LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA

Tuesday, July 27, 1993

 

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

 

PRAYERS

     

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

     

PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES

       

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the Ninth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Your Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources presents the following as its Ninth Report.

       Your committee met on Tuesday, July 20, 1993, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 21, at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., and Thursday, July 22, at 9 a.m. in Room 255 and Monday July 26, at 9 a.m. in Room 254 of the Legislative Building to consider bills referred:

       Your committee heard representation on bills as follows:

       Bill 41‑‑The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois

       Robert Harbottle ‑ Private Citizen Steve Masson ‑ Granges Incorporation Armand Boulet ‑ Lumber and Saw Workers' Union William Burbidge ‑ Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co. Ltd. and Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan Prospectors and Developers Association John Phillips ‑ Private Citizen Gary Harbottle ‑ Private Citizen Edna Harbottle ‑ Private Citizen Bob Yatkowsky ‑ Private Citizen Anthony Hyrorchuk ‑ Interlake Quota Holders Association Glenn Hibbert ‑ Private Citizen Peter Thurston ‑ North Eastern Sustainable Development Association Alice Chambers ‑ Private Citizen Brian LePoudre ‑ Manitoba Parks & Recreation Association John McFarland ‑ Private Citizen Margaret Kapinga ‑ Friends of Oak Hammock Marsh Donna Derenchuk ‑ Canada Parks and Wilderness Society Freda Rojotte ‑ Private Citizen Harvey Williams ‑ Time to Respect Earth's Ecosystems Lindy Clubb ‑ Sierra Club of Western Canada Ted Batchelor ‑ Cominco Limited Ray Rybuck ‑ Association of Private Land Owners in Manitoba Provincial Parks Ivan Balenovic ‑ President, Manitoba Timber Quota Holders Association Brian Pannell ‑ Canadian Bar Association, Manitoba Branch, Environmental Law Section Ian Greaves ‑ Private Citizen Walter Matlashewski ‑ Private Citizen Herb Peters ‑ Private Citizen Heinrich Mayer ‑ Private Citizen Carol Willson ‑ Private Citizen Barney Kovacs ‑ Mining Association of Manitoba Lyla Shingleton ‑ Private Citizen Walter Kucharczyk ‑ Private Citizen Walter Burdeny ‑ Private Citizen Glen Pinnell ‑ Abitibi Price Vincent Keenan ‑ Private Citizen Kelly Sharpe ‑ Private Citizen Sharon and Jack Coote ‑ Private Citizens Gordon Hanson ‑ Private Citizen Henry Ostrowski ‑ Mayor of Powerview Dave Nickarz ‑ Private Citizen Nick Carter ‑ Private Citizen Joe Melnick ‑ Private Citizen Alison Elliot ‑ Manitoba Wilderness Caucus (On behalf of the Endangered Spaces Campaign) Paul Nagerl ‑ Falconbridge Limited Bruce Samson ‑ Whiteshell District Association Inc. William Pruitt ‑ Private Citizen Christine Singh ‑ Coalition to Save the Elms Margaret Pilloud ‑ Private Citizen Don Sullivan ‑ Choices John Jacobson ‑ Private Citizen Diane Cox ‑ Private Citizen Gord Pazerniuk ‑ Private Citizen Leonard Lewandoski ‑ Private Citizen Hendrik Herfst ‑ Defending of Nopiming Joe Kelly ‑ Private Citizen Jean‑Phillipe Sourisseau ‑ Club Sierra de l'ouest Canadian Laird Crawford ‑ Private Citizen Gayle Stilkowski ‑ Private Citizen Jack McMahon ‑ Private Citizen

       Written Submissions:

       Robin E. Carpenter and Mary Carpenter ‑ Private Citizens Elen M. Carpenter ‑ Private Citizen William Ferreira ‑ Private Citizen Mary J. Carpenter ‑ Private Citizen Steve J. Lesavage ‑ Private Citizen Bruce Dunlop ‑ The Prospectors Association of Manitoba Elizabeth R. Sellick ‑ Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties Judith and Claude Hutton ‑ Private Citizens Doreen Ander ‑ Private Citizen Gerald and Marlene Johnson ‑ Private Citizens Gordon and Donalda Gale ‑ Private Citizens Kathy Sangster and Susan Lorden ‑ Private Citizens Wes A. Jones ‑ Private Citizen Margaret A. Reid and R. O. Hayes ‑ Private Citizens James Barabash ‑ Private Citizen Harvey Ander ‑ Private Citizen Jorma Hannila ‑ Inco Limited, Manitoba Division

       Your committee has considered:

       Bill 41‑‑The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres loi

       and has agreed to report the same with the following amendments:

       MOTION:

       THAT section 5 be amended

       (a) by striking out the part of the section preceding clause (a) and substituting "In accordance with park classifications and land use categories, the purposes of a provincial park system include the following"; and

       (b) by striking out "and" at the end of clause (c), and by striking out clause (d).

       MOTION:

       THAT clause 7(2)(a) be amended by striking out "large" and substituting "representative".

       MOTION:

       THAT clause 24(1)(c) be amended by striking out "in the opinion of the officer".

       MOTION:

       THAT the Preamble be amended

       (a) by striking out "AND WHEREAS" and substituting "WHEREAS"; and

       (b) by adding the following at the end of the Preamble:

       AND WHEREAS a system of provincial parks will contribute to the province's goal of protecting 12% of its natural regions;

       All of which is respectfully submitted.

Mr. Laurendeau:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Mr. Jack Reimer (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Development):  Mr. Speaker, by leave, I beg to present the Eleventh Report of the Standing Committee on Economic Development.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for Niakwa have leave to present the report? (agreed)

Mr. Clerk:  Your Standing Committee on Economic Development presents the following as its Eleventh Report.

       Your committee met on Monday, July 26, 1993, at 7 p.m. in Room 255 of the Legislative Building to consider bills referred.

       Your committee adopted at its July 26, 1993, 7 p.m. meeting the following motion:

       MOTION:

       THAT the committee limit the presentations and questions to a total maximum of 20 minutes per presenter.

       Your committee heard representation on bills as follows:

       Bill 42‑‑The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la reglementation des alcools et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois

       Leslie King ‑ Private Citizen Stephen Roznowsky ‑ Private Citizen John Read and Randy McNichol ‑ Manitoba Hotel Association Larry Jocelyn ‑ Gordon Hotels and Motor Inns Limited Leo Ledohowski ‑ Hospitality Corporation of Manitoba, Inc. George Bergen ‑ Private Citizen John Ford ‑ Private Citizen Daryl Silver and Keith Martin ‑ Private Citizens Keith Pierce ‑ Manitoba Distillers Council Peter Olfert ‑ Manitoba Government Employees Union Wes Zieske ‑ Private Citizen Debbie Spence ‑ Social Planning Council of Winnipeg Ray Benoit ‑ Private Citizen Dale Neal ‑ Private Citizen Michael Moore ‑ Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association Welland Ritcher ‑ Private Citizen Peter Choate ‑ Alberta Distillers Limited (Calgary) Angie Loscerbo ‑ Osborne Florists Ltd. Henry Loewen ‑ Conference of Mennonites of Manitoba Chris Contant ‑ C.C. Biggs Restaurant and Bar

       Written Submission:

       George Tsouras ‑ Private Citizen

       Your committee has considered:

       Bill 42‑‑The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la reglementation des alcools et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois

       and has agreed to report the same with the following amendments:

       MOTION:

       THAT proposed section 10, as set out in section 4 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following as clause 10(1)(d):

       (d) requiring the giving of notification to consumers purchasing liquor at retail for consumption at a place other than the place of sale about the potential health hazards associated with the consumption of liquor, including the potential damage to a foetus, and prescribing the form and content of such notice and the circumstances in which it is to be given.

       MOTION:

       THAT section 24 be amended by striking out "Clause 79(1)(c)" and substituting "Clause 79(c)".

       MOTION:

       THAT section 31 be amended

       (a) by striking out clauses (d) and (e);

       (b) by renumbering the section as subsection 31(1); and

       (c) by adding the following subsection after subsection 31(1):

       31(2)  The following subsection is added after subsection 96(3):

       Licensed premises 96(4)  For the purposes of subsections (2) and (3), "licensed premises" includes any parking lot that is owned or leased by the licensee or is otherwise under the control of the licensee.

       MOTION:

       THAT section 44 of the Bill be amended by adding the following after the proposed subsection 148(2):

       Application of by‑laws to specialty wine stores 148(2.1)  The provisions of a by‑law of a municipality under this Part that have the effect of prohibiting a liquor store in the municipality are deemed to apply to a specialty wine store with such modifications as the circumstances require.

       MOTION:

       THAT section 46 be amended by striking out "172,".

       MOTION:

       THAT Legislative Counsel be authorized to change all section numbers and internal references necessary to carry out the amendments adopted by this committee.

       All of which is respectfully submitted.

Mr. Reimer:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply has adopted a resolution regarding Capital Supply, directs me to report the same and asks leave to sit again.

       I move, seconded by the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson), that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

 

TABLING OF REPORTS

       

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the Annual Report of The Discriminatory Business Practices Act for the fiscal year 1992‑93.

* (1335)

 

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

     

Cabinet Shuffle Request

       

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

       There are fewer people, in fact 10,000 fewer people, working today in Manitoba than there were when the government took office in June of 1988.  The education system in this province is in a state of chaos, and our health care system is in even more chaos with the Conservative government of the day in power.

       Even more disconcerting to all of us and to many Manitobans is the fact that this government, over the last seven or eight months, has proceeded on an agenda that has been totally unfair to the people who are most vulnerable in this province, whether it is the silencing of the antipoverty organizations, whether it is the cutbacks and reductions of support in home care, whether it is reducing the grants to the Indian and Metis Friendship Centres, whether it is cutting back on ACCESS and New Careers and putting that money into corporate training, and on and on and on.

       This is a government that has a lot of unfair ministers on its front benches, in its government today.

       I would like to ask the Deputy Premier:  Will he be recommending to the Premier (Mr. Filmon) that there be a cabinet shuffle immediately and that‑‑(interjection) Well, you know, we seem to be missing somebody here today, but I cannot talk about that, because it is unparliamentary.

       Will this government be changing its ministers after this session is completed to give the people of Manitoba some people who are fair, new and fresh, rather than the old, unfair faces across the way?

Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier):  Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I am not prepared to accept any of the preamble which the Leader of the Opposition has put on the record.

       Mr. Speaker, this province and this country have been faced with extremely difficult financial situations over the past few years, with not only a national but an international recession which we are all dealing with.  One looks at the difficult decisions that not only Manitobans have had to make through their government‑‑and I say through their government because we are trustees for the taxpayers of this province.

       It is not personal money we are directing or are dealing with.  It is on behalf of the taxpayers of Manitoba whom we are entrusted to look after, as are the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Maritimes.  Very difficult decisions have to be made on behalf of those people.

       Our criteria, Mr. Speaker, has been one of maintaining the essential services in this province‑‑health care, education services and family needs through the Family Services programs. Those have been and are our priority areas for maintaining support for communities and families.

       On the economic front, there have been many initiatives, Mr. Speaker.  I am disappointed that the Leader and the members of the opposition have never been positive about the economic agenda we are developing and will develop in this province.

       As far as his recommendations on a cabinet shuffle, Mr. Speaker, I have to be quite honest.  I see it as a possible conflict of interest and would not want to enter into that area.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, in terms of fairness, we also see the action of the government that promised us no new taxes during the last election‑‑read my lips, no new taxes‑‑and then, just like George Bush, broke its own promise.  He broke his own promise, and the Premier's (Mr. Filmon) own briefing notes say that tax increases were equivalent to a 5.7 percent increase in the personal income tax of Manitoba.

       More of a concern to us is the fact that those taxes were not a challenge to share the pain, as the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) had indicated, but rather a tax increase through property tax credits that meant people in Tuxedo paid a 1 percent tax increase, people on Wellington Crescent paid a 1.3 percent tax increase and people in the north end, in St. James, in the Dauphin areas paid an 8 or 9 percent increase in their property tax credit.

       That is the sharing of the pain the Tory way, Mr. Speaker‑‑cut the most vulnerable and tax the most vulnerable. That is the Tory way.

       I would like to ask the Deputy Premier:  Will he be recommending that they shuffle this old, tired, economic deck to get us jobs and fairness in this province, rather than the status quo that is failing the people of this province?

* (1340)

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, let me at the outset say this to the Leader of the Opposition, who sat in a government that saw Manitoba in the lead in the nation as it relates to taxes on the people of Manitoba.  Our personal income tax at 54 percent was reduced by this government to 52 percent.  An opposition party that purports to be supportive of the labour movement in this country‑‑major, major tax imposition known as the payroll tax put on the jobs of the people of Manitoba.  In fact, it was a jobs tax imposed by the Leader of the Opposition.  We have been reducing that.  In fact, I believe there are some 70 percent of businesses in all of Manitoba that now have had that removed from them.

       Mr. Speaker, the sales tax‑‑who was the last government in this province to increase the sales tax rate in Manitoba?  The New Democratic Party of which he was a member.  We have maintained the tax level on the people of Manitoba and have taken the tough decision of reducing the expenditures of services to the people of Manitoba through tax cuts and through controlled expenditures.

       I think the people of Manitoba, yes, they have some disagreements but are not totally unhappy.  He calls us a tired old bunch.  I totally disagree.  We are a vigorous, young cabinet and caucus ready to govern to the year 2000.

 

Minister of Health

Replacement Request

       

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  They are not totally unhappy‑‑a mere heartbeat away.  What can we say?

       Mr. Speaker, this whole cabinet needs a heart transplant because they have no heart at all, and they need a brain transplant to go along with it, too.

       Mr. Speaker, I withdraw those comments.

       Mr. Speaker, we have a Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) who loves to fight.  He loves to debate.  He loves to disagree.  He loves to deny.  But his style, his bombastic style of picking a fight with seniors, with the disabled, with the heads of seniors wards in hospitals, picking a fight with doctors, with nurses, with patients, having a reform package and then having to bring in an American consultant to really tell him what reforms and cutbacks to bring in, has been an absolute disaster for the people of Manitoba.

       I would like to ask the Deputy Premier, the acting Premier in the absence‑‑I cannot state that.  It is unparliamentary, so I will not.

       I would like to ask the Deputy Premier today on behalf of the seniors and disabled and other Manitobans who are vitally concerned about their health care system today:  Will he give us his commitment and the government's commitment that when this House comes back, we will not have the same Minister of Health, that we will have a new Minister of Health who will build partnerships with the people of Manitoba?

* (1345)

Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier):  Let me, at the outset‑‑and I do not know whether I will get another opportunity, and with your generous endurance, Mr. Speaker, and members of the House‑‑I would like to say that I can only use this example, and that is that the Leader of the Opposition‑‑and I say this with respect to the former critic for the Department of Health who, I understand, probably will be leaving this House.

       She is leaving this House, as are one or two other members, at least one we know of, and I want to wish them well in a meaningful way, in their trying to get through that bottomless pit they are going to try to cross to the next House of Commons. I say genuinely, good health and limited good luck in their next endeavour.  But I say genuinely, they have made a contribution to this House, and I respect them as members of the Legislature.

       Now, having said that, Mr. Speaker, I think the ability of our Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has been demonstrated by the fact that the Leader of the Opposition had to change critics, that there was not an ability to get, in any way, the point that the Minister of Health was not doing a good job and is not doing a good job.

       We are committed, Mr. Speaker, to ensuring the longevity of the health care needs of the people of Manitoba through the reforms that are being put in place.  It is very popular in any political arena to continue to spend and tax and spend and tax and keep delivering additional programs.

       These are tough decisions, and I believe our Minister of Health has delivered these programs very responsibly and at the end of the day has told the truth to the people of Manitoba.

 

Minister of Health

Replacement Request

 

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, almost every single action in the health care field undertaken by this government in the last six months has been totally contrary to the government's own health care reform package, be it the pediatrics consolidation to Children's Hospital, be it user fees and ostomy supplies or home care supplies, or be it the cutbacks to the home care maintenance program or the Children's Dental Program, all contrary to their own plan.

       My question for the Deputy Premier, Mr. Speaker:  Will they stop blaming the critics?  Will they stop blaming the messengers, take a look at this minister and before they allow him to do any more havoc, because there is a lot more havoc that could be wrought on the health care system by this minister, before that happens, step in, replace him and listen to the people out there in the community, be it the MMA, be it the nurses or be it the patients who know the truth about what this minister is doing?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I think that per chance, this might be the last Question Period that maybe my honourable friend is critic, because I have gone through four of them in the NDP, and maybe he is the next one to leave.

       Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that I give a quotation to the House, and we will not have the normal guessing game as to who said this.  I will tell you who said this.  This is Premier Bob Rae out of Ontario.  Premier Bob Rae says, quote:  What passes for policies in opposition is simply the articulation of grievance, and the articulation of grievance does not make a program for a government.

       That, Sir, is why I have said consistently through four critics of the NDP, do not tell us what you are against, tell us what you are for, because in today's environment, whether you govern in the province of Manitoba and have responsibility for the Ministry of Health in this province, or in Ontario or in Saskatchewan or in Alberta or in New Brunswick, you have to make difficult decisions.

       You can disagree with those decisions, but I remind Manitobans who are watching this Question Period that the member for Kildonan will not stand up and commit today at his last opportunity in this session that he would reinstate all of those programs that he is so egregious about.  He will not reinstate one single decision.  All he is doing is articulating grievance, telling us what he is against, but never will he tell us what he is for.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, the minister knows we would fire Connie Curran tomorrow and put that money right back into direct patient care, something he is refusing to do.

 

Health Care System Reform

Consultations

 

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  My supplementary to the Deputy Premier:  Why is it that it is the head of the MMA, it is the head of geriatrics at St. Boniface, it is the head of geriatrics at Health Sciences Centre, it is the nurses, it is the patients, it is the Ontario province, it is everyone else, Mr. Speaker, but not that minister who is wrong?  Everyone in the world is wrong, but not that minister.

       Will the Deputy Premier step in and before he wreaks any more havoc, at least talk to these critics‑‑he does not have to talk to us‑‑talk to the head of geriatrics at St. Boniface, talk to the head of geriatrics at Health Sciences Centre and all the others?  Will he at least do that before‑‑

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

* (1350)

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, we have had the one single solution again advanced by my honourable friend the New Democrat:  Cancel a $3.9‑million contract.  You know what that does?  That operates our hospitals for one and one‑half days this year‑‑one and one‑half days.

       Now, Mr. Speaker, what is my honourable friend the New Democrat going to do for the other 363 and a half days, wherein at the end of this process, we expect to have savings without compromising patient care, with providing more care by nurses, a saving of a minimum of $45 million every single year in two hospitals alone?  That is $45 million that can be used to provide more surgery, that can provide more home care, that can be used to provide more education, more economic development support.  It can even be used to reduce the deficit if government so chooses, or it can be used to stop raising taxes, as is the penchant for New Democrats.

       So my honourable friend's solution provides one and a half days of operation at our hospital in one year, no longer a solution.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, they promised that in their health care plan before they brought in their big, high‑priced, $3.9‑million plus $800,000 expenses tax‑free U.S. consultant. They promised that before this.

       My final supplementary to the Deputy Premier, who has not answered any of the questions to the Premier (Mr. Filmon), who has refused to answer any questions about this Minister of Health:  Will the Deputy Premier at least undertake, before the major changes and all of the reports that are coming out in August and September when we are out of session, to talk to people in the health care system, the patients, the doctors and the caregivers, not to listen to this minister but talk to the people who really know what is going on in health care?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, in that very skillful articulation of grievance the New Democrats are so skillful at in opposition, I want to indicate to my honourable friend that we are talking to doctors.  Contrary to the allegations of the doctors' union and the president of the doctors' union, there are 41 committees studying health care reform, and there are 171 physicians on those committees‑‑171.  That works out to more doctors as a percent of their profession than any other single profession.

       There are a number of nurses involved in those committees, hospital administrators involved in those committees, citizens involved in those committees, the Manitoba Health Organization involved in those committees, and, Sir, the reports that come through and the recommendations we accept will make sense because they will be recommended to us, examined beforehand by professionals in health care delivery.

       Now, I know my honourable friend the New Democratic critic will still criticize every single one of them, but he will not offer a single alternative that will work.

 

Immigration Policy

Selection Criteria

 

Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Premier.          Tomorrow, the Prime Minister arrives to visit with our Premier.  I note that it is reported that one of the very select, few important issues the Premier will be raising has to do with immigration.  The Province of Manitoba apparently wants a say in immigration to the province, and a quote, albeit attached to simply an unnamed spokesman, is that the province wants to select immigrants with special skills.

       Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a reversal of the position put forward by the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, who has said on many occasions she does not favour such restrictions.  It also poses a severe threat to the many thousands of Manitobans who are applying under the Family Reunification Program to be joined with their relatives from around the world.

       Can the minister or the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) indicate today whether or not that indeed is a policy of his government, to impose special skills and requirements heretofore not put in place for immigration, and can he table what the new criteria are going to be, Mr. Speaker?

* (1355)

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that we are in ongoing negotiations and talks with the federal government looking toward more control over immigration for Manitoba by the Province of Manitoba.

       Mr. Speaker, it is in all areas.  Refugees, of course, are strictly a federal responsibility, but family reunification and those who can come here to help fill the job skills and shortages that Manitobans have when there are jobs and there is no one available to do those jobs here in Manitoba‑‑we want to be able to more proactively recruit those who can come into Manitoba.

       We still have major concern over ensuring that those who are coming here for family reunification have access in an expeditious way.

Mr. Edwards:  As the minister well knows, quotas are assigned and if you give to one area, there is going to be a result, a reduction in another area.

       I want to remind the minister of her comment June 18, 1992, wherein she said:  "I have said many, many times that I share the concerns of any policy that might discriminate against any person that might want to be coming to our country to fill job skills or just to immigrate for whatever reasons."

       Can the minister indicate whether or not she stands by those words and, if not, if we are changing, can she table what the new criteria for immigration to this province are going to be, because that is of utmost importance to the thousands of immigrants currently, recent immigrants in this province, who want to be reunited with their families and are applying under the existing criteria for immigration to this country?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Speaker, of course I stand by those words. We do not want to discriminate here in Manitoba against anyone who wants to immigrate through a process.

       Mr. Speaker, what we want to do in Manitoba is get our fair share of immigrants, and we all know by the numbers that Manitoba's numbers of immigrants have been decreasing and that, proportionately, our fair share should be around 4 percent of those who immigrate to Canada.

       Mr. Speaker, we want to ensure through an immigration agreement that we have some control over expeditiously allowing those to come to fill job shortages, with job skills that are not here in Manitoba, and we also want to expeditiously try to accommodate those who are coming here for family reunification.

       There are several different classes of immigrants.  I have already indicated that the refugee class will always be a responsibility of the federal government, but where we can try to gain more control and try to get our fair share of compensation from the federal government for those who are coming to Manitoba, we want that control, and we will move forward as quickly as we possibly can to negotiate an immigration agreement with the federal government.

Mr. Edwards:  I have yet to hear from the minister, Mr. Speaker, whether or not this government is indeed moving toward a selection process, as indicated, that they want to select immigrants with special skills based on the Quebec‑type model, where those restrictions are put in place.

       Will the minister table today what the selection criteria are going to be, or will she repudiate that statement?  What does this province want, and on what basis are they intending to select immigrants?  Can she be clear for the thousands of people who want to know that, who currently are applying to be reunited with their families around the world?

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Speaker, it seems that the Leader of the Second Opposition is either not hearing or not understanding my answers.  I am not quite sure where he is coming from.

       I have indicated that there are different classes of immigrants who come to Canada.  There is the refugee class‑‑and I will repeat it again because he does not seem to quite be able to get it‑‑there is the refugee class that the federal government will have complete control over.  There is the family reunification class, and that class will still receive the same type of accommodation as they have in the past, but we would like to be able to accommodate those who are trying to reunite as a family as expeditiously as possible.

       So I want to assure those immigrants that we are not changing that in any way.  What we want to be able to do is, yes, to select those who can come to Manitoba with credentials that can accommodate their being able to work in the same type of occupation they worked at in their homelands.  That is why we have the immigrant credentials branch within the division of Citizenship that is trying to work to accommodate that.

* (1400)

 

Home Care Program

Housekeeping Guidelines

 

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  First, let me thank the acting Premier for his good wishes in my future career as an M.P.

       Having said that, Mr. Speaker, let me indicate that I leave here with a great deal of worry and concern about the future of our health care system, something that has preoccupied me for the last three years, and particularly worried about the well‑being of our senior citizens who are seeing the most quality program, internationally acclaimed program go down the tubes‑‑the cuts to home care by this Minister of Health and this government.

       I want to ask the Minister of Health if he will not acknowledge that any inappropriate care, any abuse under the home maintenance program of Home Care could be addressed quite adequately through following the guidelines now set out under the Continuing Care Program through regular assessments.

       Will he simply assure us he will deal with concerns by following those guidelines?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, that is exactly, precisely what we are doing, and I want to remind my honourable friend as to when those guidelines on domestic services, laundry and cleaning, came into place.  They came into place in 1984 when my honourable friend sat around Howard Pawley's cabinet table.

       They have been implemented in 1985 and on, and what we are doing today is very consistent with my honourable friend's policy guidelines that she put in place, that she endorsed, that she agreed to in 1985.

       The only thing that has not changed in the five years, except for critics of the NDP in Health, is their method of raising issues, because my honourable friend will recall that to raise this great fear campaign in the Home Care Program this year, she tabled the same letter a former critic, Mr. Jay Cowan, tabled in the House four years previous‑‑the identical letter, same issue, same four‑year‑old letter, Sir.  Nothing new except the NDP in opposition refuting their own policies.

 

Review

       

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Since the minister says nothing has changed under this government, let me ask him about a memo we have received from Sue MacKenzie, Assistant Regional Director for Continuing Care which outlines case reviews of LPN services undertaken by July 30, meal preparation by October 30, home support work and VON nursing services by August 30.

       If nothing has changed, why are all of these areas under review, and will the minister not admit that these are further cutbacks on top of reductions to home care equipment, user fees for ostomy supplies and waiting lists for our seniors in all important areas of health care services?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Again, the critic for the NDP did not say and commit today in front of the media that they would reinstate any of these so‑called cutbacks that they allege.  They will not reinstate, they will not reverse a single policy, because they could have made that commitment today, from the Leader, from the critic, and now even a departing New Democrat could make that commitment, but they will not.

       The reason they will not is this, that the review on meals, the review on laundry service, the review on housecleaning is consistent with the 1984 policy directive of Howard Pawley and the NDP, and currently, an important fact is that over 50 percent of seniors in Manitoba are now paying for their meals, paying for their housecleaning, paying for their laundry.

       This review process will make that policy of the NDP, 1984‑85, consistent across the province.

 

Consultations

       

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, since this minister has finally admitted this government's cutbacks to our Home Care Program, will he guarantee in this House today that all of the reviews outlined in this memo and all of the planned cutbacks will not take place without input from those involved, namely caregivers and clients of home care who have not, to date, had an opportunity for any meaningful involvement in the government's health care plans?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  First of all, Mr. Speaker, with all respect to my honourable friend, I have to reject her preamble and her assertions in her preamble to this question.

       Secondly, I said, alleged cutbacks by the NDP.  That is what I indicated.

       Now, Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend had the opportunity to say they would reinstate the ostomy program and they would reinstate housecleaning free of charge to all seniors and go against the policy they put in place in 1984‑85, but, of course, they did not, and here is why‑‑and I think it is important to have another quotation, if I might.

       This is from Mr. Barry Pashak, a defeated NDP MLA in Ontario, who said:  If we formed a government and tried to implement all of our policy directives, we would bankrupt the government overnight.

       Now, Mr. Speaker, we cannot say that of these people.

 

Point of Order

       

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, throughout this session, we have come to see that the minister has originally started off reading his nonanswers into the record.  Now we are seeing the minister read in statements from other provinces.

       We would like an answer to what is happening here in Manitoba under this Tory government in home care, the cutbacks.  We demand an answer from this minister.

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

* * *

       

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable minister, to finish with your response now, sir.

Mr. Orchard:  We could never make that statement of a New Democrat in Manitoba, because, as I said earlier, we only know what New Democrats are against.  We do not know what they stand for, what they would do should they be government, so we do not know whether Mr. Pashak's statement applies here, that they would bankrupt the government of Manitoba should they come back.  Some day they may tell us what they believe in.

 

Children's Dental Health Program

Cabinet Decision

 

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, an excellent example of a health program demonstrating all the positive elements of community‑based care and preventative health care was cancelled by this government, that being the Children's Dental Health Program, an excellent program for northern and rural children, which this government did not recognize.  Rather, they continue to spout about their care for community‑based care but do nothing about it.

       I want to ask the acting Premier to explain to this House today why his cabinet did not overrule the decision by his Minister of Health to target this very progressive and community‑based program that was very effective and very beneficial to rural and northern children.

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, again, from the comfort of opposition, New Democrats decry decisions of government, but when governing in Saskatchewan, they make the same decisions.

       Mr. Speaker, let me reinforce for my honourable friend that a key component of the health reform package is prevention and education.

       In the Children's Dental Health Program, yes, we are eliminating the treatment portion; in other words, filling cavities, extracting teeth and those reparative services.

       Mr. Speaker, we intend to maintain the education and prevention portion of that program, because that is the value of health care programming, to educate, to bring people into prevention so we do not have to spend money on repair.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Speaker, Manitobans would be happy to have the program that Saskatchewan does, because at least those people care and recognize there is a difference between northern and urban Manitoba.

* (1410)

 

Reduction Justification

       

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the acting Premier again if he will tell Manitobans why his government chose to ignore information provided by Canadian dentists stating this would cost rural Manitobans a tremendous amount of money.

       How could they ignore this information provided to them and cut the dental program and ignore the long‑term effects there would be by cancelling this program?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate my honourable friend's defence of decisions in Saskatchewan which are not dissimilar from Manitoba.

       Mr. Speaker, let me tell my honourable friend some of the decisions we chose not to make.  We chose not to raise the Pharmacare deductible to $1,700 per family, as Saskatchewan did. We chose not to do that.  We chose to leave it at $207 for the people of Manitoba.  There is no drug coverage for the average family in Saskatchewan because of their decisions.  I will put ours in front of them.

       Mr. Speaker, we have chosen not to close 52 acute care hospitals in Manitoba, like Saskatchewan is doing this budget year.  We have chosen an entirely different route which brings together opinion of leaders in health care, professionals in health care, to make difficult decisions to preserve and protect medicare, and we are vastly ahead of every other province.

 

Multiculturalism Secretariat Dismantling

 

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship.

       This government often looks to opposition in making suggestions in terms of where we would save money.  Mr. Speaker, we want to provide a line in which we, as the Liberal caucus, would like to see this government save money, and that is the multicultural secretariat's office.  The government of the day could save a quarter of a million dollars today if, in fact, the government had the will to dismantle what is nothing more than an apple‑shining group of individuals who do nothing more than prop up this particular government within the ethnocultural community.

       My question to the minister is:  Will she do the responsible thing and dismantle the multicultural secretariat and save the taxpayers of this province $250,000?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for Multiculturalism):  Mr. Speaker, I believe and I know our government believes, as a result of a recommendation that came from the task force on multiculturalism that was commissioned by the former administration‑‑the recommendation was made that we needed more support, internal to government, dealing with multicultural issues.  We accepted that recommendation and the Multiculturalism Secretariat was set up.

       The Liberal critic might believe there is nothing happening in the Multiculturalism Secretariat, but I think Manitobans should be asked that question, because I do know that many, many services are being provided, and consultation is ongoing with the community.  So he may not agree but the community does.

 

Justification

       

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Well, Mr. Speaker, the report she refers to is to talk about a civil servant position, and the secretariat is not who I would classify as the ideal individual to fill that particular position.

       My question to the minister is:  How does she justify having the multicultural secretariat's office when, in fact, the Manitoba Intercultural Council provided all of the things plus more of what the multicultural secretariat provides for this government and at a cheaper cost?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for Multiculturalism):  Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate again, we seem to have a little bit of a contradiction within the Liberal Party, because I listened very intently to speeches from the Liberal opposition on the repeal of The Manitoba Intercultural Council Act.

       I did quite distinctly hear the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) indicate that the staff who were in the multicultural secretariat could probably not be of any higher calibre and that she really believed that the person who was in there was probably the best qualified Manitoban to do the job.

 

Point of Order

       

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (River Heights):  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I really do not think the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship wants to misquote anybody in the House.

       What in fact was said was, and let me quote from Hansard:  So he has been unable to be the quality of the person that he could have been because of the‑‑

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

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up in terms of the point of order that has‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  I have ruled there was no point of order.

 

Dismantling

       

Mr. Speaker:  Now, the honourable member for Inkster, with your question.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, the multicultural secretariat's office is nothing more than a candidate recruitment from this particular government and does nothing more than to ensure that the Progressive Conservative Party is getting its message out, manipulating the vote.

       I am asking the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship today to dismantle the multicultural secretariat's office and save the taxpayers of this province a quarter of a million dollars.

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for Multiculturalism):  Mr. Speaker, I have indicated right from the beginning that when staff was hired in the Multiculturalism Secretariat, Manitobans would be well served by that person.  I think it has been proven.

       Ultimately, it will be Manitobans who decide what kind of job this government is doing and what our commitment to multiculturalism is, not the member for Inkster.

 

Swampy Cree Tribal Council

Child and Family Services Agency

 

Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas):  Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Northern Affairs some questions.

       The Swampy Cree Tribal Council has for the past six years been working to establish a Child and Family Services agency in The Pas area to service the seven‑member bands that comprise the tribal council.  It appeared that at one time the provincial government was going to support that council's pursuit for an agency, but, unfortunately, it appears now they may not be willing to support it or may even be withdrawing that support.

       My question to the Minister of Northern Affairs is:  Could he advise the House whether indeed that support has been withdrawn? If it has not been withdrawn, I would like to ask him when that agreement, which has been sitting there for about a year now, is going to be signed.

Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I think I should at the outset put on the record that this government has over the past indicated and clearly shown our ability to work with the Swampy Cree Tribal Council, unlike when he and his government were in government in this province.  They were unable to accomplish a major northern nursing program in his home community, of which it took this government to get elected in order to accomplish working with the northern Swampy Cree Tribal Council.

       As it relates to the specific question, Mr. Speaker, I will take it as notice for the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) and have him respond directly to him.

Mr. Lathlin:  Mr. Speaker, could I also ask the same minister, when he gets back to me as he puts it, to also outline the reason for having such a long delay in the signing of the agreement, when he confers with the Minister of Family Services?

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member knows somewhat about long delays, as it was in 1986 or '85 that he tried to get the nursing agreement signed with the New Democratic government and had not been able to accomplish that until 1988, when it took a change in government to get some action on behalf of his community.

       Mr. Speaker, I will, as well, take that as notice.

Mr. Lathlin:  My final question to the same minister is:  Seeing as how he is in a fast‑track mood today, could I ask him then exactly when might we expect the minister and this government to get together with the Swampy Cree Tribal Council family services people and sign the agreement?

       When will that agreement be signed?  Will it be one month, two months‑‑when?

Mr. Downey:  I will do everything possible to get the information back to the member as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker:  Time for Oral Questions has expired.

 

Nonpolitical Statements

 

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship):  Mr. Speaker, might I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable minister have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? (agreed)

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to recognize our Dutch community celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dutch immigration to Canada.  Manitobans are particularly proud of this anniversary, as the first Dutch immigrants settled in our province.

       When the Dutch people came to Manitoba in 1893, they arrived with few personal possessions but a great deal of determination. Like all early settlers, they faced many challenges.  Through hard work, they overcame numerous hardships, and they persevered.  Their contributions and achievements helped to build a better life for their families and for all Manitobans.

       The Dutch community has played an integral role in building, developing and strengthening our society.  To help mark the hundred years of Dutch settlement in Canada, they have organized an exciting array of festivities.

       Each year, Manitoba's Dutch community brings its colourful traditions, delicious food and talented entertainers to help celebrate Folklorama.  This year, the celebrations will be further enhanced by a parade re‑enacting the street‑sweeping tradition and the unveiling of a Leo Mol statue.

       The centenary celebrations will also include the Netherlands cultural festival.  Manitoba has the honour of hosting this festival in October.  Festival events will feature contemporary Dutch films, the opening of the Nether‑art exhibition and special musical presentations by Dutch performers.

       I invite all members of this assembly to join in congratulating the Dutch community as they celebrate 100 years as Canadian citizens.

       Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for St. Johns have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? (agreed)

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, I dearly welcome this opportunity to add a few comments on the hundredth anniversary of Dutch immigration to Manitoba.  I speak with some personal involvement since, I am not sure members know, I am half‑Dutch.  My mother is Dutch; my father is Ukrainian.

       It is interesting that just over a year ago, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Ukrainian immigration to Canada, and now we are celebrating 100 years of Dutch immigration to Manitoba.  I stand with a great deal of pride on this occasion to join with the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism (Mrs. Mitchelson) to congratulate all those of Dutch ancestry who have contributed so much to the life and well‑being of this province and who have made a real mark on our society.  I trust that all members will join in this celebration.

       My only regret, Mr. Speaker, as we depart today, is that we do not have time to do a resolution to ensure forever inscribed in the records of this Legislature some official recognition of this very important anniversary.  However, this moment today allows us that opportunity, and I join in this very important celebration.

* (1420)

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for The Pas have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? (agreed)

Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas):  Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise this afternoon in the House to pay tribute and offer my sincere congratulations to all of those First Nations athletes who travelled to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, last weekend to compete in the Third North American Indigenous Games.

       Mr. Speaker, I know all of those athletes sacrificed a lot of their time, along with their coaches and families, training for those games.  I also want to acknowledge the tremendous support and encouragement that our aboriginal athletes received from their respective First Nations councils, community councils and the aboriginal organizations here in Winnipeg.

       Mr. Speaker, our athletes, as you may know, not only competed in the various events in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, but they also had a very worthwhile message to carry to those young aboriginal athletes who gathered there for those events.  That message was the need for more awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol and drug abuse.  Those athletes should be commended.

       I talked with some of the athletes while I was in The Pas over the weekend.  They told me they were extremely proud to be called up to the podium to receive their medals on behalf of their individual First Nation communities.  Our athletes from Manitoba First Nations, Mr. Speaker, won a total of 53 medals, out of which 42 were won by teams representing the Swampy Cree Tribal Council.  Four medals were won by Cross Lake, six gold medals were won by Moose Lake, and Mathias Colomb won one silver medal.

       I do not know the rest of the breakdown of the number of medals that were won by the other First Nations communities, but I congratulate all of them.  Those athletes have done themselves well.  They rightfully should be proud of themselves, because I know I am proud of each and every one of them.

       Thank you.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Minister of Finance have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? (agreed)

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, from time to time, important personal moments and events occur involving members of our House and our Legislature.

       One particular member on our side has realized an important milestone not so often reached anymore in today's society.  The Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey), the affable and gregarious member for Arthur‑Virden, who embodies of course the real spirit of the southwest in every one of his moves, and his wife, Linda, are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

       Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all the members of our side, congratulations to Linda and Jim, and, of course, many more years of good health and happiness to them.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Minister of Energy and Mines have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? (agreed)

Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines):  Mr. Speaker, I just want to acknowledge and thank the government House leader for those kind words of congratulations.

       As well, I want to join with the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) in his congratulations on the accomplishments of the aboriginal athletes who performed so admirably on behalf of their communities and for the province of Manitoba in their recent tour to Prince Albert.

       I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity.

 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, report stage, please.  Would you call Bills 41 and 42.

 

REPORT STAGE

       

Bill 41‑The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move, seconded by the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), (by leave) that Bill 41, The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), as amended and reported from the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources, be concurred in.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House was report stage of Bill 41, The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendment Act; Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois, as amended and reported from the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources, be concurred in.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

 

Bill 42‑The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister charged with the administration of The Liquor Control Act):  I would like to move an amendment in terms of proclamation.

       I move, seconded by the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst),

       THAT Bill 42 be amended in Section 48 by striking out subsection 48(3) and substituting the following:

Coming into force:  other provisions 48(3)  Clause 10(1)(d), as enacted by section 4 of this Act, subsection 96(4), as enacted by section 31 of this Act and section 47 of this Act come into force on a day fixed by proclamation.

       (French version)

       Il est propose que le projet de loi soit amende par substitution, au paragraphe 48(3), de ce qui suit:

       Entree en vigueur par proclamation 48(3)  L'alinea 10(1)d, edicte a l'article 4 de la presente loi, le paragraphe 96(4), edicte a l'article 31 de la presente loi, ainsi que l'article 47 de la presente loi entrent en vigueur a la date fixee par proclamation.

Motion agreed to.

Mrs. McIntosh:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Urban Affairs (Mr. Ernst), (by leave) that Bill 42, The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la reglementation des alcools et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois, as amended and reported from the Standing Committee on Economic Development, be concurred in.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

* * *

* (1430)

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 29, please.

 

THIRD READINGS

     

Bill 29‑The Minors Intoxicating Substances Control Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 29, The Minors Intoxicating Substances Control Act (Loi sur le controle des substances intoxicantes et les mineurs), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak at third reading on this bill with mixed emotions.  The idea behind this bill has been a matter of preoccupation with me for a good part of my life in this Legislature, in fact, represents some five years of work, and I have a great deal of mixed feelings about the bill that we have now before us.

       The minister who has sponsored this bill will understand some of those mixed emotions.  All members in this House will recall the history behind Bill 29 and will understand that the idea behind this bill goes back decades, Mr. Speaker, but in terms of this Legislature, goes back five years when individuals in our community looked to this Legislature for legislative action, brought forward their ideas to some of us in this House and called on us to act.  We took up that call to action.

       The work in the community, the need for action, became the basis of Bill 91.  Bill 91 was recognized from the very beginning not to be the only, the final answer to a very serious problem of solvent abuse in our society today.  It was recognized to be one part of the solution.  It was recognized that even if one death could be avoided because of such legislation, it was worthwhile.

       That bill received thorough discussion and debate and input in this Chamber, and the result was a fine piece of legislation in the eyes of many.  However, as everyone knows, that bill gathered dust for three years despite commitment from this government to ensure its proclamation.

       Bill 29 was introduced as a replacement to Bill 91.  Bill 29 differs considerably from Bill 91 in a couple of significant areas, areas that have caused us a great deal of concern and debate around this particular piece of legislation.

       It departs in two important ways.  Number one, for the first time in the history of this Bill and this Legislature, it seeks to charge the victim, the youth who has been sniffing one of these horrible, deadly substances.  Mr. Speaker, it also creates wide‑open defence provisions for someone charged under this act, someone charged with selling to minors that makes us all wonder whether prosecutions will be possible as a result of this change.

       Throughout all of this process, there has been little understanding, little information given to us to understand why the change, why Bill 91 gathered dust for three years.  What were the problems?  What parts were so unenforceable?  What caused this government to break its word and not proclaim Bill 91?

       I suppose some of my mixed emotions today have to do with that lack of information, lack of clarification and lack of forthright response to our questioning over the years.

       To this day, we remain in the dark about the reasons for the government's delay.  To this day, no legal opinion has been tabled.  No information has been forwarded about why Bill 91 was so much more difficult to enforce than Bill 29.  Some information would have helped.  It would have helped us understand and would have, perhaps, led to a more productive and enlightened process around Bill 29.

       Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I do not want to dwell on history.  I do not want to live in the past.  I think all of us want to do something in this area.  We want to ensure that there is some legislation in place to begin to deal with a very serious problem in our society.

       The government left us in a very difficult position around Bill 29.  The Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) will know the quandary that we have been placed in as a result of the substitution of Bill 91 with Bill 29.  The minister will know, and others who attended the committee hearings will know from most of the presenters that a move to charge the minor, to go after the victim, may be counterproductive, may, in fact, do more harm than good.

       So the question we had to ask ourselves throughout this process was precisely that.  Does this bill do more harm than good, or is it better to have something as opposed to nothing?

       Mr. Speaker, we listened carefully to all the presenters.  We asked those questions, and we heard some very grave concerns from just about every group that presented to us.  One group was not able to come down to Winnipeg in time to make its views known and sent us by fax a copy of their brief.  I would like to table a copy of that brief so that it is recorded in our records and so that all parties have copies of this brief.  It is the brief from MKO dated July 8, and it is entitled Northern Manitoba Solvent Abuse Treatment Program.

       That brief, along with all the others we heard from during the committee hearings on Bill 29, indicated some very serious concerns with Bill 29.  I refer members to page 3 of that brief where MKO clearly states:  Government has failed to address solvent abuse treatment and instead are focusing to bring criminal charges to youth who are involved in a destructive behaviour.  Number 2, the proposed legislation has many loopholes, as it will be difficult to prove that minors who purchase solvent are purchasing it for the purposes of sniffing it or for other reasons.  Number 3, it is legislation that will be expensive and unnecessary in which to deal with a problem that is a health and social problem.  Number 4, the new legislation is intended to emphasize rehabilitation even though there is no solvent abuse treatment.  This will bring more youth solvent abusers into detention homes which will serve no purpose for the abusers and will only hinder them further to seek the treatment they really need.

       Mr. Speaker, I think those four points summarize the concerns that many brought forward to the committee and indicate the kind of dilemma that we face today.

       The overriding message from all those who participated at the committee stage of this bill and, in fact, on Bill 91, is that unless the government of the day is prepared to look at the root of the problem, the causes of solvent abuse, any kind of legislative action to restrict the sale of solvents, to crack down on sniffers, is meaningless.

       So, Mr. Speaker, the message was left strong and clear for this government.  I hope the message has been taken very seriously and that action will follow.  I am a little worried, based on some of the comments yesterday in debate on concurrence from the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), that this government may, in fact, again, be hiding behind jurisdictional issues to avoid acting on a serious problem.  I hope that it is not the case.  I hope that, collectively, good sense will prevail, and it will be seen by this government to be a very critical issue that needs action, regardless of whether we are dealing with individuals on reserve or off reserve, in inner cities or in the suburban parts of our communities.

       Mr. Speaker, it is widely recognized that this is a problem that can touch the lives of anyone in our province today.  No one is excluded.  Young people from all walks of life have experimented with sniff.  Some have faced the consequences in terms of very serious health problems.  Some have actually died. So the overriding message out of this whole process has been a call for action to get at the root causes of solvent abuse.

       Finally, I have to address the question, the dilemma, the quandary that our caucus has been in around this bill and that I face personally, and that is, what do we do, what is our final recommendation, how do we stand on this bill?

* (1440)

       I want to indicate today, Mr. Speaker, that we have concluded that something is better than nothing, that in fact we will give our reluctant support to Bill 29.  We will do our best to continue working hard in this area bringing these issues to the attention of government, community leaders, nonprofit organizations, and we will be looking and watching for the impact that this legislation will have in terms of dealing with a very serious problem in our society today.

       We give our reluctant support today on the understanding that with the belief that should this legislation prove to be ineffective at cracking down on those who sell solvents to young people, particularly those who deliberately prey on the vulnerabilities of our youth, that this government will return to this Legislative Assembly with amendments to this act or with new legislation that will be more effective.

       So on that note, Mr. Speaker, I want to end by thanking all those who had a role to play in ensuring that some sort of legislation will go down in our books, in our statutes after this legislative session.

       I want to thank, in particular, all those members, individuals who have been part of the Anti‑Sniff Coalition and the people against solvent abuse organization over the last several decades.  Those who have stuck with this issue, who have fought long and hard for ways to have this matter addressed, I want to pay tribute to that perseverance, that determination for trying to get a very serious problem in our communities addressed today.

       Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I just want to put a few comments on record, because this has been the bill that was brought forward and I guess it grew from Bill 91, and it is a problem that deals with people right across Manitoba and right across Canada.  We have seen examples of that even in Labrador.

       Mr. Speaker, this is a very, very serious problem that affects citizens right across.  It does not only affect minors, but this bill is dealing directly with minors, and it has been a bill that was brought forward, I think, because the government could not foresee the nonpartisan way that Bill 91 was brought forward by my colleague.  At this time, I would like to commend her for her dedication, hard work and her co‑operation with organizations and individuals that were also concerned about the solvent abuse problem.

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

       She took the time to consult with the individuals, to share their ideas and to get feedback from them.  When I was in committee, I never heard that same kind of participation by the government.  Everyone said, how come we were not consulted?  How come we never had any input into this?  These are the people that were front line workers, people that worked with the people that were solvent abusers, and it is these people that know first hand.

       It is important for any government, before they bring forward a bill such as this which impacts, hopefully, positively on individuals' lives, that they consult with the individuals, consult with the community, because they are the ones that know first‑hand what it is all about and what the individuals need to overcome some of the barriers that they need to in order to change their lives around.

       One thing with this bill, it misses two points.  I heard over and over and over from almost every individual that was giving a brief and a presentation, why are the minors being charged, and why are the minors going to be carrying a record with them for the rest of their life, I guess, instead of looking at trying to overcome what the initial bill and, hopefully, what this bill will address later, to get at the people that are supplying the solvents to these youths?  We heard that from almost every person that spoke.  They are saying incarceration will not solve the problem.  What I heard over and over and over again, and I hope the government will act on it, is they were talking about proper treatment, proper support back in the communities.

       All we have to do is look at the alcoholism rehabilitation program, just look at that as an example.  When individuals need the help, they are not charged.  They go for a treatment program where they learn about what the effects of the alcohol abuse is doing to the individuals, to their families, and on and on and on.  Then there is a treatment program and a support program for when the individuals come out.

       That is what we kept hearing over and over and over.  Yet, in this bill, there is no mention of increasing or putting in proper treatment programs, proper treatment support systems, and what we hear almost on a daily basis, we hear about a northern treatment program.  We hear from the aboriginal leaders.  We hear from the aboriginal communities.  We hear from all northerners.  We hear that over and over, and yet there is nothing that has been addressed to deal with that.

       It is easy to pass the buck onto the federal government, say it is a federal responsibility, but this bill is trying to deal with solvent abuse.  What all the individuals said, to treat solvent abuse, to solve the problem, you need treatment centres.

       When we were looking at the bill and hearing people giving their presentations, one big area that they saw missing was why is there not something in that bill to deal with the people that are supplying the solvent, whether it is for sexual favours, for money, or what have you?  We heard from people that were front‑line workers, people that were directly involved and directly knew the people and were giving us examples of why these individuals were supplying the paint thinners, the glue and other products, and they were saying that it is unscrupulous sellers that you have to try and do something about.

       My colleague mentioned that we will be supporting this, and one of the reasons that we are supporting it is, what some of the people that were giving their brief and their presentation had indicated was, at least this is a first step, that this is better than nothing.  So if that is the case, then I hope that the government will be willing to look at this through a period of time, and if certain areas are not working, certain areas have to be added to, bring in the appropriate amendments to add to it.

       Let us learn from this.  It is a step in the right direction, it is a first step.  What we have to do is try and incorporate some of the recommendations that individuals have brought forward in their briefs, and when we see through court actions or whatever process that the individuals who are supplying the products are getting off scot‑free and they are still continually supplying the minors with these solvent products, that we take measures, bring in an amendment to take measures to deal with that.

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       If the courts are being too lenient‑‑for instance, we heard from people giving presentations that one of the fears of this bill was there was no minimum fine or penalty for people who are selling or supplying solvent products.  If the judges are bringing forward too small of a fine or below acceptable fines, then let us bring back an amendment, bring in an amendment that deals with a high minimum fine to hopefully discourage people from trying it again.  We who were in the meeting heard that over and over.

       I would like to, in my own way, congratulate the government for bringing this bill.  Like I said, it is a first step.  Let us learn from it, and let us let the actions grow.  Let us do this in the most positive way we can for the betterment of the people who are abusing the solvents and who are ruining their lives.  If it takes treatment centres, if it takes support programs, if it takes the education in our school systems, let us seriously look at addressing that so that way we can eventually, in the end, hopefully help some individuals overcome the barriers that are holding the individuals back.  Let them grow and become positive citizens of Manitoba and, hopefully, give something back to the province sometime.

       So we will support this, and we look forward to see how this bill works out.  We look forward to the government's co‑operation with the interest groups and citizens of Manitoba to make this bill work, because if it works, it works for the people who need the help the most.  I think that is what these kinds of bills are all about.  Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 29‑‑

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Madam Deputy Speaker, just before you put the question, I would just very briefly thank honourable members for their contributions to the debate and discussion, not only here but also in committee, also thanks to those who came forward to committee to give us the benefit of their experience and their advice.

       I think when you look at the amendments that flowed from committee and report stage, it is evident that the government was listening and is attempting to be responsive.  Albeit our amendments do not go as far as some people, including the honourable members opposite, would like to see us go, I do think though that we have taken away from the judiciary the right to impose imprisonment on young people for abusing the substances.

       In the interests of brevity, though, I would like to call attention to the contribution made by the honourable member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) with respect to her own bill and with respect to this bill, and her service to this Legislature and to the province in general.

       I may not get another opportunity publicly to speak in this way about the honourable member for St. Johns.  She and I, I believe, came into this place at the same time and have served together and disagreed on many things and agreed on some important things.

       I would just wish her well and let her know, and I think many members will join me in this, that she is not afraid to stand up and speak out on behalf of the issues that she feels are important to do that with.  I respect her for that and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is Bill 29, The Minors Intoxicating Substances Control Act (Loi sur le controle des substances intoxicantes et les mineurs), be now read a third time and passed.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? (agreed)

* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, would you call Bill 55, and then the bills in descending order starting after that Bill 53.

 

DEBATE ON THIRD READINGS

       

Bill 55‑The Legislative Assembly Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on third reading, on the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), Bill 55, The Legislative Assembly Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'Assemblee legislative et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Finance.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Madam Deputy Speaker, our side has certainly made all of our comments on this bill, and we recommend it and commend it to the House at this time to be considered by way of vote.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 55.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? (agreed)

 

THIRD READINGS

     

Bill 53‑The Justice for Victims of Crime Amendment Act

 

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I am going to speak very briefly on Bill 53, The Justice for Victims of Crime Amendment Act.  I spoke on second reading on this particular piece of legislation, and I want to put on record again that our caucus and our party are unalterably opposed to this piece of legislation.

       According to the minister's comments on second reading, it was done to clarify the intention of The Justice for Victims of Crime Act and, Madam Deputy Speaker, this bill does not clarify the meaning of this act.  It abrogates and changes in a major, very basic way the intention of The Justice for Victims of Crime Act.  It allows the provincial government to raid the Justice for Victims of Crime fund which has been established through this piece of legislation from fines paid by individuals who have been convicted of criminal offences.

       This fund was established specifically to support projects and services external to the government itself.  This "clarification" which is a raid on the part of this government to gain more money at the expense of individuals and victims, literally, victims in this particular instance, is a travesty of justice and the government, but most particularly, the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), who in this House day after day after day stands up and unctuously states how committed he is and his government is to the concept of zero tolerance for violence, justice for victims, and all those wonderful things.  Yet, time after time in this session, bill after bill brought forward by this particular Minister of Justice, he has given the lie to that principle.

       He knows it.  His government knows it.  He is doing this because the Treasury Board has said, thou shalt cut spending‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  I wonder if I might have the co‑operation of the honourable member for Wellington. Regrettably, the motion for third reading of Bill 53 has not been duly put prior to the commencement of debate.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Certainly, I think we should strike all of that other material off the record.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, to properly introduce this bill for third reading, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 53, The Justice for Victims of Crime Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les droits des victimes d'acts criminels), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

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Point of Order

 

Ms. Barrett:  If I may, on a point of information, or a point of order before I begin, I would like to ask if the comments that I put on the record prior will remain on the record?

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Yes, your previous comments will indeed remain on the record, and you may continue your debate on third reading of Bill 53.

* * *

Ms. Barrett:  I will conclude my remarks.  I think I have stated fairly forcefully our government's position on Bill 53.

An Honourable Member:  Is there any way you could make a clear . . . ?

Ms. Barrett:  I am not sure, in response to the Minister of Justice's question to me, if there was any way I could make clearer our feelings about this piece of legislation.  I must regretfully inform the Minister of Justice there is no way within the bounds of parliamentary procedure, and within the rules of this House for me to make it any clearer.

       I wish I could, Madam Deputy Speaker, because perhaps if I could be a little clearer or a little more forceful, I might, on behalf of, literally, the victims of criminal actions in this province who are going to potentially and probably in actuality, suffer as a result of Bill 53.  I wish that I could speak out even more forcefully on their behalf, and I wish the Minister of Justice would listen.

       However, we have seen an enormous deafness having arisen on the part of the government members when listening to the cries and the concerns being raised by Manitobans from Churchill to Steinbach, from Dauphin to Sprague.  With those remarks, I will conclude our debate on Bill 53 and state that we will be, as we did in second reading, unalterably opposed to this piece of legislation.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 53, The Justice for Victims of Crime Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les droits des victimes d'actes criminels).  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the question?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Yeas and Nays, please.

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

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 53, The Justice for Victims of Crime Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les droits des victimes d'actes criminels.

       All those in favour of the motion will please rise.

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 27, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I was paired with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted against the bill.

 

Bill 49‑The Summary Convictions Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 49, The Summary Convictions Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les poursuites sommaires et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

 

Bill 47‑The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2)

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh), that Bill 47, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2) (Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur la location a usage d'habitation), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak one last time against these amendments.  These are very significant amendments.  They are going to affect approximately 100,000 apartment units in the province of Manitoba.

       Mr. Speaker, they were done with undue haste.  It is only 10 months since The Residential Tenancies Act was proclaimed.  This minister claims to have had broad consultation, but in fact she has not even appointed her advisory committee.

       This process has been very different than the process that was used to bring in The Residential Tenancies Act, an act that was supported by all three parties in this Legislature because the process was fair and just.  There were representatives of tenants.  There were representatives of landlords, and there were representatives of civil servants.  They issued consensus recommendations and near‑consensus recommendations, and their report was made public.  It was the basis of the legislation. That legislation had a rough trip, but eventually it got passed with the support of all three parties.

       What happened this time?  This time this minister consulted her Tory landlord friends.  She alleges to have consulted one group, the Housing Coalition.  She said I am a member of it, I would like to put on the record I am not a member of the Housing Coalition.  It does have one or two people who are renters on it, but they do not primarily represent tenants.  They represent people who are interested in housing issues, including some civil servants.  All good people, but not truly a tenants‑only organization.

* (1520)

       This minister has made major changes in The Residential Tenancies Act.  One of the most controversial areas of the review committee discussion was on security deposits, tenants' money. We are talking here about $25 million of tenants' money in security deposits, and the issues are who is going to monitor them, who is going to control it, and who is going to make sure that the money is there when the tenants move out?

       The compromise position, not the position that tenants wanted, not the position that landlords or property managers wanted, was there would be security‑deposit‑in‑trust provisions, which this government did.  They gave landlords one year to set them up, September 1, 1993.  I think it is very significant that we are passing this on July 27, 1993, because if these amendments have not been approved or were not approved‑‑they are certainly going to pass because the government has a majority‑‑but if these amendments had not been brought in, those landlords would have been required to put the security deposits in trust by September 1.  Now they do not have to.

       Do we know whether the money is there?  Do we know whether the landlords lobbied this minister and said, we do not want to put these security deposits in trust by September 1, 1993 because we do not have the money?

       Some of them have probably spent it.  Some of them use it for their cash flow.  In fact, that is why we were opposed to landlords having control over security deposits in the first place, because we believed many landlords used it for their cash flow.

       In fact, I did some research for these amendments.  I phoned my landlord.  I said, what do you think of these amendments.  He said, oh, they are great.  I said why?  He said, because we need that money for our cash flow.  Well, that is exactly what I was saying about landlords for the last 10 years.

       Some of them I would have to say, not all of them, but some of them do not keep the money in a bank account so that it is there when the tenants move out.  This leads to all kinds of problems when tenants do move out.  Tenants need that money for their next security deposit.

       The rules for social assistance have been changed, so they do not get a second one.  What do they do?  They take the money out of their food allowance, their personal needs allowance, or their household needs allowance, and then they go to a food bank so they can eat.  This is unconscionable that this minister should not have strict provisions to make sure that that money is there.

       What have they done?  They have given this gift of $25 million to landlords and said, do whatever you want with it. They did not even wait one year to require them to put the money in the trust provisions that were in the act.

       What is going to happen now?  Well, security deposits in trust are not the only concern.  Not only do they not have to return it to the tenant or the department within 14 days.  Now they have 28 days, and the minister sent me a note.  I appreciate the note she sent across the Chamber.  She said, well, the reason we are doing this is because it helps tenants, because in the past the landlords came down and they said, oh, we do not have a final estimate of the cost; give us a few more days.  They kept dragging it out and dragging it out.

       Well, how much time does a landlord need?  All they need to do is go into the suite once when it is empty, ascertain how much it is going to cost to make repairs, if any repairs need to be made, and then tell the department what that figure is and remit the money with a claim.  Landlords do not need 28 days.  They are just going to put it in a daily interest account and earn interest on that money for 28 days, and it is the tenants' money.

       When tenants sign a lease, they have to make the deposit up front at the same time they sign the lease.  What do landlords get?  Landlords get 28 days.  These are two gifts that this minister has given to landlords.  First of all, she has given them a gift of $25 million.  Now she is saying, you can keep that money for 28 days instead of 14 days.

       There are so many things that are bad about this bill, that in the time I have been allocated I could not begin to list them all.  This minister has made major changes in the area of furniture.  Now, furniture is another area where low‑income tenants in particular are very vulnerable, because the landlord can charge an exorbitant amount for the furniture and the controls that used to be there are not there.

       The landlord can withdraw services.  If a landlord wants to get rid of a tenant, the landlord can withdraw all kinds of services in order to encourage the tenant to move out.

An Honourable Member:  They can open his windows, take his windows away.

Mr. Martindale:  Well, the member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans), gives a very good example.  When we were on the review committee, one of the things we had to put in the act was a requirement that the landlord have a door.  That may seem kind of absurd, but the reason was that somebody had a problem at the Residential Tenancies Branch, and they won because the previous act only said a doorknob, it did not require a door.  So some slum landlord went and he won because the act did not refer to a door.

       I mean, there are all kinds of tricks that landlords will play.  For example, I was on a board of directors with an individual I will not name because I would not want to embarrass a current city councillor.  We were afraid that a particular tenant would not move out.  He said, well, my father and I, when our tenants do not move out, we take the doors off‑‑totally illegal, because the landlord must provide heat at a certain temperature.

       I think these laws need to be greatly improved for many low‑income tenants.  They need the protection.  What landlord and tenant laws are really about is balancing the power between landlords and tenants, and landlords have always had more power. They have always had the ability to hire lawyers who understand the legislation and to protect their interest.  Tenants normally do not have the wherewithal to hire a lawyer to protect their interest.  In fact, the act costs $11 or $12 at Queen's Printer.

       This minister has an obligation to do as much education as she possibly can with landlords and tenants to emphasize and to educate people as to what their rights are and what their responsibilities are.

       One of the good things about the act is that it does talk about rights for landlords and responsibilities for landlords and rights for tenants and responsibilities for tenants.  That is one of the good things about the original act, and fortunately the minister did not touch that part of the act.

       In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, this is a terrible bill.  These are terrible amendments.  They are not going to provide the kind of protection that tenants need for their money, the $25 million of security deposits that is their money.  Thank you.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to say a few things about this bill.  One of the difficulties of legislation coming in close to summer and being debated through the July month is the very little public debate that has taken place on this bill, which we believe is a manifestation of the landlord lobby that has operated fully with the Conservative Party of Manitoba ever since the Premier (Mr. Filmon) was the Minister responsible for Consumer and Corporate Affairs in the early '80s, and has continued on through successive ministries to fulfill the agenda of the landlords of Manitoba.

       Mr. Speaker, there is no question that legislation dealing with landlords and tenants has to be balanced.  We want a fair return for the investment, and we want fair accommodations and arrangements for accommodations for tenants.  But there is no question in our mind that the government has, in a very, very insidious way, changed the balance dramatically to side with the landlords and friends of the Conservative Party, rather than with the tenants.

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       Let me go over a couple of issues in this bill that have not caught any public attention.  One is the issue of Section 134(3), dealing with condominiums.  Maybe this is the Donald Trump section of this bill by the minister responsible for this bill, a bill that allows condominium‑‑well, the minister makes some very rude gestures, but that does not change the fact that by stating that 134(3) is repealed, that is dealing with 136‑‑(interjection)

       Well, the minister mentions Jimmy Carter.  The minister will know one of the things that was stated at the ecumenical presentations of Habitat for Humanity was the whole issue that people should own houses and be fairly treated in housing, not have a few people control the housing stock for many.

       But, Mr. Speaker, this is a conversion of condos, and the notice for conversion of rental apartments to be converted into condominiums.  This was meant to protect, particularly those people who lived in residences, particularly seniors who lived in the downtown area of Winnipeg, from capricious changes made by landlords at a certain period of time when the market changes, to kick people out unless they bought their apartments as condominiums.

       There was a procedure in place to allow particularly elderly people to protect themselves with the old Sections 136 and 136(2).  The government never had that, and the minister never had that in her press release.  They did not want to tell the people of Manitoba what was really intended in this bill.  It is one of these little, little insidious amendments, that this section is repealed.

       If the minister was confident of the changes, why was it not in her original press release?  Why did she hide that from the people of Manitoba?  Why did she not declare that as part of the legislative changes?  It is very, very, very difficult to raise this issue, and we are very disappointed with the minister in that change.

       A second change is in the way in which landlords can unilaterally change‑‑boy, the landlords have done very well with this minister.  They may make her the person of the year, Mr. Speaker.  The may make the minister responsible person of the year, because look at 138(1) and 138(3).  The tenants' rights when services are withdrawn could be dealt with by an adjudicator.

       The minister may turn her back on the tenants of Manitoba and may turn her back on the people in this Chamber, but we are not going to let the tenants forget who has allowed the landlords of this province to unilaterally change the services and deny them the rights to deal in a fair and reasonable way with those changes.

       How would you like it, Mr. Speaker, if your services, your fridge services, your stove services, your other essential services could be unilaterally changed?  Your apartment could be painted pink in the middle of the night; your apartment could be painted Tory blue in the middle of the night, it could painted all kinds of colours and what could you do about it?

       It may not be the apartment you originally rented, it may not be the services you originally intended to have, but you could have it unilaterally changed by the government of the day.  You know, the government has again given a major power to landlords to use the change of services to kick people out of their apartments.

Some Honourable Members:  Come on.

Mr. Doer:  Well, Mr. Speaker, the members opposite are naive or are not paying attention, because even though the vacancy rate in Winnipeg is high, of course because of the terrible economic policies of members opposite, this does not mean that all vacancy rates in all regions of the city or the province are very high.

       Again, usually it is the downtown areas or the older areas where a lot of seniors reside or people who are not necessarily having all the means to be as mobile as they would like, and landlords could just willy‑nilly change the services.  Look at the definition of services.

       Now, did the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) tell us about that amendment, that little insidious change for the landlords in this province?  No.  She is turning her back on those people.

       Mr. Speaker, I really believe that any government that allows landlords to change the conditions for fridges and stoves in apartments does not understand the plight of tenants and certainly has again had another Donald Trump clause in this contract to just trample over the rights of tenants and trample over the rights of 100,000 renters in this province.

       They do not care.  This minister does not care.  She just walked out on all the renters in Manitoba.

       Lastly, there are conditions under this bill dealing with the whole issue of calculations for purposes of rent regulation period.  The rent regulation period has gone from 15 years down to three or four years, or for six years.  The changes in late fees for rent gives landlords much more power for establishing interest rates, et cetera.

       This bill is clearly a result of a very quiet and direct landlord lobby, a very effective lobby because they have Tory ministers that do their bidding in bringing in unbalanced legislation that allows the few developers in this city to profit at the expense of the 100,000 renters in this province.

       The minister said before in this Chamber that she had literally thousands of names of renters that she has talked to and listened to.  We do not know who they are.  Certainly the people in the rent advocacy area have not been consulted on this bill.  I hope that all political parties oppose this bill at third reading.

       I was a little disappointed the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) voted with the government at second reading at committee, but I am sure they have caucused this issue and I am sure they are aware of all the very negative effects on renters.

       I would ask the Liberals to join with the NDP and vote for a fair and balanced treatment for tenants and renters in this province and vote against the landlord lobby as manifested by the Tories in this bill before us in this Chamber.  Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I just want to put on the record that it is a pretty tough time for a lot of tenants in Manitoba right now.  I know in my own constituency I have talked to many people facing 10 and 11 percent rent increases even with our existing rent control legislation.

       I think this is a really disgusting piece of back‑room legislation.  This is the clearest attempt on behalf of a minister, I think, in this session, to show bias towards a lobby group that has the ear of the Conservative Party, that is an arm of the Conservative Party.  That is some of the landlords.  I do not say all, because many landlords have not even asked for this kind of legislation.

       I have fought four elections in Thompson and, lo and behold, surprising as it may be, I believe that a handful of landlords in Thompson have financed the entire Tory election campaign.  In 1981, they outspent us three to one.  We won.  In 1986, they outspent us three to one again.  In 1988, the same thing.  In the last election, 1990, I think they outspent us four to one.  They had a candidate who was able to walk into a $75,000‑a‑year job when she lost, but the power of the landlord lobby could not defeat the power of the people.

       The lesson to this government is:  Remember the lesson of 1981.  You took on the tenants of this province.  You said, yes sir, yes madam, to the landlords, to that landlord lobby from within your party.  The end result was you were defeated.

       I look to some of the members opposite who will remember that.  The Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), I wonder where he stands on this bill, because when he was minister dealing with this particular legislation he said no to the landlords.  This minister said yes.  This minister said, what do you want?  We will put it in.

       They did it, Mr. Speaker.  That is why we are opposed to this bill.  I say in the next election it is going to be like 1981 all over again.  There is only one party that has stood for the tenants of this province.  It is not the Liberals who voted for this bill in committee.  It is not the Tories who say anything to the landlords.  It is the New Democratic Party.

Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Housing):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 46, please.

 

Bill 46‑The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act

 

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), that Bill 46, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'indemnisation des victimes d'actes criminels), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Concordia (Mr. Doer), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 45, please.

 

Bill 45‑The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act

 

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), that Bill 45, The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les armoiries, les emblemes et le tartan du Manitoba), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

* (1540)

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 44.

 

Bill 44‑The Alcoholism Foundation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings), that Bill 44, The Alcoholism Foundation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Fondation manitobaine de lutte contre l'alcoolisme et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I just want to put a few words on record pertaining to this bill.

       Mr. Speaker, the Alcoholism Foundation has always dealt with people who had drinking problems, and then they stepped into narcotics addictions.  Now they are working with alcoholics and people who are abusing substances pertaining to narcotics.

       One caution I would like to bring up again is by changing the name of the Alcoholism Foundation to Addictions Foundation, I hope, like I said before in my speech, that is not a guise to try and put individuals who have solvent abuse problems to treatment centres that are set up to deal with alcoholism across Manitoba. We have treatment centres now in Winnipeg, we have treatment centres in Ste. Rose du Lac and we have a treatment centre in Thompson that has assisted many northerners who have had alcohol‑related problems.  Through the treatment program and the support systems that are in place in the communities, a lot of individuals have had the opportunity to overcome their problems dealing with alcohol.

       If this name change, the government hopes, will take care of the solvent abuse problems, I think it will be a big mistake unless they have adequate funding and resources and appropriate training for the staff who are there to deal with a totally, totally different problem pertaining to solvent abuse versus alcohol or narcotics.

       Mr. Speaker, with those words, I just caution the government and will be monitoring it very, very closely.  If they are going to be tying in solvent abuse problems, put adequate training dollars in place and make sure there are adequate dollars to hire additional staff, so that for the staff who are in place now dealing with the problems that exist for the centres, there will not be additional responsibilities on top of their existing workload.

       So with those cautionary words, like I say, we will be watching this closely, and we will be supporting the government on this, in trust.  We hope it will be just a name change and not a paper guise to look as if they are dealing with solvent abuse across Manitoba.  Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 44, The Alcoholism Foundation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Fondation manitobaine de lutte contre l'alcoolisme et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi, be now read a third time and passed. (agreed)

* * *

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Would you call Bill 43, please.

 

Bill 43‑The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  I move, seconded by the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), that Bill 43, The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Fondation manitobaine des loteries et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  The question before the House was third reading of Bill 43.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

* * *

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, could you call Bill 42, please.

 

Bill 42‑The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  I move, seconded by the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), (by leave) that Bill 42, The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la reglementation des alcools et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be now read a third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable acting government House leader have leave for third reading of Bill 42? (agreed)

Motion presented.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, I will be fairly brief on this legislation.  I want to begin by thanking members of the committee, including the minister and the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) last night for providing leave for the committee to introduce an amendment to the bill which was technically out of scope.

       The amendment had to do with an amendment requiring the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission to warn consumers of alcohol of some of the dangers inherent in alcohol consumption.  One of the principal reasons why that issue was before committee was a concern that I and other members of the Legislature and certainly many, many members of my constituency have with respect to the impact of alcohol on unborn children.

       The fact of the matter is fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects are more common in North America than any other form of impairment.

       We used to talk and hear a great deal about Down's syndrome. We used to talk about spina bifida.  The fact of the matter is that fetal alcohol syndrome is now the most important source of impairment on unborn children on our continent.

       Mr. Speaker, I and others who have taught and travelled in northern Manitoba know that many of our communities are affected by alcohol consumption.  Nowhere are the effects more apparent or more devastating than on the children who are afflicted by fetal alcohol syndrome.  The costs to society are horrendous.  They measure in the millions and millions of dollars.

       I think that although it is now up to the Manitoba Liquor Commission, which has been given the power by regulation to warn consumers of alcohol of some of these dangers, I believe that it is an important first step.  I believe that the Manitoba Liquor Commission will be taking on the task of implementing the amendments to The Manitoba Liquor Control Act in a responsible and diligent way.  That is my hope, Mr. Speaker, and I will be watching that with a great deal of interest.

       Mr. Speaker, I know there are some in our society who would suggest the application of a warning label is not in and of itself sufficient, that it is not going to make that much difference.  I remind people that 25 years ago when many people began to lobby for the application of a warning label on cigarettes, there were those, particularly the industry, who said it will not have any impact.  To this very day, people inside the tobacco industry would deny that warnings on cigarette packages have any impact.

* (1550)

       But, Mr. Speaker, something caused the change in society's attitude towards smoking.  Something caused it, because today it is unacceptable for people to smoke thoughtlessly in the presence of others.  It is unacceptable for people to smoke in many, many public places by by‑law and by custom.

       I believe that over the long haul beginning to make people aware of the effects that alcohol can have on the developing fetus is an issue which education and awareness over the long run will serve to correct.  Mr. Speaker, we are never going to stop in total the effects of alcohol during pregnancy, but I think we can start here.

       Mr. Speaker, having said that and having indicated last night that my caucus wholeheartedly supports that amendment and thanks the members of the committee and the government for agreeing to include that amendment in the bill, the fact of the matter is that this bill falls short in many respects.

       It was instructive to listen to presenters at committee last night, because this did not represent simply a collection of individuals who oppose alcohol consumption for their own personal or religious reason.  There were representatives of the Mennonite community there, representatives of the United Church.  There were representatives of other interest groups who expressed concern over the liberalization of liquor laws in the province of Manitoba.

       Mr. Speaker, what was interesting was that we saw a coalition developing who have genuine concerns about the approach the government is taking with respect to liquor sales in particular. We had representatives of the Manitoba Government Employees' Union, members of the Manitoba Liquor Commission, liquor inspectors, other individuals who are concerned about the privatization of liquor sales in the province.  We have concern of the average citizen with the prospect of private liquor stores on every street corner.  We have the prospect of Harry's liquor emporium being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Americanization of the sale of liquor.

       Mr. Speaker, even Mrs. Loscerbo, who was mentioned here, who would have liked some liberalization of the resale laws, acknowledged, when asked a direct question, that she did not want to see the Americanization of liquor sales in the province of Manitoba.

       We have a custom and a practice in Manitoba that has served us well.  I think we have to be very careful in amending it. Virtually all of the people who presented last night would ask the government in all sincerity to withdraw this legislation, to start again and have the public consultation that is necessary before we continue on in any massive way with the liberalization of alcohol sales, and particularly before we begin the process of privatizing alcohol sales.

       Mr. Speaker, one of the most interesting presenters last night was a man by the name of Mr. Choate who represented Alberta Distillers Ltd., one of the largest purchasers of rye from western Canada in the production of alcohol.  What he said was quite interesting, because Alberta and B.C. have considerable experience with wine boutiques and the privatization of wine sales.  What he told us was that most of those private wine stores would not be surviving were it not for the indirect subsidy the government was granting them.

       I remind members that this government is not about creating a level playing field with the Liquor Commission.  What this government is about is giving private wine sellers the right to remain open longer hours than the Liquor Commission, and they are giving deeper discounts to the individuals; in other words, costing the government of Manitoba revenue to operate in competition with the Liquor Commission.

       Mr. Speaker, even the presenters who are interested in pursuing the possibility of selling wine privately acknowledge that the Manitoba Liquor Commission has done a good job.  They acknowledge that the Liquor Commission over the past few years has worked diligently to be more customer‑oriented, to meet the needs of wine enthusiasts, to be informed as sellers and suppliers of wine, to answer questions the public may have.  So this is an unnecessary move.

       I want to add to that coalition which opposes the liberalization of liquor sales and the privatization of liquor sales, and some other amendments that were suggested.  Added to that coalition has to be the Manitoba Hotel Association and a representative of one of the largest chains of hotels, cocktail lounges, beverage licence owners in the province, who expressed concern about the changing of the rules of the game so dramatically and so often.

       Mr. Speaker, so it was not simply a matter of those who have personal concerns about the consumption of alcohol who were there opposing this legislation.  It was a coalition of those people who have genuine personal, religious convictions opposed to this kind of a process.  It was a coalition of people who are employed by the Manitoba Liquor Commission, who are supporters of the Manitoba Liquor Commission, who believe the Liquor Commission has done an adequate, if not an excellent, job.

       Then it is a coalition, as well, of members of the hospitality industry who believe the playing field is adequate and that the amendments the government was introducing were going to cost jobs, were going to create uncertainty with respect to future investment, large‑scale investment, and I think that is something we should be concerned about.

       Having acknowledged the co‑operation of the government in passing a single amendment that I think goes some way towards balancing the direction the government is taking by acknowledging the problems we are creating, in fact there are many, many problems with this particular piece of legislation as we heard last night in committee.

       Mr. Speaker, with those remarks we are prepared to let this issue come to a vote.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (River Heights):  Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this bill, because I think some very positive things happened to this bill en route to this third reading.  I want to speak about some of those positive changes today.

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

       What we did in the amendment process last night was I think something I have been advocating in this House for some time with a lot of support from members from all sides of this House.  When I first raised, some three years ago, the issue of fetal alcohol syndrome, there was an immediate response from members in all political parties that if there was something we could do about this particular syndrome then we should in fact do so.

       It has taken some time.  The first step on the part of the government was to put up posters in liquor stores indicating that there were indeed problems with fetal alcohol syndrome and people should educate themselves.  Although that was a good first step, Madam Deputy Speaker, I think it has still failed to address all of the requirements needed in order to prevent these very substantial fetal deformities which lead to very serious birth defects.

       It has been estimated that a child with severe fetal alcohol syndrome can cost society anywhere from $1 million to $1.5 million in their lifetime, not only because of the additional medical costs, but the additional education costs and the support services required for this individual child.

* (1600)

       As a result of last night's amendment, we now have in law a regulation‑‑well, actually in the law, not in the regulation itself but in the law‑‑a process by which the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission will have to look at ways to inform the public each time they purchase an item for alcoholic consumption within a liquor outlet.  They have not determined exactly what that process will be, and I think that at this stage that is reasonable.

       The minister indicated in her remarks last night that some preliminary studies had indicated it would cost some $3 million to label the bottles and there was also a federal process whereby they were examining this.  I must say that I had some regret when the former Minister of Health at the national level, the Honourable Benoit Bouchard, had indicated that he had not heard from a single Minister of Health across the country with respect to labels being placed on bottles.  If he had heard from ministers across the country, then he might have been prepared to act.

       I urged our Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to act at that time, and he chose not to do so.  I think that is deeply regrettable, because obviously if this labelling could be put on at the bottling when other labels are placed and it would become part of the federal labelling act, then it would be a much simpler process and would cost the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission nothing.  It would be absorbed as part of the manufacturers' costs.  I think that obviously is the preferred way to go.

       So I wish the minister good fortune, quite frankly, in coming up with whether it will be the bags that liquor is placed in, the boxes it is placed in, the bottles themselves, which I think is still the preferred option.  Whatever we come up with will be better than what we presently have, and that was a positive thing.  We had lots of jokes last night about how people who liked sausages and obeyed laws should not see either one of them being made.  I think that is true, but last night, if I can say with respect to this particular provision of this bill, good law was made because it was very much a beginning to some serious address paid to the whole issue of fetal alcohol syndrome.

       With respect to the bill itself, Madam Deputy Speaker, there were a number of presenters who made presentations last night that gave me grave cause for concern.  One of the areas of concern was with respect to the potential of lost revenue for the Province of Manitoba by what would appear on the surface to be, I think, an exciting new adventure, that there might be an attempt to establish some wine boutiques that would give Manitobans a broader variety of choice.

       But when they started to look more seriously at the number figures, and we began to look at figures like $16 million and $17 million that might be lost to the Province of Manitoba as a result of sales within these boutiques and that this money would then be lost to the province to spend on social issues and on health care issues, then I have to suggest I began to have very serious reservations about what was transpiring here.

       I also have to say, Madam Deputy Speaker, that in my years in this House, we have always done this kind of event.  Here we are, on what is supposed to be the last day, and there we were at one o'clock in the morning, making amendments to laws, the amendments written out in longhand, nobody even sure how they could be read, asking those in the audience who were interested whether or not this met their particular need or whether it did not meet their particular need.  It is not the way to make law.

       If we are serious about what we do in this Chamber, we have to review the rules.  There should be no way in which a bill is amended, literally, less than 24 hours before we are going to adjourn this House and have those amendments be substantial in form.  That is what we were doing.  We were making substantial amendments to legislation, amendments that are going to affect people for years to come, and there we were, doing it at 1 a.m. in the morning, expecting these same MLAs and staffpersons to be in here early this morning and to keep on going.

       I would recommend to the House leaders, because I know they have worked on it in the past, to please do something in the process before we meet in this Chamber again, so we can find ways that we can make laws that make rational sense, instead of the ways in which we make laws, quite frankly, what appears so often to me to be on the fly.

       I hope we can come to that kind of agreement, because I think everybody in this House wants to do the right thing, wants to pass legislation which is legitimate, which is valuable, which does truly what the intention was of the original drafters and the amendments that are legitimately made.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, with that, I propose that we bring this matter to a vote.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 42, The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la reglementation des alcools et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois).  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  No?  All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

An Honourable Member:  On division.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  On division.

 

Bill 41‑The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, with the leave of the House, I move, seconded by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), (by leave) that Bill 41, The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be now read a third time and passed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave of the House to proceed through third reading of Bill 41? (agreed)

Motion presented.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  I move, seconded by the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 40‑The Legal Aid Services Society of Manitoba Amendment and Crown Attorneys Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme), that Bill 40, The Legal Aid Services Society of Manitoba Amendment and Crown Attorneys Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Societe d'aide juridique du Manitoba et la Loi sur les procureurs de la Couronne), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  No?  All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

 

Bill 37‑The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), that Bill 37, The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Societe d'assurance publique du Manitoba et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 36‑The Highway Traffic Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), that Bill 36, The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Loi modifiant le Code de la route), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 32‑The Social Allowances Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), that Bill 32, The Social Allowances Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  We have a number of speakers at this point in time on the bill.  In fact, I know the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) wishes to speak, and the member for Concordia (Mr. Doer) and the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).  I, personally, will be voting against this bill.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  I just want to say a few things on the record on The Social Allowances Amendment Act.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, the government's defence on this bill has been absolutely inadequate all the way through the debate, and ever since the announcement was made in this Chamber by the Conservative government.

       There are three issues in social assistance, fairness, opportunity through education and training and work, so that people can have dignity and life‑skills training to eventually go from dependency to independence.  On every one of those key issues dealing with social assistance, the Conservatives have turned back the clock.  They have changed the standardization to mean that about 80 percent of people, families with children, two to three children, would suffer the most by Conservative economic changes.  They have absolutely negated all the potential and former programs to get social assistance people on work programs, save a lobby by the Conservatives in Crescentwood and River Heights that resulted ultimately in a Dutch elm disease program.

       The last and most ridiculous change this government has made has been the elimination of the social allowance provisions manifested through The Social Allowances Amendment Act of Manitoba.  What logic can there be, because the minister will know, and that is why he and the Premier (Mr. Filmon), the Premier from Tuxedo, was unable to table at any point in time the cost benefit of this decision?

       Now, first of all you have to understand that social allowances and social assistance is cost‑shared 50 percent by the federal government.  So the money that they are alleging they are saving is not being saved.  It is only 50 percent of the money is being allegedly saved.

       But, Madam Deputy Speaker, when you look at the fact that most of those people, instead of going into education and training and remain on education and training, will go onto municipal assistance, which is cost‑shared by the provincial government, and then will go onto provincial social assistance later.  You will not be saving more than $100,000 over what looks to be a $4‑million cut‑‑$100,000.  Now, what is the long‑term cost to the people of Manitoba for that $100,000 change?

       The Conference Board of Canada has calculated that for every person who is unable to get education and training, it costs Canada, Manitoba, some $29,000 over their lifetime.  Much of that money is on increased dependency on the state and therefore an increased drain on the revenues and expenditures and an increased cost to the taxpayers.

       So it takes three social allowance students out of the 1,100 to break even from the decision that was made by the provincial government, the Premier, the minister responsible for Treasury Board, and the Minister of Family Services, let alone the 1,100 people who are being cut off by this government through their decision, and that results in some cost per year of long‑term costs to the people of Manitoba of some $32 million.  Those are the strict economics of the decision the government has made.

       Obviously, this is one of those decisions that trickled down from the Premier to the Treasury Board, trickled down from the Treasury Board over to the minister, trickled down from the deputy minister and the assistant deputy ministers into the department, and it superficially looks like they are saving $4 million, but they are not.  They are saving $100,000 at most, and it is going to cost and cost and cost.

       Remember that commercial, you can pay me now or you can pay me later?  This is a government that believes in you can pay me later and later and later and more and more and more.  This is a government that believes in increased welfare costs, in increased numbers of people on welfare.  This is a welfare government, because everything they do and every time they make a decision, it increases dependency and increases the costs of social assistance and increases the number of people on welfare‑‑the welfare government, the welfare Premier from Tuxedo.  This is the great irony of members opposite.

       So the economics, Madam Deputy Speaker, are undeniable.  They are undeniable, and that is why the government has not produced one shred of evidence on the 18 questions we have asked in this Legislature to justify their decision.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) from Tuxedo stood up here and said, no other province is doing this, so therefore we have to cut it.  That was his first defence.  Even yesterday, he had this pathetic recorded announcement to justify the decision they had made.  What an absolute inadequate answer to the people of Manitoba.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) and the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) have shot holes in his arguments about other provinces, so his arguments are absolutely in tatters, and his logic is falling like a house of cards because there is no fact behind his assertion.

       So that is the one argument they made.  Nobody else is doing it, so we are not going to do it.  Nobody else has medicare, so we are going to get rid of medicare.  Nobody else has home care, so we are going to get rid of home care.  Nobody else has people working instead of going on social assistance, so we are going to get rid of that program established by the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans).  What brilliant logic.  Everybody jumps off the pier and we are going to jump off with them because we do not want to be the only one standing on dry land, being intelligent about our social assistance.

       So there is no economic justification.  This so‑called tough decision that had to be made by the government was a stupid decision.  It was utterly and totally economically stupid.

       Let us look at the other part of this issue, the whole issue of dignity for people, the whole issue of giving people an opportunity.  On this one, there is absolutely no humanity and no heart left with the government of the day, because as they stated in their Speech from the Throne, education and training is the key that will unlock the opportunities, the economic opportunities for our province and for people.  These are only words cut out of a Brian Mulroney Decima poll.

       Every time Tories are in front of a group of people, they talk about education and training and making Canada more competitive and giving people opportunities and providing the opportunities we need.  They provide the flourish of rhetoric, and then they go and decimate those very same programs, whether they are in the community colleges, the ACCESS programs, the BUNTEP programs or in the programs of students social allowance.

       They do not believe in education and training for people. They believe if you are lucky enough to come from a family that has the good fortune to send its children to an advanced state of school, you can get that education, and if you are unlucky enough to come from circumstances that do not allow you to get it, we are not going to have an opportunity or programs provided by the public to let people have a fair chance.

       But we believe in a different philosophy.  We believe that everybody should, as much as possible, start at the same starting line in life.  To start at the same starting line in life, the one area that we can help people start at the same place in terms of providing for a career and dignity is education and training. There is no other better program for young people today and young adults today than education and training.

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       We do not believe that education and training is a lottery. We do not believe, like the Tories, it is a lottery, that if you are born into a rich and wealthy family you win the lottery prize and can go to university, can get an education and training.

       Life should not be a lottery for education and training.  It should be an opportunity that society provides so each and every one of us can fulfill to the greatest of our abilities, our talent, our aptitudes, our skills and our contributions to our collective society in Manitoba and in Canada.

       So, we reject the lotto training program of the Conservatives opposite, and we support a social welfare program and social allowance programs that are fair, that provide for work opportunities so people can get back on their feet, and also and most importantly, provides for education and training so that people can get back on their feet and off the cycle of dependency.

       Shame on the Conservatives for bringing this forward.  Shame on the minister, shame on the Premier (Mr. Filmon).  Let us have a last whiff of conscience on members opposite, let their conscience be their guide.  Let us not have an education system that is based on luck, let us have an education system based on fairness, and let us vote against this bill in this Chamber today.

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to add a few words in this debate on this legislation, which is without question a backward step taken by this government along with some other backward steps that have been taken in this session by this government, including the cuts to Home Care, the scaling down of Pharmacare benefits, and now the attack on student training of young people and others who are on social allowances.

       All of these are backward steps.  I think back when they were first brought in under the previous NDP governments of Schreyer and Pawley.  We went forward.  We brought in a lot of useful social programs, progressive programs that provided opportunities for people, that lifted people up who did not have the same opportunities as others, disadvantaged people, programs that helped the elderly, programs that helped the sick.

       Now we see a scaling back, we see an erosion, we see an attack on all these useful social programs, Home Care, Pharmacare, property tax credits, that have very much affected low‑income people, those cuts and so on.

       Now we have this particular bill on students, on training of those who are on social allowances.  As our Leader said, we are concerned about fairness for people, we are concerned about proper education and training for our people, and we are concerned about providing an opportunity to have a work experience so that people then could go on and be as independent as possible.

       Surely government has an obligation to do everything and anything possible to help people get off of welfare, to get off of social allowance, to become independent, to become productive, to produce the goods and services for all of us to benefit from.

       As our Leader has said, the cost savings here are definitely illusion.  There is no question that you are not going to save the money you think you will be.  In fact, in terms of what these people could be doing with their training it is definitely backward because perhaps they would definitely not be able to be as productive in various fields as they could have been with proper training.  So there is no question that it is a backward step.

       I think back, Madam Deputy Speaker, to initiatives that were taken a few years ago in the Pawley administration, '82‑83.  We had a major employment program where we zeroed in, among others, on people on social allowances.  I think it was a very positive experience.  It gave work experience to thousands of people, training experience to thousands of people who would not have had that otherwise.  I reject the criticism, these were just make‑work projects; it was a waste of money added to the debt. That is nonsense.  That is false.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, we gained from that.  Manitoba gained from that, because we gave opportunities to people, including our young people.  I still run across people who say they had a chance to get experience.  They had a chance to get a job because of the Manitoba jobs program which, among other things, did give opportunities to those people on welfare, those people on social assistance.  They thanked us for that.  They said this was an opportunity‑‑I would not have had a job otherwise; I learned something and based on that experience, I was able to go on and become employed in another permanent job.

       So I say to this government they should look at some of the experiences we had and some of the lessons from the past where we made a major effort through the Manitoba jobs program, a major effort to provide work opportunities for people on social assistance.  Now, we have municipalities who are desperately crying out for help to provide jobs for people on welfare.  The city of Winnipeg, the largest city in our province, has 16,000, 17,000 cases today of people on welfare.

       They have put forward a program which has the endorsement of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, a program that is going to improve the infrastructure in the city of Winnipeg sewer and water systems, among other things, will utilize the skills and energies and services of people, several thousand people on welfare, and provide something of benefit to this community, provide something of benefit to the province of Manitoba.  As the chamber has pointed out, the money is being paid out anyway.  So we are not looking at an effort in this case that is going to decrease considerably the expenditure levels of the government.

       For the life of me, I do not know why this government is dragging its feet in this matter, why it does not get on and sign an agreement with the City of Winnipeg.  I appreciate there is a need for federal assistance and federal involvement, but at some point in time, you simply have to take the initiative and go to it.

       I would hope the same for other municipalities, including the city of Brandon, Portage, Dauphin, Flin Flon, Thompson and other municipalities that may have a number of people on social assistance who would like to utilize the funding we now have under the social assistance program to provide work opportunities for those individuals.

       As I said, Madam Deputy Speaker, instead of going forward using our imagination, being progressive about the matter, all we see are cutbacks and erosion and a tax on existing programs.  One that fits very well into this as another example is the scaling back of the Human Resources Opportunity Program.  The Human Resources Opportunity Centre in Dauphin was one of the latest victims of the cutbacks of this government in training opportunities for people who normally would be on social assistance.  Those centres around the province, some still exist.  They eliminated the one in Selkirk a year or so ago, now Dauphin.  Who is next, I do not know.

       This is sad, Madam Deputy Speaker.  It is sad, and it is right along the lines of the philosophy behind this particular act, The Social Allowances Amendment Act, the same philosophy of cutting back on spending in an area where it is really foolish to cut back, because what we have in these centres are people getting some basic training and also some work experience to enable them to get off of welfare and to become productive citizens in the province.

       Many of these people are disadvantaged for all kinds of reasons, and the centres have a good record of dealing with and improving the lives of those people who are disadvantaged for whatever reason.  But nevertheless, you have seen that program cut back, and we just worry‑‑in fact, I think back to the Lyon government.

       Even Sterling Lyon did not attack work programs for welfare people as this government is doing.  Sterling Lyon looked at the Human Resources Opportunity Centres, and I believe he cut back by 10 percent across the board but he did not eliminate them.  He did not eliminate Selkirk, he did not eliminate the centre in Dauphin and he did not attack this particular program which goes back many years to the Schreyer period.  He did not attack this program.  He left it intact.

       So for all the criticism that the Lyon government obtained for its cutbacks and its negative views in dealing with the less fortunate among us, I see this government going even further, this government taking far more drastic action by way of cutbacks and reduction of programs to help those who are less fortunate among us.

       Regrettably, Madam Deputy Speaker, we are living in a day and age of chronic, high unemployment.  It is almost unthinkable to talk in terms of about 10 percent, one out of 10 of our workforce being unemployed, and yet that is what is happening in Canada, that is what is happening in Manitoba.

       A few years back, we used to look at 2 percent and 3 percent unemployment.  When we got up to four, five and six, we became worried.  Now we are around 10 percent.  It is just unacceptable, and I know this particular legislation will not solve that problem, but it fits into a solution for that problem.  It is one piece in the jigsaw puzzle that could help us in attacking this problem of chronic unemployment, but I will be the first to admit there are many, many other programs, many other initiatives that have to be taken to try to put people in Canada back to work, to try to put Manitobans back to work.

       This party believes in work, not in welfare.  We believe the ideal situation is to have everyone off of welfare, everyone productively employed producing goods and services that benefit us all.

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       Surely it benefits the individuals too, because there is nothing more debilitating than having to stay at home and not being able to get out and have an opportunity for some training or an opportunity for some work experience.  There is nothing more debilitating than not being able to get a job, wanting to work and yet not being able to work.

       There is a social cost that we are paying.  It is very difficult to measure it, but you see those social costs in many ways.  You see them translated into family violence, into abuse, into crime on the streets and so on.  If we could reduce unemployment and provide job opportunities for our people, we will see these social problems, these social evils, begin to shrink, begin to be reduced.  This is, in my view, one of the most positive ways to do this.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, we regret the government is, in keeping with its thrust, taking another backward step and zeroing in on those most unfortunate among us who happen to be on social allowances.  Instead of doing this, we should be doing just the opposite.  We should be providing more opportunities for training, more opportunities for jobs for people who are out of work.

       As I said before, the City of Winnipeg has come forward with a very positive suggestion.  I think the government should be taking the initiative to get on with it and start a little action and not blame the federal government, not wait for Ottawa to make up its mind.  I think we should just go straight ahead and do what we can to provide people with jobs.

       I do say, however, back in the early '80s we did get the co‑operation of the federal government.  In fact, there was a federal agreement right across the country for any province that wanted to utilize welfare funds to provide job opportunities.  We did it in Manitoba in a very progressive way where we indeed provided opportunities for people so that people could be fitted into jobs that matched their experience, matched their abilities, matched their interests.  It was not done in a backward, workfare way.  It was not workfare whatsoever.  Workfare we reject.  What we provided were job opportunities for those on welfare.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, it is with regret that we see this legislation being brought forward.  Of course, this opposition is definitely going to vote against this particular bill.  Thank you.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this bill.  I did not have the opportunity at second reading, so I will take a few minutes to put some of my comments on record, because this has been a very puzzling bill.  I have puzzled over the origins of it, of where it began and why the government would bring in such an obviously penny‑wise and pound‑foolish approach to both education and to dealing with young people.  I think the conclusions that I came to led me to think that there were three origins to this bill.

       I think the first of them comes probably from the bowels, the most primitive parts of the Tory Party who are reflecting the economic conditions that many people find themselves in today. There is a sense that a much harsher world exists for people in Canada and Manitoba, people who have lost their jobs, people who are facing now going into senior citizens' homes where in some cases they will now lose their life savings, who are having to pay user fees for health care, who are looking at student loans for the post‑secondary education of their children.

       They are looking at a world which has become much more uncertain.  They do not know that they have jobs anymore.  They certainly are beginning to recognize that under Tory governments in Ottawa and in Manitoba the social safety network that would have protected them in the past when they lost their jobs is no longer there.  They are getting hit twice by Tories when they lose their jobs and, second of all, when they turn to the public sector and the safety net that they had built for themselves over the last two generations, it is no longer there to protect them.

       Who can blame them, I think, for looking for scapegoats, for looking for someone to blame their ills on?  I think that is what is happening here.  People are looking for others who they see might be having a "free ride."  I heard that phrase used a number of times around the table at the hearings on this particular bill.  So they believe that these students, many of them from broken homes, many of them who were born into poverty, faced great difficulties throughout their lives, they turned on them and said, these are the people we must get rid of, these are the people who must go on welfare, and we will close the classroom doors to them.

       It is the kind of thinking that is common, I think, when the economic pie begins to shrink, and that is what happened here. People felt there was not a part for them and so others should have nothing as well.

       Second of all, I think it comes from the individual 19th Century liberalism that is well represented in other parts of the Tory Party, the belief that one is or should be the author of one's own fate, that children should have better sense than to be born poor, that they should have better sense than to be born into brutal families, and whatever conditions they are born into, they are the author of their own fate and society owes them nothing.  That is a 19th Century liberalism which we found I think in a number of other areas of this government's legislation, particularly in its approach to government in general.  But here, turning away the immigrants, turning away the children who were in the care of Child and Family Services, or the young adults, I should say, those who had been born poor and who had left school at 16 perhaps to help the family, all of these were now to be turned out of secondary education.

       It was, in a sense, the 20th Century version of the new poor law of the 1830s which brought in the harshness of the workhouse and which said to people, you are the author of your own fate and we will make life as harsh as we can for you, even at great cost to the state itself.

       I think the third origin of this particular bill is in the need to find monies for programs such as Workforce 2000.  It is interesting to see the equal balance in these programs.  For the section of Workforce 2000 which deals with the small‑ and medium‑sized businesses, we have approximately $3 million per year.  That is just about what is going to be, quote, saved, by the government in the ending of this particular program of keeping students in school and enabling them to graduate and to perhaps go onto post‑secondary education or to have the prospect of a job.

       So what the government did was essentially make a choice which says, yes, we want to have better private golf courses, we want to train people as cashiers for those private golf courses. That is important to the economic future of Manitoba.  Turning away these children and turning out the lights on the classrooms for them is not important.

       They said in Workforce 2000, we want better car dealerships across Manitoba, in Brandon, in Winnipeg and elsewhere.  We want to ensure the economic future of Manitoba will be maintained through the better car dealerships, and so we will turn these children out of the classroom.  Three million dollars for one, $4 million for the other, the balance is almost there.  We want to ensure the managers and the owners of some of our building supplies stores can go to Clear Lake to learn about their products and learn about what they are going to do about free trade.  To do that, we will turn out the lights and we will turn out these students, 1,400 of them in the city of Winnipeg, and that is how we will ensure the economic future of Manitoba.

       Those were the choices they made, and those were the choices that they continued to defend at the committee at which we had hearings on this.

       The government had other defences throughout the course of this bill, Madam Deputy Speaker.  They talked in the beginning about not turning students out of classrooms, not taking away an education from people who wanted to be in the classroom and who wanted to improve upon their opportunities for work.  They talked about an "adjustment," a callous and misleading use of language which I think brings all governments into disrepute.  They continued with that line that this was merely an adjustment in changes to policy.

       They talked about sharing the pain, and it was indelicate at the very least and gross at the most to talk about these students sharing the pain with Bob Kozminski and the other friends of the government who have benefited so much from legislation in different parts of this government's program.

       They talked about difficult choices, and, well, yes, I suppose it was a difficult choice to choose between the car dealerships, the owner‑manager seminars at Clear Lake and the better cashiers in private golf courses, and to turn out those students from those classrooms and give them at least the first rung on the ladder that would enable them to gain some access to post‑secondary education or at least to a reasonable job.  That must have been a difficult choice.

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       We have presented information time after time which showed that in five other jurisdictions at least, there were other programs which served exactly this same function.  What we heard from the minister, from the Premier (Mr. Filmon), even today we heard this was not the case, even after material had been tabled by the presenters, material tabled by the Canadian Council on Welfare.

       These are not my figures, although, indeed, I did phone across the country to corroborate some of the material that was presented to me, but this government preferred to stick its head in the sand and say essentially, no other jurisdiction did this, a pathetic excuse at the best, and wrong, absolutely wrong, and they continue to maintain it.

       They talked about the defenders of their policy, and, indeed, there were three defenders who did come to the public hearings, and there were two additional written presentations which supported the perspective of this government, but in answers in Question Period and in speeches in the media, the government continued only to speak about those five presentations, a selective memory, a selective use of the evidence which I think is unconscionable.

       I am quite happy for them to talk about those five defenders.  Yes, they should.  If there are people who defend their policy, they should, but when there were hundreds more who were represented who did not support their policy, then they are duty‑bound in honesty to speak about those people, as well, and the material and the information they presented.

       Finally, they talked about in the last days of this Legislature the dynamic changes that were coming to welfare legislation across Canada.  We have not heard anything about the details of this.  We have not seen any signs that there is any plan in this government for changes to welfare or education legislation that would deal with these kinds of issues, but all of a sudden, there were amorphous changes, dynamic indicators across Canada of Tory plans for new welfare policies.

       Gradually, it seemed to me, Madam Deputy Speaker, that their defences were slipping away.  Even the mask of regret was slipping away, that this was a painful choice.  We heard around the discussion tables, people should have no second chance in Manitoba, that 16‑year‑olds who came from broken homes and who left home and tried to make their own way and finally realized they could not in a world such as these Tories have created, they decided these people should have known better, that Manitoba was to be a harsh land, a land of no second chances.

       We heard in those hearings from students, from former students who are now in jobs.  We heard from teachers and administrators who spoke of the successes of their students, and I was moved, I think, Madam Deputy Speaker, as I was on no other bill in this Legislature, by many of those stories.  The utter idiocy, the utter stupidity of this government, that they would not listen to those people.

       They sat there stony‑faced.  They listened to impassioned pleas from Councillor Murray, for example, who said, at least if you are going to turn these 1,400 students into welfare recipients, change the rules so we can put them in school, so we can keep them in school, so they will at least have a chance in life.  The minister sat there stony‑faced, refused to listen, refused to comment, moved that bill without any amendments.

       I must admit I had been, I think, so wrapped up in the stories we had heard about the successes of that program that I actually believed until the last minute that the minister would withdraw that bill or that he would amend it. (interjection) The member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) suggests I am an optimist, and, yes, I did believe that might have been possible.

       But the minister instead tended to speak about alternatives, about how students could go to school half time, how they could get a job, how they could go to evening school.  For one or two of these students, that might well be possible.  But what we heard over and over from the vast majority of students and from their teachers and from employment counsellors is that with a Grade 9 and Grade 10 education you do not get a job.  We heard about the 17.5 percent unemployment record in Manitoba for young people in that age group, young people with degrees, young people with high school graduation, and the minister kept saying that you could find a job, the old able‑bodied, 19th Century illiberalism, send them to the poor house.  That is, in effect, what was happening here.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, yesterday the minister‑‑not changed his mind, but he simply made this bill a straightforward offloading of 1,400 students onto the City of Winnipeg for 12 months instead of the two months that the government has, in fact, been offloading in the past.  I do not think their minds were changed.  I do not think they were swayed one iota by the stories that they heard.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) was still giving us the same answers yesterday.

       I think what changed their mind was the polls.  I think what the government realized was that the people had more sense than this government, that people saw that a shorter time in education meant that people would not stay on welfare, that they had a better and a more full sense of fairness than this government does.  I think they believe that Manitoba is a place of the second chance for the child born into a brutal family or for the immigrant who wants to gain a secondary education.  I think the people told them that they want work and education and not the welfare that this bill was committing those students to for perhaps a good portion of their life.

       After creating havoc and disruption and anger in thousands of students and their teachers in this province, they simply washed their hands of the whole business.  They turned out the lights. They took away hope.  They passed the bill.  Then, when the polls told them that the people of Manitoba had a better sense of fairness and had a different sense of work and education than this government did, then they changed their mind.  Then they turned it over to a City of Winnipeg with the highest rate of child poverty, with hungry children, with a decaying inner core, with no Core Area Initiative, with very few training programs left for those inner city residents.  That was whom they turned it over to.  They turned over to them the whole matter of paying and selecting and providing for these students.

       I think the passage of this bill, the arguments the governments have used, the way in which they have disrupted the lives of those students are really shocking.  I shall be opposing this, and our whole caucus will be opposing this.

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 31‑The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), that Bill 31, The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'assurance‑maladie), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed?

An Honourable Member:  No.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  On division.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  On division.

 

Bill 30‑The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability

and Consequential Amendments Act

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson), that Bill 30, The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi concernant les personnes vulnerables ayant une deficience mentale et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to just put a few brief remarks on the record before we pass this bill.

       This is a very lengthy and comprehensive bill.  It has 210 clauses, 109 pages, and it is the result of a major change‑‑or it will result in major changes in the rights and the protection and in many other areas that affect the lives of vulnerable persons living with a mental disability.

       We are supporting this piece of comprehensive legislation. We believe there is widespread support in the community for this bill.  There are, of course, people who have disagreements with parts of this bill.  The minister did make some amendments at committee to alleviate some of the fears that people had about certain parts of this bill.  We think those individuals were pleased with those minor amendments.

       However, there were amendments I made which the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) did not accept, which I considered to have been major amendments.  For example, I moved an amendment that the principles which are stated as a preamble to this bill be part of the act.  My advice was that was a significant amendment because when people go to court, and eventually somebody will go to court under this bill, it makes a big difference whether principles are part of a preamble or part of the body of the bill itself.

       My understanding is that it makes a difference as to how a judge would interpret the bill, whether the principles are in the preamble or in the bill itself.  When the principles are in a bill, in the body of a bill, the judge must take those into account in making an interpretation.  We regret that the government chose to defeat that amendment.

       I also moved an amendment that the Vulnerable Persons' Commissioner report to the Legislative Assembly rather than to the minister.  I believe this is necessary because this bill gives considerable power and considerable authority and considerable decision‑making ability to the Vulnerable Persons' Commissioner.  Someone with that amount of responsibility and authority needs to be accountable to the Legislative Assembly rather than only to the minister.

       We have seen, in the case of the Children's Advocate, that when the Advocate has concerns, those concerns are normally conveyed privately to the minister and are not conveyed to the Legislative Assembly.  Therefore, we as members and the public have no idea what those concerns are unless we find out some other way, as we did this spring with the recommendations that the Children's Advocate made to the minister.

       These amendments that I proposed were from a report of the review committee.  I would like to table copies of the report of the review committee examining legislation affecting adult Manitobans living with a mental disability as vulnerable persons.  It is dated November 29, 1991.  It is titled:  "Towards the Recognition and Enhancement of the Rights of Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability."  This report has not been made public before‑‑

 

House Business

       

Mr. Manness:  I apologize to the member.  I wonder if I could interrupt just for a few moments for House business, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave to permit the honourable government House leader to interject to deal with House business? (agreed)

Mr. Manness:  Madam Deputy Speaker, could you canvass the House to determine whether or not there is a willingness to waive private members' hour?

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave of the House to waive private members' hour? (agreed)

Mr. Manness:  Would you also ask the House whether or not there is a willingness to extend the sitting hours beyond six o'clock tonight till ten o'clock tonight?

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave of the House to extend regular sitting hours beyond six till 10 p.m. this evening? (agreed)

* * *

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The honourable member for Burrows, to continue debate on third reading.

Mr. Martindale:  Madam Deputy Speaker, the reason I am tabling this is that the Minister of Family Services has chosen not to make it public.  I did not know this.  In fact, I sent our research staff to the Legislative Library to request a copy of it and instead I was sent a discussion paper.  I only inadvertently found out when I went to the library myself that this report has not been made public.

       Fortunately, one of the presenters at committee included it in the brief.  We commend the Association for Community Living and their Liberal lawyer friend who was there at committee stage for making this public.  I suppose it is already public.  I guess I am not doing it for the first time, because it was part of their brief and so members of the Legislature had it.  I do not suppose anybody else has it except members of the review committee.

       Now, the significance I want to attach to this is that the minister commended himself many times for consulting widely on this.  I do agree that he did consult some of the groups and individuals and advocates and others who were affected, but how widely can a minister consult if the review committee report is not public?  How can members of the public read it if they cannot get it?  How can they make presentations on a bill at committee stage or write letters to the minister or make phone calls to the minister or the critic expressing their concerns if they do not have the review committee report?  Since it was dated November 29, 1991, I assume that is the date that it was given to the minister or the date that it was printed.  So it is a year and a half since this report was, I believe, submitted to the minister.

       I asked the minister last night in the Chamber if he could tell us when he was going to make it public and the minister refused to answer my question.  I asked him twice.  The minister would not say why or when this report was going to be made public.  So I am disappointed that the minister chose not to make it public, because these recommendations are very significant. In fact, the two amendments that I moved in committee that I mentioned earlier are from this review committee report, recommendation No. 5, having to do with the principles which the review committee recommended be in the body of the legislation and that the vulnerable persons commissioner, to quote, be established, preferably appointed by and reporting to the Legislature.  So both of these recommendations were in the review committee report itself, the second one being recommendation No. 25.

       So I am disappointed with the minister that he did not make it public so that more people could have some input, so that more people could see what those recommendations were from the people who were on the review committee who were making recommendations to the minister.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, in conclusion, we are prepared to pass this bill.  Fortunately, it met the approval of the majority of the people who were interested in this piece of legislation but were disappointed.

       We agree with most of this bill, but we are disappointed with the things that were left out.  We are disappointed with the recommendations of the review committee that were not accepted by the minister and not included in this legislation, and we are disappointed that the minister did not make public this very important review committee document.

       Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 30, The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi concernant les personnes vulnerables ayant une deficience mentale et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois).

       Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? (agreed)

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Bill 26‑The Expropriation Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), that Bill 26, The Expropriation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'expropriation), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Yes, I just want to say a few more words on this bill.  I spoke on this bill at second reading.  I am still very surprised in the week that we are celebrating again Duff's ditch that we would be passing a bill that really breaks the balance between what I believe to be the rights of the public to expropriate for public goods and public works versus the rights of individuals to get fair compensation.

       Manitoba has had a number of public works over the years that have required expropriation, particularly in rural Manitoba, highways and telephone lines and hydro lines have had to proceed often with the expropriation of government for the greatest good, for the greatest number.

       I know as minister responsible in the negotiations of The Forks, we had to expropriate one individual's land for the 50 acres of land to be taken over into public ownership.

       The right of a person to go to court for compensation, I think, is fairly important.  I think both the value that is established in the court or by the appraisal commission and the extent of that value should be allowed to be determined by courts through appeals.

       I do not believe the government through one ministry should be able to expropriate, and then the government through the other ministry of having the appraisal commission, which is established by Order‑in‑Council, should set the value.  Then, I do not believe the government therefore should restrict the ability of going to court under The Expropriation Act of Manitoba.

       I therefore believe that this is a bad bill.  It is unfair to private owners.  It is absolutely hypocritical for a government to propose to put property rights in the Constitution.  For them to be coming forward with this bill makes just a mockery of all the sort of rhetoric of the Real Estate Association, the Premier (Mr. Filmon) and of this province in his so‑called Charlottetown accord efforts.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I think when members, particularly farmers, find out that the appraisal commission's determination of your value of land can only now be appealed as a matter of law, not as a matter of value, I welcome the time.  The Conservatives like to talk about standing up for rural Manitobans.  I welcome the opportunity to go to individual farmers and to go to the rural town hall meetings and talk about the ability of this Deputy Premier to support big government.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       I find it rather ironic that we believe in the balance of the public good through government and the individual, but this government has totally taken to itself the rights of government and totally trampled on the rights of the individual in this society.

       Shame on them.  Shame on their alleged philosophy.  Shame on their alleged ideology and shame on their hypocrisy for saying one thing in the constitutional debate and doing another thing today in this Chamber.  We will be voting against this, and shame on you.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I will be closing debate on third reading for our caucus and would just like to echo the words of the member for Concordia when he says shame on the government.

       This is another in a whole list of bills that has been brought forward by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) that makes an hypocrisy of the concept of justice.  One of the most important rights that an individual gives up under expropriation is the right to ownership of their land, and the power of expropriation is one of the most powerful rights that a state has in relation to the citizens of that state.

       In order for expropriation to be fair, there must be a balance between the power of the state to expropriate and the right of an individual to appeal the decision of the commission that expropriates.  Bill 26 eliminates that power, gives the power to the state, takes away power from individuals that has been fought for over centuries, and it again goes against the entire concept of natural justice.

       Mr. Speaker, we will be voting against this dreadful piece of legislation.  The Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) should be appalled at the garbage he has brought forward in this session of the Legislature.

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 24‑The Taxicab Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), that Bill 24, The Taxicab Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les taxis et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and add my comments on third reading of Bill 24, particularly in light of the comments we had heard when this bill was before committee, when there was an opportunity for members of the public to come out and add their comments about Bill 24.

       During the course of the committee hearings, we heard many interesting presentations.  In fact, we heard dozens of presenters over a period of some four days of hearings, and in there, Mr. Speaker, I and I hope other members of the committee learned significantly more about the taxicab industry than what we had known about that particular industry before.

       In fact, there were some very good recommendations that came about as a result of some of those presentations and some I know that the Minister of Highways (Mr. Driedger) has listened to, and he has taken the opportunity to incorporate some of those ideas, hopefully, into a restructured Taxicab Board.

       This legislation, Mr. Speaker, created problems for the taxicab industry, as we heard so many of the members of the industry come forward and tell us their concerns about this legislation, this Bill 24.  First they said, when a quorum was broken on the Taxicab Board, since three members comprised a quorum, that two or less members could continue the hearings, and decisions could be made with less than quorum.  They had great concerns about that, because that would concentrate the power into the hands of very few members of the Taxicab Board that were indeed ruling on the lives of the members of the industry.

       Secondly, there were broader fee‑making powers.  The members of the industry pointed over and over again the financial problems that the industry is encountering right now, the difficulties they have trying to make a living.  They had said that this broader fee‑making power was the wrong move at the wrong time, Mr. Speaker.  The industry could not afford it.

       We heard about almost all of the presenters telling us how they were working 60 to 80 hours a week to earn a living.  Many of them, in fact, almost all of them were working for less than minimum wage when you calculate the number of hours that they worked to make their $12,000 to $15,000 a year of earnings.

       One presenter, Mr. Speaker, said that this government was acting as a Robin Hood in reverse by this broader fee‑making power.  In fact, they were taking fees away from the poorest of our society, the working poor, and putting those monies to pay down the costs of the minister's Taxicab Board operations.

       We heard members of the industry tell us about the horrendous cost of their Manitoba public insurance that they have on their vehicles.  They were quite concerned about that because, on top of the costs that they have for that, plus their other administrative costs and their operational costs, their overhead, these fees were going to create more hardship for them.

       We heard some very serious concerns about the safety aspect of those members of the industry that are employed in the taxicab industry, not only safety from the purely operational point of view of their vehicle, Mr. Speaker, but also from the verbal and the physical abuse and, in fact, actual assaults that many of them spoke about.  In fact, one presenter indicated that there was an occasion where he was outnumbered three against one all over an $11.65 fare.

       You can see, Mr. Speaker, that there are many safety concerns out there, issues that still have not been addressed, that I hope the new subcommittee will be established that the minister has indicated a willingness to work towards and with, that they will work towards improving the safety for those that are employed in the industry.  We know the Taxicab Board is primarily a quasi‑judicial body and in fact that its history has been a regulatory, punitive body.  Members of the taxicab industry have said, almost all of them, to the last presenter, that there was no consultation and that there was no respect by the Taxicab Board for members of the industry.

       I think that is wrong for the Taxicab Board.  I think they should have an expanded role.  The Taxicab Board does not currently perform an advocacy role.  I know the members of the industry pointed that out.  They wanted to see that forum, and the minister has agreed to move in that direction.

       The members of the industry were concerned that there was no right of appeal, that this legislation will be held over their heads, that there was no opportunity for them to appeal any decisions made by the board, no chance to appeal to the courts. They were quite concerned about that.

       What the members of the industry did suggest, that if the minister was intent on going towards having broader fee‑making powers for the Taxicab Board, there be some process of graduating those fee increases, spreading it out over a longer period of time.

       I know the minister, in his discussions with members of the industry, has indicated a willingness to look at that and that he will look at some recommendations that will come forward on that.  Members of the industry said that this Bill 24 will increase the amount of fines.  I believe it is up to a maximum of $1,000.  The members of the industry said, you may as well make it a million dollars because, if they do not have the money to pay it, that is going to have to be looked at as well.  They do not have the money; the income is not there for them at the time.

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       Some of the presenters went as far as having what I think, Mr. Speaker, are very constructive suggestions.  They looked at ways where the Taxicab Board could bring forward in an advocacy role a meeting of all of the stakeholders in the industry, not only the members of the taxicab industry, the owner‑operators, drivers, but also limousine services, the hotels, City of Winnipeg, the government, to work together as a group for improvements to the industry as a whole.  I thought some of their suggestions they used were well thought out and would provide for improvement.

       I know that in consultation with the industry and members of the two opposition parties, the minister agreed there was some room for improvement.  I thank the minister for recognizing that there should be some improvement there and that there should be an advisory body that would advise the Taxicab Board on matters pertaining to the industry.  At the same time, the minister has indicated a willingness to look at appointing a member of the taxicab industry to the Taxicab Board considering, I believe, from my understanding, that a vacancy exists on that.

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

       In that sense, it will allow the taxicab industry itself to have some control over the decisions that are made because what we heard over and over again is that the industry, if they are going to be made responsible for the administrative costs of the operation of the Taxicab Board, they want to have some control over the people who are on the board, the people who are doing the work, and whether or not the Taxicab Board and the Department of Highways can hire at their own discretion people to be in administrative functions for the Taxicab Board.

       So the industry wants to have some control over the administrative costs, and they wanted to have that right to speak out on issues that were affecting them.  I think the subcommittee that is being struck has been given three months to work toward some ideas or constructive suggestions for the minister and another three months to report back to the minister on that beyond the first three months, for a total of six months, which will give them sufficient time to bring forward concrete recommendations that the minister and his department, the Taxicab Board, can act upon for the overall improvement of the taxicab industry in the city of Winnipeg.

       Now, there were some concerns I presume will be coming forward and that is to deal with the other vehicles that are operating in the city from facilities such as the hotels that are operating what is deemed to be a taxicab service in the city of Winnipeg and transporting patrons of the hotels back and forth to the airport or to other transportation centres.  In that sense, they are taking away business from the taxicab industry, and it is impacting upon the opportunity for members of that industry to earn a livelihood.

       So those were the concerns we had heard, Mr. Acting Speaker, during our hearings.  The minister has agreed, by way of an amendment to this legislation, that he is going to change when this bill comes into effect, when Bill 24 comes into effect.  It had been originally intended, when the government introduced it, that it would come into effect on royal assent.  The minister has amended that for proclamation.

       Now, in that sense, the minister will continue to hold the hammer over the heads of industry members, should the subcommittee and the recommendations they bring forward not work (interjection) Well, I hope the minister‑‑he says they are going to work together in co‑operation.  I hope that is the case, because that was the intent of the suggestions the members of the industry brought forward, and that is why we continued to ask questions after we heard that from other presenters as well.

       We believe strongly in the opportunity for members of the taxicab industry to be involved in the determination of their own future and that there are opportunities on the subcommittee advisory body and on the Taxicab Board itself, and we hope that will work.  Now, I hope that this legislation does not have to be proclaimed, because I think it is regressive legislation and will impact too severely and take away too many powers from the industry and give too much power to the Taxicab Board itself.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       On that, Mr. Speaker, we find that we cannot support this legislation.  We will be voting against this bill based on the concerns that we heard from the taxicab industry and the way that it will put too much power into the hands of the Taxicab Board. With that, we thank you for the opportunity to add our comments on Bill 24.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I, too, wanted to put a number of words on the record with respect to Bill 24 on third reading.  I know, during the committee stage, I had made reference to wanting to say a few things, because at the beginning of the committee stage, some might recall that it was turning into somewhat of a political discussion that was going between the New Democrats and the Liberals.  The Chairperson had advised to try to save that debate for the Chamber.  In fact, I just wanted to rebut a couple of the things that were put on the record in the committee stage, I believe it was first from the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) who made reference to the fact that at least the Leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Doer) had in fact spoken on this particular bill.

       Mr. Speaker, you will find that 50 percent of the Liberal caucus had spoken on this particular bill, and only three members from the NDP caucus in fact spoke on this particular bill, but there are many different ways you can play the numbers and so forth.  I did resist playing the politics inside the committee room, because I know there were a number of people‑‑

An Honourable Member:  You had three out of seven.  You used to have seven.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Three out of seven, I stand corrected.

An Honourable Member:  So it is less than 50 percent.

An Honourable Member:   . . . a barbaric bill.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Which it is, which it is.  Having said those very few words, I did make the commitment to refute some of the things that were being said, because the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) was being somewhat political, facetiously he says, in some of his remarks with respect to the Liberal Party, and I did not think that it was called for.

       Getting to the bill before us, Bill 24 is in fact a bad piece of legislation and a piece of legislation that should never have come into the Chamber as a bill that had no consultation done whatsoever.  The minister responsible for this piece of legislation did not do any homework, any consulting with any of the industry whatsoever, any of the stakeholders.  That is in fact the case prior to the introduction of Bill 24, because I am not aware of any individuals who were in fact consulted.

       Mr. Speaker, after the bill was introduced, there were a number of concerns.  We in the Liberal caucus had brought them up the day after the bill was tabled inside the Chamber in terms of why it is the government did what it has chosen to do and so forth.  We had encouraged the government to start consulting.  I, myself, had numerous conversations with industry, with representatives from the taxi industry to other politicians who have an input.  I know, for example, of Dr. Pagtakhan and Mr. Walker and so forth, with respect to the impact of this particular piece of legislation on an industry that does employ directly approximately 1,700 to 1,800 individuals and have the impact indirectly on thousands of individuals who live throughout the city of Winnipeg.

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       I look at the process and in particular the committee stage. Mr. Speaker, I am quite pleased with what actually occurred in the committee stage.  We had members from the industry that came forward and gave, I thought, wonderful presentations straight from the heart from what they felt the industry and the direction that the industry was going in.  They believed in fact that there were a number of things that the minister could do to change the general direction and course of this particular industry.

       I know that the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), even though not necessarily at the beginning, but during the committee hearing stages, and possibly a week prior to that, started to meet and consult with some of the stakeholders of the industry.

       In fact, towards the end of the committee hearings, I was able to sit down with the opposition critics and member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), and we were able to at least give, I believe, a ray of hope for those individuals within the industry in terms of coming back to this Chamber with some form of changes that will be in the best interests of the industry.  Because at the end of the day, even though, like the beginning of my speech it was somewhat political, I believe that at the beginning it was very political, and we were able to take the politics and put the politics to the side, and we started to talk about the industry and what was in the best interest of the industry.

       Once we were able to do that we saw a number of things that had occurred.  The Minister of Highways (Mr. Driedger) did make a commitment in terms of coming up with an advisory board that would look at the industry as a whole and come forward with some recommendations that could in fact be implemented depending of course on what those recommendations are.

       The one vacancy that is there with the Taxi Board, the minister did indicate that he would fill that particular position with someone from the industry or a past driver or a past driver‑owner.  It was even suggested that if there was someone, a driver‑owner or whoever it might be who is quite prepared to put his or her interests in a blind trust, that individual could possibly be a member of the board.

       So again, those are two major and significant, I believe, gains that the industry made.  Hopefully, what this whole process has allowed for is some communication links to have been established so that the legislation that is currently in place, not this legislation but the current legislation, will in fact be amended so that the concerns that were expressed from the individuals that were there.

       I was touched by a number of the presenters, everything from the one presenter who came forward with a licence plate that had Cadillac written on it and the loss of hours as a direct result of that‑‑this is a factory plate‑‑to the lack of actions being taken from the board to address a number of the different issues within the industries, such as the vans that are not necessarily being licensed.  There is a whole litany of events that occurred that so many individuals from within the industry felt the board should have taken some form of action on.

       This has been an issue that has been around for the past number of years and has caused a great deal of concern to all of the stakeholders.  As I say, for the first time, as a result of the committee meeting process, we do feel that there is an opportunity here to put in some changes that will in fact have or could have a very positive effect on the industry as a whole.

       Mr. Speaker, I could not articulate as well as many of the presenters that came before the committee for the simple reason that those were the individuals that were actually driving the taxis and had a direct interest.  It was very clear that this industry has experienced a great deal of hard times.

       I asked the question to a number of the presenters:  Are you aware of any drivers that are receiving in excess of $20,000 a year gross working 40 hours a week?  Not one presenter, Mr. Speaker, was able to tell me that.  The prevailing feeling is that these are all individuals, all the drivers are individuals that receive less than the minimum wage that we have.

       Mr. Speaker, time after time, it was very clear from all of the presenters that there were serious problems within that industry.  I was very pleased towards the end in terms of how we were able to take the politics out of it.  I will commend the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), the Minister of Transportation (Mr. Driedger) and both opposition critics, myself included, in terms of the efforts that were put in in terms of trying to come to grips with this particular issue.

       I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that we will be able to come forward to the minister‑‑and when I say, we, I am referring to the board.  I know the minister had even left it open for some form of participation from the critics.

       I would be more than happy to take him up on that‑‑I cannot speak on behalf of the New Democratic critic, but I assume he would too‑‑of being able to play some role in ensuring there are actions that result out of this committee.

       Ultimately, as I had indicated to the minister not only on the record but also off the record, I do plan on raising the issue in the future.  I hope I do not have to continue to call for the current Chairperson's resignation.  It would be nice if I did not have to do that in the next session.  I will bite my tongue for now in hopes that, in fact, that will occur, and we will see some very positive results as a direct result of the hard work that was put into it.

       Mr. Speaker, again, we oppose this bill, and we are pleased with the response, generally speaking, from the minister with respect to it.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 24, The Taxicab Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

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

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 24, The Taxicab Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les taxis et apportent des modifications correlatives a d'autre lois).

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 27, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I was paired with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted against this bill.

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DEBATE ON THIRD READINGS

     

Bill 26‑The Expropriation Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call third reading of Bill 26, please.  It is adjourned in the name of the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk).

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The House has already made a decision and allowed the honourable member for Swan River to adjourn debate on Bill 26.

       Is there leave now to revert to Bill 26?  Leave? (agreed)

       Third reading, Bill 26, The Expropriation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'expropriation), standing in the name of the honourable member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk).  Stand?

       The honourable member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), you have concluded your remarks?  Okay, fine.

       Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 26, The Expropriation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'expropriation).  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 26, The Expropriation Amendment Act.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

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

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 26, The Expropriation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'expropriation).

       All those in favour of the motion will please rise.

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

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

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 33, Nays 18.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I was paired with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted against this bill.

* (1800)

 

Bill 46‑The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 46 and adjourn the third reading debate adjourned standing in the name of the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

Mr. Speaker:  The House has already made a decision on Bill 46. Is there unanimous consent to revert to Bill 46 at this time? (agreed)

       Third reading Bill 46, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'indemnisation des victimes d'actes criminels), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Yes, we oppose this bill, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 46, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'indemnisation des victimes d'actes criminels).

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

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 46, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'indemnisation des victimes d'actes criminels).

       All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Ashton:  Yeas and Nays, Mr. Speaker.

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

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 46, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'indemnisation des victimes d'actes criminels).

       All those in favour of the motion will please rise.

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 27, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I have been paired with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted no.

 

Bill 45‑The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 45, adjourned debate, third reading, standing in the name of the member for Thompson.

Mr. Speaker:  The House has already made a decision on Bill 45 to allow this matter to remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson.  Is there leave to revert to Bill 45? (agreed)

       Third reading, Bill 45, The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les armoiries, les amblemes et le tartan du Manitoba), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, no offence to the unicorns, but we oppose this bill.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 45, The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act.

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

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Ashton:  Yeas and Nays, Mr. Speaker.

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

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 45, The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act.

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 27, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I have been paired with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted against this bill.

 

Bill 47‑The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2)

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, can we resume debate on Bill 47, standing in the name of the member for Charleswood (Mr. Ernst).

Mr. Speaker:  The House has already made a decision to allow Bill 47 to stand in the name of the honourable Minister of Housing (Mr. Ernst).  Is there leave at this point in time to revert to Bill 47? (agreed)

       Bill 47, third reading, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2) (Loi No. 2 modifiant la Loi sur la location a usage d'habitation), standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Housing.

Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Housing):  Mr. Speaker, I strongly support this bill.

Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I do not want to speak at length on this bill, but I do want to put some comments on the record because, having reviewed the comments of the minister who brought this bill forward and as well some of the recorded discussion at the committee hearings, I believe there are aspects of this bill which have not been brought out and have not been brought to the attention of all members of this House in those discussions.  I think that it is important to understand some of the repercussions.

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       Let me indicate at the outset that our party will be opposing this bill, Mr. Speaker. (interjection) The member indicates that that is a switch.  That is not accurate.

       In any event let me indicate that the primary issue which I have grave concerns about did not come up and was not brought up in discussions either at the committee, to my knowledge, or in the course of discussions in this House.  Let me very quickly indicate what that is.

       Under the current act, Mr. Speaker, The Residential Tenancies Act, at Section 32 there is a very important provision, and it is around Sections 31, 32, 33 that most of the debate has taken place.  There is a very important provision, Section 32(1) in the existing legislation, which indicates that a landlord shall return the security deposit with interest within 14 days of the date of the termination of the tenancy, except where there is the written consent of the tenant, and if that does not happen, then the landlord must apply to, in a sense, keep the security deposit.  The onus is on the landlord to prove and show that the security deposit should be kept.

       It is important to understand what a security deposit is.  It is money not tied to rent.  It is not payable, due and owing because of rent.  It is there as money which is still owned by the tenant.  It is being held as a deposit against potential damage to the premises.  So, Mr. Speaker, the act which was in place put the onus on the landlord if the landlord wanted to retain that security deposit.

       Now, the change is that the landlord now has the option of not putting the money in trust, not coming forward with some other kind of bond or guarantee that the money is there and not sending it into the Rentalsman.  I dare say, the vast majority of landlords will take up that opportunity, which is essentially to not provide any documentation and just put the security deposit into the operational budget of the landlord.

       The result of that is and the result of these changes is that the new Section 32 and, again, this is not something which to my knowledge has come up beforehand, says that the landlord who holds a security deposit and has no claim against it has to return it within 14 days.  But the landlord already has the money, and by the very fact of believing he has a claim against it, retains the money, does not send the money.  The landlord has the money and does not send it back.

       Then a written notice has to go out to the tenant, and that is to the last known address.  Let us face it, that is a very poor test.  The last known address is the place probably the landlord owns himself.  There is going to be a high level, I suspect, a high degree of cases, where that notice never gets to the tenant.

       In any event then, the most interesting part of this legislation, I believe, is that the onus then goes essentially to the tenant to go to the Rentalsman to get the security deposit back.  That is important because, Mr. Speaker, what has to be asked is who should bear the onus of going to the Rentalsman, the Residential Tenancies Branch, to determine whether or not the security deposit should be held.  I say the landlord.

       I say the landlord should pay the money back.  If he or she is not intending to pay the money back, that landlord should have the responsibility to apply and prove the case that there is a reason to hold the damage deposit.  The reason for that is twofold.  Firstly, landlords are in a far better position to be able to do that and understand the system.  It is a generalization, but as a class, they are going to be far better able to understand the time limits in the system and make that application to hold the security deposit.  That is the first reason.

       The second reason is the landlords should bear the onus because the money belongs to the tenant, prima facie.  As a rule, without proof that otherwise, the money belongs to the tenant. It is on loan.  It is a deposit from the tenant to the landlord. This bill essentially turns back the clock to the days of the New Democratic Party when, in fact, this was the rule.  It turns it back to the way it was, and that is the onus was on the tenant. The onus was on the tenant to understand the rules, to find out and then to make application to get his or her money back.

       We all know and landlords know that this is not going to happen that often.  They understand that, Mr. Speaker, and the fact is there are going to be all kinds of tenants in low rental, as well as high rental, but there are going to be all kinds of tenants who do not understand all of this.  They get a notice from the landlord saying, I am keeping your damage deposit. There is no specification that they have to be told where they can apply, how often they have to, where they go, and the onus is going to be on the tenant to bring forward a claim to get the security deposit back.

       The adage goes and the adage is correct, possession is nine‑tenths of the law, and possession in this case is in the hands of the landlord.  The landlord has the money, and the fact is the new onus is going to be put back on the tenant to prove he or she should get the security deposit back.  That is not the way this legislation should have been drafted.  It should have been left in place that the onus was on the landlord to prove that the tenant should not get it back, and that is a significant change, that shift in onus.

       While it seems a small section, in reality, in the day‑to‑day life in the marketplace, that is a significant change because everyone will understand and know that the reason for changing the onus to the landlord in the first place was that tenants were by and large having a very difficult time getting their security deposits back, and it was their money to start with, Mr. Speaker.

       So to have switched that back, to turn back the clock to the days of the New Democratic Party, when, in fact, that was the case‑‑(interjection) Let us be clear.  The NDP supported the original Residential Tenancies Act, and we did, and that Residential Tenancies Act they said was a massive improvement. They never did that under their tenure, never brought that forward in all the years of government that they were in.  The onus was on the tenant then.  They are now saying that it is improper to put the onus back on the tenant.  I agree, Mr. Speaker.

       That is why we supported The Residential Tenancies Act when it came forward some time ago.  The unfortunate fact about this current bill, Bill 47, is that I really believe that the debate on this bill has been limited to just a very few sections in this bill.  If one goes through this bill, one will see that section after section after section there are deletions in this bill affecting primarily tenants.

       I wonder what the genesis for this bill was.  I truly do, because the original Residential Tenancies was a large step forward for this government and I think a difficult one.  I applauded them at the time for taking that step in the original Residential Tenancies Act.  Obviously it has come home to roost with them, and what we see is a bill which starts that undercutting of the progress that was made in equalizing the relationship between landlord and tenant.

       Mr. Speaker, I have highlighted as a reason, which stands on its own, to vote against this bill.  There are other indications, but I believe that in the day‑to‑day life and the day‑to‑day relationship between landlords and tenants in dealing with security deposits, the reality is who has the onus of proving that the security deposit has to be paid back or should be held. Who has the onus is in fact a very, very important issue, and it will determine how much of the security deposit money actually reaches back into the hands of the tenants.  That is the reality, and this bill takes a serious backward step in the empowerment really of tenants in getting back money which belongs to them unless proved otherwise.  Thank you.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, I am going to be brief.  I think that our Leader (Mr. Doer) and the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) have indicated quite clearly what is wrong with this piece of legislation.  We are only too happy that the Leader of the Second Opposition (Mr. Edwards), after supporting the government in committee, after opposing amendments which would have strengthened the bill and done some of what he is talking about now, has changed his mind, has finally come to his senses and realized what we knew from Day One that this was written by the landlords, for the landlords, introduced by the minister on request.

       This bill did not deserve to be supported by any members of this House, and we are prepared to vote accordingly.

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Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 47, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2).  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No.  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

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

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 47, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2) (Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur la location a usage d'habitation).

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

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

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 26, Nays 21.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, the member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray) and the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) asked me to indicate to the House that they did not participate in this vote because of their perceived conflict of interest as landlords.

 

THIRD READINGS

       

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

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), that Bill 4, The Retail Businesses Sunday Shopping (Temporary Amendments) Act (Loi sur l'ouverture des commerces de detail les jours feries‑‑modifications temporaires), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  On division.

 

Bill 10‑The Farm Lands Ownership Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  I move, seconded by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), that Bill 10, The Farm Lands Ownership Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la propriete agricole et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion agreed to.

 

DEBATE ON THIRD READINGS

     

Bill 36‑The Highway Traffic Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call adjourned debate third reading Bill 36 (The Highway Traffic Amendment Act; Loi modifiant le Code de la route), adjourned in the name of the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

Mr. Speaker:  The House has already allowed the honourable member for Thompson to adjourn debate on Bill 36.  Is there unanimous consent of the House to revert back to Bill 36 at this time? (agreed)

       Third reading Bill 36, The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Loi modifiant le Code de la route), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  I adjourned this on behalf of our Highways critic, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  I am pleased to rise on Bill 36 on the third reading.  This bill is a piece of legislation that we have always called the Bob Kozminski bill, Mr. Speaker, for its very obvious intended benefactors of the legislation.

       This bill will replace the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation and the Department of Highways and Transportation 25‑year involvement in the public vehicle inspection program.  So for 25 years, the public service in this province has been performing the vehicle inspections, the safety inspections, and that will be taken out of existence as a result of Bill 36.

       On average, there are some 25,000 vehicles that were inspected during the course of 1993 and 1994.  As a result of this government's failure to put in place proper planning, there are only going to be some 3,000 to 3,500 vehicles that are going to be safety inspected during that course of time.  Of course, it is very difficult to understand how that is going to preserve and protect the safety of the travelling public and the member and Manitobans, considering the drastically reduced number of inspections.

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

       This private inspections system that is due to start in January 1995‑‑the Minister of Highways (Mr. Driedger) has said that there is going to be a user fee of approximately $40 maximum for each of the inspections.  The minister does not tell us during his comments that of all the vehicular accidents in the province of Manitoba, only 0.8 percent can be attributable to vehicle defects.

       So it is not that there is a high number of accidents caused by defective vehicles, but only the fact that this government wants to put in place a program that will benefit their supporters.  Considering the amount of intensive lobbying that has taken place by the industry over the course of the last seven or eight months, it is obvious who this is going to benefit.

       On top of that, Mr. Acting Speaker, there was a study that was undertaken by the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, Project E‑400, that listed four options that were available to the Crown corporation, MPIC, that would put in place a much expanded and enhanced program for vehicle inspections.  In fact, with the option 4, and I have gone through that part on second reading of this bill, option 4 of that Project E‑400 for MPIC showed that over 98 percent of the vehicles in this province would be inspected on a two‑year basis, so we would greatly improve the number of inspections in the province and of course improve the safety of the vehicles at the same time.

       The government has said time after time that we do not come forward with constructive suggestions on how we could save the taxpayers of the province money and at the same time improve the quality of service to the people of the province.  Mr. Acting Speaker, we put forward the constructive suggestion that would take over $800,000 a year profit out of the photo licensing program and turn that money to the MPIC for the capitalization purchase of fixed‑place equipment in the MPIC centres through the province that would pay down what I have been told is approximately $9 million in capital purchase costs for the equipment.

       We could have MPIC continue to provide that service for the public and would prevent the necessity of having to gouge the public the $40 user fee that this government is going to put in place that will greatly profit the private industry, the private inspection points that are going to now be doing this for the government.

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       I have said, and we have heard from others and, in particular, members of the taxicab industry, that they are going to be hit by this because their vehicles have to be inspected twice a year, so it is going to cost them an additional $80 a year out of their earnings to have their vehicles inspected.

       They said over and over again, Mr. Acting Speaker, that they had little trust or confidence in the private inspections, and they greatly trusted the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation to provide a fair and accurate evaluation of the condition of their vehicles.  They wanted, as they told us over and over again in committee, to have the inspections of the vehicles remain in the hands of the Manitoba Public Insurance Coporation.

       So we provided options to this government that would allow that to remain in the MPIC.  The money is there; the government is making a profit on the program.  This privatization of the service is going to put into the hands of the private inspection points, the used car dealers of the province, some $84 million over 10 years, or $8.4 million per year, based on the number of vehicles that are registered and change during the course of the year.

       The minister never makes any reference in his comments, either in the bill debate or at committee stage, what is going to happen to the dealer or the police referrals.  There are over 225 of those a year.  There has never been any reference made to that.  The minister does not say whether the private inspection points are going to do the environmental checks of the vehicles to check the environmental equipment, the emission control equipment, and on top of that, we have asked questions of the Minister responsible for MPIC what is going to happen to the 23 jobs in the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation for the employees that are currently doing that work.  The minister has not said to us what is going to happen to those employees.  They are quite concerned about their jobs.  They want to know whether they are going to be redeployed or if they are going to be laid off because they want to plan for their future.

       So I think that, Mr. Acting Speaker, pretty well outlines the impact that this legislation is going to have on the public of Manitoba and that the Bob Kozminskis of Manitoba are going to be the ones that profit by this legislation.

       Thank you for the opportunity to add my comments.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  Is the House ready for the question?

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 36, The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Loi modifiant le Code de la route).  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

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

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  A recorded vote has been requested.  Call in the members.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 36, The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Loi modifiant le Code de la route).

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

       Yeas

       Alcock, Carstairs, Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Edwards, Enns, Ernst, Filmon, Findlay, Gaudry, Gilleshammer, Gray, Helwer, Lamoureux, Laurendeau, Manness, McAlpine, McCrae, McIntosh, Mitchelson, Pallister, Penner, Reimer, Render, Rose, Stefanson, Sveinson, Vodrey.

       Nays

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

       Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 32, Nays 18.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, I was paired on this vote with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik), but had I had a vote, I would have voted against this measure.

 

Bill 41‑The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bill 41, standing in the name of the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for third reading of Bill 41, presently standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson?  Leave? (agreed)

Mr. Speaker:  Third reading, Bill 41, The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Our Natural Resources critic, the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin), will be placing our position on this bill which we oppose.

Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas):  Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise again in the House to speak on Bill 41.  I have spoken before on this particular bill, and when I first spoke, I made it very clear to the House here that we were not going to be in a position to support the bill in the manner that it was drafted.

       I wanted to say again today, Mr. Speaker, right at the outset, that we are unable to support the bill for many reasons. The bill is flawed, and we said at the outset that it was too encompassing.  I am just going to mention the two or three reasons why, for example, we are not able to support the bill.

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       I believe the first one, which is quite important to us‑‑that is, there were over 200 people who had registered to speak or to make presentation at the hearings.  Unfortunately, when we suggested to the government that perhaps it would be appropriate for the hearings to be moved up to The Pas, maybe at least for one day, we were not able to do that.  The government would not listen to all of those people in The Pas who wrote in registering to speak at the hearings.  For example, people like Mr. Ed Johanson, Margaret Reid, Mr. and Mrs. Atkins, Vallan and Irene Melnick, Stewart Corbett; people like Elen Carpenter, Pete Mercer, Roy Vickery, Frank Reimer‑‑all of these people had written in to speak at the hearings, but unfortunately the government did not listen to our suggestions that that be done. People like Carol Stevens, Cynthia Beadle, Charlie Watts had all written to come in to Winnipeg to come and speak; Lawrence Ogrodnick, Doug Fahlgren, Glen Ridings, just to name a few.

       So that is one of the reasons why we are not able to support the bill, Mr. Speaker.  Throughout the debate, and judging from the correspondence and the phone calls that came in, not only to our party but also to the government side, there were very few people who were, in fact, in favour of the bill as it was written.

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

       The other reason why we are not able to support this bill is the very undemocratic scheme or vehicle that was suggested by the bill, meaning that those people who were going to be paying the taxes, the fees, and so on, would not have any body or group of people to be accountable to them.  In other words, they pay the fees and the taxes, but there will be no accountability coming back from the government or to whichever body these fees and taxes would have been paid to, Mr. Acting Speaker.  So for us it was a very undemocratic process that this bill was suggesting.

       The other reason why we are not able to support the bill, Mr. Acting Speaker, is the taxes that are being imposed on those people who are living at the cottages, people with title land and so on.  As well, for those people who have leases with the provincial government, people who are maybe just casual users of the provincial parks, they were not given any vehicle in order that they might appeal decisions that are being made by government.

       In addition to that, Mr. Acting Speaker, the municipalities were totally left out of the picture, particularly those municipalities that are situated close to provincial parks where people have property within municipalities as well as having cottages out at provincial parks.

       We also had suggested, my colleagues had repeatedly suggested through the hearings process, some very worthwhile amendments, some workable amendments.  Again, unfortunately, the government refused to listen to those amendments.  The amendment that my colleagues had suggested, for example, on the 12 percent protection, the government countered by coming back with another amendment which virtually, for us, meant absolutely nothing, Mr. Acting Speaker.

       Therefore, those are some of the reasons why we are not able to support the bill.  It is badly flawed; the process that it is proposing to establish is very undemocratic.  Also, there were over 200 people who wanted to participate in the debate that were not allowed to do so, and also, as I said, many phone calls, many letters came to government and also to other parties such as ourselves, virtually all of them not showing any type of support for the legislation.  So, for that reason, we are not able to support the bill.  Thank you for giving me the time to say a few words on the bill further.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is‑‑oh, I am sorry.

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I will make just a few comments in closing on Bill 41 on third reading.

       Mr. Speaker, I genuinely wish to put on the record my appreciation for the fact that, as the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) has quite correctly indicated, there were, indeed, a significant number of Manitobans that showed interest in Bill 41 and registered their interest.

       I also want to put on the record that no government in the history of this province, that includes 10, 20, 30 years of Liberal governments, at least 14 or 15 years of New Democratic Party governments, those of Mr. Ed Schreyer and Mr. Howard Pawley, has ever made it a practice to do anything other than what was followed with respect to Bill 41, that these kinds of committees are held here in this Chamber.

       As I have said to my colleagues on that committee from time to time, that in itself is a very unique thing to Manitoba.  We are the only Legislature in the country that affords this opportunity for citizens to make that expression.  To attempt to make some political points about the fact that we did not tour the countryside with a bill is simply not in keeping with the practice of this Chamber.

       I remind the honourable member and, indeed, through him to his constituents in The Pas, who for understandable reasons could not be here to make their presentations known, their written presentations form part of the official record of the hearings of that committee.  They are transcribed and their views were certainly taken into account by those who were considering the bill.

       Mr. Speaker, we had, in fact, a very interesting discussion about parks policy.  I have to disagree with the honourable member.  I am, I suppose, a little pleasantly surprised that we have had a good, hard, sober look at parks legislation.

       We had representation that spoke very strongly in favour of the bill.  We had people representing some very specific concerns about the bill, about the historic way that parks were created in Manitoba, that called upon the continued ability for resource extraction, logging, mining within the parks system.

       We do not remind ourselves often enough that had we changed‑‑you know, it is for these reasons that 30, 40, 50 years ago when the parks systems were built we had certain ground rules, multiple ground uses.

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       If we wanted to take the kind of moved goal posts of what we now, or at least in the minds of some people, call a park, we would not have many of the parks that we have.  We certainly would have never established Grassy River park, one of the prime geological areas of the province of Manitoba, as a provincial park if we for a moment thought that we would deny Manitobans the economic opportunities that were under the surface of that piece of land.

       It is for that reason, I remind Manitobans, reasons that we in Manitoba have eight times the amount of acres dedicated to parks than they have in Alberta, for instance.  That should surprise us.  We have 80 times, I repeat, 80 times the amount of land proportionate to our acreage the amount of parks that Quebec dedicates in their provincial park system.  So if we want to‑‑as we had in that debate, I understand, Mr. Speaker, this is the spectrum that we had and that I believe the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) would like to support.

       The only thing that is worthwhile calling a park is a park that has not been touched by human hands.  That is what Dr. Rajotte told us in committee.  The Whiteshell Park would not qualify in her mind as a park.  Grassy River does not qualify as a park, none of our existing parks.  The parks are only those that could claim pristine wilderness untouched by man.

       Now from that concept to the many, equally large number of Manitobans‑‑and it is part of our heritage in Manitoba.  We have thousands of‑‑5,000, 6,000, 7,000 cottage owners, and when you take their extended families, their children, we have many of those people who come to parks for the enjoyment.  They represent an interest, and we recognize the interest of how this park system can contribute to the Endangered Spaces Program.

       That is what is contained in Bill 41, and I believe that is why we are seeing a much more moderate view being expressed by members of the opposition.  I regret they are voting against it, but Bill 41 reflects the reality of parklands and how they should be used in Manitoba.

       I am proud and pleased to have fathered it.  I am very pleased to recommend it to the House, and I, even at this late date, recommend it to certain members, particularly the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), particularly the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), particularly the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), that they should consider seriously whether or not they ought not to be supporting this bill.

       Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 4l, The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Speaker:  Yeas and Nays?  A recorded vote having been requested, call in the members.

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Hickes, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 26, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I was paired with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik).  Had I been able to vote, I would have voted against the bill.

* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call adjourned debate, third reading, Bill 32, standing in the name of the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale).

       Before you call that bill‑‑I was in error‑‑would you call Bill 37, standing in the name of the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

 

Bill 37‑The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  The House has already made a decision to allow Bill 37 to stand in the name of the honourable member for Thompson. Is there unanimous consent to revert to Bill 37 at this time? (agreed)

       Third reading, Bill 37, The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Societe d'assurance publique du Manitoba et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Our critic, the member for Brandon East will be outlining our position on this bill, which is one of supporting no‑fault insurance for Manitobans.

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, this is a bill we have been waiting for a full five years to see implemented, not exactly this bill, but we have been waiting for five years for a no‑fault system to be implemented.

       We have some concerns with the bill.  We think it could be made a lot better.  We tried, but nevertheless, the no‑fault system has been something we have been asking for for a long time.  The minister has steadfastly opposed it for years, and I guess at the very last moment, the government changed its mind.

       It changed its mind because of circumstances, Mr. Speaker, because Autopac premiums were going to the moon, more or less. The fact is bodily injury claims were escalating rapidly, and there was no way they could keep a handle on Autopac premiums. So the reality of it is the government was forced to go into this, and as Judge Kopstein outlined in his report‑‑I would like to quote from position paper No. 2 of Judge Kopstein: Considering both costs and benefits, a pure no‑fault plan would bring a substantial improvement to bodily injury insurance protection in Manitoba with the greatest potential for significant savings.

       Mr. Speaker, this bill, this no‑fault system, does answer a lot of deficiencies in the tort system.  The tort system is costly.  The tort system brings about unnecessary delays, which can be devastating to the people who are injured.  The tort system gives inadequate protection to innocent victims who happen to be involved in an accident with people who do not have enough insurance, and, certainly, the tort system is inadequate because it does not give sufficient protection to the at‑fault victim, who in many instances is at fault simply because of a momentary loss of concentration.

       Mr. Speaker, this concept of no fault, eliminating the chart system, is really advocated by Mr. Justice Dickson as well in one of the Supreme Court of Canada's cryology decisions.  I quote from Justice Dickson:  The subject of damages for personal injury is an area of the law which cries out for legislative reform. The expenditure of time and money in the determination of fault and of damage is prodigal.  The disparity resulting from the lack of provision for victims who cannot establish fault must be disturbing.

       That, I said, is from Justice Dickson of the Supreme Court.

       I am satisfied that this bill goes a long way to enhancing protection for Manitobans, and it covers anyone who is a resident of Manitoba whether or not they have an Autopac policy.  We tried to get some improvements.  We brought in well over 35 amendments.  We fought for them.  We had a vote on every one of them.  We felt that there should have been improvements in some of the benefits, particularly for death benefits we think are totally inadequate.  We thought there could have been a better deal for the senior citizens.  We thought that other benefits should have been approved.

* (1910)

       We also thought that the appeal process could be strengthened from what is outlined.  We believe that there should have been reference to the court for matters of fact as well as for law. We put those in the amendments.  We tried our best; we were not successful.  I can say this, that a future NDP government would do its best to strengthen this no‑fault system that we are beginning with this bill.

       Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, we did get some amendments, and I am very pleased that we got some of them.  I will not take the time to go over them, but I am particularly pleased that we got a commitment from the government.  It is in the bill for a three‑year mandatory review, including public representations, so we will have a public discussion, a public review of this.

       Mr. Speaker, we basically support the bill.  It could be a lot better.  We tried to make it better.  We will work at it, but at least it is a beginning.  It is a new approach that abandons the tort system, and it brings in a fairer system, in my opinion.  It enhances social security for the people of Manitoba.  I believe it will strengthen the public auto insurance system that was set up a few years under Ed Schreyer.  It will, I believe, last but not least, keep premiums from escalating to the moon.  It will keep premiums down.  In fact, it could even bring premiums down this coming spring.

       I know the Liberals are opposed to it.  They say, somehow or other, in some kind of perverted logic, that this is going to undermine MPIC, and they do not understand it.  Well, I do not understand their opposition to the bill because, as far as I am concerned, it strengthens the Manitoba Public Insurance system that we have in this province.  It makes MPIC even more important than ever before.

       As I said, we got the amendment in for a three‑year review, a mandatory review.  We are very pleased about that, and it will be a public process.

       So next spring, Mr. Speaker, when people get their Autopac renewal policies and they see that their premiums have not gone up or, better still, perhaps even been reduced, it will not be because of the Liberals in this House, it will not be because of the Liberals.  It will be in spite of the Liberals that Autopac premiums are going to be kept down in this province.

       Mr. Speaker, I have lots more I would have liked to have said on this bill, but we have had an opportunity in committee, and we have made our views known.  We have tried our best to get over 35 amendments.  We think it could be improved, but it is a good start, and therefore, we are pleased to support this bill.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (River Heights):  Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this bill because I will be voting no and a very resounding no to this bill.  This bill does not do what it purports to do.  This is not, as we euphemistically call it, a no‑fault bill; this is a no‑benefits bill.

       When we make legislation in this House, I think we should make legislation and to regard it as to whether the legislation is in the best interests of our children and our grandchildren to come.

       I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that in the case of my children, this bill is woefully inadequate, not because their present income levels are so high.  Their income levels are well below, well below.  One of them is not employed at all.  She is still a student, but she is a student who has just graduated, who has had an equestrian career, who, I think, will make a significant contribution to Canada.

       The other one works for the Bronfman Foundation and, again, is what I hope will make a significant contribution to Canada. But I also think that, as they age and they mature, they will, indeed, earn higher levels of income.  I believe that they should have the right to be insured to cover them for accidents that befall them.

       They, like most young people, if they were to go out on their own and purchase their own insurance, would accept what MPIC said.  They would not go out and buy additional insurance because they would think that they had a public insurance corporation which would adequately cover them, because that is their belief in what this system was all about from its inception, that it would provide them with reasonable and necessary coverage.

       Well, it will no longer provide them with reasonable and necessary coverage.  If they were driving in the province of Manitoba, I can assure you that we would be purchasing for them additional insurance, just as we do for Jennie in the province of Ontario, and just as we do for Cathi in the province of Quebec, because neither of those insurance programs meets the needs of these two young people.

       What if either one of them, and what if any one of your children, became a quadriplegic?  The benefits in this act are woefully inadequate.  It is a no‑benefit bill.  That is the tragedy.  The tragedy is that the very people who will need additional coverage will be the very people who will not purchase that additional coverage.

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

       Those of us who have the fiscal and financial resources to buy additional coverage will do so.  I can assure you that there will be big ads come next February from every private insurance company in this province saying:  You do not have enough coverage under MPIC insurance.  Make sure you have adequate coverage. Come and buy from us.

       The member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) says:  How do we think this is going to undermine MPIC?  Well, exactly the way his former colleague told him it was going to undermine MPIC. Vic Schroeder put it very well.  He knows it is going to undermine the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation.

       The member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway) knows that he and his colleagues that sell automobile insurance will be making a heyday come February of next year when they are out there selling additional insurance, because MPIC is not going to be adequate to meet the needs of the people of this province.

       When I go into the committee room and I see Howard Pawley in his painting holding the MPIC bill in his hand, something which he is so very proud of, and I think of what the NDP have done to his legislation, I could cry.  We had the best insurance program in this country.  We used to have it; as of tonight, we will no longer have it.  I blame it primarily on the NDP who sold out. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question? (interjection) Order, please.

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Act):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I would only like to put a couple of words on the record to close debate.

       Quite frankly, this bill will provide the kind of stability the people of this province are looking for in their automobile insurance.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, let me make it very clear, the point that was just made by the Liberal member about a young person who might be dramatically injured in the early stages of their life, the benefits that they will receive in a life expectancy of 70 years will exceed most of the excess payments that are being envisaged today.  They will exceed them because their protection is ensured under this bill.  Pain and suffering will not be covered, but those who are dramatically injured will be taken care of, and the people of this province will look around and they will see other jurisdictions begin to follow this example very quickly, because the cost of bodily injury claims and pain and suffering have become unconscionable in terms of our ability to control those costs.

       I recommend this bill to the House.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 37.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

* (1920)

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  Yeas and Nays, Madam Deputy Speaker.

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

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 37, The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act.

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

       Yeas

       Ashton, Barrett, Cerilli, Chomiak, Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Dewar, Doer, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst, Evans (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East), Filmon, Findlay, Friesen, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Lathlin, Laurendeau, Maloway, Manness, Martindale, McAlpine, McCrae, McIntosh, Mitchelson, Pallister, Penner, Plohman, Reid, Reimer, Render, Rose, Santos, Stefanson, Storie, Sveinson, Vodrey, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

       Nays

       Alcock, Carstairs, Edwards, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 44, Nays 6.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I have been paired with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted in support of this bill.

 

THIRD READINGS

 

Bill 16‑The Public Schools Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey), that Bill 16, The Public Schools Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les ecoles publiques), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?  Agreed and so ordered.

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  On division?

An Honourable Member:  No, I am speaking on this one.

* (1930)

Mr. Speaker:  I have already put the question to the House. Order, please.  Members cannot hear what is happening here.

       It has been moved by the honourable government House leader, seconded by the honourable Minister of Education and Training, that Bill 16, The Public Schools Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les ecoles publiques, be now read a third time and passed.

       Do you want to speak?

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Speaker, I apologize for not hearing your words with regard to that motion at that particular time due to the air‑conditioning unit and other distractions in the House.

       Bill 16 represents, in our opinion, on this side of the House, one of the most ill‑conceived and heavy‑handed actions by this Tory government.  In this particular session, and this session is fraught with such heavy‑handed actions by this government, this bill typifies more than any other this government's attitude towards anyone who happens to get in their way toward consultation, toward partnership and toward co‑operation.  It exemplifies this Minister of Education's (Mrs. Vodrey) and this government's utter and complete failure in education policy in this province.

       Mr. Speaker, it not only attacks the locally elected officials, the very essence of local decision making in this province and a total disdain towards the work that school trustees are elected to do, to administer education in this province at the local level, but it is also a thinly veiled attack on the teachers of Manitoba.  Coupled with Bill 22, the motives of this government towards the professionals who care for our children in our schools is crystal clear.  Simply put, this government is saying, we must have money from your pockets, your fat cats.  We are going to get both from you come hell or high water, and we are getting both of those from this government lately.

       But what does the government say?  They say that they are concerned about rising property taxes.  Can you believe that? This is their official line.  This is complete and utter nonsense, that they are concerned about rising property taxes when their budget, you can contrast that statement alongside of their budget, which shows a $75 increase for every property owner in this province, a poll tax for every property owner in the province, an increase in addition to that for many of $250 for property taxes due to the minimum property tax that they have imposed in this province, to say nothing of the elimination for many senior citizens of the $175 pensioner school tax assistance that is in place in this province and the delay, for all of the rest who are going to receive it, by nearly a year.

       So let them not say, Mr. Speaker, in justifying this bill, that they care about property taxes.  Concern about property taxes, that is simply unbelievable, unsaleable.  It will not sell.  It has not sold, and it will not sell to the people of Manitoba, because their actions belie their words.  It is merely a convenient argument that they have used, and it is totally destroyed by their actions in this budget.  The fact that they even try to make this kind of an argument testifies to the total chaos and confusion surrounding their policy development and the introduction of this kind of bill in this House.

       During the committee, Mr. Speaker, we heard from presenters who said that this bill was not necessary to accomplish the government's objectives for this particular year, because this particular policy of a 2 percent cap on the local requirements has already been met for this year.  It has already been adhered to.  The bill is not required for this particular year.  The objectives of the government have been met.  So the government persists with this legislation, we can only assume, to apply even more heavy‑handed tactics next year.  The signs are ominous.  We do not know what kinds of cuts are coming next year, but we know they will be deeper and tougher and harder.

       Mr. Speaker, they do not need this bill for next year.  We were told during the committee that they should negotiate with the partners in education, and there is a willingness to co‑operate.  They should withdraw this bill.  We moved in committee that any references to years '94 and '95 be completely removed from this bill, but this government in the committee with their majority persisted in going forward with this particular bad legislation.  I say to them, to this government, you still have a chance.  You have an opportunity.  You can sacrifice your minister and withdraw this bill at this particular time.

       This minister, Mr. Speaker, can be sacrificed because she should resign in any event, whether this bill is maintained or whether it is withdrawn.  She has lost all credibility with the people of Manitoba.  Her credibility has been totally destroyed by this piece of legislation that is being imposed on the people of Manitoba, on the partners in education, by this government without consultation.  This bill should be withdrawn.  It should be defeated.  The government should immediately begin to negotiate with the people in Manitoba.  It has no place in this province.  It is ill conceived, and it should be repudiated. That is what we are asking the government to do, because we will be voting to repudiate this bill in third reading.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 16, The Public Schools Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les ecoles publiques, to be now read a third time and passed.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

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

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 16, The Public Schools Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les ecoles publiques.  All those in favour of the motion will please rise.

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Clerk of Committees (Bonnie Greschuk):  Yeas 26, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I have been paired with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted against this bill.

* (1940)

 

Bill 22‑The Public Sector Reduced Work Week and Compensation Management Act

       

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), that Bill 22, The Public Sector Reduced Work Week and Compensation Management Act (Loi sur la reduction de la semaine de travail et la gestion des salaires dans le secteur public), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, this bill is described as the reduced workweek program.  That is a misnomer.  This bill is an attack on the collective bargaining process.  It is a government‑implemented lockout.  It is a betrayal of the trust of this government, which has shown that its word means nothing with 100,000 public servants in this province.

       We have fought this bill from the beginning, and I want to say, our opposition is because collective bargaining is at the root of social progress.  Any government, in particular this government, which once again, as they did two years ago on Bill 70, is attacking the collective bargaining process, is moving in a regressive way.

       Mr. Speaker, the budget deficit we have is not the fault of our public employees, and this government ought not to take out on the backs of the public servants of this province, 100,000 Manitobans, at their expense, the problems brought about by the deficit of this Finance minister.

       We oppose Bill 22.

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  Mr. Speaker, I just have a few words on Bill 22.

       It is a regressive piece of legislation that singles out and unfairly attacks the public sector in the province of Manitoba.

       We listened, Mr. Speaker, to the dozens upon dozens of presenters on Bill 22 that came forward, many of them out of fear of losing their jobs, and told this government that they were opposed to this government coming forward with Bill 22, in fact telling this government that it was going to have a serious and drastic impact upon the families of this province, of the public sector workers in the province and that it was unfair for this government to single out the public service in our province to place the debt of this province and the failures of this government to manage the economy of this province onto the backs of the civil servants of this province.

       This government said that this 10 days, and they have called it a vacation or long weekends‑‑those are the terms of reference that they use for these employees of this province‑‑and said that it would not be necessary to roll back salaries in this way if they had any other course of action.

       Well, I hope that this government does not take further draconian steps in this province by laying off civil service workers in this province.  We are going to hold them to that, that they will not lay off further civil service workers in this province over the course of the next two years when this legislation is in effect, and we are going to be watching very closely that takes place.

       As far as Part 3 of this legislation is concerned, we thought it was fair that MLAs, if the government chose to roll back any salaries and benefits, would fill that role.  Never mind transferring the debt of this province onto the backs of the civil service workers, Mr. Speaker.

       The Part 3 of this legislation we support; I support that section.  We will be voting against this legislation.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, responsible governments have to make responsible decisions.  In bringing forward this bill, 500 positions, 500 jobs were saved because this government, therefore, did not have to take strong decisions with respect to that number equivalent of people.

       Mr. Speaker, I would think that members opposite would be supporting this bill to protect the jobs.

       Let me say as a final comment, I have had literally dozens of members of the civil service tell me that it was by far the fairest approach to take.  I dare say that in balance, Manitoba society wanted this type of legislation during this period of time.

       Thank you.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, we oppose this bill with the exception of the section dealing with MLAs' salaries.

       This bill has three purposes.  Its goal is to reduce in the short term the government and the public sector payroll, it is to reduce the power of labour and its role in our community, and it is to diminish the role of the public sector.

       It resulted in a loss of service in hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, municipalities right across this province.  It resulted in a loss of productivity in a country which can ill afford that.  It resulted in a loss of disposable income to people who found that their houses and their mortgages were in jeopardy.  It resulted in a loss, and it will mean a loss in tax revenues for a government which is crying out for them.

       It created inequalities in a province which can ill afford to create any more inequalities.  The deputy ministers' salaries increased, the political pensions of their political appointees increased.  But the clerks, the cleaners and the nurses aides had no choice.  Those with power got more; those without power got a kick in the teeth from this government.

       We must be clear that this is not just a short‑term saving on wages, but it is part of a longer‑term attack on unions and labour.  When you fire 1,800 people in the public service, when you end FOS legislation, when you bring in wide‑open Sunday shopping, when you have no consultation with labour, then in fact that is part of a much longer‑term agenda for this government.

       We should be aware that the origin of this bill lies also in its opposition to trade unionism itself.  This government recognizes, as do others, that the expansion in the trade union movement since the 1960s has been in the public sector.  When you attack those public sector trade unions, which is what they are doing, you are out to undermine the growing sector of the movement itself, in the long term to bring us to the level of the United States and Mexico.

       We should be aware of this government's hostility to the public sector itself.  "Government cannot do everything" is their cry, the appeal of neo‑Conservative fundamentalism, but they do not mean that, Mr. Speaker.  What they mean is the government should do little.  What they want is small, weak governments because that enhances the power of those who do not exercise it in the ballot box but in the marketplace.

       Mr. Speaker, those who spoke to the bill at committee reminded us that there is a political context to this bill, that this is not just a rollback in wages, but it uses the power of the state against the worker and the union, that it transfers the power to the employer to unilaterally set wages and conditions of work.

       There were alternatives.  Saskatchewan and British Columbia showed us their alternatives.  They showed us that there was negotiation possible, so did CUPE, so did the Nurses' Union, so did the City of Winnipeg, and so did other municipalities.  They reminded us, too, that there was an economic context to this bill, to those people who saw their wages roll back and saw their disposable incomes decline.

* (1950)

       They reminded us that these same people have seen their taxes increase at the hands of this government.  They have seen their daycare costs double at the hands of this government.  They have seen their seniors', their grandparents' costs increase and double and triple at the hands of this government.  They have seen their children having to bear the burden of those large student loans that this government has introduced.  The economic conditions of the context of this bill must be remembered.

       Mr. Speaker, we heard from those people who spoke of Bill 22 that many in our society are losing hope, that the state, the government has turned its back on the people.  We oppose this bill, but it will pass.  Indeed, such is the disdain of this government for the legislative process that, in fact, it is already in place, and the wages have been deducted.

       Mr. Speaker, there will be a greater test for this bill. There will be an election.  After five years of this government, people will be asking themselves in Manitoba, is this a fairer society that this government has created?  Have the conditions of life improved for our families and our communities?  Are the goods of our society distributed more equally?  Do we have a sense that the state or the government is on our side?  Are we moving to a more equal, a more tolerant and a fairer Manitoba? Those are the questions Manitobans will examine over the next 12 months.

       When they answer that, Bill 22 will be one of those factors that they will consider; Bill 22 which made a mockery of the collective bargaining; Bill 22 which undermined the gains that were won by groups such as the Nurses' Union; Bill 22 which made no distinction between people who earned $10,000 and those who earned $50,000; Bill 22 which disrupted services which affected the economy of small towns and cities across Manitoba; and Bill 22 which made the government of the people, the secular state which binds us, less of a collective tool for common action, but the very means by which the power of the few could grow at the expense of the many.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 22, The Public Sector Reduced Work Week and Compensation Management Act (Loi sur la reduction de la semaine de travail et la gestion des salaires dans le secteur public).  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No.  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

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

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 26, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I have been paired with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted against this bill.

 

Bill 23‑The Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Amendment, Employment Standards Amendment

and Payment of Wages Amendment Act

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), that Bill 23, The Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Amendment, Employment Standards Amendment and Payment of Wages Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les jours feries dans le commerce de detail, la Loi sur les normes d'emploi et la Loi sur le paiement des salaires), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, I will only be taking a few minutes to put again on the record our opposition to this bill.

       There is perhaps no better way to end the session.  I believe this is the second last bill that is before this Chamber this session, and perhaps it is instructive that this is the bill that will sort of end the session, because it is indicative of the kind of year this government has had.

       We passed earlier today, on division, Bill 4, which was the predecessor to Bill 23.  Bill 4 stands as a monument to the incompetence of the government.  It stands as a monument to the failure of this government to understand the simple economic fact that the City of Winnipeg, who may in fact end up supporting the idea of wide‑open Sunday shopping works against the interests of rural and northern Manitoba.

       Mr. Speaker, it underscores the fact that this government has refused to consult with the very people that were affected.  When it got time to reintroduce this issue, the government chose Bill 23 as that vehicle.  Despite urgings from councils and community leaders from across Manitoba, the government refused time and time again the invitation to hold hearings in rural Manitoba.

       We had the mayor of Carman, we had rural representatives from across the province invite the government to come to their community to debate the issue of Sunday shopping.  Mr. Speaker, the government was afraid to.  Why was the government afraid to debate this issue in rural Manitoba?‑‑because this issue has not divided rural Manitoba; it has united them.  It has united them in opposition to this bill.

       The government's own front bench was divided on this issue. In 1987, Mr. Speaker, the member for Pembina said in an unequivocal way that the idea of Sunday shopping was obviously detrimental to rural Manitoba.  He said that he was going to oppose wide‑open Sunday shopping because it would mean the loss of jobs and the loss of opportunity in rural Manitoba.

       Nothing changed from 1987 to 1993 except for the integrity of members opposite who represent rural Manitoba.  That is what changed.  In committee, when members of the UMM, when members of MAUM, when members of the chambers of commerce, when individual rural Manitobans came in and said this is not a positive move for the economies of rural Manitoba, for the survival of communities in rural Manitoba, did the government respond?  No.  They sat back because someone else had set the agenda:  The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

       The Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, (Mr. Stefanson) is listening to the few again, as my colleague from Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) said, and not the many who are going to be affected by this bill.  Mr. Speaker, this bill is a mistake.

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

* (2000)

       Mr. Acting Speaker, like many of the things that this government is doing, it is going to undermine the economy of rural Manitoba in an insidious fashion.  This is going to be a war of attrition that first the small retailers in rural Manitoba‑‑and this was the point of view of not just New Democrats, it was the point of view of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce and many others that what is first going to go is the customers of retailers in rural Manitoba.

       First it is going to be one customer of the meat shop in Morris.  Then it is going to be a small customer of a hardware in Teulon, and then it is going to be a small customer of another specialty shop in Beausejour.  As those individual retailers lose customers to the large retailers, the multinationals, like the Costcos and the Superstores in Winnipeg, they are going to close their doors, they are going to lose their jobs, and one by one, those communities are going to go the route of many other communities in rural Manitoba.

       This bill will exacerbate a trend which has been occurring in rural Manitoba for the past 40 or 50 years, and this government which represents and says it represents rural Manitoba should know better.  Mr. Acting Speaker, the only member who I believe has had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce in the interest of big business in the city of Winnipeg is the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner)‑‑and the member for Steinbach (Mr. Driedger), who has, I believe, shared with his own constituents the concerns that they have about this bill.

       But we will see whether that intestinal fortitude carries over into the Legislature, because they have an opportunity to show their constituents that they are standing up for their interests today, because Sunday shopping is going to mean, and make no mistake about it, over the long run the demise of some of our businesses and, ultimately, some of our communities in rural Manitoba and northern Manitoba.  That is lamentable, and that is why we will be voting against this bill.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Acting Speaker, I was just wanting to put a few words on the record on this particular bill.  You know, I am somewhat disappointed in the government. Back in December, we, in fact, had Bill 4 that was brought in, at which point in time the Liberal caucus said we were going to have a free vote on the whole question of Sunday shopping.

       I had indicated to the government at that time, at least in the second reading at that time, that I would be inclined to support the idea of Sunday shopping.  I was very disappointed when the government brought in a piece of legislation that gave the responsibility of Sunday shopping to each and every municipality, as opposed to making a decision from within inside the Chamber.

       I think that poses a great number of problems depending on the community in which you live in.  You are pitting community at community, and I do not find that is proper.  The whole question of Sunday shopping‑‑I would have much preferred to have gone on Bill 4, and I would have felt a lot more comfortable debating that particular bill myself personally.  With respect to Bill 23, I cannot support Bill 23 for the reasons that I had pointed out to you.  Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker.

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  I had no chance to speak on this bill, but I think nothing can be politically correct if it is morally wrong.  Conversely, if anything is morally wrong, it cannot be politically correct.  How do we know if anything is morally wrong or morally correct?  By referring Bill 23, The Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act, otherwise known as the Sunday shopping law, to some moral code of law.

       What is the greatest moral code there is in our Judeo‑Christian tradition?  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind.  This is the greatest of all commandments.

       The second one like unto it:  Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

       That is simply the summary of the great moral code that was given to Moses, and this law violates the Fourth Commandment that was written by the very finger of God.

       The Fourth Commandment:  Remember the Sabbath Day.  Thus, six days thou shalt labour, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.

       For the Lord had created Heaven and Earth, the sea and all that is therein, but on the seventh day he rested.  Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.  Hallowed Sabbath is a commandment to all Judeo‑Christian people, and even government should not violate this moral code because their authority, the legitimacy of all government derives from the source of all authority, the source of all justice, that is, the Almighty One.  If this law violates that moral code of rule, we will vote against it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  The question before the House is third reading of Bill 23.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this bill?  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  All those in favour of the bill, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  All those opposed, say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

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

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):  Call in the members.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is Bill 23, The Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Amendment, The Employment Standards Amendment, and The Payment of Wages Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les jours feries dans le commerce de detail, la Loi sur les normes d'emploi et la Loi sur le paiement des salaires).

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Ashton, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Brandon East), Evans (Interlake), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 26, Nays 24.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I have been paired with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted against this bill.

 

DEBATE ON THIRD READINGS

       

Bill 32‑The Social Allowances Amendment Act

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call adjourned debate, third reading, Bill 32, standing in the name of the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale).

Mr. Speaker:  The House has already made a decision on Bill 32 to allow it to stand in the name of the honourable member for Burrows.  Is there unanimous consent at this time to revert to Bill 32?  Leave? (agreed)

       Third reading, Bill 32, The Social Allowances Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale), standing in the name of the honourable member for Burrows.

* (2010)

Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, this bill has been nicknamed the "Premier kicks students out of school and onto welfare" bill.  This has been called the stupidest bill on the entire Order Paper.

       These comments are well deserved because the original intent of this bill would have seen 1,100 students out of school and onto city welfare.  This government put up a terrible and weak defence of this.  They would not admit the real reason that they did this.

       Part of their defence was it was the only province in Canada that did this.  We did some research and proved that was not true.  There are several other provinces that have a similar program that allows high school students to finish high school.

       Why did they do it?  They said that these students have other options.  Some of those students had other options.  Most of them did not.  Most of those students would have ended up on social assistance.  They would not be able to continue school.  They could only take a maximum of two courses at a time.

       What did the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) say?  He said let them get a job.  How many people are unemployed in the city of Winnipeg.  In January of this year, 36,000 people were unemployed in the city of Winnipeg.  How many people were unemployed in the province of Manitoba?  In the month of April, 55,000 people were unemployed in the province of Manitoba.

An Honourable Member:  How many?

Mr. Martindale:  Fifty‑five thousand people.  And this Minister of Family Services tells them get a job.

       How many of these students would be able to work full time and attend school full time?  Not very many.  What this bill's original intent would have done would have been to deprive students of their hope of finishing an education.  As their own throne speech said, education is the key to the economic future and prosperity of all Manitobans but particularly of young people.

       So what is the real reason that this government did this? The real reason was to offload the expense to the taxpayers of the city of Winnipeg, primarily.  What has this government said about those kinds of actions in the past?  They have said there is only one taxpayer.  Well, we would like to remind them of what they have always said in the past.  There is only one taxpayer, so this is offloading the expense from the Province of Manitoba to the City of Winnipeg‑‑this in a province where we have the highest level of poverty in Canada.  We have the highest level of child poverty in Canada.  We have a high level of child illiteracy in Canada.

       What this government is doing is creating a permanent underclass of people on social assistance.  Their caseload in the City of Winnipeg has gone from 6,000 to 18,000‑‑30,000 individuals on welfare in the city of Winnipeg.  The representative from the City of Winnipeg, the delegate from City Council, Councillor Glen Murray, said when people are unemployed for more than two years they become permanently unemployed and that is what this Minister of Family Services wants to contribute to and make worse.

       Now yesterday, at the eleventh hour, the Minister of Family Services repented, and I am always pleased when I see someone repent.  This minister repented at the eleventh hour.  What did he say?  He said, well, we are going to change the policy guidelines.  I think Councillor Glen Murray will be pleased.  He said if students want to go to school full time, at least if you are not going to have a provincial program, let the City of Winnipeg pay for them and let them go to school full time.

       In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we can only hope, we can only hope that all 1,100 of those students will be enrolled in school in September.  Right now they are very worried, they are very concerned, they are still phoning our office, but we can only hope that all of them will be in school in September.

       How are we going to vote on this bill?  We are going to vote against it, because the minister should not have done it in the first place.

       Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I wanted to rise to speak on this bill again.  I have spoken on it in the past in this House both in Question Period and other occasions, and I feel it is important to rise on this bill because, as I said at the committee, in the years that I have been in this House, and I do not claim to have been here a long time, but in the years that I have been in this House I have always, and I say this with all honesty, understood the motive, the rationale behind the bills that have come before the House. I have not agreed with them, but I have always understood some basis in some reasoning as to why this bill was coming forward, some philosophical underpinning.

       This one is unique.  I have never in my experience thus far seen a bill that had less to recommend it, that had less justification than this bill.  It is absolutely unique, I believe, and I said that at the committee.

       Mr. Speaker, I believe all members are honourable members, and so while we have disagreements with people in other parties, the fact is, I respect the electoral process; I would respect that they have come forward with the motives of serving the people of this province in the best way they see fit.

       I have always striven to see that in every bill.  This one, I had a hard time finding a motive that was pure, because there was nothing to recommend this bill.  There was no study, no assessment which would back up any of the allegations of the government as to the reasoning of it.

       They made all kinds of claims, and it was a moving target. The rationale for this bill got weaker and weaker and weaker as it changed on a daily basis.  First they say, no other province has this program.  Wrong.  They had that proven wrong.  Then they said, well, people are leaving home in droves just to get onto welfare to go on this program.  Absolute garbage.  We heard the experts come before the committee.  The people who deal with these people absolutely refuted that.  There was no study, there was absolutely no evidence that that was true.  Then they say that people are abusing this program, that they could be at home, they should go back home so that they do not have to take the taxpayers' dollars.

       They made these allegations, Mr. Speaker.  There was never a scintilla of evidence to support any of the rationale put forward by the government for this bill, and the unique factor about this bill I believe is, they knew that.  They knew there was nothing to recommend this bill.  They knew there was absolutely no logic to this bill.

       Mr. Speaker, I would find it hard to believe that thinking people who really believe that the best social program was a job, as the Premier (Mr. Filmon) said and as I agreed with him on many occasions, any thinking person who believed that would say, it is in the interest of society to take people, young people who are on welfare, and tell them they cannot go to school and make it harder for them to go to school.

       The only chance, it is the only chance they have for meaningful employment in our economy and we are going to tell them we are going to make it harder for them to go to school. That is unbelievable, and the truth is that the minister knew that.  He somehow, I believe, got talked into this by his colleagues as some kind of a cost‑saving measure to throw things off to the City of Winnipeg.  I do not know if it was his idea. I do not assess blame.  What I say is, at the end of the day, he tried to save face in a half‑hearted way.

* (2020)

       He knew it was an absolutely ill‑planned, ill‑thought‑out bill, and he tried to save face.  It was too little, too late. Now, it is better than nothing, that is for sure, that he has now agreed that it is okay, a person can be on municipal welfare and still go to school, but it is still a half‑hearted measure.  The reality is, if this program really was not working, where was the evidence?  Where was anybody to come before our committee to tell us why the existing program did not work, because I, for one, would have been willing to listen to that.

       If there had been any evidence that it could have been improved, that it was not working as well as it could be, let us talk about that.  But they did not do that.  They deleted the program.  This minister says day in, day out about his various programs in his department, there is a real dynamic.  It is dynamic.

       What does that mean?  He is cutting all of these programs and he keeps saying, just wait, it is dynamic.  The Child Protection Centre, the Student Social Allowances Program, it is a dynamic department.  "Dynamic" means things are getting cut.  There are no replacements.  There is no thinking about what is going to fill that void.

       Mr. Speaker, this is a bill which I think, more clearly than any piece of legislation I have seen in all of this government's years, proves that there is a social agenda at work, not just a fiscal agenda.  Fundamentally, that social agenda is driven by a philosophy of elitism.  It is one which would have us work out our fiscal problems, the fiscal agenda of the government‑‑which I frankly agree with, that we do have to worry about the fiscal agenda‑‑but it would have us work that out on the least able to pay, the most vulnerable people in our society.

       This bill, more clearly than any piece of legislation I have seen in all the years of this government, shows that this, indeed, is the undercurrent of what this government is doing.  I believe that Manitobans reject that.  They accept the need to be fiscally responsible.  They accept that.  That is correct.  The way to do it is not to go after the people who can least defend themselves, least stand up for themselves and have the least ability to succeed in our society.

       Mr. Speaker, this bill deserves to hit the garbage heap tonight, and there is still an opportunity.  The minister still has an opportunity to go the full mile.  He made a decision that he did not want to do this.  He made that decision.  There is still time for him to go the full mile and to not put this bill into place, to stick with the program he has had.  If there are improvements to this program, let us see it.

       But there is still time, Mr. Speaker, and I hope that having obviously come to the decision that he has made a mistake, he will have the courage to go the full mile and allow this legislation to be taken off this table, tonight.

       Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House, third reading of Bill 32, The Social Allowances Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale.

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

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

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

       The question before the House is third reading of Bill 32, The Social Allowances Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale.  All those in favour of the motion will please rise.

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

       Yeas

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

       Nays

       Alcock, Barrett, Carstairs, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Edwards, Evans (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Gaudry, Gray, Hickes, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Storie, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.

Deputy Clerk (Ms. Bev Bosiak):  Yeas 26, Nays 24.

* (2030)

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I was paired with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik), and had I voted I would have voted no.

* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, can we have unanimous consent of the House to revert to presenting reports from committees?

Mr. Speaker:  Is there unanimous consent to revert to Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees?  Is there unanimous consent? (agreed)

 

PRESENTING REPORTS BY STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES

       

Mr. Bob Rose (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments):  I beg to present the Sixteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Your committee met on Tuesday, July 27, 1993, at 2:30 p.m., Room 255 of the Legislative Building to consider bills referred.

       Your committee has considered:

       Bill 212‑‑The Dauphin Memorial Community Centre Board Repeal Act; Loi abrogeant la Loi sur le Conseil du Centre commemoratif de Dauphin.

       and has agreed to report the same without amendment.

       All of which is respectfully submitted.

Mr. Rose:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson), that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Report Stage, Bill 212, Mr. Speaker.

 

REPORT STAGE

       

Bill 212‑The Dauphin Memorial Community Centre Board Repeal Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave to report Bill 212‑‑unanimous consent of the House.  Leave? (agreed)

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Speaker, I move, by leave, seconded by the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), that Bill 212, The Dauphin Memorial Community Centre Board Repeal Act (Loi abrogeant la Loi sur le Conseil du Centre commemoratif de Dauphin), reported from the Standing Committee on Law Amendments, be concurred in.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, with leave of the House, would you call Bill 212 for third reading?

 

THIRD READINGS

       

Bill 212‑The Dauphin Memorial Community Centre Repeal Act

 

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave of the House to bring forward Bill 212 at this time?  Leave? (agreed)

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Speaker, I move, by leave, seconded by the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), that Bill 212, The Dauphin Memorial Community Centre Board Repeal Act (Loi abrogeant la Loi sur le Conseil du Centre commemoratif de Dauphin), be now read a third time and passed.

Motion agreed to.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS

     

Res. 9‑Dr. Charlotte Whitehead Ross

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to call one private member's resolution, that being No. 9, standing in name of member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs).

Mr. Speaker:  Resolution 9, Dr. Charlotte Whitehead Ross, standing in the name of the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), who has 12 minutes remaining.

Mr. Jack Reimer (Niakwa):  Mr. Speaker, I at this time have concluded all my remarks regarding the resolution.

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

* * *

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a committee to consider the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.

Motion agreed to, and the House resolved itself into a committee to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty with the honourable member for Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) in the Chair.

 

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

     

Supply–Capital Supply

 

Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Order, please.  Will the Committee of Supply please come to order?  This section of the Committee of Supply is continuing to deal with the motion of concurrence.

       Is the committee ready for the question?  The question before the committee is the Supply resolutions relating to the Estimates of Expenditure for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1994, which have been adopted at this session by the two sections of the Committee of Supply, sitting separately, and by the full committee.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Chairperson:  All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Chairperson:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Madam Chairperson:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  I request a recorded vote.

Madam Chairperson:  A recorded vote has been requested.

       Order, please.  The motion before the committee is that the Committee of Supply concur in all Supply resolutions relating to the Estimates of Expenditure for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1994, which have been adopted at this session by the two sections of the Committee of Supply sitting separately and by the full committee.

       A COUNTED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows: Yeas 26, Nays 24.

Madam Chairperson:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Madam Chair, I have been paired with the member for Lac du Bonnet (Mr. Praznik).  Had I not been paired, I would have voted with our side.

Madam Chairperson:  Committee rise.

       Call in the Speaker.

 

IN SESSION

       

Committee Report

       

Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  The Committee of Supply has adopted a resolution regarding concurrence in Supply resolutions passed, directs me to report the same and asks leave to sit again.

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

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that this House concur in the report of the Committee of Supply respecting concurrence in all Supply resolutions relating to the Estimates of Expenditure for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1994.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  On division.

Mr. Speaker:  On division.

* * *

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Mr. Speaker now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into Committee of Ways and Means for raising of Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.

Motion agreed to, and the House resolved itself into Committee of Ways and Means to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty with the honourable member for Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) in the Chair.

 

COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS

     

Supply–Capital Supply

       

Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  The Committee of Ways and Means will come to order.  We have before us for consideration the resolution respecting the Capital Supply bill.

       I would remind the members that as the 240 hours allowed for consideration of Supply, and Ways and Means resolutions has expired, pursuant to Rule 64.1(1), these resolutions are not debatable.

       The resolution for Capital Supply reads as follows:

       RESOLVED that towards making good certain sums of money for Capital purposes, the sum of $293,145,000 be granted out of the Consolidated Fund.

       Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the resolution?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Chairperson:  All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Chairperson:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Madam Chairperson:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  On division.

* (2050)

Madam Chairperson:  On division.  The motion is accordingly carried.

 

Supply‑Main Supply

 

Madam Chairperson:  We also have before us for our consideration the resolution respecting the Main Supply bill.  I once again remind all honourable members that as the 240 hours allowed for consideration of Supply, and Ways and Means resolutions has expired, pursuant to Rule 64.1(1), these resolutions are not debatable.

       The resolution for Main Supply reads as follows:

       RESOLVED that towards making good certain sums of money granted to Her Majesty for the public service of the province for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1994, the sum of $4,933,836,900 be granted out of the Consolidated Fund.

       Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the resolution? (agreed)

       Committee rise.  Call in the Speaker.

 

IN SESSION

     

Committee Report

 

Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Ways and Means has adopted a resolution regarding Capital Supply and a resolution regarding Main Supply, directs me to report same and asks leave to sit again.

       I move, seconded by the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson), that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

 

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

     

Bill 57‑The Appropriation Act, 1993

       

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that leave be given to introduce Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits), and that the same be now received, read a first time and be ordered for second reading immediately.

Motion agreed to.

 

SECOND READINGS

     

Bill 57‑The Appropriation Act, 1993

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), (by leave) that Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion agreed to.

 

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

     

Bill 56‑The Loan Act, 1993

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that leave be given to introduce Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993 (Loi d'emprunt de 1993), and that the same be now received, read a first time and be ordered for second reading immediately.

Motion agreed to.

 

SECOND READINGS

     

Bill 56‑The Loan Act, 1993

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, with leave of the House, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), (by leave) that Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993; Loi d'emprunt de 1993, be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion agreed to.

* * *

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider and report of Bill 48, The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 modifiant diverses dispositions legislatives en matiere de fiscalite); Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993 (Loi d'emprunt de 1993); and Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits), for third reading.

Motion agreed to, and the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider and report on Bills 48, 56 and Bill 57, with the member for Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) in the Chair.

 

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Order, please.  Will the Committee of the Whole please come to order.  The Committee of the Whole will be considering Bill 48, The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 modifiant diverses dispositions legislatives en matiere de fiscalite), Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993 (Loi d'emprunt de 1993), and Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits).

       Is it the will of the committee to deal with Bill 48 first? (agreed)

 

Bill 48‑The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993

 

Madam Chairperson:  Does the honourable minister wish to make an opening statement?

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  No, I do not, Madam Chairperson.

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

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  No.

Madam Chairperson:  Does the critic for the second opposition party‑‑no?  Okay.  We shall proceed to consider Bill 48 clause by clause.

       Is it the will of the committee to block the clauses? (agreed)

       Clauses 1 through 16‑‑pass; Clauses 17 through 33‑‑pass.

       * (2100)

Mr. Leonard Evans:  We do not wish to hold up the Legislature, Madam Chairperson, but we cannot help but note that on Bill 48 what we are doing is levying a massive increase in taxes on the people of Manitoba.  In two items alone, the reduction of property tax credits and the extension of the sales tax, this government is taking over $101 million from the people of Manitoba, so let it be on the record that there is a massive tax increase in Bill 48.

       In addition to that, there is another $7 million or $8 million for gasoline and fuel taxes, and in the process, Madam Chairperson, what we are doing is levying this tax, regrettably, on those who can least afford to pay it.  We are taking property tax credits that are hitting those people on the lowest income scale, including the senior citizens.  Then we are extending the sales tax to be more in line to be harmonized more or less with the GST.  We are levying a tax on baby supplies.  We are levying a tax on the sick, on medical supplies, and we are levying a tax on children who now go to McDonald's and have to pay a tax for the Big Mac.  They have to pay a tax for a bag of chips or french fries.  So let it be on the record that this Bill 48 does levy a heavy tax load on the people of Manitoba, and it does it in a very regressive way.  Thank you.

Madam Chairperson:  Clauses 34 and 35‑‑pass; Clause 36‑‑pass.

Mr. Manness:  Madam Chairperson, I propose three amendments. They are all wording changes, and I will explain the wording changes.  They are in Sections 37(1), 37(2) and 38(6).  The first amendment, I move (seconded by the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings))

       THAT the proposed subsection 4(12.1), as set out in subsection 37(1) of the Bill, be amended

       (a) by striking out "each qualified dependent" and by substituting "each dependent who at any time in the year was a qualified dependent"; and

       (b) by striking out "paragraph 118(1)(b)" and substituting "paragraph 118(1)(b) or (d)".

       (French version)

       Il est propose que le paragraphe 4(12.1), enonce au paragraphe 37(1) du projet de loi, soit amende:

       a) par substitution, a "chaque personne a charge admissible", de "chaque personne a charge qui, a un moment quelconque de l'annee, etait une personne a charge admissible";

       b) par substitution, a "118(1)b)", de "118(1)b) ou d)".

Motion presented.

Madam Chairperson:  Shall the amendment pass?  Pass; Clause 37‑‑pass.

Mr. Manness:  Madam Chair, I move

       THAT the proposed subsection 4(13.2), as set out in subsection 37(2) of the Bill, be amended

       (a) by striking out "each qualified dependent" and substituting "each dependent who at any time in the year was a qualified dependent"; and

       (b) by striking out "paragraph 118(1)(b)" and substituting "paragraph 118(1)(b) or (d)".

       (French version)

       Il est propose que le paragraphe 4(13.2), enonce au paragraphe 37(2) du projet de loi, soit amende:

       a) par substitution, a "chaque personne a charge admissible", de "chaque personne a charge qui, a un moment quelconque de l'annee, etait une personne a charge admissible";

       b) par substitution, a "118(1)b), de "118(1)b) ou d)".

Motion presented.

Madam Chairperson:  Shall the amendment pass?  Pass.

       Clause 37 as amended‑‑pass.

Mr. Manness:  Clause 38, I move

       THAT the proposed subsection 5(5.1), as set out in subsection 38(6) of the Bill, be amended

       (a) by striking out "each qualified dependent" and substituting "each dependent who at any time in the year was a qualified dependent"; and

       (b) by striking "paragraph 118(1)(b)" and substituting "paragraph 118(1)(b) or (d)".

       (French version)

       Il est propose que le paragraphe 5(5.1), enonce au paragraphe 38(6) du projet de loi, soit amende:

       a) par substitution, a "chaque personne a charge admissible", de "chaque personne a charge qui, a un moment quelconque de l'annee, etait une personne a charge admissible";

       b) par substitution, a "118(1)b)", de "118(1)b) ou d)".

Motion presented.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Madam Chairperson, I gather from the documents we have seen that what we are dealing with is strictly technical change in order to bring it in line with federal legislation and the federal Income Tax Act.

       So I just wanted the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) to confirm that.

Mr. Manness:  That is correct.  I have sent the member my briefing note which explains as best I can exactly what is being requested here today.

Madam Chairperson:  Shall the amendment pass?  Pass.

       Clause 38 as amended‑‑pass; Clauses 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47‑‑pass; Clauses 49 through 62‑‑pass; Clauses 63 through 65‑‑pass; Clauses 66 through 81‑‑pass; Clauses 82 through 84‑‑pass; Clauses 85 through 92‑‑pass; Clauses 93 through 102‑‑pass; Clause 1‑‑pass; Preamble‑‑pass; Title‑‑pass.

       Is it the will of the committee that I report the bill as amended?  Agreed?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Madam Chairperson:  No?  All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Chairperson:  All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

Madam Chairperson:  In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  We request a recorded vote.

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

       The question before the committee, is it the will of the committee that I report Bill 48?

       A COUNTED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows: Yeas 26, Nays 24.

      The bill will accordingly be reported.

* (2110)

 

Bill 56‑The Loan Act, 1993

 

Madam Chairperson:  The committee will now consider Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993 (Loi d'emprunt de 1993).  Does the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) wish to make an opening statement?  Does the critic for the official opposition wish to make an opening statement?  Does the critic for the second opposition party wish to make an opening statement?

       Clauses 1 through 13‑‑pass; Preamble‑‑pass; Title‑‑pass.

       Is it the will of the committee that I report the bill? Agreed?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Madam Chairperson:  No?

An Honourable Member:  On division.

Madam Chairperson:  On division.

 

Bill 57‑The Appropriation Act, 1993

       

Madam Chairperson:  We shall proceed to consider Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits), clause by clause.  Does the Minister of Finance wish to make an opening statement?  Does the critic for the official opposition? No.  Does the critic for the second opposition party? No.

       Clauses 1 through 13‑‑pass; Preamble‑‑pass; Title‑‑pass.

       Is it the will of the committee that I report the bill? (agreed)

       Committee rise.  Call in the Speaker.

 

IN SESSION

       

Committee Report

       

Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered Bill 48, The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993; Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993, as amended; and Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993, and asks leave to sit again.

       I move, seconded by the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson), that the report of the Committee of the Whole be received.

Motion agreed to.

 

REPORT STAGE

     

Bill 48‑The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993

     

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I do not have a motion for him, but with leave of the House, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 48, The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 modifiant diverses dispositions legislatives en matiere de fiscalite), as reported from the Committee of the Whole, be concurred in.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  On division.

Mr. Speaker:  On division.

 

Bill 56‑The Loan Act, 1993

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I move, with leave of the House, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993 (Loi d'emprunt de 1993), reported from the Committee of the Whole, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) have leave for Bill 56?  Leave? (agreed)

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 57‑The Appropriation Act, 1993

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, with leave of the House, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits), reported from the Committee of the Whole, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) have leave for Bill 57?  Agreed? (agreed)

Motion agreed to.

 

THIRD READINGS

       

Bill 48‑The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, with leave, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 48, The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 modifiant diverses dispositions legislatives en matiere de fiscalite), be now read a third time and passed.

* (2120)

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) have leave for Bill 48?  Leave?  It is agreed.

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  On division.

Mr. Speaker:  On division.

 

Bill 56‑The Loan Act, 1993

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance:)  Mr. Speaker, with leave of the House, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 56, The Loan Act, 1993 (Loi d'emprunt de 1993), be now read a third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) have leave for Bill 56?  Leave? (agreed).

Motion agreed to.

 

Bill 57‑The Appropriation Act, 1993

 

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that Bill 57, The Appropriation Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits), be now read a third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) have leave for Bill 57? (agreed).

Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  Agreed?  No.

* * *

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, with the indulgence of the House, if I might have a few moments to say a few good‑byes and a few thank you's at this‑‑(interjection) Although you may wonder, given my occasional difficulty with keeping my questions short and to the point how I will get seven years into a few minutes.

       I want to say at the outset that it has been a very emotional day with many reminders of what I will be leaving, and in fact I have realized over the course of today that I will miss this place very much.  I will even miss the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard).

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  I did not say like him, I said miss him.

       Let the record show for the first time in all of my dealings with the Minister of Health that he is speechless.

       Looking back over the past seven years, it has certainly been seven long hard years with many ups and downs and highs and lows, but looking back, I realize how lucky I have been, how fortunate to have experienced so many facets of the Manitoba legislative process.  I had the privilege of serving, albeit short, for two years under Premier Howard Pawley in his cabinet, as Minister responsible for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, responsible for Lotteries and Status of Women.  That was a short‑lived time in office but very rich and personally fulfilling.

       I had the opportunity of being part of the third opposition party during our minority government, between '88 and '90, being a part of the dynamic dozen, some would say the dirty dozen‑‑I think we were very dynamic‑‑and serving as critic responsible for Family Services and Status of Women and, in that time, had the opportunity to witness some of those rare moments that happen more often under minority government of co‑operative, collaborative, consensual‑type politics.  Most recently, of course, I have had the privilege of being a part of the official opposition for the last three years, working with our Leader and a great caucus and doing my best to serve as deputy leader and for most of that time to keep careful scrutiny of developments in the health care field.

       Mr. Speaker, one of my major preoccupations in my seven years in this Chamber has been to strive daily toward greater equality between women and men, and I am very pleased to say tonight that I have seen some changes in those seven years.  We have gone from a handful of women in this Chamber to, I believe, about 20 percent representation, and that to me is a major achievement in a short period of time.

       I have also seen some positive changes in attitude that give me positive feelings about this place.  I compare 1986, when I had a playpen in my office and my first son was then only two years old, and the former member for Portage la Prairie decided to comment on this and had the audacity to suggest that I was a high‑priced babysitter.  Needless to say, I was indignant at those comments and reacted as you would expect.

       However, just a few short years later, in 1988, after my second son was born, Joseph Harry, I at that time breast‑fed Joseph in one of our legislative committees, and I want to point out and note that not a word was said.  However, I have to point out that there were a lot of‑‑it was hard to figure out who was actually having conversations with me, because anybody who came up to me to talk to me was either looking up or down below or to the side and not daring to look at me directly.  So we have made some changes, and we still have a few more to make.

       As I said at the outset, there have been highs and lows and ups and downs, and I think the downs have to do with the sacrifice that one makes in terms of time with family, with friends, and time for oneself.  The downs also for me have to do with still the combative macho style of politics in this Legislature.

       We have often been described as a neighbourhood sandbox, but lately it seems to be more like a military zone.  I guess if I have any regrets about this place and anything I would like to change, it is the personal attacks, and I regret if I have ever engaged in any such attacks myself, Mr. Speaker, and I will apologize if I have ever done that.

       Equally of concern, Mr. Speaker, to me is what I would call the gotcha syndrome in this Chamber, and the fact that a measure of a politician's worth is in who can throw the best zinger or who can put down someone the best or embarrass someone the most.

       It seems that we are all nice people out there and something happens, we walk into this Chamber and we become new and different personalities.

       Somehow, if I have any wish, it would be to create a place where differences of opinions are respected and welcomed in this Chamber, and I think we have to change that because, surely, nothing is more important and more urgent than the restoration of faith in our democratic institutions.

       There have been many highs, and I want to say, Mr. Speaker, there have been, for me, wonderful moments of consensus, collaboration and co‑operative action.  I think most specifically of the developments around the antisniff legislation.  No matter what the history and how it ended, we did still end up with something that may improve the situation, and it only happened because of co‑operation and collaboration in this House.

       I think also more recently of the way in which the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger) listened to all those members of the taxi industry and responded accordingly by agreeing to give some time, some breathing space to allow those concerns to be addressed and to be heard.

       Mr. Speaker, on the question of highs, for me it is a lot of little things.  It is the satisfaction of helping a constituent through the maze of bureaucracy, of getting a four‑way stop in a busy intersection, of being a voice for a good idea, of giving recognition to someone's achievements.

       All in all, for me it is an enormous privilege to be in political life, and that to me is translating one's personal values, one's political philosophy, into action.

       To speak up for the voiceless, to fight for the powerless, to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are represented and a more just and equitable society has been the history and tradition of the NDP.  That is why I choose the NDP and why I take the risks I do today.

       Political involvement, Mr. Speaker, I am sure for all of us comes out of a whole series of emotions.  For me it is the emotions of anger, hatred, love, among others.

       It is anger at seeing poverty and homelessness in our midst. It is hatred at the sign of any kind of injustice or inequality or racism in our society, and it is love for the dream of peace in our homes, on our streets and on earth.

       It is the translation of those emotions, the feeling of those emotions, the expressing of those emotions and the action around those emotions that is why I am in politics and why I am doing what I am doing.

       For me, what has been a constant in my political life has been the philosophy that if we do not challenge the idea that might is right, that competition is the only way to live, that poverty and food banks are here to stay, that a certain level of unemployment is acceptable, then there is not much point to our struggle at all.

* (2130)

       That has been a constant for me and I am more resolved than ever to continue the struggle, particularly these days when many of us feel the disappointment at seeing some of the gains and achievements of those who came before us being lost, dismantled, taken apart.

       I think very much of people who came before us, like Tommy Douglas on medicare, but I think more recently of people like Myrna Phillips and Muriel Smith on daycare.  I want to express, in these few closing remarks, my regret at seeing some of those hard‑fought gains being torn apart today, programs like home care and daycare and medicare that are prized social programs, are valued by everyone and they are being torn apart.  So for me, I am more resolved than ever to carry on the struggle and I feel more of an obligation than ever to preserve what those who came before us fought so hard to achieve.

       It is those feelings and that obligation that makes me embark upon a major change in my life, in my political career, and takes me to federal politics, because I believe that the roots of our current malaise and the economic uncertainty and the fear about the future, those roots are at the federal level.

       I feel very strongly that the devastation we believe is happening from free trade, the imminent demise of medicare, the lost potential caused by inaction on the economic and employment fronts‑‑all of those are critical.  I believe that we are at a watershed, at a turning point in our history, at a critical juncture where we must choose between either social chaos or social justice.

       I make this decision and this imminent departure knowing that I leave a caucus strong, effective and ready to form government. I would not be making this decision if I felt that I was hurting the ability of our caucus and our party to further our agenda and ensure that Manitobans have a very serious option in the next provincial election.  I believe that we have a strong talented caucus under very strong and able leadership, prepared to take on that challenge.

       I also make this decision knowing I leave St. Johns constituency strong, having worked hard with residents for seven years to make it a better community and knowing that there is a strong NDP candidate in place ready to take over from me.

       I could not have done what I have done for the past seven years without the help and support of many.  I first want to, at the top of my list, pay thanks to the people of my constituency, the residents of St. Johns constituency, who placed their confidence in me and returned me three times to this Legislature.  I have learned a great deal from St. Johns residents, a great deal about collective co‑operative action, about community self‑help, about working against the odds.  I will take those lessons with me wherever I go.

       I want to thank, of course, the St. Johns NDP association, who has helped me through all the ups and downs over the seven years, my constituency assistant Judy Burns, who has been with me all this time, and I want to thank all of the members in my caucus and in this Chamber for their guidance and help and advice over the years.

       Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for your patience in dealing with my sometimes long‑winded questions‑‑occasionally that being the case‑‑and for your guidance in this Chamber.

       Mr. Speaker, there are many people associated with this Chamber whom I want to thank.  I hope I do not miss anyone.  I want to thank, of course, the Clerk of the Assembly, the table officers, the Hansard staff, the Sergeant‑at‑Arms, the Deputy Sergeant‑at‑Arms, the Pages, the interns, the cleaning staff, the cafeteria staff, the staff in members' allowances, the security staff and, of course, the staff in my own caucus and anyone else I might have forgotten, and my apologies if I have forgotten.  I want to pay tribute to all those individuals because they make it possible for us to do our jobs on a day‑to‑day basis.

       Mr. Speaker, of course, I would not want to miss the media. I want to thank the media for their careful scrutiny of developments and happenings in this place, in ensuring that those who are not able to directly access the proceedings of this Chamber are able to keep on top of the latest developments and issues.

       Mr. Speaker, finally, I have to pay tribute and a special thank you to of course my family, who, of course, without their support I would not be doing what I am doing today, and the past seven years would not have been possible.  They have put up with my absences, my mood swings, the invasion of family time and have always been there to support me.  My husband, Ron, and my two sons, Nick and Joe, are wonderful supporters of mine, and they will be there with me wherever I go, wherever the future takes me.

       Finally, Mr. Speaker, let me just say thank you to you and to everyone for these past seven years, and let me close by inviting you all to visit me in Ottawa.

Mr. Reg Alcock (Osborne):  Mr. Speaker, I think it was about five years ago today that I stood up in the Legislature and I posed a question to the Minister of Finance about a tax change that he had brought in or he had not brought in, and I told him that he was completely wrong, because I had spoken to people in New Brunswick, and they had told me that he could do it.  I remember, as I ended my question, I said, get that right, and if you want, I will show you how to fix the rest of it.  Of course, I was absolutely wrong.  I had completely misunderstood what was going on, and I left the Chamber a much chastened, much humbled individual.  In a sense, if I have any feeling coming out of here, it is that.

       Mr. Speaker, when I entered the Chamber, I was about 120 pounds lighter than I am today.  My bank balance was largely in the black.  I was single and I was without children.  I will give the House credit for changing the first two, but I will take credit for changing the latter.

       In reflecting on what I wanted to say tonight, I certainly echo some of the comments of the member for St. Johns.  I think there are a couple of things I would not want to leave this Chamber without mentioning.  She has reflected on the combative nature of the House and how we get caught up in that fight.  I find some of that is very personal.  I feel it.  I feel angry.  I think I said on one occasion, I think some of that anger hurts me more than it hurts other people, because it is hard to get past those feelings when you see things being undone that you care about.

       I have also said things in the Chamber that I feel bad about.

An Honourable Member:  You should.

Mr. Alcock:  Well, no, as a matter of fact, those were not the things that I was thinking about.  I have reflected on how we get away from this, because I do believe that every member enters this Chamber intending to do good.  I think the people of this province are incredibly well served by everybody in this House.

* (2140)

       I think everybody enters this House wanting to be honourable, and is.  I think we should take pride in that.  I am honoured; I mean, I feel this incredible sense of honour that the people of Osborne chose me.  I am really proud of that.  I am really proud to be a politician; I really like that.

       It makes me feel good about who I am and what I do.  I think we should be more proud of what we do.  I think we contribute to the sort of the malaise or the ill will in the community. Frankly, I mean, I have not got a solution.  I do not know how we change the debate in here, but I certainly support the member of St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) when she says we need to try to find a way to do that.

       There is a lot of good that goes on, and a lot of personal good.  I have had people‑‑when I have done the stupid things that leave me kind of hanging my head in the corner‑‑from all parties come to me and say, it is okay, and offer some support.

       There is one little thing, I do want to apologize to one person in this House.  I want to apologize to the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey).  I want to do it publicly; I have done it privately.  But I said something about her that I have always regretted.  I am not going to repeat it, but publicly I want to say that I am sorry.

       Beyond that, I just want to thank everybody.  I want to thank all of you; I want to thank the press.  You know, I am going to miss the daily Question Period‑‑not.  But I want to thank all of the staff in this building.  I want to thank the security staff who have been so good to me when I am here at midnight or three in the morning, trying to do some work.  I want to thank the people in the cafeteria who still put up with me, and Gus, who makes me special little things, and Leoni, who takes care of me. I want to thank the Pages, everybody in this Chamber and who support this Chamber; they have just been so good to work with.

       There are so many people in my constituency that have worked so well with me over the years, and have done so much to honour me.  I will thank them personally, again.  But I want to thank them on the record here, too.

       So best of luck, everybody.  I hope everything works out for you.  I will come and sit in the loge and heckle quietly and watch what you are doing.

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House, Bill 57, The Appropriation Act 1993; Loi de 1993 portant affectation de credits.

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I want to use this occasion to make the customary closing remarks on behalf of the opposition and the members of our party at this pending session end or adjournment of this present session.

       I want to start my remarks, obviously, by saying good luck, good health and best wishes to my colleague and friend the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis), our deputy leader, a long‑time member of our caucus.  She is quite a difficult act to follow in making comments here tonight, as you can appreciate. We wish her well in the federal election.  She has always been a person that has overcome the odds, as she has stated.

       I am very, very confident that she will overcome the odds in Winnipeg North and be a tremendous representative for all Manitobans who believe in a universal health care system and fairness in our province.

       I also want to say a fond adieu to the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) and thank him for his comments here this evening.  I have known the member for Osborne for a long period of time.  We went to St. Paul's together.  He, of course, has‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Doer:  Never apologize for a good school.

       Mr. Speaker, I certainly know his experience in the public service as a person who has worked in private agencies and government agencies on behalf of children.  I know that he has been a strong representative for his community of Osborne.  We wish him good health, good happiness and a fair election campaign in the constituency he is seeking.

       I guess this is somewhat reminiscent of (interjection) Well, you can never write off anything, Paul, so you cannot say that. I guess this is reminiscent‑‑I was not here in 1979, but I understand a number of very good people left the Chamber from different parties, former Premier Schreyer, former minister, a then, I guess, ministers Spivak and Lloyd Axworthy left this Chamber, all together into the federal election, all very, very capable people, all from three different parties, tremendous talent, skill, intelligence in articulation of the issues.  We see again today that there is a changing of some members of our Chamber into potentially the House of Commons.

       I think that is good for our Chamber.  I think it is good for Manitoba's Legislature.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) has often stated and we have often stated that we are so dependent upon federal‑provincial relations.  No matter what party we choose to run for in the federal election, I think it is good that our House of Commons caucuses from all of the parties will have representatives from here, will have representatives that have been around the cabinet table wrestling with the federal‑provincial issues, that have had representatives that have had to deal with these very difficult negotiations that go on between any party and any party that is in office.

       Mr. Speaker, I think it is also good for us to have members in the caucuses of the opposition parties that will be raising those issues and will understand the very real decisions we have to make in this Chamber on behalf of the people of Manitoba and will not be removed from those relations, will not think that the provincial government is some foreign object, but rather an intricate part of the communities and constituencies that they represent.

       So I welcome the fact that we are having two members go on to the House of Commons, and I say that we almost had three.  I know that we all participate in democratic nominations, but that too would have been a good choice in terms of somebody that understood very well the people of Manitoba and the legislative process.

       It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, to note that we have lost five people in 12 months from this Chamber.  Potentially, we could have lost six.  That is very, very high turnover rate by any private sector standard or public sector standard.  Five members of this Legislature have departed since we had the speeches from last year, and even then, there were two other members that had departed just before that, the former member for Crescentwood and the member for Portage la Prairie.  That is seven people, since the last provincial election, who have been elected and have sought other careers, either leaving the province or other careers.

       I wish them all well.  I paid tribute to the former member for Crescentwood last year and the member for Portage.  They are both very involved in political affairs now.  One is an independent editorial writer for one of our daily newspapers‑‑(interjection) Yes, I am happy that he had the experience in this Legislature, in the debate, the thrust and parry that goes on here.  We do not come at all the issues from the same political agenda, obviously, and therefore I would not expect him to come to the same conclusions in his editorial, but I think it has helped that he has been a member of this Chamber. I also want to say that the member for Portage has kept actively involved in the political events of the day‑‑

An Honourable Member:  I had not noticed.

Mr. Doer:  I often joked that he was the unguided missile from Portage la Prairie and I did not‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Well, he still supported you.

Mr. Doer:  Certainly from this side we appreciated the fact that he was opposed to the Assiniboine diversion, the fact that he wanted to build a mountain in front of Portage to stop all the water is another thing, but far be it from me to be critical of the former member for Portage.  It is interesting to note that he is still very involved in public affairs.

       The member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns), the Minister of Natural Resources has a scrapbook and I do not know whether anybody has seen this scrapbook but when he was Minister of Agriculture in 1967, there was a bunch of irate vegetable farmers confronting the minister and who was right, front and centre, eyeball to eyeball with the Minister of Agriculture?  Well, it was the one Ed Connery that we‑‑

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  He is an unguided missile then, too.

Mr. Doer:  Well, we have never been in the Conservative caucus room, but we know the Premier knows.

       I want to wish Elijah Harper well personally.  We obviously are going to be competing against him for a seat in the Churchill riding but on a personal level we all learned a lot from Elijah Harper, and we will do everything we can to maintain that seat in our own political party but on a personal level I do wish him well.

       I also want to state that I wish Gulzar Cheema well in British Columbia.  We were able to say a few things when he left in the Question Period preambles, all of which was out of order, but we wish him well.  We did not agree with some of the positions he took in health care on this side, but we did respect his integrity, his dignity and we agreed to disagree on the government's approach to health care and the government's agenda on health care, but we wish him well in the province of British Columbia.

       We also wish Harold Neufeld well.

An Honourable Member:  Saw him the other day.

* (2150)

Mr. Doer:  Yes, well, I have not seen him.  I usually see him walking in the northeast area of Winnipeg.  I have not been to the Salisbury House on a Saturday morning lately to see the former member for Rossmere. (interjection) Well, the senate has moved from the Salisbury House.  As long as it has not moved to Tuxedo we will be very happy.

An Honourable Member:  To the Norvilla.

Mr. Doer:  Oh, the Norvilla, it has gone a little northeast but we wish Harold well, the former member for Rossmere, and I am sure‑‑

An Honourable Member:  He is as critical of the government as we are.

Mr. Doer:  Yes, as the member mentions but that is a very interesting reality, that we have in fact lost five members in this Chamber.  Maybe it speaks to‑‑the turnover rate I think says something about this Legislature and perhaps the culture under which we develop our debates.

       I know today is not a time for self‑serving political comments in a closing statement. (interjection) Oh boy, it is so really tough to get at it with the Premier, it is really tempting to get at it but, of course, we had our chance in Question Period.  It is just unfortunate that he did not have his chance to get back to us in Question Period today, but I will save all my comments to the Premier‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Do not say he was not there.

Mr. Doer:  I know he was here in spirit.  I understand he was watching it on television, but we kind of missed him today.  It kind of leaves us with an unfulfilled feeling not to have the Premier here on the potentially last day of Question Period, and we want him to know that he was missed today.

       Mr. Speaker, I want to say, today, if you want a person who knows all the answers from the Deputy Premier before he gives them, just ask the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) who knows his responses long before he gives them.

       Mr. Speaker, today, with the weather‑‑usually in the summer when we are closing, we are talking about all the Manitobans that are normal and not sitting in this Legislature, that are normal and going and visiting their family and friends in Manitoba and enjoying the tremendous advantages we have of our summer.  But today, we must acknowledge that many Manitobans are facing extremely difficult weather conditions in our province.

       We know that agricultural producers are extremely concerned about the status of their crops and the ability to get their crops off this year with the high degree of moisture and lack of sunshine for this period of July.  We know that other members of communities in the Swan River area and the Duck Mountain area have gone through floods and are worried about going through more floods and more devastation of personal property and public property in that area.

       We know that people upstream from this river, and people on creeks in this city are worried about their homes being flooded. We know that tens of thousands of other Winnipeggers and Manitobans are fighting a battle to keep their basements and other property dry.  So if we can be of any assistance to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) and the Premier (Mr. Filmon) in dealing with the few human levers we have to deal with acts of nature, we will offer that support and offer that to the Premier.

       Manitobans have always co‑operated in difficult times like this, and we know that that is where most Manitobans are thinking right now.  They are not thinking about this legislative session and all the debates that are going on here.  They are thinking about their more immediate situation.

       I want to thank all of the staff.  I want to start by you, the Speaker of this Chamber who has always been very fair.  I want to say to you that we are bit concerned about your lifestyle and your health, Mr. Speaker.  The Speaker talks to us about being co‑operative, warm and fuzzy.  I think last year he said all 57 members should pull together like a team of horses.

       While we want to say to you, Sir, that skidding along a road at 150 kilometres per hour off a motorcycle is, in all seriousness, is not going to allow you to‑‑105 kilometres, I do not want you to be breaking the law.  But, Mr. Speaker, that will not allow you to stay in that Chair much longer.  I am pleased that you are not hurt, but I would encourage you to keep your physical activity to, perhaps, a walk down Broadway with the member from Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).  We need you in the Chair, and your wisdom in the Chair, not in a hospital bed.  We know the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) will also share that concern for you.

       We want, as I say, to thank the staff, the Clerks, the Pages, the Committees and Journals staff, the interns for all the caucuses.  We want to thank all of the Legislative Counsel and all of the other people.  I want to thank our own caucus and our own caucus staff.  We have tried to be a constructive opposition.  I know the government thinks that because they are in this Chamber answering about 110 days worth of Question Period that we are always on the negative.

       But I think the record will show that there were pieces of legislation that we opposed, that we opposed on the basis of substance and principle.  There were pieces of legislation which we voted for‑‑in fact I think the majority of pieces of legislation we voted for.  There were pieces of legislation that we truly tried to improve by amending the pieces of legislation, by suggesting changes to that legislation, by recommending implementation strategies.

       Mr. Speaker, there are some ministers across the way who were very receptive to changes.  We mention the Minister of Highways (Mr. Driedger), who was very receptive to changes.  The Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) went some distance for aboriginal fishing communities.  We thank him for that.

       We want to thank the minister responsible for the Liquor Commission for some acknowledgement of the labels for people.  We want to thank the government for coming forward with the anti‑ sniffing bill.  It was not in the way in which we would prefer it, but we still think that it is positive.

       So I think there were some changes made in legislation.  As the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) has mentioned, I always found it was much more effective, we were much better legislators when we did not just say:  we have a majority; we are going to vote that way.  I know we did that too when we were in government‑‑whenever somebody gets a majority.

       I did go through the minority period of time, and I think that people were better served.  I think of ministers, like the Minister of Highways, who have listened to the public, listened to the people, and made changes.  The purpose of committees, the purpose of public presentations, the purpose of the opposition is to improve the situation for Manitobans.  It is not to have 30 people voting yes and 27 people voting no.  It is to get a piece of legislation that is good for all Manitobans.  Sometimes it worked in this session, and sometimes it did not work.  I would like to thank members of our caucus for trying to work on improving legislation and improving the situation in this Chamber.

       Mr. Speaker, we have miles to go before we sleep, to obviously use a term that has been used a number of times.  We have a situation now in this province where 57,000 people are unemployed.  We have a situation now, where tens of thousands of people are on social assistance.  We have a situation now where out‑migration is continuing to rise in terms of our in‑migration rate and a real population challenge.  We have a situation where we have food bank increases.  We have the highest child poverty rate in Canada.  We have challenges on trade with the proposed NAFTA agreement.  We have challenges with our federal government and the lack and decline of support from the federal government, which has been articulated by all members of this Chamber.

       We also know that many of our communities are facing extremely difficult times, and one community, of course, which I think I should pay tribute to today, is the community of Churchill.  It is the 50th anniversary of the Hudson Bay Route Association, Mr. Speaker, and tomorrow when the Premier meets the Prime Minister, I want to wish him well.  I want to wish him well on behalf of the people of Manitoba, and I hope he is able to secure not just a short‑term commitment for the Port of Churchill but a long‑term commitment.  Override the present minister of the Wheat Board, override CN, take political leadership with the Prime Minister, and let us get the long‑term, 3 percent shipment through the Port of Churchill in a long‑term, 20‑year agreement to keep that port viable and improve the rail line to the Port of Churchill.

       Mr. Speaker, I also want to say, in this the United Nations International Year of Indigenous People, that we have tremendous work to perform on behalf of the people and with our aboriginal people in Manitoba.  The poverty, the unemployment, the justice systems, the sense of partnership we now have all require tremendous work.  We all know through all the reports, more recently the reports from the federal government, that the health conditions, the housing conditions, the social conditions and the economic conditions beg for help and leadership and for partnership, and I wish the Assembly of Chiefs well in their meeting in Calgary that is taking place today and through the weekend.

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       I want to say that we, and I am sure all members of this Legislature, are committed not to just pass resolutions and hand out plaques across Manitoba but for real political and economic and social action.  Anything short of that is to pay lip service to the United Nations resolution, and I want us to commit ourselves and recommit ourselves to action, not words, in terms of aboriginal people.

       I want to say that we remain committed to the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.  We had the debate in the Chamber, I am not going to repeat it, under the Justice department with the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin).  We are committed to the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.  It spent three years reviewing the conditions of social and economic justice and the aboriginal justice system.

       I was with an elder at the Sagkeeng community just last week, and he said, how can the government call it an aboriginal justice system?  There is no justice for aboriginal people.  It should have been called the aboriginal legal system.  He as an elder of that community, again called for the government to enact the partnership and commission which was recommended No. 1 in the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.

       Mr. Speaker, we must work to be fair in this province.  Many of the most vulnerable people in our province, we believe, took the largest amount of cuts in the last year, and whether it is the anti‑poverty groups, the Indian and Metis Friendship Centres, the foster parents, the people on social assistance, the students and Student Social Allowance, and on and on and on, we feel‑‑and this is where we disagree with the government; they have stated their case day in and day out and we have stated ours‑‑that the people that are the most vulnerable have received the greatest share of cuts and reductions in support from the provincial government.

       So in closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish each and every one of the members of this Chamber well.  I would like to wish each and every one of us an opportunity to get out of this building and spend time with real people in real communities and real farms and real workplaces across the province.  It is a wonderful opportunity for us, but let us remember that it is our job to have a province that provides hope for people, not a province that provides despair for the population.  We believe that Manitoba has tremendous strengths.  We have a co‑operative workforce, a co‑operative population that pulls together.

       We have a co‑operative province of people that work together and meet challenges together.  We had and we must continue to have one of the greatest health care systems in the world, and we must reform it without cutting it back and taking away the very essence of this health care system.

       We must have an education system that provides a basic education for our children.  We must have an education system that provides for our young people to have the opportunities, the social and economic opportunities, that are absolutely essential for Manitobans to raise their family in this province and to have the economic and job situations that they need to stay in this province.

       Mr. Speaker, we believe that education and health are not only social advantages for our province but they are economic advantages for our province, and we believe that they are twinned together, and that is why we believe reforming the health care system with integrity and investing in our education system is essential for the long‑term economic viability of the great province of Manitoba and the great people that we represent in this Legislature.

       Thank you very much.

 

House Business

       

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to recognizing the honourable Leader of the Second Opposition (Mr. Edwards), is it the will of the House that the Speaker do not see the clock until such time as we get through the business of the day?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No, that is not agreed.  Then the hour being 10 p.m., this House is now‑‑

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I believe that we would be prepared to sit until 10:45 p.m.

Mr. Speaker:  Until 10:45.  Order, please.  On House business here then.

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I do not want to be unreasonable about this, okay, but the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis)‑‑and I enjoyed every word that she spoke‑‑spoke about 20 minutes; the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) spoke for about 20 minutes, 25 minutes; the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) spoke 10 minutes; the Leader of Liberal Party (Mr. Edwards) is going to be speaking for some period of time.

       I would ask not to be constrained.  I will not be unreasonable, but I have not abused my speaking privileges this session and I do ask for the consideration.

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House that the Speaker do not see the clock until such time as we are finished with the business that is presently before us?  I have no other option at this point in time, because the hours have been clearly set out that the House would now adjourn at ten o'clock.  So what is the will of the House?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  That is agreed, that Mr. Speaker do not see the clock until such time as we are finished with the business that is presently before us? (agreed)

* * *

Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, let me just indicate on that point that there were arrangements made and there were commitments made.  I recognize that things could not be completely predictable, but we do hope that the Premier (Mr. Filmon)‑‑I will certainly undertake to keep my comments brief.  I hope the Premier will do the same.  I know he will.

       We want to, at this point, make some comments which need to be made at the end of the session.  I want to start, Mr. Speaker, by thanking you for your very, very helpful guidance in this Chamber, on behalf of us, on behalf of all Manitobans, in helping us to do our work.  You have given us not just the benefit of your wisdom, but also the benefit of your friendship to all of us, I believe, in this Chamber.  I thank you very much for that.

       I note that our friend the depute de St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) will be going off to Africa to participate in an election campaign.  I think you made a very wise choice.  He will be a very fine gentleman indeed to be doing that.  I do bring to your attention that I hope it is not dangerous.  We have very few members in our caucus and we certainly want the member for St. Boniface back as quickly as possible.

       Mr. Speaker, as well, I want to recognize the work of the Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Dacquay) in this Chamber because I know she has put in many long hours and I want to thank her for her work in this Chamber.  I think often we look past that.  We do not recognize the Deputy Speaker.  I know that she has served you well, Sir, in her role as your deputy, and she has served us well.  I want to put that on the record as well.

       I also want to thank the many long hours that the committee Chairs have put in in this Chamber.  We have sat through many, many long evenings, and they do put in long hours as Chairs of the various committees in this House.  I want to thank them.

       I also want to express gratitude to the legislative staff and the security personnel, the Hansard people and the table staff here in the Chamber, as well as our political office staff in this Chamber.  In addition to the civil servants, our offices are staffed with people who also live the political life, in many ways, in terms of the hours and putting up with the give and take of life in political office.

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       Mr. Speaker, as well, I want to particularly thank the Pages this session for their long work in this Chamber.  They are, I believe, the unsung heroes of the procedures both in the committee rooms as well as in this Chamber.  I want to specifically name them and thank them for their service:  Mr. Matthew Jenkins, Mr. Gaetane Manaigre, Jeffrey Peters, Trevor Rudge, Tina Sontag and Karen Tymofichuk.  We thank you for your work in this House and your very fine job that you have done over the course of this session.

       Mr. Speaker, this has been a very interesting session for our party and for me personally, of course, because midway through it we had a change of leadership.  So when some asked what the most significant event in this session for me has been, it has not necessarily been something that has come up in this Chamber, but rather in my political life and in the political life of our party.  It has been the change of leadership; so that poses new challenges for me.

       I am looking forward to them, and I took them on fully understanding the political life and the ups and downs that it brings.  The member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis) talks about them.  I was completely aware of those and have no one to blame but myself for the difficulties and the challenges that brings, and I welcome it.  I welcome it, because as the member for Osborne and the member for St. Johns referenced, this is important work.  I believe it is important work.

       I understand that there are difficulties we face in the community in terms of credibility, in terms of our being seen as worthwhile participants in this system, but, Mr. Speaker, as we here are dedicating the best years of our lives to this, we look back at the legacy of others who have served in this Chamber, who have led this province from all political stripes, who have led this country and given us as a society the things we enjoy today.  It is important work.

       Mr. Speaker, if we are not attracting the best and the brightest of this Chamber, if we are not able to go out into the community and call people to this vocation as an honourable one, we will be lost.  We need to be able to do that.  It is up to us to join hands as a common group regardless of partisanship to send that message that this is good honest work.  It is important work for the future of our province.  We not only control $5.5 billion of taxpayers' money, we are legislatively responsible for laws which affect the citizens of this province in almost every moment of their lives.  They are coming face to face with the laws that we set and the policies that we strike in this Chamber.

       So I want to also indicate and thank specifically, having come to this new position in this Chamber, the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) who was a participant in our leadership campaign.  We were the only two in that campaign, and so that meant a difficult time in terms of our caucus, our party, our relationship.  It is a very difficult time.  I know that other members who have been through that can sympathize with that.  I want to thank the member for Inkster because we maintained a common goal and a friendship throughout that, and it remains today.  It is largely, I think, due to his commitment to our party and to our continuing together as a caucus despite what you have to go through in a leadership campaign.  It is a difficult time.

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

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I also want to specifically mention the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) who, in the course of this session, stepped down as the Leader of this party.  She has served with honour and distinction on behalf of our party in this Chamber as the Leader.  She will remain, obviously, in the Chamber as a very important member, the member for River Heights, but she did end that part of her career as the Leader of this party and brought this party a very long way.  As I know all members will recognize the ups and downs and the vagaries of the political system are there, of course, but the member for River Heights brought this party from zero to one seat and from one to 21.

       So, Madam Deputy Speaker, she served our party well.  I think she served the Legislature well in her role as the Leader of the Opposition, then the Leader of the second opposition party.  I want to thank her for her assistance in the transition in this Chamber, the transition in our offices.

       I also want to pay special tribute, obviously, to the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) who was elected, as I was, in 1988, is now choosing to move into the federal field.  I have benefited enormously from his advice and greatly from his friendship.  I want to wish him well, obviously, on a partisan level, because I share his beliefs and I share his hope that he wins the election he is moving towards.  But I also want to wish him well regardless of the outcome of that.  I want to wish him well in moving beyond this Chamber into other things in his life.  So I want to specifically acknowledge the great asset he has been, not only to our caucus, but I believe to this Chamber.

       We also, in the course of this session, in our party, saw the departure of the member for The Maples, Dr. Cheema, as he went to the province of British Columbia, and as I said at the time back when he left, it was a sad day for us to lose him.  We valued his contribution greatly.

       It was a sad day for me, because Gulzar had become a very close friend of mine, and he had introduced a certain aspect, a perspective, a background into this Chamber which heretofore had not been here.  For that, I think, I certainly, and I believe all members owe him a debt of gratitude.  He brought into this Chamber a perspective, as a member of the Sikh community, as a visible minority in this Chamber, which was unique and which will be missed.  On a personal level, of course, as well, I wish him well, but I am going to miss him greatly.  I have already, so I want to as well indicate his loss as a member of this Chamber‑‑I acknowledge the high turnover that we have had in recent times‑‑that, to me, is a very significant one, in terms of my personal loss of a friend from this Chamber.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, we had the great advantage and the great joy in our caucus of welcoming the new member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray).  It was a great loss, of course, to lose the old one to the fifth estate, but he still gives us the benefit of his opinions from time to time, without the same‑‑as I heard mentioned, I believe, reported at the time when he went, the adage that editorial writers are like the ones who stand at the top of the valley and watch the battle and then go down to shoot the wounded.

       That is the advantage of his position in the fifth estate is that he is now writing pearls of wisdom for us to take advantage of but, Madam Deputy Speaker, I still see the former member for Crescentwood, obviously, on a personal basis from time to time. So I can assure you that he maintains a keen interest in this Chamber and he is, of course, challenged and happy in his new position.

       But he was a loss to the Chamber, which we were very pleased to see replaced by the former member for Ellice, now the member for Crescentwood.  She has joined us again in this Chamber, and it has been a very important addition to our caucus and we were very pleased to see her return to this Chamber.

       I, of course, want to as well indicate that the member for St. Johns, the former member for Rossmere, and, as well, the former member for Rupertsland are all leaving us or have left us.  I think that it is important to indicate that all three of those individuals, none of whom were in the same political party certainly as I was, I really believe that I developed a friendship with, and throughout all three parties we developed friendships with those individuals.

       The former member for Rupertsland has made a change, for the better I would say, but he has made a change.  Things like this happen.  As the member for Concordia said, he remains a very strong advocate for his people.  Regardless of what political party he chooses, the former member for Rupertsland stood up for his people first and foremost.  I think we all understand that, Madam Deputy Speaker, and of course miss him from this House.

       I do want to keep my comments very short, but I do want to say in closing, I do not intend to embark on some kind of a diatribe.  We have had many, many months of political sparring in this Chamber.  I do not intend to get into that tonight.

       But I do also want to say that back in June 1992, when the First Minister made closing comments at the end of that session, he said some interesting things and it was the best closing speech I had heard from him in the five years.

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       He recounted some of the experiences of his trip down to South America.  He may recall making those comments.  One of the interesting things that he said, which I want to remind him of tonight‑‑because when I see that measured up to the current legislative agenda, it is my opinion that it has not measured up to the high hopes, expectations and visions put forward in that speech.

       I call him back to his statements when he said on June 24, 1992:  I think there is an even greater, I will say threat, because it is a threat that if we do not bridge the gap between the wealthy nations of this world and the poor nations of this world, it will explode upon us some time in this decade.

       He goes on to say that they still have access to all of the public information, that there are television sets in the smallest, most impoverished villages and they know how the rest of the world lives.  Eventually their desires for greater economic status, for greater opportunity, for better living conditions‑‑because where we were in Brazil, the average life expectancy in that interior region is 35 years of age.

       He goes on to indicate in that same speech that the key, and we get back to education he says, is what are all those people going to be doing who are displaced from employment in areas in which they had skills and no longer have marketable skills.  That is going to be retraining and retraining in a whole series of venues, whether it be in our colleges and universities, whether it be industry based, that we help sponsor innovatively through so many other means.  Those are going to be the major shifts of the future.

       Those are the themes he set out.  Education and bridging the gaps between the wealthy and the poor.  I do not see that reflected in this current legislative agenda, Madam Deputy Speaker.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       Those were themes that he put before us, visions.  It is not just the rich and the poor nations, it is the rich and the poor in our communities.  It is education for all members of our society which is going to be the key to the future.  As he has said, the best social program will be a job.  There will be no jobs, there will be no future for these people without education.  We must bridge the gap between the wealthy and the poor, between the enfranchised and the disenfranchised.

       We must be prepared to do that, because the whole approach, the whole Conservative ideology which says that we should live in a free marketplace with less government restraints, it all breaks down if there is not equality of opportunity.  That is the start.  There is no morality to laissez‑faire free marketplace unless there is equality of opportunity.  You cannot justify saying, I made it, so why cannot you, unless we started from the same position.  Equality of opportunity is not charity; it is part of the commitment to equality.

       So, Mr. Speaker, I want to call the Premier (Mr. Filmon) to his vision of a year ago when he talked about bridging the gaps, and he talked about education as the key to unlocking the future for our less fortunate people, for our young people in this province.  Without ensuring the equality of opportunity of all people in our society, we will not achieve that moral society. We will not be able to justify the differences between wealth and education amongst the various ranks of our society.  We must provide equality of opportunity to all people, and cutting things like the Student Social Allowances Program is not the way to get there.

       Mr. Speaker, the new attitude and the new thinking that are going to be required to deal with the new reality will require a commitment to fiscal responsibility and a whole new approach to financing of government programs and spending and to service the many people that we do in the so many ways that we do.  We must be prepared to find creative solutions to that to get into the 21st Century with any hope of control of our future.

       So I share their resentment of the $600 million spent to finance the debt; I share that.  I do not accept that the answer is to continue to run up the deficit; but, at the same time, I want to conclude by calling the First Minister (Mr. Filmon), again, not to turn his back in this Chamber on those who need our help the most.  We cannot solve the fiscal problems of this government of this province on the backs of the poor, the disillusioned and the disenfranchised.  That is not the way to do it.  We must be prepared to respect and honour the principle of equality, and that includes equality of opportunity.

       Mr. Speaker, with those comments, I want to wish all members a restful time in the coming weeks.  We can hope that we will have some good weather.  People can get back to their homes and perhaps mop out their basements, but I want to wish all members, of what is left of the summer, a restful summer.

       I also want to say that I acknowledge the extra and additional difficulty that rural members have.  I am very fortunate, and I am not sure I would be able to do this job, if I could not get home as often as I do because I happen to live in the city of Winnipeg.  I want to acknowledge that the rural members in both of the other parties do have that additional burden.  I want to indicate to them that I understand that is a difficulty which I do not bear but which they do.  That is an additional benefit that they are conferring on the people of Manitoba by making that effort to come in and leave their families and participate in this Chamber.

       So I want to conclude again by wishing all members, and you, in particular, Mr. Speaker, a restful season.  I hope you, Mr. Speaker, in particular, have an uneventful time between now and the next session.  As much as possible, stay off the two‑wheeled vehicle which I know you love so much.

       Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I might say at the outset that I will, indeed, attempt to be as brief as possible, which certainly does mean briefer than I have been in previous session ending speeches, much to the disappointment of my caucus, I might say.