Wednesday, December 9, 1992


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to presentthe petition of Martha Cinch, Shelly Perkins, Sharlyne Neufeldand others urging the government of Manitoba to consider takingthe necessary steps to reform the Pharmacare system and tomaintain its comprehensiveness and universal nature and toimplement the use of the health smart card.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Karen Holden, NicoleMcCrank, Pat Tognet and others requesting the government ofManitoba pass the necessary legislation/regulations which willrestrict stubble burning in the province of Manitoba.




Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourablemember for The Maples (Mr. Cheema).  It complies with theprivileges and the practices of the House and complies with therules.  Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?

            To the Legislature of the province of Manitoba

            WHEREAS each year smoke from stubble burning descends uponthe province of Manitoba; and

            WHEREAS the Parents Support Group of Children with Asthma haslong criticized the harmful effects of stubble burning; and

            WHEREAS the smoke caused from stubble burning is not healthyfor the general public and tends to aggravate the problems ofasthma sufferers and people with chronic lung problems; and

            WHEREAS alternative practices to stubble burning arenecessitated by the fact that the smoke can place some people inlife‑threatening situations; and

            WHEREAS the 1987 Clean Environment Commission Report onPublic Hearings, "Investigation of Smoke Problems fromAgriculture Crop Residue and Peatland Burning," contained therecommendation that a review of the crop residue burningsituation be conducted in five years' time, including are‑examination of the necessity for legislated regulatory control.

            THEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the LegislativeAssembly will urge the government of Manitoba to pass thenecessary legislation/regulations which will restrict stubbleburning in the province of Manitoba.




Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr.Speaker, I am pleased to table the financial statements for theyear ended March 31, 1992, for the University of Winnipeg andalso the Annual Financial Report for the year ended March 31,1992, for Brandon University.


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Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism):Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the Annual Report, 1991‑92, ofthe Manitoba Research Council.



Bill 12‑The International Trusts Act


            Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Minister ofFinance (Mr. Manness), that Bill 12, The International Trusts Act(Loi sur les fiducies internationales), be introduced and thatthe same be now received and read a first time.


Motion agreed to.


Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attentionof all members to the gallery, where we have with us thisafternoon from the Sisler High School forty-two Grade 11students, and they are under the direction of Miro Procaylo.This school is located in the constituency of the honourablemember for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux).

            Also this afternoon, from the Immanuel Christian School wehave twenty Grade 8 and Grade 9 students under the direction ofOtto Bouwman.  This school is located in the constituency of thehonourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli).

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




Economic Growth

Employment Statistics


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, myquestion is for the First Minister (Mr. Filmon).  Last spring,when we unfortunately had the news that we were in last place ineconomic performance, the Premier asked us to look at hispositive perception of how things would go in 1992.  He pointedto employment growth potential in Manitoba; in fact, he pointedto his budget that his Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) hadprepared, where employment growth was predicted to be at 1percent.

            We have unfortunately yesterday received statistics inManitoba and Canada, Mr. Speaker, that illustrate the first ninemonths of employment in Canada by province.  Last year, we wereseventh in terms of employment with a decline in employment, andthis year, the first nine months of 1992, we are down to eighthplace.  Only Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have a further declinein employment than Manitoba and, of course, they have had thedevastating fishery decisions that have affected their employmentsituation.

            We are over double the national average in terms ofemployment decline.  Given the fact that this Premier has told usyear after year just to look forward to the next six months orthe next year, and every time we get there we see somedevastating results, why is the Premier's economic strategyfailing?  Why are we in eighth place?  Why are we not having jobsthat are growing in our province?  Why are we declining massivelyas we are today?  Why is this economic strategy that is chairedby the Premier not working?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I would have thoughtthat the Leader of the Opposition, in keeping with the advicethat I gave him yesterday to start to look positively instead ofalways knocking Manitoba and Manitobans, might have insteadpicked the story out of the paper today about the growth inhousing starts in Manitoba, indicating that year to date for1992, that is, as of the first 10 months of this year, Manitobashowed a 17.2 percent increase, which is the fifth best in thecountry.  I would have thought that he would have pointed to thatas a positive indication of just how the economy is starting topick up.

            I might have thought that he might have looked at thestatistics that were put out by Statistics Canada just lastFriday that show that Manitoba still has the second lowestunemployment in the country.  I would have thought that he mighthave pointed to that as being an indication that, despite thefact that these are difficult times‑‑there is a recessionworldwide; Canada is suffering‑‑we still have the second lowestunemployment rate in the country.

            I might have thought, Mr. Speaker, that he would have pointedto the total capital investment in Manitoba which, this year, isprojected to rise to 3.3 percent which is the second bestperformance in the country.  Those are positive statistics andthose are indications of growing confidence in the economy.  Westill have not come out of the woods.  Like everybody in thiscountry, these are difficult times, but those are indicationsthat those are positive signs.

            I would have thought that the Leader of the Opposition wouldhave spent a little more time on that, rather than always gropingand searching for anything negative he possibly can raise.


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Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows, or he should know ashead of economic committee of cabinet, that all the sectors thathe cherry‑picks to answer my question are included in the declinein employment in Manitoba.  The fact that we are in eighth placeshould worry the Premier, and he should be honest enough to admitit.

Royal Trust



Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  I want to ask anotherquestion, a specific question on a specific announcement made bythe Premier dealing with our economy.  In June of 1991, at apress conference that he held with the Minister of Industry,Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) in the city of Winnipeg, thePremier announced that some 200 jobs would be moved from Torontoto Winnipeg as part of a Royal Trust relocation to the city ofWinnipeg.  The Premier gave us a number of speeches in thisChamber about that very same announcement, Mr. Speaker.  Hansardis full of his quotes on the Royal Trust decision.

            I would like to ask the Premier:  What is the status of thatannouncement, given that his own words in the media the next dayindicated that in the spring of 1992, we would see some of thosejobs and they would continue on developing in Manitoba up to 200by the year 1994?  Starting in the spring of '92 and moving into'94, we would see 200 new jobs, which was announced by thePremier and his Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of theOpposition has been reading the financial pages during the pastwhile, he will be well aware of the difficulties that Royal Trusthas been facing, difficulties that I might say have resulted inthem laying off substantial numbers of people in Montreal, inOntario and other places.

            We have remained in close touch with the Royal Trust people,have had continuing discussions with them.  They still arecommitted to an investment in Manitoba.  I assure him that therewill be news on that in the not too distant future.

            I might say to him that I am surprised that he has not made acomment about a company that he maligned substantially last yearwhen he gleefully talked about the MacLeod Stedman people beingdown to an employment level of 120 people.  They have since, ofcourse, been bought out by Cotter, and the employment levels arenow double what they were last year, and he was knocking thatcompany, Mr. Speaker.  That is the kind of negativism that hebrings to the floor all the time.

            I can assure him that we have remained in close touch withthe people from Royal Trust, that they are still committed to aninvestment in Manitoba and that there will be news on that in thenot too distant future.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, I asked the Premier a specific questionabout Royal Trust.

            We have talked to laid‑off workers from Great‑West Life whofeel that they have the same kinds of skills and abilities to getthe jobs that the Premier promised in June of 1991, the jobs thatthe Premier promised to the people of Manitoba.  They havecontacted us, and we have contacted Royal Trust and we havetalked to employees who have phoned Toronto.  They say there areno jobs coming at this point.  There are no jobs coming, as thePremier had promised.  There are no jobs that they can applyfor.  There are no opportunities that they can apply for.  Wephone Winnipeg and they say they do not know what is going on interms of the Royal Trust deal.

            Given the fact that it was the Premier who negotiated thedeal with the Royal Trust company, given the fact that it was thePremier who had the press conference and made the statement thatthere would be 200 jobs starting in the spring of 1992, what arethe specific numbers of jobs that we will have in Manitoba?  Isit no jobs, as Royal Trust is telling us from Toronto?  Is it the200 jobs that the Premier is telling us?  Who is telling us thetruth?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I know that the Leader of theOpposition would want to turn this into as negative a situationas he could.  I know that he does not want to understand thedifficulties that Royal Trust has faced.  All you need to do isto read the articles in the business sections to find out what ishappening with respect to Royal Trust.

            I will not repeat the layoffs and the reductions that theyhave had in other provinces.  I will repeat that we have remainedin close contact with them, that they still remain committed toan investment in Manitoba and there will be announcements comingin the future.

            Now, he can either take a positive view on this and work withus to ensure that Manitoba does get an investment in jobs, or hecan go out and try to destroy this by phoning around andbad‑mouthing the province and trying to make it more difficult,Mr. Speaker.

            If that is what he wants to do, if he wants to destroy aninvestment opportunity, Mr. Speaker, he will be demonstrating topeople just exactly where he stands.


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Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, we have alwaysknown that this government's decentralization plan waspolitically motivated.  Numbers released by the governmentyesterday proved that most government jobs were delivered toridings with Tory cabinet ministers.

            Today, given that I have a government communication strategyon decentralization which I will table, which talks about theelection on the horizon, dangling the carrot in front of ruralManitobans and pork‑barrelling, I want to ask the ministerresponsible whether he will now admit that decentralization wasan election ploy, that they were dangling a carrot in front ofrural Manitobans.  Will he further admit that jobs were deliveredafter the election on a political basis?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, you know, we have thegreat hypocrisy of the New Democrats, who fought tooth and nailagainst decentralization, now going out and trying to make apolitical issue of decentralization, when this government made acommitment to the people in rural and northern Manitoba, acommitment which they have kept, a commitment to decentralizejobs that has resulted in, by the end of this fiscal year,approximately 640 positions having been decentralized.

            I might say, Mr. Speaker, to show the equanimity and thefairness with which this government has dealt withdecentralization, we have reviewed the numbers in every possibleway we could to assess fairness since those phony accusationswere made yesterday.

            I might say, Mr. Speaker, that despite the fact that in ruraland northern Manitoba New Democrats represent 34 percent of thatpopulation outside the city of Winnipeg, we have decentralized 40percent of the jobs into those constituencies.

            Mr. Speaker, that is fairness, that is equanimity, that isdealing in a way that is totally nonpolitical, something thatwould be foreign to New Democrats, foreign totally to NewDemocrats.  I know that they cannot understand it, because theydo not practise that kind of fairness when they are ingovernment, but we do.


Communication Strategy


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, we are not againstdecentralization, we are for fairness.  We want fairness.

            Mr. Speaker, I want to ask this government if they are socommitted to decentralization and if they say there was nopolitical manipulation, why was there such a manipulatedcommunication strategy?  They called for no media‑‑in Winnipeg,low‑key regional conferences, orchestrated clips by MLAs, nomunicipal officials at these meetings.  What were they afraidof?  Why did they not want the media to know what they were‑‑

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, this is the mostfoolish line of questioning I have ever heard.  Here we have,during the announcements, the unveilings and the openings ofthese decentralization offices, New Democratic members clamouringto be on the stage, like the member for Brandon East (Mr. LeonardEvans), wanting to be there in front of the cameras, wanting toget his little 15 seconds of fame.  We have the member forInterlake (Mr. Clif Evans) wanting to be in Ashern next week aspart of the announcement, asking the minister responsible‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.


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Point of Order


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, Ihave an invitation from government to attend this function inAshern.

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable member clearly does not have a pointof order.  It is a dispute over the facts.


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Mr. Filmon:  What greater example of fairness could be given, Mr.Speaker?  There we are, inviting the New Democratic members sothat they can share in the credit, so they can bask in thelimelight, so that they can be part of a positive announcementdespite the fact that they voted against it in the House.  Icannot think of anything more fair.




Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  How can this Premier be socynical?  We are talking about fairness and the politicalmanipulation that this government has done.

            I want to ask again if this government will admit that theywere using political manipulation in dealing with this.  Theyknew technology was not in place.  They knew that theirfacilities were not in place; yet they announced projects inareas where there was no technology and after they lost thoseseats they did not follow through with putting those jobs inplace.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, we promised a couple ofyears ago that there would be, I believe it was 600‑plus jobs.We have delivered almost all of those jobs.

            Mr. Speaker, there have certainly been close to 90 percent ofthe jobs decentralized.  We have opened offices and we have putthe functions in place, and everybody in every community hasgiven us nothing but credit for having done this program.  Theyhave given us credit in Thompson, which is a New Democraticconstituency, where we promised 33 jobs and we delivered 52 jobs.

            Mr. Speaker, in her constituency we promised five jobs and wedelivered five jobs.  I cannot understand this line ofquestioning.  We have done what we said we would do, and we havegot nothing but credit from those rural communities.  The onlypeople in this whole province who are unhappy are the NewDemocrats.


Brighter Futures Program

Social Assistance Recipients


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr.Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Family Services (Mr.Gilleshammer).

            Families throughout Manitoba, indeed Canada, received theirlast family allowance cheques just a few short days ago.  Thathas been replaced by the federal Tory position of a child taxcredit, a benefit tax credit.

            The Minister of Family Services has not told Manitobans howthis will impact on them, particularly if they are in receipt ofsocial assistance benefits.  Will the minister now make adefinitive statement on what will be the impact, on his paymentto these people, on social assistance benefits?


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Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr.Speaker, we have been very interested in acquiring informationfrom the federal government on their new Brighter Futuresprogram.  We are still working with officials from the federalgovernment to acquire some of the details of that program, andthese are the subject of ongoing discussions.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, it is very clear from all of thematerial that has been prepared that a person on socialassistance will receive not one new additional penny from thisbenefit program.

            Will the minister now assure social assistance recipientsthat they will not be penalized by this provincial governmentbecause of this new change in federal policy?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, we will continue to monitor thedevelopments that are taking place at the federal governmentlevel.  We are acquiring more information almost on a daily basisas to the details of that program.  We will use that material tosee how it fits with the provincial program, and certainlydecisions will be made in due course.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, the statements of the minister arevery, very disturbing.  He is clearly stating that he has notmade a decision as to whether he intends to cut benefits ofpeople on social assistance.

            Will he tell this House today that no social assistancerecipient will receive less money from this provincial governmentbecause of a federal government change in policy?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  I want to assure the member and other membersof the House that we have constantly reviewed our socialallowances benefits to Manitobans, and are probably one of twoprovinces last year to increase those benefits at the rate ofinflation.  At the same time, we have brought in a number ofother enhancements which I alluded to in my comments the otherday.  As we get more information from the federal government, wewill be making those decisions in due course.


Chris Davis

Wheelchair Purchase


Ms. Judy Wasylycia‑Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, thisgovernment continues to talk health care reform but practisescallous cutbacks and imposes hardship on individuals through lackof co‑ordination between various departments.

            Mr. Speaker, it is not health care reform when thisgovernment drags its heals on funding a specialized wheelchairfor Chris Davis so that he can live in the community and savetaxpayers' dollars.  It is shameful when this government will notcommit to paying for this wheelchair, and yet one of Manitoba'smost hard‑pressed communities, St. Theresa Point comes forwardwith a donation to Chris Davis of $8,000 to help pay for thatwheelchair.

            I want to ask the Minister of Health if he will now followthe example of St. Theresa Point community, the leadershipoffered by those people who have donated, collected money, takenfrom their own salaries so that a wheelchair purchase could bemore feasible today than it was yesterday.  Will he follow thatleadership and act‑‑

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

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, as Iindicated on Monday, the issue of a wheelchair is not the issueon placing this individual in other than an acute care hospital.It is the medical condition and the stability of that and theability to provide this individual's medical needs safely inother than an acute care hospital that is the issue that I amcoming to grips with.

            Mr. Speaker, I indicated to my honourable friend that thewheelchair program in Manitoba provides up to $10,000 in terms ofmodifications and we have been working on that modificationprogram.  This particular wheelchair, the individual has had forapproximately six weeks and finds it to his liking.


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            I congratulate St. Theresa Point for providing, not to theindividual but to the Victoria General Hospital Foundation, thefunds so that if modifications to a chair will exceed $10,000that some of that funding can be used.  But, Mr. Speaker, thefirst issue and the foremost issue that my honourable friendseems to have forgotten about is the medical safety for thisindividual which we are attempting to assure in a location otherthan an acute care hospital.

            I know my honourable friend has not phoned the doctorinvolved at Victoria General Hospital to understand the issue andis hung up on the wheelchair which got her temporary coverage inthe news, but my issue remains the safe care of this individual,something my honourable friend ought to consider in her attemptto bring the issue forward.

Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis:  Mr. Speaker, I would like to table thestatement delivered today by Chief Ken Wood at Victoria Hospitalwhen he presented a cheque for $8,000 to Chris Davis, where itstates, we are poor but we are happy spiritually, we are happy toshare with others that need the little we have for ourselves.

            I would like to ask the Minister of Health, who should beembarrassed and hanging his head in shame today, will he not nowtell Chris Davis and the St. Theresa Point community that thischeque is not needed, that this minister and this government willtake action and will purchase the wheelchair today?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, so that my honourable friend does notget too excited in front of the television cameras, maybe myhonourable friend ought to consider what I have been saying andconsider it rather seriously.  My honourable friend seems wontthat we should immediately place this individual outside of ahospital.

            My honourable friend has not taken the time to discuss themedical issue with Dr. MacKenzie.  Perchance she should, becausethe wheelchair, Sir, is not the issue preventing that movementfrom the acute care hospital to an alternate care location.  Itis the medical safety, the medical condition and thecircumstances of providing safe alternate care that drives thisprocess, not the existence of a wheelchair, as my honourablefriend would believe.

            Please, for the interest of the individual involved, would myhonourable friend take time to check with Dr. MacKenzie atVictoria General Hospital and find a little more background andfact to this issue?

Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis:  Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier (Mr.Filmon) a question, who will know from reports of this issue thatin fact the medical requirements of Chris Davis can be met in thecommunity if the government is willing to do so and if they canget their act together with respect to interdepartmentalco‑ordination.

            I want to ask him if he will put a mechanism in place tobring together the Departments of Health, Housing and FamilyServices so that people like Chris Davis do not fall between thecracks and so they can live in the community and make acontribution to our society.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, you know, again my honourable friendrefuses to acknowledge the medical circumstances that I havealluded to.

            I would simply like to say to my honourable friend that sometime ago, Sir, before this individual's admission to an acutecare hospital, the kind of co‑ordination my honourable friend isurging upon me today took place and, in fact, we had theopportunity for community placement for this individual.  It wasthere, but the individual's medical condition changed so thattoday those circumstances cannot be met in the circumstance thatwas available as of June of this year.

            Sir, I realize my honourable friend does not have thatinformation, and my honourable friend has refused to phone Dr.MacKenzie at Victoria General Hospital.  I cannot make her phoneand get more information and more facts about assuring the safetyof this individual, but surely my honourable friend wants toassure this individual's safety and not just simply pretend theissue is narrowed to a wheelchair availability.


Point of Order


Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis:  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I believethat the minister has been imputing motive throughout hisresponse to my questions and suggesting I have not done myresearch.

            I would like to table a copy of a letter indicating that thisminister's Department of Health approved funding for thewheelchair back on August 10, and the minister has broken hisword.

Mr. Speaker:  We will accept the tabled document, but thehonourable member does not have a point of order.


School Divisions

Medical Services


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for theMinister of Education.

            The province has offloaded millions of dollars of cost toschool divisions.  Hundreds of jobs in education have been lost.Now a further $17 million will be cut in the Education budget.

            Since The Manitoba Teachers' Society has passed a resolutionindicating that teachers will not provide medical services tochildren, what plans does the government have in place to provideassistance to school divisions in order to provide these medicalservices?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr.Speaker, first of all, the member insists on continuing tomention a speculative number, an unconfirmed number.  I willremind him of the fiscal position of this province and thatManitobans are expecting this government to be extremely fiscallyresponsible in our planning.

            In relation to the medically fragile child, I have beenworking with our colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard).We have been looking very carefully at a plan that we will behoping to bring forward.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is to the sameminister.

            Can the minister outline whether or not she will beresponding or the ministers will be responding to a report thathas been on her desk for a year and a half calling for thisco‑ordinated plan?  When will we see the plan?  There has been areport on her desk for a year and a half, and she has not evenresponded.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Speaker, well, certainly, there has been aresponse, but I believe what the honourable member is asking isperhaps are we meeting as a government, and I can tell him, yes,we are.

            He is confusing, however, two matters.  There is one matterwhere there has been working already from among four departments,an interdepartmental co-rdination team.  The Department ofJustice, the Department of Health, the Department of FamilyServices and the Department of Education have been working tobring forward a plan in relation to the very specific issue ofthe medically fragile child.  My colleague the Minister of Health(Mr. Orchard) and I have been working on that issue.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, given the budget cutbacks andpotential cutbacks from this government, can the minister outlinetoday when she will come forward with a plan to allow the schooldivisions, which must set their budgets now, to know whatservices will be in place to provide for the medical services ofchildren in the system?

            When will that plan come forward?  The budgets are duealready this week.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Speaker, certainly I am in communications withschool divisions on a very regular basis, and my colleague and Iare endeavouring as soon as possible to bring forward the plan.


Foreign Domestic Workers

Minister's Awareness


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I have a questionfor the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship.  It is inreference to the two domestics who have been asked to leaveCanada.  Gloria Ulip had left last Monday, and Lenore Panas hasto leave by December 15.

            In particular with regard to Lenore's case, the Minister ofImmigration said that he did not want to intervene because he waswanting the federal court to make a decision before he wouldcomment on that particular case.

            Mr. Speaker, what we want is to see Lenore able to stay hereuntil the federal court at least has made that decision.  Ibelieve that the minister is fully aware of these two domesticworkers.

            I would ask the minister:  Can the minister indicate to thisHouse if she has had any contact with her federal counterpartwith respect to the Lenore Panas case?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage andCitizenship):  Mr. Speaker, my officials have been in touch withimmigration officials from the federal government on an almostday‑to‑day basis regarding this issue.

            Our understanding is that one of the women did leavevoluntarily about a week ago, and my understanding is that thesecond woman has agreed voluntarily to leave a week or so fromnow and let the process take place.  If the member for Inksterhas any more information that he would like to share with me thatI might be unaware of‑‑as of yesterday, that was my understanding.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, Lenore Panas definitely wants tostay in Canada at least until the federal court, because she waswanting to be here so that when the decision is made that shewill have some hope of being able to be in Canada permanently.There is a resolution on the Order Paper.

            My question to the minister is:  Would the minister indicateher support to allow this resolution to be debated today?Because it is so time sensitive, Mr. Speaker, we are looking athaving this resolution debated today so that we can send a strongmessage.


Point of Order


Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker,this question is certainly out of order.  That is a matterdealing with House business, Orders of the Day.  I would say thatthis question is totally out of order.

            I am a recipient of a request from the second party Houseleader requesting a certain matter be dealt with in respect tothe number of resolutions and the manner in which they are dealtwith, Mr. Speaker, and I will be replying to the member in duecourse.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  On thesame point of order, Mr. Speaker, the government can choose whichminister to answer the question.  If the government House leaderfeels it is a House question, he could have stood up and answeredthe question as the House leader.

            This is a question that I have asked the Minister of Culture,Heritage and Citizenship if she herself would support, because Ibelieve that she is being very sincere on this particular topic.We are just trying to find out if, in fact, she would.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  On the point of order raised, thehonourable government House leader indeed did have a point oforder.

            The honourable member's question is out of order according toBeauchesne's 410(10) that "the subject matter of questions mustbe within the collective responsibility of the Government or theindividual responsibility of Ministers."

            I believe the honourable member's question indeed couldbetter be settled outside this Chamber in conjunction with theother two government House leaders.  I would ask the honourablemember for Inkster to kindly rephrase his question, please.


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Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, my question then would be to theminister.  Will she agree to contact her federal counterpartlater on this afternoon if at all possible and report back tomyself either on this side or to the Chamber?


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Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Speaker, I intend indeed to get an updatethis afternoon on exactly what is happening and ask whether thathas been a consideration by the federal government.





Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, dealing withimmigration, I know there are a number of provinces, I believeseven provinces, that have entered into an immigration agreementwith the federal counterpart.

            I would ask the minister, what seems to be the problem interms of Manitoba not entering into the same sort of an agreementdealing with issues like settlement and ESL?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage andCitizenship):  Mr. Speaker, my department is aggressively workingtoward the finalization of an immigration agreement with thefederal government.

            Since the creation of the Citizenship Division just less thana couple of years ago and the appointment of people into thatdivision, we have been aggressively pursuing, and we are at apoint where we are ready to sign an agreement with the federalgovernment.  There are still some outstanding issues that thefederal government has not agreed to, but we are aggressivelypursuing that matter.


Manitoba Arts Council

Executive Director Dismissal


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba ArtsCouncil is an arm's length agency appointed by each government todistribute grants and support to Manitoba's quite large culturalcommunity.  This council has recently taken the unprecedentedstep of dismissing its executive director without anyexplanation, and this is an executive director who is a long‑timeserving and very dedicated public servant.

            I want to ask the Minister of Culture, Heritage andCitizenship what action she has taken to ensure that fairprocedures and principles of natural justice have been followedin this case.

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage andCitizenship):  Mr. Speaker, the Arts Council has been an arm'slength organization of government for many, many years.  It isnot my policy to politically interfere with either grantingdecisions or administrative decisions that that arm's lengthorganization takes.  I believe they will act in the bestinterests of the arts community, and they will certainly bejudged based on the decisions that they make.


Arts Policy

Government Position


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, does this dismissalindicate a change in Manitoba's commitment to the principle ofthe funding of both individual artists and organizations and tothe nurturing of both established and experimental endeavours?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage andCitizenship):  Mr. Speaker, there has been no change in thisgovernment's policy or procedures.

            The Manitoba Arts Council performs a very valid functionwithin our provincial government.  We understand and recognizeand realize the importance of our cultural community and whatbenefits there are to Manitoba as a result of the funding that wehave provided in the past, and we will continue to do that.


Manitoba Arts Council

Annual Report


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, will the minister tellthe House when she intends to follow the recommendations of herown Arts Review Committee, the DeFehr report, and require thatthe Manitoba Arts Council report annually directly to theLegislature so that public accountability can be ensured?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage andCitizenship):  Mr. Speaker, we have implemented some of therecommendations of the Arts Policy Review Committee.  We willcontinue to move along that path and implement otherrecommendations as time and resources become available.


Assiniboine River Diversion

Federal Environmental Review


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, my question is forthe Minister of Environment.  We have seen in this country thatthere has been the Rafferty-alameda dam; there has been theOldman River dam; and now we have the Assiniboine diversion.  Allof these have been major water "developments" that have proceededwithout the proper federal basin-wide environmental review.

            I would like to ask the minister:  What progress is beingmade to ensure that this major development in Manitoba will havea basin‑wide review, preferably a federal review including fullintervener funding?

An Honourable Member:  Old Glen, we call him.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  I am not used tobeing heckled from behind, Mr. Speaker.

            Mr. Speaker, the member incorrectly categorizes this processas in any way avoiding proper environmental review and action.The fact is the Department of Environment has laid out somefairly wide‑reaching and encompassing guidelines for which theproponent will have to respond to, and this will be a completelyopen and very full process.


Water Conservation Policy



Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, my supplementaryis for the Minister of Environment or the Minister of NaturalResources (Mr. Enns).

            Why is it taking so long to ensure that Manitoba has a waterconservation and protection policy that would do things likeensure that the proper environmental impact assessments arecarried out?  Why is it taking so long?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, therehas been an enormous amount of work done in this province inrespect to the environmental assessment process.  Manitoba hasone of the most complete and all‑encompassing processes in thecountry.

            Anytime that there is a project, particularly one of thisnature, that requires a lot of examination from an environmentalpoint of view and certainly has a broad aspect of communityinterest on both sides, this is the type of process that isideally suited to allowing public discussion and input on bothsides so that environmental and social issues are properly lookedat.


Water Sales/Transfers

Government Policy


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):   Mr. Speaker, I would remindthe minister that a full consultation was done and completed in1986 and this was the document produced.  I would think that alot of the problems as I have read would still apply.  I wouldlike to ask the minister:  How is the government dealing with thecontroversial and serious issue of sale and transfer of water andwater rights between water users?  What is the government policywith respect to water sale?


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Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, Iwould remind the member, and she was referring to work that wasdone to provide preliminary information on this project, that ourprocess is driven by the rapidity of response and application of,first of all, the proponent and, secondly, those who wish to haveinput into the process and then how quickly the proponent willrespond to guidelines that are produced as a result of that.

            The fact is that the concerns and the issues that the memberraises will be well and fully dealt with through theenvironmental assessment process that we have in our province andthe hearing process that flows from that.  I think that themember only needs to look at the projects that we haveimplemented or have put through the process in the last threeyears to know that we have one of the most full and complete and,in the eyes of many people, rather time‑consuming process.

Mr. Speaker:  Time for Oral Questions has expired.




Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker,second readings today of the bills in this order:  Bills No. 3,No. 5, No. 4, Nos. 2, 6, 7 and 10.



Bill 3‑The Oil and Gas and Consequential Amendments Act


Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines):  Mr. Speaker, Imove, seconded by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), thatBill 3, The Oil and Gas and Consequential Amendments Act (Loiconcernant le petrole et le gaz naturel et apportant desmodifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be now read a secondtime and be referred to a committee of this House.


Motion presented.


Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, let me at the outset indicate to themembers of the Legislature that I am the owner of some mineralrights in southwestern Manitoba which could well be perceived asa conflict by some individuals, and it is stated in my conflictof interest forms where they are, as well as the Leader of theOpposition (Mr. Doer) sometime ago tried to make a big to‑do overthe fact that I had some shares in a small oil company.

            Well, Mr. Speaker, nothing has changed.  The value of the oilshares have not gone up; they have in fact gone down, and I wouldinvite him if he wants to talk to me about them later.  I do, Mr.Speaker, want to declare that to the House in the introduction ofthe Oil and Gas Act.

            Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce The Oil and Gas Actfor second reading.

            When one thinks of the oil and gas industry in Canada,Manitoba does not immediately come to mind to many peoplethroughout particularly a province like Alberta.  However,development of Manitoba's petroleum resources are a significantsource of economic activity in the southwest part of theprovince.  Additionally, the province collects a significantamount of revenue in the form of royalties and production taxesfrom oil and gas production in the province.

            By way of history, oil was first discovered in Manitoba in1951, about 20 miles west of Virden in what is now called theDaly field.  In fact, if you travel west of Virden on theTrans‑Canada Highway, you will see a monument and a pump jackcommemorating this first well.

            I can as well add that I remember in the community of which Ilived in southwestern Manitoba, in a small school district knownas Coultervale, there was an oil well that was drilled in theearly 1950s.  The individual who was in charge of the operationsdid not listen to what headquarters said to tell him and hedrilled a little bit deeper than what they wanted him to.  Lo andbehold, black gold spouted out the top of the tower.  Many peoplesaw this and of course started the oil boom and the whole oilfever in that area.  I remember very clearly, Mr. Speaker, thatevent as a young boy in southern Manitoba.

            Through the '50s, development of fields in the Virden areabrought a boom to that part of the province.  During the 1960sand '70s, drilling activity was reduced but ongoing productionoperations provided a strong economic base for the Virden area.

            In 1978, the previous Conservative government of the day,recognizing that Manitoba's petroleum potential had not beenfully explored, introduced fiscal incentives to encourage the oilindustry to give Manitoba another look.  The result of thisrenewed interest was the development of the Waskada Field and theoil boom of the early 1980s.  I am sure that anyone who reads thepapers is aware, however, that the oil industry has fallen onhard times as the result of low commodity prices and increasedregulation.

            I will be visiting Waskada later on today to meet with myconstituents to discuss some of their concerns.  Of course someof the concerns relate to value that has been added to the landbecause of the oil development.

            Mr. Speaker, we continue to believe that Manitoba's petroleumpotential has not been fully realized.  We believe that policiesmust be put in place to ensure the continued sustainabledevelopment of the province's petroleum resources.  The Oil andGas Act is the foundation of these policies and is an importantpart of this government's plan for economic development inManitoba.

            The Oil and Gas Act provides the rules of the game, so tospeak, and for sustainable development of the province's oil andgas resources for the benefit of all Manitobans.  It establishesthe rules that we consider fair and comprehensive which willenable people to operate in the province in the full knowledge ofthe requirements and expectations placed upon them.

            Private sector investment in the province's oil and gasresources will be encouraged through simplification oflegislative requirements.  Further, regulations will be developedunder the act to accommodate changing technology and provide apositive investment climate.

            We hope, through these initiatives, to build Manitoba'spetroleum industry into an integral part of this provincialeconomy.

            Over the past two or three years, staff from the departmenthave been aggressively marketing petroleum investmentopportunities in Manitoba.  As a result of these efforts,together with a series of innovative new fiscal incentiveprograms, there are signs of a renewed interest by the oil andgas industry in Manitoba.

            Geophysical exploration is up over last year.  A number ofexploratory or wildcat wells have been drilled.  It is our hopethat introduction of this act will foster that interest and leadto successful development of Manitoba's petroleum resources.  Atpresent, legislation governing oil and gas operations in Manitobaare found in a number of separate statutes‑‑The Mines Act, ThePipe Line Act, The Gas Storage and Allocation Act and TheSecurities Act.

            In all cases, this legislation has been significantly amendedfor nearly 40 years.  As a result, the current legislation failsto address developing technology and, more importantly, society'sconcern for protection of the environment.  Additionally, theexisting statutes are overly complex, confusing and at timescontradictory.  I should note that even though the currentlegislation is deficient in providing for protection of theenvironment, over the years the Petroleum branch of my departmenthas introduced a series of operational policies and regulationsthat have filled the environmental gap in the legislation.

            The industry, by and large, has accepted its responsibilitieswith respect to the environment and complied with the policiesand regulations.  There do remain, however, problems ordeficiencies that cannot be dealt with through regulation orpolicies.  The proposed new Oil and Gas Act is designed toaddress these problems in a fair and workable manner.  Theproposed Oil and Gas Act is a companion piece of legislation toThe Mines and Minerals Act which was proclaimed in the spring of1992.  Similar to The Mines and Minerals Act, the 10 principlesof sustainable development are central to the Oil and Gas Act.

            Part of the act which is subsection 2 of the act, 2(1) in thebill, states in part:

            "The objects and purposes of this Act are

            "(a) to provide for, encourage and facilitate the safe andefficient development, and the maximum economic recovery of theoil, gas, helium and oil shale resources of the province inaccordance with the principles of sustainable development;"

            The next subsection sets out these principles in the contextof oil and gas development.  For example, the bill requires thatdecisions respecting the development of oil and gas resources beintegrated with decisions respecting the protection andmanagement of the environment so that oil and gas industryactivity is conducted with due regard for its impact on theenvironment, and environmental programs and initiatives areinstituted with due regard to their economic impact.


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            The bill also requires that government and industryacknowledge in their respective policies and practices theirstewardship of the oil and gas resources of the province, so thatthe economy is developed and the environment is preserved for thebenefit of the present generation and future generations ofManitobans and that the responsibility for sustaining a sound,healthy oil and gas industry in the province is shared byindustry and government alike and specifically that land which isin environmental terms is damaged or diminished by oil and gasindustry activities be rehabilitated.

            If you refer to Section 2 of Bill 3 you will see the itemslisted under sustainable development closely parallel the 10principles established by Manitoba's Round Table on Environmentand Economy, putting them in an oil and gas context.  Further onrehabilitation, we are proposing that an abandonment fund reserveaccount be set up to ensure that in situations where a company isunable to continue operations, the site of the associated wellsand facilities will be rehabilitated.

            The account will be funded by industry through surcharges onwell licence fees and by annual levies on inactive wells orfacilities.  The fund will be used as a last resort and anyexpenditures out of the fund constitute a debt of the operator tothe Crown.  The effect of this is that where legal issues havebogged down a company's operation, the fund could be used to takeaction forthwith to return land to product activity and to repairany environmental damage.

            The act also provides a clear enforcement mechanism that isvery specific and effective in addressing problems arising fromnoncompliance.  The new act will correct a major deficiency inthe existing legislation by putting substantive legislation intothe act itself, shifting it out of the regulations.  This isconsistent with the rules of our Legislature, which require thatregulations should not contain substantive legislation but shouldbe confined to administrative matters.

            For example, in the past, tenure of Crown‑owned oil and gasrights, which is an important element in any petroleumdevelopment, has been dealt with by regulation.  In other words,the provisions for obtaining a lease of Crown‑owned oil and gasrights could be changed by Order‑in‑Council, which has been donewith fairly significant results.

            For example, in 1992, the government of the day discontinuedCrown‑leased sales, thereby eliminating a mechanism for industryto obtain Crown oil and gas rights in a competitive mannersimilar to systems in place in other western Canadianjurisdictions.  This measure contributed materially to a very lowlevel of activity in the 1970s.  I should add that in 1979 theConservative government of the day restored the Crown‑lease salesystem again by regulation, and we are now placing it, Mr.Speaker, in the act.

            In spite of the apparent bulk of this bill, we are in factstreamlining the oil and gas legislation.  In addition torepealing the remaining provisions of the old Mines Act dealingwith oil and gas, this bill will also repeal The Pipe Line Act,parts of The Gas Storage and Allocation Act and specificprovisions of The Securities Act relating to gas and oil.

            The new act incorporates in a single act the necessaryprovisions of the legislation being repealed.  Furthermore,substantive provisions that were formerly in the regulations havenow been put directly into the act; the size and the scope of theregulations will be correspondingly reduced.

            On that point, regulations under the new act are currentlybeing drafted with the goal of having them ready for consultationwith client groups which coincide with or shortly after the billmakes its way through the legislative process.

            Part 1 of the act includes definitions and the objectives andpurposes of the act.  In addition to sustainable development ofthe province's oil and gas resources, purposes of the act includethe prevention of waste and the protection of the correlativerights of owners of oil and gas rights.  The act also providesfor the safe and efficient construction and operation ofpetroleum pipelines situated entirely within Manitoba and ofunderground hydrocarbon storage reserves.

            Part 2 sets out the powers and the duties of the minister,Director of Petroleum, Petroleum Registrar and PetroleumInspectors.  It also includes guidelines on conflict of interestfor employees.

            Part 3 establishes the Oil and Gas Conservation Board, whichis designed to operate as an independent review and advisory bodyto the minister.  Through this board, the public and theinterested parties will be provided a hearing and review processon matters resulting in petroleum resource decisions ofsignificance.

            Parts 4 and 5 deal with tenure of Crown oil and gas rights,while Part 6 requires registration of agents that acquire leasesfrom private owners of oil and gas rights.  At present there aremore complex licensing and registry systems under The SecuritiesAct.

            Part 7 provides for licensing and standards for geophysicalexploration.

            Part 8 provides for the licensing of wells and clearly statesthe responsibility of the well licensee in respect of operationsof the well or problems arising from those operations.

            Part 9 provides a framework for development and production ofthe province's oil and gas resources, including provisionsrelating to well spacing, production rates, enhanced recovery andprocessing of gas.  The part also contains important provisionsrelating to the prevention, control, cleanup and reporting of oiland saltwater spills and the abandonment of wells andfacilities.  The operator's responsibilities for rehabilitationof land damaged by its operation is spelled out in this part ofthe act.

            Parts 10 and 11 deal with pooling and unitization which areoperating arrangements designed to permit the efficientdevelopment of oil and gas resources when multiple operators andresource owners are involved.

            Part 12 provides for the construction and operation of theflow lines and pipelines.  Flow lines are the smaller diameterpipelines that carry fluid from a well to a primary processingfacility called a battery.  Pipelines, on the other hand, aregenerally larger diameter, longer systems that gather productionfrom a number of batteries for delivery for the even largerinterprovincial pipeline systems.  The provisions in this partrelating to pipelines replace the provisions of The Pipe Line Actwhich is being repealed.

            A significant change is that acquisition of surface rightsfor purposes of a pipeline are being brought under The SurfaceRights Act.  Previously, if the proponent of the pipeline and alandowner were unable to come to terms, the proponent couldproceed under The Expropriation Act.

            Part 13 provides for storage of hydrocarbons in naturallyoccurring underground reservoirs, replacing similar but narrowerprovisions in The Gas Storage and Allocation Act.  There arecurrently no underground storage reservoirs active in Manitoba,but there is potential for development of such facilities fornatural gas load levelling or for other purposes.

            Part 14 requires that an applicant for a licence or a permitunder the act provides a performance security to ensurecompliance with the act.  The security can be in the form of adeposit which is refundable after the site of the operation,well, or facility is rehabilitated in accordance with the act anda certificate of abandonment signifying such rehabilitation hasbeen issued.  A performance security can also be in the form of anonrefundable levy on licences issued or on wells and facilitiesthat are inactive.  These levies are deposited in the abandonmentfund reserve account that I mentioned earlier.

            Part 15 provides a process by which provisions of the act canbe enforced.  The process includes notices of noncompliance andshut down, shut down orders and, if all else fails, seizure.Under seizure the minister may authorize the director to seize awell or facility and effect compliance with the act.  This partalso provides a method of appeal to an order of seizure made bythe minister.

            Part 16 provides for royalties on production from Crown‑ownedoil and gas rights and further provides authority to theLieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council to vary a royalty in specialcircumstances; for example, to encourage the application ofunproven or, one may say, exotic recovery technologies.

            Part 17 provides for collection of debts due the Crown underthe act, while Part 18 deals with record keeping and reportingrequirements as well as with confidentiality of information.


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            Part 19 covers offences and penalties, and Part 20 addressesa number of general issues and provides regulation‑makingauthority.

            The remainder of the bill includes, in Part 21, transitionalprovisions, and in Part 22, repeal of certain statutes andconsequential amendments of others.

            Mr. Speaker, these are some of the highlights of the new Oiland Gas Act.  I commend it to you, Sir, and to the House.Because of the complexity of Bill 3, I would like to take thisopportunity to extend an invitation to make arrangements for ourstaff to provide opposition critics with a special briefing fortheir assistance.  I welcome that at the convenience of thosemembers of opposition.

            Mr. Speaker, I commend this bill to the House, to thecommittee of the Legislature and would hope that we could see arelatively smooth passage of this Legislation.

            Thank you.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I move, secondedby the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), that the debate beadjourned.


Motion agreed to.


Bill 5‑The Northern Affairs Amendment Act


Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, Imove, seconded by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns),that Bill 5, The Northern Affairs Amendment Act (Loi modifiant laLoi sur les affaires du Nord), be now read a second time and bereferred to a committee of this House.


Motion presented.


Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased that mycolleague the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) secondedthis bill.  It gives me a lot of comfort, and I am sure themembers of the opposition should find comfort in that, that hehas seen fit to allow his name to stand to second this importantpiece of legislation.

            I am pleased in the introduction of Bill 5, The NorthernAffairs Amendment Act, that this bill identifies two changes thatare primarily process orientated.  One change is to clarify theexisting consultation process with our community councilsregarding the reissuance of permits of a current occupation ofuse of Crown land.

            Presently, with respect to Crown land permits of occupationor use, we only consult with community councils with respect tothe initial disposition.  This process is well understood andaccepted by Northern Affairs communities.

            We have added, Mr. Speaker, subsection 9(2.1) to establishthe existing process in legislation.  A failure to do so wouldrequire repetitive consultations and give the volume of Crownland permits issued in northern Manitoba.  This would beinefficient and expensive, the principle being that once theconsultation has taken place on a piece of Crown land, that wouldbe the consultation that would take place for a period of time.

            If a new lessee were to come along, then it would require, Iam sure, again consultation with the community.  However, ongoingleases would not in fact have to be reconsulted, because it wouldtake tremendous amounts of staff time and cost to carry out suchan activity.

            The second change will make applicable to local committeesand community councils the same process which applies toincorporated community councils with respect to issues otherwisewithin the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Board.  Thisinvolves the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) givingapproval for matters such as community by-laws affecting sewerand water rates.

            The balance of amendments, Mr. Speaker, deal with changes inlanguage for the process of incorporating our community councils,again, a new initiative, or a major initiative which thecommunities are anxious about.

            At the time, Mr. Speaker, The Northern Affairs Act wasinitially enacted, Manitoba was a letters patent jurisdictionwith respect to corporations.  Since that time, the province hasbecome an articles of incorporation jurisdiction.  As the officedealing with incorporation documents for incorporating communitycouncils will be the Corporation branch, the change to articlesof incorporation will make the incorporating of communitycouncils a more efficient process.

            Mr. Speaker, these are the amendments which are part of theongoing review of my department as established in regard to TheNorthern Affairs Act.  Just to further add, I would like to saythat it is my understanding that we have received communicationfrom the chairman of the Public Utilities Board supporting themove to have the Minister of Northern Affairs set the levies forthe sewer and water rates for our communities as is done underother acts of this Legislature.

            So, Mr. Speaker, I would hope for the support, ask for thesupport of the members opposite again in supporting this bill forthe support of northern Manitoba.  I would expect and appreciatesmooth passage of this legislation.

Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by themember for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway), that debate be adjourned.


Motion agreed to.


Bill 4‑The Retail Businesses Sunday Shopping (Temporary Amendments) Act


Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism):Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Education andTraining (Mrs. Vodrey), that Bill 4, The Retail Businesses SundayShopping (Temporary Amendments) Act; Loi sur l'ouverture descommerces de detail les jours feries‑‑modifications temporaires,be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of thisHouse.


Motion presented.


Mr. Stefanson:  Mr. Speaker, as the members of this House areaware, our government recently announced its intention tointroduce legislation to allow Sunday shopping on a trial basishere in Manitoba.  To support this decision, we are introducingtemporary amendments to The Retail Businesses Holiday ClosingAct, The Employment Standards Act and The Payment of Wages Act.

            This proposed new legislation, The Retail Businesses SundayShopping (Temporary Amendments) Act, is retroactive to November29, 1992, and will be in effect until April 6 of 1993.  Mr.Speaker, during this five‑month trial period, retail businessesnormally operating with more than four employees will bepermitted to open any time between 12 noon and 6 p.m. on Sundays.

            Stores that normally operate with four or fewer than fouremployees will be allowed to continue operating under the sameterms and conditions that applied prior to the introduction ofthese amendments.  Based on assessment of this trial period, Mr.Speaker, government will decide whether to proceed with Sundayshopping on a permanent basis and, if so, under what would beappropriate terms and conditions.

            Mr. Speaker, the decision to allow Sunday shopping on a trialbasis responds in part to public demand.  It expands the choicesavailable to all Manitobans, giving them greater flexibility indeciding when to shop.  This flexibility of choice has beenavailable to Canadians in other provinces for quite some timenow.  Right now the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta,Saskatchewan‑‑in fact, all of the other western provinces‑‑aswell as Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and, mostrecently, Quebec, permit Sunday shopping on an expanded basis.

            What is interesting to note is some of these changes haveoccurred in the last handful of months and that we havegovernments representing all three major political partiesbringing in these kinds of changes, whether it be Ontario, NewBrunswick, Quebec or here in Manitoba.  Of course, wide‑openSunday shopping has long been available throughout the UnitedStates, and for many years now a steady flow of Canadian consumerdollars has supported the activities of U.S. retailers who opentheir doors to Sunday shoppers.  Arriving now when retail salesare more brisk than at any other time during the year, Sundayshopping should help to stimulate retail sales activity here inthe province of Manitoba.


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            Mr. Speaker, we do not pretend that by allowing Sundayshopping cross‑border shopping will come to an abrupt end, but wedo believe that it will help to stem the flow of some spending byManitobans in other provinces and in U.S. markets by providingthe consumers here in Manitoba with an option that until nowexisted only beyond Manitoba's borders.  Obviously, there is anopportunity to keep as many dollars as possible here in theprovince of Manitoba.  Studies indicate that the restrictionsspur increased cross‑border shopping, decrease tourismexpenditures in Manitoba and, as a result, fewer employmentopportunities and a decreased tax base here in Manitoba.

            The Manitoba Hotel Association is a good example of oneorganization that has a great deal of interest in tourism, thathas expressed support for what they recognize Sunday shopping cando in that particular industry.  In fact, I was talking just theother day to one of our downtown hotel operators who indicatedthat he is currently in the process of pursuing bus tours here toManitoba to entice them to come and spend a weekend or more daysin Manitoba, and part of his package will be that he willencourage them to shop here in Manitoba on Sundays.  Obviously,other aspects of the current economy might well help thatindividual operator and other operators, Mr. Speaker, in terms ofthe current state of the Canadian dollar and other issues.  He asan individual hotel operator sees a significant opportunity toentice and to draw Manitobans here to the province of Manitoba.

            Another personal example:  I was on the flight home on Sundayfrom Toronto with a group of Manitobans because of the successfulbid for the Pan Am Games in 1999, and the stewardesses were goodenough to announce that over the PA system on the airline on twodifferent occasions during that flight.  When they heard we werefrom Manitoba, one of the stewardesses came up and asked thesimple question whether or not we now allowed Sunday shoppingbecause they had a six-hour stopover in Winnipeg and they werefrom the province of Nova Scotia.  When they heard that theycould in fact go shopping here in Winnipeg and in Manitoba onSunday, they certainly were ecstatic to get the opportunity to dojust that and intended to go over to one of our local shoppingcentres and to spend some of their hard-earned money right herein the province of Manitoba.

            At the same time, restrictions on Sunday shopping can have anegative social impact.  With changes in employment patterns anddemographics, families are finding it increasingly difficult toconfine all of their shopping activity to one day over theweekend, Mr. Speaker.

            Of course, the existing legislation does allow some Sundayshopping activity, but the current restrictions are not practicalfrom the consumer, retailer and retail employee standpoint.  Thecurrent legislation restricts retail operations to fouremployees.  For consumers this restriction creates unnecessaryinconvenience.  With more and more two-income families andsingle-parent families, the weekend is in fact the only time toshop for many Manitobans.

            For retailers the existing legislation creates considerablehardships as well.  By limiting the capacity for retailers toprovide adequate service and security, Mr. Speaker, it is asignificant barrier to their operating efficiencies.  In light ofthe economic downturn which has affected all aspects of theCanadian and our economy, and particularly the retail sector,such operational barriers do nothing to encourage improved retailbusiness activity.

            From the retail employees' standpoint, restricted Sundayshopping also creates some difficulties.  By restricting storesto a maximum of four employees, the existing legislation makes itunnecessarily hard for employees who must cope with the difficultconditions created by a reduced-staff complement on Sundays.

            The results of several economic studies and opinion research,Mr. Speaker, weighed heavily in favour of Sunday shopping.Studies conducted in North Dakota show that Sunday shopping hasclearly had a positive impact on that state's economy.Unfortunately, North Dakota's gain has been our loss.

            Manitoba spending in North Dakota is estimated to be $92million as a result of open Sunday shopping.  Combined withspending by Manitobans in Minnesota, total cross-border spendingattributable to Manitobans spending in the United States onSundays is around $110 million annually.

            Our estimates show that Sunday shopping in Manitoba couldhave a positive economic impact on the provincial economy.Obviously a retention of any portion of that $110 million, letalone what is spent in other provinces and other jurisdictions,is a positive impact to the economy of Manitoba.

            In addition to these findings, all of which suggest potentialeconomic gain for the Manitoba economy, opinion research showsthat in terms of personal preference, a majority of Manitobanssupport the introduction of Sunday shopping.  Fifty‑four percentof respondents surveyed favour Sunday shopping unconditionally.Self-described cross-border shoppers were among those most infavour.

            Today, Mr. Speaker, over the wire service, we also see that arecent survey was done by Prairie Research Associates Inc.  Itreads that a majority of Manitobans surveyed recently by PrairieResearch Associates said they approved of wide-open Sunday shopping.  More than 50 percent gave a nod of approval to theManitoba government, which is running a five-month test of Sundayshopping.  Only 41 percent said they do not approve of Sundayshopping.

            What is interesting‑‑and I will get to it in a minute.  Thisis on the basis of unconditional‑‑in fact, the question that wasasked by Prairie Research was:  As you know, the provincialgovernment approved a five-month trial period for wide-open Sunday shopping; would you say that you approve or disapprove ofwide-open Sunday shopping?

            When you get into potential conditions, Mr. Speaker, you seethat the numbers do change somewhat in terms of the level ofsupport.  Support for Sunday shopping rose with the applicationsof conditions, as I have already mentioned, conditions such aslimited hours‑‑an example, in the trial period, the limited hoursare to operate between 12 noon and 6 p.m.‑‑the season ofoperation and the provision for a trial period.  More thanthree-quarters of the respondents who were surveyed favouredSunday shopping under at least one of these conditions.

            So, Mr. Speaker, you see that it goes from just over 50percent unconditionally to about 74-75 percent when you start toattach what Manitobans consider to be reasonable conditions toSunday shopping.  Even among those opposed to Sunday shopping,the people who said they were opposed to Sunday shopping orunsure of their position, 37 percent of those people favour aninitial trial period.

            Even the people who were opposing it said that they wouldfavour a trial period to see just what the impact is on theeconomy, to see what the reaction is of consumers, to see whatthe reactions are in rural and urban Manitoba and so on.  So eventhe people opposing it indicated that a trial period was areasonable thing to do, not unlike what was done in the provinceof Ontario a year ago, not unlike what was done in the provinceof New Brunswick and has been done in other jurisdictions, Mr.Speaker.

            There is some concern that Sunday shopping will shiftconsumer spending in smaller towns to larger centres, but as partof the survey again, Mr. Speaker, 97 percent of rural Manitobanssurveyed said that Sunday shopping would either not change theirshopping habits, as they say they will continue to do the samevolume of their shopping in their home town, or they would spendeven more on purchases from their home town merchants‑‑97 percentsaid that.  They would either spend as much or more in their hometowns.  Only 3 percent indicated that they might shop less intheir own community or do not know what they would do.

            Once again, Mr. Speaker, this clearly shows that a trialperiod provides the opportunity to assess just how valid thatstatistic is.  It seemed as though some of the members across theway had their own information on this that does not seem tosupport what we are saying.  This is research material done.  Wenow have it again today with Prairie Research confirming thekinds of numbers that we have outlined.

            As I have already noted, most other Canadian provincescurrently allow Sunday shopping.  Research conducted in thesejurisdictions has shown strong support for expanded shopping onSunday.  In Toronto, Mr. Speaker, Goldfarb Consultants conducteda research project designed to identify the level of support for Sunday shopping among Ontario residents.


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            Key findings of the 1990 Goldfarb study include overthree‑quarters of all respondents surveyed favoured Sunday shopping there as well, a similar pattern to what we are seeingin Manitoba.  Over three-quarters of those who worked on Sundaysfavour Sunday shopping.  Support is highest among single parents,working women and those who work irregular hours.  A largemajority indicated Sunday shopping does not interfere with theirfamily activities, Mr. Speaker.

            Mr. Speaker, based on these results, it appears that limitingor restricting Sunday shopping particularly affects singleparents, working women and people whose jobs require them to workirregular hours.  Since Sunday shopping restrictions hurt theseindividuals more than any others in society, failure to introduceSunday shopping shows a lack of sensitivity to the needs of thesegroups and the time pressures under which they must function.  I also hasten to point out that demographics continue to showincreases in the number of Manitobans who belong to these groups.

            Mr. Speaker, the Goldfarb study also found that anoverwhelming majority of respondents believed Sunday shopping inOntario had exerted no negative or detrimental impact on theirfamily, personal or religious life.  These are examples of peoplewho were tested functioning under that environment.  Also, theserespondents did not feel that Sunday shopping had negativelyaffected quality of life within their communities.  Among thesesame respondents, a full 90 percent said that they do not spendany less time with their families because of Sunday shopping.Furthermore, two‑thirds of the survey respondents agreed thatSunday shopping allows for weekends, and I quote:  To be betterorganized to create family contact time.

            Mr. Speaker, I want to stress that the legislative amendments that we are proposing in connection with Sunday shopping aredesigned to provide choices to all groups affected by the change.


Point of Order


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, the minister is makingconstant references to studies.  I wonder if the minister wouldbe so kind as to table these studies and the polls that he isspending most of his time in his speech referring to.

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


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Mr. Stefanson:  Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, I want to stressagain that the legislative amendments that we are proposing inconnection with Sunday shopping are designed to provide choicesto all groups that will be affectd by the change.

            While the amendments respond to Manitoba consumer interest inexpanded Sunday shopping options, they also protect the rights ofretailers and their employees.

            Through an amendment to The Employment Standards Act,employees are empowered to refuse to work on Sundays.  This rightto refuse work applies only to employees of those businesses thatare allowed to open now as a result of the Sunday shopping trialperiod.  By giving 14 days notice, employees may opt out ofworking on Sundays.

            The amended legislation further protects employee rights, Mr.Speaker.  It prohibits employers from discharging staff basedsolely on their refusal to work Sunday shifts or based on anyemployee efforts to enforce these rights as defined under thisamendment.

            Employee complaints concerning violation of the right torefuse work on Sundays will be investigated by the Department ofLabour's Employment Standards branch.

            Mr. Speaker, retailers, too, have their rights protectedunder these proposed amendments.  They may or may not elect toopen their doors to the public on Sundays.  The choice is theirs,whether or not the retailer wants to open on Sunday or not.Whether they are in a strip mall or a stand‑alone business orwherever they may be located, the choice is to the individualretailer whether or not they will open their doors on Sunday.

            Stand-alone retail businesses have, of course, always beenable to choose their hours of operation within the parametersoutlined by provincial law.  However, commercial shopping centretenants have traditionally been required to open their doors tobusiness during the shopping centre's established hours.

            With the amendments that we are proposing, these retailerswill have the option to close on Sundays, regardless ofprovisions in their lease or any other agreement, Mr. Speaker.This provides a more level playing field for all retail businessowners and ensures that those who wish to remain closed onSundays can do so without penalty.

            Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that these changes toThe Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act, which allow expandedshopping during the specified trial period, will not apply to thestatutory holidays of Christmas Day or New Year's Day.  I wouldalso like to stress that we will closely monitor public responseto this decision.

            Mr. Speaker, this is a reasonable trial period, and willcover both the best and the worst time frames in the retailsector.  Some retailers in Manitoba do as much as 35 percent oftheir annual volume in the month of December alone, and, ofcourse, January and February in the retail business tendtraditionally to be the slowest times of the year.  So the trialperiod gives us a good range in terms of covering the impacts interms of the impact to retailers as well as consumer response andinterest and concern on this issue.

            It is our hope that this move will help to stimulateManitoba's economy and will ensure that our province maintains acompetitive pace with the economic jurisdictions that surround us.

            I have already outlined, Mr. Speaker, what is happening inthe rest of Canada, what is happening throughout the UnitedStates, and the current situation that we face as it relates tothe Sunday shopping situation.  Thank you very much.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, the minister'scomments in introducing this bill for second reading were veryinteresting and provide a rich background and a field fordiscussion and debate on the theory and the practice behind Bill4 that we are discussing today and will be discussing by severalof our caucus members.

            There are some specific issues that I am prepared to raise,and I know other caucus members are too, about some of theramifications of this bill on the people of Manitoba, but I wouldlike to spend some time talking and responding to some of theitems that were raised in the minister's speech just ended.

            First is the whole issue of the process that this bill ispart of.  Mr. Speaker, as we know and as government members wellknow, in the parliamentary system that we are a part of, thenormal process for legislation is for a piece of legislation tobe introduced, first reading, for second reading and debate inthe House on the principles of the legislation, then a publichearing process‑‑and parenthetically, I am very proud thatManitoba is the only province in the country that requires publichearings on its legislation, and I think that is something we inManitoba can all be proud of‑‑and finally, third reading beforepassage or defeat of the bill, of the legislation.

            Mr. Speaker, in virtually every case, this process isfollowed before the impacts of the legislation are felt by thepeople of Manitoba, and that is only logical, that you have abill that changes how the people of Manitoba go about their dailybusiness debated and have input from the public before theimpacts of that bill are felt.

            Mr. Speaker, in this case, the government of the day hasunilaterally, and I would suggest without due process andcertainly without due consultation, undertaken to abrogate thespirit if not the strict legality of this process that has helpedframe the parliamentary system for over a thousand years inwestern society.

            The process does not and has not allowed for publicconsultation.  It has not and it does not allow for input byinterested individuals and organizations in this province, andtherefore, we are very much opposed to the process that this billhas undergone so far.  We have stated publicly and will continueto state in the House that this bill should not be debated,should not be passed or defeated by us in the Legislature whilethe bill is, in effect, in force in the community.  The publichearings should have been undertaken.  The process should havebeen followed before the wide‑open Sunday shopping was actuallyallowed.  So, Mr. Speaker, the process is far from perfect andsmacks of this government's lip service to the concept ofconsultation, rather than its support of consultation inactuality.


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            Mr. Speaker, the minister referenced several "studies"showing support for Sunday shopping.  He began with anecdotal"studies" from flight attendants whom he met.  If I may, thegender-neutral language, which the Minister responsible for theStatus of Women (Mrs. Mitchelson) should have informed hercabinet colleague of, is flight attendant, not stewardess.

            Mr. Speaker, the minister spoke about the comments made byseveral flight attendants on a trip he had back from Toronto,saying that they were delighted that they would be able to spendsix hours, their layover, shopping in Manitoba.  He spoke aboutseveral other personal encounters he had with people who were supporting wide-open shopping.  He also talked about a NorthDakota study which said that there was wide support for Sundayshopping in that state and mentioned that there was $92 millionthat Manitobans spent in North Dakota and $110 million thatManitobans spent in Minnesota directly related to the fact thatManitoba currently does not have, or did not have before November30, Sunday shopping while North Dakota and Minnesota do haveSunday shopping.

            Mr. Speaker, as the member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak)requested, it would be very interesting and very helpful for uson this side of the House to have access to those figures, toknow where they came from, to know how specifically they wererelated to shopping by Manitobans across the border on Sunday.

            Mr. Speaker, even if those figures are accurate for thiscurrent year or the last year or whatever year they are accuratefor, the minister chooses not to understand that much of thereason Manitobans have cross‑border shopped in the past is due tothe fact, not that stores in Manitoba have not been open onSundays, but due to the fiscal and monetary policies of both thefederal Conservative government and the provincial Conservativegovernment:  the high interest rates, the high dollar, the Bankof Canada's propping up the dollar, the other fiscal and monetarypolicies, not the least of which is the goods and services taxthat was put on the people of Canada by the federal Conservativegovernment with absolutely no outcry, feigned or real, on thepart of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative government.

            The goods and services tax, along with the Free TradeAgreement, have been the twin pillars of our destruction, not thefact that Manitobans cannot full-blown shop on Sundays throughoutthe province.

            Mr. Speaker, as well, the minister spoke about severalstudies that were done, in particular one by Prairie ResearchAssociates, where he said only 41 percent of those surveyeddisapproved of wide-open Sunday shopping.  I would like tosuggest that traditionally a political party in the province ofManitoba who gets only 41 percent of the popular vote forms amajority government and in some cases a very substantial majoritygovernment.  This is a very, very high percentage of peoplesurveyed under any circumstances who say they do not want wide-open Sunday shopping.

            I have a couple of questions, Mr. Speaker, for the minister.I would appreciate his tabling or responding as quickly aspossible while we are still debating this issue some of theparameters of that survey.

            Number one, who was sampled?  What was the number of peoplewho were sampled?  Number two, from where in the province werethey sampled?  Where do these people live?  The minister saysthat 97 percent of rural Manitobans said that Sunday shoppingwould not change their shopping habits.  I would like to know ifthat 97 percent of rural Manitobans come from Thompson, SwanRiver, Dauphin, Souris, Virden or, if they, like upwards ofthree‑quarters of the population of the province of Manitoba livewithin 75 kilometres of the city of Winnipeg.  Are some of thesepeople rural Manitobans who are in this survey?

            Many of the people in Manitoba who consider themselves to berural Manitobans live within 75 kilometres of the city ofWinnipeg.  Those local Chambers of Commerce, those localretailers in cities and communities like Stonewall, Gimli,Portage and Steinbach, all of whom are represented by members ofthe Progressive Conservative Party, have come out openly andsaid, wide‑open Sunday shopping will have a devastating effect ontheir businesses in their communities.  I think it is importantthat if the minister is putting statistical analyses and surveyresults on the record that he share with all members of the Housethe specifics about those studies so that we can be betterinformed, and perhaps it will help reframe our concerns aboutthis whole issue.

            Mr. Speaker, the third issue that I would like to talk aboutin the minister's comments this afternoon is the whole issue ofchoice.  I find this amusing.  It would be amusing if it were notso potentially tragic.  The whole idea that employers, thatemployees, that retailers throughout the province of Manitobahave a choice as to whether they stay open or closed on a Sundayunder this legislation is ridiculous.  It bears no relationshipto the actuality of what will happen in the province of Manitoba,none whatsoever.  It is the most ephemeral of choices.

            Mr. Speaker, this government has espoused, like its federalcounterpart in Ottawa, like its counterparts in Britain andlately in the United States, the benefits of the free marketeconomy, that the competition in the private sector, the socialDarwinism of the fittest shall survive is the only wayeconomically to go in this world.

            We on this side have talked at great length about theinherent pitfalls of that market economy‑driven ideology.  I willnot go into that discussion now, except to say that as many ofthe small businesses in the ring around the city of Winnipeg,within a half hour to 45 minutes of the city of Winnipeg, havesaid, Mr. Speaker, they have absolutely no choice.  If they aregoing to survive, they will have to open on Sunday.  They willhave to open on Sunday because of the market‑driven economicforces at play in this bill, because they know that the largeretail chains, which are the major proponents of thislegislation, will open on Sunday.  Their high volume, theireconomies of scale will demand that the smaller retailers stayopen on Sunday.


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            The only thing that has protected small retailers throughoutthis province, not just in the rural areas around the city ofWinnipeg but in the city of Winnipeg itself, the corner stores,the small individual retailers, the small businesses that formthe backbone of our economy‑‑65 or 70 percent of the jobs in thisprovince are from small businesses.  What is going to happen tothese jobs when they do not have the one protection that they hadunder the old legislation, which is that the large volume‑drivenretail outlets could not open fully on a Sunday?  That was theone time that many small businesses could make some additionalrevenue, could have some chance at having some competitive, levelplaying field with the large retail chains.


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


            Mr. Acting Speaker, the idea that this provides, as theminister said, a level playing field for all of the retailoutlets in the province is laughable.  It just is not true.  Whatit does is that it eliminates any possibility of even themarginal level playing field that we had under the limited Sundayshopping that was in place before this legislation was imposedwithout having been passed by the House.  What it means is, as Ihave stated before, that individual small businesses will beforced to remain open seven days a week.  They may have to remainopen longer hours during the week.  They will have to not haveany choice as to whether they are open six days a week.  Theywill have to remain open seven days a week.

            So the idea that this provides for choice is‑‑for theminister to stand in his place and say this provides for anincreased amount of choice is reprehensible.  If he is going toargue for his bill, argue for it on realistic premises, not onissues such as choice.

            Finally, I would like to speak in response to the minister'scomments about the concept of protection for workers.  It wasdelicious, I might say, that the minister is all of a sudden soconcerned and solicitous for the rights and the best interests ofwomen employees, of single parents, most of whom are women, ofwomen who work in the retail sector.  I think this is just theheight of ridiculousness as well, Mr. Acting Speaker.  Everythingthis government has done in its complete lack of strategiceconomic planning has been designed and has had the impact andthe effect of making life more difficult for retail workers, forsmall businesses, for single parents and for women in thisprovince.

            We have story after story, statistic after statistic, failureafter failure of this government to provide any kind ofprotection for the workers and the families of this province,except the large retail corporations and the large businessesthat have been lobbying for this change.

            The minister speaks about the changes to The EmploymentStandards Act that will allow for the absolute right of refusalto work on the part of employees and that, if there is anyconcern about this, the Employment Standards branch of theDepartment of Labour will investigate any employee complaints.Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, I know that the Minister of Labour (Mr.Praznik) is prepared to speak on this issue today, and I will askthe Minister of Labour now to please address if he can in hisremarks these questions that I have.

            What happens if an employee refuses to work on Sunday and anemployer lays her, which is usually the gender of employees inthe retail sector, off?  Mr. Acting Speaker, most of theemployees in the retail sector in Manitoba are not unionized.They have no recourse other than to the basic rights under theprovincial legislation.  So an employee refuses to work onSunday, is laid off because the employer knows that with theunemployment rate as high as it is in the province of Manitobathere are lots of people out there who would be willing to workany hours that they can get.  So he lays her off.  She says, thisis unjust.  So she takes it to the Employment Standards branch ofthe Department of Labour.

            A couple of questions, Mr. Acting Speaker.  Given the factsof the new changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act, given thefact that women and low‑paid employees and employees in sectorssuch as the retail trade, which are less stable than almost anyother sector in this economy, are under enormous pressures withthe federal changes to The Unemployment Insurance Act, giventhat, given the fact that an employer could lay off an employeewho refused to work on Sunday, what kind of time frame is thatemployee looking at between the time they are laid off and thetime they get a decision made by the Employment Standardsbranch?  Is the Minister of Labour during this five‑month trialperiod prepared to put on additional staff in the EmploymentStandards branch to take care of these issues in an expeditiousfashion?

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I do not expect to hear a response fromthe Minister of Labour that will make me or any of the retailworkers in this province happy, but I thought it was important toput these questions on the record.  Again, as in the idea ofchoice, the idea of protection for workers would be laughable ifit were not so frightening for workers and families in Manitoba.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I would like to spend my remaining timetalking about some of the principles behind this piece oflegislation.  The minister spoke of consultation that had beenundertaken and the fact that there was public demand and thatmany consumers had been calling for.  Again, I would like tostate that I would imagine that the consumers who are calling forand the public demand is coming largely from the large retailerswho will be very happy with the wide‑open Sunday shopping anddoes not reflect the full range of public opinion in Manitoba,which the government could have sampled far more effectively thanthey did in their survey had they chosen the legitimateparliamentary route of introducing legislation and going throughthe public hearing process, having public hearings throughout theprovince of Manitoba on an issue that has this wide‑rangingimpact on people and businesses, particularly those outside thecity of Winnipeg.

            The government might have found that there was a very largesegment of the population who will be very adversely affected bythis legislation, but no, the government consulted with the samegroups that the government always consults with‑‑big, big, bigbusiness, the large corporations, the large retailers.  Thequestion I have to ask the government is, why all of a sudden wehave to have this piece of legislation, why all of a sudden thegovernment felt incumbent upon it to implement the legislationprior to its being passed or debated in the House.  The answers,I think, are fairly clear, Mr. Acting Speaker.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, one of the premises upon which thislegislation is based is that there will be more economic activitygenerated by wide‑open Sunday shopping.  I would suggest thatfrom consumers outside the province of Manitoba, such as from thenorthern tier of the United States coming across the border toshop in Manitoba, that number would be far more increased by achange in the federal fiscal policies‑‑reduction if notelimination of the goods and services tax, a change in themonetary and fiscal policies.  Sunday shopping in Manitoba is notgoing to generate that kind of revenue, additional revenue, inthe province from out-of-province people.


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            Mr. Acting Speaker, if we assume that much of the additionalrevenue will be coming from Manitobans‑‑I just do not understand,because if you have $100 to spend, you are going to spend $100whether you spend it in six days or seven.  The additional day ofshopping is not going to engender the kind of additional revenuefor the vast majority of Manitobans.  As a matter of fact, asubstantial argument could be made that the reverse will actuallybe the result of wide‑open Sunday shopping, that there will be inmany instances and in many sectors less money available to spend.

            The small retailers who will now be forced to stay open onSunday or longer hours will have to increase their costs.Because they operate on such a narrow profit margin as it is,they will have to increase their costs to take into account theincreased overhead expenses that they will have to incur, and aone‑seventh increase in the heating and utility rates, not to sayanything about the increased staffing costs, is a very largepercentage increase for a small‑business person who is operatingon a minimal profit margin at best.

            This will have the impact, Mr. Acting Speaker, particularlyin small businesses, of forcing an increase in rates, in theirprices, with the additional impact then of people going to largerretail outlets.  Surprise, surprise.  It is not thesmall‑business person in Manitoba who is angling for thiswide‑open Sunday shopping.  It is the large retailers who willhave the success in this endeavour at the expense of thesmall‑business community.

            Another argument that was made by the minister is thatcross‑border shopping will be eliminated or cut down by havingwide‑open Sunday shopping.  He spoke about the fact that BritishColumbia is one of the provinces that has had Sunday shopping.As a matter of fact, they have had it, I think, for approximately10 years.  So British Columbia should be a good example, along‑term example, of what happens when a province has wide‑openSunday shopping and has had for a decade, the last decade, Mr.Acting Speaker, where we have gone through a recession and a boomand now two years of another recession.  So we have a little,very scientific sampling, much more scientific than theconsultation that this government undertook in British Columbia,of what happens with cross‑border shopping when you have Sundayshopping.

            Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, what has actually happened inBritish Columbia over the past 10 years is not that cross‑bordershopping has decreased but, in fact, it has increased.  In fact,25 percent of the dollars that Canadians spend in cross‑bordershopping, one‑quarter of the millions of dollars that Canadiansspend in the United States, is spent by British Columbianscrossing the border and shopping in Washington and thenorthwestern tier of states in the United States.

            Sunday shopping in Manitoba is not going to stop thatcross‑border shopping.  Other things will stop cross‑bordershopping, but wide‑open Sunday shopping is not going to stop itin Manitoba, and it certainly is not going to increase the flowof U.S. dollars coming to Manitoba.  What will do that is achange in federal policies.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the provincial government has spent muchof its time in the past four years talking about the need for thestrengthening of the family, a need for a return to moretraditional, and I use the phrase advisedly, family values.  Ittalks about how we need to strengthen families in the province ofManitoba.

            One of the worst impacts of wide-open Sunday shopping in theprovince of Manitoba will be on families in Manitoba.  Make nomistake about that.  Many of the small businesses that we havetalked about being most adversely affected by this wide-openSunday shopping are run by and staffed almost entirely by familymembers, nuclear family members, extended family members,cross-generational family members, Mr. Acting Speaker, and manyof those small family businesses are owned and operated in ruralManitoba and northern Manitoba, where we have some of the highestunemployment, some of the worst economic conditions in thecountry, thanks in no small part to the lack of provincial andfederal economic strategies to deal with those issues, but thatis yet another speech.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I find it interesting to say the least tohave on the one hand the pious mewlings of the government on theneed for traditional family values and, on the other hand, takingunilateral actions that will decimate the family in the provinceof Manitoba, even more than it already has been by the financialtroubles facing the families of Manitoba.

            It is not only that Sunday has traditionally in our societybeen a day of rest.  It is not just that; it is that there hasbeen one day where families generally could gather together, oneday where families generally did not have to worry about workingseven days a week, one day where the vast majority of familiescould gather.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we have a modified Sunday shopping lawwhich has worked very well in this province for six or sevenyears now, which has allowed for the large retail stores, largegrocery, food stores to open, but not to open fully so that theytake away the level playing field, but to open with the samenumber of people that other stores would have.  Frankly, we feelthat that compromise has worked very well for the people ofManitoba.  It has allowed the vast majority of people who work inthe retail sector, in the small‑business sector, to have one daywhere they do not have to work, to have one day that they couldspend with their families.

            What the impact of this will be is that not only will thosesmall businesses need to remain open seven days a week, thelarger retail businesses will remain open seven days a week, andthe employees of those businesses will also have to work sevendays a week.  So it is not just the small‑business community thatwill be negatively impacted and the people who work in thesmall‑business sector, it will be the thousands of retail workersin this province who work in the larger retail chains and retailstores throughout the province who now will have to be faced witha very difficult decision for them to make.  Their employers aregoing to say:  You do not work on Sunday, fine; I do not needyou; I will hire someone else.  In today's economic situation,many people will not be able to have the choice that thisgovernment says they will have not to work on Sunday.

            Another impact that this is going to have, and not just onthe small‑business sector but on the large retail outlets aswell, is that because there will not be the massive increase inrevenue coming to those outlets, those stores, this whole sector,there will be a decline in the number of full‑time employeesheavier than we have seen, and we have seen a large decline inthe number of full‑time employees in the retail sector.  So therewill be a decline in the number of full‑time employees, anincrease in the number of part‑time employees and a loweringof‑‑[interjection]

            Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, the government benches are talkingabout the fact that some unions are opposed to this legislation.I would suggest that it only makes good business sense for thegovernment to not support this as well, because if you haveemployees who have a lower hourly rate, whose take‑home pay isreduced substantially‑‑guess what?‑‑they do not have money to spend.


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            I do not understand, Mr. Acting Speaker, why it is sodifficult for the government, not only the provincial governmentbut the federal government, to understand that if you do not havemoney, if you do not have a job, you do not have money to spend.It is simple.  If I do not have any money, I cannot spendanything.  If I have a good, full-paying, full-time job that hasa modicum of job security, some sense that I can move up in mychosen field if I prove myself to be a good employee, if I havesome security that my job will be there next week, next month,next year, then I am confident in my ability to provide not onlythe basics for myself and my family, but also maybe spend some of that discretionary income.

            If, on the other hand, as is the case in Manitoba today, thatthe consumer confidence level has never been lower, any moneythat I or anyone else who is working has to spend, we do not.  Weare saving it; we are putting it aside; but we are not shoppingand putting money into the retail sector of our province.

            We are choosing not to buy houses, never mind the Premier's(Mr. Filmon) comments earlier today.  If he had read further inthat article or quoted further in that article, he would haveseen the negative parts of the housing market as we know ittoday.  They are not buying cars.  They are not buying washersand dryers.

            The reason people are not shopping and are not spending isbecause they do not have any confidence, they do not have anymoney.

            Wide-open Sunday shopping is only going to increase the lackof confidence because people will not have full-time jobs.Again, the small retailers are going to be substantially hurt;workers in the retail sector who work for the large retailoutlets are going to be substantially hurt.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the government talks about itsconsultative process, and we know on this side of the House thatwhat the government means by consultation is either another wordfor lack of action, for dithering, for doing nothing, or itmeans, we consulted with people that we knew would tell us whatwe wanted to hear.  That is why this government chose toimplement this legislation before it had come before the House.That is why they did not hold public hearings throughout theprovince.  They have not even held public hearings as required bythe legislative process.

            The retailers throughout Manitoba are opposed to thislegislation.  I am sure that there are members on the governmentbenches who are well aware of that because they have receivedcommunications from the retail sector in their small communitiesthat are opposed to this, that are saying exactly what we aresaying here today.

            This will not benefit Manitobans as a whole.  It will onlybenefit the large retail chains.  It will only benefit employerswho now have yet another stick to hold over their employees, andit will not have a net positive impact on the financial health ofthe province of Manitoba.  But then why, Mr. Acting Speaker,should we be surprised by that?  There has been nothing that thisgovernment has done in the four and a half years since its firstelection to increase the economic health of the people ofManitoba, the corporate sector of Manitoba, the small-businesssector of Manitoba or any other part of this province.

            The shop owners and the chambers of commerce in the smallcommunities surrounding Winnipeg are opposed to thislegislation.  The Manitoba Chamber of Commerce is opposed to this legislation.  Only the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the largeretail stores are in favour of this legislation, Mr. ActingSpeaker.

            We know on this side of the House that the reason thegovernment chose this backhanded, cowardly way of implementingthis legislation by not going and following the parliamentaryprocess, we know the reason they did that is that they are wellaware of the problems facing the people of Manitoba, but they arelistening to the corporate sponsors who support the ProgressiveConservative Party in this province and in the country as awhole.  They are being very consistent in their total lack ofsupport for the families of Manitoba, for the small‑businessbackbone of this province, for the single parents.

            Others of my caucus colleagues will be speaking on thislegislation, caucus colleagues of mine from the inner city ofWinnipeg, from suburban Winnipeg, from rural Manitoba and fromnorthern Manitoba.  We are the ones who are reflecting whatManitobans feel on this issue, not the government.  Thank you,Mr. Acting Speaker.

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour):  Mr. Acting Speaker, Iam very happy to have the opportunity to join in this debate.  Ithink we will truly have a very good debate in this House.  Iknow there will be many members on all sides of the Assembly whowill want to participate in it.

            The previous speaker, the member for Wellington (Ms.Barrett), raised a number of points that I would like to refer tothroughout the course of my remarks, but one in particular.  Iwould be remiss as deputy government House leader, Mr. ActingSpeaker, if I did not make reference at the beginning of myremarks.

            I think the member for Wellington made reference to theprocess of this act, which would establish the trial period, weadmit very freely, retroactively, which is always something thatgovernments should use sparingly.  She criticized us in some wayof offending a thousand years of parliamentary tradition and madesome, I think, very strong remarks about this process.  I wouldhope that she would publicly be prepared to make the samecriticism of her fellow New Democrats in Ontario, where a verysimilar process to ours was used by them, I believe, last year todo virtually the same thing, to bring about a trial period.

            I note from this side of the House, Mr. Acting Speaker, thatmembers of the New Democratic Party continually fail to make anyreference to New Democratic Party governments in other parts ofthis country.  In fact, I would even suggest that in theircollective minds, if you ask them, they would be hard‑pressed toeven admit that there are any other New Democratic Partygovernments in Canada.

            It seems that the remarks of the fall of 1990 after Mr. Rae'selection in Ontario and the Premier Bob comments of the memberfor Thompson (Mr. Ashton) and others, we do not seem to hearthese any more, Mr. Acting Speaker.  They seem to all have beenforgotten as New Democrats stand very sanctimoniously in thisChamber on the issues of Sunday shopping and other issues,pontificating about their philosophy and beliefs in the waythings should happen, very conveniently forgetting that their ownparty, people that they break bread with regularly at nationalmeetings, people that they send their staff to support inelection campaigns have done all the things that they stand inthis House and so sanctimoniously condemn.

            I would remind the member for Wellington on the process, justone issue, for example, where her fellow New Democrats, herbeloved New Democrats have used‑‑in fact, one could even argue wehave copied the Ontario process, Mr. Acting Speaker.  I wouldhope, in fact, I look for the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett)to issue a press release condemning Premier Bob Rae and hisgovernment in Ontario.  If she were really serious in thosestatements, she would issue one, and I do not think she will.

            The member for Wellington, as I am sure other New Democratswill do, will have dire predictions about the effect of thislegislation.  That is one reason why we have a trial period, justto see what effects, what will in fact happen.  If the member isright in her predictions, then that will be proven at the end ofthe trial period.

            This trial period is one that takes into account the greatestretail period of the year, the period before Christmas, andprobably the worst retail period of the year, the period afterChristmas and around Autopac renewal time.  It is a trial periodthat tests the best and the worst in the retail trade to see whatin fact will happen.  At that time, Mr. Acting Speaker, we willsee what Manitobans have said about Sunday shopping, because onething that is very certain is that Manitobans will ultimatelydecide this issue.  They will vote upon it with their feet asthey have been doing regularly since 1985-86 when thislegislation was last amended.  What Manitobans do will be provenin this period.  If Manitobans do not want Sunday shopping, thenthey will not frequent retailers who open on Sunday.  If a verysignificant number of Manitobans want Sunday shopping, then theywill vote with their feet during this period.

            I have to tell members opposite, and I am sure thesesentiments are shared by many members of my caucus, this decisionwas not arrived at easily or certainly quickly.  It was adecision to go to this trial period that was arrived at after alot of thought and contemplation about our society, about whatthe public was doing and what was happening out there, Mr. ActingSpeaker.


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            I can tell members opposite, I have never been a strongpersonal supporter of having wide‑open shopping all the time.  Ihave been someone who, at least in my beliefs, has thought verystrongly of the need for a common day of rest, but yet I cannotstand here as a hypocrite, because the family business in which Iwas involved, the fruit and vegetable business in the R.M. of St.Andrews, we regularly opened on Sunday.  We did because it wasour best retail day.  It catered to our customers, a large numberof whom were the Sunday drivers on Highway 9, off for a visit toLower Fort Garry or Lockport or out to the beaches.  We chose toclose Monday because that was a very poor day for us.  We madethat decision because our season was short, we were competingwith others.  It was a decision, our family worked Sundays underthe previous legislation, and we made that decision because itwas what our customers wanted and expected of us.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, what concerns me so very much in theremarks of the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett), and I am sureremarks we will hear repeated over and over again from membersopposite in this debate, is that somehow our society is staticand espouses a principle that we have rejected on so many otheroccasions.  Mr. Acting Speaker, members opposite, like the memberfor Wellington (Ms. Barrett), I am sure, will become verysanctimonious.  They will become very pure in their thoughts andtheir comments, and they will remind us how it is so importantthat we have this common day of rest.  Yet where we are today,which is where we have, by and large, limited open Sundayshopping, was arrived at by a bill that was brought forward bymembers of the New Democratic Party when they were in government,and supported, I admit, freely by all members who sat in theLegislature at that time.  But that legislation opened the doorfor full-scale Sunday shopping in Manitoba, and anyone who deniesthat (a) does not understand the law, and (b) is living in adream world.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the law that the New Democratic Partybrought to this Legislature in 1985‑86‑‑and I was not a member atthat time, so the date escapes me‑‑but the legislation that theybrought to this House provided for openings with four or lessemployees.  If they were serious at that time about just allowingretailers to open with the small retailer, they would haveprovided in that legislation for only retailers who normallyemployed four people, but they did not do that.  The member forWellington (Ms. Barrett), I hope she listens to this remark, butthe New Democrats did not put the prohibition on opening tostores that normally employed four, the small retailer that shetalks about protecting.  What they did was to allow any store, nomatter what its size, to open if they could do it with just four employees.

            So what that created was a scenario where today we haveSafeway opening up on a Sunday, and people waiting 40, 50minutes, an hour in line to make their purchase, choosing to dothat, Mr. Acting Speaker, but very unhappy with that.  Asituation where major retailers in the electronic industry, inthe lumber industry could open their stores with four people anddo, sometimes at great inconvenience to their customers.  It didnot stop those retailers from opening, but it created a veryuneven playing field.  Larger retailers who competed with theSafeways and the electronics stores that opened and the lumberyards and the furniture stores that were able to open on Sunday with four‑‑those that could not do it with four could notphysically open.  So it created a very uneven playing field inthe retail market, and that has been one of the driving forcestowards further amending our Sunday shopping legislation.

            The fact is that big retailers did open and that consumershad a taste of Sunday shopping, Mr. Acting Speaker, right here inWinnipeg, and constituents of the member for Wellington (Ms.Barrett) go every Sunday to those Safeway stores and buy.  Theywait in long lines, and they complain and say, why do thelegislators not at least allow us to have convenience?  It alsocreated a demand among those retailers who were not able to openbecause they could not open physically with less than fourpeople, for they said, we did not have a level playing field,that our competitors were opening, particularly the largewarehouse companies in the electronic field, for example, thefurniture industry that could open with a minimal amount ofstaff.  Their competitors, Manitoba companies many of them, couldnot open with four or less employees, and did not have a levelplaying field.

            So two of the major pushes for a change to this legislationwere a direct result of the 1985-86 legislation that was broughtin by the New Democratic Party.  So to somehow try to hide todayand say that the previous legislation was wonderful and a greatcompromise and did not create any problems is simply not true.

            The door was very much open by their legislation, and itcreated two of the driving forces behind the current test periodand the current demand by so many Manitobans who on Sundays havegone out and shopped or wanted to shop that has resulted in thistrial period.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, as I have indicated earlier, as anindividual I am someone who has traditionally espoused the viewof a common day of rest.  I am not someone who intends to shop onSunday.  I do not like shopping at the best of times, and Iprobably avoid shopping.  It is not one of the activities Ienjoy, and I certainly do not intend to do it on Sundays but, forthose of us who have had that viewpoint, even though I do notwant to be accused of being a hypocrite‑‑I was a part owner of abusiness that opened on Sundays and worked in it on Sundays‑‑onehas to look at how even those who have taken that position havebeen undermined somewhat in making that argument.

            In my own community of Beausejour that I represent in thislegislature, a few months ago one of the three grocers, anindependent grocer, one of the small grocery stores that themember for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) speaks of, decided to openfor limited hours on Sunday.  The Home Hardware store that openeda year or so ago in Beausejour, probably one of our two largestretailers, has, since it opened, opened on Sundays.  So we havehad Sunday shopping in Beausejour.

            They have managed to open under the rules of less than fouremployees but, if you fight this argument, if you fight this billon the basis of the principle of opening or not, under thecurrent law we have had Sunday shopping in a town likeBeausejour, and I am sure that is repeated in other communities.People are in those stores shopping.  It happens.

            So for those like myself who have had some sense of having acommon day of rest in our own communities, we have seen thatprinciple undermined somewhat by the activities of retailers inour own towns, and that is despite the local Chamber of Commerce in Beausejour opposing an expanded Sunday shopping but, yet, theyhave it in their own community.

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            Again on a personal note, when I go to church in the villageof Garson, where I live, after church on Sunday if one goes intothe local Garson grocer, our local store, many of the people thatI go to church with are in that store after mass on Sunday.  Theyhave chosen to shop on Sunday.  They may not think about that,and they may not be comfortable with larger retailers being open,but they in fact are choosing to shop on Sunday.

            Then one gets into the arguments of fairness and levelplaying field, but more and more and more, no matter how muchmyself, the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) or any member ofthis House, the member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns) would like to havea time when we do have a common day of rest in which we have noretail, the fact is that the people of Manitoba, indeed, thepeople virtually of all of North America, have with their feetvoted to do otherwise, because they go to those retailers.  Theyhave accepted the principle of shopping on Sunday.

            This test period again will prove whether or not Manitobansgenerally want expanded Sunday shopping or not because Manitobanswill vote with their feet, and we have to respect that.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, if one goes back a little farther and onthe principle of a common day of rest, one should not forget thatin this country‑‑in fact, the original Sunday shoppinglegislation was struck down by the courts of Manitoba, because itoffended the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because it provideda day of rest on religious grounds.

            Our society has changed greatly.  The principle of having afree Sunday was very much part of the religious heritage of thiscountry, but we as Canadians, rightly or wrongly, accepted aCharter of Rights that prevented us, as our courts struck downour Manitoba legislation in the mid‑1980s, rejected thatprinciple, and so left us with a position today probablyreflective of what society wants.  Where we do not have thosesame types of restrictions, we have much more freedom on whatpeople can do throughout the week and when they choose to havetheir day.

            I say this, Mr. Acting Speaker, I am in agreement with someof the comments from the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett).  Isay that with some regret, perhaps a great deal of regret,because we see in our own society so many changes that have ledto a host of social problems, breakdown of the family, all ofthose things.  I am not blaming it on one incident or another,but it is part of a general change in our society for better orfor worse.  It is the reality.

            The member for Wellington's remarks, I think, requireresponse on many particular points.  I was quite interested, aswere members on this side of the House, to hear her comment thatwe should not have a market-driven economy.  I think very oftenthat members opposite tend to pull out an ideology in which tofight every issue that they choose to fight, even though theircolleagues in government in Ontario, in Saskatchewan, in BritishColumbia are not following that same ideology, recognizing thechanges in society.

            But they pull out the ideology, and, of course, a good termfor a New Democrat to throw out is we should not have amarket‑driven economy.  Well, that says to me‑‑and I hope no onewould fault me for speculating here a little bit‑‑but it says tome, and I speculate, that the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett)has never thought about what that really means.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, because if one does not have amarket‑driven economy, then one has a centralized or a controlledor a planned economy which means somebody makes the choicesinstead of individuals doing it for themselves.  It means someonedecides what kind of shoes I should wear or when I should buy theshoes or what I should eat or how much I should eat.

            When one thinks it through a little bit, it becomes verysilly.  If the public that we represent ultimately do not want toshop on Sunday, if significant numbers do not want to shop onSunday, there will be no demand.  Let us face the realities thatI have outlined already, that more and more people in our societychoose to shop on Sunday, whether it is in stores that arecurrently open, whether it is stores in the United States or itis in stores that will be open under this test period.  The testperiod will prove one way or another how Manitobans feel as theyvote with their feet.

            I would remind members opposite as well that, as I haveindicated in the Speech from the Throne debate, my remarks inthat debate, and as I indicated earlier in my remarks today, theNew Democrats tend to operate as if there was no world outside ofManitoba.  They conveniently forget that in our country today,six provinces have already adopted some form of more open Sundayshopping.  Quebec has moved to the same kind of process ofexpanding as we have.  That makes eight of 10.  Virtually everystate in the United States has gone to some expanded form ofSunday shopping.  None of them have backtracked because of a hostof adverse circumstances.  They have all moved that way, but yetNew Democrats seem to think that this is the first and only placeit has happened.

            One has to realize that we live in a world with neighboursand that the world is changing for better or for worse and thatManitobans are no different than consumers and citizens of any ofthose other provinces that have Sunday shopping, including threeNew Democratic Party provinces, or any states in the UnitedStates, Mr. Acting Speaker.  We are all part of the samecontinent, and we are not immune to those kinds of changes forbetter or for worse.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, if I may for a few moments talk aboutsome of the concerns that I think members of this side of theHouse do share with many critics of this legislation, we areconcerned about how in fact this bill does operate.  IfManitobans demonstrate during this test period that they in factwant expanded Sunday shopping, if they vote for it with theirfeet, then we will be faced with the issue of how we deal withthat on an ongoing basis.

            This legislation was not designed to be the final word onSunday shopping.  It was designed to be a test.  From this testperiod, this trial period over the next five months, we will seehow various aspects of this work, how the public reacts to it,how employers react to some of the rights that we have providedto employees, how they are carried out.  From the informationthat we garner during this trial period, if, and I underline if,it is the decision of government to move forward with a bill tobring forward Sunday shopping on a regular permanent basis, thenwe will use the results of this period in the consultations.

            I would like to indicate clearly today that both myself andthe Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) havecorresponded with the Labour Management Review Committee to seektheir opinion on the specifics of any bill or the results of thetrial should that in fact happen.  We will then be looking to, ifwe decide to proceed, draft legislation that will deal with manyof the very legitimate specific concerns that may arise duringthis trial period.

            I, as Minister of Labour, am very concerned about theabsolute right of employees to opt out with sufficient notice ofthe right to work on Sunday.  Mr. Acting Speaker, it is somethingwe are monitoring and will monitor very closely to see how thatis respected and what sanctions, if in fact they are needed,would prevent any problems that do arise.  I would remind membersopposite that we currently have the same absolute opt-out right for overtime.  I am advised by the chair of the Labour Board thatthere have been very few situations, none in fact that he couldrecall at the time, where we have had a complaint to the LabourBoard about the exercise of that same absolute right to refuseovertime.

            Today, I do want to use this opportunity to send a very clearmessage to the business community that we in fact will bewatching how they recognize that absolute right of employees toopt out.  Mr. Acting Speaker, I say to them very clearly, if theyare in fact good managers I am sure they will use this as anopportunity to find those amongst their current staff who wish towork on Sundays, and many do because of their circumstance,convenience, students, for example, who work in the retail trade.

            Seek the volunteers who wish to work Sunday hours, Mr. ActingSpeaker.  Seek the volunteers in their own establishments, and Iam thinking of the larger retailers, their employees who wish towork the additional hours on Sunday and, in cases where they donot have enough, hire other employees to fill that gap.

            But, Mr. Acting Speaker, this side of the House hasrecognized very clearly that many Manitobans‑‑

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Penner):  Order, please.  I have adifficult time hearing the speaker, and I was wondering whetherwe could have a bit more order in the House so that I could hearthe speaker.  Thank you.


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Mr. Praznik:  Mr. Acting Speaker, we recognize, we have providedin this legislation for that absolute right.  We are monitoringit through the Employment Standards branch.  Included in thisright, of course, are the appropriate remedies that are currentlyavailable, and we will be seeing how they play out during thistrial period.

            But I say this to employers, if employers wish to abuse thatright, Mr. Acting Speaker, then they will have to face theconsequences of a decision of this government at a later time,whether it is to proceed at all or whether there are otheractions that would be included in a bill that would be bringingforward Sunday shopping on a permanent basis.

            So I issue that warning very clearly today, Mr. ActingSpeaker.  Employers have a responsibility to recognize that rightwe have provided, and if one looks at all of the people who wishto work in the retail business who are not now, there is reallyno reason or very few reasons why any retailer wishing to open onSunday, particularly the larger retailers, would not be able tofind sufficient staff to operate their stores withoutinconveniencing or diminishing or denying the absolute right oftheir employees, with proper notice, of opting out of working onSunday shopping.  So I put that on the record today, and we willbe watching it as I have indicated already.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I want to conclude my remarks by statingagain that we know that this is a very difficult issue.  Thereare many Manitobans who will have difficulty with this inprinciple.  There are many Manitobans who feel, as I have, that acommon day of rest, based on religious grounds or others,certainly is something that should be considered or be part ofour society, but we have to recognize, as well, that society hasevolved beyond that, and not because members of this side of theHouse have deemed it to be or chosen that to be the case orchanged legislation, but the door in Manitoba, in response towhat was happening across the country, was opened by members inthe Pawley administration.

            In fact, their own legislation was designed‑‑I do notknow‑‑knowingly or otherwise, in such a way that it created twovery strong forces that have led us to this day, and our fellowcitizens, whether they be the people I go to church with inGarson, who go into Garson Grocery on Sunday after mass and shop,whether it be my constituents who go to Home Hardware inBeausejour or to the grocery store on Sunday that is open, orManitobans who go to convenience stores, they have accepted theprinciple of shopping on Sunday.

            The question is, Mr. Acting Speaker, how far is that toadvance, and Manitobans, by those thousands who flock to theSafeways every Sunday, to those who flock to the other storesthat have opened, have demonstrated their growing preference toshop on Sundays.  They have demonstrated that.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, whether the member or I as an individualthink that is good or bad, whether members opposite think that isgood or bad, the fact is our society, Canadians, indeed, NorthAmericans, have moved more and more to that position over thelast two or three decades, and we are not going to stop that.But members of the New Democratic party again tend to demonstratethat they can build a wall around Manitoba and turn off thelights and not see what has happened everywhere else, not evensee what Manitobans have been doing, not‑‑

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  The Manitoba Chamber.

Mr. Praznik:  Well, the member for Brandon East (Mr. Evans) talksabout the Manitoba Chamber.  In my own community of Beausejour,as I have indicated, the Beausejour Chamber of Commerce hasopposed it, but two of the major retailers in Beausejour bothopened on Sundays and created the pressure on other retailers.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, for me to get up in this House andsomehow say very sanctimoniously that there should be no Sundayshopping, my own constituents are shopping on Sunday; my ownretailers are opening up and, even before this trial period, wereopening up to sell on Sunday; and more and more of myconstituents were going to shop.  So somehow to think that we canmaintain some righteous position when those trends are all movingtowards more Sunday shopping is somewhat silly.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I would like to just tell honourablemembers across the way a little personal story that I thinkexemplifies how positions have changed.

            This last year I had occasion to attend Mass at the Vaticanin Rome, and when I walked out of St. Peter's basilica at noon,on a Sunday, at the Vatican, in Rome, I looked at the Vaticanstore, which is right outside the exit, and, Mr. Acting Speaker,I counted at least 14 nuns in habits selling a host of souvenirs,including a beer bottle opener with a picture of the Pope.


(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)


            Mr. Speaker, as a Catholic whose church has taken a positionagainst Sunday shopping, I was somewhat embarrassed because thatoperation would be illegal in Manitoba, but it underlines howoften we like‑‑and all of us do‑‑to hold to those principles thattalk about a common day of rest, talk about the family, talkabout some traditional values, but yet, in reality, oursocieties, even the church of which I am a member, haveundermined that in those actions.

            How do I stand here today and oppose this kind of trial thatManitobans have been moving towards since the New Democratsopened the door in '85‑86?  In response to changing demand ofsociety, how do I stand here and honestly say that we should stopthis, when my constituents shop on Sunday, when retailers in myriding were opening on Sunday long before this bill, and when myown church operates a store that would be illegal in Manitoba?

            It is hard to do, so I say that I look forward to the resultsof the trial period, and I know that if it is the result of thetrial that Manitobans do with their feet vote for this that wewill have to bring in legislation to deal with the issue on apermanent basis, that a lot of the specific issues legitimatelyraised by the Federation of Labour, by members opposite, bymembers of this caucus, that we will have to address those atthat time if we move to Sunday shopping on a permanent basis.

            I have committed, as has the Minister of Industry (Mr.Stefanson), to consult with labour‑management review at that timeon the employment aspects of such a bill.  So I indicate thosesafeguards to members opposite and I look forward to thecontributions of other members in the course of this debate.

            Thank you.

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Mr. Speaker, the story of thehonourable Minister of Labour induces me to tell another story.When Ronald Reagan was still Governor of California, being on theextreme right, he was asked by a reporter why he could not trythe Keynesian position for a trial period, and the good Governorreplied:  Well, Nancy and I tried it last night and it did notwork.

            Mr. Speaker, due to the economic recession, business in thisprovince has been bad.  There was a wholesaler who had a lot oftrouble getting a retailer to pay his accounts, so the wholesalersent a threatening letter to the retailer and the retailer wrotehim a reply explaining how he pays his accounts.  Every month, hesaid, I place all my bills in a hat, and then I figure out howmuch money I have to pay all my accounts.  Then I have mybookkeeper draw as many bills as I can out of the hat that willbe covered by the money that I allocated to pay all my bills.  Hesaid, if you do not want my way of paying the bills, next month Iwill not even put your account in my hat.

            Business is terrible nowadays, and many people in businessare grumbling so much.  One of them I overheard said, I canhardly wait for things to improve so that I can afford to go on anervous breakdown.  There are many honest businessmen who wouldeven go to the extent of putting on an out‑of‑business sale and,if they are truly honest, then they will really go out ofbusiness.


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            Business these days is a really uncertain enterprise.  It islike a bicycle.  Unless you keep the bicycle moving forward, itwill wobble.  Business requires some kind of human relations.  Itis like playing tennis.  If you do not serve your customer well,you end up being a loser.  It is usually the case that theindividual himself decides whether or not he would like to gointo business, but whether he will stay or not in business is notfor the businessman to decide.  It is usually decided by hisclientele, his customers, the buying public whether or not thebusinessman will stay in business.

            Before anybody would venture and go into business he musthave to do a lot of preliminary study and preparation andplanning, because going into business without planning is likehaving an automobile without an engine.  The automobile can runonly if it is going downhill.  If any businessman is doing theright thing and he had planned well, he cannot even be sure ofsuccess in his enterprise, because there are so many imponderablefactors at work in the success of an enterprise.

            With respect to this issue of Sunday shopping, I will try torestate some of the issues and then review the arguments infavour of the government or the proponent and then come up withsome counterarguments.

            The first issue in this debate on Bill 4 is whether or notSunday shopping will stimulate the economy in Manitoba.  WillSunday shopping boost the economy in this province or not?  Theproponent, the government, will say of course it will stimulateeconomic activity, it will stimulate purchases and buying, butthe economy is in a recession, and the recession is not becausethere is no Sunday shopping.  It has nothing to do with therecession.  The recession is a result of many factors, manyvariables.

            As we have stated before, we are tied to the world economiccondition.  The worldwide collapse of the prices of forestproducts and metals and minerals and other resources hassomething to do with the economic condition that we are sufferingnow.  It is not due to a lack of Sunday shopping.

            One reason why we are in a recession today probably is due tothe policy of the federal government, the high‑interest policy inorder to boost up the exchange value of the dollar, because ofcourse it is down now.  Ideally, when the interest is down weshould be improving our exports.

            Another cause of this economic condition is of course theincreasing deficit position of the budget of the federalgovernment.  It is not due to shopping.  The Sunday shoppingissue has nothing to do with our economic situation.  It does notmean that because there is Sunday to shop, customers who haveallocated some of their money for shopping will have more money.They will still have to spend the same amount of money that theyhave budgeted for their shopping activities.  Therefore it willnot necessarily stimulate economic activity.  What they can do onSunday, they can also do five days, six days of the week, and ifthey have very limited money to spend and they are withholding onpurchases because of economic insecurity, Sunday shopping willnot help.  It will not stimulate economic activity.

            Will Sunday shopping discourage cross‑border shopping in theUnited States?  That is another issue.  Maybe one of thearguments of the government and the proponent of this Sundayshopping law is that Sunday shopping will at least stem the tideof Canadians crossing the border and buying stuff in the UnitedStates and bringing these things home.

            Let us analyze.  Why do people go and cross the border andhave to travel several miles to buy things in the United Statesdespite the low exchange value of the Canadian dollar?  To pay toget one U.S. dollar, you have to pay $1.29, so that alone shoulddiscourage Canadians from going and spending their money acrossthe border.

            Why do they still do it?  Rightly or wrongly, there is aperception that the price level in the United States is generallylower than the price level in Canada, and this is sometimesattested to by people who go there and buy things like a dress.I have personally heard of somebody who went there and said shegot a party dress for $99 at the Target store which wouldnormally cost $300 in Eaton's.  Of course, with such savings likethat, people will persist on crossing the border and buying inthe United States despite the fact that they have to pay $1.29per U.S. dollar of money that they want to spend across theborder.

An Honourable Member:  Did you buy one?


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Mr. Santos:  I did not.  I am a frugal person.  I use all myclothing.  Have you seen me change my clothes?  I do not believein ostentatious show.  I believe in utility.  Rightly or wronglyalso, people perceive that there is a higher quality of goodscoming from the United States, and when they compare what theybuy here and what they buy there, despite the fact that they haveto pay transportation or gasoline money in order to cross theborder, some of the Canadians, despite the high rate of exchangeto exchange your Canadian dollars with U.S. dollars, they stillwould persist in going there because they perceive there is someadvantages they get in going across the border.

            That explains why there is cross‑border shopping.  It hasnothing to do with Sunday shopping.  Sunday shopping thereforewill not stem the tide of people going across the border, becausethey can do two things all at once:  buy some product of whichthey like the quality at a lower price, and at the same time havesome sightseeing opportunity while they are travelling across theborder to the United States.

            The third issue is whether or not Sunday shopping will createadditional jobs.  The reasoning is that because there is need toopen the shop on Sunday, therefore, the employer will have tohire extra hands to do all the selling on Sunday.  Will thisresult in the creation of additional jobs?  Well, ask anyemployer.  The employer would probably ask the regular employees,particularly those who are not on any union contract, to do somework on Sunday, rather than hire new people.

            If these employees refuse to do it when they are notprotected by any collective agreement, that itself is grounds forfiring those nonunionized workers.  But the unionized workers atleast are protected by collective agreements.  Usually aprovision in the collective agreement is that working on a Sundaywill be based on a voluntary basis, that they cannot be coercedor compelled if they do not want to.  If there is an insufficientnumber of volunteers to do some selling on Sunday, the employerwill then have the option of asking the nonunionized worker.  Ifthere are not any, then that is the time for the employer to hireextra hands to do some selling on Sunday.  Let us remember thatSunday is one of those traditionally observed special days forour society.

            That reminds me of a job seeker who was looking for a job,and he happened to see an advertisement which said, theopportunity of a lifetime.  So he went and asked what the jobentailed.  The retailer said, well, I have too much worry in thiscompany, in this firm.  I am trying to create a position thatwill do all the worrying for me.  The applicant said, what doesthat mean?  What do I do?  What are my duties?  How much do I getfor this worrying?  The employer said, well, you get $30,000.Where are you going to get the $30,000? asked the applicant.Well, that is your first worry.

            There are so many people looking for jobs that pay good, butthese people are not necessarily looking for work, like a studentwho went to the employment centre and asked the counsellor thathe would like a job.  He said, are you willing and ready towork?  Not necessarily, he said, but I want a job that has goodpay.  Many people want a job.  They want salary, but they do notwant to work.  It is work that is important.  It is work that weare being paid for.

            Sunday is a day of rest.  Indeed, it is one of the TenCommandments.  It says there, six days of the week, thou shallwork, very clear, but on the seventh day, you shall not work,neither shall your wife nor your maidservant nor yourmanservant.  They shall not do any work.  That is a directcommand, and now we are making a human law contrary to the law ofGod.  Who do we follow?

            I tell you, it is not merely the moral basis of this, thereis a biological basis for the need for rest.  The human bodyitself, under pressure six days of the week, needs rest at leastone of the seven days.  If you do not have that rest, try to goto work on a Monday after you have overworked yourself on theweekend and see how you feel.  It is biologically needed forrejuvenation, for rebuilding of our system, of our physicalbodies, mentally, physically, that we need a rest at least oneday of the week.

            Aside from the biological reason, there is also a social andfamily reason.  Usually, Sunday is the only day in seven daysthat the members of the family are gathered together and sharethe same dinner.  You have heard of the saying, families that donot eat together, they do not stay together.  We are now livingin an almost alienated society, everybody doing his own thing.It is essential that we keep family values, that at least once aweek we eat together and share together in order to make ourlives more comfortable in the sense that we have confidence, anetwork of support around us when we face the challenging world.

            So there are both biological as well as social reasons whypeople would be opposed to Sunday shopping.  You have heard thecommand, render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what isGod's.  We have to follow all these moral laws, because they areall designed for our own good.  It is because of thismaterialistic drive in this world, people wanting to have moreand more of the same things, that has driven us to evenexpropriate the only one day that we should be devoting to thedivine Creator.  We need a day of rest.

            Another issue is:  Will this Sunday shopping encourage thetourism industry in this province?  The argument is that if wehave Sunday shopping, then the Americans will probably cross theborder, come here and shop on Sundays.  That is the argument.  Doyou think that is the case?  That will happen if they have noSunday shopping across the border, but they do.  Why should theybother doing all the travelling if they want to do some Sundayshopping?  All they need to do is stay home.


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            So it is not the case that tourism will increase because ofour Sunday shopping law.  No American will come to Manitobasimply for the reason that the stores are open on Sunday, becausethere is Sunday shopping across the border in the United States.Normally, the high exchange value of the U.S. dollar, as I said,will encourage Americans to come across the border and spendtheir dollars across, because then their money increases from $1to $1.29 Canadian.  Then they will look at the price of thegasoline.  They will look at the GST over and above the PST, andthey say, to heck with it, why should I go there and pay theirtaxes?  Therefore, we know that the Americans do not come herebecause of our GST over and above the provincial sales tax.  TheAmericans do not come here because generally the price level isalso higher here compared to the United States.

            Tourism is suffering because of inadequate promotion, becausewe do not want to spend enough promotional money in order toattract the tourists in Canada.  It is a good thing now that theyhad voted our Folklorama as one of the outstanding touristattractions for this province.  This is a good sign and mayimprove the tourism industry in the years to come.  All thearguments, therefore, that support the Sunday shopping cannotstand on their own legs.

            We should be happy in this country.  This has been voted asone of the best places in the world to live, Canada.  Where elsein the world can you just, if you are hungry, pick up the phoneand say, hello, Pizza?  Where?  In five minutes, 10 minutes youhave your dinner ready.  If it happens to be Domino's Pizza andsay, okay, I am hungry, if you are late 30 minutes, I am eatingbut I am not paying.

            Well, there is even some buying and selling that I heard onthe radio on Saturdays. [interjection] Well, if it is vegetarianpizza, it is good for the body.  It is a well-balanced diet.  Itis okay. [interjection] I do not know, but if you will ask me, Ibelieve more in eating than in exercising.

            Let us take the case of that guy‑‑what is the name of the guywho invented jogging?  I think his name was Jim Fixx.  Heinvented jogging.  Where is he now?  He died jogging.  Yes, hewas jogging when he had a heart attack and died.  So ConradSantos will just keep on eating.  Where is Conrad Santos whokeeps on eating?  He is here, still alive. [interjection] No,because jogging is strenuous, especially in wintertime.  Try tojog.  There are some people who are so addicted to jogging, theyjog even if the situation is unfavourable, like it is cold.  Itis strenuous to the heart, and people who are already‑‑and I amreminding you, do not shovel snow too much because you may have aheart attack.

            So we have seen that the lack of Sunday shopping is reallyirrelevant to the economy of Manitoba.  Indeed, and in truth, wealways blame any government for economic troubles and economicrecession.  The truth of the matter is that these things arebeyond the hands of government.  There are forces in the economythat the government can hardly control, but in a democracy we laythe responsibility on those who are at the helm of governmentbecause the government is in a position to alter the course ofthe economy.

            Look at what happened in the United States economy now thatBill Clinton is at the helm instead of George Bush.  There is anuplifting of optimism on the part of the American public, on thepart of the American consumer.  There is even a picking up oftheir economy little by little, and if this economy improves,then we, being the next neighbour, are about to benefit from thateconomic uplift from the United States. [interjection] Well, oneof the arguments is that there are too many provinces alreadydoing this Sunday shopping.  We are being left behind, so why notjoin the crowd?  It does not mean that, because the majority aredoing it, it is right.  There is no magic to it.  You have toinvestigate an issue whether or not it is valid or not, becauseeach community has its own value system.  It so happens thatmaybe in Manitoba there are more entrenched family values‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Two wrongs do not make a right.

Mr. Santos:  Yes, and we have to observe all these values when wechange our laws.  The truth of the matter is that the law cannotso terribly depart from the beliefs or attitudes of the peoplethat are being governed; and if the people said, that is notmorally correct, we should not do it.  I have always said thisbefore, Mr. Speaker.

            I can even sing to you if you want about my belief on themorality of the law:

            Morality is principle, essence of politics.Nothing is truly viable unless based on ethics.Nonpolitically correct if it is morally wrong,Policies that we must reject if we are to rule for long.Obscurity is more likely for those politiciansWho are guided by expediency in making decisions.

            Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  I rise to participate in a debate on a matterthat has caught the attention of many, many Manitobans and hasdivided Manitobans.  For all the fun that members opposite wantto make at the criticisms being offered by this side, I want toremind those honourable members that some of their greatestsupporters are opposed to what this government is doing.  What weare espousing in many ways are the arguments made by the samesupporters of some of these MLAs across the way on the governmentside.

An Honourable Member:  Leonard, they were opposed to what you didin '87.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  That may be, Mr. Speaker, and I recall thatthere was a certain talk show, certain radio station in theSteinbach area that had an open‑line program, for example.  Theywere asking people what they thought of Sunday shopping and,frankly, the fact is that a totally overwhelming number of thecallers were opposed to Sunday shopping, and the memberrepresenting the constituency of Emerson knows that.


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            The fact is that there is a great deal of hostility outthere.  You can read quotes from various church ministers in thepaper.  For instance, Pastor Roland Marach of the Portage AvenueMennonite Brethren Church is totally opposed to this.  So do notthink that we are just here espousing the views of one selectgroup in society.  I say there are many, many good people outthere who are totally and seriously opposed to what thisgovernment is going to do.

            I think above all else what causes the people of Manitobagreat concern is the fact that this government announced it andput it into place before this Legislative Assembly has debated itand has decided upon it.  Mr. Speaker, that is nothing short ofan arrogant move by this government.

            We do not need arrogance in government, but I am afraid Ihave to observe that this particular move is a very arrogantmove.  I would like to know whether the police of this provinceare now carrying out the law of the province.  The law of theprovince is that not more than four employees should be employedon Sunday, and yet there is a breaking of the law.

An Honourable Member:  What did Bob Rae do?

Mr. Leonard Evans:  I am talking about the province in which I amelected to be a member.  I am talking about the province ofManitoba, where we have the responsibility.  This is ourjurisdiction, and I will be concerned about what we do in thisjurisdiction.  The fact is we have a massive breaking of the lawcourtesy of this government, and that is simply not acceptable,Mr. Speaker, totally unacceptable, totally an act of arrogance inmy mind and has annoyed thousands upon thousands of Manitobans,not just the issues, not just the fact that we are opening thedoors to Sunday shopping, but the fact that you have done itwithout adequate consultation, without fulfilling the democraticconstitutional method of lawmaking in this province.  If for noother reason, we should stand up and oppose this legislationhere, because you have done it in a way that isantidemocratic‑‑you do it; you announce it.

            I do not know what the police forces in this province aresupposed to be doing.  If they were doing their job upholding thelaw, they would be charging all those stores that have been openthe last couple of Sundays.  They should be charging, because thelaw has not been changed.

            The cabinet is a powerful mechanism.  The cabinet is apowerful organization.  You are not the dictators, but you areacting like dictators.  Well, this is a dilemma, is it not, forthe police forces?  I mean, what a way to carry out agovernment.  I mean, what is the rush?

            Surely there should have been the normal procedures, thedebate in this House, and then the opening of the committeeprocess whereby people, the public at large, could makerepresentation, so that we would have something in the order ofgenuine consultation.

            We also know from talking to people about this matter thatthey feel this government has consulted and has listened but to avery narrow group, mainly representatives of the large retailsector in particular.  That is not only me saying that, becauseyou can read reports in newspapers where small‑business peoplethemselves are saying that the government is not doing them afavour by moving as they have to open Sunday shopping.  They arenot doing the small-business person a favour.  You can quote oneretailer after another in the newspapers of this province to thatextent.

            Mr. Speaker, I would like to know whether this government isprepared to have a free vote on the matter, whether the Premier(Mr. Filmon) is ready to allow the members on the back bench onthat side to vote according to their conscience or even accordingto what they deem to be the wishes of their own particularconstituents.  I deem I would not be surprised if there were notsome constituencies, because I know the minister can quotesurveys that have been done and most Manitobans saying in thesurvey they agree with this, but I dare say there are many ruralconstituencies, in particular, where if you did a survey and youdid it honestly and carefully, the bulk of those people areagainst this move by this particular government.  You would thinkthat those MLAs, the Emerson MLA (Mr. Penner) in particular,would get up and represent those constituents.

            I know in my own case, Mr. Speaker, I have not been able tocarry out a survey, but I know not only does the Brandon DistrictLabour Council oppose it, but so does the Brandon Chamber ofCommerce.

            I spoke to the president of the Brandon Chamber of Commercethe last weekend when we had our annual Christmas parade andtried to ensure that they had not changed their position.  Theysaid the position is the same.  The position of the BrandonChamber of Commerce is to oppose the Sunday shopping legislationwhich we have before us.  So I would say, it would be veryinteresting to see how members of this Legislature voted if thePremier (Mr. Filmon), if the government was prepared to have afree vote.

            I think it might ease the conscience of some of the membersopposite if they were allowed to vote according to theirconscience in this matter, rather than in accordance with somepressure or consensual move‑‑[interjection] Look, Mr. Speaker,the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst) is making comments fromhis seat and trying to come with some kind of perverted logicsaying that I am saying that the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce hasnot got a legitimate position.  There can be a legitimateposition on either side.  I am not saying that.

            I am simply saying that who are we speaking for and who doyou think wants this.  I am saying, do not give me this.  Youhave done a survey, and it says a great percentage of the peopleof Manitoba want it.  I think if you talk carefully to many, manyorganizations, they do not want this legislation.

            So you can talk to the president of the Brandon Chamber ofCommerce; you can talk to some of the retailers who were quotedin the newspapers or you can talk to some employees affected.  Irecall in my house a couple of weekends ago, one particularemployee was so unhappy that she had to work the next day.  Thiswas a Saturday, she was going to have to work the next day.  Shedid not know how she was going to do it.  She could not bereplaced because of her knowledge of the particular job.  It isnot that easy to say, oh, we will get someone else to take yourplace if you cannot do the job.

            In many of these establishments, there is a certain expertisethat is needed, there is a certain knowledge of the products,there is a certain knowledge of the techniques and you justcannot simply replace employees.  So this person has had noalternative.  She says, Len, I am being forced to work.  She wasdamn mad at this government for forcing her to work, she says, onSunday, because this was her day to take off, and she was very,very annoyed.  So what you are doing, whether you like it or not,you are forcing a lifestyle change on many families in thisprovince that do not want it. [interjection]

            Well, Mr. Speaker, I think back, yes, we brought in areasonable measure with the three employees.  You know what?Sterling Lyon‑‑how often was Sterling Lyon accused of beingarrogant?  But you know what?  Sterling Lyon did not do this.What Sterling Lyon did was change the figure three to four.  Hesaid, well, that is reasonable; instead of a three limit, we willhave a four‑person limit.  That was reasonable.  Sterling Lyonwould not have done this.

An Honourable Member:  He was a parliamentary supremacist.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Sterling Lyon, yes, believed in theparliamentary system.  He knows what constitutional proceduresare.  He knows what democratic procedures are.  So I would sayeven Sterling Lyon, who had the same pressures that thisgovernment has, refused to move as the Filmon government has.

            Mr. Speaker, I say that there are people out there who arereally upset with what this government is doing.  I mentioned theBrandon Chamber of Commerce.  I mentioned Brandon District LabourCouncil.  The Union of Manitoba Municipalities have passed aresolution opposing it.  I have got a letter today, as I am suremany of the rural members across the way have.  To whom it mayconcern‑‑this is by a gentleman, I do not know him, Mr. ClareTarr, who lives in the MacGregor area:  We are again faced withthe prospect of Sunday shopping.  We have noted opposition in therural areas, including the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, the UMM,the Union of Manitoba Municipalities, and numerous communitieshave contacted this writer.

            We have been led to believe that a split may exist alonggovernment lines, that is urban‑rural.  Sunday shopping will havea detrimental impact on the rural economy.  It is stillregrettable that rural Manitoba is always the first to feel theeffects of any economic downturn.  With this, we are asking forthe support of all rural MLAs and indeed any other lobby orconcerned groups.  Can we ask that each one responds to thisconcern?  Thank you‑‑


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Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

            When this matter is again before the House, the honourablemember for Brandon East will have 28 minutes remaining.




Mr. Speaker:  The hour being 5 p.m., it is time for PrivateMembers' Business.




Res. 1‑‑Stubble Burning


Ms. Judy Wasylycia‑Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, I move,seconded by the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid),

            WHEREAS the inappropriate use of the practice of stubbleburning creates health problems for considerable numbers ofManitobans each year; and

            WHEREAS the autumn of 1992 proved especially problematicbecause certain factors, such as the lateness of the harvest andthe heaviness of the stubble, caused greater numbers of farmersto resort to burning; and

            WHEREAS this situation led to intolerable levels of smoke inthe province of Manitoba such that residents suffered severerespiratory problems; and

            WHEREAS the 1987 Clean Environment Commission Report,recommended that a five‑year review of the practice of stubbleburning should be undertaken to document any hazards to publichealth or the environment caused by this practice; and

            WHEREAS such a review was never undertaken; and

            WHEREAS stubble burning is in no one's long‑term interestsince it depletes the soil; and

            WHEREAS the policy of voluntary guidelines for theappropriate use of stubble burning, when this practice isnecessitated by certain conditions, has been proven ineffective;and

            WHEREAS a permit system for stubble burning is already inplace in some parts of the province.

            THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly ofManitoba urge the provincial government to initiate interimmeasures to regulate the practice of stubble burning, including apermit system with strict guidelines and penalties which can beimposed on any person endangering public health through theinappropriate use of this practice; and

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Assembly urge the Ministerof the Environment (Mr. Cummings) to consider giving a mandate tothe Clean Environment Commission to undertake its recommendedreview and document the effects of stubble burning on publichealth and the environment; and

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Assembly call on theDepartment of Agriculture to consider initiating research todevelop both viable alternatives to the practice of stubbleburning and alternative end uses for the waste straw.


Motion presented.


Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis:  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able tointroduce this resolution for the consideration of all members inthis Chamber and am particularly pleased that by the luck of thedraw this resolution of significant concern on the health fronthas been placed No. 1 on our list.  I think there is a bit ofdestiny at work in this place and in our procedures because it issuch a significant issue, a growing issue for so many Manitobans.

            I believe that there is an interest and a concern on allmembers in this Chamber from all political parties.  I believethat we have all learned a great deal about the hazardous impactof stubble burning on health and safety of the citizens of thisprovince over the last six months or so.

            Mr. Speaker, I also recognize that there has been less thaneffective action in the past by all political parties in allgovernments on this issue.  However, it is clear the evidence isgrowing that the situation is changing, that our knowledge isincreasing about this whole area.  That is true not only formembers in this Chamber but for a wide cross‑section ofManitobans.

            I believe that the concerns being raised today are concernsfelt not only by citizens, urban residents here in Winnipeg whohave felt very definitely the impact of smoke from stubbleburning, but concerns are also being expressed by farmers, byrural residents, by people everywhere, whether in Winnipeg oroutside the perimeter of this city.

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

            So this resolution is timely, and it also comes forward witha sense of urgency.  I think we all know from this past fall justhow urgent the situation has become.  We recognize the uniqueclimatic conditions of this fall but also realize that thoseconditions may continue.  We also have learned from the extremesituation that arose this fall how important it is for us to takeaction to prevent risk to health and safety no matter theseverity of the stubble burning and the smoke arising from thatstubble burning.

            There are several sources of expertise for demonstrating aclear link between stubble burning and risk to one's health andsafety.  I start by pointing to the hundreds and hundreds ofManitobans who have called, written or signed petitions about theimpact of stubble burning.  Everyone in this House would haveheard from constituents about the severe impact on either thatindividual's health directly or someone very close to thatindividual.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we had many letters, just as I am sureall members in this House have had.  I refer just to a couple asan indication of the impact of stubble burning on the health ofmany citizens in our province.  I quote from one particularletter without giving the source:  Tomorrow we will be leavingWinnipeg, heading into the Whiteshell in an attempt to avoid theexcess levels of stubble smoke which is now covering Winnipeg.There is nothing that can describe the feeling of being neardeath due to suffocation and knowing there is nothing I can doabout it.

            That particular quote from that individual's letter says agreat deal to all of us about how life‑threatening and dangerousthe smoke from stubble burning can be.  We have heard from otherswho have young children with very serious respiratory problems.One individual wrote us with the question:  Can you or anyoneelse for that matter tell me what the effects are ofadministering massive doses of steroids to persons, young or old,apart from relieving acute congestion of the respiratory system?How will the steroids affect his future health and well‑being?We will never know because there is no alternative open to himexcept to die.

            Those two examples are perhaps, one could say, extreme interms of the impact of stubble burning on some very serious andexisting medical conditions, but they help us understand theemotion that people bring to this issue and, I believe, direct usto take action so that every individual, no matter what theimpact of stubble burning, feels relief and comfort.


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            Our job as legislators, I believe, is not just to respond tothe most extreme cases, but to respond to any possibility ofdanger to health and even further to apply the World HealthOrganization definition, that we too must respond to generalannoyance.  In fact, the World Health Organization defines healthas not just being the absence of illness, but it means generalwell‑being.  It is our job to address this issue from theperspective of health and well‑being.  I believe that theevidence calls on us to act accordingly.

            We have also heard from experts in the field, not justindividuals whose lives have been endangered or placed at risk orplaced under great annoyance because of stubble burning, but wehave also heard, and so have members of the government heard,from physicians and health care experts in this field.  Mostrecently, the Manitoba Medical Association has included in itslatest publication a copy of its letter it wrote to the Ministerof Health (Mr. Orchard) on October 13.  I quote briefly from thatletter:  In January 1990, the MMA brought to your attention someserious concerns about the health and safety hazards of stubbleburning.  This was in the hope and expectation that the Manitobagovernment would take significant action.  Now, as the problem ofstubble burning persists, we are reiterating those concerns witha plea that they be urgently addressed in the interests of publichealth and safety.

            I will skip down to two recommendations that the ManitobaMedical Association makes.  No. 1, that Manitoba Agriculture andManitoba Health be informed that the Manitoba Medical Associationbelieves that there is a net negative impact on health and theenvironment from the burning of stubble and peat; and No. 2, thatduring periods of hazardous smoke conditions on provincialhighways it is the duty of the Department of Highways tocontinuously monitor for such hazards and to effectively warnmotorists by adequate roadside signals that they are entering anarea where safe progress is endangered.

            The MMA concludes by saying:  The MMA still firmly believesthat there is a net negative impact on health and the environmentwhile public outcry resounds louder than ever.  In addition tomedia reports about people with aggravated respiratory problems,we are hearing directly from patients who demand that somethingmust be done, end of quote.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, not only have these concerns beenexpressed by the Manitoba Medical Association, but warnings andconcerns have also been forthcoming from officials within theDepartment of Health.  During this past fall, when the situationwas so severe, an official within the Department of Healthindicated quite clearly that, although in the past there had beenquestions about the impact of stubble burning on one's health,the opinion in the department had now changed due to medicalevidence, though the official pointed out that there was noquestion that stubble burning posed a health hazard and thatthere were documented health risks.  The official pointed tohazards to sensitive populations, being asthmatics, the very old,the very young, people with cardiac abnormalities.  The officialalso pointed out the traffic hazards that have been documented aswell.


(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)


            Finally, Mr. Speaker, the documentation and the evidence forthe link between stubble burning and the impact on one's healthhas been clearly reflected in the work of the Clean EnvironmentCommission.  I remind members in this House again of the 1987ruling by the commission that, although at that time there was noevidence to support links between stubble burning and negativeimpact on one's health, there was growing evidence to suggest thematter had to be reviewed from the point of view of health andsafety and environmental concerns.

            That commission in 1987 recommended that a thorough review ofthis matter be done in a five‑year period.  That direction wasexpressed clearly, and admission of that direction was clearlystated in a letter by the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) tomyself, after I wrote to him about this issue over a year ago.

            In that letter, the Minister of Health indicated, and I quotefrom this letter dated January 31, 1992:  The Clean EnvironmentCommission's recommendations in 1987 called for a review of thecrop residue burning situation be conducted in five years' time,including a re‑examination of the necessity for legislativeregulatory control.  While Manitoba Health is not convinced ofthe potential usefulness of regulatory control of stubbleburning, we fully support the CEC recommendation for a review ofthe topic.  Your concern is shared by my department.  Iappreciate your comments as well as the offer to share names ofthose interested in the process.

            So, Mr. Speaker, we now have a considerable body of expertiseand opinion and advice that this issue has become so serious tothe point that people's health and safety are at risk and thataction must be taken.  We have come forward with a suggestion foraction.  We believe that it reflects a wide range of Manitobansand their opinions, including farmers, rural residents as well asWinnipeggers affected directly by the smoke from the stubbleburning.

            Mr. Speaker, I would hope that we would be able to find somesupport and unanimity in this Chamber for the kind of action thatis recommended.  Some would say it does not go far enough; somewould say it is far too tough.  I believe it is a good startingpoint.  Steps need to be taken for strict regulation for researchinto alternative methods for getting rid of waste straw and forensuring that the directions outlined by the Clean EnvironmentCommission are followed and that thorough investigation clearlydocumenting what we know, but putting in writing and officiallydocumenting the links between stubble burning and the impact onhealth and safety.

            Finally, Mr. Speaker, let me say that we have been somewhatdisappointed in the response of this government.  I want to,although, acknowledge that the steps that were taken this fall bythe Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) and the Minister ofEnvironment (Mr. Cummings) and others around trying to get somehandle on that very difficult situation this fall‑‑we appreciatethose efforts and so do many Manitobans.  However, we have allconcluded that those measures do not go far enough, that in manyways they did not meet the objectives, and clearly that is notthe solution.  The solution is immediate, tough regulation with aview to finding alternatives so that we can ban stubble burningaltogether.  It would be our hope that we all rid ourselves ofthe old expression and attitude of, see no evil, hear no evil andsmell no evil.  As long as that occurs and as long as we areblind to what is happening around us, concerted action will nothappen and people's health is at risk.  That can only meantremendous strain and pressures on our health care system withunnecessary cost being added up.

            So, on the basis of individual health and safety and on thebasis of collective action for meaningful health care reform andsavings for taxpayers down the road, I urge the government andall members of this House to join in support of this resolution.

            Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, thisis not an easy issue to talk about from a health point of view orfrom an agricultural point of view.  I appreciated the commentsof the member for St. Johns, and I also appreciate the resolutionand the nature in which it is written.

            As I read through it, I cannot find tremendous amount offault with it, because it sort of follows along the lines of whatwe did this past fall when a real problem did emerge.  We tookaction, we certainly improved the circumstances in the city ofWinnipeg, and I think a lot of people have respected us forthat.  Maybe I was a little bit disappointed at the end when themember said it did not go far enough.

            Well, let me talk about the reality that we have to dealwith, ladies and gentlemen.  We have an agriculture industry thatproduces a lot of straw in the process of growing crops.  We havehad stubble burning ever since I can remember in this province.I can assure members here that the amount of burning has gonedown substantively over the years to the point now where lessthan 5 percent of actual stubble in the province is burned.  Thathas happened for a number of reasons but, mainly, because we haveeducated farmers better as to why they should not burn.  Theagronomic value of working the straw into the ground increasestilth.  It increases organic matter, increases the nutrient levelin the soil, and it is certainly very conservation‑conscious.


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            That principle has worked, in my mind, quite well over themajority of Manitoba, with the exception of the area particularlyto the west, southwest and the south of the city in Winnipeg.The reason why it has not worked as well there is becaause of thenature of the soil.  It is very productive soil.  It grows morestraw than almost anywhere else in the province.  It grows tallerstraw, but even in this area over the last four or five yearssince the Clean Environment Commission Review was done and saidthe approach to take is education, we have proactively taken theapproach of education from '87 through till '91.  We certainlyattempted education‑wise to deal with the issue in '92, and wereduced the amount of burning around the city over that period oftime.

            Now, any given time you drive by a field that is producingsmoke, you will say it is not working, but if you look over thestatistics over time, the amount of burning has been reduced.  Wehave tried to educate the farm public that the way to burn interms of reducing the impact on city people is to burn in thedaytime.

            There is one simple reason why we say that.  It is becausethe issue in the city is not really the burning of stubble, theissue is the production of smoke.  There are ways and means andtimes of the day and climatic conditions under which you can burnand produce very little smoke, and certainly very little smokecomes into the city of Winnipeg.

            Through education we tried to get that point across, but thisyear was a very unusual year.  I tend to describe it as thesummer that never was, because we had no heat this summer.  Cropsgrew very, very slowly.  It ended up obviously with a lateharvest, and it was good growing conditions, cool and wet, and wehad a tremendous volume of straw.

            What the farmers are faced with‑‑and I am not giving excusesfor them to burn, but I am telling you the reality that theyfaced‑‑they probably believed everything we said aboutconservation, and they should work it in, and it should notproduce smoke.

            But the reality they faced was we have this large volume ofstraw, and I am concerned that if I try to work it in this latein the fall, the soil is cold and the nights are long and thedays are short, there will not be much microbial decomposition ofthat straw, therefore, next spring I will have a very poor seedbed, and maybe a seed bed that will not give very goodgermination.

            Now that is something they have learned over the years.  Sothey try to get rid of the straw, and the cheapest way they knowis burning.

            I am personally very disappointed in what happened thisyear.  I did not want to see that happen, but as September rolledalong I knew what was going to happen.  But I did not think itwas appropriate to step in with a heavy hand and say, do not doit.  We stepped up our educational process, and it did not do theeffect, the full job.

            What happened on the 7th and 8th of October was the worstpossible thing.  There was little or no wind, lots of burning,basically a climatic inversion.  I have gone to public farmmeetings, Manitoba Pool particularly, and I said, that practiceand what happened this fall is intolerable.  I said that tofarmers, and nobody came back at me.

            Now that is a dangerous thing to say to the farm communitywhen you call it that.  They also understand that they cannotrepeat those conditions again.  Now, the actions we took afterthe 7th and 8th by saying a seven‑day ban on burning, the oddperson violated it as we all know, and from the 15th on we used aprocess of trying to make decisions everyday.

            There was a committee formed of Agriculture, Health, EMO, theFire Commissioner's Office, Emergency Preparedness Canada, andthe process was to review the climatic conditions each day firstthing in the morning, make a decision by 7:30 as to what areaswould be allowed to burn that day, and the hours in which it waslawful to light the match.

            In most cases it was, like, from 10 in the morning till 2 inthe afternoon or till 3 in the afternoon, knowing full well thatthe burn would be completed by four or five o'clock before the socalled problems of night, and the dew came down and thecreation of smoke started.-

            If you burn at those times of the day and there is no airinversion and there is any kind of air movement, smoke dispersionis real fast.

            My own belief is, and I think the member for St. Johns (Ms.Wasylycia-Leis) indicated, it improved significantly when thatprocess was used.  Now we all know that there were people whoviolated those guidelines.  There were people that burned inareas where they should not have burned, and I will admit that onthe 21st, 22nd, 23rd of October there was more smoke in this citythan we wanted to see, but we knew it was coming from people thatdid not abide by the required directions.

            Now, some people say, you can ban it, you can use permits,and I say, that is good but, if someone does violate it, what areyou going to do?  How are you going to prove?  I have talked tothe RCMP about the enforcement side.  The enforcement side hasgot to be there if any process of controlling or regulating orprohibiting, whatever you want to do, is going to work.[interjection]

            I know.  The member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) says he isresponsible for his land but, you see, the RCMP say, we have tohave proof, evidence that the person actually lit it.  Now, if hegoes out there at eight o'clock at night in the dark or teno'clock or two or three o'clock in the morning in the dark, whois going to see him?  The member says he is responsible for hisland, and we may well be able to in that general area deemsomebody responsible for whatever happens on the land.  Well,now, that is pretty authoritative, but it mightbe‑‑[interjection] I know.  We all want to see this thingcontrolled, and I am saying, yes, the process we used this fallimproved things.  It was not a total solution.

            I think we learned a lot from it.  The farm communitieslearned a lot from it.  I have seen some pretty responsiblestatements coming out of the city too, realizing we have to insome cases use fire to get rid of this excessive amount ofstraw.  I am glad that they understand that.  Now we have to finda process to do it that is reasonable, responsible and does notproduce the smoke that infiltrates other people's living spaces,because I agree with the member for St. Johns (Ms.Wasylycia-Leis).  She says, health has to be‑‑I think she usedthe words effective living or safe living or responsible livingor something of that order.  I agree with that, and I think thefarm community basically does too.

            The education process has worked to a point, but it has notgone far enough.  The conditions this fall‑‑in hindsight, onesaid, well, we should have been regulating earlier, but now wehave the proof.  Well, I think we are very fortunate that we havethe proof that we have to do something and that we cannot allowthat to happen again without having had anything really happensignificant this fall in terms of major traffic accidents or lossof life.  We are very fortunate for that, really; I believethat.  I said this all to the farm public, and they are veryunderstanding at this time, but I can assure the member, and I amglad that the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) is not saying,outright ban, he is saying something like responsible and allthat sort of thing.

            Now, there is no question that in the research area we arelooking as agricultural scientists for the kinds of crops thatgrow less straw, the mechanical conditions under which you canbreak that straw up, whether it is a better straw chopper on thecombine or yet another unit that you pull behind the combine thatchops it up into little bits that can be worked into the soil.That is all agronomically good.  Some of that technology in termsof that kind of machine is available now, very recentlyavailable.  The plant breeding to produce shorter straw varietiesis moving in that direction.

An Honourable Member:  Zero tillage.

Mr. Findlay:  The member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans)says, zero tillage.  That principle works reasonably well oncertain soil types and certain volumes of straw, and it worksfairly well in the southwest region of the province, where it ispractised to a fair extent but, in the Red River Valley, with alarge volume of straw, it has not proven to work that well.

            The other thing is, if you leave that straw there and do notwork the soil, the soil is wet in the spring, and one of thebiggest troubles in the Red River Valley is to get that soildried out so you can seed it.  That is why they want to have thestraw worked in and, therefore, zero tillage is not a practicethat will really work in these kinds of soils‑‑unfortunate asheck, because this is the place you would love to do that and nothave to burn the straw, but the agronomic facts are that we havelarge volumes, we have to do something with it, and zero tillinghas not proven itself in these kind of soils with these volumesof straw.  But there is evidence, research‑wise and mechanicallythat there are things we can continue to do.

            Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?

Mr. Speaker:  Four minutes.

Mr. Findlay:  In that context, the EMO committee certainly isgoing to make a report on the episode of October and theconditions from October 15th on.  The Minister of Agriculture,the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) and the Minister ofEnvironment (Mr. Cummings) have met with their staff, and we haveformed a committee which we are announcing today to bring backrecommendations on how we can protect vulnerable Manitobans fromthe negative effects of stubble smoke.

            We have, on this committee, people from the Concerned Parentsof Children with Asthma, the Lung Association, KeystoneAgricultural Producers, members of my department and producerstrying to come up with a solution that identifies how we canhandle this episode in the future.

            Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the input from those peopleusing the information from this fall and the evidence they bringto the table as to how to approach handling of straw and stubblein the future.


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            So in context, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move an amendmentto the resolution.  I will say first off, it is not changing theintent of the resolution.  Most of the WHEREASes, I have lookedat, I can agree with them, but I would like to move, seconded bythe Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns),

            THAT we delete from the conclusion of the seventh "WHEREAS,"to the end of the resolution and insert the following:

            WHEREAS The Emergency Measures Organization is readying theirfinal report on the interim ban and controlled burning during thefall of 1992; and

            WHEREAS the government of Manitoba has announced theformation of a Stubble Burning Advisory Committee.

            THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly ofManitoba support the provincial government in its consultativeprocess with the rural and urban citizens and stakeholdersleading to the development of measures and enforcement proceduresto prevent infiltration of residential areas by smoke during theharvest season; and

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Department of Agriculture willwork aggressively with researchers and farmers to develop andpromote viable alternatives to the practice of stubble burning,the development of shorter‑strawed varieties and alternativeend‑uses for excessive straw.

            Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Motion presented.


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

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):  Mr. Speaker, it gives me greatpleasure to rise today on this resolution in the sense that thismatter is coming to the fore of the Legislature.  I just heardthe Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) propose an amendmentwhich, let me say at the outset, I think is a real breakthrough,and I want to say that on the record that I think it is certainlysomething that our party can support.  We have been looking forit for five years.  That is the only reason that I have anyregret about standing up today is that it has taken five years.In my experience, since I got elected in 1988, every fall I haveraised this in the Legislature in one form or another.

            Mr. Speaker, I recognize that this was a particularly badyear for this; however, it is not a unique year.  It has been aconsistent problem every year.  It was certainly worse this year,but it is as regular as clockwork in this province that there isa stubble‑burning problem.  People are incensed; children andseniors go to hospitals and emergency departments; and there isan environmental and a health hazard inflicted upon manythousands of Manitobans.

            It is high time that this happened; nevertheless, it is goodthat it is happening.  I want the Minister of Agriculture (Mr.Findlay) to know that.  In fact, I have a resolution on the OrderPaper which expresses many of the same concerns that the memberfor St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) does in her resolution.  Infact, if one looks at the BE IT RESOLVED of my resolution, it isprecisely this, that there be a committee struck to bringtogether the interested parties.

            I note the Minister of Agriculture has specifically said thatthere will be representatives from the farming communityobviously, from the concerned parents of asthmatics, from theLung Association.  So, if the government is bringing togetherthose people to come up with a permanent solution, then that isprecisely what my resolution called for.  That is precisely, Ithink, the type of leadership that has been lacking in the past.If it is here now and going forward, and we can have thisresolved in one way or another by next fall, I think that will bea major step forward.

            Mr. Speaker, I am pleased, therefore, to say at the outsetthat I am going to be pleased and our party will be pleased tosupport this amendment.  I look forward to the results of thatcommittee, because I believe and I have believed throughout thisdebate and discussion on this issue that there is middle ground,that there are solutions that can work for the farming communityand for the nonfarming community that often pay the health andenvironmental costs for this.  I believe there is middle ground.

            I say that, not just having spoken to urbanites who havesuffered the consequences.  I have heard from literally dozens offarmers in the farming community and have spoken with them in thecourse of these five years in dealing with this issue andspeaking out on this issue.  It is interesting that oftentimes mycomments have been picked up in many rural papers and that drawsresponse from the rural community.

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

            I have found, interestingly, that the position I take doesnot find discontent or disagreement in the vast majority of therepresentatives in the agricultural community whom I hear from.I am not a farmer, so I have always said up‑front that I am notgoing to tell them or pretend to know‑‑[interjection] Yes, theMinister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) says, he has an investmentfor me.  Maybe that is why I am not a farmer, because theinvestment these days is onerous and sometimes not tooprofitable, I understand that.  The point is, I have always feltthere was middle ground.

            I have always deeply resented those‑‑members of thegovernment have done this on a regular basis every year, who haveattempted to paint this as a rural‑urban issue, as an issue whereurbanites are pitted against rural Manitobans.  It is not arural‑urban issue; it is a people issue.  All Manitobans pay theprice for smoke that comes across their land where they live,their rural communities or their urban communities.

            I have heard from hospital administrators and doctors, notjust in the city of Winnipeg but all over this province.  So I donot accept, and, in fact, I resent any attempt to say that thisis an issue which pits rural Manitobans against urbanManitobans.  As I say, I have read rural newspaper articles, andI can read them here if I had time, editorials and articles inrural newspapers setting out how agriculturally it is inefficientand unproductive and bad farming practice to burn stubble.

            I can show you the leaflet of the Department of Agriculturewhich sets out all the evils of stubble burning.  I can quote youthe Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) himself 15 minutes agosaying, Mr. Acting Speaker, that he thinks there are better waysto deal with this and looks forward to finding a permanentsolution.  So I do not think we have what many would try to paintas a rural‑urban split, and I think it is time we put that torest and got people together from both those communities to comeup with a permanent solution.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, it has always struck me as extremelyparadoxical that if you or I, did we have the habit, were tolight up a cigarette in the lobby of this building, we would beprosecuted if we were not in the right room, as I think theActing Speaker knows.  We would be taken to court and prosecutedunder the laws of this province‑‑or any public building.  Wesupported that and that is good legislation.  The same person cango outside the Perimeter Highway and light a fire and send acloud over 650,000 people and do it every day and not beprosecuted.


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            Now, where is the logic in that?  That has happened yearafter year after year in this province.  It does not make sense.

            The fact is there is no justification in my view for thehealth hazard that this inflicts on people, and I have haddiscussions with the heads of emergency at the Health SciencesCentre and Grace Hospital, Concordia Hospital, St. BonifaceHospital, Victoria Hospital in this city and hospitals in ruralManitoba who tell me of the hundreds of people who startsuffering from this smoke before people like you and I who do nothave these breathing problems ever smell it or see it.  Theystart suffering.  Their lungs pick it up and they start sufferingthe asthma attack or the emphysema attack and, long after thestubble smoke is cleared, they are still suffering.  They do paythe price.

            Who pays the greatest price?  Talk to the doctors, theemergency departments, and they will tell you the majority areone of two groups:  children with asthma, who are particularlyprone to this and to be put into an asthma attack; and seniorswith emphysema problems.  Those are the two groups who arehardest hit by this problem, Mr. Acting Speaker.  So we arehitting the most vulnerable people in our community on a regularbasis every fall.  That is not to mention the environmentalproblem this poses.  Can you imagine a plant, a company gettingaway with putting a cloud over 650,000 people that choked themfor seven or eight hours?  Can you imagine?  That company wouldnot be allowed to do that more than once.

            If the enforcement branch was doing its job in the Departmentof Environment, absolutely they would be taken to task, Mr.Acting Speaker, and very, very quickly.  If you or I were to everlight a fire on our property, you can be darned certain we wouldhave the Fire Department and, if we did it again, we would havethe police and a Crown prosecutor.  You cannot do that.  ThePublic Health Act disallows it and has for years.

            In 1988, the atmospheric pollution regulations were passed bythis government.  They clearly outlaw this type of burning, andit has never been enforced.  Why not?  It is clearly aninfringement of that act.  That is the fallacy of those who saywe need to legislate against this type of activity.  It is in thelaw.  It has been there since 1988.  No one in this province canput the types of smoke and fumes into the air and inflict that onother Manitobans, and they have not been able to do it for years.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, it is not a question of legislationparticularly.  It is a question of desire to deal with theproblem, and I have never said, deal with it with a heavy hand.I have always said, do what now this government has seen fit todo after many, many years of being asked, and that is bring thepeople together to get a solution that works for all.  There aresolutions.  Other provinces have found those solutions, notablySaskatchewan, where they have found ways to deal with the problemthat have met the needs and the interests of all communities.  Ihave no doubt that with good will and good faith and a commitmentwhich is made good upon by this government there will be asolution, and there must be a solution, and it must be apermanent solution.  I look forward to that.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I am only saddened that it took a yearlike this, which was a year that produced much more smoke thannormal, which was an abnormal year.  A veritable crisis wascreated.  As is often the case, it takes that to causegovernments to come to the table to want to do something aboutit.  I am saddened that it took that, but that having happened,at least we are moving forward it appears, and that is good.

            Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, with respect to the minister'scomments, the educational work has not done the full job.  Thoseare his comments.  I agree.  Again, I have been saying that foryears.  It has gone a long way.  It was a recommendation of theClean Environment Commission.  It was a good recommendation.  Ithas never ever been purported to be the full answer.  We know nowit is not the full answer.  The truth is, those who are stilldoing this irresponsibly, and there are ways to burn responsibly,those who are doing it irresponsibly know full well that they aredoing it against all of the educational advice.  I am convincedat this point, with all of the educational work that is done,they are making an intentional choice to ignore that and to doit.  So now we have got to move to plan B.  For those who arestill doing it, there has to be some muscle put into it, someregulations put into effect which the government is willing to gothrough on.

            The question of proof, the minister raised; now that is in myview, Mr. Acting Speaker, a cop‑out, and let me tell you why.Anybody who knows about regulatory offences as opposed tocriminal code offences will tell you that there is a very simpletool to deal with that question of proof, and that is the reverseonus.  There is a reverse onus in place for most land‑useoffences.  The Noxious Weeds Act is one example.  Any nuisanceclaim that is brought in this province or nuisance action inregulatory offences, the onus is shifted, and it works likethis:  A fire is occurring, stubble is burning, and stubble smokeis being created on somebody's land.  The owner has the onus toshow that he did not intentionally set it.  The charge is laid.The owner goes to court and is asked to explain in effect,because it is recognized that the authorities cannot be on theirland 24 hours a day.  All regulatory land‑use offences providethat reverse onus.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the interesting anomaly is that ThePublic Health Act with atmospheric pollution regulationscurrently in place, which, in my view, would prohibit this,already includes that reverse onus.  That is a red herring.  I donot accept that as any reason for not enforcing the law which isalready there. [interjection] Well, I would be thrilled to speakto the officials because I realize the RCMP had that concern, butI think the government has many, many lawyers who, I think, couldgive advice, and I do not know if they have spoken to them.  Butthere are many land‑use offence regulations.  They all deal withthat same problem.

            Finally, Mr. Acting Speaker, let me just say that, whileclearly I accept that this year's situation reached crisisproportions, the fact is that it was a misconception to see thisas an emergency in the sense that these fires were intentionallyset.  We knew they were going to be set.  It was not like a trainderailment that occurs, or an act of God.  These wereintentionally set fires.

            This is not, in the strict sense of the word, an emergencythat was predictable.  The exact magnitude of it was notpredictable perhaps, but even the minister says he knew it wascoming, he knew it was going to be bad.  The truth is, this is asolveable problem, and let us solve it.  I look forward to that.

            Thank you.

Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson):  I just want to put a very few shortcomments on the record on stubble burning.  Being a farmermyself, as are a number of people in this Chamber, you have torespect and admire that these people in fact try to carve aliving and the way they carve a living out of soil.

            Our soils differ in various parts of the province, and thesoil surrounding the city of Winnipeg is probably some of theheaviest soil that we have in this country.  It does not lenditself to the incorporation of the straw as some other soils doin some other parts of the province.  I think we need to respectthat.

            The cost of the incorporation of this straw, especially whenyou have a heavy crop of straw like you did this year, can bevery, very immense.  Few people realize that the amount ofequipment that is required‑‑the heavy equipment required‑‑to dothis kind of incorporation is indeed a very, very heavy expenseto the farmer.

            I do not agree with the honourable member for St. James (Mr.Edwards) that this is an urban‑rural issue.  It is a matter of apractice that has been used by the farm community for decades.It has been used very effectively and, with the new kind ofseeding equipment that is in place now, if you can get rid ofthis straw in this heavy soil without disturbing the soil toomuch, it lends itself to proper seeding conditions in thespring.  That is important, especially in these heavy clay areas.

            I want to put on the record though that I am totally opposedto straw burning as an individual.  We have never burned straw onour farm, because we do not think that we have the need to, butit is, as I say, a costly operation.  It takes the investment ofsome large, heavy equipment and the expense of that is notnominal.

            So, for those members that live in the city of Winnipeg andfor all urbanites, I think we need to make those kinds ofconsiderations.  I think there are ways to educate farmers overthe long term of a proper way and an effective way of theincorporation of this straw and seeding at the same time.

            Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker.


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Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  I am pleased to rise and add mycomments to this very important resolution.  I am sure, like manyother members in this House, we have all received our phone callsand our letters dealing with this issue of stubble burning.  Iknow in my recent discussions with the member for Kildonan (Mr.Chomiak), he has indicated to me that he has received literallydozens upon dozens of calls and letters from his constituents, asI am sure we all have.  We are all quite concerned about theeffect that this issue is having upon our individual communitiesthat we represent.

            I listened with interest to the comments by the Minister ofAgriculture (Mr. Findlay) where he talks that there has been asignificant decrease in the amount of stubble burning that takesplace within the province.  He says, it is down to less than 5percent of the stubble that is being burned now in our province.

            I do not profess for a moment to be an expert on agriculturalissues.  I have had some experience working on farms through myyoung adult years.  I have watched some of the practices thathave taken place and there are, of course, varying conditionsaround our province, as the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay)has pointed out.

            That does not mean to say that there are still not problemsout there with stubble burning, even though, I believe that inthe minister's comments, a large number of the producers in ourprovince are responsible producers and they do not support thepractices of stubble burning when they can move away from thatparticular type of practice.  That does not mean to say thoughthat those remaining who use the practice of stubble burning arenot creating a serious health effect upon the communities.

            I know that this fall in particular and in the two previousfalls for which I was the representative of my community or atleast running for election to represent my community, I was awareof concerns of the residents of my community when the issue ofstubble burning came up because, while this problem has gottenprogressively worse and seems to have become a severe problemthis fall, looking at the situation, I believe we have to takesome necessary action now to put in place the necessary controlsor at least make an effort in that direction to encourage those,at least through the education process and, where educationfails, to take some further steps to ensure that those who arecontinuing this practice are made aware of the consequences oftheir actions upon others in our society.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, I look at the people who have come to myoffice in my community and have, during the course of this fallwhen the stubble burning practice was taking place, I would getcalls very early in the morning from very frantic parents tryingto draw to my attention so that I could put my comments to thegovernment and make them aware of what was happening to theirfamilies.

            It was very difficult for me as an individual to have tolisten to these concerns, not because I did not want to listen tothose concerns, but because there are members of my own family,my own children, who have an asthmatic condition.  I couldemphasize very deeply with these parents who were calling me andwere frantic.

            It is very difficult for a parent to sit in their home duringthe evening and into the early hours of the morning and listen totheir children wheezing, trying to gasp for their breath.  It isvery difficult for a parent to have to listen to that.

            So when these parents come to me and say that they have totake their children to the hospital in the middle of the night, Iknow what they are living through, because I have had to do thatwith my own children.  I know what those conditions are like, andit is not a pleasant picture to have to take your child to thehospital and have them put into an oxygen tent or on oxygenthrough the mask and hope that they get better.  It is a verydifficult situation for a parent.

            By this resolution I think we can move in the right directionand that by the amendments that the minister has put forward forthis resolution, I believe that this is a fair and reasonableposition to take.  It is a fair compromise.  I think that we,looking at the parties that are involved in this‑‑the parentssupport group for children with asthma; the EMO; the producerrepresentatives; and the government itself‑‑should give them theopportunity to come forward with some concrete proposals and someconcrete actions that we can take to resolve this issue.

            I believe that by these amendments that are here to thisresolution that we had put forward, while the amendments are notexactly what we had hoped for, nevertheless they are a faircompromise position and we are willing to give the government theopportunity, along with the other groups that are involved, tobring forward some concrete actions on this matter.

            I thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Acting Speaker, to putmy comments on the record on this very important topic today.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  We think that this is a positivestep.  This is the reason why I am going to be extremely brief onthis, just put a very few words on the record, because it is, asI say, a very positive step forward.

            Every day prior to Question Period getting underway, Mr.Acting Speaker, we are hearing from petitions.  We have hadthousands of urban and rural Manitobans signing petitions, andbasically what the petition is asking for, and I am just going toread the very last THEREFORE:  "Your petitioners humbly pray thatthe Legislative Assembly will urge the government of Manitoba topass the necessary legislation/regulations which will restrictstubble burning in the province of Manitoba."

            Mr. Acting Speaker, we have approached this, whether it isthe public as a whole or the politicians, in a very responsiblemanner.  It is not an urban‑rural issue.  This is an issue inwhich all Manitobans have an interest in terms of the chaff, thatthere are good potential industries, with a proactive government,that we can see something come out of it.  We have to think interms of what is in the best health care need of all Manitobans,including the farmers themselves.

            With those very few words, I wanted to pay special tribute toa constituent of mine, Kim Lachute, who has put in a lot ofeffort in terms of getting these petitions before us.  We aretalking about several thousand individuals that have signed thesepetitions.  Thank you.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  Is the House ready for thequestion?  The question before the House is that proposedResolution No. 1 be amended.

            Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  Agreed?  Agreed and soordered.

            Is the House ready for the question?  The question before theHouse, the private member's Resolution No. 1 as amended.

            Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  Agreed?  Agreed and soordered.

            Six o'clock?  The hour now being six o'clock, this House willstand adjourned till tomorrow (Thursday) at 1:30 p.m.