LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF
Friday, November 27, 1992
The House met at 10 a.m.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS
Mr. Speaker: I am
pleased to inform the Assembly that the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly has received
from the Chief Electoral Officer a notice respecting the election of Mr. Brian
Pallister and Ms. Avis Gray as members for the constituencies of
I hereby table the notice respecting these elections.
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to
you Mr. Brian Pallister, member for the Electoral Division of
Mr. Speaker: On behalf of all honourable members, I wish to welcome you to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and to wish you well in your parliamentary career.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present Ms. Avis Gray for the Electoral Division of Crescentwood, who has taken the oath and signed the roll and now claims the right to take her seat.
Mr. Speaker: On behalf of all honourable members, I wish to welcome you to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and to wish you well in your parliamentary career.
Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of
Elizabeth Touchette, Karen Jonsson, Wanda Kellerman and others requesting the
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, in every coffee shop, at every farm kitchen table, at every plant, Manitobans are asking us about the length of this recession, the brutality of this recession, asking us to deal with the challenges of this recession, and I am talking about what this recession is meaning for themselves, for their families, for their relatives and for their friends.
Almost everyone we listened to knows of somebody that has been either laid off or knows of somebody that is fearing a layoff in the next couple of months.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the Speech from the Throne, the
word "recession" was notably missing from the government's message to
the people of
I would like to ask the Premier: In light of the fact that the issue of the recession is not acknowledged in the Speech from the Throne, does the Premier believe we are still in a recession, or does the Premier believe as chair of the economic committee of the cabinet that we are out of the recession?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question.
Indeed, as I have acknowledged in many fora on many occasions in the past while, certainly the economy and the difficult challenges that we face not only as a province but as a nation and collectively as a world, the challenges remain.
It does not matter where you go in this country and it
does not matter where you go in this world, there are economies that heretofore
had been riding high with year-after-year growth of 4 and 5 percent or greater
that are now being brought down to very, very modest levels of growth, if at
all. That is true of
What is happening, of course, is not just a recession that occurred in previous years but a restructuring that is taking place worldwide in which people are changing from a production economy to a different economy based on new technology, information age and all of those things.
So indeed we continue to face challenges, and that is what the throne speech is all about, how we deal with those challenges and turn them into opportunities by recognizing the realities of the restructuring that is taking place; that is what the agenda is. That is what we have proposed to Manitobans, and that is why we suggest that we learn from the lessons around us and we do not just simply look for the old solutions and we do not just simply deal with it in terms of the way in which we have dealt with recessions or downturns in the economy in the past. We have to recognize what else is happening out there.
Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, the Premier did not answer the question. The Premier did not answer the question of whether he still believes this province is in a recession or whether it is out of a recession.
In 1991, he mentioned the recession and acknowledged the recession was in existence in this province in two separate Speeches from the Throne.
In 1992, the Speech from the Throne fails to mention the
recession. How can you deal with the
economic challenges that
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier, in light of the fact that the government is sending out letters to agencies, schools, hospitals, all areas that deal directly with the provincial government, that state, and I quote, we are faced with budgetary decisions in 1993 and 1994 that make past challenges pale by a comparison, would the Premier not now acknowledge that we are indeed in a recession, and will his solution of cutbacks and more unemployment help us get out of the recession that we are in?
Mr. Filmon: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that you cannot sort of tie with a ribbon and paint into a little one‑word definition what is happening in the world today.
I know that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) cannot get by and needs to have a quick hit slogan for the media, and this is not a time for sloganeering. This is a time for trying to understand what is happening in the world around us. There is a restructuring taking place in economies that is different from anything that we have experienced in the past, that is different from the simple analysis of, it is a recession.
It goes beyond that. His colleagues who are in government, New Democratic colleagues, recognize that. Mr. Rae is referring to things such as downturns, restructuring, things of this nature, because we are looking for ways in which we can describe to people the fundamental changes that are taking place in the economy and the need for us to look at solutions in a different way.
That is what the throne speech is all about‑‑a new way of looking at these things that are happening and looking for solutions. Not looking for just simple one‑word answers, because there are not any simple answers. If there were, the Leader of the Opposition would have those answers, but we do not have them, Mr. Speaker, and so we have to look at it in a much bigger picture. We have to look at it in terms of how we respond to the restructuring, take advantage of the opportunities that are created and build a stronger economy by understanding what we are facing.
Employment Creation Strategy
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, why do we not try an action plan to create jobs and maintain jobs in this province instead of the hollow rhetoric of the Premier?
In 1990 this Premier (Mr. Filmon) came out with a Speech
from the Throne that predicted that
In 1991 when his ministers came in and hacked and slashed
and laid people off and created thousands of unemployed, why our 1991 growth
rate as coming in this fall in October, the final numbers show that
I would ask the Premier, how many layoffs and how many
more people are going to be unemployed because of his direct action in the
provincial government of
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that
because of the actions of this government, the Conference Board of
In addition, they report that our unemployment rate is the second best in the country, second lowest in the country, the unemployment rate.
In addition, they report that in the last two months
11,000 more people are working in
In addition, Statistics Canada reports that capital
In addition to that, they say that manufacturing capital investment will be increasing at the highest level of any province in the country.
In addition to that, they say that manufacturing shipments for the first nine months of this year are up at the highest level of any province in the country.
In addition to that, they say that manufacturing shipments for the first nine months of this year are up at the highest level of any province in the country.
Those are the things that are happening as a result of the measures that we have taken to keep taxes down, to build our economy and to ensure that there are incentives for investment and growth and job creation in the long term, Mr. Speaker.
Budget Reduction Targets
Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education.
The government has offloaded millions of dollars to
school boards, which has resulted in huge property tax increases and the loss
of hundreds of teaching jobs throughout
Since the government on November 19 has told school boards to expect more of the same‑‑in other words, a freeze‑‑how many more teaching jobs and programs does the minister expect will be lost to Manitoba children in the year coming up?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, one thing that school divisions have asked of this government is to make sure that they are continually informed about the fiscal position of this province so that they can make their plans very well and with enough time.
The letter was to meet the request of school boards, to
provide them with the assistance so that they could do their planning in the
most effective way for the children of
Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, since the school boards must present their budgets in several weeks, will the minister advise this House whether the $17‑million cut will come under the education funding formula that has already been revised three or four times since the government introduced it last year?
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr. Speaker, the member has obviously not understood any of the message that has been sent out to the school divisions and to Manitobans.
First of all, the number which has been rumoured is not a number which is to look at the new budget. What we have done through that letter is to advise school divisions of the fiscal position of this province to make sure that in the planning of their budget they are very well aware of the position and they have enough lead time to do the work.
Mr. Chomiak: My final
supplementary to the minister is: Has
the minister also sent this same letter talking about the fiscal situation of
the government and no increases to schools like
Mrs. Vodrey: Mr.
Speaker, the letter which was sent to advise school divisions was sent to the
independent schools in
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier.
The Premier a few minutes ago said you cannot come up with a one‑word answer. You cannot use buzzwords. He said we cannot deal with the old solutions, I think was the actual phrase that he used. Yet, in his own Speech from the Throne, in nine separate places he uses the word "innovate" or "innovation."
You know, using the word, Mr. Speaker, does not make it happen. Unfortunately, when you look it up in the dictionary, that word comes out with a definition of, introduction of something new. It says that it means that you must effect change. It says that you have to have a new method or a device.
Will the Premier of this province tell the people of
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Well, Mr. Speaker, the ideas that we have are new when you compare them to Liberal and New Democratic ideas, because the Liberal and New Democratic ideas are, of course, to spend more and tax more.
Governments across this country that have tried that have failed. Those are the new ideas that the Liberals and New Democrats want to introduce to this House.
Mr. Speaker, this government continues to build a better base for economic development, for innovation, for investment, the Economic Innovation and Technology Council that had a very [interjection] The Leader of the third party obviously does not want to hear the answer. She has demonstrated to us in the past the lack of answers that she has. That is why she is in the position she is.
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): We have heard about the innovation council in Speeches from the Throne in 1988, in 1989, in 1991, in 1992. We have not seen it do anything yet, and that is the tragedy.
Mr. Speaker, the Premier likes to talk about our economic
position. Can he explain why his own
Bureau of Statistics shows that
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): You know, the Economic Innovation and Technology Council held a major one‑day forum earlier this year, about four weeks ago, and this Leader of the third party refused to attend. She was too busy, did not attend, did not find it interesting or important enough to attend. That is the kind of interest we get for real initiative, for real innovative ideas. She will not even listen to the people out there, the people of labour, the people of management. [interjection] The members of the opposition do not want to hear answers, they want to sit there and shout.
I repeat for the edification of the member for
Now, she can go and dig through the figures and look for
something negative, because that is her wont, but the reality is that the
figures speak for themselves, that in the key areas of economic growth
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, if the council's forum had not been so filled with cronyism and they had not accepted some of the suggestions made by opposition parties as to the people who should have been there, then maybe he would have gotten more representation.
Mr. Speaker, the tragedy is that there are 11,000 Manitobans unemployed in October of 1992 who had jobs in October of 1991‑‑11,000 of them. Our participation rate in the work force has dropped. We have a lower percentage today than we had a year ago. People are leaving this province because they see no hope; they see no innovation. What is this First Minister (Mr. Filmon) prepared to do to give a sense of hope to the people of this province?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): I repeat, that in the course of just the last
two months of figures, according to Statistics Canada, 11,000 more Manitobans
are working than were two months earlier. More so than that, with respect to
the people who were at that Economic Innovation and Technology Council Forum,
we had a former Labour government Minister of Finance from
There were almost 400 people at that forum. We had 40 people who were from organized labour at that forum. We had people from the academic and the research community. We had people from the agriculture community.
I do not know what she is talking about, Mr. Speaker. All I know is that she had the opportunity to be there and participate and contribute, and she chose not to. We know what her priorities are
Health Care System
Budget Reduction Targets
Ms. Judy Wasylycia‑Leis (
I would like to ask the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) today if he will now give us the whole plan, the exact budget reduction targets, the total layoff figures, the number of beds being cut in total, and the impact on services and quality patient care.
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I genuinely welcome my
honourable friend's question and furthermore, hopefully this session, creative
suggestions from my honourable friend as to how governments across
Mr. Speaker, the uniqueness of the process in
Mr. Speaker, the second implementation phase of that was
announced some 10 days ago in which we set targets, on May 15, of 240 beds
which we believed the services of which could be reallocated more economically,
without compromising patient care, to other locations of service delivery in
the system. That undertook significant investigation
by the two teaching hospitals, resulting in the announcement 10 days ago of the
types of beds, 264 in total, between two hospitals and where alternative
services will be relocated. That
resulted, Sir, according to labour law of the
Now, Mr. Speaker, there would be no issue if we were not
so open with the process of how we intend to work towards protecting and
preserving medicare for the people of
Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis: Since the minister will not be forthcoming and answer that question, I would like to table for the benefit of members in this House and the public information from his deputy minister showing cut‑back targets three to four times higher than the announced cuts of 264 beds at our teaching hospitals.
I would like to ask the Minister of Health how these two teaching hospitals can achieve budget reduction targets of $19.7 million without cutting more beds, without laying off hundreds of more staff‑‑which in the words of Rod Thorfinnson on Wednesday of this week, he said this would be absolutely devastating. Could the minister now tell us the whole picture, the impact of these kinds of cutbacks on our hospitals?
Mr. Orchard: Mr.
Speaker, again I welcome my honourable friend's question because part of the
difficulty at our two teaching hospitals is that through varying circumstances,
shall we say, they have been unable to adhere to the no‑deficit policy that
has existed since my honourable friend approved that policy at the cabinet
table she sat in, in the previous government of the
Part of the direction that we have given to our two teaching hospitals to be emulated across the system is to no longer use the standard reduction of services of closing beds and lay off nurses, but to look at their management structures, an issue that has come forward every single time to flatten those, to adjust those. We expect to see some significant savings in reduction of management at our hospitals, a topic brought to our attention by the nurses union and other‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Ms. Judy Wasylycia‑Leis (
Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, again that initiative is well in process in collaboration with the management, with the union representation of varying disciplines who are affected in these shifts of services from teaching hospitals to community hospitals and community. Those initiatives of retraining for redeployment are in process.
I have to say–and we knew this when we started the process–one of the complexities in achieving a shift from hospital to hospital, for instance of nursing personnel, is the existence of individual contracts facility by facility which triggers the bumping process which causes some angst within the facility. But we have asked for co‑operation from the union, leadership from the union, and we expect to receive same to assure an orderly transfer of personnel institution to institution despite the existence of individual contracts, because that is in the best interests of their membership in the health care system, Sir.
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the First Minister.
If any group in
Since this First Minister took office in 1988 three communities have been closed, in effect, by mine closures, and layoff notices have been handed out in the hundreds.
My specific question to the First Minister is: Can the First Minister tell this House and
the people of
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines): Mr. Speaker, unlike the administration of
which that member sat as a government member, this government has been very
proactive as it relates to the mining industry in
I can name several of them, if the members would take the opportunity to listen: a $55‑million loan commitment for a $187‑million upgrade of the smelter in his backyard, right in his constituency; major mining tax incentives for a new mine to be established in any community in the North without paying any tax until the capital is paid for; prospectors' assistance.
The members well should know, if they have any experience at all in the communities which they represent, that you have to find new orebodies to have mines, Mr. Speaker, something that is quite often strange to those members opposite.
Mr. Storie: Mr. Speaker, that is how out of touch this government is. Six hundred and fifteen people received lay‑off notices last week, 615 working people.
My question to the First Minister (Mr. Filmon), who
obviously is out of touch, does not know the answer, what does the throne
speech offer the people of
Mr. Downey: Mr.
Speaker, the day that any mine opens is the first day that it starts to close,
because there is a limited amount of ore that is available to be taken
out. New mines have to be found. We have put in place, like we did for
Mining Reserve Fund
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): The Minister of Energy and Mines should get
in touch with the people of
Mr. Speaker, my question to the First Minister, who seems not to care about 615 people losing their jobs or their communities, is: The Snow Lake Community Adjustment Committee has presented a proposal to government for a training and retraining education package. Will the First Minister today, given the extreme difficulty that community faces, accept that proposal, agree to fund that proposal out of the Mining Reserve Fund so that at least the miners and their families may have some other opportunities perhaps in other provinces?
Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines): Mr. Speaker, I want the House to know and the
The program that is in place and the formula is not
unlike what was in place when he was the minister, Mr. Speaker, when it was the
closing down of
Budget Reduction Targets
Ms. Avis Gray (Crescentwood): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education.
I was looking forward to the throne speech yesterday and hearing some substance, particularly pertaining to education. However, since there was no substance in the throne speech on the area of education we will have to leave that document aside and look at the real issues facing the education system.
Mr. Speaker, it has been reported that $17 million would be slashed from the Education budget. Will the minister tell this house: How does the cutback of $17 million fit into the reform plan, and where would those cutbacks be made?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, I too was interested in the reform in education plan that my honourable friend attempted to release about three days ago. She released in her plan for education all of the initiatives that this government presently has in place, initiatives like Workforce 2000, legislative reform, parental involvement.
There were absolutely no ideas from my honourable friend, Mr. Speaker. We brought forward a number of new ideas in our throne speech, and I think it is very important for the member to begin to consider that we are looking for true educational reform in this province through the plan laid down in the throne speech.
Ms. Avis Gray (Crescentwood): Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell us then if she supports our parents' bill of rights and, if not, what other legislative reforms will she have in order to give parents more of a say?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, we are, as we said in the throne speech, very interested in making sure that parents are recognized as important stakeholders, and it was in the throne speech, in answer to the questions from the other side. We have looked for the increasing role of parents partly through our legislative reform document as well, and we will be looking forward to sharing that with Manitobans in the very near future.
Department of Education and TrainingAssistant Deputy Minister
Ms. Avis Gray (Crescentwood): Will the minister tell this House: How does the firing of Mr. Ed Buller, Assistant Deputy Minister for Program Development & Support Services, fit into this minister's plan of education reform?
Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, in the Department of Education we will be looking very carefully at our process of reform and we will be making very clear that we are looking for very excellent people to be moving ahead with our reform program
Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson): Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of talk from this government about new, but there is a new reality of the hurt, the pain that people in this province are feeling, people who have lost jobs and those who are in fear of losing their jobs.
That is particularly the case right now in terms of civil servants in this province. There are indications that this government is once again going to be cutting back severely in terms of Civil Service jobs in this province.
I would like to ask one very straightforward question to
the Premier so that he can give a clear indication to civil servants and their
families what the situation is going to be, and that is very simple. How many more Civil Service jobs are going to
be eliminated from the
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the throne speech that indicates that there is going to be a wholesale removal of positions from the Civil Service. The reality is that like every administration in the world today, we have to continue to review and evaluate what we do with the limited tax dollars that we have available to us. We have to continue to strive to be more efficient. We have to continue to strive to provide services more effectively to the people that we serve and the people who give us their money, entrust it to us, to be able to provide them with services as effectively as possible.
In every respect, we are going to have to continue to do what is being done worldwide, which is to do more, because people continue to have greater and greater expectations of their government‑‑we hear the demands every day from across the way‑‑more without spending more money in order to achieve that.
It is a process of reinventing government. It is a process of ensuring that we can do a better job for the taxpayers of this province. In that, there is the matter of efficiency, and in that there is the matter of always evaluating how we do things and striving to do them better.
In the course of that, from time to time, there are shifts that take place that involve what may be fewer people being able to do the same job. We have to recognize those opportunities. We have to take advantage of those opportunities. We have to do them to ensure that government remains efficient and remains true to the taxpayers' wishes of keeping their tax load down.
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, I did not ask the Premier for a recollection of all the world's statesmen he has talked to in the last little while and what they think.
I asked him very simply: What is he as Premier going to be doing in terms of Civil Service positions in this province? Is it going to be like last year when he said there were not going to be any cuts, and in excess of 300 positions were eliminated? How many people are going to lose their jobs?
Mr. Filmon: Mr. Speaker, you see, this is the interesting thing. This member is interested in featherbedding. He is interested in the old kind of mentality, which is to keep upping the numbers, to keep puffing up the numbers.
There were only 39 actual layoff notices that were given last year‑‑39. That is all he is talking about, Mr. Speaker, and he puffs that up to 300‑‑yes, indeed.
How many people, that is what we are talking about, 39 people, Mr. Speaker, because we as a government continue to strive for more efficiency, for more effective delivery of our programs, because that is what the taxpayers believe we should be doing. That is what they depend upon us for.
All he wants to do is drive up the numbers, put more people on the payroll and raise the taxes of people like he did for six and a half years in government.
That is not acceptable, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Ashton: Mr. Speaker, all I want is an answer. If the Tory benches think that was an answer, they have more serious problems than even I thought.
They eliminated 954 positions in their first majority government budget. They eliminated in excess of 300 last year. How many jobs are going to be eliminated by this government in the upcoming year‑‑how many jobs?
Mr. Filmon: Mr.
Speaker, I want to repeat for the edification of the member for Thompson, our
goal, our objective is not to have to raise taxes in this province. In order to do so, in times when we are
having reductions in transfers from
Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.
I simply want to acknowledge and recognize that our
football team in this city is on its way to the Grey Cup this weekend. I want to ask and invite all members to join
in wishing them well in their competition in
This is an important event not just in the sporting
community, but I think it is an event that has united Canadians in the past and
will again in the future. The game is in
I think we all wish them well, wish our team well in
Now one other thing the members have been indicating in Question Period that my colleague the member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray) has been wearing Tory blue. In fact, it is Blue Bomber blue today, Mr. Speaker, that she is wearing. I simply wanted to clarify that. Thank you.
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I certainly on behalf of all my colleagues‑‑
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable First Minister have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]
Mr. Filmon: On
behalf of all my colleagues in government, I certainly want to join with the
member for St. James (Mr. Edwards) in wishing the Blue Bombers well. I will not be so timid about my partisanship
as I normally am, but I will tell him that I have no hesitation in saying that
we are firmly 100 percent behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. We do not worry about people who might want
to cheer for the Calgary Stampeders. We
believe that we have the best team in the Grey Cup, and they represent the best
city and the best province in
Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon): May I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]
Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to join with my colleague from St. James and the Premier in wishing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers all the best, of course, in the upcoming game. We expect that the Blue Bombers will win and my caucus certainly, to a person, is going to be I think supporting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
I did want to say that there is another team in
MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock), that under Rule 27.(1) that the ordinary business of the House be set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the introduction of Sunday shopping in Manitoba.
Mr. Speaker: Before determining whether the motion meets the requirements of our Rule 27, the honourable Leader of the second opposition party will have five minutes to state her case for the urgency of debating this matter today. A spokesperson for the government and the official opposition party will also have five minutes to address the position of their party respecting the urgency of debating this matter today.
Mrs. Carstairs: Mr. Speaker, there are two specific rules in the House which leads to the introduction of a debate under Rule 27. One is that notice be given, and I believe that we have in fact dealt adequately with that having given notice just at midnight last evening of our desire to do this; secondly, there has to be no other reasonable opportunity to debate this particular motion.
Now normally speaking, Mr. Speaker, we would be in a Speech from the Throne debate which is a wide open and public process and any matter could be debated at that particular point in time, but we are dealing with a very special day in terms of the Throne Speech Debate. It has been traditional in this House that today's debate would be given to the mover and the seconder of the Speech from the Throne. It is rare that any member of the opposition gets an opportunity to debate on this particular first working day of a legislative session. If Sunday shopping was not taking effect until the following Sunday, then it could indeed be ruled, I think, that the Throne Speech Debate was an adequate opportunity for people to dialogue on this very critical matter, but this is not the situation. This action is taking place this Sunday.
The mover of the Speech from the Throne, if the mover takes the traditional time, will in fact be speaking until about 11:40. The seconder will then be speaking until 12:20. We adjourn at 12:30.
That does not give any opposition member in this Chamber the opportunity to present to this government why we believe they should hear a range of opinions with respect to Sunday shopping and not simply the narrow views of that expressed by their own cabinet. We believe that there are even members of their own back bench who might like to participate and express their concerns about an initiative which I think all of us would recognize is not truly a valid study. Anything which is put into place for five months generally becomes a fait accompli. All we have to do is look at the actions of the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson), who changed gambling hours for the summer and then they went on forever.
Mr. Speaker, we truly do believe that this meets the obligations under Rule 27. There is indeed no opportunity for members of the opposition. There is indeed no opportunity for members other than those two who have been designated by the government to be the mover and speaker on the Speech from the Throne. In order to deal with this matter, which is of concern to Manitobans, we must deal with it today.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader): Indeed there are a number of tests that we apply in this House as to whether a matter of urgent public importance is in order. I think if one looks at the situation, there is some argument that can be made in both senses. Obviously, we are in the Throne Speech Debate and, normally, that does allow a fair amount of leeway in terms of allowing debate on a wide range of issues but, on the other hand, there is a very specific role.
This is perhaps the one day of debate, as the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) pointed out, that is very specifically by tradition reserved for the speeches of the mover and seconder from the Speech from the Throne. In fact, in the years that I have been in the House I have never seen a divergence from that, Mr. Speaker.
We believe that that is important. It is a very important opportunity for the mover and seconder of the throne speech to be able to speak, and I believe that it is a tradition that we all share an interest in. That is the dilemma that faces us today, Mr. Speaker, and you in your ruling as to whether there is another opportunity.
The second point indeed, Mr. Speaker, as has been pointed out, is that this issue of Sunday shopping has apparently been decided in cabinet. It is being implemented this Sunday before we have even had a debate in this House on legislation to bring that in. I would take from the throne speech that we are going to have retroactive legislation on Sunday shopping in this province, and that is absolutely reprehensible.
It places us in a difficult position today in the sense that even if we have this matter of urgent public importance debated, it will be nothing more than a generalized debate and will not give us the opportunity to do what we really want, which is to deal with the issue in a bill so that we can debate it and we can vote and have a decision made by this House.
Let us not forget, this issue has traditionally been
dealt with on an all‑party basis.
It was dealt with by the NDP government by all parties. This government showed its new level of
highhandedness, its autocratic behaviour by ramming through something in its
cabinet and then dictating that to the
I would suggest that if the government has concerns about a matter of urgent public importance, the way we could deal with this matter right now is for them to announce when they are going to bring in the bill, the retroactive bill, and announce when we are going to have the opportunity, as members of the Legislature, to speak out on behalf of our constituents. In my case, point to the mistakes this government is making by pushing ahead, ramming this through, when even some of their own caucus members do not even agree with this.
So the bottom line is, Mr. Speaker, we want a debate on
this issue. More importantly, we and the
Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, the great left-wing coalition of this province is still alive. Here we have a situation today where the opposition parties are trying to argue for the urgency of debating Sunday shopping.
The throne speech makes reference to the fact that the government will be bringing in legislation dealing with this issue. Let me say that I have given notice, at least my office has given notice to the Clerk's Office. I believe that the Order Paper on Monday, if not Tuesday, will indicate that the bill dealing with Sunday shopping will be introduced for first reading next week. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, as soon as the Throne Speech Debate is concluded, we will obviously be calling that bill for second reading at that particular time.
Let me point out, Mr. Speaker, the bill will be enabling only. It will not force anybody to shop on Sunday. It will not force anybody to work on Sunday. So the argument is not whether or not this bill is debated before Sunday coming. That is a ruse.
Mr. Speaker, let me also say, though, that the weakest argument put forward by the opposition is that tradition dictates that members opposite cannot speak today. That is not a rule. Any member today can get up and speak after the seconder. I am led to believe that the total number of minutes that our mover and seconder will consume for the Throne Speech Debate totals roughly between 40 and 50 minutes. So there will be ample time for the Leader of the Second Opposition (Mrs. Carstairs), if she so chooses, to get up and make her presentation. It is a wide open debate.
For those reasons, Mr. Speaker, I say to you that there obviously is no urgency. There is obviously an incredible opportunity to debate this issue over all of next week, over all of the Throne Speech Debate and, indeed, more importantly, my promise to the House that this will be called in a bill fashion for second reading as soon as we have considered the Throne Speech Debate.
Mr. Speaker: I would
like to thank all honourable members for their advice as to whether the motion
proposed by the honourable member for
I did receive the notice required under our subrule 27.(1). According to our Rule 27 and Beauchesne's Citations 389 and 390, there are two conditions to be met before a matter of public importance can proceed. They are: (a) the subject matter must be so pressing that the ordinary opportunities for debate will not allow it to be brought on early enough; and (b) it must be shown that the public interest will suffer if the matter is not given immediate attention.
With the respect to the timing of the discussion of the
matter, there are no other opportunities for this Assembly to discuss the
matter before Sunday shopping commences on a trial basis in
Regarding the second criteria for discussion of a matter of urgent public importance, that having to do with the urgency of the matter, I am not convinced that the matter is so pressing that the public interest will suffer if it is not given immediate attention by being debated today. I am aware that members view the matter to be a pressing one, and I understand this issue will affect a large number of people in the work force and business, but I am not convince that the public will suffer.
Therefore, I am ruling that it does not meet the criteria set by our rules and practices. Further, there will be an opportunity for the matter to be debated when legislation is before the House to provide for Sunday shopping.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader): Mr. Speaker, with respect, I challenge the ruling.
Mr. Speaker: The ruling of the Chair has been challenged. Shall the ruling of the Chair be sustained? All those in favour, 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. Lamoureux: Yeas and Nays, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Call in the members.
The question before the House is: Shall the ruling of the Chair be sustained?
A STANDING VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:
Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst, Filmon, Findlay, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Laurendeau, McAlpine, McIntosh, Manness, Mitchelson, Neufeld, Orchard, Pallister, Penner, Praznik, Reimer, Render, Rose, Sveinson, Vodrey.
Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Cheema, Chomiak,
Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Hickes,
Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid,
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): Yeas 27, Nays 25.
Mr. Speaker: The ruling of the Chair has been sustained.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
(First Day of Debate)
Mr. Speaker: Consideration of the speech of the honourable Administrator.
Mrs. Louise Dacquay (
We, Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the
Legislative Assembly of
Mrs. Dacquay: Mr. Speaker, I regard the challenge of moving the acceptance of the throne speech as both a privilege and an honour. I would like to thank the Premier (Mr. Filmon) for providing me with this opportunity.
I would also like to begin by extending my congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker, on your reappointment to the Office of the Speaker. I have experienced the challenges of the Chair and I congratulate you for your patience. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to you and your office, the Clerk, the Deputy Clerk and all of the staff in the Clerk's Office, Hansard staff, the Sergeant‑at‑Arms and the Deputy Sergeant‑at‑Arms for their assistance and co‑operation extended to me as my role of Deputy Speaker.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all
honourable members back to the Chamber for another session and, in addition, I
would like to extend a sincere welcome to the two new members of the House, my
colleague the honourable member for
I would also like to extend a welcome to our new Pages,
and we are impressed with their first initiative this morning: Matthew Jenkins
from Selkirk, Jeffrey Peters from
Mr. Speaker, I am always mindful that I would not be here
if it were not for the support of my constituents. I want to take this opportunity to thank all
of the residents of the
I always enjoy opportunities to meet with constituents
and hear them express their views on the state of
Mr. Speaker, we are all keenly aware of the difficult
times that have been facing Canadians from coast to coast. Conversely, I think that as
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments to put some of the good news on the record. This government has managed to cut and hold the line on taxes for the past four years. I consider that a major accomplishment. We have, while keeping the deficit down, maintained spending levels on the services Manitobans depend on the most‑‑Education, Health, and Family Services.
More and more employment opportunities are being opened
through government initiatives. In the
past year, we have developed a number of programs, one of which is Partners
with Youth. This is a partnership
between business, youth and our government, and it did create jobs for young
Manitobans. Another program which
benefitted the youth of
As I travel across my constituency and across
A few weeks ago, the Economic Innovation and Technology Council held a forum which brought together representatives from business, labour, government and education to discuss common problems and possible solutions for Manitobans. I was pleased to participate in this forum. From all indications, it was a success, as new contacts, ideas and solutions were developed. This is, I feel, the type of approach we need to the economic challenges which face our province.
This great province of ours has endless opportunities for
everyone within its borders. In the past
four years, more and more people outside of
We are also attracting many new visitors to
In fact, Statistics Canada recently announced that our
province is expected to have the second largest increase in total capital
investment of anywhere in
The world is a rapidly changing place. As a province, we must be prepared for these
changes, because there is a tremendous opportunity for
Equally as important, attracting new business will
provide an environment conducive for companies to invest in
As these businesses grow and expand, there are more companies and employees in the province who are going to pay taxes which will allow our government to provide the most important human services‑‑Education, Health and Family Services. Undoubtedly, one of the most important services we provide is that of education. The children of today must be properly cared for, nurtured and educated. We must use the tools of today to ensure that the work force of tomorrow has all of the tools necessary to succeed.
I applaud this government's commitment to education in
In the past year, I have had the opportunity to visit a
number of schools in my constituency of
I am pleased that our government will be exploring options toward improving standards and increasing province‑wide testing and evaluation in the most important areas such as science, mathematics and language arts. Parents want quality education for their children and we, as a government, must always be looking to improve our education system. To that end, our government will be hosting an innovative forum to discuss the implementation of vital education reforms. Our government has and will continue in the future to make education a top priority. The education that we provide for today's youth is the inspiration and the training for tomorrow's career.
Another of our government's programs which has enjoyed success is the Community Places Program. This past fall, I had the distinct pleasure of working with the H S Paul School parent association who participated in this program. The parents' association worked tirelessly to raise funds independent of government, and our government assisted by approving a Community Places grant to construct a long‑awaited neighbourhood play space and recreation area. I am confident that it will provide the community with lasting benefits for many years to come.
Health care and education are on the minds of my constituents and on the minds of most Manitobans. Our government has maintained priority spending on these vital human services. The necessity and protection of these services cannot be overstated.
As a recent user of our health care system, I am grateful for the excellent, efficient health care that is provided to Manitobans. Recently, our government has taken steps towards improving our health care system. The challenges and problems of the current system have meant a shift in the health care services from high cost institutions to community‑based facilities. This is an important move by our government, one which ensures that our children and our grandchildren will have a health care system which will adequately address their needs.
It is the need of Manitobans which guides the government as we attempt to provide Manitobans with the best health care possible. We must take advantage of the latest technologies. With that in mind, I am pleased that the development of computerized health card technology in the area of Pharmacare is a priority of our honourable Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard).
Our government has taken many steps to improve the health
care system in
As I have mentioned, two of the most important areas of concern to our government and to all Manitobans are education and health care. These two areas came together this past spring to form a partnership in education.
This was once again an initiative of the
One of the things I am most proud of in my constituency
is the level of volunteerism. In particular,
at Dakota Community Centre, many volunteers give endless amounts of time and
energy to the community and our youth. I
had the honour of hosting a Canada Day celebration this past summer that
included a salute to volunteers. Over
150 volunteers were given certificates and a
As a member for a constituency with a large number of
families, I know how important it is for people to become involved in their
community. Many constituents volunteer
in numerous organizations, such as Pride, Brownies, Girl Guides, Cubs and
Scouts. We all need to lend our wisdom,
experience and knowledge to
Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with this Chamber
another example of volunteerism and Manitobans pulling together to accomplish a
goal. This past fall was the occasion of
the Annual Terry Fox Torch Light Run in
This past spring, I also had the honour of hosting and participating with many dedicated constituent volunteers in the Manitoba Cancer Research Foundation fundraising fashion show. A number of volunteers worked long and hard to make this fashion show a success, and I thank my colleagues who participated. We raised over $1,200 towards this most worthwhile charity.
Despite the challenging economic times in
Mr. Speaker, the basic concerns of people in
Mr. Speaker, I am personally committed to those goals,
and I will continue to listen to the concerns of the people of
Mr. Brian Pallister (
I would like to begin, Mr. Speaker, by thanking you and
this House for the opportunity to speak today and to second the Speech from the
Throne. To begin, I would like to praise
the people of my constituency who have been so supportive and helpful of me during
both the election campaign and since that time.
As well, I would like to pay tribute to the previous member from
As members of this Assembly, we have a common desire, and that desire is to shape the future of this province. Although our visions may certainly vary at times, I believe that we have that common thread running through all of us. We are not prepared to accept the false fact that our future is one that is predetermined. Instead we choose to believe that we have power; we recognize that other jurisdictions and circumstances may limit the extent to which we are able to influence the future but we persevere in the attempt nevertheless.
I think this is a noble attempt. Other honourable members have preceded us in this esteemed Chamber with these same desires, their circumstances perhaps more similar than different to ours. Their successes or failures, history will judge, but I salute them for their efforts and I salute you for yours. I am deeply honoured to join with you in the attempt.
I believe it is customary, Mr. Speaker, at this time to spend a little bit of time educating my fellow members on my home constituency and I will do so now.
Our city and our district offer an impeccable quality of
life. From the spectacular features of
Indeed we are involved as a community, Mr. Speaker. Our involvement is highlighted by the annual Portage Exhibition, the Strawberry Festival, and perhaps most recently was illustrated in our successful hosting of the World Junior Curling Championships which saw over 350 volunteers give of their time to put on an event which was of a world‑class nature‑‑a credit not only to my constituents, but to all of us in Manitoba.
Urban living blends with country style in my community, Mr. Speaker. We have over 100 community volunteer organizations, a superb educational system from kindergarten to high school.
I believe the presence of two new Pages from
We offer post-secondary opportunities at the Red River
Community College, Patal Vocational Institute, as well as the
In terms of tourism, I have long felt that
The Delta Marsh, Mr. Speaker, located just outside of our city has long been recognized as a world‑class waterfowl staging area, and it has proven to have magnetic appeal to nature lovers the world around. Many of my fellow members, presently and in the past, have enjoyed the beauty of this area. It is interesting to note that in fact in the 1930s and '40s, such people as Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Ernest Hemingway, Dick Powell visited this area, and it has long been an attractive area in this province.
An Honourable Member: Harry Enns.
Mr. Pallister: And Harry Enns as well I believe.
Agriculture is at the heart of our economy, boasting the
richest agricultural land I believe in western
In terms of industry, in
In terms of location,
Because of its many resources, chief of which are its
fine people, the
Mr. Speaker, it has been said, and wisely so, that
"History is a great teacher."
I believe this to be a true statement, so please allow me to provide you
with some greater insights into my community by going back in time, back, way
back, long ago, to an ancient time, before the member for
Via this route in 1738, Sieur Gaultier Varennes de la
Verendrye, whose marvelous statue graces the east entrance to our House, came
His voyage of discovery had commercial motivations as he established trading posts to assist in the French fur trade.
As you can see, Mr. Speaker, my constituency has long been a well‑located commercial center.
Archdeacon Cochrane, of the East Church Mission Society,
is credited with having established the first white settlement in
He had been giving spiritual guidance to the Red River
settlement 80 kilometres to the east and, perhaps in frustration, travelled
that short distance to
The settlement grew and as it did the problems of governing it also grew. There was extreme lawlessness and a fair number of unsavoury characters, in direct opposition to the meeting I attended this past weekend with some of my colleagues where we had a very civilized gathering, Mr. Speaker, and perhaps more resembling a meeting held the week earlier attended by some members opposite.
In response to the lack of attention being paid to these
problems by the territorial authorities in
Although the republic's life was not long, messages are clear: Any government that ignores the people of Portage la Prairie and area does so at its extreme peril; and secondly, my constituency is politically active as evidenced by the large number of influential representatives it has selected over the years including four Manitoba Premiers: John Norquay, Douglas Campbell, Walter Weir and Sterling Lyon as well as one Canadian Prime Minister Arthur Meighen.
By 1900, Portage la Prairie had been transformed from a clapboard frontier town with a muddy ox cart trail as its main thoroughfare to a modern, civilized community‑‑I repeat civilized‑‑with attractive multistory brick buildings of distinct architectural quality lining the most developed and visually appealing main street in this country, west of Winnipeg.
Economic devastation is not new to
Today's challenges are more similar than different to
those of the past, Mr. Speaker. You are
aware of the recent closure of the two major employers in
The strength of cooperation among various economic
development agencies in our community was a key factor in the procurement of
the privatized flight training contract for the Department of National
Defence. A co‑operative community economic
development forum, the first of its kind in this province, was established in
People who had been content to spectate, Mr. Speaker, and to delegate responsibilities for the community's future are no longer on the sidelines. Today, in my community, they have entered the playing field. They have done this because they recognize the consequences of apathy, or worse, of petty criticism.
In our past, in my community, Mr. Speaker, we may well have had an overabundance of critics. It has been said, and I do direct this comment to my new friends opposite, that a donkey can kick a shed down, but it takes a carpenter to build one.
In my community, we have an ever increasing number of
In the fall of 1928, disaster came to a family farm just
Mr. Speaker, I am asked will
I am a resident of rural
Growing up on what is today a fourth generation family farm, I have a personal sympathy for the great challenges faced by our farm operators. This government has been cognizant of the needs of our farm sector and rightfully so, for though we have a diverse economy the agriculture sector will remain a key influence on this province's future success. I encourage and support the initiative of a forum bringing together strategic partners in agriculture in order to identify directions in diversification, value‑added processing and exports.
Having taught high school in your own constituency, Mr.
Speaker, in the beautiful community of
Having built a financial services firm from nothing to a reasonably successful operation‑‑at least it had been successful until my present foray into this Chamber‑‑I have first‑hand understanding of the challenges faced by the small business person in our province today. I congratulate this government in its struggle to hold the line on taxes, while at the same time providing meaningful education and training supports such as the Workforce 2000 program.
As a financial consultant, I am fully cognizant of the unlimited difficulties faced by all of us in managing very limited dollars. I will encourage this government to avoid the course of action mistakenly being followed by other provincial jurisdictions. The idiocy of spending one's way out of debt makes no more sense in government than it would make sense in your own home or business. The spendaholic tendencies of previous provincial and federal governments were short‑term solutions which now contribute to long‑term problems. Surely, we must learn from the mistakes of the past, Mr. Speaker.
Our Manitoban and Canadian society is a changing one. Any success that I have experienced in my life has come about because of a willingness to respond to change and a strong work ethic. Genuine responsibility and genuine responsible leadership must set an innovative and dedicated example. I look forward to serving my constituents in such a manner, both as an individual and as part of a talented group whose commitment to the people of this province is unquestionable and which I share.
Many have asked what is in the future for
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): I move, seconded by the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), that the debate now be adjourned.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the will of the House to call it 12:30?
The hour being 12:30, this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday.