Monday, November 30, 1992


The House met at 1:30 p.m






Speaker's Statement

Mr. Speaker:  I have a statement for the House.

            As members know, the Manitoba Legislative Internship Program has been in operation since 1985.  Each year a total of six interns are chosen for the program.  Again this year, two interns have been assigned to each of the three caucuses.  Their term of employment is for 12 months.  During their term, interns perform a variety of research and other tasks for private members as distinct from members.

            My purpose today is to announce the names of the six young people who have been selected to serve as Manitoba's 1992‑93 Legislative interns.  They commenced their assignment at the beginning of September.

            Working with the government caucus are Mr. Cameron MacKay of Queen's University and Ms. Reagan Whicklow of the University of Winnipeg.  Working with the caucus of the official opposition will be Ms. Sandra Johnson of the University of Manitoba and Ms. Paula Gunn of McGill University.  Working with the caucus of the second opposition party will be Mr. Derek Boutang of the University of Manitoba and Ms. Kim Morrison of the University of Manitoba.  Congratulations.



Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Lillian Tijal, Karl Schloffer, Elsa Von Kampen and others requesting the government of Manitoba pass the necessary legislation and/or regulations which will restrict stubble burning in the province of Manitoba.




Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema), and it complies with the practices and the rules of the House.  Is it the will of the House to have the petition read? [agreed]

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  The petition of the undersigned residents of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

            WHEREAS the principles of health care, namely the universality and comprehensiveness, should apply to the Pharmacare program; and

            WHEREAS the Pharmacare program's effectiveness is being eroded; and

            WHEREAS in the most recent round of delisting of pharmaceuticals, approximately 200 have been delisted by the government of Manitoba; and

            WHEREAS the strict submission deadline for Pharmacare receipts does not take into consideration extenuating circumstances which may have affected some people; and

            WHEREAS pharmaceutical refunds often take six weeks to reach people; and

            WHEREAS a health "smart card" would provide information to reduce the risk of ordering drugs which interact or are ineffective, could eliminate "double prescribing," and could also be used to purchase pharmaceuticals on the Pharmacare program, thereby easing the cash burden on purchasers.

            WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly urge the government of Manitoba to consider taking the necessary steps to reform the Pharmacare system to maintain its comprehensive and universal nature, and to implement the use of a health "smart card."





Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I have a statement to the House with an attachment and copies for all members.

            Mr. Speaker, the federal government is proceeding with committee hearings concerning Bill C‑91.  I am making this statement to the House today because the process precluded my own presentation to the committee.  I requested an opportunity to address the committee, but we were informed on Friday last that only six presenters will be heard today and tomorrow.

            Speaking for Health ministers across the country, with the exception of Quebec, Elizabeth Cull of British Columbia addressed the committee at noon today in Ottawa.  I thank Ms. Cull for the co-operation and consideration in offering the half hour which was allocated for her presentation.  In conversation with her over the weekend, we determined that it would be counterproductive to fragment the combined presentation by Health ministers and made by Ms. Cull on behalf of ministers, with the exception of the Province of Quebec.


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            I would like to table the October 29, 1992, letter sent by Ms. Cull to the federal Minister of Health, The Honourable Benoit Bouchard, which states the position of the provincial/territorial Ministers of Health concerning Bill C‑91.  Her letter indicates the amendments agreed to by the ministers during their meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland, in September, when they indicated to the federal minister their preference that the bill not proceed.

            I believe the current compulsory legislative framework has served Canadians and Manitobans well.  We have seen significant investment from generic firms in Manitoba.  The unique advantage of this province's economy has seen increased investment and expansion from firms such as Ayerst in the production of Premarin.

            Manitoba is opposed to the retroactivity of Bill C‑91 for the following reasons:

            The existing compulsory licensing does work.  Since the passage of Bill C‑22, the province has enjoyed significant industrial commitments in the health care sector over the past four years by firms such as Trimel Life Sciences, Apotex Biotechnologies Inc., Novapharm, Medix and Medical Technology Inc.  They have contributed to an estimated sum of private and public sector funds exceeding $500 million.

            These companies are here because Manitoba is the right place to be.  It has the scientific and industrial expertise and commitment, the right investment climate and the natural strength of our economy.

            We find the retroactive date of December 20, 1991, to be wrong, and we are not prepared to endorse a precedent‑setting bill which may impact future intergovernmental initiatives. Changing the rules of the game may jeopardize both present and future opportunity for generic companies to become world leaders in the industry.

            This raises the question of fairness and propriety in advancing C‑91.  There will be cost to the government of Manitoba, hence to its taxpayers.

            We cannot undertake additional costs at a time when the federal commitment to health care is regrettably not keeping pace with our budgetary pressures.  These costs cannot be accurately estimated at this time, but I would predict they would range in the millions, not in thousands of dollars.

            Since the passage of Bill C‑22, Manitoba has aggressively promoted its research and development capabilities in the pharmaceutical industry.  There is substantial investment by generic companies under the existing rules of Bill C‑22.  Of great concern is the impact on future development of our Canadian drug manufacturing companies.

            It is my belief that under the existing provisions some of our generic companies will become innovators in their own right, and as a result, Canada will enjoy a home‑grown innovative presence in the global market.

            This theme fits with the recent federal government's prosperity initiative whereby efforts were focused upon centres of excellence.  Likewise, national medical granting agencies have historically committed significant proportions of their resources to the province of Manitoba due to the acknowledged critical mass of excellence.  According to its annual report, the Medical Research Council of Canada has invested 4.5 to 5 percent of almost $40 million to Manitoba over the past five years as a result of peer‑reviewed competition.

            In closing, I would like to emphasize my concern regarding the fairness in distribution of an investment by innovative companies.  We know that central Canada, Montreal and Toronto in particular, will receive significant new investment.  We argue that investment should be extended to the rest of Canada. Manitoba, in particular, should be a large recipient of new investment dollars.  I say this because of the already‑in‑progress investments by innovative and generic companies in Manitoba and particularly, Mr. Speaker, because it is the right thing to do.  Thank you, Sir.


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Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, responding to the minister's statement today, I am quite disappointed by the minister's real void in dealing with the drug patent law issue in terms of dealing with the total policy issues contained within the drug policy objectives of the federal Conservative government.  This minister has left out the fact that the free trade agreement with Mexico, initialled by his federal leader and the past president of the United States as of some time in January and President Salinas of Mexico, has initialled off in the NAFTA agreement the very same provisions that this minister stands up in the House today to condemn.

            He knows that NAFTA, as it is presently proposed, will entrench this in the trade agreement, yet ministers opposite in the Speech from the Throne and members of the front bench do not want to talk about NAFTA.  They do not want to criticize their federal Conservative government and their corporate trade agenda and what it will mean for Canadians.  I am quite disappointed in this minister for thinking he could cherry‑pick this issue into a narrow piece of federal legislation and not know that all of us are following this issue very carefully, Mr. Speaker, and very, very carefully on behalf of the people of Manitoba.

            I would refer the minister and the government to The New York Times of two weeks ago, where they state very clearly that the federal Conservative government, a government that many over there campaigned for, has signed off in San Antonio provisions that will entrench the drug patent law in this trade agreement.

            The New York Times goes on to say:  How could Canada do this?  How can the Conservatives do this when they recognize in their article of two weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, that we enjoy a 32 percent saving on our drug costs in Canada because of our drug laws, versus the Tory philosophy that is contained in the NAFTA agreement and now is presently before Parliament, yet we hear silence from members opposite on NAFTA.  We hear silence on the jobs that are at stake in the generic drug industry in Manitoba. It is not surprising to us, Mr. Speaker, because we remember the initial debate on C‑22.

            Oh, yes, the government will say it is different, but it was the first piece of legislation, according to every health economist, that started to prohibit Canada for having a made‑in‑Canada drug policy.  These people voted with the federal Conservatives at that point in 1987.  I guess, when it gets close to the federal election, they get their ideological house in order in terms of the federal Conservative government.

            I would go on to say, Mr. Speaker, that extending the patent life of drugs is likely to cost consumers immediately and add to the burden of government costs for health care.  You know, this government talks about health care reform, but when it comes to the NAFTA agreement that will entrench this, they say nothing. Of course, Democrats in the Congress and in the Senate are saying we are slitting our own throats by limiting our options to contain drug costs in this NAFTA agreement.

            Where is the intellectual honesty of members opposite and this Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard)?  It is nowhere, and until they start condemning the NAFTA agreement and the clause dealing with drug patent law, we will just think that this is public relations statements, not statements of substance on behalf of Manitobans.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Well, Mr. Speaker, I have to say I am pleased that the minister has finally woken up to what is a critical issue with regard to generic drugs and their production in Canada.

            You know, one of the very sad things about the federal government is that they appear to believe that our logical relationship with the United States should preempt our relationship with Canadian people.  We know that the most important thing for those who need a drug prescription is the cost, because we know of a great many seniors who quite frankly do not have prescriptions renewed because they simply cannot afford to have them renewed.  Even with Pharmacare policies, some of them still put off the renewal of those prescriptions, knowing that because, until recently‑‑hopefully the minister is going to change this‑‑they had to put 100 percent of the cost up.

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            That is why we proposed a Pharmacare card in 1986, so that they would be in a position where they would only have to put up 20 percent of the cost once they had reached their full limit. Then they would have that 80 percent that they could then spend on the necessity of food, which is also an important component of their health care.

            That is why we were opposed to Bill C‑22, because C‑22 began the process that put us on the slippery slope of this present piece of legislation.  That is what started it, and unfortunately this government supported Bill C‑22.  We could not get them to support even a resolution in this House which indicated their dismay at the type of legislation which was going to harm the generic drug industry but, more importantly, was going to put up the cost of prescription drugs.

            Bill C‑91 goes further, but I am also deeply disturbed at the process here.  I am appalled that our Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has not been able to make a presentation.  I cannot understand quite frankly that this federal government has learned nothing from the process of October 26.  It has decided yet once again to not listen to the public, as duly represented by their Health minister from this province.  It represents a government that is determined to keep their corporate alliance with American companies alive and well in terms of the federal Conservative government and to not work in the best interests of the people of this province and this country.

            I hope that the minister goes further than his ministerial statement here today, but that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) writes an extremely strongly worded letter to the Prime Minister of this nation indicating that provincial politicians, in terms of health care, have a very important role to play and that legislation by the federal government impacts severely upon our ability to deliver good quality health care.  I would like to see a letter from the Premier tomorrow tabled in this House indicating that he has gone this one step further and has informed the Prime Minister of the total unacceptability, not only of this legislation, but of the process put in place by the federal government.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Annual Report for the Surface Rights Board and also the Annual Report for the Manitoba Municipal Employees Benefits Board.


Speaker's Statement


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the presence at the table of Judy White, who has been appointed Clerk of Committees to replace Patricia Chaychuk‑Fitzpatrick, who is on a one‑year leave of absence.  I am sure that all honourable members would wish to welcome her to the staff of the Assembly.

Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Also, I would like to draw the attention of honourable members to the gallery, where we have nine student council members from the Sturgeon Creek Regional Secondary School.  The students are under the direction of Mr. Wayne Rae. This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine).

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


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North American Free Trade Agreement

Government Position


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, in 1990, during the provincial election, the Premier said he was opposed to free trade with Mexico, no ifs, ands or buts.  After that date he equivocated a bit, and then in 1991 he came out with six conditions that would be the so‑called bottom‑line conditions. We asked questions on the six conditions with draft agreements last year.  The Premier said, in due time, when the final draft is out, they would in fact tell us what the bottom line of those six conditions were, whether they would support or not NAFTA. The Premier then went on to say last spring that if the Prime Minister disagreed with provinces, he would have a very difficult time implementing this trade agreement if the Premiers of a number of provinces were opposed to it.

            In August, when the legal text was released, we were told by his minister that within three weeks we would know what the position of the provincial government is.  We understand that they have been holding private meetings with a number of groups across Manitoba over the last three months.

            We would like to know from the Premier:  What is his bottom line?  He has told us in his six conditions that he would give us his bottom line on NAFTA.  What today is his bottom line on NAFTA for the people of Manitoba?  Is the government for this proposed trade agreement, or is it against it?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition knows full well that trade is a very important issue to the economy and the people of Manitoba, that this is an issue that Manitobans depend upon for their prosperity, their standard of living, their quality of life.  In fact, the throne speech, I believe, indicates that even in 1991, at a time when the economy was obviously in difficulty world wide, our exports from Manitoba increased by 4.5 percent.  This year, 1992, our exports are increasing at a rate of some 13 percent at a time again when the economy is still having its difficulties.  Trade is a major engine of our economy's growth and operation, so we must ensure that whatever we do ensures that we have continued trading access, continued opportunities to build our economy based on that trade.

            We in Manitoba have taken the position, as the Leader of the Opposition rightly points out, that any North American Free Trade Agreement must fulfill six conditions.  Those six conditions have been laid out, and those six conditions have been the basis upon which we have been monitoring the negotiations of the Government of Canada.  Further to that, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) has been in the midst of consultations with the various sectors of the Manitoba economy, and I know that he will be in a position to report on those discussions and summary of the anticipated effects in the not too distant future.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, today we have the example of a vacuous government in terms of policy.  We have one minister complaining about one piece of legislation which is entrenched in the North American Free Trade Agreement; we have one minister for political purposes talking about how this is going to help central Canada and hurt Manitoba, and we have one minister talking about something that we know from The New York Times, the 32 percent increase in cost, yet this Premier (Mr. Filmon) knows that one of his bottom lines was no change to the existing agreement.  He is not willing to take a stand three months after.

            I would ask the Premier:  In light of the increased drug costs for Manitobans and his Health care department, in light of the fact that we are going to lose jobs and investment according to his own Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), can he give us finally his bottom line which he promised to Manitobans a year ago about those six conditions?  Is this good for Manitoba, or is it not, and will he tell us where he is at in terms of this very, very major trade agreement in terms of jobs, investment and consumer prices for health in terms of the province of Manitoba?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I have indicated to the Leader of the Opposition that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) is in the midst of his consultations with all sectors of the Manitoba economy, with all of the producers, and he is in the process of assessing and analyzing the results of those consultations as to what the effects will be on the Manitoba economy based on the proposal that we now have.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, I would remind the Premier that it was his promise in 1990, during the period of time he was seeking a mandate, that Manitobans have to go by, that he was absolutely opposed to it.  Then he equivocated with those six conditions, flip‑flop, if you will.  He would not tell us about the draft agreements.  He would not tell us about his conditions based on public consultations.  They would not table the results of the public consultations.

            Now surely the Premier who makes the promise is responsible for telling the people of Manitoba what position he has as chair of the Economic Development Committee of Cabinet and as the head of the government.  We do not want one minister saying one thing and one minister saying another, like we usually see with deregulation of the airline industry and telecommunications.

            Will this Premier tell us where he stands on the free trade agreement with Mexico?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, rather than having a philosophical or a knee‑jerk response, we want our government's position to be based on what the agreement will do for the province of Manitoba.

            I have already indicated to the Leader of the Opposition that Manitoba is very heavily dependent upon trade for its standard of living, that increasing trade opportunities are absolutely essential to this province in order to maintain an opportunity for prosperity and growth in the future, so therefore we must consult with all sectors of the Manitoba economy who might be affected by any trading agreement to ensure that we are well aware of what effects the potential agreement might have on their sector of the economy.  After those consultations are complete, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) will respond to the Leader of the Opposition on this matter.


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Child and Family Support Division

Reporting Process


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, in the Estimates for the Department of Family Services, the Child and Family Support Division has as its two main objectives the planning and development of a comprehensive continuum of Child and Family Services throughout the province and the ensuring that the delivery of high quality services by external agencies is undertaken.

            I would like to ask the Minister of Family Services today why the mandate of the Child and Family Support Division has been expanded now and changed to manage issues that might be embarrassing for the minister and his government rather than spending their time, energy and resources on planning, developing and delivering services for the children of Manitoba.

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, the Department of Family Services has a wide variety of activities.  Certainly one of the most important that we are involved in is looking after the Child and Family Services Agencies.

            In saying that, we have a lot of reforms that are going on at this time within Child and Family Services.  We have recently received the Suche report and have a number of working groups that are putting that into practice.  As well, we have recently adopted the high risk indicators which the agencies are working now at in‑servicing their staff on.

            The member supported the bill on the Child Advocate in the last session, and this is in process.  We hope to have that office up and running in the near future.  As well, we are working on the service information system which now is nearly ready to be put in use in the central Manitoba agency and one which will soon be expanded to other areas of the Child and Family Services Agencies as well.

Ms. Barrett:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to table for the House today a letter written at the end of last week to the executive directors, Child and Family Services Agencies, regional directors and regional offices from the executive director of Child and Family Support stating that since the House was coming in November 26, the Child and Family Support Division was asking each executive director of Child and Family Services and regional offices to provide the minister's office with issues every morning by ten o'clock.

            I would like to ask the minister if this is an appropriate use of the very small, totally overworked resources of not only the Child and Family Support Division, but more importantly even, the executive directors and the staff of the Child and Family Service Agencies are supposed to be protecting children.

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, the member well knows that government has mandated those agencies to perform those tasks for government, for the Department of Family Services.  At the same time, the member brings case‑specific issues to the House from time to time.  I recall one such time last session when the member was demanding that the minister know what happened to a child that was left abandoned on a street in the city.  The agency had reacted within 25 minutes, and the member was condemning government and the minister for not knowing that.

            The need to provide information to the department and to the minister is vital in terms of the minister knowing the activities of all of the agencies that we fund.  I would point out to the member that our department relates to 180,000 Manitobans across our various divisions, and in order to be able to work with those agencies and work with those Manitobans, the ministry and the department needs that flow of information so that we are able to work with them and comment on those issues.


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Ms. Barrett:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Family Services why it so‑called "happens."  Is it just coincidence that it is the day before the House sits that this letter goes out, that we have to have immediate response‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member has put her question.

Mr. Gilleshammer:  As you are well aware, we have a hierarchy of officials within government, a deputy minister and assistant deputy ministers.  The assistant deputy ministers, on a regular basis, are in contact with the agencies that are mandated and do have a process of two‑way communication going between government and those agencies.


Child and Family Support Division

Reporting Process


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, this is really quite unprecedented.  Either the minister does not have a normal reporting procedure, which I hope for the sake of the children of this province he must have in place, or he has decided that the only time the agencies need report to him is when the Legislature is in session, so that the needs of the children are only important the four months that we sit in this Chamber.

            Would the minister please explain to me just which one of those two it is?  Does he not have a regular reporting procedure, or is he only really interested in children four months a year?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  The Leader of the third party is well aware that there is a regular reporting procedure within this department and within all departments.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why the executive directors, Child and Family Services Agencies, the regional directors in the regional offices received this fax on November 25 at approximately five o'clock, 5:01 according to one agency, the night before the session was to open?  How does he explain that this is not a blatant political act by his department?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  I have indicated in the past that opposition members and politicians in general, I think, have made too much politics out of child welfare in the past.  The officials within my department are in regular communication with all of the agencies that we work with, and if some officials are trying to enhance and clarify that reporting structure within the department, that is something that they will do on an ongoing basis.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, perhaps the reason the minister thinks that too much politics is involved is because it is only when we ask questions in this House do we even get an answer. When we write him letters, we get answers which say, we will bring this to the minister's attention.  I have at least ten of those letters without any follow-ups, and when I asked his staff last week for a reply to one of these letters, I was informed, oh, we do not have to reply; that is not necessary.  So can the minister‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Are we into Orders of the Day already and this is a speech, or what?

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, it has generally been the rules that the Leaders of the two opposition parties get a preamble to all three questions.  Perhaps the Premier (Mr. Filmon) would like to change that, and he will shorten his own answers.

            Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is:  Will he rescind this letter and not try to make an extension of political staff all of the people who work in these agencies?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  The member has indicated that my department does not give responses to requests and information that come from the public or other members.  We turn our correspondence around in two or three weeks.  We have found that there are times when we have responded to correspondence in the Liberal Leader's office, and maybe it has not been drawn to her attention.

            In reference to the question, I have not seen the correspondence the member is referencing, but I will have a look at it.


Transportation Industry

Employment Security


Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  Mr. Speaker, in 1984 Transport minister Axworthy and former Transport minister Mazankowski argued as to who was the real godfather of deregulation.  On November 12 of this year, the light finally came on for the Manitoba Minister of Transportation (Mr. Driedger) when he recognized the failures of deregulation, a policy which he had blindly followed.

            My question is for the Minister of Highways and Transportation.  Will this Minister of Transportation explain to Manitobans what success he and his government have had in preserving and protecting transportation jobs in Manitoba?

Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, I think the public is aware of the fact that there are changing issues out there in the transportation industry, whether it is the airlines, whether it is the railways.  They are affected in Manitoba and in Canada like they are in other parts of the world.

            Mr. Speaker, we have continually put forward the position that we would like to have the least minimum impact in terms of employment within the province, and we will always continue to take that position forward.

Mr. Reid:  My supplementary question is to the same minister, Mr. Speaker.

            In light of the announcement last week that CN was slashing its work force, along with Air Canada's announced layoffs of 168 finance department employees and 33 pilots, how many transportation jobs does the Minister of Transportation expect will be left in Manitoba when his government refuses to take any action?

Mr. Driedger:  Mr. Speaker, I think everybody is aware of the fact that CN is challenged with trying to cut down overhead costs and operating costs in order to be competitive and to remain in business.  I think members are aware that there are discussions taking place between CN officials and the union officials at the present time.

            The position that both myself and the Premier (Mr. Filmon) have put forward with CN is, if there are going to be layoffs, and I hope there will not be any, but if there are layoffs, that we will be treated as fair as the other provinces are treated. You have to consider the fact that we are the second highest employer in the country in terms of jobs with the railways, next to Quebec.  We are very concerned that there will not be layoffs, and if there are layoffs, that we at least be treated fairly.

Mr. Reid:  My final supplementary is to the same minister, Mr. Speaker.

            Since the minister has stated that Manitoba is not a major player in the airline industry, which is quickly becoming a reality, what strategy does this minister have to protect the airline jobs in Manitoba?  Will he now call for reregulation of the transportation industries in general?

Mr. Driedger:  Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure exactly what the member wants with a question of that nature.  If the member has read the comments that have been made by both myself and our government in terms of the airline industry, I think he would have an idea of the position that we put forward‑‑the least economic impact and least impact on jobs for Manitoba, whether it is the present potential deal with Canadian and American Airlines or whether it is the impact that it has on Gemini possibly. These are all things that we are gathering information on.  Once we come forward with some kind of a proposal, we will deal with it at that time.


Video Lottery Terminals Revenues


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, when this government first introduced video lottery terminals to rural Manitoba, they did it under the guise of rural development. There was an assurance that all money that was raised in rural Manitoba would be reinvested to create jobs.  Millions of dollars have been raised, but nothing has been reinvested.

            I want to ask the Minister of Rural Development why this government is not keeping its promise.  Where are the millions of dollars that have been taken from rural Manitoba?  Where are the jobs that this government was supposed to be creating?

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise in response to this question, because over the past few months, we have indeed seen some very positive activity in rural Manitoba with regard to investors investing in our province and indeed using the vehicle of the REDI program to do so.  It was because of the REDI program that we were able to assist the Ayerst plant in locating in Brandon. Not only will we have the direct jobs, but we are going to be looking at approximately 1,000 jobs in this province and millions of dollars of investment as a result of our ability to assist in bringing Ayerst to Brandon.

            Mr. Speaker, additionally, I can report to the member that we have well over 100 applications which are being considered under the REDI program.  Many of these come from very small businesses in rural Manitoba, and indeed we are looking very actively at a very positive response to those applications.


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Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Speaker, that is $1 million out of much more that has been raised.

            Can the Minister of Rural Development tell us how much money has been raised from video lottery terminals?  How much money does he have in the REDI fund, and is all this money that is raised from video lottery terminals going into the REDI fund, or is it going into general revenue for this government?

Mr. Derkach:  Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me say that there were other programs that have been announced under the REDI program which the member should be well aware of.

            We sponsored the Green Team project in conjunction with Natural Resources.  We were able to provide 200 jobs for students in this province in rural Manitoba through REDI.  Additionally, Mr. Speaker, we have also participated in the Partners with Youth program which created many jobs for our youth in our province.

            Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the exact number or exact details with regard to the amount of revenues raised through REDI, but indeed that will be made known as soon as the report is tabled.


Job Creation Strategy


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Rural Development, since he just attended the UMM convention where delegates spoke so strongly about lack of growth in rural Manitoba and concern about this draining of funds, is he going to listen to the advice of delegates of UMM and take the video lottery money and create some real jobs in rural Manitoba, show some leadership?

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr. Speaker, I am happy to see that the critic for Rural Development has now changed her position with regard to Grow Bonds and with regard to REDI.

            I look forward to her voting for the throne speech which talks about economic development not only in the city of Winnipeg but in all of rural Manitoba.

Economic Growth

Government Strategy


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier.

            We have now had six Speeches from the Throne, six speeches which have promised us a firm foundation for economic growth in this province.  They promised us high‑quality, full‑time jobs, and they have promised us a revitalized private sector that would spur investment.

            Mr. Speaker, almost since the day that this government came into office, this province has lost position in this country, this province has lost wealth in this country.  I would just like to ask the Premier, after sticking to his plan for five years now, how does he explain this failure?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I am delighted at the question from the member for Osborne.  I see that he is polishing his skills for Parliament.  I certainly want to help him in that, and I thank him for asking me that question.

            I want the member to know that this year, 1992, the Conference Board is forecasting a growth rate in Manitoba‑‑[interjection] No, it was 10 months at the end of October that they said the Manitoba growth rate was 2.2 percent, which was tied for second best in the country.

            The unemployment rate in Manitoba, as of the most recent figures, is second best in the country.  In addition, Mr. Speaker, total capital investment in Manitoba is expected to rise at the second highest rate of any province in the country this year.  Private capital investment is expected to rise at the highest rate of any province in the country.  In addition to that, manufacturing capital investment is expected to rise again at the highest rate of any province in the country.

            All of those would indicate, Mr. Speaker, that the things that are happening in Manitoba, the fact that we have not raised taxes for five straight budgets; the fact that we are making Manitoba so competitive that the internationally known business location consultants the Boyd Company have indicated that Winnipeg specifically, Manitoba in general second, is the lowest cost place to start a small manufacturing business, a light manufacturing business in Canada and fourth best in North America, so all of those things obviously are positive.  They are matters that the member as Finance critic should inform himself of so that he would be better understanding of economics here in Manitoba.


Full-time Employment Decline


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  It is true we have had six years of expectations.  The problem is we have had no delivery, absolutely none.  Today we have fewer full‑time jobs in this economy than we had when this Premier came to office‑‑fewer, not more.  Mr. Speaker, had we just held even to '88, we would have had 13,000 more full-time jobs.

            I want to ask the Premier right now:  How does he account for the loss of these jobs?  Why?  How did it happen?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, if the member is preparing for Ottawa, he has a lot more studying to do because he had better find out that there has been an international recession in the world over the last two years.  I could educate him a great deal, and given the time of my response to the throne speech, I will help in his education so that indeed by the time he throws his hat in the ring, he will know a great deal more information about the things that have been going on in the world around him while he has been consumed with other issues more important, I am sure, to him.

            Mr. Speaker, the reality is that this year we are not talking expectations.  We are talking reality.

            The Conference Board said at the end of October for 1992, the growth rate for Manitoba would be tied for second best in the country.

            This year, as according to Statistics Canada, the most recently available information that our unemployment rate is the second best in the country.

            This year, Mr. Speaker, total capital investment in Manitoba is expected to be second best in the country.

            This year, Mr. Speaker, private capital investment is expected to be the best in the country.

            This year, manufacturing capital investment is expected to be the best in the country, and in addition to that, manufacturing shipments for the first‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, our rules are very clear that answers to questions should be brief. I noted earlier that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) lectured members of the opposition that they should save their speeches for debate on the throne speech.  I am wondering if you might give the same advice to the Premier and ask him to come to order.

Mr. Speaker:  I would just like to remind the honourable First Minister, I believe he is dealing with the matter raised, I do not believe he is provoking debate, but to keep the answer as short as possible.

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) that he lecture his own people about preambles, for a second, of his questions.


* * *


Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, this year manufacturing shipments in Manitoba have risen for the first nine months of 1992 at the highest rate of any province in the country.  All of those things I would suggest to the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) that he study and learn about because it is very, very important information that he will want to know before he throws his hat in the ring for the federal scene.

Mr. Alcock:  Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the Premier that while the country has been in recession‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  This is not a time for debate.  The honourable member for Osborne, kindly put your question now, please.


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Capital Investment


Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  My question to the Premier is:  How does he explain the fact that over the last five years, private sector capital investment in this province has fallen more sharply here than it has in Canada as a whole?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  The reality is that we had to put in place policies that would attract private capital investment.  As a result of that, this year Manitoba is expected to have the highest increase in private capital investment of any province in the country.


Manitoba Intercultural Council

Review Release


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne last week, not once did we hear the words equality, social or economic justice, culture, immigration or multiculturalism, to name but a few of the omissions.  This government's narrow view of development is also negligent in terms of accountability.

            If this weekend's Manitoba Intercultural Council bi‑annual is any indication, the people of this province are not going to stand for being ignored and not having their governments accountable to them.

            My question is for the Premier:  When did the government receive the copy of Don Blair's report on the review of the Manitoba Intercultural Council?  When will it release this report in its entirety to the people of Manitoba and the board members of the MIC?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I will take that question as notice on behalf of the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson).

Ms. Cerilli:  Mr. Speaker, I have a few more questions for the Premier.

            How does this Premier expect the Manitoba Intercultural Council to respond to the review of its operations and role if it does not receive this report?  Will the minister commit, because of these things that I have just said, to releasing in full the review, the report in its entirety, including who was consulted by this review?

Mr. Filmon:  I will take that question, as well, as notice on behalf of the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship.


Manitoba Grants Advisory Council



Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary, also for the Premier, is:  Why is there no accountability of the public money that is spent by the Manitoba Grants Advisory Council?  What does it take to get very clear information from the Manitoba Grants Advisory Council on what money is spent and on what that money is spent?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I will take that question as notice as well on behalf of the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson).


Health Care System

Budget Reduction Targets


Ms. Judy Wasylycia‑Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Minister of Health refused to acknowledge the budget cutback targets that he has imposed on our teaching hospitals, cuts which go much deeper than the 264 bed closures.  Despite information from his own department that I tabled, the minister suggested that the $20‑million budget cutback target is a result of hospital‑incurred deficits and just normal budgeting practices. That was wrong.  It was inaccurate.  It was misleading to the public, and it was unfair to the hospitals involved.

            Will the minister today, once and for all, reveal his hidden agenda and tell us his real budget reduction targets and what impact this will have on patient care in the province of Manitoba?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, my hidden agenda for the health care system is the most open book of reform in Canada.  Now I realize that my honourable friend, when confronted with an action plan that has integrity, is underpinned by science and research which has, I think it is fair to say, been endorsed by administrators, boards, trustees, health care professionals and the citizens of Manitoba in terms of the best plan to protect and preserve medicare for the citizens of Manitoba.

            I have no hesitation in further explaining to my honourable friend the implication of that very open public discussion started on May 14, preceded by three and a half years of consultation with many groups, providers and citizens of the province of Manitoba.

            If that is a hidden agenda, Mr. Speaker, I simply am at a loss to provide my honourable friend with more clarity.

Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis:  Mr. Speaker, again, since the minister will not answer the question and be straightforward with the people of Manitoba, I will table new information from his own department showing clearly that his government has imposed budget cutback targets on our teaching hospitals which is totally separate and apart from hospital‑incurred deficits and information management expenditures.

            I would ask the Minister of Health, if closing 264 beds is intended to save $6 million to $9 million‑‑and even that is in question‑‑how many more beds will be closed, how many more staff laid off, how many more‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member has put her question.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, the information that my honourable friend tabled Friday last was information about two and a half month's old, presented in an open forum to members of the staff at Health Sciences Centre, widely known by all.  It seems to be quite a revelation to my honourable friend when we are openly discussing budget plans, service shift plans at the hospitals with staff.  My deputy has been there.  My associate deputy has been there.  I have availed myself of many opportunities with Manitoba health organizations, with other organizations to explain the shifts in services.

            Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend attempts to provide‑‑and I realize this is politically opportune on her behalf‑‑that there are only bed closures.  My honourable friend does not mention the bed openings, the service sharing within the system, the not‑for‑admission surgery opportunities, the increased community services that will be in place.  My honourable friend seems to only base her perception of health care on beds in hospitals. That is old‑think.

Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis:  Mr. Speaker, is it the minister's policy to take this secretive and heavy‑handed approach into rural Manitoba?  Was it under orders from the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) that Ron Birt recently told rural hospital administrators to accommodate inevitable budget cuts or the province will force a solution?

            Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I am troubled with my honourable friend's very strange conclusions that a process two and a half months ago of overhead presentations, some of which she tabled this Friday past as new news, were shared openly with staff at the Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface and other organizations.  Now what is secret about sharing that kind of information around the changes that all provinces‑‑this province no exception‑‑are trying to go through to preserve and protect medicare to provide needed health care to the people of Manitoba?  This is the most open process in Canada, Sir, and my honourable friend says "secretive" just to get her quick little fix on the six o'clock news.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable minister has answered the question.


Sunday Shopping

 Public Hearing Process


Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, the autocratic nature of this government could not be more obvious in what they are doing in terms of Sunday openings.  They have ignored members of their own caucus and cabinet.  They have ignored the Legislature by bringing it in retroactively.  They have a bill on the Order Paper that will not even be debated until Wednesday.  It is pretty clear as well they are going to ignore members of the public since, at the rate this government is going, the bill authorizing this may not be passed until after the five‑month trial period is over.

            I have one question to the First Minister.  If he is going to ignore everybody else, will he at least not ignore the people of Manitoba and agree to mandated public hearings by a legislative committee throughout the province to make sure that the people of Manitoba have a say on this very important issue?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, as is the practice of this Legislature, which has the most open process for consideration of legislation of any Legislature or government in this country, there will be a public hearing process after second reading, in accordance with our rules of the House, just as we deal with all legislation.

Mr. Speaker:  The time for Oral Questions has expired.





(Second Day of Debate)


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honorable member for Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) for an Address to the honourable Administrator in answer to his speech at the opening of the session.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to respond to the Speech from the Throne, the sixth one, I guess, of this provincial government.  They probably have one more left before the next election, unless a member has the good conscience to defeat the government and put them out of their tired misery.


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            Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to reply, on November 30, today.  This is the 50th anniversary of the election of Stanley Knowles, first to the House of Commons in the province of Manitoba, and therefore it is a very important day for us and I think all members of this Chamber.

            Stanley Knowles, of course, is a person who has left lasting contributions for all Manitobans, the old age pension plan, the fight for universal health care, the fight for universal social programs, the integrity and honesty he brought to his vocation on a daily basis.  I think that he is an excellent model for us to start this debate, for all members of this Chamber, a person of honesty and integrity, a person where public dedication and public contributions did make a difference.

            We on this side will take from that anniversary today the fact that we all can make a difference; we all are striving for the public good.  Indeed, elected office, no matter which political party one is in, is in the public good.  We should respect each other for the dedication that we are all making on behalf of our constituents in the province of Manitoba.

            Mr. Speaker, I also want to take this opportunity to comment on the fact that His Honour was not able to be with us last week to present the Speech from the Throne.  We wish him and his family all the best and we wish certainly His Honour a speedy recovery.  When we are talking about dedication of elected people, the contributions of His Honour in his elected capacity over the years and his tremendous work on behalf of Manitobans, albeit with a different political party, I think again are worthy of our acknowledgement and praise in this Chamber, and we wish him all the best.

            Mr. Speaker, we also welcome you back to the Chamber again, a fair and firm Speaker indeed.  We believe that you have the credibility of the public, Sir.  Therefore, when we comment on your rulings we always remember that you have the credibility of the public, and our challenges to you, Sir, are only based on the autocratic nature of this government, not on the basis of the judicious nature of your rulings, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  You are such a hypocrite.

Mr. Doer:  I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, the Premier is in a particularly animated mood today.  I guess he heard Air Farce yesterday, and I guess he is very upset, but we hope he keeps himself in check today in his comments.

            Mr. Speaker, I also want to pay tribute to the new members of the Legislature, the member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray) and the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister).  We wish them all the personal best, although, as in this partisan Chamber, professional best may be something that we will wait for another period of time to evaluate, called another provincial election.

            We want to also pay tribute to the member for Rupertsland (Mr. Harper), who made his public announcement last week.  I know that he has worked very hard on behalf of his constituents.  He has been elected to this Chamber 11 years, which would have him in longer seniority than a lot of people in this Chamber and have him in shorter seniority than some members of this Chamber.

            I always felt in my discussions with him that he had a number of challenges, so to speak.  He was almost having to burn the candle at three ends since the Meech Lake debate.  He had the most remote community in the province of Manitoba, the community of Rupertsland, which he represented.  I know that he always kept in touch with his constituents, the elders, the community groups in his community.

            I had the opportunity to travel with the member for Rupertsland on a number of occasions, and I was always quite moved by the discussion he would have with the elders in the community, with the chief, with the council, with the members of the communities.  I learned quite a bit, Mr. Speaker, from him in my travels, and I want to pay him personal tribute.

            He is indeed a person who will go down in history.  His decision in Meech Lake was a very difficult decision.  For those of us who sat in his caucus and experienced the personal pressure that he was under, Mr. Speaker, know that the dignity and the honour that he brought to the decision that he personally made was not taken sporadically, it was not taken in earnest.  It was taken very deliberately with a great deal of conscience.  We wish him all the personal best.

            We always had Elijah's vote here for critical votes.  I know the government opposite liked to make comments about his pressures of travelling internationally and nationally, and he did have those.  He was in very high demand, but we always thought that as a person who represented aboriginal communities to speak about aboriginal issues that it was not inconsistent with his role of the MLA.  We always had him here for his Estimates, for his votes, and we will miss him, Mr. Speaker.

            He did raise the historic issues of aboriginal people here in this House.  I would ask all members of this House to ponder.  In the 1990 June and July period we had two contrasts of how to deal with these historic injustices.  We had the way in which the member for Rupertsland dealt with the constitutional position and the feelings that he had, and a month later, Mr. Speaker, we had armed confrontation at Oka over a golf course and a land entitlement issue.

            I have always believed that it is better to have members in the Chamber debating these issues out in a democratic way than having armed confrontation that we saw during that period of time.  We were absolutely delighted to encourage other members to run for the Legislature from the aboriginal community, the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin), the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), the member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar) to run, to win seats and to participate in this Legislature.

            I think this is a better way to go, to debate out the issues in this Chamber.  I know the member for Rupertsland always believed that, that it was better to have the debate in the Chamber and better to have a democratic process to resolve in partnership our difficulties and our differences, rather than have violence and armed confrontation.

            I also want to pay tribute, Mr. Speaker, to the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs).  The Leader of the Liberal Party has announced, not her resignation as an MLA, but has announced that she will be stepping down as Leader.  I know that the member for River Heights has been Leader of the party for nine years and that is a long period of time.

            I think those of us who share a similar job know the tremendous amount of time and effort that is necessary outside of the Question Period and outside of even the speeches in this Legislature, all the requirements, whether it is the Premier or any leader of a party, all the requirements that you are asked to fulfill on behalf of Manitobans across the province.  Nine years, I am sure, has been a long period of time.

            I think the Leader of the Liberal Party has made tremendous public contributions.  I have not always agreed with the Leader of the Liberal Party, of course, the member for River Heights, and we will probably find ourselves disagreeing as we proceed in this session and subsequent sessions that will be held.  We always felt that she was a formidable opponent, as I know that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) has felt, a feisty opponent, a bold opponent from time to time, quite bold in fact and articulate.

            We just want to wish her and John well as she moves on in her careers, and we will watch her very carefully in the so‑called position of an "elder statesperson" that I hear she is decreeing upon herself.  We heard that report from the UMM convention.  I do not expect the Leader of the Liberal Party to stop being a Liberal, which she has been I think from the day she was born, Mr. Speaker.

            Mr. Speaker, I want to go on to the substance of the speech. I, quite frankly, was quite shocked at the Premier, the member for Tuxedo and a lot of his front bench about how out of touch they are really becoming.  In every coffee shop, at every farm gate, at every meeting we have, whether they are Progressive Conservatives, whether they are Liberals, whether they are New Democrats at that meeting, whether they are nonaffiliated people, the only thing they ask us is about the recession, the brutality of the recession and about the economy and jobs.


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            Even this last weekend, I had the opportunity to act as a volunteer for the Variety Club at a local restaurant and people were talking again on Friday night about jobs and the economy. There was an LPN in the restaurant just having been laid off last week.  There were other people who were worried about their jobs and their livelihoods.  We cannot go anywhere as individuals outside of party politics.  We cannot go anywhere on a social basis and talk to friends, relatives, without hearing and listening to somebody who has been laid off or fears they will be laid off in the next couple of months.  They believe the recession is here, Mr. Speaker, and they believe that the government must recognize the recession and deal with the recession and just not shut its eyes and let us pretend the recession is not here.

            Mr. Speaker, I talked to a steelworker on the weekend who was worried about being laid off and has got a short‑term layoff in the winter period.  I talked to a CN worker who is worried about his seniority just this last weekend.  I talked to an Air Canada worker who has been laid off, one of the 165 who have been laid off over the weekend.  I had the opportunity to talk to a farmer in Swan River who is still worried about the kinds of payments that will be coming out based on the horrible weather we had and whether they will be able to make ends meet.

            I was able to listen to a community college instructor over the weekend from Keewatin Community College who has heard rumours that after the 150 layoffs that took place two years ago, there is going to be another 50 layoffs from the community colleges under Conservative economic regime.  I heard from a boilermaker working at Repap corporation who said, I believed the Conservatives when they promised us a billion dollars in investment; I believed the Conservatives when they said that we would get 500 new jobs; I believed the Conservatives when they said they would have prosperity under a Conservative government. Now they are scared stiff about their jobs and they are scared stiff about the house of cards that is falling apart daily in terms of the Tory economic strategy and Tory economic policy. Listen to the people out there.  You are out of touch with their fears.  You are out of touch with what is going on‑‑no mention of jobs, no mention of the economy.

            Mr. Speaker, it reminded me–the Speech from the Throne a year ago, we heard from George Bush on the Thanksgiving weekend, and it was rather ironic that the government came in with a Speech from the Throne on the American Thanksgiving Day.  A year ago, on the same Thanksgiving weekend, George Bush said there was no recession.  George Bush said, with a 7.5 percent unemployment rate, there were no problems with the economy of the United States.  George Bush said that there were no problems in terms of making ends meet and families having jobs in the United States.

            Who did he remind me of when I listened to the Speech from the Throne about 12 months later?  The member for Tuxedo (Mr. Filmon) who says there are no problems, there is no recession; nothing about jobs and the economy in terms of the recession, just the same old rhetoric that sounded like George Bush and some of the same rhetoric we heard in 1988 from Brian Mulroney about new, new, new.  We will deal with new, new, new in a few minutes, Mr. Speaker.

            I guess we should not be surprised, Mr. Speaker.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) has the same corporate philosophy and ideology of George Bush and Brian Mulroney, and we get the same kind of plan of action–no plan of action and the same rhetoric.

            Mr. Speaker, there is precedence in this House from past years dealing with the recession.  In 1982, the recession was in two Speeches from the Throne as a reality of the economy.  There was no Speech from the Throne in 1983, but again in 1984, this recession was recognized as a challenge for the Province of Manitoba.  It was right in the Speech from the Throne.  In 1991, the government mentioned recession twice, in the first Speech from the Throne and the second Speech from the Throne, but this government is right out of touch with any sense of reality.  They are not listening to Manitobans.  They are not listening to the plight of real people across the province.  They have completely lost touch with the economic challenges facing us.

            Let me give you an example.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon), during his speech to his own convention delegates, stated that all Manitobans were better off, Mr. Speaker, since the Progressive Conservatives were elected in 1988 in this government‑‑all Manitobans are better off.  I do not know how this Premier can come to this conclusion, and I know he is a little sensitive about our advice about who he should be listening to and who he should be travelling with.

            I want to make some concrete recommendations to the Premier in terms of getting in touch with Manitobans.  Walk across the street from your own office, sir, to All Saints Church.  Three years ago when this government came into office, 75 families required food to be distributed daily.  I was over there two weeks ago.  Five hundred and fifty families a day, two hundred yards from your own office, require food from All Saints Church on a daily basis from the volunteers.  Those people are not better off after Conservatives have been elected to office.

            Mr. Speaker, I would ask the government to go across the tracks.  Go across to Stella Mission and listen to those people who are trying to get clothes and food and other basic necessities for this very, very cold winter coming up, with no jobs and child poverty increasing in the inner city at overwhelming numbers.  They are not better off.  How could you say that?  How could you say that to even your own delegates? How out of touch are you, sir, in terms of what is going on in the province of Manitoba?

            I would ask the member across the way, the Premier, the member for Tuxedo (Mr. Filmon) to go across the river to Harvest.  Talk to the volunteers there.  Nobody has a lockup on volunteer activity in these places.  There are members from all political parties there working, distributing food.  Ask them whether everybody is better off today than they were when the Progressive Conservatives came into office.  You will come to the same conclusion we have, sir, that you are out of touch.

            You know why?  I went back.  I went back to look at the Speech from the Throne in 1979 from Sterling Lyon, and it is the same Conservative ideology, the same Conservative slogans–we are new, we are innovative, we are going to get this new approach to everything‑‑and all it is, Mr. Speaker, is a public relations strategy, because I am going to go through every new idea you have.  It is the only environmental initiative you have, sir.  It is the only thing you do that is recycled, the old ideas from the past, and then you call them new.  We will go through them item by item.

            But you have to get out of that office.  You have to get out of that cabinet room.  You have to get out of that bunker mentality that you are developing.  You have to start visiting some people that are feeling the full impact of Conservative ideology and the full impact of your economic policies, the full impact of your policies to just step aside and do nothing on the economy, just sit in the bleachers.  The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) looks up with a puzzled look.  You look back in Hansard, when we asked this government what they would do, they would say we are going to just step aside, Mr. Speaker.  We are going to do nothing.  We are going to just step aside, and we are now seeing the devastating results.

            Mr. Speaker, the government has again chosen to use statistics, and the Minister of Finance knows this, saying Conference Board is predicting blah, blah, blah for Manitoba.  In 1990, you used the same quote from the same body predicting 1991, Manitoba would have double the national rate.  You will excuse us if we are a little careful about taking your predictions into account when we are asking our questions in the Legislature, because in 1991, we did not have double the national average in growth.  We had twice as much decline as the next closest province.  The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) knows this is true.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) knows it is true–over 3 percent decline in Manitoba, and the next closest province was 1.5 percent.

            Now, you would think that a province that had that kind of bad economic performance in 1991 would have a great deal of difficulty saying we are going to stay the course, because the course has resulted in the worst economic performance of Manitoba since Walter Weir was defeated by Ed Schreyer in 1969.


(Mr. Marcel Laurendeau, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)


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            Mr. Acting Speaker, that is why I say this government is getting very, very much out of touch.  Now they are using the same rhetoric of Brian Mulroney too‑‑we are new, we can manage challenges, we can have change.  I looked back and Sterling Lyon used the same speech, 1980, and did not fool the public then because he had already had three years in government.  I mean, how can this government say they are new when they have had six Speeches from the Throne, and if there is not the good conscience of members of the government benches to vote against the dismal economic reality of this government, we are going to have one more Speech from the Throne.  That is it.  So to try to recreate yourself as this incarnation of new after six Speeches from the Throne is not going to fool anybody in Manitoba.  You can put that word in, "new", all you want, but you have all kinds of members who were members of the cabinet during Sterling Lyon, you have members who were elected under Sterling Lyon, you are using the same ideology as Sterling Lyon, you are using the same lines as Sterling Lyon, and you are going to suffer the same fate as Sterling Lyon in the next provincial election.

            Now, let me look, Mr. Acting Speaker, at the things that they say are new.  The economic forum they had was called in the Speech from the Throne‑‑but unprecedented initiative, unprecedented innovation.  I attended an economic summit in 1982.  I was not elected to government.  I attended another one in 1985.  I mean what was unprecedented about the government's efforts?  Unprecedented, they say.  This is our new idea, a new idea of partnership, something the former government did twice, but they did do it differently, Mr. Acting Speaker, because the former government‑‑and I was not elected MLA and I remember sitting in a meeting room with Kevin Kavanagh and the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Otto Lang and Howard Pawley and ministers of government, and in over two days, they were not lectured to.  They were not lectured to.  They sat around a meeting room for 16 hours for two days in a row and started to develop a consensus about Manitoba and where it should go, what are our strengths, what are our weaknesses, and what are the kind of partnerships that we could develop.  It was a bottom‑up exercise where groups met and used their co‑operative energy and their intellectual energy and their different perspectives.

An Honourable Member:  That is where they came up with the "payroll."

Mr. Doer:  The Premier promised to get rid of it in four years. Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, they created full‑time jobs then.  This Premier has tried to create the image that only part‑time jobs have been created.  There were 30,000 full‑time jobs created between 1982 and 1988.  Oh, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) laughs.  He does not like full‑time jobs, because we have lost 20,000 full‑time jobs since this Premier became the Premier of the Province of Manitoba.  He has the gall to go around saying, well, we do not create part‑time jobs.  He does not create any jobs.  He has lost 20,000.

            You know you may be able to fool some people some of the time at these little press releases from your Premier, but you know, your bottom line is the worst performance of any Premier, even worse than Sterling Lyon since the history of this province‑‑20,000 lost full‑time jobs.  If anybody over there can vote for that, they sure are not representing their own constituents.  You are getting more out of touch than what I thought.  You certainly are not lowering the deficit.

            I have heard the member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld) talk about the deficit.  The deficit has gone from a $58 million surplus, sir, when you were first elected to I do not know what amount now, but it is running well into the $600‑million range.  When this Premier was elected to office in 1988, there was a $150,000 a day in revenue coming in over expenses.  And now, Mr. Acting Speaker, it is running $1.5 million to $2 million a day more in expenses than in revenue.  Do not lecture us about spending and the deficit ever again.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, so there is another old idea that the government says is new.  I remember Mr. Henderson who was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1985 saying that this was the best economic summit he had ever attended.  The difference was we did not have the Premier come in and lecture an economist back again from the Brian Mulroney days who lectured in 1985‑‑the Tory economy summit in 1985‑‑there was not a kind of lecturing exercise going on.  It was kind of let us get together and develop ideas to develop the economy.  One of the great ideas they came up with was a health initiative package.  Something again the government says is one of their new ideas, but the whole health initiative package was developed by business, labour and government in a consensus way, between the '82–84 period and '85 period.  That is why we did sign the health care initiative package subsequent to that.  That is why in November of 1987 the disease lab, Mr. Acting Speaker, again an idea that the government claims is new, I mean how many of these ideas from the former government do you think you can put in your Speech from the Throne without somebody realizing almost every one of them, 90 percent of them were done by the former Pawley government that you criticize every day?

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the disease lab and the health care initiatives were again good ideas, old ideas and ideas that were developed by partnership.  The government talks about these as new ideas.

            There are lots of other proposals.  The government likes to talk about what this finally meant, these economic partnerships and summits, to the province of Manitoba, and it likes to tell new people covering the Legislature what it was like back in the '87 days.

            I have an editorial from The Globe and Mail.  In 1987, the province with the lowest unemployment rate and the highest projected economic growth through the 1990s lies in central Canada in the province of Manitoba‑‑6.7 percent unemployment in the province of Manitoba, growth rates that are exceeding every province in Canada.  The employment rate in Manitoba grew by 2.1 percent in 1986 and '87 compared with the national average of 1.6.  Manitoba's outlook will lead all provinces, according to the Royal Bank, through to the 1990s.

            I will give this editorial to the members opposite so they will know the truth of real economic performance.  The Globe and Mail is not a New Democratic publication, but it did outline the bottom-line numbers and, when you compare that with the performance of this Premier, the member for Tuxedo, it is an absolute disgrace what the members of this front bench have done to the fabric and the quality and the aspirations and the opportunities for a great province and a great number of people in the province of Manitoba.  It is an absolute disgrace the negative performance that we have seen from this government.  I do not know how they can live with themselves in terms of what they have done to this province.

            Another new idea was the Crocus Fund.  Well, 1988, it was in the Kostyra budget, one that they voted against‑‑the Crocus Fund‑‑and it took them five years to get it off the ground.  Then they put it back in the Speech from the Throne as one of the new and innovative ideas, Mr. Acting Speaker.  It will not even get going till sometime in 1993, five years after the NDP brought in the idea, and the government has the gall to introduce this again as another so‑called new idea five years out of date–five years it took them to get going.

            Another idea was this whole economic development committee of cabinet, an economic co‑ordination of all government efforts. Remember the Premier 15 months ago talking about their economic efforts?  Well, I remember again an economic committee of cabinet that actually did not have cabinet ministers only in it but had business, labour and government on an ongoing basis, six, six and six, dealing with the economic challenges that were going on. That was really economic innovation with equal members from all segments of our economic community.


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            What kind of economic co‑ordination do we have?  The Premier has already lost about a thousand jobs a month since he has become chair of this committee.  Remember when the Premier said he was going to put his own political reputation on the line? Remember when the Premier said he would put his political future on the line over the next 18 months?  That was 15 months ago, sir.  I wonder what you are going to do over the next three months, because you are losing a thousand jobs a month since you have said that and made that statement.  Now if that is performance, that is not our idea of performance on this side.

            Where is the economic co‑ordination of this government?  Two weeks ago Friday, the Minister of Transportation said to the media, because he could not tell them what our strategy was on the airline industry, stood up and told the media and got a front‑page story out of it, that deregulation has been a disaster for the province of Manitoba in terms of the airline industry. That was Thursday.  He told the media that deregulation has been a disaster for jobs and a disaster for the communities of Manitoba.  In the same afternoon, the minister of telecommunications deregulates communication industry, the very same afternoon.

            Is this the co‑ordination we see from the Premier?  Is this the economic strategy for Manitoba?  And then he has the gall in the Speech from the Throne to say, oh, we have a new approach to telecommunications.  It is not a new approach.  Ronald Reagan had the approach 12 years ago; it is called Americanizing the telecommunication system.  We will lose a thousand jobs in the public telephone system on this proposal, according to the government's own figures.  We are already losing jobs in the private sector.  Look at the numbers at Northern Telecom that were working in 1988 versus working now under this Premier. Where are the jobs in telecommunications?  Your own two ministers at the press conference could not tell us where they were.  They could admit that there was going to be a thousand lost jobs, and they could not tell us where the new jobs are going to be.

            That is real economic performance.  That is real economic co‑ordination.  It is unbelievable.  If it was not so serious, it would be funny, but it is very, very serious because people in those airline industries are worried about their jobs.  This government has flipped and flopped on deregulation of the transportation industry more times than we can count, and now it has flipped and flopped on telecommunications.

            Remember the Premier in the minority period of time; in 1989, we asked him a question in the House.  Oh, we are not going to just allow big business to get advantage on telecommunications; we are going to take the federal government to court.  We are not going to let the little individual consumer lose, because that is what will happen with telecommunication competition on long distance.  Whoa, we are going to stand up for the little person. That is what he said here in this House; that is where he got his front‑page story the next day.  Read it in Hansard.  Read your own words.  That is why the Premier did not want to be in town when the government was flipping and flopping between airline deregulation and telecommunication, because he would have been hoisted on his own flip‑flop words, Mr. Speaker, as he should have been, rather than being not held accountable because of his lack of attendance in the province of Manitoba.

            These are costing us jobs.  These are costing us opportunities.  I found it rather ironic where in Saskatchewan they are taking a different approach on the telecommunication industry, that 700 new jobs were just announced in the Sears telemarketing centre in Regina.  If you had a so‑called better policy on‑‑

An Honourable Member:  On anything.

Mr. Doer:  On anything‑‑maybe the jobs should have come here. How come the jobs went to Regina?  How come they did not go to Portage or Thompson?

            And so these flip‑flops may be politically expedient for the Premier, but we are getting sick and tired of the flip‑flops on this side of the House.  Oh, no on free trade to Mexico; no on deregulation of the telecommunication system.  We are going to stand up for the little guy, the little consumer, but when he got a majority government, he has gotten arrogant, he has got out of touch.  His whole front bench is right out of touch.  You are tired, and you are not serving the people of Manitoba.

            Look at the policy on deregulation in the airline industry. Where is the coherent policy on the airline industry?  We asked them a question on open skies about a year ago.  Well, they were going to look at it, and then they were not going to present a brief to the federal government.  Then they were going to be sort of against it.  Then the Chamber of Commerce said, do not be against it, and then they were sort of going for it.  We still do not have a policy on airlines, you know that.  The member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) knows that, because he cannot get a consensus from the ideological right over there that believe in an unfettered free market, and just let those jobs go from Manitoba, just let them go out of Manitoba.  Holus‑bolus, who cares?  You know that you cannot get a consensus from the ideological extreme that is being led by this Premier in terms of jobs and opportunities in this province.

            What is their policy on Canadian Airlines?  What is their policy on remote communities?  What is their policy on Air Canada?  What is their policy on Gemini, which was established in Manitoba in l987 under the former government?  What is their policy about those maintenance jobs that are maintained by Gemini through Unisys, another project that was enhanced by the New Democratic government, notwithstanding the leaks made by the Minister of Health to hurt Manitoba businesses and Manitoba jobs, sneaky little leaks that hurt a Manitoba company.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, there is no coherent policy on airlines. They have no strategy.  They are like a turtle.  Any time there is going to be a crisis, get out of town.  Stick your head under the shell.  Get away from the heat.  Damage control the Premier‑‑get him away from the heat.  Do not let him answer questions.  Flip‑flop, flip‑flop, flip‑flop‑‑you know, the title that he had in 1988 was the actual proper title‑‑flop‑flop, the flip‑flop member for Tuxedo; it does not sound as good as what we can use outside of the Chamber.

            Let us look at the real flip‑flop of this government and this Premier.  The best flip‑flop of this Premier is on NAFTA‑‑free trade with Mexico.  This Premier said in the election‑‑oh, he did not say we have six conditions, he did not say this was an international agreement, he did not say we will not give you a position on this.  He just said, no, we are absolutely opposed to it, but I guess that was for votes during the election.  That was just like him paddling the canoe on the La Salle River with a borrowed canoe.

            I am glad he did not say read my lips, because as soon as he got a bare majority after the election, he changed his position. He became a real Tory again, not this new mutant Tory party, the Manitoba Conservative Party, a mutant Tory party in Manitoba for purposes of the election.  They became the real Tories again, and now they will not criticize the federal government.  That was just an election ploy.

            So in 1991 they said they had six conditions, and then they said that will be the bottom line, we will evaluate the trade agreement, that will be our "bottom line."  Well, some bottom line.  It is like their bottom line on Repap.  It keeps changing.  They have no bottom lines on anything.  It just blows in the wind.

            Then the Premier (Mr. Filmon) said in spring of 1992‑‑another good headline for the Premier‑‑Brian Mulroney would not dare go over the head of Premiers like Manitoba if they did not meet the six conditions.  If we oppose the government on their final legal text, they would have a lot of difficulty proposing this agreement.

            Then when the media asked the Premier, when he decided to open the session, what position does he have on North American free trade, it was not that Brian Mulroney is going to worried about our six conditions, it was not what our six conditions were for the merit of this agreement, for jobs and opportunities in Manitoba, it was, this is an international agreement.  I am not going to tell you where I am at, and today again in the Chamber he refused to say where he was at.

            That is leadership.  He says no in the 1990 election, and he does not tell us where he is at after three and a half months of evaluation, contradicting totally the statement made by the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) today, because he knows, the Premier knows that the trade agreement, NAFTA, overrides an act of Parliament.  For this Minister of Health to feign indignation about the federal Conservatives, to feign indignation about how it means Quebec will get jobs and Manitoba will not and not have the decency to tell us where they are at on NAFTA is an absolute fraudulent fact from this provincial government.

            You cannot have it both ways, Mr. Acting Speaker.  You cannot say you are opposed to the policies of the federal government to implement the North American Free Trade Agreement for generic drugs in the morning and not tell us where you are at in the afternoon.


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            If this government wants to take a position on NAFTA, they can do so this Thursday when the parliamentary committee is actually in the city of Winnipeg.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) can actually stand up and not hide behind the suit of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism.  He is the chair of the economic committee of cabinet.  He is the chair of the economic development committee.  This province is giving his secretariat $780,000 a year.  He is the one who took the initial position on NAFTA, and he should have the backbone to tell us where he is at for the province of Manitoba.

            There are jobs at stake in this North American Free Trade Agreement.  The apparel industry officials tell us that 35 percent of the apparel industry in Canada and in Manitoba could lose their jobs with the triple transformation, again a section that we had to raise in this Chamber, again a section that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) did not respond to and allowed his minister to reply to in this Chamber.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, you have to take a position on this issue.  The Premier has to take a position.  Every Premier in western Canada except this Premier has stated clearly where they stand.  You have a choice now, sir.  You have a choice to support the ideology of the Progressive Conservative Party federally and Brian Mulroney, the Prime Minister, or you have a chance to stand up with Manitobans and their jobs and their opportunities and say no to NAFTA, and say yes to jobs in Manitoba.  We await your response.

            Another new idea, Mr. Acting Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, moving off of trade, the trade agreement itself, is the Manitoba Trading Corporation.  Now, I thought I had heard something about that before, and so I was trying to figure out who had brought in the Manitoba Trading Corporation.  Was this another new idea of the Conservative government? [interjection] Yes, it is.  This is back to Ed Schreyer in 1974.  This is another new innovative way they are going to deal with the world.

            The real question is, as the Premier (Mr. Filmon) answers questions on trade, you notice he forgot to mention what the trade deficit was.  He is telling us what the trade increase was.  You know, does he think that people are stupid, that they do not understand there are two parts of trade‑‑exports and imports?  Mr. Acting Speaker, can he not give us the analysis that in the United States for the first nine months of this year that we have imported again more than we have exported in terms of increases?  Does he not want to tell us what the deficit of trade is, because if you want to put a superficial number in the Speech from the Throne about a 13 percent increase, should you not have the integrity to tell us what the deficit of trade is?

            Did you tell your back bench about that?  Did you tell your members about that?  How do you think you are going to get this through an accountant who understands there are two sides to trade‑‑debits and credits?  You think we are just a load of pumpkins.  You have a figure like 13 percent, because the only group that has come up the Red River in a bubble are members opposite, and they are out of touch with philosophy on the economy, but do not put a figure in the Speech from the Throne that is fundamentally dishonest.  Do not put in the export number if you are not willing to put in the import numbers, because trade is a two‑way street, and if you have a deficit of trade, and if the deficit of trade is increasing, Mr. Acting Speaker, you are losing jobs and opportunities.  Have the integrity to say it.  Do not expect your members in the back bench to vote for a dishonest statement on trade.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, when we move to tourism, we see a lot of other old ideas and packages.  I actually felt personally very happy about your statements about tourism, because you mentioned a project that I had the opportunity of negotiating, the Forks project.  I had the opportunity when I was the former Minister of Urban Affairs to negotiate with the honourable federal minister, the Conservative members and the City of Winnipeg.  I could tell you the whole waterfront program was negotiated and put on the table by some of us who were on our side of the House, not by the federal government and not by this provincial government.

            Do you know, Mr. Acting Speaker, that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) voted against the waterfront initiatives of the ARC programs in 1987 when his Urban Affairs critic, the member for Charleswood, proposed an amendment to delete money out of the Urban Affairs budget?  The member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) may remember this because she voted with us.  They were voting against Handi‑Transit.  They were voting against policy co‑ordination, and they were voting against the waterfront program that we had negotiated.  They have the gall, after voting against it, to start to take credit for it.

            They have a lot of nerve, but they do not have any new ideas.  I was personally very pleased when you mentioned The Forks program.  I was pleased to know that other members of our caucus had worked in previous incarnations on the planning of The Forks and the waterfront program.

            You know the art program, the one that got the award on the waterfront walkway, Mr. Acting Speaker, was developed by the NDP in 1983 and '84.  That even predated Jake Epp getting elected as a federal minister.  It was done unilaterally by the provincial NDP government, but if you want to take credit for it, fine, but do not tell your back bench and the people of Manitoba it is your new idea for tourism, because it is not.  This is the example when you go through the Speech from the Throne, and the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) asked the question on Friday, where is the beef, where are the new ideas?  I mean, it is bad enough that you do not have any, but it is almost politically corrupt that you are using the examples from the previous government.

            Another example, Mr. Acting Speaker, is the Children's Museum.  Remember the way the members opposite used to feign away at cultural activities and cultural initiatives and cultural programs?  They used to talk about the folk festival.  I remember the member for Morris (Mr. Manness) criticizing the folk festival.  I guess they thought folk music was a communist plot. I remember them tilting at all these cultural agencies, and the Children's Museum.  Where would the money come from?  Did the money come from some of those places that you criticized and voted against?  Have you done your homework as you take credit for a new program?  No, no, they do not do their homework.  Just another old idea that is repackaged as new by a tired, corrupt government, intellectually corrupt.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, moving on to the rural economy, again we see the old rather than the new.  I did not see any good ideas for rural infrastructure.  Remember their Main Street Manitoba Program?  That was a specific program for rural infrastructure in the province of Manitoba.  The rural gasification program is a good idea, but we do not trust the minister responsible.  We do not trust the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey), the minister responsible for the re‑election of the Conservative Party, the minister responsible for Decentralization not to put the same patronage kind of decision making in the mix.  Do not forget, he is the person who said in 1988 or '89, why should I appoint good people, why should I appoint my enemies when I can appoint my friends.  Excuse us while we watch to see the real diversification program of the government.

            The video display terminals, based on their Union of Manitoba Municipalities convention, is an absolute disaster, and think back to the former member of Portage's word, Mr. Acting Speaker, about an absolute dishonest way the government was taking that money and using it to offload from their own responsibilities. Speaking of the rural economy, I again was absolutely shocked to see no reality in the Speech from the Throne about the situation in rural Manitoba dealing with agriculture.  I mean, the kitchen tables that I have attended around the province at farms were quite a bit different than the rhetoric we see in the Speech from the Throne on agriculture.  We have no mention of the real crisis going on in agriculture.

            I would ask all the rural members to open up the section dealing with agriculture.  There is a mention about sugar beets, Mr. Acting Speaker, but there is no mention at all about the crisis going on in terms of payments, the crisis going on in the federal programs.  There is no mention at all about the bankruptcy rate or the land prices, about the grain prices.  You know, the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) had his chance to put that into the Speech from the Throne.  He did not do it, and he is letting the Premier's Office out of the city of Winnipeg dictate what is going into the Speech from the Throne for rural Manitoba, and I was absolutely shocked, again, that these people have totally lost touch, so every so‑called new idea is an old idea.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, when we look at northern Manitoba we see the same things.  They mentioned Churchill, but they do not mention the fact that shipments under their government have gone down every year since they have been in office.  The bottom line again is down, down, down.  They do not have any strategy to deal with the fact that CN is saying, do not use your boxcars for the 1993 shipping season.  We did not hear anything from the government or the minister on that issue.  We have no real strategy on the Port of Churchill‑‑again, just words, and again, we do not trust the federal Conservative government or their farm team here in the Province of Manitoba.


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            The government promised a northern commission in 1990.  The government took about two years to get it off the ground.  It announced it last year.  It is now having hearings across the province, which we have participated in, but I suspect this will be another cynical exercise by this government.  I hope I am wrong, where the results of those hearings will come out in 1993.  They will have a number of recommendations which the government will embrace, and they will not do a darned thing for northern Manitoba until after the next election.  We will have to pick up all the cutbacks and programs like Northern Job Corps, Native Job Corps and other programs in northern Manitoba after these Tories have decimated the North.

            No mention of the aboriginal justice system, no position on that very major initiative.  This is a tired old government with old ideas and recycled old ideas.

            The other theme in the speech, if you have one, is the whole priority of the Tory government.  The only mention of assistance is that they are going to improve business assistance.  Now there is nothing wrong with improving the state of business.

            We certainly know, with the economic performance of this government losing 20,000 full-time jobs in four short years after a creation of 30,000 full‑time jobs in the first six years of the 1980s up to 1988, that they need to do something.

            I find it rather interesting that the only reference is assistance to business.  Where is the assistance to people? Where are their priorities, again, of a group of people responsible for all Manitobans?  As I mentioned, this government is out of touch when they say that all Manitobans are better off today than they were four years ago, because there is no recognition of assistance for people in Manitoba.  In fact, this government has the opposite.

            If they are going to improve the assistance for business, let the record show that they have decreased the assistance for people radically in the province of Manitoba.  Look at their decision on social assistance.  They would not tell us.  Again, they did not have the backbone in the legislative session to tell us what they were going to do.  They could not answer whether the government wanted to cut back on benefits for the hungry or whether they wanted to offload the taxation.  They did not have the intestinal fortitude under this Premier, who I think is one of the most–I should not say it–is lacking a backbone of forthrightness unparalleled in this country.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, no policy, social assistance being–[interjection] Well, they think it is funny.  That is why I say you should spend some time out of this building, 200 yards away from the Legislative Buildings, to see what the impact of that cut in social assistance will be to the poor.

            Manitoba has the highest number of children in poverty of any province in Canada, and you have no shame when you cut the programs back for the people of this province and the people most vulnerable.  You have cut back the income tax assistance for seniors and again other low‑income people.  They will not have the assistance.  A very small program, Mr. Acting Speaker.  You have cut back the assistance for the unemployed when you have gotten rid of the unemployed help centre in Brandon and Winnipeg, a centre that helped us get revenue back from the province and helped people get back on jobs.  You have cut back the assistance for the unemployed.  You have cut back the Victims Assistance program.  You have cut back the crime prevention assistance.

            You have cut back the seniors assistance and have come up with rigid guidelines for Pharmacare for seniors who need help and assistance, not a rigid autocratic Minister of Health that we have in the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard).  You have cut back youth assistance with jobs.  You have cut back assistance to the Child and Family Services agencies in the communities and have cut back the assistance for volunteers, and you have cut back the assistance to families with the cutback you have had in the child care area in the province of Manitoba.

            You are a government that only has assistance for one narrow group and that is the business community of Manitoba.  You do not represent and support all the people of Manitoba, because you have forgotten and have lost touch with the assistance required for people most vulnerable with the recession that you will not even pretend exists in the province of Manitoba.

            When we go on to areas of human priorities and people priorities, I want to talk about two other areas and that is the health care system and the education system.  You will excuse us if we are somewhat skeptical when we see the word "reform" coming from Tories because the word "reform," when it comes from Conservatives, usually means cutbacks.

            Last year, last May, the Minister of Health (Mr Orchard) announced a so-called reform package, but it had not one specific plan of action for reform, and now we see what the reform package is.  It is a set of cutbacks and reductions to the people of Manitoba and veiled changes in the health care system that nobody can fully evaluate because it is secretive, it is always changing, it is never ending, and it is a kind of like finding the health care reform package under the changing thimble from the Minister of Health.

            But the public is getting on to this government on health care.  More and more we hear from people when we go door to door.  More and more we hear from people when we go to the coffee shops about the impact on health care in the province of Manitoba with this minister.  They no longer trust this minister and this Premier.  They are scared stiff about what this means for their families and what it means for them if they are working as health care professionals.

            Just let us look at one example of health care reform and that is in psychiatric beds.  You have 20 beds being cut at St. Boniface Hospital, but you also have a potential of beds being cut at the Misericordia Hospital and the Grace Hospital.  At the same time you have an attrition program going on in Brandon, the Brandon Mental Health Centre, and beds being reduced there.

            Where is the plan?  Where are the so‑called community alternatives from the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard)?  I suggest to you that the community alternatives that this minister really has in mind is to increase the homeless, to increase the kind of people who are mentally ill and need resources, not cutbacks.  If you give me a specific program for those 80 beds that I can see, then we will talk about whether you have an alternative plan that is appropriate of worthy comment.  But we do not trust you and the people of Manitoba do not trust you, because the examples we have are changing thimbles and changing numbers and changing rhetoric, but reductions, reductions, reductions to the people of Manitoba.

            You should talk to some nurses across the health care system, those who have gotten pink slips and those who have not gotten pink slips.  It is a very, very serious problem and we are going to have public hearings to hear from the patients and the consumers of Manitoba, not to see the little thimble change around from the Minister of Health with his magic show on health care reform rather than real health care in the province of Manitoba.

            We believe the waiting lists will increase.  We believe they have no strategy to deal with the gatekeepers called doctors in the system.  We have an oversupply in some areas, we have an undersupply in rural and northern communities.

            We see no strategy to deal with the lack of specialists–though the Premier can get a front-page story phoning the health care specialists at the Health Sciences Centre, but I was told three weeks ago that the person had already decided to leave before the Premier even made the call. The decision was already made with all that investment in the province of Manitoba before the Premier had heard about it.  I do not know whether it was because the Minister of Health had not informed him or whether in fact he was out of touch again, but it was already too late.  He had already gone.  The decision was made to go to Calgary.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we see a decrease in home care, decreased services, and so you will excuse us when we see the word "reform" being used for the education program of Manitoba.  "Reform" with a $17‑million cut, that is not any reform to us.

            We see that the Conservative government has replaced the three Rs in education with the three Ps–privileged, private and pay more.  This is not a way to run an education system for the people of Manitoba.

            We see cutbacks to our community colleges, cutbacks to our universities, and yes, we see massive tax increases to the people of Manitoba.  I would refer the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) to his own school division that says, our local taxes will probably increase by 40 percent over the next two years.  That is the reality of the trickle‑down GFT education tax–the GFT–the member for Tuxedo's (Mr. Filmon) taxation policy–the Gary Filmon tax in the province of Manitoba.  Massive offloading of taxation onto the people of Manitoba.


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            People out there are not happy, because they are starting to see through the rhetoric and the rhetoric of reform of this government.

            The only other thing we see in terms of reform is in the whole area of the so‑called governance issue.  We know there is lots of activity going on in governance across the way.  The government has announced its policy, but we know that it does not know where it is going on this issue and neither do Manitobans know where they are going on this issue.

            The government has promised in the Speech from the Throne a definitive policy on this issue.  We await the definitive policy of the government and the Premier on this issue in the province of Manitoba.  I suggest that all their energy and all their efforts right now, on reform of the education system, be going to survival of the school divisions which are getting offloaded daily, and onto the issue of government, onto the issue of real reform and democratic reform that is sadly needed in terms of our education system.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we welcome the strategy on biomedical wastes in the environmental area, and we welcome the strategy to see some co‑ordinated approach to municipal landfill sites, but watching the strategy to the Hazardous Waste Corporation and ACRE, again we are a little dubious.  We will really wait to see what happens.

            We also know that the government may put up for sale the Hazardous Waste Corporation, a public corporation.  So we will wait to see what they will do after five years of promising a strategy on hazardous waste and biomedical waste.  We will wait to see what the government does.

            The government promised, in 1990, to implement the Brundtland Commission report‑‑we have seen nothing.  We see, from the strategy of the provincial government on the Assiniboine diversion program, that they are going to follow the old ways of the Rafferty‑Alameda dam, the old ways of the Old Man River by the Conservative Party in Alberta, and not follow the new ways that they are talking about in their Speech from the Throne, in terms of a basin‑wide, federal‑provincial review of the Assiniboine diversion program in the province of Manitoba.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, this government is out of date and out of touch.  After six Speeches from the Throne, with maybe one left before they go before the people, unless the members across the way have the good conscience to vote against the government, we will see the same old ideas trying to be recycled with the rhetoric.

            What we needed in this Chamber was an action plan for Manitobans starting with jobs and the economy and the recession. We needed an action plan that talked to the real concerns of Manitobans, not an outdated document.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, in this legislative session, we will be putting forward some alternatives.  We recognize that in the legal requirements of this Chamber we are not able to put in the full alternatives that we have as a party.  You will recognize that we are somewhat jaundiced by the government's reaction to some of the ideas we have had in the past.  When we were dealing with alternative policies on nonsmoking, we passed the nonsmoking bill, and the government in minority proceeded to say that they would pass this bill and shortly thereafter we, having worked a long period of time, passed that bill in the province of Manitoba, an act that could prevent the spread of some disease and would allow better health for our Manitobans.

            But what about the antisniffing bill?  You say to us, where are your alternatives, but when we come in with alternatives, when we pass alternatives, when we get them through this Chamber, when the government gets a majority, they fail to bring them in. [interjection] Mr. Acting Speaker, the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) was in the committee.  He wants to heckle from his place.

            I have the Minister of Justice's comments when he makes a couple of amendments to the original bill in 1989 and says now, on behalf of the police officers of this province, that this makes good sense for the province.  Why does the Minister of Justice not table his legal opinion?  He fails to table his legal opinion.  Why does he not stop heckling and follow through on his own words in Hansard in 1989?  What has this Minister of Health got on the rest of the members that he does not allow them to pass the antisniff laws?

            Police officers right across this province say we want this bill–the RCMP, the Winnipeg City Police, the youth squad, street workers in the inner city.  Again, get out of your bunker.  Get out of those chairs.  Get out of this building.  Get out to the real world. [interjection] Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, you have been out for five months and where have you been?–Paris, and I will not get into it.  I will leave it to Air Farce to make those comments.  If you do not have the tape yet, I will give it to you. [interjection]

            Look at the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey).  Why do you not deal with the Antler River School Division instead of heckling in this Chamber?  Your Foghorn Leghorn comments are not getting around a 40 percent tax increase in your own constituency.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we believe an action plan was necessary, and the first policy you must have is a balanced approach to the economy.  You cannot just treat the problems of unemployment by creating more unemployment.  You cannot just expect people to have consumer confidence when you are threatening to lay off 50,000 potential people in terms of the jobs that they have in the province.  You have this reign of fear going right throughout the province in the public service–nurses, teachers, public sector workers all across the province in Crown corporations.  Do you think they are going to buy a lot more goods when they are threatened with a layoff?  Do you think they are going to go out and buy goods around Christmas season?  You people do not understand anything about the economy, with the threat that is going on.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, so the first thing you need to do is have a balanced approach to the economy.  You do not solve unemployment with more unemployment.  That is called balance.  We believe this government has an economic alternative. [interjection] The member for Pembina, I got a few phone calls from his own constituents about his lack of backbone on Sunday shopping.  I hope you vote with your constituents and not with the Premier, the member for Tuxedo, on this issue.  I hope you vote with the people in your own community.

            I would remind the member for Pembina, he voted a different way than the member for Tuxedo on the issue of seat belts and the issue of child restraints.  I hope he has the backbone to vote against the government and vote with his constituents on his own issue.  I doubt whether he will.  He does not want to lose that cushy little office there.  He does not want to lose his plush velvet seat, Mr. Acting Speaker, and the plush velvet policies of this provincial government.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, as an alternative to the vacillating policies of this government on NAFTA, we want them as an alternative to say no to NAFTA and say yes to jobs for Manitoba. We want a strategy on air transportation for the province of Manitoba, dealing with regulation.  We want an economic strategy, and we will be calling for one in the session on the Crow benefit.  We want a policy on summer employment to our youth, and not having cutbacks.  We want a job creation program in private sector and a partnership with the private sector.  We believe in capital spending on infrastructure to get this economy going.  We believe in plant closure legislation that will make Manitoba the hardest place to close a plant, not the easiest place to close a plant under the Conservative government.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we believe in a policy of world trade, not North American trade under this corporate trade agreement. Look at the world, not just the North American continent.  Look at a people's agenda for trade, not a corporate agenda for trade, but get a backbone and take a position.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, in the area of health care, we believe in changes to Pharmacare so that seniors will have flexibility again.  That is one of our alternatives, as opposed to this autocratic Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard).

            We believe in getting a regulation and a policy on stubble burning that was left aside in 1987 by the Clean Environment Commission to be dealt with in 1992, and this provincial government will not touch it with a 10 foot pole.

            We believe in access to records, and we have been putting recommendations forward in this Chamber on health care.  We will be dealing with professionals and the deployment of professional people in the area of health care.  We need a strategy dealing with all professionals.  This Minister of Health has no reform dealing with doctors and specialists and deployment of doctors. He has no reform in place dealing with the changing role of professionals.  He has no reform in place that starts with the people as opposed to starting with his own little bureaucratic office and his little select advisory groups.


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            In the area of education, we will be bringing in a policy of the three Rs to education where Manitobans recommit themselves to building the best public education system and the best public school system in the country as we had before.  We will not dismantle the public education system.  We will reconstruct the infrastructure of our school program, a second R of our program. We will reform the education system, not cut it back, and deal with the needs of students and parents.  We will have parents councils in schools, and we will open up the doors to have real partnership between parents, teachers, students and communities in our public education system.  We will stop the education policy of privilege and go back to the basics of a public education system.  We are absolutely committed to that.

            In the area of post-secondary education, Mr. Acting Speaker, we will have a separate department dealing with labour market training, post‑secondary education, community colleges, universities, Access, Winnipeg Education Centre, and the training programs that are necessary under a renegotiated Core Area III program.  We have an action plan for post-secondary education. We believe that human investment and human training is equal to capital investment and capital spending.  We have a policy to treat human investment with equal status as financial investment, and we will put that into place.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we will be bringing in policies dealing with the environment.  We will be bringing in an alternative bill of rights for the people of Manitoba dealing with the environment, so that they will not have the autocratic travesty of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) with the Oak Hammock Marsh and the kind of travesty we see so far with our provincial parks.

            We will deal with a Child Advocate, which will be strengthened and independent from this minister.  We will be dealing with social assistance and not leaving the poverty of this government's economic policies to be placed upon the children and the most vulnerable in our society, Mr. Acting Speaker.  We will stop the offloading in education, and we will enhance the role of the Ombudsman dealing with education.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we could go on and on and on, but this tired old government is not listening; this tired old government is not acting; this tired old government does not care; this tired old government has no new ideas itself.

            I would move, seconded by the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia-Leis) that the motion be amended by adding to it the following words:

            But this House regrets:

            1.   That this government has lost touch with the concerns of  the people of Manitoba and failed to acknowledge the  recession and the pain and suffering it is inflicting on  thousands of Manitoba families;

            2.   That this government's step‑aside economic approach has  resulted in Manitoba performing in last place in 1991,  with a decline of 3.3 percent, and a predicted growth  below the national average in 1993, resulting in the  loss of more Manitoba jobs, and massive increases in  social assistance cases;

            3.   That this government has not been forthright with the  people of Manitoba in outlining its plans for health  reform, leading to uncertainty amongst patients and  health care providers and cutbacks in health services  and lost jobs;

            4.   That this government criticizes the federal government  for offloading health, post‑secondary education and  agriculture payments, while at the same time offloading  its responsibilities to municipalities and school  divisions, forcing them to increase taxes, reduce  services and cut jobs;

            5.   That this government has failed to make public the  results of its studies and consultations on the North  American Free Trade Agreement or its own final position  on the proposed trade agreement and its impact on  Manitoba jobs; and therefore,

            this government has thereby lost the trust and confidence of this House and the people of Manitoba.


(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Motion presented.


Mr. Speaker:  The honourable member's amendment is in order.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise on this debate, which will probably be my last Speech from the Throne, at least last speech as the Leader of the Liberal Party in Manitoba, unless of course the government decides to call a new session faster than the Liberal Party seems to be calling a convention.

            Mr. Speaker, there are a number of comments that I would like to make that are not entirely based on the Speech from the Throne.  I will begin with those because there are some new additions to this Chamber that I think need to be welcomed. Obviously, first and foremost, the member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray) who is a member of our caucus.  We are delighted to see her back in the Legislature once again.  We were also very pleased to see the new member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) come into this Chamber on the first time last Thursday, and we look forward to his avid participation in this Chamber, as we do from Ms. Gray as the weeks and months pass.

            We also, Sir, would like to welcome you back as the Speaker, knowing as we do of your fairness and balance and, on occasion, needed sense of humour.

            We also have a few people missing.  One, of course, the former member for Portage la Prairie, Mr. Ed Connery.  He is not with us.  We have to say that there were times when we agreed with him and times when we disagreed with him, but we certainly admired his humour which he vented on more than one occasion.

            Mr. Speaker, we are also going to be sad to not have the presence of the member for Rupertsland (Mr. Harper) in this Chamber, because he made a contribution to his community.  I think that all of us recognize that he accepted as his very personal responsibility the aboriginal people, and from the moment of his election he was indeed the only one to represent the aboriginal community in this Chamber.

            Now that aboriginal community is represented by a number of other additional individuals, but it is fair to say that the Rupertsland community is primarily and principally aboriginal. That is not true for the constituencies that are represented by other aboriginal members of the NDP caucus who have a broader group of people that they have to represent and so perhaps are not as narrowly focused on that one agenda as the member for Rupertsland had been, and I do not mean narrow in a negative way.  I mean it in a very positive way, because he had a group of constituents with very specific needs and those needs did indeed vary from the needs of others within our dynamic here in Manitoba.

            I would also like to thank those who over the last few weeks have approached me on a personal basis to wish me well in whatever I pursue into the future, knowing that I am going to remain as an MLA, but knowing that I am going to step down as soon as possible as the Leader of the party.  I must say that I was a little surprised that not more did.  I certainly welcomed the arrival in my office the following morning of the member for Charleswood, the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst), and I know that the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik) also made an attempt to make contact with me.

            There were others who met me in halls and made comments, but a number of others walked by as if I did not even exist, which I found was, to some degree, a comment on the spirit of this Chamber.  I want to talk about that for a few minutes, because I think there could be a level of friendship in this Chamber that I do not think exists.


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            As I remember my childhood, I remember frequently having the then Leader of the Opposition, Robert Stanfield, in my house on a very frequent basis and, obviously, my parents' house because I was a child.  He was not a great singer.  In that, he reminded me of Howard Pawley who in fact did phone me the day of my resignation; but in Nova Scotia on Saturday nights in those days singsongs were very much a part, and he liked music, even though he could not sing.  His daughter Sarah and I were friends, and I in fact taught Sarah how to swim.

            That was the kind of relationships that I thought would exist in this Chamber when I was first elected in 1986, and I have to say it has not been that way.  I think that there is an antagonism that goes beyond the parry and thrust of this particular debating Chamber, and I think that is unfortunate.  I believe that we could take a different approach to it if we tried, and that is why on occasion I have done things which were perhaps not considered terribly political.

            I have certainly written to members of the government benches, cabinet ministers, when I thought they looked ill, offering to pair with them.  I have offered pairs to individuals who I thought had been through a tough situation.  I have tried to make contact with them when they have had a loss in their family.  I think that that is incumbent upon each and every one of us.  If I have not done it for some of you, then perhaps I was not aware of that particular moment in your life, but we must reach out to one another in a warmer sense than, quite frankly, I have experienced in my six years in this Chamber.  I would hope that we can all take a new attitude towards that.

            We also tend to attack each other on a personal basis that I think is unnecessary.  I think we all are subject to attack on the basis of our political point of view.  That is fair and valid.  If we introduce an idea or a concept which is to your mind invalid, incorrect, unnecessary or whatever vocabulary you want to use, then so be it, but I have also watched very personal attacks made on individuals, made on me personally, that I think are well outside of the scope of this particular Chamber.

            What it does is, it creates the distrust that does not allow us to be compassionate and, quite frankly, human in our relationships with one another.  Perhaps we can all work a little harder than that, and I too will work harder at that, because I believe that we are here for a number of years yet together–at least two, perhaps three–and that we should not leave at the end of any day with a bad taste in our mouths.  Yet, I think often we do because of the sense of personal combativeness that is taken to a very personal level.

            Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move off of that, having said what I believe needs to be said and move on to what I find a disturbing Speech from the Throne, disturbing because I think it was a reflection of how very tired this government is.  It has held office for more than four years, but it obviously did not come to power with four years worth of ideas, because there were no ideas in this particular Speech from the Throne.

            As I pointed out on Friday, they used the word "innovation" or "innovative" nine times that I could find‑‑maybe there are a few more, but there were at least nine‑‑but it is not good enough to use the word.  In order for innovation to happen, there has to be a new direction, a concrete, positive idea which will make that innovation a reality.  I did not see any of that in this Speech from the Throne.

            I did not see any spirit, any hope to find a better way, and I felt that this was glaringly evident, because our difficult circumstances, which cannot be laid entirely at the blame of this government–let us be honest about that.  There is an international recession out there.  Canada is struggling.  It is no question that Manitoba would not be part of that struggle. One has to be fair about that, but there also has to be some intellectual honesty which says, look, we have to deal with some of the problems here in Manitoba and we have to address those problems here in Manitoba, but there was nothing but a pallid battle cry of, let us stay the course.  Well, the ship is sinking and the best sailors in the world do not stay the course when the ship is sinking.  They either abandon ship or they find ways to stabilize it, and neither, quite frankly, was found in this particular speech.

            There is little to debate in the speech because there is nothing new in the speech, so I do not propose to waste a lot of valuable time in this Chamber debating recycled catch phrases and warmed‑over rhetoric.  There is no point even debating old initiatives which have not, quite frankly, resulted in any satisfactory progress.

            Rather than debate the fairy tale world where problems could actually be solved by the pap and the fluff of the throne speech, I propose to talk about what I see as the real world in Manitoba with what I hope are some real solutions to some of those real problems.  We do not claim to have all the answers.  What we are hoping to do today is to lay out some positive solutions and hope that the government has the courage, which they speak about sometimes, of being prepared to accept ideas from the opposition.

            One of our fundamental goals is to try to make reforms which will bring government closer to individual Manitobans.  We believe that direction is necessary from all governments of all political stripes to make individual Manitobans and Canadians feel a greater part of the process.  That is really what October 26, in my opinion, was all about.  Canadians were really saying they were not going to take orders from anyone; they were going to make up their own minds about how they were going to cast their vote.

            All of us in this Chamber have to recognize that no matter what skills, ideas or talents we bring to life and bring to this political life, that it is also necessary for us to keep in contact with the public and to keep informed about what it is that the public wants in terms of a reform agenda.  We want reforms that will make government work better and work with the citizens of this province, and we will be pressing our ideas for reform in education, in health care, in economic management, in child advocacy, in the justice system and elsewhere.

            Let me begin with education.  Mr. Speaker, nowhere is the need for reform more necessary than in the field of education.  I must admit that I was somewhat distressed at the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) referring to the three Rs.  I really thought the whole concept of three Rs in education had disappeared some time ago, that words like communication and computation‑‑and if one wants to talk about the three Cs, they are probably more important today than the three Rs.  Perhaps a little upgrading of vocabulary is necessary, and perhaps some who have had some recent experience in the education field can provide that from the back bench of his political party.

            Education is a crying problem, not only for all Manitobans, but for all Canadians.  It is an issue for those concerned about the economy and for those concerned about social justice. Education policy is–and I hope the Finance minister is listening to this–economic policy.

            Our province faces some profound changes over the long term with respect to global economic competition.  The only way we are going to meet those challenges is if we have an effective responsiveness in our education system.

            To be more competitive we must be better educated, of that there is no question.  In addition, the other challenge facing our educators is the mandate to become more responsive to parents and better able to involve them in the education of their children.  One can read all of the educational data, papers and research one wants to read but every one of them will come down to the final analysis which is, the most important people to a child in the education system are the child's parents.  The focus and emphasis which the child receives from the parents will in fact ensure academic success or hinder academic success.


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            One recent study that I read, which compared the Korean system of education with the Canadian system of education, defined very clearly that the most important difference they could identify between Korean education and Canadian education was that when a child came home with homework in Korea, it was considered to be a family project.  Everybody sat down together and worked on this in a sense of improving the child's image but also reinforcing to that child the depth of importance of that education to that individual child.

            So parents have to be brought into the participation of education.  If the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) continues to claim as she did last week that her government has done all that we proposed in our press conference prior to the opening of the session on education, then I would suggest to her that she better get some answers from some of her bureaucrats, because it is not happening.  You may hope it is, you may be planning for it to, but it is not happening out there at the present time.

            You have not, I do not believe, Mr. Speaker and the Education minister, even begun facing the questions in our educational system.  The Liberal Education critic, the member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray) has proposed a parents' bill of rights. That certainly was not found in the Speech from the Throne.  It would guarantee parents the right to access all information about their child's performance in school.  I am getting a little angry at individual principals who will tell me that, well, we do that in our school.  It is true some schools do, but because it is not mandated by the Department of Education many schools still do not.  You cannot access that information if you are a parent, about testing which has been performed on your child.

            Even to get them to explain to you in detail what that report card means is a major challenge to many parents.  They do not know what the report cards mean.  Quite frankly, as an educator I frequently did not either, because they were so general in nature that they could have meant anything, anything I, as a teacher, wanted it to mean at any given time about any individual child. I tended not to use those general catchall phrases and to use grades as an indication simply because I felt the parents had a right to know, but it was not included in the report card form.

            We have to encourage the government to look at ways to make the public more community based, by incorporating educational, health and recreational needs of a community in a single facility.  This fortunately goes on far more in rural Manitoba than it does in urban Manitoba.  This government, for example, backed off an earlier proposal by the New Democratic Party when they were government, and a very positive one, that new schools built should include within them a child care centre.  We have not been doing that as a matter of course in Manitoba.  We also have to work towards the inclusion in that same building of concepts like libraries, sports facilities and health clinics, if we are going to build them anyway.  The school, which now has to be a centre for lifelong learning, not K to 12, has to become the embodiment of community activities, and we must move more and more in that direction.

            In the area of training, we have proposed new tax incentives for businesses who invest in training, but there has to be a very clear quid pro quo.  There has to be proof positive that they are indeed putting that money in training.  If they are not, then they must be prepared to put it in external agencies, and we have to involve the Department of Education in establishing the criteria for those courses.  No, Mr. Finance Minister, it is not happening.

            There has to be a responsibility shared by the private sector, who are frequently the principal beneficiary of job retraining and good quality students.  We must look to the promotion and expansion of vocational and apprenticeship programs.

            I would recommend to all of you in this room that you read last week's edition of The Economist, in which there is a comparison on education, because it shows I believe the weaknesses to some degree of our system.  It for example talks about the apprenticeship training initiatives in Germany.

            So I did as best I could, because not all the figures were available, a comparison between the number of apprenticeships offered in Canada and the number of apprenticeships offered in Germany.  If you scale down their 640,000 students in an apprentice program to the size of our population vis‑a‑vis their population, we should have about 221,000 young Canadian people in apprenticeship programs.  The best figure I can come to is something less than 40,000 in Canada, which is one of the reasons why we are so far behind the vocational initiatives of countries like Germany.

            If we compare ourselves with Denmark, our figures are even worse in terms of the availability of apprenticeship programs.

            For many months, we have been calling for changes to student aid so that funding levels accurately reflect need and so that eligibility requirements are more fair.  In addition, the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) will be introducing a resolution calling for an income-contingent student loan repayment plan.  Such an arrangement would lead to fewer defaults and provide a possible replacement for lending criteria.

            From Day One we were dismayed at the government's model that was employed by the previous Minister of Education, and we would ask this present Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) to look at it again.

            We have always supported the concept of governance for our community colleges, but we believed that one board makes far more sense than three.  We are already watching our universities in competition with one another for a variety of programs, and that is exactly what three independent boards of governance are going to do to our community colleges instead of forcing them to work co‑operatively together by sharing a joint board.

            The Liberal Party has also proposed a higher level of integration among the province's four universities so that we can achieve excellence in more areas.  I was told this weekend for example that students in the dental college at the University of Manitoba, which is physically located closer to the University of Winnipeg, are not allowed to borrow books from the University of Winnipeg, and that seems to me insane.

            In 1962, I went to university in the United States.  I lived in a town called North Hampton.  The next town to mine was Amherst where the University of Massachusetts was located as was Amherst College.  One community over from there was Mount Holyoke, three of the four universities private, the fourth, the University of Massachusetts, a public institution, and we all could share each other's libraries.  We could even share each other's courses, and there was a bus that ran between the four universities.  That was 30 years ago.

            We do not have that same kind of integration in our universities here in Winnipeg, let alone in neighbouring communities.  We have to get that kind of integration if we are going to maximize the dollars that are spent on universities. Those are just a few of the items on our ideas list for education.  We are fully aware that they are not exclusively our own inventions.

            Rarely, Mr. Speaker, does a political party come up with an idea all from itself.  It researches the data.  It reaches out to other communities.  It reads the research, and it takes on an idea that probably somebody else originally thought of first, and that is not unusual.  So if the minister wants to accept on any of these, she does not have to give us any credit.  I will give her the background of where I got the ideas from and she can give the originators the credit if that will make her feel any better.


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            Mr. Speaker, when Manitobans say they want their politicians to get on with solving this province's pressing problems, health care is certainly one of the areas they are talking about. One-third of the provincial budget will be spent on health care this year.  One conclusion is clear to anyone acquainted with reality.  We must reform medicare or we are going to lose it.  We can make changes or we can make excuses, excuses to our children and our grandchildren for failing to sustain one of Canada's great achievements, but change is never painless.

            Change often provides the harshest test for leaders, for workers, for professionals.  How do we manage?  How do we cope? Change also offers great temptations for opportunities and opportunists.  There are always worries.  There are always insecurities.  There are always individuals who suffer as a result of change, and sadly, there are those who will focus only on the short‑term by‑products of change, rather than seeing the bigger picture and the long‑term good.

            Mr. Speaker, we in the Liberal Party are determined to see health care reform succeed.  Costs have spiralled beyond the control of governments and that must be changed.  When the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) initiated his action plan for reform last May, we said it was better late than never and we supported it.  We also offered our own suggestions for improving the plan.  The reason is simple.  We saw it as a rational and reasonable program for change.  We saw it as a way forward and a way to bring rising costs back within the grasp of policymakers.

            Now, I said change is never easy, and let me tell you it is not easy being on the same side of an issue as the Minister of Health.  For one thing, it invites the partisan barbs from our colleagues in the other opposition party.  But we have decided to put up with that because we have decided that achieving real reform is more important.  In fact, Mr. Speaker, we call on all of our colleagues in this Chamber to put their partisan interests in a blind trust in the issue of health care.  If partisan interests are in a blind trust, then the public interest will be the only factor.

            Now, we know that politics will never be removed altogether. To be quite blunt, we too hope that voters will look at our approach and policy on health care and reward us at the polls. That is in part what happened in the Crescentwood by-election.

            Our fundamental goal is to build a better health care system.  It is not to persuade voters simply that the sky is falling and it is all the fault of our opponents.  The real world is not that simple.  You only have to look at other provinces across Canada, governments of all partisan political stripes, Conservative, NDP and Liberal, all facing the same challenges in health care.  No single party can take the blame or the credit for reform.

            Mr. Speaker, we tell the Minister of Health we want him to succeed.  We want health care reform to succeed, and therefore we want the minister to succeed.  However, we also tell the minister we are disappointed.  We still support his plan, but his progress in implementing that plan is disappointing so far.

            We think the situation is serious.  We are now more than one‑quarter of the way through the two-year life of his plan, but where are the new programs and where are the details.  In six months there has been one news conference in which bed cuts at the teaching hospitals were announced.  The plans for replacement services in the community are sketchy at best and nonexistent at worst.  We have seen almost no detail and very little progress.

            There are a couple of possible explanations for this.  One obviously is that little or nothing has been done.  The other is that the minister is running a closed process and information about health reform cannot find its way to public debate.  We are concerned that the problem is a little of both, so the Liberal Party is recommending two more things.  First, that the Minister of Health get the reform process moving.  We all know that he is part of a tired government, that was clearly reflected in the throne speech, but we still hope that in this one vital area something will be done.

            Secondly, Mr. Speaker, we want to see a much more open process.  No government should embark on changes as sweeping as those proposed for the health care system without an equally substantive process for informing the public and involving the public.  Without effective and open public information we see confusion, anxiety and uncertainty, and that, I know the minister knows, can undermine the entire process of change.

            Last week, Mr. Speaker, we released the Liberal Party's health reform monitor.  We hope that the minister has taken a close look at it.  That report is our honest attempt at a road map to show specifically and precisely where further progress and detail must be forthcoming in order to ensure Manitobans that the health reform process is still on track.

            The purpose of our reform monitor was not to embarrass the minister or to trip him up.  We reiterated that we still supported his plan and we wanted him to succeed in implementing it, but we told him point by point where he must do better and we told him up front that those points would be the focus of our agenda in health care for the coming months.  No surprises, he has been told where we are coming from.

            In the Liberal reform monitor, Mr. Speaker, we enumerated the missing puzzle pieces.  We pointed out a number of deadlines that have already been missed.  We asked for the necessary detail in new community‑based services that will replace those hospital beds to be closed as early as March.  We asked what new anesthesiology and neonatal capabilities will be provided in the community hospitals which must now handle an increased number of births with maximum safety.

            In our monitor, Mr. Speaker, we asked when waiting‑list management studies promised for this month‑‑and we are on the last day of this month‑‑will be completed and released.  We asked when standards and protocols for technology acquisition, also promised in his action plan, will be in place.  We asked about new ways of facilitating the participation of Manitobans and their families, providing them information so they can make better choices.  We asked about broadening partnerships with community health centres.

            These fine-sounding concepts were all promised in the reform action plan.  These are not our ideas; they are the minister's ideas.  We believe it is vital that the public see some movement and some new initiatives to make these promises a reality.

            Our monitor report drew particular attention to the increasingly stressful situation many health care professionals find themselves in.  The action plan made a vague promise about relocation assistance for professionals displaced by changes in the system.

            Mr. Speaker, the government has an undeniable obligation to act now on retraining and relocation programs.  It is not good enough to simply leave it to individual hospitals.  They do not have the capacity to do it.  It is time for this government to take some responsibility for our valuable human resources and the impact of reforms on many of the dedicated individuals who have been replaced by the reform in the health care system.

            Mr. Speaker, last May, when the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) released his action plan for reform, we proposed a more effective monitoring mechanism.  We proposed a body that would report to the public regularly on the progress and impact of reform.  It would be independent of the minister's office, and it would integrate and co‑ordinate several more limited monitoring functions envisaged in the action plan.

            At that time, the minister promised to take the proposal seriously, under advisement.  However, we have seen no action from him since that time.  We hoped that perhaps some addition to the government's health reform plan might be included in the throne speech, something that would correct this flaw and bring the public to the reform process.

            Obviously, that was too much to expect of this government and its throne speech, but we hope the minister has not yet ruled it out, because the longer the public is kept in the dark, the less chance we believe the entire reform process has of succeeding. We realize it is risky to be open and forthcoming, but it is even more risky to remain closed.  There is no choice but to have an open process and an open debate.

            Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health knows where we stand.  We stand firmly on the side of reform, reform that will benefit all Manitobans.  I say to the Minister of Health, as I said to his NDP predecessor, just get on with it.

            Mr. Speaker, the step‑aside approach of the current government is having a particularly harsh impact on the welfare of children.  During the recession we are experiencing a terrible waste of our young people.  There were more than 15,500 welfare recipients in Winnipeg in October.  That was up 28 percent from the year before.  Many Manitobans are struggling to feed their families, and the policies of this government offer them no hope for a better future.

            I have to say that I was dismayed, Mr. Speaker, about the decision of the Minister of Child and Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) to offload onto the City of Winnipeg the costs of welfare.  Some $5 million that should have been expenditure of this government will now either be the expenditure of the civic government or they will decide not to spend it, thereby giving less in the way of benefits to those living on social assistance in Winnipeg.


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            The tragedy is not merely a matter of economic management. The Department of Child and Family Services is constantly in the headlines with example after example of its failure to protect vulnerable children.  The government introduced in the last session of the Legislature the Child Advocate office, and the minister tells us he hopes to have it up and running this year. At that time, we urged that the Child Advocate office report to this Legislature.  We did not get that through.  We got a review after three years.

            Since that time, yet one more piece of evidence has come to light of the need for this advocate's office to report to this Chamber and not to the minister.

            If one reads Judge Giesbrecht's recommendation on the Lester Desjarlais case, we see statement after statement after statement of the need for the Child Advocate to report to the Manitoba Legislature.

            Let me read from that, Mr. Speaker:  This case, and specifically the way that Marion Glover's complaints were dealt with by the director in this case, demonstrates in a crystal‑clear way why it is absolutely necessary the Child Advocate must report to the Legislature.

            In another part of his recommendations:  The Child Advocate must be granted the same type of independence as that granted to the Ombudsman, otherwise upcoming elections and a hundred of other extraneous considerations will get in the way of what the Child Advocate is expected to do.

            Giesbrecht recommends that the Child Advocate's first assignment is to monitor the director's response to the recommendations, and yet it is going to be the director who is going to presumably have the Child Advocate office reporting to him.

            It is a tragedy, Mr. Speaker, that this government will put the needs of their political agenda before the needs of this Child Advocate office.  Yet, today, the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) and I both had copies of a fax which had gone out to Child and Family Service agencies, making them even more political.

            So when and where do the children of this province reach out to get genuine protection?  If they cannot trust their own agencies to not be political then they have only one other hope and then that is the Child Advocate office, but they have no hope because it also reports to the same body.

            Mr. Speaker, we are witness now to a government that has turned its back, one only can believe, on the economy and on the people of Manitoba.  This government has presided over some of the worst economic times our province has ever experienced.  We have seen jobs disappear in record numbers:  7,000 jobs lost in manufacturing since 1989; 5,000 jobs lost in construction; 4,000 lost in trade.  Manitoba experienced a loss of 7,000 jobs in goods producing industry in that same time period.  Still, the government remains committed to a laissez faire concept of capitalism.  It is a government that has been captured by the business leaders, but unfortunately not by the people.

            The government will tell us, Mr. Speaker, that we are not that badly off.  It will point to Manitoba's unemployment rate as the third lowest in the country.  Manitoba has always had a lower unemployment rate than they have in other provinces.  One might be persuaded, Mr. Speaker, until one looks behind the unemployment figures.  The stream of Manitobans aged 18 to 40 who are flowing out of this province to seek better opportunities elsewhere tell me to mistrust the unemployment figures.

            I am even less convinced by unemployment figures when I look at how the other prairie provinces are doing.  Manitoba trails both Saskatchewan and Alberta in employment, retail sales and housing starts over the first three quarters of this year.  The other prairie provinces are beginning to emerge from the recession, while Manitoba is still stuck in the mud.  Oh, but this government takes pride in having stayed the course.

            When we look for alternatives, we might consider briefly the economic policy of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer).  The member speaks loudly about the need for the public engine to support a sputtering private economy.  He and his national leader talk about constructing trade barriers and tariff barriers around our country and opposing fairer and freer trade.  The member claims that he will protect jobs in this province, but we have seen, unfortunately, that New Democratic economic policy does not work.

            Now, Mr. Speaker, we cannot afford a government that can only criticize when they are in opposition.  It is necessary for all of us to put forward our best ideas.  So you can see why Manitoba must look to new ideas, and we hope that the Liberal Party is able to present some of those.  We believe that we do not set out to alternate one of the partners in the economy with the other and to alienate one or the other.  We believe that there must be an ability and a willingness to work with both sides of the economic equation, and that means working with both business and labour.

            Let us not doubt that the difficulty lies ahead for all of us.  We are faced with many tough choices.  We must decide which government programs we can afford to keep and which ones we must retire.  Every government must do that, but we must be forthright with Manitobans, and we should not be willing to sacrifice the interests of one group against the interests of another.

            We believe our approach is different.  We realize the importance of fiscal responsibility, and we understand the need to hold the line on expenditure growth.  However, we also realize the need to invest in order to provide long‑term growth and development.  Investment holds the key to our future, and we believe it is the key that unlocks the potential of every Manitoban.  Until this government recovers from its fatigue and realizes that it needs to invest, it will continue to watch over an economy in decline.

            The government will tell you that it has invested in the province, Mr. Speaker.  The First Minister (Mr. Filmon) will rise in this Chamber and proudly state that he has never cut the budget of the Department of Highways and Transportation.  That is his idea of investment, but clearly he does not understand investment in the 21st Century.

            When Liberals promise investment, they talk of investment in people.  We talk of investment in job training and retraining. We talk of the need to reform the educational system so that it provides Manitobans with the knowledge and skills to compete in the days ahead.

            As Liberals, we speak of the need to build up within the labour force the best trained and brightest people in the world. We believe that the business community needs our most valuable resource, and we must work with them to achieve it.

            This is a different approach to investment, Mr. Speaker.  It is true that investment in physical infrastructure creates jobs and sometimes within the health system it is necessary, but what kinds of jobs are created?  What jobs are left after the road has been completed, the bridge been built?

            We must turn our back on temporary fixes, focus our attention on the permanent restructuring of our economy.  We must renew our investment in human capital and on the technological and academic infrastructure needed to support this capital.  This is necessary to ensure that we are left with an individual who is committed to the labour force and who is committed to long‑term employment.

            What about those Manitobans who need help now?  The answer to that, Mr. Speaker, is tied to our investment strategy.  Increased spending on human capital will create jobs in the near term as well as for the future.  There is a difference between this kind of spending and just spending on physical infrastructure.  We will begin to see the dividends of our investment two to three years from now while the dividends of physical infrastructure are a long time away.

            Mr. Speaker, the Premier (Mr. Filmon), perhaps the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), will say we are already doing that. They will point to the economic development board of cabinet and the Economic Innovation and Technology Council of examples of how they have acted to invest in Manitobans.  Well, the mission statement of the council, let me quote from it, "is to promote and enhance a climate of innovation, entrepreneurship and technological development that spurs responsible economic development for the benefit of all Manitobans."  It sounds wonderful.


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            These are admirable goals and ones that we can support wholeheartedly, but talk is cheap, Mr. Speaker.  The important questions are what are these organizations doing and what have they done, not what they claim to have done.  The innovations council has been operating for nearly three months now, although it has been announced at least once annually for each of the last three or four years, and it has yet to suggest, to our knowledge, any initiatives to government.  It has been allocated $10 million, which to our best knowledge not one penny has yet been spent.  In fact, the council has still not decided if it is within its mandate to spend any of these funds.

            This is not action, Mr. Speaker.  It is only a reflection of the stagnating mind of the members opposite.  The council has been operating for a short time, surely too short a time period to expect results, the Premier (Mr. Filmon) might say.  I might be willing to accept that judgment if the council was established to address a new concern.  This however is not the case.  We have been calling on the government to invest in people since 1988. In his maiden speech before this Assembly in 1988, the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) called on the government to develop a strategy to deal with the emerging economic reality.  That was four and a half years ago.  That message was repeated in 1989 and every year since then, and the government has only now responded with token measures.

            It is clear to us, Mr. Speaker, that the Finance minister and the Premier do not understand the new economics and that they are unprepared to lead us into the 21st Century.  We Liberals recommend investment in training for long‑term benefits.  In the short term, strategies such as the 3 percent PST holiday for three months commencing immediately after the holidays would provide stimulus.  Also, temporary elimination or deferral of sales tax on manufacturing equipment would provide effective relief to this ailing sector of the economy.  These are the kinds of bold initiatives we need to see and we hope to see in the budget.

            We cannot fail to make mention of the reforms necessary in the Department of Justice.  Follow‑up on the recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry and the Pedlar report are essential to ensure the safety of Manitobans and to ensure the fairness of the system.  The quick court proposed by the Liberal caucus would provide speedy and inexpensive legal relief and would encourage faster settlements.  Effective levels of policing and new methods to deal with violent crime must be supported.

            Mr. Speaker, we are in the era of new politics.  The decision of the people of this country told us that on October 26.  It is time to empower Canadians and Manitobans with jobs and real and effective participation in government.  We have to look at the reform of government institutions.  More free votes are required.  We must look at the election of senators from the province of Manitoba.  We have to look at the possibility of the single transferable vote.  We have to find ways to decrease blind partisanship.

            We cannot go back to the old style of politics.  It is time for some new thinking and for some new politics.  The people of Manitoba deserve no less, and that is part of the reason why I made the decision early this month to resign, because as Leader, I have been expressing as best I can for nine years what I thought were good ideas.  Some of them have been accepted and others have not, but I think that what we are going to need in this new, changing politics is a constant new progression of those ideas, and that is going to require new bodies.

            I do not think realistically that we should be looking to political careers of 20 and 30 and 40 years duration any longer. Politics is changing far too rapidly for that, and I think that we should be thinking in terms of bringing new people in.  I think we will see positive contributions from the new member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) and the new member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray) and soon the new member for Rupertsland, because I think we need that constant energy that comes from people who come from outside of the political process and bring that energy with them to the political process.  My party constantly needs those new ideas.  Other parties need those new ideas, too.

            Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock), that the amendment be amended by adding thereto the following words:

            And this House further regrets that:

            1.  this government's state of intellectual exhaustion has prevented it from taking the actions required to improve Manitoba's economic performance, and provide a stronger basis for growth both in the short term and long term;

            2.  this government has failed to respond to the needs of the people of Manitoba during the recession in that it has not provided any job training and retraining strategy;

            3.  while criticizing the federal government for offloading education costs, this government has itself transferred education costs from the provincial tax base to the property tax payer, and failed to articulate specific reforms to the education system except substantial cuts to the funding of the education system;

            4.  this government has not made sufficient efforts to consult and involve the public in its reform proposals for the health care system;

            5.  this government has not implemented a comprehensive, co‑ordinated, independent health reform monitor, to monitor and report publicly on the progress and impacts of reforms in the health care system.


Motion presented.


Mr. Speaker:  The honourable member's subamendment is in order.

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Speaker, it is, as always, an honour to rise during the course of the Throne Speech Debate to make a contribution to this particular debate.

            At the outset of my remarks, I would like to take this opportunity to add to the congratulations of the two new members of this Assembly:  my colleague Mr. Brian Pallister, who was returned in the constituency of Portage la Prairie, as well as Ms. Avis Gray, who was returned to represent the Crescentwood constituency.

            I would also like to extend my personal best wishes to three members, two former members of the Assembly and one current member.  I would like to offer my personal best wishes to a former colleague, the former member for Portage la Prairie, Mr. Ed Connery.  Mr. Connery and my father go back many, many years, in the days of the fight to institute the orderly marketing system of the Manitoba Vegetable Producers' Marketing Board, and Ed and my father and others such as Helmut Pankratz who used to sit in this House, Sam Uskiw, to name some members, were very much active in that particular battle.  Perhaps the only regret is the person on the other side of the battle at that time was my current seatmate, the Honourable Harry Enns, the Minister of Agriculture of the day.  But those go back a long history in that relationship, a long personal relationship between my family and the Connerys and I certainly would like to use this opportunity to wish Ed well in his new life outside of this Legislative Building and I hope it is a long and very fulfilling one for him.

            I would also like to take the opportunity to wish all the best to the Leader of the Second Opposition, Mrs. Carstairs, on the announcement of her retirement as Leader of her party.  Mrs. Carstairs has been a member of this House for two years longer than I have, but she has always on a personal basis extended many courtesies to myself and other members of this Assembly, particularly as new members, and I had the honour of serving with her on the All‑Party Constitutional Task Force, which obviously played a major role in developing the position of this province on those constitutional issues.  Although the Leader of the Second Opposition and I do not always share the same views on the constitution or the future of the country, the future direction of the country, I think we came to respect one another in our positions and I will always look back very fondly upon those hundreds of hours we spent together at public hearings and working towards an all‑party consensus.


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            I wish her all the best in her future endeavours, and I know that she will go down in the history of this province no doubt as having played a very instrumental role in the rebirth of the Liberal Party in this Chamber.  I think all members would agree that this Chamber has become a much more interesting place and perhaps a more productive place having three parties in it than in days when things were much more divided, so I wish all the best to her in her retirement and future endeavours.

            I would also like to extend best wishes to the former member for Rupertsland (Mr. Harper).  He and I share a community that was once in the Lac du Bonnet constituency and with the last redistribution was moved to Rupertsland.  We have been neighbours in northeastern Manitoba for some years, and I know that he certainly has many matters which he wishes to pursue, whether it be in private life or in seeking a seat for Parliament, and I think all honourable members of this House certainly also wish to extend best wishes to him.

            Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Second Opposition spoke today at the beginning of her remarks about the politics of personality and how from time to time members of this House get into slamming one another on the basis of one's personality and avoid to some degree dealing with the issues.  I think if there is one lesson that comes out of the events on the national scene over the last number of months, it is the public's dislike for what, during the late seventies and early eighties really became the politics of personality across our country, maybe indeed across the world. We tend to focus on the imperfections of our political leaders. We tend to focus on their personalities, their personal abilities, or lack of abilities in certain cases, and tend to blame as a society all of our ills on those who come forward for public office.

            I have yet to meet many members of this House who do not come to this place very legitimately to pursue the best interests of the people of our province and the people of their constituencies, indeed come with honourable motives, certainly with differing points of view, certainly with different understandings of the issues, but certainly with the best intentions of the people of our province at heart.  I would hope that would not be forgotten.

            Mr. Speaker, an editorial in Saturday's Free Press entitled "A stable House" which spoke about the changing numbers in this Assembly with the resignation of the former member for Rupertsland (Mr. Harper), ended with a challenge to the opposition parties.  It ended with a challenge and I quote, that the tight squeeze on the various issues provides both opposition parties with a good opportunity to prove to Manitobans that they have a better idea.

            Mr. Speaker, that is a very, very great challenge to an opposition, because it is always so easy in the parliamentary system for an opposition to be friends of all who have a beef with the government, to be friends of all who feel that somehow they are not getting their fair share of government attention or the public's treasury, and to take side with them and to encourage them that if only an election were held and they were on this side of the House, all of those ills would go away.

            Mr. Speaker, it takes more depth of understanding of the issues to offer alternatives to government policy.  It also takes a great deal of depth of understanding to first come to grips with the problems, the very severe problems facing not only our province, but all provinces in Canada today, indeed, our whole nation, United States, Europe, in fact, virtually all the world, who is suffering from the same ills to one degree or another.

            The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) in his address to this House talked a little bit about what his party saw as the options for this province.  He spoke at great length about the problems facing this province, but I am not quite sure, Mr. Speaker, whether the Leader of the Opposition demonstrated any depth of understanding of what is behind those problems, any depth of understanding over what is driving the current economic difficulties that all of us face.

            Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition spoke about people being worried about layoffs, about potential layoffs.  He talked about people suffering who have been laid off or do not have an opportunity to find a new job.  He said that his party listens to people and that they hear, while members of this side of the House have no understanding of those issues that are there today among our constituents, indeed, the people of our province.

            (Mr. Ben Sveinson, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

            Let me tell the honourable members opposite, and let me tell the Leader of the Opposition, that members of this side of the House are keenly aware of the great suffering and pressures facing the people of our province today.  We are very keenly aware of the frustrations that are there, and we are very keenly aware of the fears and anxieties of the people of our province.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition said that this government had no plan of action, and he made reference to past throne speeches about the New Democratic government of the early '80s, of the recession being referred to in the throne speech of 1982.  He did acknowledge that there was no throne speech in 1983 when the government more or less went underground for the longest period in this province's history when this Legislature did not sit.  He did not get into detail about that, but he spoke with pride that they had referred to the recession.

            Yes, Mr. Acting Speaker, we had a recession in those days and we certainly have, whatever you want to call it, a recession now or what have you.  We are suffering from one now, but did the actions and the policies of the administration of which he was so proud from that period, did they bring on a change that was long lasting and fundamental?  They did not.  In fact, I would remind‑‑and the members have heard this before‑‑but I would remind honourable members across the way that one of their main pieces of policy, one of the main stones on their foundation of policy was the Jobs Fund.

            Our colleague the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) just last year had to renegotiate the loan for the Jobs Fund.  Indeed, the hard‑pressed taxpayers of 1992 are still paying for the financing of that Jobs Fund.  In the words of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer), who was then president of the Manitoba Government Employees' Association, at the time, he said all it did was create phony jobs, create jobs for printers of the signs.  That was the answer.  It was an answer that was tried in fairness to members opposite.  It was an answer that was tried in other jurisdictions too with the same result, added debt, so much so that by 1985‑86, that fiscal year, the Province of Manitoba was borrowing more money than‑‑or I should say, all the money they were borrowing since '85‑86 gone to pay interest on previous borrowings.  Since that year, this province has not borrowed a penny to provide services.  It has borrowed only and solely to service the accumulated debt of 20 years.  Mr. Acting Speaker, I am going to talk about that a little bit later.

            I would like to remind members opposite that myself and some of the members of this House come to this debate about the debt‑‑being only in our early '30s‑‑that 20 years of borrowing, provincially and nationally, by governments of virtually all stripes across this country has left Canada mortgaged to the hilt and virtually bankrupt.  Mr. Acting Speaker, I take no responsibility for that.  I was not even of voting age throughout most of that period.

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            The fact is my generation, as it comes to its own in our society, has inherited a mortgage bill, Mr. Acting Speaker, that is crushing, and those people who borrowed most of that money are long gone.  In fact, as I have indicated, since '85‑86 all of this province's borrowing has simply been to pay interest on the borrowings of past governments and across Canada of all political stripes.

            So, Mr. Acting Speaker, to talk about how wonderful things were in '82‑83 with great answers of what other governments had, I think everywhere across Canada it proved by 1992 to have only added to the problem and not come to grips with some of the fundamental issues facing us as a society and certainly our economy that are now having to be addressed, not by choice, but because pure economic pressure is forcing us to come to grips with them.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer), if I may get back to that point, spoke about this government being completely out of touch.  Well, I think the opposite is quite true.  In fact I would even charge that members of the New Democratic Party are completely out of touch, at least from their rhetoric in this House, with the realities facing all governments today.

            You know, Mr. Acting Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition can talk about what was not in our throne speech, but what was not in the Leader of the Opposition's remarks to this House today was any reference to what is happening to other provincial governments, particularly the three governments that are held by the New Democratic Party.  I say that not to be partisan, but if one wants to deal with Manitoba issues one has to look at what is happening right across the country.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, there was an article in I believe it was Saturday's Globe and Mail about Ontario.  I would like to quote from that article.  I want to quote just to remind honourable members, who I do not think ever want to look at what is happening in Ontario or Saskatchewan or British Columbia or any of the other provinces in Canada, what is happening there, and I think it is important.

            I would like to quote from this article by Richard Mackie of the Queen's Park Bureau of that paper.  I quote:  "After announcing $600 million in spending cuts on Thursday, Treasurer Floyd Laughren has gone on to say that the Ontario government will increase taxes, cut more programs and sell off land and buildings.  In an interview for the Global Television program Focus Ontario, to be broadcast tonight, he warned that next April's budget will cut even closer to the bone because the government believes it must deal with the deficit."

            The article goes on, and I further quote:  "The Treasurer said that if unions don't keep to low wage demands, he will be forced to consider wage freezes and wage rollbacks in the areas which rely on the provincial government for financing such as social services, hospitals, universities, school boards and municipalities."

            The article goes on, Mr. Acting Speaker, and I further quote:  "In addition to higher taxes, Mr. Laughren said the government intends to go ahead with selling the SkyDome stadium and to sell other 'nonstrategic assets' such as the GO Transit trains, which it would then lease back."  I quote Mr. Laughren: "'If we don't do these things,' he said, 'we will get to the point where the federal government is, where a third of all their dollars...instead of providing programs, is going to service the debt'."

            "Mr. Laughren acknowledged that predictions of higher taxes would not be welcomed.  'I recognize there's tax fatigue out there.  I think there's also deficit fatigue, and I think there's also expenditure‑cut fatigue, if I can put it that way, by the legitimate social agencies out there who deserve to be funded'."

            He further goes on to say:  "'Deciding where to make cuts is emotionally very difficult.  How do you not fund education that looks after developmentally handicapped children or how do you not provide proper funding for a social agency that looks after disadvantaged youth in the community?'"

            "'This compassion will not prevent more cuts, however'." This is a direct quote from Mr. Laughren.  "'Everybody out there has something to worry about in terms of what services we are going to be able to deliver'."

            "'All these programs result from the decline in revenues', he said, 'after decades when revenues rose'.  Mr. Laughren goes on to say:  "'So we kid ourselves if we think that we can continue to fund everybody out there at the same level that they have been funded in the past.  That's simply not possible'."

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I would even suggest that if this story were written about the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) in Manitoba, opposition members would be waving it, quoting him back in the House and saying how terrible things are.  Mr. Doer, the Leader of the Opposition, never referred to what is happening in Ontario.  Is perhaps he out of touch with what is happening in the rest of Canada?

            Mr. Acting Speaker, there is another article from the Regina Leader‑Post dated November 20, 1992, entitled The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Criticizes the NDP's Financial Report, and I quote:  The financial report released Wednesday reveals that the projected annual deficit is larger than was originally forecast in the budget speech last spring and corrective measures are required.  The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is concerned that means further cuts will be made to programs and services, more Civil Service jobs will be eliminated and public sector workers will have their wages frozen, federation President Barb Byers said.  Cuts in provincial grants have already reduced services and staff in important areas like health care, educational funding and municipal government, she said.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, members of the New Democratic Party may not want to hear these things, but they are part of the reality. We have to ask ourselves on this side of the House what circumstances would lead the New Democrats in two other provinces‑‑in fact, the same thing is happening in British Columbia‑‑in three provinces, to be following these courses of actions.  These are parties that have for decades stood up and said, these things should never happen; parties whose colleagues in legislatures where they are in opposition such as this get up and say, these things should never happen.  Mr. Acting Speaker, the luxury of opposition perhaps, because the realities of government everywhere are dictating that we have to come to grips with these fundamental problems.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I just want to add to other bits of information that will be of interest to members of the New Democratic Party.  These come off recent reports off the wire services that, and I quote:  The Ontario government is delaying introduction of pay equity for another 420,000 women in an attempt to save money, Labour Minister Bob MacKenzie announced Thursday.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, this is one I am somewhat miffed at, given the arguments of my critic, the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), and I quote from the wire service of last week:  Premier Roy Romanow's cabinet ordered its negotiators last week to end all discussions on wage increases which it says it cannot afford.  The union is seeking a 5 percent wage hike in the first year of a new contract and a cost of living increase for subsequent years.

            That sounds a little like the end of collective bargaining in Saskatchewan. [interjection] Mr. Acting Speaker, the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) says, their problem there is the mess they were left with.

            I will tell you that we on this side of the House have a great deal in common with Mr. Romanow's government, as we do with every other government of all political stripes in this country, because those realities cannot go away; they have to be dealt with.

            As someone who is, as I have pointed out before, in my early 30s, I look at the legacy that has been left my generation in this province over the last 20 years.  I am not just going to point my finger at members across the way, because by and large over 20 years, right across Canada, politicians of all political stripes to one degree or another, nationally and provincially, have followed the same policy to one degree or another of borrowing beyond the means of their taxpayers.  It was always done, if I remember the dates and the speeches of people like Ed Schreyer in the 70s, because inflation would pay for it eventually, but inflation has run out.  In fact, inflation has probably become a detriment.

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            Mr. Acting Speaker, I remember in 1981, as the young Premier of the Youth Parliament of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario‑‑shortly after the election, it was the first session of our Parliament in which Howard Pawley was Premier of Manitoba‑‑and I remember sitting in that loge welcoming him to our session and sitting between him and the new member for Morris, Clayton Manness, and listening to a discussion of these issues.  I remember talking about the need because we were in a recession, as Mr. Pawley indicated at the time, we should be spending to stimulate.  Clayton Manness put the question to him, when do we make it back, Howard?  His response was, well, I am not sure.

            There was not an intention to make it back.  In fact, when times were good, in the mid‑to‑late '80s, when we had the windfalls of revenue, when there was an attempt by this government to take away the excess revenues that we had from federal transfers and from mining revenue and put it into a savings account to draw on in tougher times, it was opposed by members opposite‑‑not all, some members opposition; by the official opposition of the day, it was opposed.

            We have used that surplus to good advantage now to cushion some of the blows that are being forced upon us, but the point I still make is during some pretty good times, when members opposite were in government, the bank account was never replenished, which is one of the principal points of Keynesian economics.  I do not just blame them, because virtually every government in Canada during that period did the same thing.

            (Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

            So I stand here today, Mr. Speaker, as someone who is in his early thirties, early age in public life.  I look at the legacy that has been handed to my generation and it is a terrible one. That debt is there and the bills are coming home, and there is no avoiding it. [interjection] The members opposite from Dauphin and Flin Flon said, yes, we are borrowing, and I am not proud of that.  I am not proud of that at all.  As they well know from being in cabinet since '85‑86, every penny that the Province of Manitoba has borrowed has gone to pay interest. [interjection]

            The member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) says, do we have all the answers?  No, we do not have all the answers.  In fact, Mr. Speaker, as these economic times go on right across the world we are learning things about our economy and the way it has been structured that we did not realize a year or two or three years ago.  These are very serious times.  There is no denying it, but they will not be dealt with by simple slogans.  They will not be dealt with by a view that if we tinker here or there that they are going to be solved.

            There are fundamental problems in our economy today.  The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer), although one may disagree from time to time on specifics, has referred to some of the problems in education, Mr. Speaker, that have to be addressed, but they are deeper.  That fundamental debt load underlines much of our problem.  That debt load is not just something that is there in government.  We see it in the corporate world.  Look at the investment in the corporate world in speculative real estate.

            My constituents in Pine Falls who have run a profitable paper mill saw their profits not reinvested in new machinery and equipment and updating the mill, they saw it go from Abitibi‑Price to Abitibi‑Price's parent Olympia & York and gone to finance the acquisition of department stores in New York and Canary Wharf in London.  Mr. Speaker, not right, and now the price is being paid.

            Mr. Speaker, what we have seen over 20 years right across the board has been this accumulation of debt, lack of investment generally on our basic wealth producing infrastructure everywhere.  I am being very practical and I am raising points that are very legitimate, but just on points of the members opposite about encouraging investment in Manitoba, let us not forget during that period when the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) was in government and the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) was in government that Abitibi did not invest hardly anything in Pine Falls.

            Would you invest in Pine Falls if you found you had a new park cut out of your cutting areas without so much even as a bit of negotiations?  Would you invest?  Would you invest in a province if one day you found you had a payroll tax levied on creating jobs?  Would you invest if you had a government of the day who, quite frankly, could care less whether you were in the province or not?  No, I am not against parks, but when you expropriate a right to someone that you have already given them, you should at least have the courtesy of negotiating with them, Mr. Speaker, before you go ahead and do it.  If memory serves me right, I remember Howard Pawley talking about how he had talked to somebody on an airplane and thought Atikaki was a great idea and decided to go ahead and do it, but nobody spoke to them.  The negotiations were after the fact.  So why would you invest in Manitoba?  If you were Interbake, why would you invest in Manitoba in the Paulin's division here when you had a government in Manitoba who basically believe that you were rolling in dough, rolling in cash, and you were going to pull it out who bring in a payroll tax and all of those things? [interjection]  Yes, but the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) says they left when we were in government.

            But, Mr. Speaker, the upgrade in equipment and machinery that would have kept that plant profitable were made long before we were in government and they were made on the basis of policies that were brought in at the time, because there is a basic lesson here.  You cannot take wealth generation for granted.  You cannot view those people who produce wealth including the employees who work there as just a source of revenue that you can go to over and over and over again with taxation and policies that make it very hard for them to operate.

            Mr. Speaker, I have heard comments from the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) who wants stiffer plant closure legislation, exactly that type of thinking, that "let us keep people out of the province."  A lot of that investment is footloose, and one has to accommodate it within reason, and quite frankly, that is not going to do it.  They wish to build a wall, as my colleague from Pembina indicates, while walls all across the world are going down.

            Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing that is evident as one scans the world, and just as an aside for a moment, if one looks at countries in western Europe for example, Italy with a socialist prime minister, he is in the process of deinsuring their medical coverage to any family whose gross family income is over the equivalent of about $40,000 Canadian a year.  The government of Belgium now spends about 42 percent of its revenue each year on interest payments.  Greece is over 60 percent on interest payments; they are bankrupt.  Germany is financing reunification by borrowing.  Japan's investment banks, their capital holdings that back their loan have declined‑‑what?‑‑in the neighborhood of 50 percent to 60 percent of value because of investment in speculative real estate.  All across the world we are seeing huge amounts of change.  We are seeing huge amounts of contraction right across the world.

            Manitoba is not an island, and we have to ride this out and it is not going to be easy.  Members on this side of the House know the pain and suffering that is there, know the anxiety that is there among Manitobans and there is no doubt that it is there.  But what do we have to do?  We cannot escape the deficit problem.  We cannot, because like a number of other Canadian provinces, if you ignore your deficit, within a very short period of time you will not be able to borrow money in Canada.  There are some very significant provinces now who are not able to borrow money in Canada.

            We have the Newfoundland example, where Newfoundland just a couple of years ago were told by their bankers that they could not loan any more money unless they reduce their public service by 2,100 positions approximately and 1,200 people in the health care system.  It was not their decision, Mr. Speaker, a Liberal government.  It was what their bankers demanded of them to get one more penny in credit.

            Mr. Speaker, all Canadian provinces and certainly our federal government are on that road to one degree or another.  I do not think any of us on this side of the House are happy that we have any deficit at all, because that is just mortgaging the future of our province and of our young people, but we are trying to make the changes needed with some compassion, which members opposite have not recognized at all because they would just keep borrowing until we could borrow no more and have the whole house crash down around us with great pain and suffering, as is now the case in some other provinces, Ontario and Saskatchewan being two.


* (1710)


            Mr. Speaker, we have to deal with that deficit problem.  Not that I am of the belief that we are going to be able to solve it quickly, but it will be a millstone around our collective necks year after year in a heavier and heavier fashion.

            If members opposite or any members of the public think we have the ability to go into the marketplace and borrow a huge amount of money to stimulate growth, only look at Ontario.  In their first budget that was their answer.  They were going to spend how many extra billions of dollars, run up their deficit, stimulate economic activity and it would all come back in the treasury, which is exactly the argument that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) and members of his party use time and time again, that old Keynesian theory.  The reality in Ontario is it did not work; it did not work at all, Mr. Speaker.  In fact now they are trying to get that money back–

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  It is working.

Mr. Praznik:  Oh, the member for Dauphin said it is working, Mr. Speaker.  It is not working in Ontario.  Ontario is in for even worse times than it has had.

            His colleagues, if he were to have a discussion with his colleagues in Saskatchewan, would find out probably very quickly that they and this government are very much in thinking and taking the same approach, because necessity demands it, and that is the reality in which we live that they fail to ignore.

            Mr. Speaker, not only do we have to come to grips with the deficit, but it is imperative of all of us‑‑and the Leader of the second opposition party alluded it somewhat in various parts of her speech‑‑we have to rethink everything that government does. The Leader of the Second Opposition (Mrs. Carstairs), I believe, made reference to making the tough choices between what programs government can continue to deliver and what programs they cannot.  That has to be done‑‑and not only what we can continue and cannot continue to deliver, but also, Mr. Speaker, can we deliver those things better?

            Probably the most innovative and thoughtful document anywhere in Canada on reform that has really become the beginning of reform of government across Canada has been this health action plan, Mr. Speaker, in terms of understanding the problems health care is facing.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  No, no, no.

Mr. Praznik:  The member for Flin Flon said no, no, no, but I would remind him of the comments of the Minister of Health in the Province of Ontario who said, one‑third of Ontario's budget does not provide services for health, and the implication being that Ontario has to find it and take it out of its budget.

            Now, they may do a few things differently.  I think they have closed 3,000 beds in the Toronto area in the last year, or are planning to, Mr. Speaker.  I think if the member objectively examined many of the things that we are doing and what is actually happening in other provinces, he would find out that the Health ministers across this country, with some difference here and there, are by and large walking step by step.

            We also have to recognize, as our economy has gone through very tough times, that our public service generally cannot be entirely supported, Mr. Speaker, as if revenues were endless.  We managed to negotiate a three-year agreement with our public servants in this area, but we see other governments, Saskatchewan as an example, not being able to negotiate, Ontario not being able to negotiate, and Ontario removing pay equity funding because they have that same problem.

            We have to look at how much we can afford and that is what we have to be able to provide, and to look at how we do it to see if we can find it better.  Do we really need to provide it, and where do we need to be targeting our resources?

            Mr. Speaker, there is also a larger issue that has to be addressed, and that is our own people.  We as a society have to recognize that government cannot, never has and will not be able to solve all of our problems as a society.  I am a product of the Schreyer school system, to some degree.  I am a product, having grown up in Howard Pawley's constituency, of a way of thinking that developed during the late '60s and early '70s that government could answer everything.  I came to realize very quickly that it cannot, and it was a dream that was not going to work.  It cost a huge amount of money to find a whole bunch of areas to fill needs that government could not ultimately fulfill.

            That is one of the reasons I am on this side–[interjection] Well, the member refers to home care.  They talked about home care.  It is our government that has put more money into home care as part of health care reform.  The New Democrats got into health care without making the savings in the institutions because they did not, quite frankly, understand where the system had to be going–in theory maybe, but would not do it.

            We are in a very difficult time.  There is no doubt about that, but we have to deal with this.  You have to deal with the realities in a way that is going to take us through it.  The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer), in his address to this House, demonstrated that he may feel the same frustrations and fears that we feel that are there in the people of Manitoba, but he is totally out of touch with the causes of our problems.  He is totally out of touch with the difficulties facing every other government in Canada and around the world, and he is totally devoid of any sense of the direction that we have to go.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Storie:  Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to join this debate this early. [interjection] My colleague from Pembina behind me talks about dishonesty you can trust.  I just ask the question: Where is the member for Pembina, where is the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) with respect to drug patent legislation today?  We know that he is with his federal colleagues one day.  The next day he is with the Minister of Health from British Columbia.  So I think the Minister of Health has finally come to the same conclusion as my colleague from Emerson‑‑no.  Where are you from now? [interjection] Steinbach, the Minister of Highways (Mr. Driedger) when it comes to deregulation.  It is a mess.  It has created a mess.  So has virtually every other policy we have seen in the last two decades foisted on the public of Canada.

            Mr. Speaker, I wanted to begin, however, by first acknowledging and congratulating the member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray) and the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) on their re‑election and election to the House.  I hope that they are not persuaded by the early debate in this session that somehow this is a Chamber where good things cannot happen, where people cannot be civilized, as the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) suggested in her speech.  I think it is important that we have partisan lively debates from time to time, but I hope that we do not carry the animosity that we sometimes feel in the heat of the moment outside the Chamber. [interjection]

            Mr. Speaker, the member for Portage says, be nice.  Outside the Chamber, I certainly intend to, if that is at all possible. I will not guarantee the same kind of courtesy in the Chamber at all times.  I will fall prey to the temptation to be partisan from time to time‑‑[interjection] as I should be, my colleague from Dauphin suggests.

            I want to sort of launch into some of that partisan rhetoric immediately, Mr. Speaker.  I want to begin by saying that the throne speech is always a nebulous kind of document.  We are, I think, accustomed in this Legislature to trying to pick up a generic sense of where the government is going in throne speeches and there have been some, let us say, less than stellar throne speeches in the past.  The last couple come to mind but this throne speech was a star in many respects.

            This throne speech had all of the rhetoric and had, I think, sort of tapped into a couple of new euphemisms that are making the rounds today, talking about change and innovation.  Those words were used many times in the throne speech, but what was interesting was that although the word "change" was used many times, when it came down to the government's core values, nothing had changed.  In fact, we still sawed the same old saws‑‑that it is better to stand aside, it is better to do nothing.  That is basically the approach of the government and, of course, the continuing rhetoric about managing the economy and managing the finances of the Province of Manitoba, this at a time when the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) has just tabled the second quarter financial report which said that we have the highest deficit in the province's history.  That is management.

            Mr. Speaker, I also wanted to commend the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik) on a fine speech and for reminding me incidentally of a couple of things that I think we all should remind ourselves of from time to time, and that was that we should do some comparison.  I thought it was quite interesting when the member for Lac du Bonnet, the Minister of Labour, talked about comparing what was going on in Manitoba at the present time in other jurisdictions.  I thought it was instructive that he forgot to compare what was going on in other provinces when he was talking about the previous administration.  He particularly neglected to talk about the record of the previous Conservative government in Saskatchewan.


* (1720)


            I want to take issue with the suggestion that there is some sort of parallel between the position this government was left in, the new Conservative government of 1988 and 1990, with the situation that the current Premier of Saskatchewan inherited from the Devine government, because there is no comparison.  The Romanow NDP government in Saskatchewan inherited a $960‑million annual deficit, and this government had inherited a surplus.  In the fiscal year in which this government took over in 1988, the 1988‑89 budget, there was a surplus and the Provincial Auditor has reported on it‑‑ask the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness).

            The member for Springfield (Mr. Findlay) should go back and review the Provincial Auditor's comments in the 1990 Provincial Auditor's Report about the financial affairs of the Province of Manitoba, and he will find that never mind the $200 million which was taken from excess revenue from equalization from the federal government and mining tax revenue transferred to the provincial government as this new stabilization fund that in fact created an artificial deficit in that year.  There was an operating surplus in the Province of Manitoba.  So we take that legacy and we have seen the provincial annual deficit increase year after year until it is currently at $642 million, equivalent of $642 million.

            Mr. Speaker, having said that, I share with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik) the concern over the deficit.  We all share a concern over the deficit.  The fact of the matter is, and I give the member for Lac du Bonnet credit, he acknowledged that every government of every stripe, through the 1980s in particular, experienced significant growth in their accumulative debt.  There can be no doubt about it.

            If the member for Lac du Bonnet wants to be honest, then he should compare the growth accumulative debt with other provinces compared to the Province of Manitoba.  Because if you put it in context, the experience in Manitoba was better than most, and certainly because of decisions made by the previous government, both to stimulate the economy and to increase taxes, which the members opposite are wont to criticize, the financial position that was left to this group on the front bench today was far better than most governments have inherited–far better–including far better, incidentally, than the mess we inherited from the Sterling Lyon government of which the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) was one of the architects.  Mr. Speaker, we want to share that understanding.

            We also are concerned about annual deficits, particularly annual deficits that are talked about and reported by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness).

            Mr. Speaker, what we do believe fundamentally is that we need a new approach.  I am not just talking about a new New Democratic approach, but we certainly need a new Conservative approach, because the agenda that this government has set for itself has failed in the United States, it has failed in Britain, it has failed federally in Canada and is going to fail in the Province of Manitoba.  It is the same agenda that Brian Mulroney outlined in 1984, and it is a failed agenda.  It is an agenda that does not recognize the fundamental characteristics of our country.  It does not address the problem that we face as a unique country with a unique economy and a unique set of social institutions. So we need to set our own course, and unfortunately the Conservative government in this throne speech in particular have set no course, no course whatsoever.  We continue the drift that we saw since 1988 from this government.

            Mr. Speaker, we need an alternative, we do need an alternative.  Let us look at the throne speech's new initiatives, so to speak, and my Leader I think addressed the fact that virtually every new item which was mentioned in the throne speech was in fact not new, was in fact in some cases initiatives that had been started as much as 20 years ago by the NDP.  I wanted to talk about, for example, the new thrust of the provincial government.  Well, the InfoTech Centre, the recognition that information technology is going to be the base for most of the jobs in the next economy did not come from the Premier of this province, the member for Tuxedo (Mr. Filmon), or any of his front bench.  That idea was generated at the first economic summit in 1982 by the co-operative efforts of labour and business and government.  The InfoTech Centre was a direct result of those consultative meetings.

            Mr. Speaker, HIDI, the Health Industry Development Initiative was also a result of a later set of economic summit meetings, an idea that was germinated in the co‑operative atmosphere of those economic summits which brought Manitoba Leaders together.  The kinds of initiative that my Leader was commenting on in terms of The Forks, in terms of tourism, were also created by the co‑operative effort in some cases between the trilevels of governments and outside parties.  They were created by the ability of the previous government to arrange and sign ERDA agreements, Economical Regional Development Agreements in tourism, in mining and forestry, et cetera.

            Mr. Speaker, it was very much a co-operative effort, but what is surprising is that there is so little new in this throne speech.  The only significant legislative item which was identified in the throne speech is Sunday shopping.  What was more interesting was that hidden in amongst the verbiage dealing with tourism, which was supposed to give us some sense that the provincial government finally had an agenda with respect to tourism, was reference to Sunday shopping.

            If this government believes, if the Minister responsible for Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) believes, or the Premier (Mr. Filmon) believes that opening Sunday shopping from noon to six o'clock is somehow going to create a tourism boom in the province of Manitoba, he is sadly mistaken.  The government has presented its new legislation for Sunday shopping as some sort of economic initiative.  It has not proved to be any kind of economic initiative in any other province, and it will not be here.  All it is going to do is undermine what little effort the government has put into rural economic development.  The towns and communities that are going to be hurt most dramatically are those within 100‑, 150‑kilometre radius of the city of Winnipeg, the very communities that are represented by members over there.

            I thought it more than a little ironic that the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) would say, when asked by a reporter, what is your position on Sunday shopping?  Well, that is an unfair question.  Mr. Speaker, that is not an unfair question.  It is a question that every single member on that side should be asking themselves.  What is the impact of Sunday shopping and this legislation going to be on my community?

            I had the good fortune only a few weeks ago of touring some of those communities, and I can tell you that there is a great deal of fear about the impact of Sunday shopping on small businesses in the city of Winnipeg and small communities outside the city of Winnipeg who know that this is in no way going to create additional jobs.  Whatever additional jobs are created in the city of Winnipeg are going to be lost either from small businesses or from the communities in the surrounding area.  It is a step backward, not a step forward.


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            Mr. Speaker, the government's other initiatives in the throne speech are equally as questionable.  The government wants to talk about education reform.  The only major reform that this government has introduced in the last four years has been offloading.  That is the sum and total of their education reform, continuing to offload on the municipalities, on the school divisions across the province.

            In my community the offloading is going to mean as much as 35 and 40 percent increases in special levy education paths at the municipal level.  The Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), the member for Arthur, has finally had that fact raised to him by his own constituents who have told him without any hesitation that the increase in local property taxes stands to be in the range of 40 percent unless this government does some rethinking.

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

            There is nothing new in the throne speech.  The throne speech, as my Leader had said earlier, ignores reality.  It ignores the pain that Manitobans are suffering.  It ignores the unemployment; it ignores the increase in the use of food banks; it ignores the increase in social assistance that is being given.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the throne speech‑‑and I mentioned tourism because I had just received a copy of the Tourism Industry Association of Winnipeg's November publication, and this was published November 4, 1992.  I want to read into the record what the Tourism Industry Association of Winnipeg has to say about the government's tourism effort and the economic prospects for the province of Manitoba.  This is not coming from the New Democratic Party or the Industry, Trade and Tourism critic.  This reflects the view of the public of Manitoba:  As the economic downturn has gained momentum, this plummeting spiral downward has imposed near ruinous conditions on our industry at large. Employment or lack of it has impacted on the province of Manitoba, for instance, sapping consumer confidence relative to food services industry revenues to a drop of 10.2 percent.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the tourism industry has nothing positive to say about this government's agenda in tourism.  It has nothing positive to say about this government's economic agenda, and reflects the fact that the government is severely out of touch.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I mentioned in my first question in this session that while the throne speech was being read, the week in which the throne speech was read saw some 615 jobs disappear in the mining industry in Manitoba–615 jobs disappear.  There was no mention of the pain and suffering that was being felt by those miners or their families or their communities.  There was no mention of the R word, recession. There was no mention of the thousands and thousands of people that are using food banks–ignored reality.  There is no agenda in the throne speech that should lead any Manitoban to conclude that good times are around the corner or that this government really understands what those problems are.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik) talked about the need for dealing with the new reality. What is the new reality we must deal with?  What is the new reality?  Well, the new reality that is facing Manitobans and facing our country is not very much of a new reality at all.  It is actually an agenda that was established in 1984 by the federal Conservative government and is being followed quite faithfully, I might say, by the Conservative government of Manitoba since 1988.  What is the agenda?  Well, it is not only hands off; it is not only the fundamental belief that governments cannot make any difference anyway–and certainly that perhaps that is better for the people of Canada that Tory governments not try to do anything because it certainly would turn into a disaster, but unfortunately they do try to tinker with the economy.

            I want to outline at least four areas where the results of their tinkering are becoming obvious to Canadians.  The first one is the Free Trade Agreement.  Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) throws up his hands.  Well, unfortunately, there are a lot of businesses throwing up their hands in Canada right now.  There are businesses throwing up their hands in Manitoba right now because they recognize that the imperative for them is now to make money, not to be responsible citizens, not to be good corporate citizens, not to be good Canadian citizens or Manitoba citizens, but to make money.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, there was a new document just released as a result of the federal Access to Information Act which showed that in fact the federal government had consulted with senior executives in major companies across Canada, and what did they find?  Well, what they found was that, yes, in fact, corporations and the heads of huge corporations in Canada recognize that there were going to be job losses in Canada.  They said and I quote: The big winners will be corporate Canada and the losers will be the workers.

            That is what has happened.  I want to use Manitoba as perhaps the best example of what has happened as a result of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.  Since 1988, this province has lost more than 20 percent of its manufacturing jobs.  In 1987, the province had 66,000 manufacturing jobs and as of September this year we had 49,000.  Madam Deputy Speaker, we are going down.  The number of manufacturing jobs in the province of Manitoba continues to decline.

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  The exports are going up.

Mr. Storie:  Madam Deputy Speaker, the member for Springfield says the exports are going up.  Well, I thought the member for Springfield would have more wisdom than to raise that after my Leader just got finished explaining to him that while exports are going up, imports are going up faster.  We are losing more jobs, not fewer jobs and that is going to accelerate as more and more Canadian and Manitoba companies understand that this government sanctions the motive of maximizing profit over any kind of loyalty, any kind of commitment to Manitoba or Canadian society. Once that mentality is accepted by corporate Canada, they are going to continue to abandon us at record levels.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the Free Trade Agreement is a fundamental policy failure.  No country in the world, none, has ever signed a comprehensive free trade agreement with another nation of the nature in which this agreement does, which for example gives away our right to regulate and control our energy resources as an example.  It is a failure.  Until this government starts to recognize it, we have no hope.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, of course, then we come to the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Now this becomes a little more interesting and I am more intrigued by the Conservative position on this issue than perhaps on free trade because they did no thinking on the free trade issue.  They did no analysis.  They simply supported their federal colleagues and continue to claim this is a federal responsibility, we do not know anything.  We do not want to know anything.  Of course, they still do not know anything.  Other people in Canada, other Canadians, are starting to understand the ramifications, but the members on this side do not want to understand the ramifications of free trade.

            What about NAFTA?  What impact is NAFTA going to have on Manitoba and Canada?  What is perhaps interesting about this is that government attempted in its first pronouncements after I should say the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) rather intemperate remark during the leadership debates in 1990 at which time he said we will not have anything to do with free trade with Mexico.  That was his position in 1990 heading into an election.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, after the election we see a rather more devious approach to the question of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  We find that the government now has six conditions. I asked the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) and the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) to outline what they would do, what the government would do if some or all of those conditions were left unmet.


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            Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, we had no answer.  Well, we have set out our conditions.  Are you just posturing for public consumption?  Is that all you are doing?  The answer of course turns out to be yes, because today the First Minister was asked the same question and of course he now has access to the agreement, the written agreement, the legal agreement.  Does he take a position?  Does he say our conditions are not quite met in here, and we are going to oppose this and then outline for Manitobans what he is going to do in opposition?  Is he going to squeak from his chair, we oppose this, or is he going to lead some sort of a charge to say this is wrong for Canada?

            Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, I predict now without any fear of being contradicted at any time by actions of the government that they are going to do nothing.  They are going to do nothing. Never mind what the impact is on Manitoba.  Never mind that the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) stood up today in some sort of public relations exercise.  We all heard his tone of concern about the impact of Bill C‑91, the impacts on the cost of health care to Manitobans.  We could all hear the concern in his voice.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, if the North American Free Trade Agreement is signed, the Minister of Health will have lost.  Now then, I have to ask the question.  Was the Minister of Health ever really concerned?  Was he concerned about the taxpayers? Was he concerned about those who require those medicines?  Was he concerned about the cost to individuals?  Was he concerned about the industrial cost to our country, or was this more political posturing?  Was this more of the same, like the six conditions that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) put out?

            Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, that is the problem.  The government has refused to take a position on the North American Free Trade Agreement that should be quite simple.  The North American Free Trade Agreement is not good for Canada in virtually any respect, and we should have no part of it.  It is going to be another nail in the economic coffin of this country, and Manitoba is not going to be exempt from its impact.  We know that the apparel industry is going to be impacted.  We now know that as a result of the federal legislation or NAFTA, there is going to be increased pharmaceutical costs.  We know that there are going to be other negative impacts on the province, but the government is going to do nothing.  That is No. 2.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, deregulation.  I know that others have commented on the fact that the godfather of deregulation was in fact the previous Liberal government, the deregulation of the airline industry, I should say.  Of course, the deregulation of the airline industry was wholeheartedly embraced by the Conservative government in 1984, and only recently after years, literally years, of seeing the erosion of our national railway system and our national airline system, what we have is the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) finally, in one of the most candid moments surely of this government's life, acknowledging that, yes, in fact, the deregulation of the airline industry had been a mistake, and perhaps it was time, I believe it was the federal minister responsible who mused that perhaps it was time to reregulate the industry.  So deregulation has also been a failure.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, what has also been a failure has been the Conservative economic agenda which is stand aside and the firm belief that the corporate agenda was the agenda for Canada, the same fundamental belief that George Bush had for the United States.

            Perhaps the best example of why that belief is ill‑founded, is damaging and hurtful to our economy is the example of Nike, a corporation that has a less than stellar reputation, even amongst the multinational corporations.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, there was an article in the Free Press, and I do not know how many members had a chance to read it, that talked about the corporate strategy of Nike, which is one of these faceless, nameless, stateless corporate entities who are only concerned about the bottom line.  No nationality, no community, no worker concern–the bottom line.

            This corporation started off producing running shoes in the United States that sold for approximately $80.  As the manufacturing wages continued to increase, after they got to approximately $11 or $12, this corporation decided to move to Korea.  So they moved their plant from North America to Korea, where they continued to produce the same running shoes but the wages were now $1 an hour or $2 an hour.  The wages there increased to $4 an hour.  The corporation said that is outrageous and moved their plant to Indonesia, where they could pay wages of 12 cents an hour‑‑12 cents an hour.

            So we went from North American jobs to South Korean jobs to Indonesian jobs.  All producing the same goods.  Madam Deputy Speaker, are we going to compete on this level playing field we keep talking about?  Are we going to compete on the level playing field of wages?

            Anyone who wants to follow the simple corporate agenda is in a race to the bottom.  That is all.  A race to the bottom.  That is what we are doing‑‑[interjection] The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) is yelling from his seat, those corporations can go wherever they want to today.  What the Minister of Agriculture is saying then, not only can they but they should.  That is the problem.  That is the moral message that you are sending to corporate Canada.  Not only should you, but if you are concerned about your bottom line you should.

            Well, I want you to tell Canadians, I want you to tell Manitobans that is what you are saying, that there is no responsibility to community or to country.  I do not believe that fundamental.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, so the economic circumstances that face this government, the $642‑million deficit, their economic agenda is failing and until they dissociate themselves with that kind of agenda, we are going to continue to be in trouble.  How much time do I have left?

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Ten minutes, Jerry.

Mr. Storie:  I have to say that I have not begun to finish the agenda that I wanted to discuss, but I wanted to move to another area which causes me some concern, and that is reflected more in the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) attitude and in the attitude of a number of the front benchers than anything else.

            The First Minister, in his remarks to the convention, I believe it was last Saturday, referred to the success of the Economic Innovations and Technology Council forum‑‑referred to its success.  He went on to refer to the fact that the Leader of the New Democratic Party had been invited, and he elected not to go but to send, and I quote the Premier, a tired critic from the Pawley government.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I was the tired critic from the NDP government who was in attendance.  What I want to point out for the new members in particular, because some of the old members, the members in Executive Council, now will be used to the dishonesty of the Premier and used to the dishonesty of the front bench.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to categorically say that the line in the throne speech which talks about the Economic Innovations and Technology Council forum as being the first of a kind in Manitoba is an outright, baldfaced distortion of the truth.  As my leader has suggested, of course, that was done a decade before and much better, I might add, but I want to tell the First Minister of the province that in fact I did participate.

            I attended early.  I listened to the speakers who were on the agenda, and I want to say that there was really no participation for the audience for the morning session.  We simply listened to speaker after speaker.  We had a two‑hour lunch period during which 11 or 12 people were at a table and were given a questionnaire to address, and we did address it.  In fact, the facilitator at my table was Dale Botting who represents the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Manitoba branch, and we did participate, but Mr. Speaker, there was a consensus at our table that the government was simply patting itself on the back and creating its own agenda, that because of the structured nature of that debate, nothing innovative could have come out of it.  It was a total, dismal failure.  It was a PR exercise like the Minister of Health's (Mr. Orchard) announcement this morning, a PR exercise, but I did want to confirm for members here that, in fact, I am a tired critic.


* (1750)


            I am tired of seeing people in my communities lose their jobs.  I am tired of seeing communities disappear in northern Manitoba.  I am tired of seeing the unemployment lines and the welfare lines and the food bank lines increase in this province. I am very tired of that, Madam Deputy Speaker.  I am tired of this government waffling on important economic issues like the North American Free Trade Agreement.  I am tired of cutbacks.  I am tired of cutbacks in services in northern Manitoba.

            We have lost our probation officer.  The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) imposed a $50 user fee on the Northern Patient Transportation Program.  We are having cutbacks in education. The communities of Leaf Rapids and Lynn Lake have seen budget cuts of $300,000 and $400,000.  I am tired of the double talk that we saw in the throne speech.  I am tired of the deception that we saw in the throne speech.  I am tired, as well, of the lack of integrity of members on that side.

            I listened to the Premier (Mr. Filmon) today, and I have heard the Premier's remarks at the convention and other forums where he talked about the record of other governments when it comes to scandals.  Well, the only reason this government has no record of scandals is because they have no standards.  Anything goes over there.  If they had any standards, the Premier would have fired Barb Biggar and Ron Arnst.  Lying to the public is okay.  Oh, you may have to be docked two days pay, but that is okay.

            When ministers in this Chamber mislead the public, when they do not tell the truth, when they interfere in a political way in processes that they should not interfere in, there are no consequences.  When the First Minister gets up and makes personal attacks on a regular basis, there is no integrity in this government, and he has no right to chastise, to criticize, to belittle any other political party or any other political representatives when he has no standards, and the only two people that we have seen with any kind of integrity have already resigned from cabinet posts because they had some integrity, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Give us some of that good old response that we can trust, Jerry.

Mr. Storie:  The member for Pembina, the Minister of Health, is probably the most aggressive, telling the members on this side to tell the truth.  He has his own problems as is evidenced by this morning's statement, because either he does not believe what he is saying or his Premier (Mr. Filmon) is not telling the truth. Which is it, Madam Deputy Speaker?

            So if we are going to raise the level of debate in this Chamber, then perhaps we could start with the Premier, perhaps we could start by having him redraft the throne speech to reflect the truth.  Perhaps we could have the research staff who wrote the throne speech address the real issues that are facing us and not try to bury them in rhetoric and not try to sugar‑coat them with euphemisms. [interjection]

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I am tired, but the good news is I am not the only one who is tired, Manitobans are tired.  They are tired of the deceit of this government.  They are tired of the incompetence of this government.  They are tired of this government.  As soon as the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) has the courage to call an election, the people of Manitoba will show them how dissatisfied they are.  Thank you.

Mr. Jack Reimer (Niakwa):  Is there a willingness to call it six o'clock?

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock? [agreed]

            The hour being 6 p.m., in accordance with the rules, I am leaving the Chair and will return at 8 p.m., at which time the honourable member for Niakwa will have 40 minutes remaining.