Monday, December 14, 1992


The House met at 8 p.m.




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


Mr. Speaker:  Continuing debate on the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), Bill 4, The Retail Businesses Sunday Shopping (Temporary Amendments) Act; Loi sur l'ouverture des commerces de detail les jours feries‑‑modifications temporaires, the honourable member for Emerson, who has 39 minutes remaining.

Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson):  Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to put some comments on the record on this, which I consider a very important bill, important from the fact that it will affect and the way it will affect many, many people in our province and some of the issues that have been mentioned in many of the debates in this House that pertain partially, I think, to this bill.

            I want to speak today to this bill from a rural perspective and how people will be, in my view, affected by this bill.  Bill 4 is not what I call a Sunday shopping bill, as some would perceive it to be.  I consider Bill 32, which was passed in 1987, as the forerunner legislation of what we are continuing today.

            Those who have stood up in this House and defended either their parties or their own personal positions on this, which I consider an important issue, have done so rather frivolously at times.  We have heard one of the members sing a song.  Some of the members quote Biblical verses and even some parts of the commandments, and yet the real issue has very often been ignored in the debates here.

            The real issue in my view, or the real consideration, is not cross‑border shopping or what this bill will do to cross‑border shopping because, as most of you know, I represent the southern half of this province that borders the U.S., and I have some 22 communities, virtually all of these governed communities.  I should say most of these communities have some form of commerce within them, be they corner grocery stores, be they garages, service stations, be they businesses or manufacturing plants, and many of them are small villages, in fact have a significant manufacturing component housed within them although nobody knows that.


* (2005)


            Yet we talk in this House about what we should do and what kind of legislation we should pass to stem the effects of what those communities have felt very directly over the last half of a decade or more.  These are the communities and these are the businessmen who have faced the competition from their American counterparts day in and day out.  We have allowed the people of this province virtual free access for many years to the large commercial centres in the United States to bring back significant amounts of goods virtually tax free and duty free.

            I am pleased, Mr. Speaker, that our federal government has seen fit to impose the same taxes and the same duties on those goods coming into this country that our local citizens are subjected to if they buy locally.  That has done more to stem cross‑border shopping than any other issue that I know, and that in itself will not stop the traffic north and south.

            There are many other issues at play here.  We have become accustomed when we have a weekend off or a few days off to going somewhere.  Our people in Manitoba, they want to go somewhere, and the mind set is that we want to go to another country.  It has nothing to do with whether things are relatively cheaper over there, or whether we enjoy the motel or hotel or the swimming pool more over there than we do in Brandon or the city of Winnipeg.  It is simply because we are going to the United States for a weekend.

            Do people today, with our current dollar value being where it is, bring back large amounts of goods?  I do not think so, not anymore.  That is over, and our dollar in my view, our Canadian dollar having been allowed to drop to where it is today, is reflective of the true value that it should have.  That, again, is another reason why people are not buying many goods and bringing them back here.  I think our sales in the city of Winnipeg, whether we are open on Sunday or not, would have reflected that very dramatically this year.

            I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, and all members of this Legislature that some of the increase in spending that we are seeing in this province today is largely reflective of two things, the drop in the dollar value and the imposition of taxes and duties on goods coming back into this country.

            Will our business community and rural Manitoba survive Sunday shopping?  Yes, it will.  There is no question, because if you take Bill 37, or Bill 32, I should say, that was passed in 1987, and you apply that literally to virtually every community in rural Manitoba, you will find that virtually every business in rural Manitoba could have opened had they chosen to do so over the last five or six years.  Yet they did not.

            Why did they not?  Because those people in many of those communities, as well as many business people in this city of Winnipeg or in Brandon or the rest of the province, made a very conscious decision not to open.


* (2010)


            Was it because they did not believe in working seven days a week?  Was it because they believed in abiding by the Sabbath, as some have stated?  I really do not think so.  In some areas, it might have been, but remember that there are in virtually every community in this province businesses open on Sundays.  We have convenience stores in our towns, and in virtually all the towns in my constituency, that are open on Sundays.  We have service stations that are open on Sundays.  We have restaurants that are open on Sundays, and yet we take that as an everyday occurrence and pay very little attention to their being open on the Sabbath.


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


            I say, and it is my view that this bill, Bill 4, will only allow those businesses that were restricted from doing business fully, as I believe is their right if they choose to do so, to do business on Sunday as all other businesses are able to do.

            Should we as a government make the distinction between big and small in law?  Should we?  I do not think so, Mr. Acting Speaker.  That is not our business.  We should, however, in my view, make a clear decision.

            Are we in favour of seven‑day‑a‑week business or are we not? Personally, I am not, quite frankly.  I simply believe that there is a reason why the seventh day was set aside, and it was not only for spiritual regeneration and all those kinds of things, in my view.  It is allowing the individual to spend time with his family, friends, worship, rejuvenating one's own personal self.

            That, of course, must be a very private decision.  I do not think there is a government in the world that can legislate those kinds of moral decisions.  Even if they should try, they would not be effective, because we all make personal choices and personal decisions.

            What was the impact of implementing Bill 32?  Did we in fact cause what some here have said during this debate?  Did we in fact cause significant family disruptions?  Maybe we did in some cases.  Did we put in place in Bill 32 any requirements that would indicate that the employer would dialogue with his employees whether they wanted to or did not want to come to work on the Sunday?  Did we put in place any mechanisms that would ensure that mothers and fathers would have a place to leave their children while they were keeping mom and pop's store open?  We did not.  We made no consideration in this building, in this House when we made that decision to allow for Sunday shopping.

            Now we stand here and we become somewhat protective of the decisions that were made at that time, maybe not so much protective, but we portray a degree of cynicism.  There is no wonder the people of this province and of this country and of other places in the world view politicians the way they do, because we are not honest, we are not honest with the people. That applies to all of us, including myself.


* (2015)


            If I really practised what I am referring to today, I would never buy a gallon of gas on Sunday, nor would I go to a restaurant on Sunday, nor would I buy a loaf of bread on Sunday. I dare say that any member of this Legislature cannot stand in his place and say that they have not acquired anything on Sunday.

            Should we expand then the Sunday shopping provision?  Quite frankly, I do not think this government has a choice but to.  I cannot understand how members opposite will stand there and condemn the provisions that are being applied in this act to expand Sunday shopping unless it becomes a very personal conscious decision to them.  This bill really does nothing but provide the same provisions that were made under Bill 32 in 1987 and expand them to the large as well as the small businesses in this province.

            So what are we talking about?  I talk about a personal, conscious decision that each one of us must make and that is where therefore I have said very clearly, very openly, that I will find it very difficult to support this bill this time, because I simply do not believe that we should pass legislation in this House that will expand.  Rather I would be in favour, quite frankly, of decreasing our Sunday shopping provisions, no matter how unreal that is because once you have done it, you are never turning back and simply‑‑[interjection] The honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) says that is what you think about this trial.  That is what I think of passing Bill 37.  That is when the doors were open.  That is when the barn doors were open wide to Sunday shopping in this province.  There is no question.  I only ask the members opposite who the government of the day was that implemented it, remembering full well that it was probably a unanimous decision of the day.  However, the government that is in power brings forward the legislation and proposes the legislation, and they are the ones who take responsibility for that decision.

            We have communities that have a fairly significant industrial base in this province, rural communities I call them, yet they generate a tremendous amount of commerce in this province and contribute very substantially to the well‑being of all Manitobans.  We have a large agricultural base in this province. That agricultural base is one of the largest generators of wealth in this province.  Yet there are very few farmers who today do not use virtually all the days required to put their crops in, whether it is six days, or seven days, or even eight days a week some days.


* (2020)


            We as a society have over the last century or two virtually evolved into a society where the seventh day as a day of rest and worship has lost much of its value.  There are many of those who stand in this House and profess to be proponents of retaining the seventh day as a day of worship‑‑and I respect that‑‑who are being somewhat hypocritical.  Had they really believed in what they were saying here during the last couple of days of this debate, they would have voted differently or their party would have voted differently in 1987.  I find it strange that especially an NDP administration will stand here and discuss the moral issues of buying something on Sunday, yet be proponents of abortion clinics.

            How can we, on one side, support aborting little children, the unborn, and on the other side, not allow them to buy anything on Sunday?  Pure hypocrisy, Mr. Acting Speaker, and I simply cannot understand why the opposition party would try to use the moral debate in this House as the real issue because that certainly is not what is being debated here today.

            Let me tell you, Mr. Acting Speaker, that those kinds of hypocritical type of arguments that have been put forward from not only one speaker, but from many speakers opposite will not fly well with the general public, because the general public is able to see through the charade that the opposition had put forward as an argument.

            Mr. Acting Speaker, the communities in my constituency have indicated clearly to me on many different occasions, in very differing forms, whether through meetings with chambers of commerce, meetings with councils, meetings with church groups and other organizations that they would like me to voice my opposition to the Sunday shopping issue, and I have received large numbers of petitions that clearly state their opposition to the Sunday shopping issue.  However, there are seldom ever that I have heard the moral decision needing to be made, or the position put forward that the government should legislate into being morality.  Clearly, our people have said that it is a matter of personal preference, very clearly‑‑a matter of personal preference whether they shop on Sundays or not.  If everybody in this province who is or professes to be opposed to Sunday shopping would in fact refrain from Sunday shopping, I wonder how many stores would need to be open on Sunday.

            So the issue is probably again something that individuals need to address more clearly than government needs to address. If they in fact are as serious about their opposition to Sunday shopping as they say they are as individuals, then I challenge those people to in fact practise what they profess.


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            So, Mr. Acting Speaker, I wanted to put my views on record on this, which I call a very important piece of legislation, and suggest to many of my constituents, to all of my constituents, that are in fact in opposition to Sunday shopping that if they feel as strongly as they apparently do, then I would ask them to refrain and demonstrate in that manner their opposition to the Sunday shopping law.


(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)


            If they in fact do and if all of rural Manitoba in fact would in that way voice their opposition, the commerce that we think we will generate additional to what we would have otherwise generated might not in fact be there.

            Mr. Speaker, with that challenge I leave you, and I thank you for the opportunity to put some of my views on record.

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to recognizing the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie), I would like to advise the House that I have been informed that the honourable member for Flin Flon will be the designated speaker on Bill 4 on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer).

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Well, Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by commenting on the speech that we have just heard.  The member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) has spoken on many occasions, and I always listen with a great deal of interest to the member's words, but I am left a little dumbfounded by the remarks that we have just heard, because the member was quite eloquent in talking about this issue as some sort of moral imperative in terms of government decision making.

            He begged, in effect, his own colleagues to make the right decision when it came to Sunday shopping, and yet he has not had the courage to tell us where he stands.  He said he opposes it, but that begs the question of whether he is going to oppose it by standing in the Legislature with some others of us and vote against this legislation.

            Mr. Speaker, there is so much in this legislation that begs to be opposed, and I want to start I guess by talking about some of the reasons that the member for Emerson raised in his remarks.

            We all know that certainly on that side of the House and in many of the rural constituencies, many constituencies across the province I guess, quite honestly, there are significant numbers of people who oppose this legislation on religious grounds.  I am not saying that that in and of itself is sufficient grounds for us to make a decision to oppose this legislation.  The fact of the matter is, that is one argument that is being used by people who are opposing this legislation and people who are speaking to our caucus.

            Mr. Speaker, there is another, I think a perhaps more sinister, reason.  That is that members of the government caucus and certain members, obviously the urban members, have chosen to dance to the tune of a number of large enterprises and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

            I can understand why the member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson), the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) and, I suspect, a number of other rural members are having a great deal of difficulty when it comes to making a decision on this issue.

An Honourable Member:  How about Jerry?

            Mr. Storie:  Mr. Speaker, the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) asked the question, how about the member for Flin Flon?  The member for Flin Flon actually has had, I think, quite a remarkable conversion on the way to Damascus‑‑well, actually the way to Brandon; actually, it was the way to Brandon.

            I felt much the same as the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) and perhaps other members that there was a certain inevitability to what was being proposed in 1977 when the four‑persons‑employed‑in‑a‑business rule was first discussed and the legislation that was a compromise in 1987 which was introduced to deal with a Supreme Court ruling dealing with individual freedom.

            I have come to the conclusion that there are a number of very important moral reasons for opposing this legislation.  I want to start‑‑it is perhaps unusual‑‑but I am going to talk about the environment in the Sunday shopping debate.  I want to read something that I found fascinating, and I think it is something that we should not forget.  It came from the sustainable development Natural Lands and Special Places strategy draft Workbook, April 3, 1992, published by this government, by members opposite.  It is a quote from the Brundtland Commission.


* (2030)


            Everyone here I am sure knows that the Brundtland Commission was the United Nations commission on environment and development, and I want to read a paragraph that has been quoted in a number of other venues which, I think, somehow talks to Sunday shopping, if we will just listen.

            It says that this commission set out to formulate a global agenda for change, and I quote.  This is directly from the commission:  There are those who wanted its considerations to be limited only to environmental issues.  This would have been a grave mistake.  The environment does not exist as a sphere separate from human actions, ambitions and needs.  An attempt to defend it in isolation from human concern have given the very word "environment" a connotation of naivete in some political circles.  The word "development" has also been narrowed by some into a very limited focus along the lines of what poor nations should do to become richer, but the environment is where we all live, and development is what we all do in attempting to improve our lot within that abode.  The two are inseparable.

            It goes on to say:  It was therefore determined that a new development path was required, one that sustained human progress not just in a few places for a few years, but for the entire planet into the distant future.  Thus sustainable development becomes a goal not just for the developing nations, but for industrial ones as well.

            Mr. Speaker, it goes on to say that development must not be at the expense of the environment.

            How does the question of Sunday shopping relate to the environment?  It struck me when I listened to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) introduce this topic, when he started talking about this as an economic primer, that Sunday shopping would create economic development, that it would stimulate people to buy more.

            I said, you know, for certainly 40 or 50 years now, the main engine of development in the western world has been consumerism. Everyone has to consume more, bigger is better, conspicuous consumption is the prime goal of people's lives.

            Well, then you ask yourself one question.  What has been the ultimate result of conspicuous consumption?  To answer that question, Mr. Speaker, you need only turn to The State of Canada's Environment, a book that was published as part of Canada's Green Plan.  When you start reading the state of our world's environment, when you start to understand the conditions we have now imposed upon ourself and that we are going to leave to our children and their children, you have to start asking yourself, what are we doing?

            Why are we going to spend another day consuming?  Why are we going to dictate now that not only should you consume six days a week, but you should consume seven, and after you have consumed 10 hours a day, seven days a week, then you should consume 24 hours, seven days a week.

            Mr. Speaker, where in the world do people do this?  It is fascinating stuff, because you know what, I listened to the member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld).  If you listen to some members on that side, every once in a while they come up with gems of wisdom.  Sometimes it is conventional wisdom repeated, but it is wisdom.  The member for Rossmere, who has surprised me on a number of occasions with his wisdom said, and I quote, on page 460, December 10, 1992, said in the House, "Again, Mr. Acting Speaker, I do believe that we have over the years spoiled our customers.  We have spoiled our shopping customers by opening the hours we do."

            He went on to say he had been in Europe.  Well, in Europe, are they consumed with the idea that we better open more, that selling more is better?  Are they consumed with the debate that we should shop seven days of the week?  Are they consumed with that notion?

            Mr. Speaker, the idea that consuming more is better for our economy, our environment, our world, our families, our lives, is a North American concept.  In fact, if you want to get right down to it, it is even more specific than that.  It is an American notion.  It is the Americanization of Canada again, the idea that we have to consume seven days a week.

            The Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), of course, does not want to participate in this debate in any way, because the minister responsible is the one that is sacrificing rural Manitoba to his urban caucus.  I do not want to belittle the views of the member for Roblin‑Russell (Mr. Derkach), because I too shared some of the views about Sunday shopping only a few years ago, thinking that perhaps seven day shopping and opening the stores was consistent with what was going on in North America and was perhaps a necessity.  But we are not feeding into what people need, we are feeding into what people want.

            There are many laws that we have devised in the last few years that have been designed specifically to tell people what they need and what is realistic for them to have rather than what they want.  The EPA guidelines of gasoline consumption are only an example.  At one time, it was customary for everyone to want a 440 hemi‑head engine that burned eight miles to the gallon‑‑[interjection] 440, whatever it was, the Dodge engine of some years ago.

            Mr. Speaker, I had a 1962 Ford Fairlane with a flathead six. The member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose) also will recall that [interjection] Well, I was out in southwestern Manitoba, what would you expect?  The member for Arthur (Mr. Downey) did not hear that remark, but I will repeat it for him.

            I want to commend the member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld) for his thoughtful words on Sunday shopping.  It was that and a number of other things that have occurred in the past few years for myself, and I think other Canadians and other Manitobans, that have led me to conclude that a decision by the provincial government to eliminate Sunday shopping, to at least limit it to its absolute necessity would be the best course of action, because we have to, I think, become more responsible consumers‑‑not more conspicuous, more responsible.  I do not think there is anything to be achieved by consuming more and encouraging people to consume more. [interjection]

            Mr. Speaker, I should not have to tell the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) this, but I just explained that in other countries of the world, in fact in major countries, our competitors, including Germany, they do not open on Sunday.  In fact, in most of Europe, the stores are closed at four o'clock on Saturday.  In fact, in some countries, they do not open Saturday afternoon.  In countries like Japan, which we also compete with, there is not the kind of wide‑open Sunday shopping that is being proposed by this government.  It is not necessary to maintain either economic growth and, in fact, it is probably counterproductive when you talk about economic sustainability and environmental sustainability.

            I read as an opening to my remarks the comments from the Manitoba Round Table on the Environment and the Economy because I want to point out that this is not simply an economic argument, that there are other implications for this.  What are we telling our society?  What are we telling our children about the nature of our world, that success means consumption?  Is that what we are telling them?  Are we telling them that shop till you drop is the new Conservative motto, that somehow that in itself is something that should be commended to people?  I think not.

            Mr. Speaker, I talked about the environment and I am concerned about this because no human activity, I do not care how menial, how apparently insignificant, is without consequences on the environment.  Everything we do consumes something that came from the earth, somewhere or another, including preparing for this speech, where I have used dozens of sheets of paper.  I am recycling this book.

            So I would like to just sort of outline what we have done by all of this conspicuous consumption, by all of the gas‑guzzling cars we drive, by the industries we support who are polluting our rivers and polluting our streams.  Where do we start?  Well, let us start with ozone‑‑[interjection] Mr. Speaker, I do not mind the jibes from across the way, I expect it, but I hope some people over there will reflect on what they are doing and take a look at the larger picture.  First of all, the problem that they think they have identified that is going to be addressed by this bill is not going to be addressed by the bill.  Quite frankly, there are larger fish to fry, and I think looking at this as an environmental issue is one of them.


* (2040)


            One of the first issues that is dealt with in this book as a global problem is the question of ozone depletion.  Of course, ozone depleting substances are probably in every car of every member on that side of the Chamber.  I am sure that the vast majority of them have air conditioning in their car. [interjection] My hat is off to the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau).  The fact is that since 1955 the ozone in the Antarctic has gone from an average mean of plus six or seven until today, in 1990, it is approximately 23 percent depleted, 23 percent deviation from the norm.

            Mr. Speaker, I am going to show you how narrow‑minded the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach)‑‑he wants to know what it has to do with Sunday shopping.  The fact of the matter is that when we speak in second reading we are supposed to be debating the principle.  The principle of this bill, I hope no one will disagree, is conspicuous consumption.  That is what we want.  We want people to consume more because we believe somehow that is going to create economic growth.

            I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, every vehicle that is used, every component in every vehicle that is used, every good, every service that is purchased, whether it is gasoline or whatever, is consuming resources that this earth produces, whether you like it or not.  Every additional day you spend shopping, every additional mile you drive, every additional good you use in pursuing this consumption is making our world worse for tomorrow and for our children and for our grandchildren.  That is how it is tied in.


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


            Madam Deputy Speaker, we are depleting the ozone.  We are going to create skin cancers and cataracts and other problems for vegetation in the province‑‑[interjection] Yes, they still cannot get it, that consumption, that our use of the earth's resources, our use of chemicals and energy is creating this problem‑‑[interjection]

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I would urge the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) to read the background of the environmental tragedy that is part of our heritage in this country.

            I am going to continue just sort of outlining one by one the problems that we are creating for ourselves.  I will get off the environment.  I know that it is a concept which is quite foreign to members opposite.  It is a concept that they apparently do not want to deal with.  It is a concept that the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) cannot even relate to shopping, which is quite pathetic.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the production of CFCs, never mind the international agreement, the international convention, continue to grow.  In 1960 the production was approximately 200,000 tons per year.  In 1987, the production was four times that‑‑four times the production of a substance that is known to deplete the ozone layer.  What is happening in terms of our atmosphere?  Is our atmosphere any healthier today than it was in 1960?  Well, I am sorry to report that since 1960, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has tripled.  The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has gone from approximately three billion tons to approximately six.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, if we talk about forestry, are we doing any better?  The fact of the matter is‑‑and members opposite may have seen this on one of the journal programs not too long ago that talked about the number of thousands of hectares that are disappearing from the rain forest every hour.  It talks about the Canadian record.  In Canada, I know that there are members opposite who believe that we are doing a better job and, yes, we are doing a better job of reforestation, of regeneration, but we are not doing a good enough job.  We are still falling behind. In Canada, we still harvest more trees than are regenerated naturally or seeded.

            What are we doing in Canada when it comes to energy consumption?  Again, each of the members on that side drives a vehicle or perhaps more than one.  Are we consuming any less energy today than we were a decade ago or two decades ago?  Can the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey) perhaps see the connection between Sunday shopping and the consumption of energy?

            The domestic demand for primary energy in Canada has gone from approximately‑‑well, I think the simplest way is, it has gone up approximately five times.  The energy demand, the amount of energy that we need to operate our society, has gone up approximately five times since 1920.  What about the energy used by sector, our industries, our residential homes and services and transportation?  Are any of those showing any decline in the amount of energy that we use?

            In fact, in every sector energy consumption has increased. All of that energy consumption is doing one thing for the environment.  It is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere.  Let me add some additional information to the record of our society as consumers, because virtually all of the statistics dealing with the pollution of our environment have to do with our consumption, the building of our homes, the building of our highways, the building of our automobiles, the use of our automobiles, the use of energy.

            We are polluting our air; we are polluting our water; we are deforesting our countries all in the name of progress.  Virtually all of that activity has been done to facilitate consumerism, to make sure that our wants, our every want, our every whim, our every conceivable whim could be met.

            What about the water?  Well, at 360 litres per day, which is what the average Canadian consumes, we have the second highest water consumption in the world‑‑360 litres a day.  In 1989, 30 percent of Canada's population still had no sewer and water treatment.


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            Madam Deputy Speaker, 360 litres of water a day, the average Canadian‑‑it is going down the toilet.  It is being used in a thousand different ways.  Canadians are the heaviest energy users in the world.  Here is something else, and this relates directly to the Sunday shopping:  Canadians are the world's leading producers of waste, and most urban areas are out of space for sanitary landfills.  Canadians produce more waste per capita than anybody else in the world.  Well, how is Sunday shopping going to help us there?  Are we going to produce less waste because we shop on Sunday?  The facts of the matter are clear, our pattern of consuming, our pattern of waste of energy, our reliance on our abundance of our natural resources is wearing thin.  The evidence is all around us, and this report on the state of Canada's environment is just one example.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, so what are we about to embark on in Manitoba?  Well, the government is going to say we are now going to wide‑open Sunday shopping, and the rationale for that I think is dubious to say the least.  So I want to go back to what some other legislators said in this Chamber when this issue was first talked about.  I went back to some of the debates which follow the introduction of the first retail business holiday closing amendment in 1977.  The person who I am going to quote next was a Tory Minister of Labour in the Lyon government who introduced‑‑Norma Price, whom many of you will know and some of you may have worked with‑‑some amendments to The Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act, and said:  We support the concept of one day of partial economic rest.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, so we are going back now more than a decade and a half, a Conservative minister talking about amendments to the act, identifying the fact that a day of pause, a day of rest was a good idea, recognizing that there were legitimate needs in a society as complex as ours for some shopping on Sunday, that some necessities had to be made available.  As I read through the debates, of course you stumble upon some interesting comments by some interesting, in this case, former members, and I read with interest some comments that the former member for Sturgeon Creek put on the record back in May of 1978.  What did Mr. J. Frank Johnston say about Sunday closing? What did he say about the proposed amendments to allow for small businesses or businesses with four staff to remain open?  He says, let us not single out one particular group.  You know the honourable members on the other side seem to have some fantasy in their minds that they can hurt the big businessmen or do him some harm or stop him from operating.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, you do not hurt large businesses.  The member for Sturgeon Creek raised the point that I think probably has provoked the government into introducing this legislation, because that is who this legislation is designed to accommodate, not small businesses in the city of Winnipeg, certainly not rural Manitoba, the small businesses and communities around major centres, whether it is Winnipeg or Brandon, perhaps some others. No, that is not whom it was meant to support.

            Going on, the Minister of Labour of the day concluded her remarks by saying that this was a compromise and that it was the best compromise that they could devise at that time and proceeded to put limits on Sunday shopping.  So then what happened?

            Well, we move on to 1987 when, as a result of a court challenge to the‑‑I am not sure if it was the business closings act or the Lord's day act‑‑however, a judge interpreted‑‑[interjection]. I do not know which one it was.  It is referred to in a number of speeches, but they do not outline exactly the details of the court case, and I did not, quite honestly, go back to find out.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I completed my research enough to know that the amendments which were introduced in 1987 were as a result of a court case, at which time a judge ruled that the Charter of Rights, which was in place in 1982 but not in 1978, I guess led to some questions about the legitimacy of the 1978 legislation, and the provisions of the Charter of Rights were deemed to hold precedence over what was seen as limiting individual freedom to shop as a result of the holiday closings act.

            In February of 1987, the government House leader got agreement from all three parties to introduce the amendments so that we could maintain the integrity of that act.

            I want to begin by reading what the opposition House leader, the former member for St. Norbert and now a judge, had to say about the proceedings, the House business of the day:  Madam Deputy Speaker, before us is the question in House business to the government leader.  Could he confirm that this morning, after brief speeches by the mover and seconder of the throne speeches, that legislation will be introduced with respect to Sunday closing legislation which will allow for amendments to be passed today because of the court ruling?

            The House leader for the government went on to say:  I also have to indicate that the amendments with which we will be proceeding have been developed in consultation with all members opposite, and I would like to thank them publicly for their co‑operation and their helpful suggestions in how to proceed with this matter.

            So, Madam Deputy Speaker, what happened in 1987 was an attempt to deal with the concerns expressed by an individual judge about the way the law was written and how it was impacted by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

            Then we could look at some of the words of my colleague and then Minister responsible for Consumer Affairs, who again in his speech outlined how the negotiation process had proceeded.  For members opposite, that was the honourable Minister Mackling, who was the former Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and the former member for St. James.  Again, he indicated how appreciative he was of the support that he had received from the then opposition.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I also want to read into the record what the former member for St. Norbert, the House leader, had to say when his turn came to speak to the legislation.  He said: There is no question that it is important that workers have a day of rest, but it is also important to the vast majority of Manitobans that Sunday is not only a holiday but that it is a holy day, and the legislation does, of course, as we passed it originally, provide for those people to observe another religious holiday other than Sunday, and we uphold that right as we did when we passed the legislation.

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            I think it is extremely important that we recognize this bill is important for families, whether they be two‑parent families or whether they be single‑parent families.  There is only one day of the week as it now stands virtually in almost every family, and that is Sunday when they are able to get together.  That is extremely important to our society.  In the case of single‑parent families, of which we are all aware there are so many more of those now, it is wrong in my view to have a situation where a single‑parent mother, for example, is forced to work on a Sunday when she may only have that one day otherwise or up until this point in time to be with her family.  It is very important to families, again whether they are two‑parent families or single‑parent families.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, that was what the Tory House leader of the day, the opposition House leader, had to say on Sunday shopping.  I think if members opposite listened at all to what had been said by their own caucus members and by members over here, that in fact is what the sentiment still is amongst many of their constituents and many of my constituents.  But there are other issues, clearly.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the member for St. Norbert was not the only member who spoke on that day.  There is another individual here who many will recognize, the member for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae), who had some words that he also wanted to put on the record.  I want the member for Brandon West to know that when I talked about my trip to Damascus, I mean Brandon, that in fact I visited with a number of his constituents, one of whom is involved in the business community in Brandon, who told me that not more than a month before this legislation was introduced, the member for Brandon West had said unequivocally that he was opposed to Sunday shopping.  So we want to see what kind of integrity the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) has.  We want to see what kind of integrity this individual has.  We want to see whether in fact he was telling his constituents the truth.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the minister has probably told many people many things, and it is only if you tell the truth all the time will you remember what you told people.

An Honourable Member:  You better be careful here.

Mr. Storie:  Do not scare me.  I want to read what the member for Brandon West said in opposition about Sunday closing.  I want to read into the record so that he will have this on his mind when the time comes for him to vote.  On Friday, February 27, 1977‑‑1987, pardon me, you would have been here a long time if it had been '77.

            He said first:  I appreciate the government House leader rising and helping to extend the hours of the sitting.  For my part, I certainly will not abuse that privilege because I plan to speak for only a moment or two.  I am pleased also that this legislation is moving to protect the law that was passed some time ago and to protect the intent of that law and to cause the larger operators in this province to respect the intent of our laws in this province.  Now they will have to respect the letter of the law.

            He goes on to say:  With respect to public input, no one could ever object, Madam.  He goes on to say:  The City Council in Brandon, in view of some difficulties associated with our local by‑law at that time, did operate a plebiscite to ask the people of Brandon what they thought of Sunday shopping.  The answer, overwhelmingly, by a margin of two to one, was the people of Brandon wanted to see Sunday shopping continued to be regulated.

            The member for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae) thought only a few years ago that the law was sufficient, that it protected the interests of consumers, that it protected the interests of families.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, just for your information, I have been given approval.  The Speaker read the notice some time ago that I was the designated speaker.

            Members opposite may appreciate this, I am not sure the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) will, but I also had to remind the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) today as she spoke about this inane law that was in place prior to the amendment. What was the word?  Asinine.  Thank you to the member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld).  The member for River Heights had the gall to stand up and talk about this asinine law that was in place which, as luck would have it, the record shows she supported in 1987‑‑[interjection] She supported it.  Yes, she did support it.  To be fair to all sides, I think it imperative that I read into the record what the member for River Heights said on February 27, 1987.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, what did she say?  Well, first of all, she acknowledged that there had been consultation, that she had been pleased to be part of it.  She said:  I do not believe in Sunday shopping, and I do not want to see the proliferation of Sunday shopping.  That is what she said, I do not want to see the proliferation of Sunday shopping.

            Now she is prepared to see it.  She went on to say, though, she did not quit there, I want to assure you.  She went on to say, I am concerned that we are losing our value system.  That is what she was concerned about.  It was not concern that additional shopping on Sunday was going to contribute to it.

            I also have found that‑‑this is a somewhat of an aside, you will forgive me, but I recall during the Charlottetown accord discussions, the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) talking about how much she believed in standing up for principle, that principle was the thing in politics and, you know, you had to do what was right.  You could not be concerned with what people's opinions were, and you should not let yourself be governed by opinion polls but go with principle.

            Only a couple of weeks later she was telling us that, yes, well, in principle she was opposed to Sunday shopping, but she was going to do what her constituents wanted.  It struck me, I said, now is this consistent?

            I think we can have it both ways on this debate.  I think we can do what our constituents want, and I think we can do what is right.  I think we can leave the law alone.  I think we can probably even work in more subtle ways to discourage shopping, and I think that is what we should do, but you can imagine my surprise when I continued my search of what members of this Legislature had to say about Sunday shopping.

An Honourable Member:  What else did you find?

Mr. Storie:  Well, I certainly do not want to take any pleasure in saying that I have found yet another hypocrite.  The member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) also blessed us with his contributions on this important topic.  So what did the member for Pembina have to say?  Well, the member for Pembina had a great deal to say about Sunday shopping, and none of it is going to be consistent with the way the member for Pembina votes on this piece of legislation when it comes to a vote.

            The member for Pembina said:  Madam Speaker, I would like to make a few brief comments on this bill.  You know we are talking about an issue that past Progressive Conservative governments addressed in legislation through the court process, which through the court process was found to require this amendment.  I have changed my position from when we passed that legislation some eight years ago, and I approached this from maybe a different perspective representing rural Manitoba, because there is no question that SuperValu, and I will name them as one of the competitors, and indeed Safeway, the major chains would next get their market share from rural shoppers.  That is what the member for Pembina said.

            What the member for Pembina said was, I am now concerned as a rural representative about the impact of wide‑open Sunday shopping, because the member for Pembina said in 1987, I know what is going to happen.  What is going to happen is that we are going to see the loss of jobs, the loss of opportunity in rural Manitoba.  That is what he said.

            He goes on to say, Madam Deputy Speaker:  I have to tell you as we try to tell the Minister of Agriculture today that rural Manitoba cannot stand to lose one more job, one more business, one future investment in the community.  I am trying to point out to the minister responsible‑‑


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An Honourable Member:  Who said this?

Mr. Storie:  The member for Pembina.  So, Madam Deputy Speaker, how did the member for Pembina conclude?

            But, Madam Speaker, I cannot support wide‑open Sunday shopping because of its impact on my constituency, jobs in my constituency and the people I am elected to represent and protect in here as much as possible.

            Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, tomorrow when we see the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) with the big "H" on his forehead, we are going to replay this little speech that he gave in 1987.  We are going to ask him in all honesty whether he still stands with his constituency.  Is he still worried about the jobs in his constituency?  What has changed?

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I think that is an eloquent defence against this legislation.  I guess that we could all wish that we were flies on the wall when this matter was discussed in caucus. I, for one, would like to know what the Minister of Health said. I, for one, would like to know whether in fact he is now distancing himself from his words of only a few years ago.  I am wondering whether his constituents are going to be very happy that he has done this flip‑flop.

            I notice the member for Arthur (Mr. Downey) being extremely, extremely intent on studying his doodling.  I do not think the member for Arthur can be very happy about this legislation.

            I know that we already have two Conservative members, the member for Rossmere (Mr. Neufeld) who has said that he will not vote against this legislation, but he is not sure he is going to support it, and the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) who has said, I am opposed to this legislation.

            It would only take one or two individual members of principle to defeat this legislation and do what is right.  That is all it would take.  If I were a gambling man, I would never bet on the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to keep his word.  I would never gamble on taking the Minister of Health at his word.  I know that this is probably just a piece of paper to the Minister of Health.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I can tell you that when I next go to Morden, when I next go to Winkler or Miami, I am going to have the Minister of Health's words with me.  I am going to tell the people in his constituency that at one time, maybe, the Minister of Health did stand up for his constituency.

            Rural members of that caucus have lost the battle.  They have lost the battle.  What is even more disappointing for rural constituencies and rural communities is not only have they lost the battle, but they have capitulated.  They have given up on too many issues.

            The member for Arthur, the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey), and I were just at a meeting in his constituency where 300 people were saying this government has lost touch, and they were not very happy, and this was not on Sunday shopping, I can assure you.

            Although I cannot say I am particularly surprised that the Minister of Health may have changed his opinion on Sunday shopping, that he may not have meant what he said in 1987, his logic in my opinion was impeccable.  The fact of the matter is, the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) at that time and today was right.  That is what is going to happen.

            I look at the paper.  The first Sunday after the government announced its intention to go to wide‑open Sunday shopping, what did we see in a full‑page ad in the Winnipeg Free Press?  Well, we have an advertisement for what the member for Pembina then called SuperValu; it is now called Superstore.  What does it say?  Now open Sunday, full complement of staff, purchase $250 worth of groceries and get $30 dollars off.  Madam Deputy Speaker‑‑only good for Sundays.

            If I ran a Foodland store in Winkler, or if I ran an IGA or a Lucky Dollar or some other store in Steinbach or Gimli, or Penner Foods, I would think this was predatory pricing.  I would say that this was designed for one thing and one thing only.  It was designed to close the little grocery store in Anola or the little grocery store in Grunthal or the little grocery store in Oakville or wherever.  That $30 off ensures that any Manitoban within 150 miles of Winnipeg has their gas paid to come and shop at SuperValu. [interjection] Or Brandon.  That is what it means.

            The member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard) was right when he said in 1987 that the next people they are coming after are the people in rural Manitoba, when the member for Pembina said:  I approach this from a different perspective representing rural Manitoba, because there is no question that SuperValu, and I will name them as one of the competitors, and indeed Safeway as one of the competitors, will get their next market share from rural shoppers.

            That is what he said.  So we no sooner have the government announcing their intention than we have this full‑page ad.

            We have another ad that came out of The Brandon Sun.  This was The Brandon Sun, December 6, 1992.  So the SuperValu, or the Superstore, in Brandon is doing exactly the same thing.

            So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I have to ask you, where are the additional customers for SuperValu in Brandon going to come from?  Well, we can tell you that the little grocery store in Souris, the little grocery store in Rivers are the next victims of this policy.  Only for Sunday shopping, good for only Sunday shopping, 30 dollars to buy 250 dollars worth of groceries. [interjection]

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the nonsense being spouted by the member for Arthur (Mr. Downey) does not even sell in his own constituency.  He need not try it with members opposite, because it is not logical, it does not follow, and it is not true, as his own colleague the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) just told him, if he had listened.  It does not follow.  So here he is saying, wake up and smell the coffee.  That is what I am asking the members opposite to do.  Wake up and smell the coffee, because you are selling your own constituencies down the economic, competitive river.

An Honourable Member:  Wakey, wakey.

Mr. Storie:  Wakey, wakey.  The river of competition, it will sweep you away.

            The Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) was quite right in his prediction.  It is going to be interesting to see whether the Minister of Health now has the intestinal fortitude to stand up and do what he said he was going to do in 1987 and protect his constituents.  That is what he is going to do.

            The member for Steinbach (Mr. Driedger) is sitting there rocking in his chair, because no one should be more nervous about this proposed legislation than the member for Steinbach, because we all know what the business community in Steinbach has to say about Sunday shopping.  So maybe I will be sending some more information out to the member for Steinbach's constituency reminding the community of Steinbach and the surrounding communities what the government is doing for them lately.


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            I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about the speech that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) gave when he introduced this legislation, because this speech is perhaps as indicative of the style of this government as any.

            It reminds me very much of the minister's statement on NAFTA, on the North American Free Trade Agreement, because it says on the one hand we have this and on the other hand we have this, but nowhere do we get a definitive look at the truth.

            What ostensibly is the reason for the introduction of this legislation?  What does the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism believe this legislation is going to do?  I think it is important that before we pass legislation, before we consider legislation, we try to appreciate its genesis.

            (Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

            What really created this interest?  Well, Mr. Speaker, I spent some time going over the minister's speech.  His first comments were kind of instructive.  He said that this was a trial basis.  In other words, he began by assuring us that this was only a trial.  There was no need to be concerned, no panic.  He said, we are only doing this on a trial basis.  He does not start off telling us why we are going into a trial, what would prompt us to start this trial, but he tells us, it is a trial, nobody panic, it ends in April, do not be excited, please do not adjust your set.

            Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the reason, the logic behind this comes from a select few individuals who probably have access to only the ears of the Premier (Mr. Filmon) and the ears of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), because the government went to great pains to hide its intention.  The government hid its intentions with respect to this legislation up until the announcement.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, you may ask‑‑I am sorry, Mr. Speaker.

An Honourable Member:  Deliberate strategy on their part to hide.

Mr. Storie:  Mr. Speaker, it is a deliberate strategy to confuse me to keep changing people in the Chair.

            Mr. Speaker, the minister went on to assure us that this trial period was only going to allow limited shopping.  Well, it is unlimited shopping, but it is a limited time period.

            Anyway, I know that the government hid its intentions because only a few days before the government's announcement I had an opportunity to speak to the former president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, a group who are very concerned about Sunday shopping and more particularly concerned about the impact of the large chains, the Superstores if you will, in the grocery retail business.

            He told me that despite lobbying for many months the government on Sunday shopping that he had not been able to get a commitment from the government but was not expecting the kind of announcement and the timing of the announcement when it actually came.

            Mr. Speaker, at the time he was trying to solicit support from opposition members, and I am sure he had been in contact with the second opposition party to solicit their support, but he indicated that he did not expect the government to act, that he did not believe that there was any imminent danger of the government moving to produce this kind of legislation.  We have had no realistic explanation, and certainly the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) does not give us any explanation about why the government chose to act in the way it did.

            Normal practice in this Legislature for many years has been, when you are contemplating a change to an act or the introduction of new legislation, that you consult broadly with those that are going to be affected.  Normally, if the minister was going to change The Retail Businesses Sunday Shopping Act or The Employment Standards Act or The Payment of Wages Act he would have consulted with groups that would have been affected.

            To date, I have not been able to find any group among those who are affected who were consulted.  The only groups who came on side almost immediately, if not immediately, to support the government's initiative was the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.  I can assure you that the principals of Canada Safeway and probably, more particularly, Superstore, have supported this from Day One.  Some of the major chains, the multinationals who are going to be the winners in this legislation, may be supporting it, but since the government announced its plans, I have heard from the Union of Manitoba Municipalities.

            In fact, I will be talking about their opposition in a minute, and I will read the resolution that they passed at their convention.  The member for Arthur, the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey) knows what it says.  The UMM represents hundreds of small towns, villages, municipalities in rural Manitoba, northern Manitoba.  Very clearly, they are opposed to it.

            We know at the same time, and I have already indicated that the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers expressed their concern, have written letters to members opposite.  Certainly, I have a letter that I will read into the record a little bit later that went to the Premier (Mr. Filmon) expressing their concern. I want to just add at this point that one of the lines in the letter says that the Manitoba law was the best in the country. That is the view of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

            Mr. Speaker, the minister went on in his remarks to‑‑now we still have not gotten to the reason they are introducing the act.  It is not clear yet, but he has told us that they are going to amend some acts, and he has told us that it is going to be open limited Sunday shopping, and he now gives us another clue as to part of the government's agenda.

            He says, on page 391, on December 9:  Based on assessment of this trial period, government will decide whether to proceed with Sunday shopping on a permanent basis and, if so, under what conditions, what would be appropriate terms and conditions.

            Mr. Speaker, that causes us a great deal of concern.  I have absolutely no faith that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) was at all serious or sincere when he made that commitment.  We do not know to this day, and I am certain that we will never know what criteria the minister intends to use to do this assessment.

            We have already asked him for any research that his department has done or any department of government has done, the Department of Rural Development, and we have received none.

            Mr. Speaker, you will forgive members opposite if we are somewhat suspicious of the modus operandi of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism.  When the free trade debate was going on, when the NAFTA negotiations commenced more than a year and one half ago, we asked the minister to prepare Manitobans by doing an objective assessment of the potential impact of such an agreement.

            I asked the First Minister (Mr. Filmon), I asked the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey), I asked the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) on numerous occasions to give us the information.  Tell us how they were doing this assessment.  How will we know how many jobs would be gained or how many jobs would be lost?  We knew the record of the Free Trade Agreement when the Premier stood in his place and promised us 15,000 jobs and instead we have lost tens of thousands of jobs.


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            Mr. Speaker, despite assuring us that the research had been done, despite my calling the bluff, the Premier's bluff on a number of occasions saying, I do not believe the Premier, he has no studies, to this day, we have not received one‑‑not one‑‑empirical study done by the government of Manitoba that would tell us where we were going to win or lose.

            When the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), who is going to look at a five‑month trial period for this legislation, tells us that, and I quote:  Based on assessment of this trial period, the government will decide, I have absolutely no faith that there will be any real objective assessment.  This is rhetoric for public consumption and that is all. [interjection] Well, the very brave and eloquent member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine) says from his seat that he would not expect me to understand it.  I do not claim that I would necessarily be able to understand it, but I defy the minister or any of his government to table any objective information to allow me to try, because they do not have the guts to do it.  They are lying to people about whether they are doing it.  In fact, that is the truth of the matter.  There will be no objective assessment.

            If the member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine) wants to stand up at some point in the future and read into the record some objective analysis, then I will apologize, but there is very little chance of that‑‑very little chance.

            The fact of the matter is, on virtually every opportunity this government has had to do something on the basis of facts, it has chosen to do it on the basis of ideology‑‑on virtually every opportunity.

            Maybe the member for Sturgeon Creek knows something I do not.  Maybe the member for Sturgeon Creek will stand up when I finish my remarks sometime in late March and tell us the criteria the government is going to use to do the assessment.  Perhaps I can give the member for Sturgeon Creek a hand; perhaps I will give the member for Sturgeon Creek some ideas.  Now I know that the member for Sturgeon Creek is on the periphery of the urban caucus, but maybe he can talk to some of his rural colleagues.

            Maybe in some of his more quiet moments he can speak to the member for Pembina (Mr. Orchard).  Maybe he can ask the member for Pembina what he meant in 1987, when he talked about protecting the interests of his constituents.  Maybe he can talk to the member for Pembina and ask him what he meant by not losing another job to the economic magnet that Winnipeg is.  Maybe he can talk to the member for Pembina or the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) about the impact, the stores like SuperValu, the big multinational chains, are having when they suck jobs out of rural Manitoba.

            Maybe he can ask the minister responsible for Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) or the minister responsible for Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) to include as part of the analysis the number of jobs that are being lost, the number of businesses that are being lost in the communities surrounding these larger urban centres, around Winnipeg and Brandon perhaps, around some other centres if we see that that has happened.

            Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine) what the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism is going to table.  He is going to table another opinion poll.  I can assure the member for Sturgeon Creek that we are not going to see any leadership on this issue.  What we are going to see is the capitulation of a government to the interest of a very few, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and a few multinationals, a few of the big chains.

            Mr. Speaker, that is not just my idea.  Those were also the words of the member for Pembina in 1987, the words of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities, the words of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, the words of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, the words of Manitoba Federation of Labour, the words of a lot of church and community leaders across the country.

            I am going to read into the record over the next little while letters from communities across this province, communities that members opposite are representing, perhaps communities that the member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson) represents. [interjection] Well, Mr. Speaker, I may not read one from Sturgeon Creek and not from a business, but there are going to be individual letters. Actually, the member for La Verendrye gave an interesting speech, and I think maybe if I could categorize his attitude, it is quite indifferent to this legislation.  I did not sense a great deal of support.  I hope that does not diminish your chances of cabinet position; but be that as it may, the words are out.

            Mr. Speaker, I should go back to the minister's speech.  I am only on page 1 and there are 20 pages.  I have never strayed from the bill, I can assure you, because that would be a breach of the rules.  I want to go back to the minister's speech which, again, was quite entertaining but not very enlightening.  The minister talked about doing the assessment for this trial period.  I want to give the minister an opportunity to do something, I think, very constructive and worthwhile and also, I think, give him a solid basis for determining whether this experiment works.

            On Wednesday of last week, on my tour through some of southwestern Manitoba, I spoke to the director of the Rural Development Institute and his administrative assistant.  We talked at length about, I guess, the Sunday shopping issue and although there has been obviously no empirical study of the impacts of Sunday shopping, there are studies that have been done on the impact of Sunday shopping in other jurisdictions.  I asked him at the time whether his institute would have the capacity to do this kind of research. [interjection] Mr. Speaker, I was asking on behalf of Manitobans, the many Manitobans who do not happen to believe that this is a good idea.

            Mr. Speaker, I do have some background information on research that the institute has done, and they have done a whole range of studies on rural economic development.  They have studied the rural economic strategies in other provinces and other parts of the world.  They have studied various projects and undertakings on rural economies and they have a great deal of expertise in that area.

            So I would like to suggest that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), in consultation with the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), that they contract with the Rural Development Institute to do the kinds of assessments that would at least put some meaning to their word, because we cannot simply have legislation implemented based on some sort of survey by Prairie Research Associates or by Angus Reid, for that matter.

            What would be wrong, at least intellectually, with doing some sort of study to attempt to get us to a point where we can understand what is going to happen here?  We all know that rural Manitoba is struggling.  We all know that rural Manitoba is being depopulated.  We all know that the profit level in many of our small businesses in rural Manitoba is struggling.

            Why would it be so wrong to say, okay, let us take a five‑month shopping period, I mean, that is what the government has decided to do, let us try and find out what the impact is. Let us get‑‑[interjection] Well, no, Mr. Speaker, the only way you can assess the impact is if you know what was there before the trial began.  The member for Arthur (Mr. Downey) says, that is what we are doing.  I can assure the minister that there is no base‑line data for this experiment, and that is what it is, it is an experiment.

            Before you can assess the results of this experiment you need to know base line.  You need to know how many jobs are in places like Morris or in smaller communities like Sanford or communities around Brandon.  You need to know how many jobs are there.  How many are in Beausejour?  Then after the five‑month period you go back to those retailers, those people who are competing with the SuperValu's and with the Canadian Tire stores and the Dominion Lumbers, and you go back and say, what has been the impact on your business?  Unless you have base‑line data, you cannot do any kind of meaningful assessment.


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            Mr. Speaker, at least if the government would give part of this research, part of this assessment to an independent, arm's‑length body like the Rural Development Institute at Brandon University, it would have some credibility, because, frankly, anything that the minister tells us from his chair or from his mike in this Legislature without providing us hard copies and firm data are going to be suspect, and I think justifiably suspect.

            So I think that there is a legitimate argument for the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) spending some of the money, the windfall he has received from video lottery terminals from rural Manitoba, which is in the millions of dollars.  There is nothing wrong with taking some of that money and using it to do this kind of assessment if it is going to be meaningful.

            Mr. Speaker, I have heard a couple of members opposite comment on the existence of Sunday shopping in other jurisdictions.  Well, I want to make one point to begin with. Just because it is being done in other jurisdictions does not mean it is right.  The fact is, and I go back to my‑‑[interjection] That is the democratic process.  The point I made earlier in my speech about the environment is something that is only beginning to be considered by levels of government across North America.  The fact of the matter is, there are other factors that have to be rolled into making these kinds of decisions.

            Mr. Speaker, the experience of other jurisdictions when it comes to Sunday shopping has been quite instructive.  The member for Arthur (Mr. Downey) from his seat a little earlier was saying, well, do you not want to stop cross‑border shopping? British Columbia has had open Sunday shopping since 1986.  On a per capita basis they do more cross‑border shopping than any other Canadian.  There is no simple solution to cross‑border shopping, as the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) said.  The fact of the matter is, this initiative is not in and of itself going to stop cross‑border shopping.  The fact of the matter is, probably the single biggest factor that is going to deter people from cross‑border shopping is, in fact, the value of the Canadian dollar.

            The Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) was commenting not more than a few weeks before this piece of legislation was introduced and this policy announced, he was talking about the fact that cross‑border shopping has declined six percent in the last few months, all based on the decline of the value of the Canadian dollar.  It had nothing to do with Sunday shopping.

            The member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) I think was quite right in his discussion of the problem of cross‑border shopping.  It is based on destinations across the border being exotic.  It is based on the desire by Manitobans to do something different.  It is not based on the inability of Manitobans to find what they need on a Sunday.  It is not based on what they need probably at all.

            The member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) says, why could we not create that at home?  Well, I think we can do that in two ways. Number one, I think that we can change people's expectations about what they need in terms of themselves as consumers.  I think that we can promote Manitoba, which I think we have not done very successfully, and I think, in answer to my colleague's question, we can tell Manitobans the truth about what cross‑border shopping costs.  It costs Canadian jobs.  It is that simple.

            Mr. Speaker, during his speech, the minister also talked at some length about the one organization that had come forward and supported the Sunday shopping legislation apart from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce which, I do not believe, was even referenced in his speech.  He talked about the Manitoba Hotel Association.

            He cited the hotel association as one organization that believed that Sunday shopping would be good for them.  In fact, the hotel association, I am sure, would make that case if the hotels represented, the city of Winnipeg hotels, probably will benefit from Sunday shopping to the extent that tourists who are attracted here from other locations or from Manitoba communities have a place to shop.

            With all due respect to the hotel association, they also have members in rural constituencies who are going to lose by this initiative.  They are going to see their members closing their hotels in rural communities because people are coming into Winnipeg to stay overnight and to spend the night shopping.  That is why it is important that we do some kind of balanced assessment on the net economic benefits for both parts of the province.

            I think everyone believes that there may be a net economic benefit for Winnipeg, but it may also be the case that there is an equal and an opposite negative impact in the communities around Winnipeg and around Brandon perhaps.

            The minister also talked about the facts, he called them, that he had about the need for Sunday shopping, and he referenced a number of polls, and he also referenced the Manitoba consumer outlook which was done by Prairie Research Associates.

            Mr. Speaker, if I were interpreting these statistics, I would interpret them much more cautiously because, in fact, the complete disapproval for Sunday shopping ranged as high as 26 or 27 percent.  The complete approval was approximately 32 or 33 percent‑‑not that big a difference.  It is like any argument.  If you want to pander to one person's view or one group's view, yes, you can find arguments to support it.  There will be bogus arguments like this one suggested by the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey) that this is going to stop cross‑border shopping.  That is simplistic and probably even untrue. Cross‑border shopping has been a problem facing Manitobans and Winnipeggers for a long time.

            Mr. Speaker, the new member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) is chuckling back there.  Well, I want to remind the member for Portage la Prairie where the chamber of commerce from Portage stands on this issue.  Where do they stand?  Well, I know it is nice to know everything and to be right on every issue as the member for Portage probably is, but perhaps some of the business members of the chamber of commerce in Portage know a little bit, too.  Maybe they know a little bit from experience, and I will be the first one calling for that member's resignation when the first business or grocer closes in Portage la Prairie because of this shopping legislation.

            Mr. Speaker, I talked to hundreds of people.  The Portage Chamber of Commerce has opposed this. [interjection] Well, the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) has confirmed that he will be opposing the Portage la Prairie Chamber in the Legislature when he stands up to vote for this ludicrous legislation.  That is what he just said.  He just said he was elected only a few months ago to come here and support and represent the people of Portage la Prairie.  He is saying right now from his chair that he is not going to do that.  What a shame.

            Mr. Speaker, we long for the days of Ed Connery in this House again.  That is what we long for. [interjection] The member for Portage la Prairie is misinformed.  The Winnipeg Chamber is a single organization.  The Portage Chamber is not alone, for my friend's information.  The Portage Chamber is supported by dozens of other chambers of commerce, including the chamber from Brandon, Manitoba, which is also opposed to this legislation.  I have spoken to some of those people. [interjection]

            Mr. Speaker, we are amused, we are amused.  The member for Portage la Prairie thinks I am amusing, and I appreciate that. Thank you very much.


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            I did not intend to provoke the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister).  It is normal courtesy not to do that to new members, Mr. Speaker.  I appreciate that he is being initiated to this Chamber.  I only wish that the member for Portage had had an opportunity to put his foot in it, as the member for Pembina had in 1987, because he would have done it.

            I point out that the minister also talked at great length about the fact that the polls showed that a vast majority of rural Manitobans did not intend to change their shopping habits.

            I come from rural Manitoba.  I come from a town of 400 people.  I come from a town that used to have three garages, two implement dealers, at least three restaurants.  That town no longer exists in that form.  Dozens of jobs have disappeared.

            At the time, if you had asked the people of Baldur, Manitoba, do you intend to take your business elsewhere, do you intend to shop elsewhere, do you intend to get your groceries from SuperValu in Brandon, the answer would have been no, just like it is no now.  People want to support their communities, but economic imperatives are going to take over, and these communities are going to lose jobs.

            Maybe the member for Portage (Mr. Pallister) will be lucky. Maybe his constituency and the community of Portage itself will not be a loser, but will Oakville?  Will others around the area? The community of Portage, however, has expressed its concern.

            The sad fact is, Mr. Speaker, not only will this not do what the minister suggested and the member for Arthur (Mr. Downey) suggested and stop cross‑border shopping, but there will be no net economic benefit as a result of this.

            We know that as of today that there are fewer Manitobans working today.  We know that they are earning less.  I do not believe for a minute that changing the legislation on Sunday shopping is going to create additional jobs, it is simply going to transfer them from one part of the province to the other.  It is going to create hardship in communities that are already hard‑pressed, and it may create some additional part‑time jobs at the expense of other workers and their families in Winnipeg. There are lots of reasons not to support this.

            Mr. Speaker, just for your information, I want you to know that not very far from Portage la Prairie there is a town called MacGregor.  I want to read just for the member for Portage la Prairie‑‑I do not know if that is in your constituency.  Is it in your constituency?  It is in your constituency.  So you are not supporting these people either?  That was a question.

An Honourable Member:  It is in the Speaker's riding.

Mr. Storie:  It is the Speaker's riding.  Well, I know that if the Speaker could‑‑[interjection]

            This comes from an individual from the village of MacGregor: To all rural MLAs.  We are again faced with the prospect of Sunday shopping.  We have noted a deal of opposition in the rural areas, including the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, the UMM, the Union of Manitoba Municipalities, and numerous communities that have contacted this writer.  We have been led to believe that a split may exist along government lines, i.e., rural‑urban. Sunday shopping can and will have a detrimental impact on the rural economy.  It is still regrettable that rural Manitoba is always the first to feel the effects of any economic downturn. With this, we are asking for the support of all rural MLAs and indeed any other lobby and concerned groups.  Can we ask that each one respond to this concern?

            It is signed by a resident of the town of MacGregor.

            The fact of the matter is, and I do not know whether the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) was here when I pulled out my SuperValu ad, from MacGregor you can drive to Winnipeg and back with the $30 you are going to save.  You can also drive back and forth from Portage.  That is the truth of the matter.

            I also wanted to read from a letter that was directed to the Premier (Mr. Filmon) from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and signed by the President John Scott, wherein he talks about the danger and the damage that this legislation is going to do to independent grocers.

            We know that in rural Manitoba, there are still a considerable number of independent grocers, the Lucky Dollar stores and the Penner Foods and the IGA's and so forth, the Kaufmann's.  There are literally hundreds of them in rural Manitoba who are deathly afraid of the unlimited competition and the unfair competition they are going to get from places like SuperValu and Safeway.

            This letter urges the government not to proceed with this legislation.  I want to read just part of this letter at this point, and it talks about the concerns of Sunday Shopping, particularly, the experience of Sunday shopping in other jurisdictions.  It is also important to consider the issue of who benefits from Sunday shopping.  In British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, it has been corporate chain stores.  That is what they say.  That is what the Minister of Health in 1987 said or the then‑member for Pembina and member of the opposition.  It is the big chains that are going to benefit.

            Well, I do not know about your small communities, but I know that in rural northern Manitoba there are not many Canadian Tires.  There are not many Superstores in our communities.  So I ask individual members opposite to look at the list of the communities in their constituency, get yourself a list of your constituency.  I say this to the member for Roblin‑Russell (Mr. Derkach), whose constituents will be shopping in Brandon.  I say this to the member for Portage (Mr. Pallister), whose constituents will be shopping in Winnipeg, or the member for Arthur (Mr. Downey), whose constituents will be shopping in Winnipeg or Brandon.

            Mr. Speaker, I ask them to make a list of their constituency.  List all of the little communities in your constituency and then start stroking them off one at a time, because the government has given up on them.  That is what the government has done.  The government said this little community does not matter, that little community does not matter.  We are going to give it all away for Sunday shopping, for an ideal which is wrong.

            Our world does not need more consumerism.  Our world needs less; that is the fact.  Before my time expires this evening, and I will continue, I want to read the resolution that was passed by the Union of Manitoba Municipalities.

            Resolution 13, which came from the R.M. of Shoal Lake, which I believe is probably in the member for Roblin‑Russell's (Mr. Derkach) constituency said:

            WHEREAS the Province of Manitoba is considering implementing Sunday shopping; and

            WHEREAS opening stores for an extra day per week will not generate extra income as a family has a limited disposable income which is generally spent before the sixth day comes around, and where owners of small business are already working six days a week and opening a Sunday would only increase their workload and operating costs without guaranteeing an increase in income; and

            WHEREAS Sunday has been considered the day of rest and a family day, staff that would have to work on Sunday would have to face additional pressures on already delicate family units;

            THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of Manitoba Municipalities opposes the implementation of Sunday shopping.

            Mr. Speaker, there was a vast majority of councillors who attended this annual convention who opposed this legislation. The unfortunate and the ironic circumstance is that we have in the front benches of this government, and some backbenchers, who represent rural Manitoba.  They apparently are not going to stand up and be counted.  They are not going to stand up for their constituencies.  They are going to watch the jobs disappear one by one.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The hour being 10 p.m., this House now adjourns and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).

            This matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).