem is not restricted to the city of Winnipeg.  We  have a food bank in Beausejour in the constituency of the member  for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik).  We have a food bank in the  constituency of the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness),  in the constituency of Morris, and we have a food bank in the  constituency of the member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar), in the town  of Selkirk.

       This is a measure of the seriousness of this problem in our  society when people's income is not adequate, that they are  forced to rely on charity.  They are forced to beg in order to  subsist in our very affluent society.

       In this paragraph, MAPO points out a problem:  If people get  emergency assistance from welfare, they are faced with an  overpayment.  Now we have a very interesting case before the  Supreme Court of Canada, the Jim Findlay case.  He has already  appeared before the Supreme Court.

       We are waiting for the judgment which could be out in a  matter of days.  Lower courts have already found that it was  illegal to deduct payments from his social assistance cheque  because people on social assistance are already living at a bare  subsistence level.

       In fact, people probably do not know that social assistance  is calculated ostensibly on people's need, and the Canada  Assistance Plan provides for people's basic needs in three areas,  food, shelter and clothing.  So if people's minimum needs are not  being met, how can you possibly subtract from their very minimal  needs?

       The Supreme Court may rule that it is illegal, and that is  going to pose this minister with a very serious problem because  if the city rates cannot be lowered, then this minister is going  to have to come up with more money, as much as $5.6 million in  order to cost‑share the rates which are not being covered by the  Province of Manitoba.

       As my honourable friend for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) points  out, if this minister and his government were to institute some  meaningful job‑creation programs, perhaps they would not have to  put out $90 million more in social assistance this year than last  year.  In fact, on page 3, the recommendations from MAPO have to  do with job creation.

       Their recommendation No. 5 is:  Education and training  programs must be realistic and lead to real jobs that pay enough  for the individual and their family to live healthy and  productive lives.  The current minimum wage reinforces poverty  and keeps people living below the poverty line.

       In fact, this is a recommendation that the Minister of Labour  (Mr. Praznik) should be listening to as well, because when the  minimum wage is at $5 per hour, thousands of Manitobans are  working full time but living way below the poverty line.  This is  a group that we do not hear nearly enough about in our society,  people who are working and working very hard, many of them at  what are now called McJobs, working at minimum wage or close to  minimum wage.  In fact, many of them are worse off than people on  social assistance.

       This Minister of Labour, if he cared about people and  poverty, could do something about it by raising the minimum  wage.  But what happened?  They did not raise the minimum wage  for about two years, and so we got behind other provinces.  In  fact, the percentage of minimum wage to the poverty line has  decreased over the years, and it has become much, much less than  the poverty line.

       The recommendations of MAPO were excellent recommendations.  They actually start off with a commendation.  They say:  We  applaud the provincial government's move to standardize welfare  rights.  MAPO has been actively advocating for a one tier system  for the past decade.  However, there are a number of major issues  that need to be considered in this recommendation.

       Then they go on to list five of their recommendations, the  first one being:  Current welfare rates do not reflect the actual  cost of living within the province of Manitoba.

       As I mentioned, the home economist's calculation of family  needs are considerably above what welfare rates provide for  family needs.  Their second recommendation is:  This is an  opportune time to review the overall rates and to ensure that  they adequately cover the basic necessities.  Rental guidelines  need to reflect the actual cost of rental accommodation.

       A serious problem for renters is that their rent allowance  does not cover the actual rent that they are paying.  What do  people do in that circumstance?  How do they pay their rent if  welfare only gives part of it and their rent is higher?  Well,  what they do is, they take money out of food or personal need or  household need in order to supplement their rent.

* (1920)

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       Another brief mentioned the problem of security deposits and  the fact that many tenants do not get their security deposits  back.  In fact, it was in an excellent brief written by Karen  Tjaden of St. Matthews‑Maryland Community Ministry.  We know that  this is also a serious problem, and it was discussed at committee  the other night.  The problem is that security‑deposit complaints  in the landlord and tenant department are complaint driven.  Unless a tenant complains, the department does not investigate,  and so frequently people take money out of their food budget to  pay for the next security deposit when they should not have to  and when they do not have to.

       The third recommendation in the MAPO brief is:  Any changes  to the current legislation should include consultation with  community organizations, such as MAPO, who work directly with  welfare recipients and who have valuable insights into the needs  and conditions of people who are on the system.

       I am going to conclude with this recommendation because this  is an excellent recommendation, one of the areas where we are  very disappointed with this minister.  MAPO was saying, consult  with us.  Consult with people who are affected by your  decisions.  Consult with the other groups that made  presentations:  St. Matthews‑Maryland Community Ministry;  Genevieve Funk‑Unrau who also works at St. Matthews‑Maryland and  came as a private individual last night; Erika Wiebe, community  development worker, Winnipeg Child and Family Services, Central  Area; and two people who are registered, who could not make it  last night, Aileen Urquhart of West Broadway Community Ministry  and Mary Davis of North End Community Ministry.

       These are the people who work with welfare recipients on a  daily basis, day in and day out, year in and year out.  The  minister did not consult them and he should.  If this minister  has a heart, if this minister cares, he will amend this  legislation and not offload responsibility to the City of  Winnipeg, not save money on the backs of the most vulnerable  members of our society, not force children and youth on to the  streets, and not take food out of the mouths of infants, as he is  going to do if this bill passes.  As my colleagues say, shame on  this minister.

       I hope he is going to speak and rationalize and tell us what  is behind this.  I hope he will put some comments on the record  so that we know exactly where he stands, because he refused to  answer our questions in Question Period and in committee.  Thank  you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  I would  just like to indicate to my honourable friend that we have met  with some of the groups that he has mentioned in his remarks.  While they have not been on a regular basis, certainly I have had  a number of meetings with MAPO and with some of the ministries to  discuss areas of concern with social allowances.

       One of the earlier speakers for the NDP talked about a  reluctance to talk about our track record.  I would be pleased to  mention some of the reforms that we brought into being this  year.  Certainly, I have been able to mention this a number of  times in response to questions.  I would say to the honourable  member who just spoke that we have consulted with a number of  those people on a number of occasions and have listened to their  concerns.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House is third reading of Bill 70, The Social  Allowance Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi  modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale et apportant des  modifications correlatives a d'autres lois.  Is it the pleasure  of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Mr. Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Mr. Speaker:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Yeas and Nays, Mr.  Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  A recorded vote having been requested, call in the  members.

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 70,  The Social Allowances Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act;  Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale et apportant des  modifications correlatives a d'autres lois.

       A STANDING VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:

              Yeas

       Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst,  Filmon, Findlay, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Laurendeau, Manness,  McAlpine, McIntosh, Mitchelson, Neufeld, Penner, Praznik, Reimer,  Render, Rose, Stefanson, Vodrey, Sveinson.

              Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Cheema, Chomiak,  Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake),  Friesen, Harper, Lamoureux, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid,  Santos, Storie, Wowchuk.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 25, Nays 22.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker,  would you call adjourned debate, third reading, Bill 85.

 

Bill 85‑The Labour Relations Amendment Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister  of Finance (Mr. Manness), Bill 85, The Labour Relations Amendment  Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les relations du travail, standing  in the name of the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave that this matter remain  standing? [Agreed!

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin  by saying that I am pleased to be able to join debate on third  reading on this particular bill, but clearly I think the House  will know that is not the case, that no one on this side,  certainly no one in the NDP caucus‑‑I will not pretend to speak  for members of the Liberal caucus‑‑is pleased to join in this  debate.  Our caucus does not believe for a minute that this  debate should be taking place.

       Mr. Speaker, we believe that there is no substantive evidence  that this bill, introduced by this Minister of Labour (Mr.  Praznik), was necessary to correct any circumstances in the  province of Manitoba.  The province of Manitoba, as we have  pointed out time and time again, and the Minister of Labour has  not been able to refute, has enjoyed relative labour peace over  the last number of decades based on the existing Labour Relations  Act.

       Contrary to what the previous Labour critic and the First  Minister (Mr. Filmon) when he was in opposition said, the labour  relations amendments that were introduced by the NDP government,  whether it was final offer selection or other expedited  arbitration amendments to The Labour Relations Act, none of those  amendments did anything to encourage the deterioration of  labour‑management relations in the province of Manitoba.  Every  factual account, every factual basis that you can discuss, labour  relations peace in Manitoba showed that Manitoba's record of  labour peace continued to improve.  In fact, in the last part of  the 1980s and when this government took office, Manitoba enjoyed  the second lowest days lost to strike in the country.

       Only Prince Edward Island, which has a work force of less  than one‑tenth of the province of Manitoba, lost fewer days to  strikes, Mr. Speaker, and those were times when often unions were  seeking significant increases, increases beyond the rate of  inflation, when there was considerable potential for strikes and  lockouts and labour difficulties.

* (1940)

       Mr. Speaker, we did not have that in the province of  Manitoba.  That was quite different from what other provinces  were experiencing.  Certainly the province of Saskatchewan, the  province of Alberta, the province of British Columbia, the  province of Quebec, not so much Ontario, were experiencing  extreme labour difficulties.  The number of days lost to strike  increased in the mid‑'80s to really unacceptable levels.  What  was sought in the labour relations amendments in the legislation  which was introduced by the previous government was a balance.

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

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I think that is what labour and  management want.  I know that the Minister of Labour (Mr.  Praznik) may be taking advice from people like David Newman, who  is as antilabour as anyone in this province, or maybe he is  taking advice from some of his other colleagues who may share  those particular views.  What the people of Manitoba and what  working people expect, what the labour movement expects, what the  Manitoba Federation of Labour expects, is for the Minister of  Labour to look at the facts and decide not what he wants to do  based on ideological assumptions, not what he wants to do based  on the wishes of his friends to improve their relative position  in terms of the balance between labour and management, what they  want the minister to do is to do what is right and what is fair  and to keep the process working.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I asked in this Chamber before, and  I ask the minister to explain if he wishes when he comments at  the end of this debate, before we close debate on third reading,  to tell us on what basis he has introduced this legislation.  I  would ask him to do a second thing.  I would ask him to tell us  why this legislation, this government, if it wishes to maintain  some sort of balance, did not introduce a piece of legislation  that was balanced, that represents maintaining that equilibrium  between the rights and obligations of unionists in the province  and the rights and obligations of management, because as I  pointed out in my previous remarks and has been pointed out by my  colleague the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), as was pointed  out in briefs presented at standing committee, the proposed  amendments to The Labour Relations Act do not achieve the balance  that I think both union and management want.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I point out again that what this  legislation does is create an obligation for unions and a new  right for management.  That is not balance.  There is no evidence  to suggest that we need to tip the scales in one direction or the  other at this particular time in the province of Manitoba.  There  is no evidence, for example, that the government's last attack on  labour, the decision that it made to eliminate the final offer  selection, to repeal final offer selection, has done anything to  improve the harmony or the co‑operation between management and  labour.

       In fact, we know that quite the reverse is true, that since  the repeal of final offer selection, and the minister will  confirm this, the number of days lost to strikes have increased  dramatically. [interjection! Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, that is  most certainly the case, because in 1987 or 1988, there were some  3,000 days lost due to strikes‑‑[interjection!‑‑while this  government was in charge of the nurses' strike.

       What this minister's comments prove is that this government  has no interest in labour‑management peace.  What they have is  some sort of death wish when it comes to their life in  government.  The minister knows just as well that there have been  a number of other private‑sector strikes in the province of  Manitoba that have bumped up the totals.  I do not know if he has  looked at the total number of days lost due to strikes as of  today.  They are significantly higher than they were in 1977,  1978.

       This government, Madam Deputy Speaker, is dancing to the tune  of a very few individuals who have on their agenda the  eliminations of rights, won through collective bargaining, won  through legislative action over a significant period of time,  certainly the last 30 years. [interjection!

       Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Ernst)  wants to know whose tune I am dancing to.  I have tried to remain  quite neutral on this question, tried to urge the government to  look at facts before it acts.  That is all I have ever counselled  this government to do.  I have said time and time again that  there is no evidence that this legislation is going to do  anything constructive.  In fact, I believe that quite the reverse  is true.

       What this legislation does, as it attaches a new obligation  on unions and confers a new right on management, is to ensure  that the kind of conflict that we wanted to resolve when we  introduced final offer selection is going to be ever present in  the workplace.  It is not going to be there just when we are  talking about collective bargaining, because there is significant  anxiety, certainly, when the two groups are bargaining‑‑I think  that is certainly the case‑‑but the minister has added a new  twist by introducing this particular obligation on unions with  respect to both the number of people who are required before  certification is automatic and by limiting or adding another  obligation on those who are involved in the certification drive  to ensure that all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, an  obligation which has never existed previously in Manitoba.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, apart from that obligation, the more  significant danger I believe, and certainly many people who have  been involved in organizing believe, is the right that is  conferred on management.  That is the right to offer what the  legislation calls reasonable opinion.  Well, with all due  respect, I have heard honourable members on that side and, yes,  honourable members on this side offer what they thought was  reasonable opinion which was certainly not fact and in many cases  not reasonable.

       We have listened to each other debate and because of our  biased position, because of our prejudice for or against certain  ideas, often our arguments and the logic we bring to those  arguments is not reasonable opinion.  It is a statement of  belief, not fact; a statement of opinion, not fact; a statement  of ideological principle, not fact; a statement of faith in some  cases, not fact‑‑

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  We never heard facts from this one.

Mr. Storie:  The Premier may believe he has never heard fact from  me.  Well, it will come as no surprise to the Premier that I have  never heard fact from the Premier.  In fact, I view the Premier's  statements as ideologically biased and tinged as statements that  I make quite often.  Well, that may be a statement of fact just  for the Premier's edification.

An Honourable Member:  An opinion reasonably held.

Mr. Storie:  It certainly is an opinion reasonably held.  The  problem is that we are introducing this new right to management  at a critical juncture in the creation of a union, at a time when  you are dealing with people who are already timid, nervous,  apprehensive about the collective bargaining process, about  becoming union members, about the reaction of their employer, the  reaction of management.  On the other side of the coin, of  course, we have management who are apprehensive about becoming a  unionized "shop"; management who are worried about the collective  bargaining process and the obligations that having unionized  members may bring to bear on their bottom line and on their  operation‑‑so you have that situation.

* (1950)

       I think it is a significant leap of faith for the minister,  or anyone else, when it has not been done in the province of  Manitoba before to say now that we are going to add another voice  in this process.  Not the one that the workers should have the  right to decide‑‑and that is, do we want a union or not‑‑but the  reasonable opinion of the employer.  Madam Deputy Speaker, I  would like to ask the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) one very  simple question.  What employer in this province, in his opinion,  is going to offer the reasonable opinion that the workers have  the right to decide?  What employer can the minister bring  forward to this House to say, well, certainly, I would only offer  objective information, factual information rather than  opinion‑‑[interjection!

       Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, the minister may want to put on  record the details of this particular company.  We know and the  minister knows as well, or he should, that in many cases because  the certification drive in itself creates apprehension.  The  voice of management, when it comes to the benefits of  unionization, is going to be biased in the main and is going to  reflect the ideological opinion and otherwise of management.  Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe that it is going to bring a  certain bitterness to the certification drive which does not  exist and which is not necessary.

       So you have to ask the minister the question:  What is the  purpose of this legislation?  Is it to deny certification,  unionization to the remaining work force, the nonunionized work  force in the province of Manitoba?  Because, clearly, it is not  going to improve labour relations whatsoever amongst those groups  who are already unionized.  All it is doing is affecting the  rights of employees who are nonunionized, who may want to become  unionized.

       I pointed out to the minister last time that in the main the  groups who remain to be unionized in the province of Manitoba  come from smaller employers and represent, in the main, workers  on the lower end of the wage scale.  They are women, single  parents, often working for minimum or just above minimum wage,  workers who require the kinds of benefits that unionization and  the benefits of collective bargaining bring to workers in our  province and in our country.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I am not certain why this government is  so terrified, so apprehensive about unionization.  I pointed out  that unionization and the percent of our work force that is  unionized is not an economic problem.  The other countries in the  world who have a far greater proportion of their work force  unionized are doing much better than we are economically‑‑France,  Germany, Sweden and now even Japan.

       We have nothing to fear from unionization.  What we have to  fear is creating a system which is antagonistic, which creates an  adversarial kind of bargaining process.  If, in the initial  stages, when a group of people are deciding whether they want to  be unionized or not, were introducing this new element of doubt,  this new potential element of conflict‑‑depending of course on  what management says, and I will concede to the Minister of  Labour (Mr. Praznik) that there may be some managements who view  unionization more benignly than others‑‑the fact of the matter  is, there is significant potential for hostility and animosity  and conflict.

       The Minister of Labour is introducing this into The Labour  Relations Act at a point in time when we do not need it, at a  point in time when there is no evidence that we need to tamper  with the balance that exists in a labour relations legislation  that has been operating in this province for many years.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, certainly we are always interested in  amendments to The Labour Relations Act or any act, if we perceive  it to be an improvement, but this legislation is not an  improvement.  This legislation is a step backward.  It is going  to ensure that people who need the benefits of unionization, who  could benefit in terms of pensions and wages and other ways from  collective bargaining, are going to be denied that because of  this legislation.  I am not sure that in the long run anyone  wins, including the proponents of this legislation who may be  members of the government and perhaps the Chamber of Commerce and  a few others.  Simply because this minister's friends want this  legislation is not reason enough to impose it on the working  people of the province of Manitoba.  Thank you.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Madam Deputy Speaker, on Bill 85,  I would like to say from the onset, again, that we will be voting  against this bill.  I am going to try to be as short and as  concise as possible as to why it is that we are voting against  this bill.

       I want to start off by quoting from legislation in which the  president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour started off in her  presentation, and it goes as follows:  "WHEREAS it is in the  public interest of the Province of Manitoba to further harmonious  relations between employers and employees by encouraging the  practice and procedure of collective bargaining between employers  and unions as the freely designated representatives of the  employees;"‑‑by encouraging the practice and procedure of  collective bargaining, again, Madam Deputy Speaker.  Ms.  Hart-Kulbaba then went on to say that these two phrases that have  been taken together embody what should be the standard against  which proposed amendments to The Manitoba Labour Relations Act  are measured.

       Well, I really and truly believe that both this  administration and the previous administration are in violation  of The Labour Relations Act, that really what is necessary, Madam  Deputy Speaker‑‑and Ms. Hart-Kulbaba goes further on.  She talks  about why she feels as the president of the MFL they are in  violation, in this case, for the government.  She infers that the  reason why they brought in Bill 85 was to appease or to make  happy a few selected individuals.

       On this particular bill, I agree with her on that point, but  when I had the opportunity to ask a question of her, I also  included in that that not only is it the Conservatives, but it is  also the New Democratic Party that have done the same thing, that  have violated The Labour Relations Act.  Madam Deputy Speaker, as  both parties‑‑if you will, the official opposition and the  government of the day‑‑talk about the importance of the worker,  both are willing to forget about the worker and cater to a select  few individuals who have control over their respective political  parties.

       I believe that is wrong.  The reason why I believe it is  wrong is because the biggest loser is the worker, is the small  businessman.  I look at it and if we were to follow the act, what  the act is saying, what the government of whatever political  stripe should be doing, is getting a consensus from both labour  and management or small business and so forth and introduce on a  consensus from both sides legislation that could change The  Labour Relations Act.

       Now, I guess, I understand why it is that they feel it is  necessary to do this.  I would suggest, Madam Deputy Speaker,  that if the current government, or any potential future New  Democratic government‑‑I would suggest to them that they might  want to do it in two ways, by bringing in two bills.  If they  want to have the political fight and try to appease their catered  few, they can bring in a bill for that.  Everyone will know it is  a political bill and understand why it is that they have brought  it in.

       But for those recommendations, Madam Deputy Speaker, where  there has been a consensus from the Labour Management Review  Committee, in particular, from labour and management, those, I  would suggest to you, are in keeping with the legislation.  If  the government took that approach, I am sure that we would see  legislation passed which all political parties inside this  Chamber support.  Of course, you will see the legislation that  might come forward in which the Conservatives want to take one  stand and the New Democrats want to take another stand in order  to please a few.

* (2000)

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I had said that I was wanting to be  very concise on this particular bill because I have talked on the  bill both in committee extensively and also during second  reading.  I have played on the importance of having strong  unions, and the importance of having management in small  business.  It is now that I would suggest to you that if we want  to have both sides working together, then we need to start  consulting with both groups, as opposed to attempting to make  political points, pleasing a few individuals and dividing both  labour and management.

       That is the sad thing about this particular bill and the  reason why it is that we feel that we have to oppose the bill.  Had the government gone out and achieved that consensus in  keeping with the bill, with the preamble of The Labour Relations  Act, we would in fact be more than happy to support this bill,  but for the sake of the workers, for the sake of the business  person and management, I would encourage all members of this  Chamber to vote against Bill 85.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  I rise with a certain sense of  mixed feelings on Bill 85, Madam Deputy Speaker.

       To members opposite, I guess when one participates in debates  in this House, one hopes that sometimes one's words, one's  arguments, one's pleas sometimes will be heard at least to some  extent.  Madam Deputy Speaker, particularly in regard to this  bill, industrial relations, I am referencing those comments now,  because we did have a fairly extensive debate on second reading.  The minister spoke, the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale), the  member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), the member for Broadway (Mr.  Santos), the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), the member for  Elmwood (Mr. Maloway), the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk),  the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) and myself.

       We raised, I think, on second reading debate, concern over  the very principle of this bill.  I referenced what I felt was  the true background to this bill and the fact that rather than  representing strictly a matter of principle on behalf of the  Conservative Party, it represented instead more their biases and  perceptions.  I pointed to the biases as evident in certain  sections of the bill which seemed, Madam Deputy Speaker, to imply  time and time again, if one looked at the construct of this bill,  that Conservatives still do not believe that when someone says  they want to be represented by a union, they mean it.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I referred also to the obvious pressure  from the Chamber of Commerce for this particular bill, the  reference in their own document, their own brief to the  government in 1990, about the perception of an antibusiness  climate in Manitoba.  Of course, as I pointed out, if anyone has  been contributing toward that perception, it has been the Chamber  of Commerce itself, those in the Conservative Party and from time  to time, those in the Liberal Party who have supported that view.

       We then went to committee.  I want to say very clearly on the  record what happened at committee.  There were a number of very  significant presentations, some very excellent briefs.  The  Chamber of Commerce sent in a written brief, a very small brief.  There were a number of people there, mostly from different  unions, different labour organizations, outlining their concerns  with the principle of the bill in specific sections.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, some amendments were introduced, some  fairly substantive amendments in regard to concerns we addressed,  that we had raised in second reading, concerns that I had raised  personally, concerns that were expressed by the presenters at the  committee.

       Do you know that despite some of those amendments, the two  key provisions of this bill remain in place today as we debate it  on third reading, the provision that opens up the ability for  employers, in my opinion and in the opinion of many who are  versed in labour relations, to apply undue influence in the very  difficult decision employees make as to whether they want to be  represented by a union or not.

       In addition, there is another very significant provision of  this bill which has raised the percentage requirement for  mandatory certification from 55 percent to 65 percent, making it  more difficult, even when a significant majority of the employees  have said yes to a union, for them to be able to achieve that  certification.

       Well, perhaps, Madam Deputy Speaker, some would dismiss the  importance of that.  I know the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik),  on May 13, when he introduced the bill, said that he felt it was  like a scene out of Casablanca.  I will not relate the specific  scene that he was referring to‑‑we have heard it too many  times‑‑but I would suggest some of us on this side might agree,  but the scene we are referencing‑‑and it is somewhat misquoted  sometimes.  I will use the more well‑known version of  it‑‑[interjection! That is right.  It is "Play it again, Sam."  Those are not the exact words of the movie, but it is the version  that we have come to know.

       I would say, Madam Deputy Speaker, that if we want to talk  about Bill 85, the Chamber of Commerce has said, play it again,  Sam; play it again, Mr. Premier; play it again, Mr. Minister of  Labour.  It is the fifth session you have been in government.  We  want another tune.  What has happened is the minister has jumped  to it.  The Chamber's brief to the Premier (Mr. Filmon) has been  acted upon.  It is funny, the same Premier who would not even  listen to one of his own backbenchers has listened to every cord  and bar that the Chamber of Commerce has requested‑‑play it  again, Sam.

       So I suggest that before the minister quotes back movie  scenes from that great movie, that he just learn the ability to  say no once to the Chamber of Commerce and perhaps that the  Premier who is, as I said, quite adept at not listening to  whomever he does not want to listen to‑‑and I cite the member for  Portage (Mr. Connery) as the best living proof of that‑‑that he  might just for once say no, just say no.

       I want to deal with some other comments that were made by my  Liberal counterpart, the Liberal critic, because I found it a  very different sort of speech.  The Liberal critic in this  case‑‑and I am sure members will remember his speech on this  bill‑‑indicated that he was opposed to this bill, but spent much  of his time attacking the New Democratic Party.  Madam Deputy  Speaker, that is fine.  Believe you me, we can take it,  certainly, from the Liberals and the member for Inkster (Mr.  Lamoureux) in terms of labour relations.  Debate is positive and  we certainly welcome that.

       I guess what I think the member for Inkster and the Liberal  Party have misunderstood in Manitoba is no one is disputing the  fact‑‑and I will put this on the record, Madam Deputy Speaker,  because the member for Inkster kept saying, well, some working  people vote for the Liberal Party.  Indeed, they do.  They  support the Liberal Party, as is their right.  Some even support  the Conservative Party.  Some are members of unions.  That is  their democratic right.

       I hope the Liberal Labour critic will understand one thing.  The real issue here is not which party receives that support from  working people.  The real question to my mind on issues such as  this is which party supports working people.  On issue after  issue involving labour relations and in the industrial relations  climate in this province, not just on this bill, but other  significant bills that we saw introduced, like final offer  selection, only the New Democratic Party has consistently said we  stand for fairness and equity for working people in this province.

       That, Madam Deputy Speaker, is something I say to the Liberal  critic, and I appreciate the fact the Liberals are opposing this  bill.  The bottom line is I appreciate that in this case, they  have realized this is a bad bill.  I think the Liberals would do  well to understand that they cannot oppose matters such as final  offer selection, some of the key debates that we have had in this  Legislature when they are on the verge of government, as they  thought they were between 1988 and '90.  They spoke too soon.

* (2010)

       Now the Liberals are reduced in their numbers, and some I  know have suggested are concerned about being on the brink of  oblivion.  It is not simply good enough for them now to be  born‑again supporters of working people and born‑again supporters  of the rights of working people to say yes to a union, Madam  Deputy Speaker.  Some of us find some irony in that particular  position and wish that the Liberal Labour critic would have been  making the same speech when we were debating the final offer  selection bills that were brought into this Legislature, when the  New Democratic Party and only the New Democratic Party stood firm  and fast in opposition to the antilabour agenda of the  Conservative Party.

       I do not want to criticize the Liberals too much, Madam  Deputy Speaker, because I am reminded of the Minister of Consumer  and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) who in committee when I  supported one of the amendments that we had actually proposed  initially to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) that he was  introducing, when the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs  asked me to explain why I was supporting the amendment,  presumably I guess she thought that, if I was in favour of it and  our party was in favour of it, she had to be against it.  I had  to explain to her again and again and again that in this one area  there was some agreement between the two parties and that she  should not be quite so paranoid.

       This bill brought up a number of very important debates and  issues.  It involves the question of the very existence of  collective bargaining itself and whether working people have the  right to select to be represented by a union.  It also goes  further and deals with the process by which that will can be  determined, how the will can be determined and deals very much  with the certification process, elections, et cetera.  I want to  say that is what is wrong with this bill, Madam Deputy Speaker,  because I believe it still increasingly reflects the fact that  Conservative members cannot recognize in 1992 that there is  nothing wrong with working people democratically, without fear of  pressure and coercion, saying that they wish to be represented by  a union and wish to bargain collectively.

       I want to dwell on that because from what I have been able to  see from this Conservative government, there has been a  significant shift since the Lyon period.  I do not just want to  talk, as I did in second reading, about particular legislation  but in terms of attitudes towards unions.  There is a significant  turning back of the clock, the more traditional views of  Conservatives on unions.  There are those in the Conservative  caucus who think that unions are evil, wrong and they oppose them  fundamentally.

       That is most clearly indicated by those who support the  so‑called right‑to‑work concept that has been developed in the  United States which has destroyed the Rand Formula, which has  destroyed the organizational base of collective organizations,  most particularly unions.  Madam Deputy Speaker, I would say  there is a significant group in the Conservative caucus who  believe that is the approach that they should follow in labour  relations, and that if some of those members had their way, we  would be dealing with right‑to‑work legislation.  I remember the  debates and I remember the member for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae),  the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) and the current Minister of  Finance (Mr. Manness) supported right‑to‑work legislation.  There  is the group who feels that unions are evil.

       There may be another group in there, smaller in number, who  believe that unions are a necessary evil, that can see that  working people may wish to be represented by a union, but it is  not particularly positive and that somehow this is the reason.  So there are those, Madam Deputy Speaker.  Then there maybe  others who feel that if people want to be represented by a union,  that is fine.  But there is still a segment of that group who say  that even when people say, well, maybe we should be represented  by a union, even when they have gone through the process of  making a very difficult decision, that somehow they were  mistaken.  I believe that is where much of this bill comes  from‑‑the section on union dues.

       Every presenter before the committee said that the first  question that anybody asks is how much is it going to cost me.  So the section in here, the only jurisdiction in Canada now to  require that union dues be disclosed, well, that, I think  reflects that.  It is the same thing with the increase in the  percentage from 55 percent to 65 percent.  The government is now  saying that when 64.9 percent of the employees in a unit say,  yes, we want to be represented by a particular union that they  somehow did not really know what they were doing; that there  should be another vote; they were somehow forced into it; or it  was under false pretenses; or they were not given the right  information; or they just do not know how to make that decision  for themselves.  Because what other justification is there for  moving from 55 percent to 65 percent?  It is because they do not  believe that.  They do not believe that working people, even if  they are not as opposed to unions as some of their caucus  colleagues, can make that decision and, in fact, through this  legislation suggested that the Conservative government knows  better.  That is why I really believe they have brought in some  segments of this legislation.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, it is interesting because what we are  seeing from this government is an attempt to roll back the clock  in terms of labour relations, because this bill does that.  It  does it in one of the most significant ways possible.  It is an  attack on collective bargaining, and the ability of people to  organize collectively.  It is not isolated.  Bill 70 last year on  the public sector wage freeze was an attack directly on the  current collective bargaining process.  They went further this  year in terms of going back.  Last year, they told people who  were certified and in some cases who had reached agreements, they  could not have the agreements that were reached through  collective bargaining and this Legislature had the ability to  say, no, it does not matter what was bargained, what your  employer has said.  That does not matter; that is what they said  in Bill 70.

       This is even more‑‑what a clever attack on the rights of  working, Madam Deputy Speaker.  I am sure some Conservatives have  figured this out.  I am sure the Chamber of Commerce has  definitely figured this out.  If people do not get to unionize in  the first place, they do not have to worry about collective  bargaining.  They do not have to worry about first contract.  They do not have to worry about the concerns of workers in terms  of how they are represented in the workplace.  That is, to my  mind, the bottom line of this bill.  It is designed, I think, by  some deliberately and by others through their biases and  perceptions; perhaps more indirectly than directly, it is  designed to make it more difficult.

       Well, I just want to take that in context, because I want to  look at how important that right is and of all places, Madam  Deputy Speaker, in the City of Winnipeg in the province of  Manitoba the fundamental right to collective bargaining should be  recognized by all.  I went back, perhaps given some of the  comments that were made in committee, and did some really serious  thought about how important that right is.  It did not just arise  out of the blue.  It was not granted by a government.  It  resulted out of the struggle of working people for decades in  this province, for decades.  To do what?‑‑to be able to bargain  collectively.

       I was struck by how that process developed.  What  particularly struck me was this is the province of the 1919  General Strike.  I was reading a book recently in terms of the  life of J. S. Woodsworth and the background of the 1919 General  Strike.  What precipitated the General Strike?  It was what,  demand for wages, demand for better working conditions?  Indeed,  Madam Deputy Speaker.  But one of the key issues was the right to  collective bargaining itself.  The machinists in the metal trades  were fighting for nothing more than the right to bargain  collectively, which had been denied them by their employers, the  iron masters.  That was one of the basic issues in the 1919  General Strike.

       Well, I am not going to go through the detailed history,  although maybe I should for the benefit of the Minister of  Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh), who could do well  to learn from the history of labour relations in this province  and the struggle of working people for the right to collective  bargaining.

* (2020)

       You know, what struck me the most was J.S. Woodsworth, a  minister, who had been unemployed for some time and had, through  his progressive views, allied himself with the progressive labour  parties.  He was elected, in fact, in 1921 for the Independent  Labour Party in the north end of Winnipeg, but out of his  experience of being someone who was unemployed immediately  identified himself with the strikers and published a bulletin  expressing the concerns about the strike that was in place.

       Indeed, Madam Deputy Speaker, he was arrested for his  efforts.  He was later let free, unlike some others who were  arrested, tried on seditious conspiracy, were jailed.  I might  add, many of them were elected to this Legislature and to the  House of Commons, including J.S. Woodsworth, who were arrested.

       What was the response of the business community and the  Conservative Party in those days?  They formed the Committee of  One Thousand citizens of the business interests.  The mayor was  associated with it, the Conservative Party of the day.  They  immediately pushed for the federal government to intervene, which  they did.

       I know the memory still lives on in many areas of this city,  particularly in the north end, of the day in which the North‑West  Mounted Police, in those days, crushed a parade by returning  veterans where 30 people were seriously injured, one was killed.  What they did was they immediately phoned up their political  contacts in Ottawa.  They changed the immigration laws.  They  made it legal to deport anyone, British subject or foreign  citizen, for being involved or associated with the strike, and  indeed immediately moved to implement that agenda.  The federal  government immediately dispatched the Attorney General at the  time who met with the Committee of One Thousand and refused to  meet with the strikers.  Lo and behold, Madam Deputy Speaker, the  strike was, through the force of the North‑West Mounted Police  and the force of the entrenched business communities, crushed.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, there were many at the time who could  not believe what was happening.  I think this is a lesson in  terms of labour relations.  J.S. Woodsworth, in particular, was  always an optimist.  Mediators have failed, he said at the time,  possibly something might be done if the principles could be  brought face to face.  In spite of the words in the newspapers,  there are very reasonable men in both camps.

       Nothing was done to bring the parties together.  The strike  was crushed.  The right of workers to organize collectively was  set back in a serious blow.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Why did they drop the charges  against him?

Mr. Ashton:  Indeed, the member for Burrows asked why the charges  were dropped.  Indeed, they were unfounded.

Mr. Martindale:  Then tell us.  Because the Crown was  embarrassed.  Now, why was the Crown embarrassed?

Mr. Ashton:  Well, indeed I have no doubt that they were  embarrassed by the arrest of a man of the cloth who was concerned  only about speaking out on a matter of principle in terms of that  situation.

Mr. Martindale:  It was because he was quoting the Bible.  That  is why they dropped the charges.

Mr. Ashton:  The member for Burrows points out he was quoting the  Bible.  That was considered seditious conspiracy, Mr. Speaker.  I  suppose if this was 1919, the member for Burrows would have been  arrested earlier this afternoon.  That was how ridiculous it had  gotten.

       What happened?  J.S. Woodsworth was elected to Parliament.  One of the first things he did was get the removal of the  insidious changes that had taken place in the Immigration Act.  He went on to have a distinguished career in Parliament, raised  many matters.  Many of the strike leaders continued the fight on  behalf of working people.

       You know, in the 1940s, with yet another war, in the middle  of another war, a very significant development occurred with the  introduction of labour legislation.  Canada recognized in  legislation the right to collective bargaining, recognized the  Rand Formula and finally led to a situation where there was some  recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

       Well, after that happened, were working people allowed to  make a democratic decision without coercion, without undue  influence on behalf of the employers?  Were they, Mr. Speaker?  I  could cite time and time again where they were not:  The great  Eaton's organizing drive of the late 1940s.  In fact, the  previous deputy minister of Labour was very much involved with  that.  I had the opportunity to talk to him about some of the  incidents that took place.

       I could cite time and time again where direct coercion and  interference on behalf of employers resulted in employees not  having a clear, unfettered democratic choice.  That is why the  New Democratic Party government that was elected in the 1980s  felt that there was only one fair thing to do, and that was to  say very clearly in terms of legislation that the collective  bargaining choice, the choice of whether to be represented by a  union, is that of the employees, not the employers.

       I outlined on second reading how logical that is.  No one  expects the Americans and Mexicans to be participating in our  elections in Canada in the next federal election because they are  implicated in the results of a North American free trade  agreement.  It is our decision, and we should be able to make  that decision without coercion, without interference.  No one  would question it.

       Indeed, it is the same in terms of collective bargaining.  Why should an employer be able to coerce employees not to support  a union when it is not the choice of employers?  It is the choice  of employees.  That is why we brought in the legislation.  [interjection! Well, Mr. Speaker, I hear the member for Rossmere  (Mr. Neufeld) talking in terms of what choice the employers  have.  They have the choice as to who will bargain for them.  They can hire David Newman.  They can hire any of the antilabour  lawyers we have in this city.  They can, and they do.

       All the employees are asking for in many cases is the chance  to have the equal opportunity to have someone bargain on their  behalf collectively so that they have the exact same right.  That  is all they want.  They want the same rights as employers, an  equal, unfettered right to be represented by whom they want to be  represented by.  So let us put it in perspective in terms of that.

       That is why what this government is doing now is so negative  in terms of its impact.  It is not just tinkering with The Labour  Relations Act; it is not dealing with something as significant.  But a stand‑alone feature of The Labour Relations Act is final  offer selection.  When final offer selection was withdrawn, it  was a significant blow, I think, to labour relations in this  province, but it still did not get to the issue of what this bill  does.  This bill is an attack on the ability of working people to  say yes, they want to collectively bargain.

       You know, Mr. Speaker, all the people are asking for is  fairness.  The provisions in this act would never be accepted by  a democratic people in an election.  They are not parallelled in  The Elections Act.  There is no equivalent of the 65 percent rule  that we have in this in The Elections Act.  This government gets  42 percent.  No one questions that.  No one questions an  election, the ability to electioneer on election day other than  in the polling booth, but this minister has introduced a  prohibition that will apply, not just to supporters of the union  or opponents of the union on election day, but to anyone,  anyone.  I look to Conservative members.  Are they aware they  introduced something that will penalize someone for  electioneering on election day, for saying to someone, do not  forget to vote "yes" or "no" for a union, no matter what side  they are on, whether they are associated with the union or not.  They are now bringing in a clause that will penalize them under  the act.

       You know, what we are asking for is simply fairness.  No one  suggests, Mr. Speaker, that the employees should be able to  decide whether the employer is represented by David Newman at the  bargaining table or not.  I just saw what happened with the CKY  strike.  No one in NABET, Local 821, really wanted to have some  say over who was representing the employer at the bargaining  table, so why should employers have the same right in terms of  employees?  Does that not make sense to anyone on the  Conservative benches?  Does that not make sense to anyone?

       That is why‑‑and I reference the Minister of Consumer and  Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) as well, because she was vocal  in the committee, very vocal.  I want to say, I am extremely  disappointed in the fact that the Conservatives, having brought  in this bill, have had one speaker, the minister, have not once  given any reason or justification for many of the significant  changes in this bill.  Why is that?

       I have been in this Chamber for 10 years.  I have seen other  bills.  I remember when we were in government, I remember when we  spoke on matters of principle, important bills and important  legislation.  Have we really deteriorated to the point where, for  the Conservative government, the only thing that matters is what  goes on in their caucus room, Mr. Speaker, that it does not  matter about what they have done, that they do not have to  justify it to anyone in the public?  Is it only their own caucus  and their political supporters in the Chamber of Commerce that  they have to justify this bill to?

* (2030)

       Where is the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs.  McIntosh), who was very vocal in the committee, putting her views  on the record as to why she supports this bill?  Where are the  other members, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) who, I know  from previous debates, is a very strong supporter of the  right‑to‑work concept?  Where is he on this debate?  Where is the  member for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae) who, I remember, led a  direct attack on many of the provisions outlined in this bill?  Where are they?  Where are the Conservatives when it comes to  justifying what they are doing?  They are not there.  I want to  say that this shows the level to which we have sunk in terms of  public policy in this province.

       I think it is dangerous, by the way.  It is very dangerous in  terms of the Legislature itself.  What I believe is happening  here, Mr. Speaker, is very much a showing of disrespect for the  parliamentary process.  Simply because this government received a  majority‑‑and we are seeing on a daily basis that it is very much  a temporary majority‑‑simply because they can now push through  items, they hope‑‑because their majority is pretty slim right  now‑‑simply because they can do that, does not give them the  right, for whatever reason, to listen only to whom they wish to  and then to come before this Legislature and not even justify  what they are doing.

       They have not even given us the courtesy of more than an  opening statement on this bill by the Minister of Labour (Mr.  Praznik).  What we are seeing is a deterioration in the  democratic process right in this Chamber, and we are seeing it  increasingly:  a government that wants to use private members'  hour as a rubber stamp for its own policies; a government that  will not debate its own policy initiatives; a government that we  saw last night in chaos on a bill, that was drafting a bill as  the committee was sitting, because there were 300 police officers  who were upset over the bill.

       Is that the level we have gotten to?  Should the labour  movement have packed the galleries with 300 angry people calling  on them to withdraw this?  Is that the only way they function,  they do whatever they can until they cannot get away with it  anymore?

       Then they go and they had this spectacle yesterday of  amendments being run back and forth on the second last day of the  Legislature on a matter of major public importance because the  minister did not even have the courtesy to consult with the  people involved by the bill.  Is that the way we are going to  function?  Is this leadership?  Where is the leadership from the  Conservative government?

       I am not just here echoing the concerns of the member for  Portage (Mr. Connery).  I am not talking just about the Premier  (Mr. Filmon).  The Premier does seem to be conveniently out of  the country, out of sight when anything controversial comes up,  anything that might deflect from the Teflon image here, which is  getting rather chipped, I might add, Mr. Speaker, recently.  That  is not leadership.

       If the Premier is not going to be here to defend the policies  of his government, why is it that none of the other members will  defend it?  Why is it they will say many things from their seat  in committees. [interjection! Indeed, the Minister of Consumer  and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) is saying a lot from her  seat again.  I have not heard her once on this bill.  I have not  heard her once speak about labour relations.  That is not  democracy.  She is not speaking out on behalf of her constituents  as are any of the rest.  We are not a society which is governed  by cabinet fiat or, even more with this government, by those who  control the Premier fiat, because even, I think, some of the  government members are recognizing even they do not have any say  anymore, Mr. Speaker.

       This is an important issue.  This government cannot just push  through matters of this kind and assume that things will just  continue.  They cannot, for example, assume there will  co‑operation on labour matters.  We need co‑operation.  We need  it desperately in this province when they are every session  introducing antilabour legislation.  Some will say perhaps we  failed in the opposition on this side, and being a minority, I do  not think it takes anything to recognize that when the final vote  takes place, unless some Conservatives vote with their conscience  and support us on this bill‑‑I can always hold that hope out,  perhaps in the same way J.S. Woodsworth hoped for some sanity and  reason in 1919 from the then‑Conservatives and then‑Chambers of  Commerce.

       If we do not succeed in that, Mr. Speaker, there is something  that is probably just as equally as important.  I want to say  that first of all, I do not think it is going to be any surprise  to anyone in this House that this bill is a temporary bill.  If  the New Democratic Party forms government, we will, I am sure,  expeditiously vote out every single one of the negative  amendments in this bill.  So it is a very temporary bill, because  that will not be too far away.  I said on second reading, it was  two years or two members.  It is now two years or one member.  In  fact, I think that two‑year clock is ticking away rapidly.

       There is a role for oppositions.  I was struck by a comment  that was made by an historian remarking on J.S. Woodsworth.  You  know, J.S. Woodsworth never served a day in government in his  life.  He sat as a two‑person labour caucus in the House of  Commons in the 1920s and extracted old age pensions out of the  Liberals.  He sat as part of the later CCF in 1933.

       An historian wrote, just shortly after his death, what I felt  was probably a fair comment.  It was echoed by his daughter in  her book that was brought out a number of years ago.  He was more  important, the historian said, for what he represented, rather  than his actual accomplishments.

       Mr. Speaker, that is the importance of this debate.  The  government will accomplish yet another attack on the ability of  working people to organize.  The government will accomplish more  implementation of the Chamber of Commerce agenda; the government  will accomplish pushing through this bill on third reading, but  that is not a failure on our part.

       I will say that we have an even greater achievement, because  we are here representing the true rights of working people and  the rights of working people to democracy.  That is all we are  asking for from this government.  This is a democratic society;  we are blessed with a democratic society with all its faults.

       It has always struck me that why we can be so democratic in  public life, political life, and yet not be democratic in our  economic lives.  Why is it?  There should not even be any  question that if working people want to be represented by a  union, that they cannot be represented by a union.  Why should  there be any doubt, the working people know how to choose on that  very decision, any more than‑‑even though I disagree with the  members opposite, even though I did not like the last election  result overall in the province, I always said, I have always  said, and I know the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans)  has been in this Chamber for many more years than I have:  The  people are always right.  The Conservative government may be  wrong, but the people are always right.

       So why can they be right in their political lives but not in  their economic lives?  That is what I say.  This is what this  debate is all about.  It is what it represents more than the  immediate day‑to‑day accomplishments.  This represents the same  attitudes of the 1919 General Strike, when we saw the people  opposite in this same Chamber, I am sure, only a few years later,  when this Chamber was opened, make the same kind of speeches.

       I could hear those echoes increasingly as this government  entrenches itself, increasingly puts itself in a bunker, where it  listens to increasingly few Manitobans and increasingly only the  Chambers of Commerce and those that are its closest supporters.  We are seeing it increasing.

       We have seen the same attitudes even after the recognition of  the right to collective bargaining in the 1940s.  We have seen  it.  I put this in context as of a recent example of how that  continues.  I could cite cases in Manitoba, but I want to cite a  case in Nova Scotia, the Westray Mine.

       Mr. Speaker, that was not a unionized facility.  Many  questions have been raised about what occurred at that mine with  the tragic deaths that took place.  They have labour legislation  very similar to what this province is moving toward.  They have  no automatic certification.  It is very difficult for people to  organize; we have seen the Michelin organizing drives fall.

       Indeed, the irony is that the Westray Mine may now unionize  after it has closed, because I know many people are considering  that.  I cannot help but wonder, if those people had been  represented by that union, by a union, if they had been at the  table with the employers, might not that have been avoided.  That  is why this bill is so important.  It is the right of miners,  such as the Westray miners, to say yes to a union if they wish.

       It is the right of employees here in Manitoba, whatever area  of the province, to say yes to a union, to bargain for wages and  working conditions, in some cases to bargain for the very  existence of the kind of safety and health measures that are  necessary to preserve their own lives.

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       That is what unions are about, by the way.  That is all they  represent.  People talk about big unions.  Unions are democratic  organizations made up of people.  I say, the government has  accomplished one thing today passing this bill, but they are  accomplishing very little because what they represent is a  throwback to those days decades ago when people did have to fight  for the right to collective bargaining.  They did have to be  subjected to coercion and intimidation in the workplace.

       What we are fighting for, Mr. Speaker, is for the hope that  in 1992 we can at least learn that in terms of labour relations  we need more harmonious labour relations.  We need to recognize  once and for all in this country that it is positive to have  people represented by whom they want to be represented, in that  case, whether it is a union or not, and that we would all be far  better off.

       We might even get some of that co‑operation that is so  important to saving our economy in this province if for once this  government stopped trying to just accomplish the passage of a  bill and stood for something, stood for something positive, stood  for something that is going to move this province ahead in labour  relations and not roll back the clock decades.

       That is why we in the New Democratic Party, for the fifth  session in a row, on every item of antilabour legislation that  this government has introduced, is going to vote no to Bill 85.  Thank you.

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to  speak to Bill 85, The Labour Relations Amendment Act.  I listened  with interest to the presentations that were made in committee on  this bill, and there were many interesting presentations that  were made, and the concerns that these working people in the  province of Manitoba had with respect to their rights being  infringed upon by this particular piece of legislation that is  proposed.

       But I will deal with that a little bit later.  I want to  relate somewhat of my own working experiences during the course  of my 25 years in the work force and what it has meant to me as  an individual.  I have worked both for nonunion shops, and I have  worked for union shops as well.  I have seen both sides of the  fence.  I know what it is like to work in these operations.

       I will start first by speaking about the nonunion shop that I  worked in which was back a number of years ago.  While working in  that operation, of course, I was employed as a labourer in that  particular plant.  It was a manufacturing plant here in the city  of Winnipeg.

       After having worked at that particular plant for a year doing  heavy labouring work, the employer at that time had decided that  for various reasons he no longer needed certain members of his  employees.  So the employer one day, at the lunch hour, came up  to the employees, myself being one of them, and indicated that as  of four o'clock that day our services would no longer be required  and that we were laid off.

       Now, this came as a total shock to us, Mr. Speaker.  We had  not expected this to happen; business seemed to be good.  There  were a lot of sales going out the door of that particular plant,  and the employer seemed to be thriving.  We found it very strange  that we only had four hours' notice, but being very young at the  time, we did not know what the rules were.

       This is where labour legislation comes into play, because I  think it is important that we continue to have that protection.  At that time, Mr. Speaker, I was unaware of what the labour  legislation of the province was, and I did not know where to go  for that advice and that counselling.  It was a few days later,  after finally searching and seeking the advice and the  information that I desperately needed at that time, I was put in  contact with the Labour Board in this province.

(Mr. Jack Penner, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

       They made me aware, at that time, that it was a requirement  in this province, where the individual was paid on a two‑week  basis, that two weeks notice was required.  I went back to my  employer, that I had been laid off from, and I notified the  employer, at that time, that it was a requirement, by provincial  law, that if the employer were going to lay off the employees in  that operation, that two weeks notice had to be given or two  weeks pay in lieu of that.

       Well, the employer became very upset with that and after  consulting, I am sure, with the Labour department in this  province, came back a day later and indicated, yes, they would be  willing to follow the law.  But had it not been for that labour  legislation, Mr. Acting Speaker, that employer would have taken  advantage of myself and other members of that particular plant  who were laid off at that time.  So labour legislation does play  an important role in this province in protecting the nonunionized  workers.

       But at the same time, Mr. Acting Speaker, I have had the  opportunity to work in a union shop for a number of years‑‑over  20 years.  I served on both the union board itself as a shop  steward and, as well, I was part of the management team of that  particular operation.  So I have seen both sides of the  operation, and I know how the system works in heavy industry as  far as union‑company relationships are concerned.

       In that particular operation, where I had worked for many  years, we have had, in my years there, three strikes, in which I  participated, as a unionized employee, in two of those.  I can  assure you, Mr. Acting Speaker, that there were not any employees  whom I detected during that time who wanted to go on strike.  This was a last resort for them.  They did not want to deprive  the families of the income that they desperately needed to  maintain their quality of living, their standard of living, but  they saw no other recourse then but to withdraw their services  from this particular company.

       Had the negotiations continued in good faith, I am sure that  it could have arrived at a negotiated settlement, but it did not,  and the strikes occurred at that time.  Of course, from that, the  employees were forced out on to the picket line.  But they saw no  recourse, and they saw that the only way that they could achieve  the goals that they needed, by way of wage settlements that would  allow them to keep up with the cost of living, was for them to  withdraw their services and to go on the picket line at that  particular plant's operations.

       It was some 10 or 12 days later that the employees were  ordered, by federal legislation, back to work, and that it went  to binding arbitration.  The employees did not achieve through  binding arbitration all that they had hoped to achieve, either  through the strike process or through the negotiated process.  But, nevertheless, they were deemed to be essential services, so  the federal government chose to legislate them back to work.  The  employees were bitter, and they had, for some period of time, a  resentment towards the events that had taken place.  There were a  lot of hard feelings that were created and it took years for  those hard feelings to disappear.  The employees lost the money  by going on strike, but at the same time saw that as their only  recourse.

       In the other strike, Mr. Acting Speaker, where I was a member  of the management of that particular company, I saw the difficult  times that these employees had, the difficult decisions that they  had to make before they opted to take that action.  It was not  easy watching them on a daily basis on that picket line, and  knowing full well, because many of them are my friends to this  day, that their families were suffering, but had they chosen not  to do that, their families too would have suffered, quite  possibly even greater than the suffering that they incurred while  they were on strike.

       It is very important that we have labour legislation to  protect the rights of these individuals, but, by what we see here  in this Bill 85, we see a watering down, a reduction or  elimination of the rights of companies' employees to unionize.

       I think back to the one presentation that was made in  particular that caught my attention.  It was made during  committee on this piece of legislation, where the one presenter  indicated that a certain company in this province was taking its  employees aside on a one‑by‑one basis and quizzing them on  whether or not they had been questioned or had been contacted by  any members of a particular union organization with respect to  organizing that particular company.  Now, it is my understanding  from the comments that were made during that committee, Mr.  Acting Speaker, there was no organizing that was intended for  that company.  The organizing that was taking place was happening  in the province of Saskatchewan, and yet this particular company  had the fear, because it was their operations in Saskatchewan  that were in the midst of a certification drive, that it would  move to the province of Manitoba.

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       So what they were doing by their actions in this province was  confronting these employees on an individual basis by taking them  aside and attempting, I believe, to in some form pressure or  intimidate these employees or coerce these employees into not  entertaining the thought of becoming a union member should the  certification process come to this province for that particular  company.  Now, that is only one example, Mr. Acting Speaker, of  the means that a company can use to coerce its employees into a  particular direction.

       I know, looking at the legislation itself under Section F,  where it indicates that an employer can communicate to an  employee a statement of fact or opinion, reasonably held, with  respect to an employer's business.

       Now, looking at the case of that company that had contacted  their employees here, and I saw this take place in my own  experience, my own years of work experience, where the senior  managers of a company would instruct their lower levels of  supervision to communicate with employees certain aspects of  management's beliefs to try and impress upon them the management  position.  That is a role that a lot of first level or middle  management supervisors have to perform on behalf of the senior  management of the company.

       I believe by that presentation that was made in committee  that it was the same type of action that was taking place, and by  this, Mr. Acting Speaker, I know it to take place, management  does have a role where they do, from time to time, to further  their own ends, communicate directly with the production line  employees, with the employees of the operation, their opinions,  their thoughts, hoping to influence in some way the employees of  that operation.

       This particular segment of this legislation I think is a step  in the wrong direction.  I know there were many presenters at the  committee who asked that this bill in general be withdrawn, but  at the same time, they were very concerned that sections of the  bill such as this would be forming part of the new labour  legislation in the province of Manitoba, and they raised that to  the attention of the minister and other members of the committee  at that time.  As my experiences have shown, employers will use  every available opportunity to further the ends of the company  itself, and it is in their own interest to do so.  One would  expect that they would do it, but this will now allow and permit  them to influence the opinions that are held by the employees of  that operation.

       Other sections of this legislation are repugnant to myself  because of what it will do to the rights of the working people in  the province of Manitoba who wish to become part of a union  organization, to afford themselves with protection for themselves  and their families, so they can have some sense of security.

       There are members opposite and other members of our society  who say that some unions are too strong and that the unions have  too much power.  My experience has shown that the unions are  forced by the courts of this land to represent their members to  the best of their abilities, otherwise charges can be brought  through the court process against the union by members of the  union itself.  So the unions have a strong role to play, not that  they would ever shirk that responsibility or that duty from my  experience, but having read some of the decisions of the courts  over the years and having heard of specific cases, I know that  the unions are in a difficult position where they must, to the  best of their ability, and I am sure they accept this  responsibility willingly, represent the rights of their members.

       In my short time in this House, Mr. Acting Speaker, we have  seen many attacks on the labour movement of this province.  I can  remember in the first session of this House and even prior to my  time in this House, having had made my thoughts known on the  final offer selection legislation when it was attempted to be  repealed under the minority government in this province, and  later, when I became a member of this Legislative Assembly, when  final offer selection was in the process of being repealed, and  the attack on labour legislation in the province at that time,  and the comments that were made that final offer selection was an  unfair opportunity for employees in this province.

       Then we saw after that other legislation that affected the  working people in this province by way of Bill 56 in 1990 and  Bill 59 last session, Mr. Acting Speaker, that eroded the rights,  protection and security that working people have in this province.

       This legislation allows the employers to make statements of  fact or reasonably held opinion.  As I indicated earlier,  whatever is required for an employer to say to further the ends  of the company, I am sure that they would leave no stone unturned  if they could influence in any fashion the decisions that are  made by the employees who are working for them.  Statements that  could be commonly heard, Mr. Acting Speaker, and I heard this in  my years of experience working in the work force, that the  company would refuse to open up its books to indicate the  financial position of the company.  They wanted the unions to  believe just carte blanche that the company was in difficult  financial times, and I heard that argument used over and over  again during contract negotiations.

       I believe, Mr. Acting Speaker, that by this legislation  allowing companies to speak directly with and communicate with  their employees during the process of certification prior to the  voting on acceptance of the unionization of their company, that  the company will use the argument that if a union comes in, it  will bankrupt a company.

       There are many areas of this legislation that are not in the  best interests of the working people in this province.  I look at  a particular piece of correspondence, and I think back to the  comments that have been made by this government reflecting the  interests of the Chamber of Commerce, and looking at the  communiques that have come from the Chamber of Commerce, they  specifically state that their mandate is to bring about changes  to labour legislation in this province that will, as they say,  and I quote, to improve the climate for business and investment  in Manitoba.

       Well, the only thing that I can see that this will improve  for these companies to change the climate of business and  investment is to lower the wage and benefits packages that are  offered to employees in this province, and by that, it will mean  a reduction in the standard or quality of life for these  employees employed in our province, whether they be in union or  otherwise, and will of course reduce the opportunities for them  to provide for their families.

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       It is not in the best interests of the working people in this  province to reduce the labour legislation, to restrict the rights  of individuals in this province, and I think that this government  is moving in the wrong direction.  It should be looking to  strengthen the labour legislation.

       I know the minister, when he was in committee, I hope he  heard the presenters that were making comments during committee  at that time, that he would have listened, but it is obvious that  he did not listen to the presentations that were there.  They  were from unions that are not normally part of the up‑front  debates and discussions that are taking place in this province as  far as labour legislation.  I think of the comments that were  made by the MNU during the presentation at this committee just a  short time ago, where they asked for this legislation to be  withdrawn because they saw it as a direct attack on their members  and the rights of their members for the future.

       So I hope this minister will look seriously at what the  intent of this legislation is supposed to do and he will, in the  future‑‑because I doubt, Mr. Acting Speaker, that he will  consider making or withdrawing this legislation at this time,  even though we encourage him to do so.  I hope that he will look  seriously at the rights of the working people in this province,  and that he will stop bringing forward any further legislation  that will erode the rights of the working people in this province.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       Mr. Speaker, I look forward to having my opportunity, as I am  sure all other members do, to vote on this particular piece of  legislation.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Speaker, I will be  very brief in my remarks on third reading to this bill.  The  member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), made reference to another image  in the movie Casablanca, but I would just suggest to honourable  members that there was a very valuable lesson in that particular  movie.

       At the beginning of that movie, the central figure, Rick,  started the movie by trying to escape from the world that was  rapidly changing around him.  He buried himself away in  Casablanca and tried to ignore what was happening in the outside  world.  By the end of the movie, he had come to the realization  that he could not escape from that world, that he would have to  deal with it.

       Mr. Speaker, that lesson is one that all of us have to  wrestle with.  Whether we are government, whether we are  political parties, whether we are businesses or whether we are a  union movement, labour movement, we have to be prepared to deal  with the future.  During the course of this debate, several  members opposite made reference to the need to work together, to  have harmonious relations, to work together to overcome problems.

       Mr. Speaker, I very briefly just want to share with members  an experience I had today, when as Minister of Labour, I  presented a safety award to the No. 1 firm in Manitoba, with the  safety record.  I presented it to the company and three unions.  The nominations for those awards were made by the Workplace  Safety and Health Committee jointly, by both the management and  labour chair.

       Mr. Speaker, the company which won that award, Abitibi‑Price,  United Paperworkers International Union, the lumber and sawmill  union and the Office & Professional Employees International  Union, the three unions and the company that won that award are a  model of labour relations and working together.

       Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba Federation of Labour, where were  they during the presentation of this award?  They were outside  picketing an award being granted for that harmonious relationship.

       Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I just point out to members that  at committee we were able to make some amendments to the bill  suggested by many of the presenters, particularly Mr. Christophe  of UFCW and Irene Giesbrecht from the Manitoba Nurses' Union.  I  was very pleased we were able to make those additions to the bill.

       I would, as well, just point out to members opposite that Mr.  Christophe from UFCW had no difficulty with allowing freedom of  speech with respect to statements of fact.  He did express some  concern with opinions reasonably held.  I think that part of the  amendment will be tested at the labour board and will not prove  to be the great difficulty that many have argued.

       Mr. Speaker, I would also just point out in reference to  comments made by the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) about the  need for co‑operation in matters where there was agreement at  Labour Management Review Committee.  I would point out that some  of the areas that did have unanimous agreement at Labour  Management Review Committee and were therefore included in the  bill were opposed by the Manitoba Federation of Labour when they  made their presentation.

       So that puzzled me, but I will allow others to draw their  conclusion.  Again, I think this matter has been thoroughly  debated in the course of the House in committee, all positions  have been put on the record.  As I started this debate, I would  say I would like to thank the presenters by and large who made  presentations, and I am very happy that we were able to adopt  some of those amendments that I think make the bill a much better  piece of legislation.

       Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question  before the House, third reading of Bill 85, The Labour Relations  Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les relations du  travail.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No.  All those in favour of the motion, please say  yea.       

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Mr. Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Mr. Speaker:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Yeas and Nays, Mr.  Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  A recorded vote having been requested, call in the  members.

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 85,  The Labour Relations Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les  relations du travail.

       A STANDING VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:

              Yeas

       Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns,  Ernst, Filmon, Findlay, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Laurendeau,  Manness, McAlpine, McIntosh, Mitchelson, Neufeld, Penner,  Praznik, Reimer, Render, Rose, Stefanson, Sveinson, Vodrey.

              Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Cheema, Chomiak,  Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East),  Friesen, Gaudry, Harper, Hickes, Lamoureux, Maloway, Martindale,  Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wowchuk.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 26, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

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* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, it  is my intention to move into Committee of Supply to deal with the  concurrence motion, and after that time we will come out and  begin to deal with the Finance bills.

       Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Environment  (Mr. Cummings), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and the  House resolve itself into a committee to consider of the Supply  to be granted to Her Majesty.

       Motion agreed to, and the House resolved itself into a committee  to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty with the  honourable member for Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) in the Chair.

            

SUPPLY‑CAPITAL SUPPLY

 

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

     

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

       Moved by the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness),  seconded by the honourable Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), that  the Committee of Supply concur in all Supply resolutions relating  to the Estimates of Expenditure for the fiscal year ending March  31, 1993, which have been adopted at this session by the two  sections of the Committee of Supply sitting separately and by the  full committee.

       Is the House ready for the question?  The question, is it the  pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Chairperson:  All those in favour of the motion, please say  yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Chairperson:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  I would request a  formal vote, Madam Chairperson.

Madam Chairperson:  A count‑out vote has been requested.  Call in  the members.

       A COUNTED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:  Yeas 25,  Nays 26.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  I request  another count, Madam Chairperson.

Madam Chairperson:  The honourable government House leader is  indeed in order, and I have been informed by the Clerk of the  House that this is not breaking with tradition and custom.

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

Madam Chairperson:  I declare the motion carried.

Mr. Ashton:  Best two out of three?

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I was paired with the member  for Pembina (Mr. Orchard).  Had I voted, I would have voted with  our side.

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  Madam Chairperson, I was paired with  the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), and had I had the  opportunity to vote, I would have voted with this side.

Madam Chairperson:  Committee rise.  Call in the Speaker.

 

IN SESSION

          

Committee Report

       

Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  Mr. Speaker,  the Committee of Supply has considered and adopted the  concurrence motion relating to the Estimates of Expenditure for  the fiscal year ending March 31, 1993, which have been adopted at  this session.

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

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I  move, seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings),  that this House concur in the report of the Committee of Supply  respecting concurrence and all Supply resolutions relating to the  Estimates of Expenditure for the fiscal year ending March 31,  1993.

Motion agreed to.

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PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES

     

Mrs. Shirley Render (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on  Privileges and Elections):  Mr. Speaker, by leave, I beg to  present the Second Report on the Standing Committee of Privileges  and Elections.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member have leave to report?  [Agreed!

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Your Standing Committee on  Privileges and Elections presents the following as its Second  Report.

       Your committee met on Tuesday, June 16, 1992, at 10 a.m. in  Room 255 of the Legislative Building and Wednesday, June 24,  1992, at 7 p.m. in Room 255 of the Legislative Building to  consider the report and recommendations of the Judicial  Compensation Committee.

       Your committee adopted at its June 24, 1992, meeting the  following recommendation:

       MOTION:

       THAT the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections adopt  the proposal in Schedule A and recommend the same to the  Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

 

SCHEDULE A RECOMMENDATIONS ON JUDICIAL COMPENSATION

     

       1.  That salaries for provincial court judges be maintained as  follows:

       a)   Provincial Court Judges   $ 91,274  b)   Associate Chief Judges    $ 93,279  c)   Chief Judge   $ 98,272

       2.  That effective April 3, 1993 salaries for provincial court  judges be increased 3% to as follows:

       a)   Provincial Court Judges   $ 94,017  b)   Associate Chief Judges    $ 96,017  c)   Chief Judge   $101,117

       3.  That Order‑in‑Council 831/89 be rescinded.

       4.  That the Civil Service Superannuation Act continue to apply  to Provincial Court Judges as though they were employees  within the meaning of that Act.

       5.  That effective July 1, 1992 for full‑time service as a  Provincial Court Judge accrued on and after that date, a  supplementary pension plan for Provincial Court Judges be  established based on the following terms and conditions:

       a)   the supplementary plan provides benefits and   entitlements that, in combination with those provided   under The Civil Service Superannuation Act, will equal   those that would be provided under that Act if the   calculation of the allowance was based on an accrual   rate of 2.61% per year of service;

       b)   the maximum number of years of benefit accrual equal   23.5;

       c)   the supplementary pension plan be administered by the   Civil Service Superannuation Board and the Lieutenant   Governor in Council may provide for payment from and out   of the Consolidated Fund to the Board of such amounts as   he fixes to reimburse the Board for the costs of the   administration of this part; and

       d)   all payments made under the supplementary plan be a   charge upon and paid out of the Consolidated Fund   without any further or other appropriation by the   Legislature.

       Your committee reports that it has considered the Report and  Recommendations of the Judicial Compensation Committee.

       All of which is respectfully submitted.

Mrs. Render:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable  member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), that the report of the committee  be received.

Mr. Speaker:  It has been moved by the honourable member for St.  Vital, seconded by the honourable member for Niakwa, that the  report of the committee be received.  Agreed?  That is agreed and  so ordered.

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):