LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA

Monday, March 8, 1993

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The House met at 1:30 p.m.

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PRAYERS

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Message

 

Mr. Speaker: Prior to Routine Proceedings, I have the privilege this afternoon to relay to honourable members of the Legislative Assembly the Commonwealth Day Message, 1993, from Her Majesty the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth.

††††††††††† This year, on Commonwealth Day, I am asking you all to think about human values.I know, from the many letters I receive from young people, that their generation cares deeply about the rights of the individual, about the sufferings of others and about making a better world for all of us to live in.I believe the youth of the Commonwealth is well placed to give a lead in showing how human values can be improved.

††††††††††† We share the same world, but we do not share the same opportunities.Everyone wants to be free from poverty and hunger, disease and discrimination, to have access to education and to live in a safe environment.

††††††††††† People everywhere want to be able to play a full part in the democratic government of their countries and to live in freedom, protected by just laws.These aspirations were endorsed by all the heads of government of the Commonwealth when they met in Harare in 1991, and much has been achieved since then in fulfilling them.

††††††††††† In societies where constitutional rights are assured, co‑operation between all citizens becomes more natural and more fruitful in tackling the major problems we face.The achievements of one human value can help to achieve others.We should all aspire to raise the standards of life in our countries, to achieve a more prosperous and equitable society and to exercise a powerful influence for peace within and between nations.

††††††††††† None of this is easy to bring about because the establishment of human values implies duties as well as rights.If we want to exercise and enlarge our rights and opportunities, we have to safeguard the rights and opportunities of others.

††††††††††† We should look for chances to give service just as eagerly as we look for benefits for ourselves.The young people of the Commonwealth have the future in their hands.May they keep their vision of human values alive and their determination to achieve them undiminished, and may our 50 nations, sharing our experience and working together to enhance a quality of life, send an example to the rest of the world.

††††††††††† Signed, Elizabeth R., the 8th day of March, 1993.

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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

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READING AND RECEIVING PETITIONS

 

Mr. Speaker:I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member (Mr. Ashton), and it complies with the privileges and the practices of the House and complies with the rules (by leave). Is it the will of the House to have the petition read?

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

††††††††††† WHEREAS the provincial government has not implemented the major recommendation of the Kopstein report which was to bring in no‑fault auto insurance; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS over four years ago, the Kopstein report found that if Manitoba adopted no‑fault auto insurance, it could have saved $40 million; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS over two years ago, a second government report found that over $63 million could be saved if Manitoba adopted the Quebec plan of no‑fault auto insurance; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS the provincial cabinet this year, after being extensively lobbied, rejected a business plan capping insurance commissions that would have saved Manitoba motorists a further $2 million; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS the rates for auto insurance are now being raised on average by 9.5 percent to 14.5 percent when the inflation is less than 1.3 percent, making this the highest actual increase in the history of this province; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS one in five car drivers in this province will now face increases of 13.5 percent; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS the provincial government has not implemented other aspects of the implementation of the Kopstein report.

††††††††††† WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Minister responsible for MPIC (Mr. Cummings) to consider implementing no‑fault auto insurance, capping insurance commissions, and bring in other recommendations of the Kopstein report that the government has delayed acting on.

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MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS

 

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for the Status of Women):Mr. Speaker, I have a statement for the House, and I have copies.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to join with many worldwide in the celebration of International Women's Day.The origins of International Women's Day are traced back to early this century, when women garment workers in New York City protested against poor working conditions and low wages.Since that time, March 8 has been designated as a day to commemorate those early struggles and to celebrate the progress that has been made on behalf of women.

††††††††††† Today, I am proud to speak of some of the many accomplishments and inroads that our government has made toward that end.Our Women's Health Branch has produced a host of informational resource material on topics of special interest to women.We implemented a new funding model to shelters.We also increased our funding commitment to crisis shelter and resource centre systems to provide for follow‑up services and child counselling services.In addition, a standards manual for shelters was developed by our Family Dispute Services with collaboration from the Manitoba Association of Women's Shelters and Osborne House.

* (1335)

††††††††††† In the area of domestic violence, we have made substantial gains.We have brought in a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence.We extended the family violence court model to Brandon.We have also taken steps to reach the next generation by expanding and updating violence prevention materials used in schools.We have made gains in the field of pensions. Pension‑sharing legislation was amended to allow for opting out of mandatory pension splitting.These are but a few of the many accomplishments of this government that I am proud to remind this House of as we celebrate the 92nd Annual International Women's Day.

††††††††††† Today, a public reception cosponsored by the Manitoba Women's Directorate, Manitoba Education and Training, and the Women's Health Branch of Manitoba Health was held in Room 254 of the Legislative Building.As part of the celebration, I had the privilege of bestowing the Order of the Buffalo Hunt upon Dr. Ruth Berry, Dean of Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba, for her outstanding service and commitment to education.

††††††††††† Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Berry has published numerous articles, presented many papers and has often been the feature guest speaker at national and international events.Dr. Berry's current projects include the development of the first home economics graduate program in Latin America, as well as the introduction of consumer education to Brazil.Mr. Speaker, we have achieved these inroads by working together for the good of women.

††††††††††† I know that following my statement, my critics from across the way will have an opportunity to respond.It is my sincere hope that they respond with positive suggestions on how we might make further inroads and not merely offer the negative, nonconstructive rhetoric that does more of a disservice to women.

††††††††††† In creating International Women's Day, we not only pay tribute to those women garment workers, but also to all Manitoba women, who continue to work towards becoming positive role models and positive examples as we work together towards achieving women's equality in all aspects of our society.Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

* (1340)

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington): Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to stand up and put our caucus's and our party's response to the ministerial statement on this celebration of International Women's Day on the record.

††††††††††† I would like to begin by acknowledging the accomplishments of Dr. Ruth Berry, Dean of Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba.Yes, she has performed exemplary service to the people of Manitoba, and particularly in her work with groups overseas. I think this is a well‑deserved honour, and we join with the government in congratulating her on this award, which is certainly timely and appropriate.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, I would like to put some comments on the record on the International Women's Day and the minister's ministerial statement, the Minister responsible for the Status of Women (Mrs. Mitchelson) in this province, a responsibility that I would suggest has been dealt with more in the absence than in the positive accomplishments of the government.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, I would suggest, if the government wants some positive comments about what can be done, we have some.We would suggest that the implementation of pay equity is something that could be done to help the women in this province.We would suggest that an economic strategy, any economic strategy that leads to jobs, would be of assistance to the women in this province.We would suggest that instead of "rationalizing" the social assistance benefits, which will have a negative impact on the thousands of women who live in the city of Winnipeg, many of whom are single parents, aboriginal, young, unemployed, the province could have chosen to maintain the social assistance benefits across the province at the level of the City of Winnipeg.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, we would suggest an implementation of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, which has been on this government's shelves for over two years.We would suggest an immediate implementation of all of the recommendations of the Dorothy Pedlar commission report, many of which have not been dealt with as Ms. Pedlar has also stated.

††††††††††† We would like to suggest that on a broader scale, going back to the beginning of International Women's Day, when the garment workers in New York protested against poor working conditions and low wages, that that is a fight that has not yet concluded, that the International Garment Workers Union in the United States and in Canada, along with many other organizations, both labour union, social groups and other organizations are working day and night against the North American Free Trade Agreement.We would suggest that this government could do nothing better for the women of Manitoba than to, with more than just words, fight against the North American Free Trade Agreement.

††††††††††† In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that we applaud the accomplishments and the achievements of the women of the world, the women of the country, the women of Manitoba, and we just wish that some of those achievements had been in conjunction with, rather than despite, the actions of this government.

Ms. Avis Gray (Crescentwood):Mr. Speaker, I rise, and it is certainly a pleasure to speak this day, International Women's Day, and to certainly congratulate Dr. Ruth Berry, who has received the Order of the Buffalo Hunt.

††††††††††† I have had the opportunity of knowing Dr. Berry since 1972, and she was a professor of mine at the University of Manitoba. She is certainly a very revered professor in what was then the faculty of home economics and is certainly known not only for her knowledge in the area of home economics but also her wonderful sense of humour.Certainly every first‑year home economist very fondly remembers Dr. Berry.As well, she has certainly given a contribution to the field of home economics, not only in Manitoba, but internationally.On behalf of all of our caucus, we certainly send her congratulations today.

††††††††††† The Minister responsible for the Status of Women (Mrs. Mitchelson) spoke of suggestions on what her government could do in regard to women and making changes for the better here in Manitoba.I notice that she asks us for suggestions, which I would be quite pleased to give her here today, and I know my colleagues on the left have already mentioned some of them.

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††††††††††† I think it is very important that this government look at the number of reports, reviews and studies that are sitting on the shelves of ministerial desks and start implementing some of the recommendations, and whether that is the Pedlar report or the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry or ensuring that the Hay audit through the Civil Service Commission, that we see some action there because many of those recommendations affect women in the workplace.Those are some positive suggestions.

††††††††††† As well, rather than having mandatory days off for civil servants, why did this government not look at asking for volunteers?I think you would find a number of people in the Civil Service who would be prepared to take days off without pay rather than forcing, particularly, single women who are the only breadwinners in the family to take those days off, because those are the people it is going to affect most, Mr. Speaker.Those are some recommendations as well that I would put forward.

††††††††††† I would also suggest to this government that when they are prioritizing how they spend their money and their dollars, they look very carefully at their own administrative budgets within the ministerial offices and in fact look at some places that they could make changes and make cuts there.I had suggested they roll back the deputy ministers' wages.If they have had a 23 percent increase over the last number of years, what professions, what groups of people are able to have that type of an increase, and is that really reasonable in these difficult economic times?

††††††††††† These are some of the tough decisions that need to be made. Let us look at the Community Places grants.You talk to people out in rural Manitoba, and if they have a choice between building a shelter for cross‑country skiing in Minnedosa or putting money into education, I suggest they will take education, Mr. Speaker.

††††††††††† So these are some of the positive suggestions, and we look forward to debating this government on more of those issues.

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TABLING OF REPORTS

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the third quarterly report of the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, ending the period December 31, 1992, and the Annual Report, Department of Finance, 1991‑92.

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services): Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Annual Report for the Department of Family Services.

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ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

 

Vision Capital Fund

Funding RecipientsóWomen

 

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

††††††††††† All studies have indicated that the growing number of economic activity and small business activity and job creation is actually with women in the sector of Manitoba and Canada.There has been some 42 percent increase in the number of investments in business started in Manitoba over the last five years by women in the province of Manitoba.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, the government has stated before that it will provide leadership in ensuring greater opportunities for women to participate in decision making.The government has also announced last week in the Public Accounts committee that it will be unfreezing the $15 million that they had frozen based on the auditor's report for purposes of Vision Capital money.

††††††††††† I would like to ask the Deputy Premier:What will be the participation of women in the decision making on the Vision Capital Advisory Committee of government?

Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier): Mr. Speaker, I want to as well recognize the role that women are playing in business.This government has done so with a program specifically directed for bank loan support for small business and particularly aimed at the women in our business community.

††††††††††† As it relates to the Vision Capital, I will have to take the question as notice for specifics as it relates to the involvement, but I say, in the whole area of decision making, this government has acknowledged the contribution of women with the advancement of women into many deputy minister roles.The CEDF is managed by a women.So on the whole economic front, this government recognizes and wants to continue the encouragement of women in the business community.

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Advisory Committee Membership

 

Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):Mr. Speaker, following on the comments of the Deputy Premier, I have a list of the members of the advisory committee that was tabled in the committee last week.I count all males on the committee, who have been placed on the advisory committee.

††††††††††† I can name the list for the Deputy Premier:Bill Watchorn; Sheldon Berney; Arnie Thorsteinson; Hyland Beatty; Paul Goyan is the deputy minister; Ron Williams; Derek Riley and Peter Josephson.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, there is not one woman on the advisory committee of government dealing with the $15 million that is approved for Vision Capital funding.

††††††††††† I wonder why the government does not have women involved in the decision‑making process of government, as alleged by the Premier (Mr. Filmon) in his action plan, released by the Minister responsible for the Status of Women (Mrs. Mitchelson).

Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier):Mr. Speaker, I have heard what the Leader of the Opposition has said.I can refer to many areas, and have done, where government has appointed women to senior positions within government.I would at any time be prepared to compare this government's record to what the previous administration has done in acknowledging women, as it relates to positions within business.

††††††††††† As it relates to this specific question, Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, I will get further information as to the selection of those individuals and return with that information.

Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier did not answer the question of why there are no women on the advisory committee dealing with Vision Capital.When the biggest growth area of jobs and economic activity is dealing with small companies with women as the principal owners, there is absolutely no answer by the Deputy Premier in that regard.

††††††††††† The government has stated today that they want positive suggestions on how they might further make inroads for women in decision making.I would recommend to the Deputy Premier today to make that Vision Capital Advisory Committee 50 percent women.

††††††††††† The auditor has already condemned the activity of the Vision Capital Fund in terms of conflict of interest, in terms of‑‑[interjection] Well, I would refer members opposite to the auditor's report‑‑no objectives, no monitoring, Mr. Speaker, so surely the government should take some new action with the $15 million in funds.

††††††††††† Will the government and Deputy Premier take a positive suggestion and make the Vision Capital Advisory Committee 50 percent women in light of International Women's Day?

Mr. Downey:Mr. Speaker, at the outset, what I said was, I am quite prepared to bring the information forward of all areas of which women in our government services have been promoted to positions of decision.

††††††††††† I made one reference directly to the Communities Economic Development Fund, in which the general manager is a very qualified and capable individual.

††††††††††† As it relates to the individual, the question of the individual, I will bring forward the background as to the establishment of the groups of individuals and report back to the Legislature.

 

Family Violence Court

Friday Closing

 

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):Mr. Speaker, in November 1991, the Minister of Justice, in commenting on the first‑year review of the Family Violence Court, stated, and I quote:Through co‑operation, we have developed a model court that is attracting attention from other jurisdictions in Canada‑‑attention, not because it is the first of its kind in Canada, because it is a court that works.

††††††††††† I guess it is just not a, quote, court that is going to work on Fridays.

††††††††††† I would like to ask the Minister of Justice how he balances and equates his government's stated commitment to zero tolerance when it comes to domestic violence, with the Family Violence Court being told not to book any court dates for Fridays this summer.

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, the justice system is part of the operations of government.The honourable member may not be aware, as I am from personal experience working in the court system, that there is room for flexibility on Fridays during the summer months.I have spent many Fridays in the courthouse during the course of my work there, and traditionally, during the summer months, Fridays are lighter days in terms of workload than other days of the week.

††††††††††† The members of the judiciary are meeting again this week, with representatives of the Civil Service Commission, to work together.Hopefully, there will be a spirit of co‑operation so that we can achieve the policy objectives of the government, which are to attain certain objectives with regard to public servants in the province of Manitoba.

Ms. Barrett:Mr. Speaker, given that the Family Violence Court, which was implemented to cut down on the backlog of family violence and domestic abuse cases, now currently hears 12 cases every Friday, why is this government talking in terms of whether those cases are heard on Friday or on Thursday, talking about a cutback which will have a negative impact on the backlog of domestic violence cases, going against its government‑stated policy of zero tolerance for domestic violence?

* (1355)

Mr. McCrae:I would be very quick to agree with the honourable member that offenders are not likely to pay very much attention to the fact that Fridays are going to be viewed differently in some areas of government services.Offenders are not going to take note of that.

††††††††††† I am glad, though, today, that the honourable member would remind the House of the existence of the Family Violence Court. This is something that perhaps could have been done sooner than it was in Manitoba, but was not.

††††††††††† Our government came along, we introduced the concept of the Family Violence Court for the first time in Manitoba with certain objectives; those being timeliness‑‑referred to by the honourable member‑‑and sensitivity.We are meeting the objectives that we set out to meet, and we are providing a far more sensitive level of service, a far more effective level of service to people who are the victims of violence, most often women.

††††††††††† The honourable member need only look at the independent report of Jane Ursel, who is the consultant on this court, to find that the statistics bear out what I am saying.I recall for the honourable member, too, as I said earlier, that Fridays are somewhat different, especially during the summer months, and I think that we can work through our workloads in our court system while meeting the objectives of the government.

Ms. Barrett:Will the Minister of Justice clarify that the Family Violence Court which, yes, has been providing an excellent service for the people of Manitoba, is an essential service, and will he ensure that those cases will continue to be heard in an expeditious way so that we do not have any additional delays which are currently at three or three and a half months?Will he tell this House today that the Family Violence Court is an essential service?

Mr. McCrae: All services provided out of my department are extremely important services.The nature of the justice system is such that the scheduling of court cases has a lot to do with the scheduling of everybody's schedule; that being the schedule of the prosecution, the schedule of defence, the schedule of the judiciary.

††††††††††† So the honourable member ought not somehow to lead everybody into thinking that there is something magic about a particular day of the week.Every day in our court systems, the three parties represented in the courtroom compare their diaries, their daily journals, and they come to satisfactory agreement on dates.

††††††††††† The objective of the Family Violence Court is to move these things along quicker than other courts.That objective is being met and will continue to be met.

 

Victims of Violence Programs

Federal Fine Surcharge

 

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): My question is also for the Minister of Justice.

††††††††††† Today being International Women's Day is an appropriate time to recognize and acknowledge that sadly women are still substantially overrepresented in our society as victims of violence.

††††††††††† That sentiment has often been expressed by this minister on many occasions, and therefore it was with regret that I learned that by Order‑in‑Council, signed February 24, just two weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, this minister is now going to spend monies raised under the federal fine surcharge program to pay for already existing provincial programs.

††††††††††† The minister told us when the federal fine surcharge came into place that it would be used to be added to provincial programs to bring in new programs for victims of violence, and he has consistently said that those programs would be focused on women in particular.

††††††††††† Now we learn he is using the money to pay for his already existing programs.Mr. Speaker, why has he gone back on his word?Why are the victims' rights, and women's rights in this case, only being talked about by this minister and not acted on when it comes to actually using these funds to create new programs as he said he would?

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Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, the government operates a number of extremely important programs too.Through our provincial victims' surcharge fund over the past few years we have been providing funding, making funding available for community‑based victims' services.The provincial surcharge has also been used to get victims' units operating in the city of Winnipeg and the police department, the City of Brandon Police Department and a number of locations served by the RCMP.

††††††††††† We think we have moved a great distance in the area of victims' services from where we were when we started out in government.With respect to the federal fine surcharge, the idea behind having that surcharge was so that victims' services could be financed.

††††††††††† It is completely appropriate that those services operated by government which serve many, many hundreds of people in our province year in and year out be funded out of the federal victims' surcharge.

Mr. Edwards: The fact remains that $220,000 which was to have gone to new programs is now going to pay for existing programs.

 

Domestic Abusers

Discretionary Passes

 

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): For the minister again:Why are persons convicted of domestic assault currently in Headingley Jail being given the discretionary, temporary absences after one‑sixth of their sentence?Why is that occurring?Convicts already get one‑third off their sentences for good behaviour.

††††††††††† Why is justice at the correction system not keeping step with this minister's words and his talk about the court system when it comes to actually following through on the sentence?Why are domestic abusers getting out of jail after one‑sixth of their sentence, on discretionary passes?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): The honourable member would have an excellent point if the alternative he seems to be offering had a tendency to work, which it does not.Less than 1 percent of inmates who make use of the temporary assistance program, supervised, I add, reoffend.So that is an important number to bear in mind.

††††††††††† Studies tell us that recidivism rates for those who make use of the programs provided under temporary absences, the recidivism is lower than it is for those who actually serve longer periods of time in these warehouses we‑‑[interjection]

††††††††††† I guess the honourable member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) wants to get into this.I thought it was the honourable member for St. James who raised the question.I thought he was serious about the question about protecting victims and providing a proper regime for dealing with the violence in our society.I thought he was serious, and maybe the Liberal party is not, but I think the honourable member for St. James is, and I prefer to be able to answer the question.

††††††††††† I was pointing out to the honourable member that if properly assessed‑‑[interjection] Well, maybe I will be given another opportunity, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Edwards:Again for the minister, the corrections system should have as its goals both deterrents of the public, protection of the public and rehabilitation.

††††††††††† My question for the minister:Why was Mr. Timothy Zaber, who had received a three‑month sentence, 90 days to be served intermittently on the weekends, given a temporary absence after three weekends, six nights in jail, for domestic assault for which he was given a 90‑day sentence?Why did he spend six nights in jail and then be released, Mr. Speaker?

††††††††††† Why are the people of Manitoba led to believe that these people get sentences and that they are protected and then they are not?

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

Mr. McCrae: The case referred to by the honourable member, in that case, he forgets to remember to remind us in his question that what we are talking about is upervised work being done while under a temporary absence, released to work at The Forks. The honourable member thinks you are better off sitting in jail behind bars in a circumstance like that.The honourable member forgets that this particular‑‑

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition): Well, let them all out, Jim.

Mr. McCrae: Oh, that is a great idea.The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party (Mrs. Carstairs) suggests we should let them all out, Mr. Speaker.Well, I am sorry.I disagree profoundly with that.We will not be irresponsible‑‑

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.I would like to remind the honourable minister to deal with the matter raised by the honourable member for St. James.

Mr. McCrae:I want very much to take your advice, Mr. Speaker. I would be aided if people would refrain from making irresponsible comments like the honourable member for River Heights made from her seat.The honourable member forgets, too, that these people who are out on supervised working absences have to take domestic violence counselling programs on evenings and weekends.They have to take programs before they get the benefit of these.

††††††††††† The honourable member has to remember that at Headingley, under our provincial system, you do not serve all that long, in any event, in our provincial system.

 

Universities Women's Enrollment

Graduate Sciences

 

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education.

††††††††††† At the University of Manitoba, overall graduate enrollments of women between 1988 and 1991 have increased by 1.8 percent while those of men have increased by 7.1 percent.But, Mr. Speaker, it is in the sciences, I think, that we have to have some concern, because graduate enrollment in the sciences for women has declined by 7.8 percent between 1988 and 1991.Yet this is where we are going to find our specialized teachers and our highly skilled women.One of the reasons I think is that Manitobans have the lowest support for graduate students in western Canada.We have $200,000 at the University of Manitoba, compared to the $3 million to $4 million at the University of Saskatchewan.

††††††††††† I would like to ask the minister:What plans does she have to address the low support levels for graduate students and the decline in women's enrollment in graduate science programs?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):Mr. Speaker, it is very important for us to continue to encourage women to pursue careers in the sciences and math.It is an attitudinal issue, one which has to begin a positive development in the K‑12 part of young people's education, and that is one way that we are attempting to encourage people to carry on in the maths and the sciences, through programs that we have operating in our K‑12 part of this department.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, in terms of the support to graduate students, I think the member may find, if she does look at the Saskatchewan model, it is administered somewhat differently.It is not a direct comparison, which she is trying to bring forward in this House.

††††††††††† However, we will continue to provide Canada student loans, No. 1, provided by Canada administered through this province, is one way to assist young people‑‑and adult students, because I make the point, too, all students are not sequential‑‑to continue in their education.

 

Education System

Professional Development Days

 

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, could the minister explain why she intends to cut professional development days when 75 percent of elementary schoolteachers, the majority of whom are women, have no university level science courses?Fifty percent of them have no university level mathematics courses.

††††††††††† What will be the impact of these cuts on professional development to the teachings of math and science throughout our educational system?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, the issue of paying teachers for professional development days, not the removal of professional development days, is the issue that boards of trustees are currently looking at in co‑operation with their current employees.That is a right that they have as employers to negotiate with their own employees.There is not a removal of professional development days, as that member is trying to indicate.

 

Winnipeg Education Centre Funding

 

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):Mr. Speaker, could the minister tell us what plan she has to restore and maintain the funding to the Winnipeg Education Centre, where 80 percent of the students are women, 50 percent of that number are aboriginal, and this remains one of the few training programs available in the inner city of Winnipeg since the decline and cuts to the core area training programs?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):Mr. Speaker, we are considering all of our programs through the budgetary process of this government.We will be examining all the areas.

††††††††††† I will remind the member that we do make every effort to encourage women, and I will point to some of the programs currently in place.We do have ACCESS programs, Mr. Speaker, as well, which encourage the participation of women in courses that they would find important and appropriate for their employment.

 

Indigenous Women's Collective

Funding

 

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):Mr. Speaker, last year the government announced their commitment to recognizing the challenges facing aboriginal women and responding to these challenges by creating a partnership.The Minister responsible for the Status of Women said her government would work with the aboriginal women towards common goals.

††††††††††† Outside of the Legislature, today, we heard from aboriginal women that this government has let them down and has failed to live up to their commitments.

††††††††††† Can the Minister responsible for the Status of Women tell this House why she did not stand up to the Minister responsible for Native Affairs (Mr. Downey) when he cut funding to the Indigenous Women's Collective?

* (1410)

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for the Status of Women): Mr. Speaker, I want to put some facts on the table. Before this government took power in 1988, the Indigenous Women's Collective did not receive a penny from the NDP administration. The NDP government of the day had no concern for aboriginal women and did not fund them to any degree.

††††††††††† We were the government that provided the first core funding for any aboriginal women's organization, and we will continue to work with aboriginal women.We have indicated that we need to develop partnerships.We have offered staff to meet with members of the Indigenous Women's Collective throughout the province, that we will attend their annual meetings and work together with them to ensure that programs and services are put in place that will deal with the special issues that relate to aboriginal women, Mr. Speaker.We will continue to do that and continue to offer our services.

 

Speaking to the FuturePolicy Implementation

 

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas): Mr. Speaker, the minister must have been at a different rally than I was at this morning.

††††††††††† Will the Minister responsible for the Status of Women tell this House how she can expect the situation for aboriginal women in Manitoba to improve when she and her cabinet colleagues are refusing to fund the Speaking to the Future policy plan?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for the Status of Women):Mr. Speaker, when we introduced the policy last International Women's Day, we indicated that it was guiding principles so that programs throughout government that were developed would be sensitive to aboriginal women.We have continued along that path.We are ensuring that in the Department of Education, in the Department of Health and throughout government in Family Services, those programs that we are putting in place to deal with women's issues also include aboriginal women.We will continue along that path, and we will work with aboriginal women in partnership to ensure that our programs are sensitive to their needs.

†††††††††††

Aboriginal Justice Inquiry

Report Implementation

 

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):Will the Minister of Justice tell the House why he has not upheld his commitments to the aboriginal community through refusing to implement the recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, which outlines a number of areas specific to the protection and participation of aboriginal women?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):I missed it, Mr. Speaker, would the honourable member repeat?

Mr. Hickes:Will the Minister of Justice tell the House why he has not upheld his commitments to the aboriginal community through refusing to implement the recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, which outlines a number of areas specific to the protection and participation of aboriginal women?

Mr. McCrae: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question.We have been making pretty significant progress in improving justice services for aboriginal people in Manitoba.

††††††††††† We have been working closely with the Dakota‑Ojibway Tribal Council to see if we cannot negotiate some kind of longer term arrangement so that they can have policing for hopefully a long period of time.Hopefully most reserve communities will accept their own police officers.That would be nice to see.

††††††††††† We have been working also with the St. Theresa Point people with respect to their aboriginal youth justice tribal court model.

††††††††††† We have been working with the City of Winnipeg to ensure that recruiting on the police department represents better the aboriginal population in the city of Winnipeg.

††††††††††† We have been working also with the Hollow Water people with regard to the Hollow Water Healing Circle.

††††††††††† I will maybe save some more for the next question, Mr. Speaker.

 

Headingley Correctional Facility

Intermittent Sentences

 

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James): Mr. Speaker, again for the Minister of Justice.Two years ago, the population at Headingley jail was over 400.As of February 23 this year, it was 265.

††††††††††† In addition to that number, 248 convicted felons in Manitoba were reporting to the Community Relief Centre.Of that 248, there were 140 who had been given temporary absences, and there was no need for them to show up at all.The remaining 108 were on intermittent sentences; that is, they should show up for the weekends.

††††††††††† Of that 108 who are supposed to show up for the weekends‑‑they have intermittent sentences, but they are supposed to show up for that portion of their sentence‑‑on February 23, 41 of those were given temporary absences, 47 were away without leave‑‑there was no excuse, they just did not show up‑‑20 showed up.Twenty out of 108 actually showed up at the jail.

Mr. Speaker:Question, please.

Mr. Edwards:Is that an exceptional way to run the justice system for people who have been convicted of crimes?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):I think the policy is becoming clear, the policy of the Liberal Party with respect to corrections, that is, this day of the week.Maybe we will hear something different tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, but today the policy is, throw them all in the can and throw away the key until every last day of that sentence has expired.Do not do anything with them.Goodness sakes, we need them back, and that is how we will get them back, by doing absolutely nothing with them.

††††††††††† What the honourable member forgets to mention again is that intermittent sentences are something imposed by the courts, not by the correction system.The other thing that he forgot to mention was the people who are on temporary absence on these intermittent sentences are doing supervised work in the community.

Mr. Edwards: Mr. Speaker, let us be clear, 47 people out of 108 who had been told they had to show up did not show up.It is not a question of philosophizing.Forty‑seven people who were supposed to be there did not come to jail.

Mr. Speaker:Question, please.

Mr. Edwards:Is 47 out of 108 an acceptable ratio for this minister?How can the public be satisfied they are being protected by a minister who tolerates close to 50 percent no show at jail on the weekend?

Mr. McCrae:I think the honourable member will have to provide me with some information other than what he is saying here.We have seen many, many times he and other members of his party bringing wrong information to this House.I would like to ascertain the veracity of that.It may be, I suggest, that these people were supposed to report somewhere else other than where the honourable member had in mind.Now that may be, but I would like very much for the honourable member to provide me with factual correct information, unlike the information we so often get from him.

Mr. Edwards:Finally, for the same minister, Mr. Speaker.

††††††††††† Why is it that temporary absences are being used at all to deal with inmates with intermittent sentences‑‑that is, sentences they are only supposed to be serving on the weekends‑‑when in 1984 there was a recommendation from the report on the entire corrections system specifically recommending that temporary absences should not be used in cases of intermittent sentences, which were already giving to a person convicted of a crime the benefit of being out of jail five days out of seven a week, Mr. Speaker?Why are they are not following through on the philosophy set for this department back in‑‑

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

Mr. McCrae: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member is attempting to leave us with an impression which, the facts will bear out, is incorrect.There is a 10 percent overall decrease in the numbers of temporary absences in Manitoba‑‑decrease.That is down, not up.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, Alberta and Saskatchewan have a much higher rate of the use of the temporary absence.For example, yesterday or the day before, Manitoba had 110 people on temporary absence. Alberta had 1,200 people on temporary absence.Saskatchewan had 315.So I want the honourable member not to leave the impression that he is trying to leave, because it is incorrect.

†††††††††††

Mental Health Care System Reform

Community Consultations

 

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health.

††††††††††† The public of Manitoba has told us they are concerned that they are being ignored by the Minister of Health regarding implementation of his health plan.This morning, a serious blow to the minister's credibility occurred when one of the members of the minister's own advisory network on mental health quit, saying, and I quote:We have been co‑opted into supporting a facade of reform which is being used to justify changes which satisfy an economic agenda that has little to do with mental health.

††††††††††† Will the minister immediately contact members of the community and consumers and try to reinvolve members of the community and put community back into community reform?

Hon. James Downey (Acting Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I will just comment briefly on behalf of the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) that there has been a full community consultation taking place.It is my understanding, the confidential letter which the member is referring to, there will be a meeting to discuss those concerns with the deputy minister.She is one of a committee of some 25 representing the different communities.

* (1420)

Mr. Chomiak:Mr. Speaker, I hope that the minister will attend that meeting.

††††††††††† Will the minister take into consideration at that meeting such issues as the crisis stabilization location, the establishment of a 24‑hour crisis line and aid for safe houses at that meeting?

Mr. Downey:Mr. Speaker, the minister is and the government is serious about the reform and has been going on very well with the community consultations.I believe the letter was received and the concern was received today.There is a meeting, as I said, tomorrow to discuss those concerns, as quick as tomorrow with the deputy minister.

Mr. Chomiak:I am thankful that they will talk with her, because the beds have been cut and the services are not in place.

††††††††††† Will the minister undertake to talk to people like Cathy Medernach and respond quickly to all the groups that are saying they are not being consulted on implementation and on issues of governance?

Mr. Downey: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding there has been an extensive discussion with the different community representatives, of which this individual was one of 25.There will be ongoing consultations as the reform program takes place.

 

Environmental Concerns

Women's Health Issues

 

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): My question is for the Minister of Environment.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, a worldwide collection of scientists, including 99 Nobel Prize winners, warns that Earth people have about two decades to avert global ecological disaster and social problems.

††††††††††† I am going to table a document for the Minister of Environment to the government that highlights five key areas. One of these areas is equality for women, including rights to reproductive choice and safety.

††††††††††† My question for the minister is:Is the minister aware that there have been a number of studies indicating that there is a link between chlorine and breast cancer, and will this be taken into consideration when the decision is assessed to go ahead with the Deacon Reservoir which will mean that Winnipeg's drinking water will require more chlorine treatment?I will also table a copy of one of the studies that I have looked at.

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):Mr. Speaker, the fact is that as we look at the future water supplies for this city and any other city across the country, we are also cognizant of the fact that we need to use the most up‑to‑date technology, whether it is in the treatment of our drinking water or in the treatment of our waste water.There are alternatives to chlorination that are being developed, and I would hope that that would form part of the decision‑making process.

 

Assiniboine River Projects

Accumulative Effects

 

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):Mr. Speaker, clean water is essential to our health.How is this government going to assure the assessment on the cumulative impact on the Assiniboine River, of all the developments going on on the river, including Simplot and Ayerst and the numbers of lagoons that release effluent, is not going to adversely affect‑‑[interjection]

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Ms. Cerilli: How is this government going to ensure that there will be a cumulative decision made of all the developments going on on the Assiniboine River, including the withdrawal of water for the Assiniboine diversion?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):Mr. Speaker, I am certain that the member is as aware as everyone on this side is, that every one of the projects that she listed has undergone very close scrutiny to make sure that any impacts are alleviated or considered in terms of their cumulative effect.

††††††††††† I would hope that when she mentions some of the developments in Brandon, she would take into consideration the fact that they have been designed and engineered with the highest level of technical capability in order to protect that watershed.

 

Ayerst Expansion

Environmental Impact Assesments

 

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): What is the scope, Mr. Speaker, of the environmental review currently being developed for the Ayerst expansion and the basin‑wide changes on the Assiniboine?

††††††††††† Will the minister tell the House how the health concerns of women will be addressed in the environmental assessment?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member has caucused this with the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans).As I have said before, the assessment of Ayerst has in fact done a number of things already in terms of their response to how they will treat their waste water.Literally millions of dollars of technological studies and advances in infrastructure are being put into that investment in order to protect the environment.

††††††††††† The site is being assessed on a site‑specific basis in order to make sure that any discharges to that water are well within the accepted guidelines.Mr. Speaker, I would expect that we all would be looking with interest as to the research that Ayerst and other pharmaceuticals are doing in their industry.

†††††††††††

Crop Insurance Review

Equality Recommendations

 

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River): When the Crop Insurance hearings were carried out last year, many producers stated that the amalgamations of contracts by the Crop Insurance Corporation did not reflect the changing roles being taken on by women in agriculture production.It is always almost impossible for women to get a separate contract.

††††††††††† Will the minister today, in light of it being International Women's Day, recognize that many women do choose to farm independently, and they should be able to get their own separate crop insurance contract?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture): I have the Crop Insurance Review in front of me.If the member would like to read, I will turn her to page 1, where the recommendations of the committee said that they should reflect program administrative equity to all producers, be feasible in an operational mode, not become unnecessarily expensive to the producer and not unduly increase administrative and premium costs.

††††††††††† Over a year ago, the Crop Insurance Board set up a committee to assess people who may make applications for separate contracts, whether it is father and son, brother to brother, father to daughter or whatever kind of family relationship.

††††††††††† They put together a questionnaire to determine whether contracts should be separate or should be combined.That questionnaire was reviewed by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and said it was fair and reasonable, and many of the recommendations that came in the Crop Insurance Review also identified that the process the board is now using is reasonable and fair.

††††††††††† I will agree with the member that we must do everything possible to be absolutely sure in the future that it is reasonable and fair to all family members and particularly the female members in the various family farm corporations.

 

Implementation

 

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River): Mr. Speaker, we long awaited a Crop Insurance Review Report, and now we are waiting to know which changes the minister is going to make.I want to ask the minister:When will he be announcing which changes he will be making to the crop insurance, as was recommended by the committee?Will we hear those before the deadline for changes this year, and will he be taking into serious consideration the recommendations for women?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture): I thank the member for the question, but if she was paying attention, particularly the reading of The Manitoba Co‑Operator, she would have seen that the announcement was made many, many weeks ago on this, and that over 30 percent of the recommendations have already been acted on.Many are under research and review by the board and the corporation at this time, and appropriate adjustments and changes will be made on an ongoing basis.

††††††††††† Many of them involve a fair bit of cost and cannot be done overnight, but the ones that she says, if she would read the recommendations from the Crop Insurance Review Committee on page 29, they reflect that there is an element of fairness there now but a continuing desire to maintain equity beyond all producers.

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

* (1430)

†††††††††††

NONPOLITICAL STATEMENTS

 

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, may I ask leave for a nonpolitical statement?

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

Mr. McCrae: All Manitobans, certainly all of the people from southwestern Manitoba are rejoicing today and all last week.We would like to rejoice even further, but the Manitoba team led by Maureen Bonar did just an excellent job on Saturday against the Sandra Peterson rink from Saskatchewan.Canada will be well served in Geneva by the Peterson rink.We ought to be extremely proud of the job done by Maureen Bonar and her team.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, the other thing about the Scott Tournament of Hearts in Brandon last week was that it was an unqualified success in every way that you can measure success.We have shown the rest of this country and the rest of the world, I suggest, that Brandon, Manitoba is an excellent place to locate any event of any note, and we are quite capable, through the volunteer activities of hundreds of people, to put on a world‑class show and fully intend to do so many times in the future.Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:Does the honourable member for Brandon East have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East): Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with my colleague the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), MLA for Brandon West, in this matter.This is beginning to sound like a broken record.

††††††††††† I do want to, on behalf of this side, congratulate the Maureen Bonar team for the excellent showing that they made.It was tough luck.They did not win, but they did a great job.

††††††††††† I agree a hundred percent, the community of Brandon does an excellent job in hosting events of this nature, national events, international events.I know there are some very excellent ones coming down the pipe, World Youth Baseball and some others.I know the community will rally again in making sure that these are successful events.

††††††††††† I cannot help but note, Mr. Speaker, as I understand this is a record attendance of any game of this type.I think that is again a tribute to the people in the area for their interest in this particular sport, which as far as I am concerned is No. 1.

Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member for St. James have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]

Mr. Paul Edwards (St. James):Mr. Speaker, very briefly I want to join comments with my colleagues in the other parties, as we did the other day, in congratulating the people of the city of Brandon for the very fine show that they put on for this world‑class event.Indeed it was carried out with world‑class precision and efficiency.I think everyone who attended and who had the pleasure of watching some of it on television saw just how efficiently and effectively the tournament went.

††††††††††† Let me say, with respect to the Manitoba rink, that I certainly share with my colleagues in the disappointment that they were not ultimately successful.However, I must say that having grown up a part of my life in Saskatchewan, if there was a province that was going to beat us I would think Saskatchewan would be my favourite.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, of course I wish the Canadian team now well on the international stage.I have no doubt, with the level of competition they have faced in Canada, in Brandon, they will do very well on the international stage.Thank you.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:Does the honourable member for Wellington have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington): Mr. Speaker, I just want to rise today and put on the record our caucus's concerns about and regret at the passing of Justice Samuel Freedman, who on his appointment in 1952, I believe a comment was made that certainly was borne out by his years of service to the province of Manitoba and the people of Manitoba when it said:I prophesy that when the time comes to assess his work the verdict will be that no one ever proved himself more worthy of appointment to the bench than Mr. Justice Freedman.

††††††††††† I think we all in this House would share that analysis of the work, both on the bench and after his retirement and throughout his working years, of Mr. Justice Freedman's service to the people of Manitoba.He stands as an example of what the judiciary, in its finest form, is all about, both in his legendary number of judgments, over 1,100 of them, many of which are still being held up as legal landmarks.In addition to the calibre of his judgments, his court was a place of dignity, civilized but spiced with a sense of humour.

††††††††††† In addition to that, he worked in the community at large, working as a Chancellor of the University of Manitoba from 1959 to 1968, member of the Board of Governors of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a worker with the Jewish Welfare Fund, vice‑president of the Civil Liberties Association, Manitoba, and chair of the Winnipeg Branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, a life that was lived to the fullest and exemplified the best that Manitoba has to offer.Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:Does the honourable Minister of Justice have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I would like to add some words about former Chief Justice Samuel Freedman, on his unfortunate passing, and also I would like to offer sympathy to the family of former Chief Justice Freedman.

††††††††††† As one who knew Sam Freedman, I can say with affection that his contribution to his province, and indeed to his country, was significant.

††††††††††† Sam Freedman was a brilliant jurist, and that is recognized by everyone.He was able to mix with a judicial brilliance, a human dimension that you seldom see in someone who occupies the position of the Chief Justice of a provincial jurisdiction.

††††††††††† Since his retirement from the bench, I have come to know Sam Freedman better than I did when he was on the bench.I have seen Sam Freedman on a number of occasions since becoming Attorney General of this province and never did he fail to have a kind word for me or for anyone else he happened to be talking to.He was an extremely courteous person, who mixed with that and his knowledge of the law, a sense of humour that you will not find equalled very often.His grasp of the English language, obviously far better than mine, was something that was well known to all who knew Sam Freedman.

††††††††††† Again, Mr. Speaker, I offer the sympathy of all honourable members in this House to the family of former Chief Justice Samuel Freedman.

Mr. Speaker:Does the honourable member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs) have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):Mr. Speaker, I want to join with the members of the other two parties in paying my respects to the family of the late Chief Justice Samuel Freedman.

††††††††††† Sam Freedman was a very special human being.In addition to being of brilliant mind, he had that very noble characteristic of being very humble, very self‑effacing, never believed that he deserved all of the honours which were given to him.Yet, he deserved each and every one of them.But to him, it was always a reflection of what others had done, or what he had been able to contribute because he had been given the qualities of intelligence or because he had been able to take advantage of educational opportunities.

††††††††††† My last contact with Sam Freedman was at Shoppers Drug Mart. I was there with my husband shopping for a few things, and there were Sam and Brownie doing their shopping in Shoppers Drug Mart. It was like meeting neighbour Sam.It was not like meeting the former Chief Justice with all of the honours that had been bestowed upon this particular individual, and rightfully so. It was meeting a neighbour, in my case, a fellow constituent, because he lived in the Rivers Heights constituency.

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

††††††††††† He was always like that.There was a tremendous warmth that exuded from this man.He also had the great benefit of having a very special helpmate and wife, because she took care of so many of the details of his life, freeing him to look after the things of a much more academic nature.

* (1440)

††††††††††† They were both getting on, and yet they both went to class at the University of Winnipeg, the seniors' class, twice a week. They would show up early in the morning to listen to the lecture of two hours or so.Jim Carr was the instructor of those courses.When he was not able to do it, I would often fill in. I must admit I was never very often intimidated by students, but there was a certain amount of intimidation when the Chief Justice, with all of the honours that had been bestowed upon Sam Freedman, is looking down from the heights of this room and you began to say, I hope the information I am giving out today is absolutely accurate, because if it is not, Sam is going to know that it is not absolutely accurate.

††††††††††† He lived a good and full life.I suppose he could have lived, but I think he would have been the first to say that he lived his four score years and 10.Obviously, there is sadness today in the family, one of whom of course is related to this government and is the Deputy Minister of Family Services.Roxy is the daughter‑in‑law of Sam and Brownie.There must also be great joy in the fact that this man lived such an accomplished life, such a giving life, such a warm and vital life, that as they sit shiva for the next seven days, I am sure there will be many who tell them of his very special warmth, the very special touches that he alone could have given as he reached out to his fellow human beings.Thank you.

†††††††††††

ORDERS OF THE DAY

 

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): Madam Deputy Speaker, would you call Debate on Second Readings, the bills as listed in the Order Paper, in that order.

 

DEBATE ON SECOND READINGS

 

Bill 2‑‑The Endangered Species Amendment Act

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:To resume debate on second reading of Bill 2 (The Endangered Species Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les epeces en voie de disparition), standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).

Some Honourable Members:Stand.

Madam Deputy Speaker:Stand?Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [agreed]

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to add my comments to Bill 2, The Endangered Species Amendment Act.

††††††††††† I note, in reading the minister's words on this particular piece of legislation when he was addressing his remarks to this House before the session recessed over the Christmas period, the minister indicated that this was a relatively minor piece of legislation change that had been brought forward by his department and by him, in particular, to address some inconsistencies in language.In other words, to make it conform to language that was used in other legislations across Canada and in particular federal legislation.

††††††††††† While it may be minor in nature, Madam Deputy Speaker, it is, I feel, very important to us in the province of Manitoba.It is unfortunate, of course, that we have to even think about bringing forward legislation like this and that we have to have legislation or regulations in place to protect endangered species.But in that sense, I suppose that when civilization and nature come in conflict with one another, there is bound to be a giving way of one side or the other and, of course, it always seems like the environment or nature has to give way to make room for civilized activity, as we like to refer to it.

††††††††††† I think back to my own experiences of my lifetime and the opportunities that I have had to view nature first‑hand, and I hope that other members of this House have had similar opportunities.I have had the opportunities to spend a great deal of my youth in the wilderness of northwestern Ontario and into the central parts of Manitoba, fortunate that my family could afford to take their children to these areas to see nature first‑hand.

††††††††††† I think back to those times in particular because we were fortunate in what we saw as the natural wildlife of Northwestern Ontario and, of course, it is indigenous to the province of Manitoba, as well.I refer specifically to the eagle.We had near our family cottage eagles that would seasonally nest in this particular area and, of course, they would raise their young and do their hunting in that particular area, as well.

††††††††††† I think back to the times of recent history where we have seen in the United States, in particular, where they have had to move to protect the American eagle‑‑I always like to call it the Canadian eagle instead of the American eagle, but the Americans refer to it as the American eagle‑‑where they have had hunting of a symbol, a bird that they use as a symbol for their country. They have had to protect it to the point where they banned outright any activities dealing with the eagle in the sense that no one can hunt that bird.

††††††††††† Well, I think that from my experience at least, although I am not totally familiar with the regulations of this country or this province on that aspect, the eagle is not a protected bird in this province, from my understanding of the endangered species here.So we have been fortunate that we have been able to view them in their natural habitat, raising their young and doing the activities that eagles do in the course of their normal day.

††††††††††† I have had the opportunity since I was elected to this job to travel to various parts of the province of Manitoba [interjection] and it is an excellent province, as the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) points out.In my travels, of course, I have had the opportunity not only to talk to many of the people of the province of Manitoba in the different communities and to see their lifestyles and the conditions under which they live, but I have also had the opportunity to view first‑hand, particularly in the area of Churchill where we have what I like to think is very unique wildlife for this province. That is the beluga whales and the polar bears, as well as other bird species that are in that area that the naturalists like to go and view in their natural habitat up there.

††††††††††† Now I have often thought that Manitoba could‑‑taking into consideration that we have this natural beauty of our province here‑‑take advantage of those natural creatures by not only keeping the railway open to serve the North, as my colleague for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) points out, but more specifically to encourage tourism to come to the province of Manitoba to view the natural wonders that we have here.I do not think I have ever seen, outside of activities done directly by the communities themselves along the way, including Churchill, where the government has done active campaigning to encourage tourism to come to the province, not only to view the species that we have here that are in abundant supply, but also those areas where we have endangered species, not to disturb them in their natural habitat, but to encourage people to become more aware of the species that are there and what we have to do as a civilization to protect them.

††††††††††† It would be nice to see that, if we could have regular train loads of people or planes going up to Churchill to view the polar bears, the beluga whales and the endangered bird species that make that their natural habitat, or to travel to other parts of the province to view the Baird's sparrow or the burrowing owl, the loggerhead shrike or the peregrine falcon.

††††††††††† Speaking of the peregrine falcon, I know that these endangered species are being talked about in the classrooms right here in my own community of Transcona.I know that because my young son comes home and tells me about the activities that they have had during the course of their day in school.One of the quizzes the teacher puts on for them is a quiz asking the students of those classes what they know of the endangered species of the province of Manitoba.

††††††††††† It was interesting to note that not too many of the children could name the endangered species.There was the odd one who got some of the names right from the list, but not many.So there may be an opportunity for the minister through his department and possibly through the Ministry of Education to raise the awareness of our young people, those who will be coming into positions of authority after us, so that they become aware of what the endangered species means to us as a province.

††††††††††† The minister talks about his legislation and he has an endangered species advisory board.I must admit to the members of this House that I am not fully aware of what activities this special advisory board performs. [interjection] My colleague for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) asks if there is an equal number of men or women from this board.Unfortunately, there is not an equal number of men or women.There are only two women on this board, two out of 11. [interjection] Well, that is unfortunate that we would not have equal representation, but it is nice to see at least that the minister does have an advisory board that keeps him apprised of situations throughout the province, what impact the endangered species are encountering and what we can do to assist them to allow them to recover their numbers, so that they can grow so that we can remove them from the endangered species, hopefully, before they become extinct.

* (1450)

††††††††††† To go back to my comments at the start of my talk, the minister indicated in his comments of December 10 last year that the language of this particular legislation, Bill 2, is only minor in nature to allow it to conform to legislation used particularly with federal legislation and so that it conforms to the definitions that are used nationally and internationally. Now, I note in reading the bill that the legislation does allow the minister some latitude in making decisions on the way it impacts upon a threatened species or those species that are likely to become endangered.From what I understand of this legislation, it gives the minister extra powers that were not afforded him before.At least, that is my understanding of it.

††††††††††† I have some concerns in the sense that it allows the minister to use threatened species for scientific purposes.Now, I did not note anywhere in the minister's comments where the definition of scientific purposes‑‑what that means.Does that allow for experimentation or does that allow for the protection and preservation through means by veterinary services to allow them to grow and expand in their numbers?I am not really clear on what "scientific" means in this sense.It also says that the minister did not want to either hold or entrap endangered species.I would hope that would the be the case of his department, because we want these species to thrive in their natural environment without too much interference from humans.

††††††††††† I note in the notes that were provided with the minister's bill that he has unfortunately had to add "other species" to his protected list.That is unfortunate that we have to take steps like that.That means that we are encroaching more and more upon the natural habitat of these species, and that we are going to have to take special precautions or efforts to ensure that they survive.

††††††††††† Now, I cannot find specifically where the lists are.I will come to them in a few moments, but the minister did indicate that there were five species that were put on his endangered list. That seems like a high number to me as I do not profess to have a full comprehension of a number of species that were on the list specifically, other than the names I read out a few moments ago.

††††††††††† But if we are going through five species‑‑and the minister says that is just recently‑‑does that happen on a yearly basis that we have to put numbers like that on the list?Are we continually eroding the numbers of species that we have in the province‑‑of the flora and the fauna as the minister indicated it would go on that list.

††††††††††† To go back to the bill specific, this bill allows the minister the opportunity to authorize permits that would give people that he would authorize, or his department would authorize, the opportunity or the right to kill, take, collect or capture. [interjection]

††††††††††† The minister indicates kill, but I hope that would not be the case, that we would look at doing whatever we can within our powers, the people he would have in his department and other veterinary type of services throughout the province, so we can allow these species to survive, and if they are injured in some way I hope that the proper actions would be taken to allow them to recover.

††††††††††† Of course, I am sure there are opportunities that happen from time to time where the‑‑[interjection]

††††††††††† Some members make light of this bill, but I think it is an important piece of legislation for us in the province.Like I said, it is unfortunate that we have to take these steps to protect the species of the province.

††††††††††† The permit gives the minister, as I have said, the power or the authorization to name someone in his department or some other person, the right to kill, take, collect or capture or to collect and capture and hold alive, members of endangered or threatened species for scientific purposes‑‑there is that word "scientific"‑‑or for the purposes related to the protection or reintroduction of endangered species, or, a word that I am not familiar with, I must admit, "extirpiated"?

An Honourable Member:Extirpated.Geographic area is limited.

Mr. Reid:I thank the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) for explaining that word to me.I must admit I have never encountered that word before.It is a new one to me, and now I have a better understanding and appreciation for it.

††††††††††† I hope that the scientific purposes do not include experimentation other than for the full and complete recovery of the animals, any of the wildlife, the birds, the fauna in our province, and that we do not use them for scientific purposes like some of the horror stories that we have heard in the past, experimentation that has been done specifically on animals for research for human purposes.

††††††††††† I notice that the minister in his comments, and I think it is accurately quoted, or accurately stated I should say, by the minister when he says, and I will use a quote from the minister, that our lives are enriched by preserving and making every effort to ensure that represented species of flora and fauna and wildlife that abound in this province continue to exist for future generations in a truly sustainable manner.I think that is a good statement for the minister to make, because I hope that would be the goal of all of us, not only in this Chamber here but all Manitobans and all Canadians in general.

An Honourable Member: His intentions are good, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Mr. Reid:Well, I hope that is not the case.The member for Burrows indicated that would not be the minister's intentions on this.

††††††††††† We have to think of, in a sustainable manner, most of the things that we do, most of our activities now.We cannot just rely on nature to take care of itself and be able to rebound on its own.It is obvious, by the impact of human development, western civilization, in the industrialized sense, the impact that it is having upon all of us.

††††††††††† Now we all reap the benefits from that type of civilization and that industrialization but, at the same time, it does have negative consequences for us.I have seen some of those negative consequences in my own community by way of industry having a detrimental impact upon the people who live in the community.

††††††††††† As a civilization and as a people I think we have to be conscious of the impacts that our development, our growth have not only upon us as a people but the environment itself.I think the minister's words "sustainable manner" should be the goal in that we can indeed protect all wildlife not only for its own sake, which of course is very important, but so future generations have the opportunity to go out and view nature at its best.

††††††††††† I think Manitoba has some of the best natural wildlife that one can find anywhere in Canada.I have travelled to almost every part of Canada through my years.Manitoba has many wonderful things for us to see and do.I would hope and I would encourage the people of Manitoba to take part in the activities that we have to offer in this province and that we do everything that is within our powers as legislators to protect the wildlife of our province so that future generations can indeed reap the same opportunities that we have had through our lives.It is of course very important to us.

††††††††††† I notice that the minister has changed some of the wording in The Endangered Species Act to specify those species that are indigenous to Manitoba, of course, that may be threatened with imminent extinction throughout or in significant parts of the provinces.There are some definition changes within the legislation itself.

††††††††††† I hope that the minister's department does not just view this as minor in nature.Of course, we on this side take this legislation‑‑although it is not extensive in its length, it could have a significant impact, and I hope that the minister and his department, through his guidance and direction, will use this legislation wisely and that latitudes that may not be intended by this legislation will not be taken by the department‑‑[interjection] Like scientific purposes, as the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) points out.

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††††††††††† We take every step that we can humanly take in this province, not only to preserve and protect those species that are on the endangered list, to allow them to grow in their numbers so that we can remove them from that list, but to prevent other species within the province from having to be placed on that endangered list.I hope that we take whatever powers that we have to protect and preserve them.

††††††††††† With those few words, Madam Deputy Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to address my comments to this Bill 2 here today.

 

Bill 3‑‑The Oil and Gas and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:To resume debate on second reading of Bill 3 (The Oil and Gas and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant le petrole et le gaz naturel et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), standing in the name of the honourable member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway).

An Honourable Member: Stand.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [agreed]

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):Madam Deputy Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to add just a few words on this particular bill, which the minister claims is simply a consolidation of various pieces of legislation of exploration, development, storage and transportation affecting oil and gas industries in Manitoba.

††††††††††† It is, I think, important, Madam Deputy Speaker, to suggest a couple of areas‑‑perhaps, it would apply to a number of bills‑‑and that is that I wish the minister perhaps had taken some advice from the member for St. Johns (Ms. Wasylycia‑Leis), my colleague, in the use of plain language in the development of bills of this nature.Composite bills and the consolidation of legislation by their very nature are bringing together a number of complex areas, and it seems to me that this government, as all other governments, should begin to address legislation in terms of plain language.

††††††††††† Oil and gas are very important elements of our provincial economy, and they should be available in legislative terms to the general public.It seems to me as I look at this bill, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am by no means any expert on oil and gas or resource economics, but this is a complex compilation of a variety of areas.It would have been a very useful one where the government could have put together some principles of plain language and developed them in the context of a series of legislations that they were bringing together.

††††††††††† Instead, what has happened, as happens with so many other bills and indeed with other governments‑‑I am not singling out this particular government in this area‑‑what I am saying is that they are missing an opportunity to make available to the general public the general understanding of complex legislation.I would suggest that The City of Winnipeg Act, Madam Deputy Speaker, is another area where there is a great deal of public involvement, public interest in that particular piece of legislation.Yet it is one of the largest bills, the most complex bills for any individual, be they expert or planner or architect or citizen, to try and come to terms with.It seems to me that in resource economics and in municipal legislation there are two areas of great importance to the average citizen, and they should not be hidden behind the complex language of legislation.

††††††††††† I would suggest to the minister that in this particular case it would be very useful in fact to have, even if he cannot at this time develop the plain language of this legislation, that there be a brochure, there be a leaflet for people explaining in very clear terms and in plain language the implications of this compilation of a variety of pieces of legislation.

††††††††††† My colleague the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) has spoken on this particular bill, and I want to echo some of her comments on the composition of boards that this particular bill suggests.

††††††††††† The advisability of creating boards of citizens to give the minister advice, I think, is established in many parts of our legislation in Manitoba, perhaps more so here than in many other provinces.I think we have a good record in that, and some governments have a very good record on balancing the gender composition of some of these boards.Not all governments, but some governments, have made a particular attempt to bring women, and I speak on this on International Women's Day, into public life by giving them the equal opportunity to sit on advisory boards of a wide variety of topics that affect the government of this province.

††††††††††† My colleague mentioned that, in this particular case, although there is the opportunity for the minister to appoint five members, in fact, he or she is only required to appoint three of whom one must be essentially his own public servant, somebody who is responsible to and acts under the direction of the minister, who is not an independent citizen in that sense. He is a public servant and must respond and must work under the direction of the minister.

††††††††††† In fact, we have the opportunity to appoint a public advisory board of four people, two of whom it is further required, additionally, have specific knowledge in the oil and gas industry.So potentially we have a minister who is able to appoint three people, one of whom is directly responsible to him and two of whom must be representative of the oil and gas industry.

††††††††††† Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, some governments would take that opportunity to appoint one person to represent those who work in the industry, those who perhaps represent some of the trade unions in that industry.

††††††††††† I have my doubts that this government is going to give 50 percent of its representation to labour because, so far, all they have done in any area, whether it is their economic innovation fund board or whether it is the conference that they in fact had last fall, dealing with the economy of Manitoba, where they were so proud of their 10 percent representation for labour, it does not give great confidence to anyone looking for labour representation on the oil and gas board.

††††††††††† I will suggest it here to the minister that it would be very appropriate to appoint labour members of that committee.I do not know if it has crossed his mind yet, but I certainly will put it on the record now that this should be very much a part of this particular board.I would suggest that he make that his first appointment, that he start thinking now of who he is going to appoint, and that he start consulting with the Manitoba Federation of Labour, in fact, to have their support in the nature of his appointments to this particular board.

††††††††††† I doubt very much whether he will.I would imagine that, like every other element of this government, what they have done, in fact, is to attack labour on most fronts and that their interest in any kind of labour advice is very, very slender.

††††††††††† Madam Deputy Speaker, what I expect is that this government will appoint two representatives of the management and ownership of the oil and gas industry.Certainly one would expect them to be represented on this particular board, but we shall be looking very carefully at the proportions in which this government attempts to represent the full spectrum of Manitoba, male and female, labour and capital, on this particular board, because this is one of the most important areas of our economy.It certainly has been for many, many decades an important area for prairie provinces, generally, less so for Manitoba than for Saskatchewan and of course particularly Alberta, but certainly one of the areas, one of the export staples upon which this economy has been built.

††††††††††† Indeed, if we are to look at Canadian economic development generally, the export of staples, whether it be oil or gas or wheat or timber or potash or other minerals, has in fact formed the basis of our economic history.It has been one of the elements of great instability in our history, no less for Manitoba, but particularly so for Alberta.What we have done with our emphasis upon the simple mining and exploitation of our natural resources is essentially created an economic instability and a dependence upon an international market and an international demand over which we have very little control.

††††††††††† I do not expect that this particular bill will address any of those issues of inherent economic instability in the oil and gas industry.It certainly is not what one would expect of this particular Conservative government who have very little interest in economic planning or economic future thinking of any sense whatsoever, let alone in the oil and gas industry with its very powerful economic business lobbies.

††††††††††† When I think about minerals in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and Alberta, I suppose one of the things that one always goes back to is the transfer of those mineral resources from aboriginal ownership to Canadian ownership.It was one of the processes that happened in the late 19th Century as all of that area of common land and common resources, such as the minerals of Manitoba, the gold of parts of Canada, were transferred from aboriginal owners, many of whom recognized and understood that what was happening to them was not just that they were being transformed from landlords into renters or landlords into tenants, but that they were also‑‑and I will quote the speech of the chief at Treaty No. 3 at Lake of the Woods, who said to Lieutenant‑Governor Alexander Morris, the Lieutenant‑Governor of this province, but also the man who signed the majority of treaties across western Canada.

* (1510)

††††††††††† The Indians at Lake of the Woods spoke to him about the resources under their feet.They spoke to him about iron and copper and mineral resources that they were well aware of.They asked him what were the interests of the government in these resources, what were the interests of the Indians, what were the Indians to own and what was the government to own.Of course, Lieutenant‑Governor Alexander Morris responded that Indians were to be treated just as any other person in western Canada. Formally, the landlords and owners of this territory, they were to be treated just like any newcomer.They could sell, he said, any knowledge they had of the minerals beneath their feet.

††††††††††† It was very clear to aboriginal people, both in Treaty 5 in northern Manitoba, in Treaty 4 in western Manitoba, where some of the oil and gas reserves that we are talking about now are located, and particularly in Treaty 3 just to the east of us here.The chief of Treaty 3, Mawe‑do‑pe‑nais, said to Lieutenant‑Governor Alexander Morris:You are buying us with the very gold beneath our feet.That speech was echoed at Treaty No. 5 at The Pas.The recognition by the Indians that they were being purchased, the $5‑a‑year treaty money, the payments to chiefs and councillors, the economic development money that was promised in the treaties, the education money that was promised in the treaties, was in fact coming from that gold, from that oil and gas beneath their feet, and they were well aware of it when they signed those treaties, and they had very little option in the signing of those treaties.

††††††††††† In 1931, when we come to look at the transfer of natural resources to the provinces of western Canada, again we see the same treatment of those original owners and landlords of this place.There was no consultation with Indians in 1931, and the transfer of those natural resources took place over their heads, without their consent, without any consultation and without their permission.In any court case now, Madam Deputy Speaker, that transfer of natural resources is one of the things which must always be considered in the discussion of who owns the natural resources of Manitoba, of who owns the oil and gas resources.

††††††††††† A second point I want to make, Madam Deputy Speaker, is the way in which the reliance upon oil and gas and all export staples by Canadians has in fact continued to make us a hinterland country, one which has always been dependent upon export, one which has always in that sense been open to the vagaries of an international market.Whether it is in the cod fisheries, whether it is in the wheat economy, whether it is in the timber economy or the oil, gas, potash of more recent times, our economic history in a sense is writ large in the instability and dependence which that has brought upon us throughout Canadian history.I doubt if this particular bill is going to give us any greater self‑sufficiency, any greater sense of autonomy, any greater sense of independence in the direction of our economic affairs.

††††††††††† What is happening of course in Canada generally is that we are becoming drawn into a continental economy.One of the focuses of that process is our natural resources, particularly water, oil, gas and other elements.We have become part of the American strategy in fact to develop a kind of self‑sufficiency. Certainly since the 1970s the American economic strategy has been to develop self‑sufficiency in oil, but it is a self‑sufficiency which is based upon a free and open, unlimited, unregulated access to Canadian oil and gas.

††††††††††† There are some parts of Canada, those free market entrepreneurs who are quite prepared just as Mulroney was to sign away our continuous and future rights to any kind of autonomy over our natural resources.That is what has happened in the Free Trade Agreement and increasingly it is what is going to happen in the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico, because the purpose of that North American Free Trade Agreement is of course to give the United States access to our resources cheaply, unconditionally and to also have access to cheap, unconditional, unregulated labour in Mexico.

††††††††††† Those two elements on a continental basis are the ones which are in fact predicted to be the American strategy and to take the Americans into the 21st Century.From their perspective, Madam Deputy Speaker, it is of course a strategy that will maintain their role as a world power and which will give them the kind of continental hegemony that they believe they need but, from the perspective of Canadians, it does not make any sense.Our autonomy, our ability to develop our own national industrial policies must depend upon control of our basic natural resources, and those are the ones that we are letting slip out of our hands.Well, perhaps I should not say slip out of our hands.It is essentially almost a free gift in the kinds of agreements that Mulroney is prepared to sign in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

††††††††††† What they are doing is setting up panels, panels which take away from this Legislature, and every other Legislature, the power to determine our economic future, panels which will meet secretly, which will not report to Legislatures and which will decide upon environmental issues, upon pricing issues and upon a wide variety of issues in our oil and gas and other resource industries.That is the kind of economic leadership which we have had from Conservative governments, federally, and certainly no resistance from this particular government on either the Free Trade Agreement or the North American Free Trade Agreement, in spite of the very clear dangers that there are for the Manitoba economy, both our industrial economy and for our resource economy in that North American integrated continental future.

††††††††††† Madam Deputy Speaker, I think I will perhaps finish, with some of those remarks, my concerns for the autonomy of Canada, for the economic development of Manitoba, my concern for the composition of these boards and their ability to deliver balanced, representative advice to the minister, my concern for the inability of most Manitobans to read and understand this piece of legislation and the absence of a plain‑language policy on the part of this government and many other governments.

††††††††††† There are concerns I know that many of my colleagues will raise, environmental concerns in the oil and gas industry and, in particular, environmental concerns in this bill as well, but I will leave it for now, Madam Deputy Speaker.I look forward to hearing the representations of the public and of specialists in this particular area at the hearings.

††††††††††† Thank you.

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Bill 5‑‑The Northern Affairs Amendment Act

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:To resume debate on second reading of Bill 5 (The Northern Affairs Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les affaires du Nord), standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).

An Honourable Member:Stand.

Madam Deputy Speaker:Stand?Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [agreed]

Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas):Madam Deputy Speaker, I welcome the opportunity once again to hopefully contribute something to this debate, particularly Bill 5, which has to do with The Northern Affairs Amendment Act.

††††††††††† I say I welcome the opportunity to say a few words, Madam Deputy Speaker, because it gives me an opportunity to not only address the proposed amendment, but also to put on record some of the issues and concerns that I have as far as northern Manitoba is concerned.

††††††††††† Madam Deputy Speaker, I have been travelling quite a bit in the North recently.I have been to all of the communities in my constituency.Whenever I travel to the communities that I represent‑‑I always look forward to going on a tour, as I call it, but when I get there, actually visiting people in their homes and occasionally even spending the night in some private homes in the communities that I visit, meeting with community leaders and individuals and hearing them expressing to me the problems that they encounter in their home communities, and even witnessing a lot of the conditions that exist in those communities, witnessing them first‑hand, at first I used to get depressed, but I think what I do now is it gives me a heavy heart whenever I go into the communities, looking at what exists there, yet at the same time people are still hoping that things will improve somewhere down the road.

††††††††††† I want to say that I visited Moose Lake and Grand Rapids and Easterville in the last little while, and I have visited Cross Lake.As a matter of fact, I am going to be going up to Cross Lake Wednesday of this week to attend the Cross Lake winter festival.They have an annual winter festival in Cross Lake. Then, a week later, I am going to be travelling again through Norway House again to attend their Norway House annual winter festival.

††††††††††† Some of the things that I want to raise during this time is the way the transportation system conditions exist as we are speaking here today.

††††††††††† The last time that I visited Cross Lake, I had a meeting with the Chief and council, and Councillor Monias was expressing to me how encouraged he was, I guess, at a meeting that he had with the Minister of Transportation (Mr. Driedger) sometime in October. He even showed me copies of letters that the minister had written to him and copies of minutes that were taken at the meeting, I guess, with the minister.

††††††††††† When you read the letters that went to the community, and also the minutes, one gets the feeling that they are positive. One gets the feeling that perhaps the government is willing to listen to those leaders in Cross Lake and Norway House in their repeated requests to have the roads improved from No. 6 Highway into Cross Lake and Norway House.

††††††††††† When I am there, of course, I try to encourage the people. Yes, maybe the government is going to move now, and then only to find out six weeks later that these meetings that were held between the ministers of this government with community leaders of Cross Lake and Norway House had actually produced very little, nothing, Madam Deputy Speaker.

††††††††††† As we are speaking now, the winter roads are probably not in use anymore.When I was in Cross Lake and Norway House and in Garden Hill last week, I was advised by the people there that the winter roads would be usable only for another two or three weeks.So perhaps as we are speaking here today the roads are no longer usable, and then the people have to wait for spring breakup or have to fly again before some of those rivers and lakes can be used for transportation.

††††††††††† I want to also say, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the economic situation that exists in the North is very much different from the economic situation that exists in the South.That is to say that for those of us who live in the South, we think and we say that things are pretty bad down here, but sometimes I wish that when I go on some of these trips, that some people from the Legislature, not just ministers who go in there for an hour, two hours for an official ceremony or activities like that, but for ministers or staff or even MLAs to travel with me on some of my trips to the North, so that they can see actually first‑hand the situation that exists for those people that I represent in the North.

††††††††††† For example, when we talk about unemployment statistics and welfare rates say, for the city of Winnipeg or any southern community, as bad as they are, I do not think a lot of people can appreciate the extent to which the economic situation or unemployment or welfare is inflicting damage to those people who come from the North.

††††††††††† Stats Canada, for example, will only record statistics numbers of those people who are unemployed in the major towns like The Pas, Flin Flon and Thompson.Unfortunately, they do not take into account the number of people who are unemployed in the more isolated areas like the communities that I represent, Madam Deputy Speaker.

††††††††††† I think that is unfortunate, because when we look at the unemployment situation in northern Manitoba, it does not give us a true picture of what is there.I sometimes think that is why those of us who live in the South cannot have an appreciation of the problems that exist in northern Manitoba, because, as I have discovered, we are so used to reading reports and statistics and a lot of us go by statistics and reports when formulating our goals and objectives.Government, I am sure, uses the same kind of information in formulating policies and directions that they are going to take.

††††††††††† I would hope that sometime in the future Stats Canada will in fact include those numbers that exist in the northern communities that I represent, the more isolated communities.

††††††††††† I want to give an account of my latest trip into one of the communities.I will not say which community it is; the community knows which it is.In any event, I was asked by the people that I visited to go with them to two homes of elders, two houses, and they wanted me to see how those elders are living and to see the conditions that they were living in.So I went along with other colleagues of mine and friends in the community to see first‑hand the living conditions of these two elderly people.Madam Deputy Speaker, I must say that I was disgusted.I did not know what to think.My reaction was I wish we could do something.I wish other people would see this situation and then perhaps people would feel like doing something.

* (1530)

††††††††††† In any event, the two elderly people whom I am referring to are bedridden, no home care.The community that I visited had at one time put in a proposal for a care home and, unfortunately, the proposal had gone nowhere and now they were having to deal with not just those two elderly people, but other elders in the community as well having to put them in their own homes and with nobody being able to look after them.So that is one kind of a situation.

††††††††††† Then, of course, you go around at night visiting people in the community and you run into young people.You visit the schools and you get talking to young people in the schools and you ask them what kind of goals and aspirations that they have, Madam Deputy Speaker.Again, when you talk to the young people, it seems like whatever kind of feeling exists in the community I believe that kind of thinking, the feeling of hopelessness or the feeling of giving up, they take that to school and as a result they are not able to do very well for those young people who are still in school.

††††††††††† When you look at the young people, Madam Deputy Speaker, when you talk to elders, the chiefs and councils, the mayors and councils they tell you, and I know I have often heard this saying in this House myself, where people say, this is our future, when we are referring to youth.Yet, when I look at the youth with all the problems that they are encountering, the state of mind that they are in at the moment in their communities and then when you compare the youth with the elders, the state that there are in, it does not give you a very good feeling because on one hand the elders were at one time young, as the other youth that I am talking about and it almost seems to me like it is coming full circle or you cannot even get any encouragement anymore from the elders, because they are in a state of having to be looked after themselves.Then when you look at the youth, you do not see very much hope in their eyes either.

††††††††††† So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am hoping that things will improve slowly as we go along.I am also hoping that governments will eventually see that the way to solve a lot of these problems is to give those people self‑government, self‑determination, give them the authority and power to make decisions among themselves and also for government to support some of these initiatives that aboriginal people are starting to establish in their home communities.

††††††††††† I see that the bill that we are discussing today, Madam Deputy Speaker, almost seems, for me anyway, that we could have amended The Northern Affairs Act just a little bit more in terms of giving the local people, the Northern Affairs communities more autonomy.I remember in going through Estimates last time around, I was asking the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), in the area of training dollars, staff training and development for these councils, who administers those training funds as small as they were, and I was surprised to find that almost everything that is being done at the community council level is done by staff at Northern Affairs.

††††††††††† I was telling the minister at the time that I thought Indian Affairs, as bad as they are as well in terms of decentralizing programs and services to Indian band councils, I thought they were bad but I think the provincial government in terms of how they deal with local governments and the Northern Association of Community Councils, I think is much worse than what the Department of Indian Affairs is doing to treaty Indian chiefs and councils.

††††††††††† As far as the communities are concerned, Madam Deputy Speaker, we also have to understand that in April of '85, there was a change to the Indian Act where a lot of people who had lost their treaty status by marrying non‑Indians were going to be reinstated back to being treaty Indians and band members of whichever communities they came from.When you look at funding for community councils‑‑like all government departments, I know that is being done at the Department of Indian Affairs level‑‑funding is based on population and a lot of these communities in the North have lost a lot of their population back to the treaty Indian communities.Also, there are still quite a few of those nonstatus or aboriginal people having gained their status back are still trying to get back into being band members of the various bands that they came from.

††††††††††† It creates problems for the communities in more ways than one, Madam Deputy Speaker.On one hand, the numbers are dwindling or decreasing for the Metis side and so their funding gets decreased accordingly, and at the same time a lot of these people who are living in the communities really have nowhere to go because they have not been fully reinstated as band members of the different bands that they come from, so they are having to go with what is available in the Northern Affairs communities which, as I said before, is less than what is available at the reserve level.

††††††††††† I wanted to also mention, Madam Deputy Speaker, that what I probably see, besides self‑government, self‑determination and so on and more local autonomy for the community councils, is that in terms of the elderly both levels of government, federal and provincial governments, should get together in trying to address the problems that are being encountered by the elderly people, such as the funding of care homes so that these elderly people who need care, some of them on a 24‑hour basis, would not have to be sent out of their communities to places like The Pas, Flin Flon, Thompson and Winnipeg and so on, but that they could, hopefully, stay within their communities with their people and live in the care homes that I was referring to.

* (1540)

††††††††††† Also, for the youth, I think when we say, when referring to the young people in our communities, that they are our future leaders, they are our future, that we should pay more attention to the youth, not only in the North but throughout Manitoba, Madam Deputy Speaker.For example, when you go around the North in the summertime when the young people are out of school, a lot of them cannot find work because the only place where employment is available is usually at the community council office, and that is not very many; or usually at the band office, where, again, not very many jobs are available there because they are all filled up by the people who are there.I would strongly suggest to this government that they seriously look at summer youth employment programs for the North in order that these young people can do something that is useful in their communities and, at the same time, learn skills and get job experience.

††††††††††† I wanted to end by saying, Madam Deputy Speaker, for me the situation that we have in the North, especially in the isolated communities‑‑and I know Shamattawa is not in my constituency; I know the three communities in the Garden Hill area and Island Lake area are not in my constituency‑‑but I wanted to say as far as I am concerned, if people are serious, if people mean what they say‑‑and I am talking about governments, federal and provincial‑‑for example, we had a big ceremony here the other day where a Metis leader was finally recognized.

††††††††††† We hear‑‑and I am not just talking about government ministers or staff people and so on‑‑but I think if people really mean what they say whenever they say that they support the aspirations of aboriginal people for self‑government, they should get into partnerships with aboriginal people even though we encounter some problems here and there with certain groups.I maintain that if we mean what we say, then I think we should pay a little bit more attention to the words, aboriginal self‑government, local autonomy, local decision‑making powers and so on, because in my mind I really believe that is the only way to go.

††††††††††† So long as those people are shackled the way they are now, then I do not really believe that things will improve.They are improving, but not to the extent that they would if those communities were given more autonomy and more self‑determination and so on.

††††††††††† So I urge the government to be more serious when dealing with those people so that‑‑you know, recently there was a lot of coverage that was being carried out for the youth at Davis Inlet in northern Labrador, Madam Deputy Speaker.We do not have to go to Davis Inlet to find the problems.We have it right here in our own backyard in northern Manitoba.

††††††††††† That is why I welcome the opportunity to say a few words on The Northern Affairs Amendment Act, because I really wanted to again, although I have said those words before in this House I do not mind saying them again.Perhaps if we say them over and over again, things will eventually change.Thank you very much.

 

Bill 8‑‑The Insurance Amendment Act

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:To resume debate on second reading of Bill 8 (The Insurance Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les assurances), standing in the name of the honourable member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway).

††††††††††† Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [agreed]

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):Madam Deputy Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak today on Bill 8, The Insurance Amendment Act. I want to first of all indicate that a number of our members have spoken on this bill, and there are many aspects of the bill that we do not find too great a deal of controversy‑‑[interjection] Madam Deputy Speaker says that one has spoken up to this point. I know that we have spoken on all the bills with such frequency that I was sure it was more than this, but I will indicate some major points during the course of my speech on this issue.

††††††††††† I think, in talking re insurance, it is a major industry, insurance itself, in this province, everything from crop insurance to home and fire insurance and many other kinds of insurance that you can get.As well, of course, the issue of crop insurance itself, hail insurance, is a very topical matter.

††††††††††† I see the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) is here, and he has certainly been a great believer in crop insurance over the years, to the extent that he has endorsed the program which has made crop insurance the basis‑‑and data collected from crop insurance is the basis for that program, for all of the benefits paid out in the future extrapolated to another program, as a matter of fact, known as GRIP.So I want to touch on that a bit as well, Madam Deputy Speaker.

††††††††††† I want to just say that, as an overview, some of the minor changes that are made recognizing modern technology are certainly irrelevant, in terms of the sections that are being removed from the bill are basically obsolete because of modern technology and computerization and modern printers which allow things to be done much quicker and co‑ordinate the work rather than, as it has been done in the past, in a manual way.So the bill does reflect those changes and does update the act.

††††††††††† I note the explanation clauses that have been provided to us by the minister are certainly helpful in the discussion.The reference to reinsurance about spreading the risks for reinsurance amongst insurers is something that I marvelled at, Madam Deputy Speaker, when I saw how this business was done with Lloyd's of London during my opportunity to meet with the officials from Lloyd's of London on two occasions actually, once in Frobisher Bay and at Churchill where they accompanied us to review the insurance for the Port of Churchill, and as well in London where we met with the London Salvage Association, as well as the underwriters, to review those rates.

††††††††††† It was quite an eye opener to tour the Lloyd's of London headquarters in London, interesting at that time that the old headquarters which had been in place for hundreds of years was just being abandoned as such to new headquarters, a magnificent new building which cost an extraordinary amount, a very impressive new facility that Lloyd's of London was moving to at that time.We had the opportunity to take a tour of the old building and also of the new one at that time when they were in the transition.

††††††††††† I noticed that there was a system of spreading the risks that I never knew actually existed, because they were dealing with such large numbers.They were dealing with insurance on 747s and on huge ships travelling to Churchill and many other areas of the country.They had to underwrite this risk in a way that would not put any one of them in a situation where they could actually go under if a disaster occurred.They had to spread the risk around with 1 or 2 percent with each insurance company.They would go around from one to the other in this large open area until finally they had filled 100 percent of the insurance requirement.It was quite interesting to note and watch this process taking place.

* (1550)

††††††††††† We met with several of the underwriters, Timothy Hum and Tony Nunn, for example, two of those, who were very helpful in showing us the tour and showing us the facilities and also telling us how these things were going to change in the next while.At that time I marvelled at what seemed like a tremendous wealth of each of these insurers.They all had to post personal bonds and additional monies to ensure the integrity of the company, Lloyd's of London.It was based on the integrity of each of those individuals, those underwriters, putting up money of their own as security to ensure that no matter how big the disaster, that there would always be money to pay for it if it occurred.

††††††††††† However, as a result of a number of disasters that occurred in the late '80s and early '90s‑‑as a matter of fact, Madam Deputy Speaker, what seemed to be an impervious layer of wealth that would never ever be scratched did, in fact, take place.A large number of underwriters were put at risk as a result of huge disasters that took place with the chemical disaster in India, the shooting down of the 747 plane over Russia, and other major disasters in the world, which put those underwriters at risk.

††††††††††† It was really something to see, and I felt a personal attachment to it, which might surprise some of the members opposite, because of having met people like Timothy Hum and Tony Nunn and others from the underwriters in London who actually were part of that operation and who, in fact, were nearly destitute after this took place.They had sacrificed all the wealth that they had.It would have seemed at the time that this was impossible.There is no way this could have ever happened, but in fact it did happen as a result of a combination of disasters.

††††††††††† So it taught me something in terms of reserves and risks, that you can never be too safe and too sure.You always have to have a fallback and supporting position.Well, there is always a need for insuring that there is sufficient backing for any transaction that takes place in the field because, no matter how safe it may seem at any particular time, accidents and disasters occur without warning in many cases.As a result, people can be cleaned right out very quickly, and companies can be cleaned out.

††††††††††† That is something that, of course, Autopac experienced to a certain extent in 1988 at the time that we were in government, when we lost the vote in the House when our backbencher, at that time the member for St. Vital, voted against the government.

††††††††††† We can look at that situation because it was interesting in 1986 the Tories campaigned against us on the basis that rates were too high and that they were going to give refunds to drivers because there was a reserve.They did not like the size of the reserve and said, we are going to give this money back; the NDP is hoarding it.The members remember that. [interjection] Well, the member for Springfield, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), says, it worked.I mean, he is admitting, of course, that this was simply a political maneuver on their part. [interjection] Well, it was successful, but‑‑[interjection] Well, they lost the election, but the groundwork was set for future elections, and as we all know how history has unfolded during that time.

††††††††††† But the members will know that at that time, in 1986‑‑I am putting this in relation to what happened to Lloyd's of London. There seemed to be too big a reserve to the opposition Conservatives at the time.They were saying that the NDP should not have those big reserves they got hoarded away.Now, whether they actually believed it or whether in fact it was just done for political purposes, I guess we will not resolve here today, but we are talking about $50 million or so as being too high.

††††††††††† I have to say, Madam Deputy Speaker, that in subsequent years because of a string of unfortunate circumstances, because of weather and icing conditions and whatever else, there was a large draw on MPIC; as a result, that reserve was gone within a very short time.If we were to look prophetically at this, we would have been able to take the steps to build that reserve even higher, but considering that we were being criticized roundly for even having that size of reserve, I think it was unfair criticism subsequently to say the NDP government should have been able to foresee and therefore have increased the rates along the way in '86 and '87 so that in '88 we would not have had this crisis that happened.

††††††††††† In retrospect it is easy to say that and to lay blame, but I think the management was pretty sound at that time.We did have a good reserve.We disagreed with the Tories, who were coming out and saying, we are going to give that reserve back, $15 to each driver.Remember that, to all the drivers, they were going to give them each a refund to get rid of this?

††††††††††† Now I think, Madam Deputy Speaker, that we have to look very carefully at that kind of thing, at reserves.It is very important in the insurance business to ensure that there is a reserve that is realistic, because we see that unforeseen circumstances in combination can result in disaster very quickly.

††††††††††† Of course, we have other circumstances that are involved there now in the insurance business, though it is related of course to the third‑party liability in payouts for injury claims, which have really overtaken collision claims.There is a need for the government to look at that whole area, to set some norms or cap those awards in some way so that there is a way to budget almost for it and there are foreseeable consequences as a result of injuries in accidents because, as it is now, I think we are going to end up making it very difficult for the average car owner to be able to afford insurance in the near future.

††††††††††† We have to remember of course that in Manitoba our insurance rates are still much lower than most other private insurance coverage in other provinces, but that is not a good enough reason to not look at keeping those costs as realistic as possible, because we soon will find that their rates are too high for a lot of people to afford.I think that is why we brought this in in the early 1970s in the first place, to get away from those huge costs, particularly for young people who cannot remember that now.All of those people are in their 40s probably and 50s remembering back to when insurance was brought in, that they had to pay insurance to private companies at that time that was much higher when Autopac was brought in.

††††††††††† So I think it is important when we are looking at the insurance issue that we ensure that there is a way to spread the risk around, that there are limitations to that risk, because disasters can occur very quickly, as has happened with Lloyd's of London, and I hope we can all learn from that experience.

* (1600)

††††††††††† Madam Deputy Speaker, I wanted to speak a little bit about some of the issues associated with hail insurance in this bill as well.I note that there are some changes that will allow a speedup of the coverage for hail insurance, whereas it might have taken up to four days following a transaction before the insurance actually came into effect.It will now be noon the next day, and that is very important.You cannot have it the same day, as a farmer sees the hail clouds looming on the horizon and goes in and buys his insurance.That would not be proper either but, on the other hand, noon the next day is reasonable, and yet it was not the case in many instances because of the time it took for transactions to be recorded that sometimes people had to delay up to four days before they got the insurance.In the meantime they could have suffered a disaster during that time.

††††††††††† The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) may want to comment on this, because one of the notes that his government has provided for the opposition speaking notes on The Insurance Amendment Act says:Where crop hail insurance is purchased through an agent, the time delay on the coverage taking effect is reduced to noon the next day from a delay of up to four days.

††††††††††† This comes from his government, so in those cases I am saying that this is an important change because four days is like an eternity of hail hits.Meanwhile, the farmer in all good faith had gone out and purchased insurance but does not get credit for it simply because the transaction was not completed‑‑[interjection]

††††††††††† The minister has clarified an important point that is in the notes here.I think that not all farmers used registered mail, and therefore, were not able to take advantage of the "noon the next day."So there was a four‑day delay.That will not happen anymore under this system.I think that is important, because it may have been‑‑I say to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay)‑‑that some farmers did not know that; maybe they were not told by the agent‑‑[interjection]

††††††††††† Well, the agent should, but what the agent does in all cases‑‑maybe he is distracted, maybe busy with somebody else.By the time the transaction is done, the farmer goes out thinking he has got hail insurance, and he or she does not.I think we better be careful to use he or she because my colleague the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) talked about the issue of women in agriculture.

††††††††††† It is an area that the Minister of Agriculture has got some work to do yet, even though he points to parts of the report that say, well, things are not too bad.The fact is, he says he is going to implement it and we are waiting.We are waiting for equality in insurance coverage and transactions for women in agriculture.There is a way to go yet.The minister knows that.

††††††††††† As a matter of fact, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), says his own daughter cannot get her own policy.In a way, that is encouraging to note that there is no discrimination there.It does not matter if you are Minister of Finance or who it is.On the other hand, it points to the problem.That is that this has to be addressed because women have always been deemed to be subordinate or co‑operative partners with the husband, rather than farmers in their own right.That has to be dealt with.I think that we could say, quite fairly, he has been tardy in dealing with this issue.

††††††††††† He has been the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) now for some five years, and he has not dealt with it yet.I mean, he set the tone.Look it, President Clinton has set the tone in 60 days in what he is going to do and that is going to set the tone for the rest of his administration. [interjection] Well, it sets the tone for that administration for the next four years.It is true.If the minister had intended to address this, he would have addressed it during the first 60 days that he was minister and said:Listen, staff, I want this dealt with, this is important. [interjection]

††††††††††† Well, the minister is now talking about a mess.I wonder what kind of a mess he is cooking up right now.We will find out in a few years.

An Honourable Member: No, you will never find out.

Mr. Plohman:We will find out.Now the minister says he can cover his tracks.He says, we will never find out.

An Honourable Member:No, I did not say that.

Mr. Plohman: Well, he says, we will never find out.Now what does that mean?We will never find out?Well, I think now the member is starting to get a little worried about that kind of thinking, because he knows that there is going to be a government of another political stripe, most likely a New Democratic Party, in Manitoba, in the near future.We see a little rub here, and they are having difficulty getting leadership hopefuls together. Well, I am certainly not insulting the one person who has come forward, but I mean, there is not even a race there.

††††††††††† I think people are looking at this and say, forget about them, forget about it.It is straight polarization now between the NDP and the Conservatives in the next election.So, clearly, Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) has got to start worrying, and if he is worried about covering his tracks, he better clean up his mess before we get to it, because there is going to be a mess there.

††††††††††† Unfortunately for the people of Manitoba, it may cost something to correct, and I hope it does not cost a lot of money.I just served notice to the minister so that he can start right now cleaning up after himself now and save us a lot of work.If he needs a little help, he can call us in to help him out.If he would like a little bit of help, I will do it in confidence for the minister if he would like to come in and, you know, have a few meetings.

††††††††††† Let me just say, Madam Deputy Speaker, we have watched, with some deep concern as well, the Minister of Agriculture in terms of his reliance on the crop insurance that was in place in this province.He came in with a review after he established GRIP. He knew there were serious flaws in crop insurance, but he still went ahead with GRIP based solely on it, made no exceptions because it was administratively convenient.No sense making things complicated.Now he finds out that what we were saying all along was right.He probably knew it, but would not admit it.He kept his head in the sand during the last few years when he was coming forward with that.If it gets too complicated, do not bother me with all that administrative stuff.I do not want all that complicated stuff.This is nice and simple.He did it like a bureaucrat, simply like a bureaucrat.Keep it simple, stupid.We told him to look at other options so that there would be fairness in the program.We did not get fairness from this minister.

††††††††††† That is one of the problems that we are going to have to clean up after this program is gone, the remnants of it, or whatever is there by the time this minister is thrown out of office.So these are things‑‑[interjection] I know that, but you cannot do it all.We have an excellent critic of Agriculture right here who is going to tear a strip off this minister daily. I believe that the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) is already making the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) sit up and start taking a look at the mess he has got behind him and start cleaning it up already, because I think if he got one bit of advice from Saskatchewan, from the Devine government, it is, do not leave a mess like we left there because, darn it, I will tell you we are getting blamed for everything.And they are being blamed for everything, rightly so.

††††††††††† I do not want to have to see that happen in Manitoba because I will tell you it costs the taxpayers a lot of money.Let us really be serious about it. [interjection] Well, there is a lot of history yet to unfold, and there is clearly an agenda that will be followed and, ultimately, the farmers will see the difference between the two.There is no doubt.They will favour the other model, but we have to remember that we have a Conservative government nationally that is doing as much as possible to make it very difficult for things to be improved in Saskatchewan for the farmers, because as long as they are mad at governments, then the NDP gets the blame.You see, the NDP gets the blame in Saskatchewan.Those are the tactics that McKnight and Mazankowski are using in Saskatchewan.That is clear.

††††††††††† We hope that once the Conservatives are thrown out of office nationally, there will not be that vindictive attitude and there will be a way of working with the national government in the common best interests of those farmers, rather than having them fighting with each other.

††††††††††† The minister knows that that is important, although he has had the luxury of having a like‑minded government in the Conservative government in Ottawa during the time that he has been in government, so he has not really experienced having to work with a government of a different political stripe, that is trying to frustrate you at every opportunity.I mean, it is bad enough working with Mulroney for this Conservative, but at the same time, they are on the same wavelength.You will have to agree with that, Madam Deputy Speaker.

††††††††††† They are going to go out and campaign for the federal Tories, there is no doubt.I believe the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) is going to be out there campaigning for the candidate in his riding federally for the Conservatives; I think he will be.Despite the fact that they have been that bad, he is still going to vote Conservative; he is still going to go and work for them.So he is no different than they are. [interjection] Mr. Crosbie phoned me a few years ago.That is the last time I wanted to talk to him.

* (1610)

An Honourable Member: Who is running for the NDP in Dauphin‑Swan River?

Mr. Plohman:Mr. Stan Struthers.

An Honourable Member:Did he take a leave of absence for the last year?

Mr. Plohman:The member for Springfield (Mr. Findlay) is worried about his leave of absence?I think he has done very well in taking a leave of absence.He is going full time campaigning.I think that is pretty good.It shows a lot of seriousness in his approach.He is a teacher; he is a principal.He took a leave of absence, and now he is out full time campaigning for the job that has been vacated by Brian White.

††††††††††† Brian White made the right decision, because he saw the writing on the wall.He knew it was game over, so he might as well get out with some grace.

††††††††††† Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, I wanted to say to the Minister of Agriculture, because I have been slightly distracted.I want to indicate, though, that in other opportunities on Agriculture, we will have an opportunity to address this minister's ill‑advised reliance on crop insurance.He has heard our lecture before; we will add to it, embellish it a bit, bring it out in such a way that the minister will fully understand, because he has difficulty grasping these things, because he has blinders on and he is going with tunnel vision only one way and he cannot see around him all of the difficulties that he has created as he is stepping on top of the crop and crushing it as he walks over it through these fields.

††††††††††† We want to get that message across and we will.I will indicate to the minister that we expect him to make those changes even if he did not in the first 60 days.I was mentioning President Clinton.It does set the tone.It is five years down the road, but, you know, it is never too late with crop insurance to make the improvements that are necessary.The minister can take a different turn, go a different direction now, and he might have a year or two to do it.That is a long time for the minister.He can maybe make some improvements, as I said, clean up the mess, and leave the New Democratic Party government in a much better situation when we take over on the agriculture front at least in Manitoba from this minister.

††††††††††† Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

 

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

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:To resume debate on second reading of 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), standing in the name of the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes).

††††††††††† Leave?Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [agreed]

†††††††††††

Bill 11‑‑The Regional Waste Management Authorities, The Municipal Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act

 

Madam Deputy Speaker:To resume debate on second reading of Bill 11 (The Regional Waste Management Authorities, The Municipal Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant les offices regionaux de gestion des dechets, modifiant la Loi sur les municipalites et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).

††††††††††† Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing? [agreed]

Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): I wanted to take this opportunity to put a few remarks on the record with respect to Bill 11, The Regional Waste Management Authorities, The Municipal Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act.

††††††††††† I do so today because this piece of legislation is one which has a particular interest in my constituency, in my part of Manitoba.It is one in fact I think where northeastern Manitoba has been a leader in the province, and the work that has gone on in our communities with respect to regional waste management has been one that has pushed forward many of the concepts and changes to law which are being proposed in this particular piece of legislation.

††††††††††† Madam Deputy Speaker, by way of background, and I would for a short while like to speak about just the history in my area, which I think illustrates very clearly the need for this legislation and the means by which this legislation will facilitate a much better handling of our waste managements problems in rural Manitoba.

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

††††††††††† Mr. Acting Speaker, around the time of the last election in 1990, a number of municipalities in northeastern Manitoba contacted me.As well, a group of residents near Beausejour had concern with a specific waste facility, a garbage dump, nuisance ground, and it became very clear that we had a host of municipalities who were facing either immediately or in the very near future a decision of locating a new garbage disposal ground for their municipality.In fact, if I recollect, there are probably four or five of our municipalities or groupings of municipalities who are in the process of coming to grips with locating a new site.It became very evident to all of them that going through that process would result in probably a great deal of local opposition to wherever one chose a site, and that is always a problem when one is doing these kinds of things.There was also a great deal of concern about the way in which we were dealing in rural Manitoba with the disposal of our garbage.

††††††††††† At that particular time the group of residents from Beausejour who had approached me, we held a number of meetings with them and made the recommendation that they take to their councils, the Council of the R.M. of Brokenhead, of which Mr. Clarence Baker is reeve; the town of Beausejour, of which Don Mazur is mayor; and the village of Garson as well, that they take a proposal to those three municipalities who shared the existing Sebright dump facility and suggest that they work together to look at a new waste management system for our community.

††††††††††† Following an initial very positive response from those three municipalities, my office expanded the request, or traded the information with the other municipalities in northeastern Manitoba who had the same problem quickly approaching on their agendas.In the fall of 1990, as local MLA I sponsored a bus trip to Baudette, Minnesota, where we took quite a large delegation from northeastern Manitoba to tour their waste management facility.It was an excellent, excellent opportunity for us to see how, at least from our point of view, what looked to be a very, very efficient and I think environmentally, at least on the appearance, sound system of dealing with waste management.

††††††††††† At Baudette, serving a relatively small number of communities over a fairly large area, what they managed to do was to do two things that I think are fundamental to proper waste management. One was to separate from their waste stream all the items that were in fact recyclable and to separate those, to store them, to find markets for them and to move them out of the traditional method of simply burying them in their waste disposal grounds.

††††††††††† The second thing that they did, Mr. Acting Speaker, which I and the group found to be very innovative, was the composting of everything else that was left, the nonrecyclables.In essence, they ground the stuff up, left it in piles which they turned regularly, the piles being in a covered area and, over a period of months, managed to have this material compost into a product that‑‑

An Honourable Member: Did they have a manure spreader in there?

Mr. Praznik:Well, the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) talks about a manure spreader, but it is sort of similar.I am not a scientist, but perhaps a similar process, after which they would sift out any of the metal that was remaining and then spread this throughout a particular site.What we saw was literally years of garbage composted down into a relatively small amount of product.Now, I leave to those with the scientific knowledge to tell us whether or not that in fact is a benign product or if there are risks to it, but it certainly made for a very sound waste management policy, because they eliminated a large volume of material and they certainly took out of the waste stream the recyclables.

††††††††††† When we returned from Baudette, I was part of the group and, when we got all of the players back together, all of the municipalities, there was an agreement struck that they would pursue a regional waste model on the Baudette line for our region.This was probably one of the first areas in Manitoba‑‑I know there is one area in southern Manitoba that my colleague for Emerson (Mr. Penner) is well aware of.I think these were probably the two first regions of Manitoba to get into the regional concept in looking at a much better way to deal with our waste management problems.

††††††††††† The co‑ordinating committee between these municipalities‑‑I believe it involves the Village of Lac du Bonnet, the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet, the Local Government District of Pinawa, the R.M. of Whitemouth.I believe the LGD of Reynolds was involved, certainly the R.M. of Brokenhead, the Town of Beausejour, the Village of Garson, and I think even the R.M. of St. Clements expressed some interest, as well as the LGD of Alexander.

††††††††††† This group, in working to put together this concept, held numerous public meetings throughout our area, garnered I think a great deal of public support, but one of the things that was very critical to the success of this project, two things, in fact, Mr. Acting Speaker, that this group found were critical in their belief to the success of this project were that there be a mechanism for the grouping of municipalities to be able to come together and create an appropriate authority to deal with the problem which we did not have the provision for in The Municipal Act and, secondly, and I really must stress this, this was critical from their point of view, was a mechanism by which this authority could levy a charge on a per‑household or per‑resident or per‑user basis as opposed to the traditional method of municipalities funding services, which was to go back to the general rate base.

* (1620)

††††††††††† In an area that is significantly agricultural, to levy it on the basis of the assessment base would have imposed a very large portion of the cost on farmland, which was not necessarily generating the waste, to the relief of the homeowner.So they said to us‑‑I believe there was correspondence to the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach)‑‑I think the issue was raised at the Union of Manitoba Municipalities convention, where a resolution was passed, if I am not mistaken, in this matter. They asked that we provide them with the ability to levy such a fee for waste management activity, waste disposal, recycling, et cetera, on a user basis, some form of user basis, whether it be household, industrial use, whatever would be appropriate.

††††††††††† This act provides just for that.The Baudette model, which this group looked at, at that particular time, some years ago, called for this particular method, because what they do in Baudette, Minnesota, is they levy a small per‑household fee to each household in the area, and there is certainly a different rate for industrial users.They levy this small fee‑‑I think in those days it was some $40 per household‑‑and then they allow for when recyclable items are returned or turned in at a collection site, a payment is made which, over a period of a year, can probably reduce the fee to virtually nil.

††††††††††† So it was a way of encouraging people to recycle, to cash in on those dollars they have in their waste product, get them into the recycling stream and, at the same time, provide a financial penalty, in essence, for those who would not do it and, in doing so, finance, either through the sale of the recyclables or this particular fee, the operation of their regional waste management system.

††††††††††† So it was a very innovative model.It is certainly one that the committee in my constituency, northeastern Manitoba, looked so very favourably upon but, of course, needed the legislative authority in which to carry it out.So I am very pleased that the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) has brought forward this piece of legislation, Bill 11, because it does just that.It provides for the establishment of the appropriate authority that allows municipalities to come together to deal with this problem on a regional basis, and of course it provides for the funding mechanism as was requested by those in the committees working on regional waste issues.

††††††††††† If I just may for a moment on a bit of a side issue to this‑‑and some of my urban colleagues in this House may be most interested in this particular point‑‑in my five years as an MLA, one of the most contentious issues that I have seen in communities, perhaps one of the most divisive issues in communities, is whenever a municipality has to site what one could call an undesirable neighbour, when they have to site a sewage lagoon or a waste nuisance ground or some public facility that is not exactly a desirable facility to have as a neighbour.

††††††††††† Traditionally in rural Manitoba, almost every municipality has had its own waste disposal ground, many of them in sites that quite frankly should never have hosted such facilities, old gravel pits, bore holes, et cetera, from which gravel is extracted for highway and road construction.Those, of course, have to be cleaned up.We have come a long way and we have certainly learned that that is not where we should be siting these facilities.

††††††††††† Whenever a municipality has to site sewage lagoons, nuisance grounds, what have you, the calls to an MLA's office come very quickly from the people who live around the proposed site.When you represent, as I do, 10 municipalities, you come to realize very quickly that if each one of those, or each grouping of two or three, has to site a facility, it can be a very difficult process to the municipalities involved.

††††††††††† So the concept of going to a regional facility, certainly in the days when transportation costs, relatively speaking, are quite a bit less and much more practical than they were 20 or 30 years ago, is certainly one that is desirable from the point of view of the municipalities, because it allows them to come together and have to go through the very difficult process of siting only one facility in a region as opposed to many of them.

††††††††††† One hurdle, obviously, that this northeast waste management group and other regional municipal waste authorities will have to overcome is still that view of a disposal nuisance ground as being a very undesirable facility.I think most people in our communities have a view, I am sure other rural members would be aware of this, our people have the view that these facilities tend to be awful places with garbage scattered around.They tend to attract rats and other undesirable rodents.

††††††††††† Mr. Acting Speaker, the Baudette model, and again I would like to just stress this point, what we noticed when we were in Baudette, Minnesota, certainly eliminated that very undesirable view of a disposal ground.That is not to say that people are still going to want to have a disposal ground in their backyard. One will always still have that opposition, but I think the technology is certainly available today that can minimize considerably the image of a disposal ground being in one's backyard as being so undesirable.It can make it a facility that certainly one would not necessarily want to brag if you had one in your backyard, but it certainly makes it much less of a nuisance to those who live around it.

††††††††††† I understand, and I would hope that the regional waste authorities that can be created under this act will be looking at these new technologies, will be looking at minimizing the adverse appearance and difficulties associated with management grounds. Consequently, the difficult fights, the difficult battles that municipalities encounter in siting these types of facilities will be minimized.It certainly never will be eliminated, I am sure, but certainly will be minimized.

††††††††††† So, Mr. Acting Speaker, this piece of legislation which I know the minister has worked very hard on to ensure that it meets the needs of this changing manner in which we are dealing with waste product in rural Manitoba is one that I think deserves the consideration and support of this Assembly.I certainly know, not only my own facility in northeastern Manitoba, but other blocks of municipalities are exploring the regional waste concept and are awaiting this type of legislation very eagerly.

††††††††††† I would hope that this is one bill that can receive relatively speedy passage in this House to enable those municipalities to get on with their planning, get on with their work in dealing with some very serious waste management problems in rural Manitoba.

††††††††††† So I would like to thank the House for allowing me this opportunity to put a few of my thoughts and involvement with this particular issue on the record.I would hope that all members of this House, all parties in this House would support this very innovative and important and I think much awaited piece of legislation.

††††††††††† Thank you.

 

Bill 12‑‑The International Trusts Act

 

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), Bill 12, (The International Trusts Act; Loi sur les fiducies internationales), standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton).

An Honourable Member:Stand.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Is there leave for this matter to remain standing? [agreed]

 

Bill 13‑‑The Manitoba Employee Ownership Fund Corporation Amendment Act

 

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), Bill 13, (The Manitoba Employee Ownership Fund Corporation Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi constituant en corporation le fonds de participation des travailleurs du Manitoba), standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).

††††††††††† Is there leave for this matter to remain standing? [agreed]

* * *

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): What would the will of the government House leader be?

††††††††††† Is it the will of the House to call it five o'clock? [agreed]

* (1630)

 

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

 

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):The hour now being five o'clock, it is now time for private members' hour.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS

†††††††††††

Res. 5‑‑Federal‑Provincial Agreements on Immigration

 

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):Mr. Acting Speaker, I am pleased to put forward this resolution.I move, seconded by the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett), that

††††††††††† WHEREAS immigration has been, and continues to be, fundamental to the future of our country; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS Canada and the provinces are currently in a stage of transition regarding immigration and settlement powers, legislation and programs; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS changes regarding immigration are matters of great concern to the public and should be open to public hearings in Manitoba; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS the provincial government of Manitoba has thus far held only private consultations on these matters; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS the federal government held hearings on Bill C‑78 only in Ottawa.

††††††††††† THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba urge the provincial government to consider holding public hearings regarding proposed changes to immigration, recruitment, selection and settlement legislation and/or programs with ample opportunity for all Manitobans to participate; and

††††††††††† BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Assembly urge the provincial government to consider having a full review and public hearings on any agreement between the federal and provincial governments regarding immigration matters.

Motion presented.

 

Ms. Cerilli:I am pleased for the indulgence as I struggle still with parliamentary procedures.They are so logical.

††††††††††† I am pleased to put forward this resolution which deals with a very important matter.We have been through the last couple of years of constitutional dealings, and it has come forward that there be changes in the responsibility for immigration.

 

Point of Order

 

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship):Mr. Acting Speaker, I wonder if I might clarify and get some sense from the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) about "the federal government held public hearings on Bill C‑78 only in Ottawa."I do not believe that Bill C‑78 is the immigration act.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau): Order, please.The honourable minister did not have a point of order, but possibly the member for Radisson could find out if the comment is correct.

 

Point of Order

 

Mrs. Mitchelson: Mr. Acting Speaker, I might ask you then whether in fact this resolution is relevant, if there is a federal piece of legislation that is referred to in here that really has nothing to do with immigration.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):Order, please.The honourable minister did not have a point of order, but it could be related to a matter of debate on the relevancy or on whether it is correct to call it Bill C‑78.We will leave it open to exactly that, and that is a debate within the House.

* * *

Ms. Cerilli: These little details are not as important.It is the big issues we would hope you would get right.

††††††††††† Mr. Acting Speaker, if there is a typographical error in the resolution, I am sure that it will be corrected.The minister is saying that she is aware of the correct number, and I would be happy for her to put forward a friendly amendment to that effect as she sees fit.

††††††††††† The real issues of course in immigration are a serious concern and that does not detract from the seriousness of this bill, and it does not detract from the serious concerns that a number of people are expressing, both about this government's approach to immigration matters and settlement issues as well as their federal cousins and friends in Ottawa.I was quite concerned that there were no hearings in Winnipeg or western Canada regarding the federal changes to legislation dealing with immigration, and that is one of the things that prompted this resolution.People are asking for full public open discussion and debate on matters pertaining to immigration, and we would like to do whatever we can to see that that is going to happen. That is the spirit and the essence of this resolution.

††††††††††† We see a lot of confusion, I think, in government dealing with these issues, and I am quite concerned that when questions are raised regarding immigration that often this government is saying it is not a federal responsibility.I remember not long ago raising the issue of refugees, and I remember reading an article that said that 80 percent of the refugees in the world are women and children.

††††††††††† When I asked what kind of policies this government is going to bring forward to deal with that kind of an issue, the answer I get from the minister is that it is not a federal responsibility.Then the next day or the next same Question Period to another question they will answer that they are strongly moving forward in an aggressive fashion to deal with immigration agreements with the federal government.Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, you cannot have it both ways.Are you or are you not moving towards an agreement, and are you or are you not prepared to share with the public in Manitoba your policy and position for what that agreement would encompass?

††††††††††† Now, those are the kinds of things that I would like to see discussed, and those are some of the issues I am sure would be raised at public hearings that this resolution is suggesting. There is a lot of talk about immigration now being necessary for the future of Canada.It is something that the NDP has been saying for eons, and it is nice to see that Conservatives are starting to say the same thing, but I have to admit I am somewhat cautious and suspicious of their true intention because we see the way that they are using immigration as merely a commercial or economic tool.They say that they are interested in immigration, but I wonder if they are really interested in new Canadians, immigrants as people, and providing the kind of support and services that are so necessary for them to become full participants in our democracy and in our society.

††††††††††† We hear over and over again how there are not the services, whether it is in housing, whether it is in language training, whether it is in employment equity programs, whether it is in the kind of training so that accreditation can take place, whether it is simply to have legitimate credentials and training recognized in a fair and nonracist way.

††††††††††† The whole idea that we can have immigrants come to this country and it is going to benefit the economy is something that we have to deal with very carefully.Bringing new Canadians to Canada is not going to solve the problem of a poor economy, the result of Conservative economic policy that we have seen in this country for the last number of years.There is the improvement in the size of the market for the sale of goods and services in Canada that results from bringing new people to the country. There is then the result of more people paying taxes, more people purchasing goods and services, which will stimulate the economy.

* (1640)

††††††††††† Unfortunately, we have to deal with the perception that that is a problem.The perception that we hear all the time is that newcomers will take jobs away from Canadians.The argument is that more jobs will be created by the increase in spending of new Canadians by the increase in purchasing of goods and services and the increase in the size of market in the country.

††††††††††† I am also quite concerned‑‑particularly because it is International Women's Day, I will spend some time on this‑‑in some of the double standards that are used in dealing with‑‑

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Laurendeau):Order, please.Could I have those honourable members wishing to carry on a conversation across the way in the loge to have their discussion, so that we could hear the honourable member for Radisson?

Ms. Cerilli:I was talking about the importance of looking at barriers that are being faced by women who desire to be new Canadians.A number of the programs we have that are designed to attract independent investors or entrepreneurs and that sort of professional class of new Canadian, it could be shown that they systemically discriminate against women.Women, especially in other parts of the world that are not as affluent as Canada, North America, do not have the capital and the education that more and more women are enjoying in this part of the world, so there are those kinds of problems.

††††††††††† There are also problems of double standards that are used when we look at the kind of restrictions that are placed on the human rights of women working as domestic workers.We know that the majority of people coming to Canada under that program are by far and away women.It is of great concern to me that those women are having their right to mobility and their right of freedom to live where they want, for example, to be limited.

††††††††††† I have heard some people talk about how this kind of a program is just new‑age or modern‑day slavery.That is pretty strong language to use, but when you look at the salary these women earn, when you look at the working conditions that they often work in, when you look at the limits on their ability to come and go as they please, when you look at the kind of work that they are doing, it is difficult to see how this is different from other ways that particularly women have been exploited.

††††††††††† I have heard horror stories, as well, of how domestic workers in various countries have been exploited and abused by both their employers and others, because they often come to a country where they know little about the culture and have very few other contacts and live a life of isolation and poverty.

††††††††††† There needs to be, when we are talking about immigration, I think a balance.We are looking at the different kinds of immigration that has occurred in Canada historically, a balance between bringing in people under family class reunification, bringing people in as refugees, and then having people come in to the country as investors and independent business people and professionals.I am quite concerned that the Conservative approach is to emphasize the latter at the expense of the former, particularly at the expense of refugees.We have seen the federal Tories eliminate Winnipeg's documentation centre and some of the other services that have been so important to having refugees make their case so that they can participate in Canadian life.

††††††††††† I am quite opposed to the idea that Canada is just a place where you can buy your way into, that you can, if you have got the money and the status, acquire a visa and come here and set up shop.I am quite concerned that where we have all the scrutiny of domestic workers, we have very little scrutiny as to the effectiveness of some of the independent investor programs.A lot of those business, we know, do not make it.I am concerned about where the investment actually ends up in terms of benefiting our economy or not.

††††††††††† All of these issues would be brought to the fore, Mr. Acting Speaker, if we had public hearings.There would be many people, I know, that would be anxious to make presentations on these and other issues who have far more experience and expertise in these areas than I do.They often have stories that they can share which I think would benefit the government, where we would learn, all of us, what it is like to come to Canada in this day and age, because I think in all of our families‑‑many of us come from families that were immigrants to Canada.

††††††††††† I know that I am a first‑generation Canadian, and I listen to my parents, and I have listened to my grandparents talk about their experience, but I also know that the changes in the world that have occurred since they came here have made the immigrant experience much different.

††††††††††† When I talk to young people who have come to this country recently, I am reminded again how different it is, how different the pressures are, and I am quite concerned that new Canadians who are young are torn even more, perhaps, by the cultural conflict between the Canadian dominant culture and the traditional heritage cultures of their parents and families. Young people are under tremendous stress to try and negotiate between the cultures that they deal with in their school life and workplaces and with their friends, and then the culture that they deal with at home and with their families.We need to have services to support young people so that they can sort out for themselves how they are going to meld and blend the various cultures that they are grappling with.

††††††††††† Just on a note of conclusion, members know that we have changed portfolios and I am no longer the critic for this area of immigration and multiculturalism, but I would like to say that in my opinion this blending of traditional heritage cultures and the culture that is prevalent in Canada is the challenge of multiculturalism.As we move forward towards the year 2000, I hope that Canada will become better and model for the world that there are ways of balancing and blending different cultures which can enrich not only people individually, but can enrich all of our community and society.

††††††††††† With that, I would thank you for the opportunity to put forward this resolution and would encourage not only all members of the House on our side, but also on the government side to support it.

Mrs. Mitchelson:Mr. Acting Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak on immigration and the negotiation of a federal‑provincial immigration agreement specifically made for Manitoba in co‑operation with the federal and provincial governments.

††††††††††† I do think that it is incumbent upon members of the official opposition when they bring forward resolutions to this Legislature that in fact they quote accurately whatever legislation it is that they are referring to in their resolutions.That was the reason I stood earlier on a point of order, which I guess was not a point of order, but I would anticipate that anyone who has a concern and an issue regarding a piece of federal legislation which she would like to see Manitoba hold hearings on bring forward the proper piece of legislation referred to in her resolution for recommendation to this Legislature.I would encourage the new critic for Multiculturalism and Citizenship to research a little better than the former critic did before she comes forward with legislation that she is encouraging us to support.

* (1650)

††††††††††† Mr. Acting Speaker, I do not think there is a member of this House, indeed, a person in Manitoba who does not believe that immigration makes a very valuable contribution not only to our country of Canada but to our province of Manitoba.Along with immigration comes social and economic benefits in which all of us can share.As we all know, it has been solely within federal jurisdiction to determine first of all the number of immigrants who come to Canada and secondly, the number of immigrants that each province will receive.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

††††††††††† Under the new legislation, Bill C‑86 that was introduced into the Parliament of Canada, the federal Minister of Employment and Immigration presented several changes to the Immigration Act. One of the major components of the new legislation, of course, was to provide for a potential expansion of provincial roles in a number of areas of the immigration process.

††††††††††† Through this legislation now there is an enabling of provinces to have the opportunity to formalize the provincial immigration levels and composition within an annual plan and a process of constructive consultations on a range of policies impacting on provincial jurisdiction and the ability to establish a selection process prescribed by Manitoba statutes and the development of financial immigrant sponsorship criteria and the direct input to the formal application of inadmissibility provisions under the act.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, to be very specific, if an agreement is reached with Canada through Manitoba, we would hope to have the ability to influence the criteria for recruitment and selection of immigrants.We would also hope to play a role in the selection of temporary workers and foreign students and establishing specific economic and social criteria required to meet the needs of our province.

††††††††††† At this point in time, Mr. Speaker, Manitoba is in active negotiation with the federal government.I have had the opportunity to meet with Minister Valcourt in Ottawa just a few short weeks ago, and I can indicate to this Legislature that the negotiations are going very well.I would hope that we would reach a positive conclusion in the not‑too‑distant future.

††††††††††† I think that we all know that the federal government in its quest to downsize somewhat the programs and services that it does provide to provinces is looking at centralizing some of the immigration activities, some of the activities that may not be available in Manitoba and will be centralized into other provinces throughout the country.But, Mr. Speaker, those decisions that have been made by the federal government have been made unilaterally and made without consultation.I am confident that in the context of the negotiations that have been ongoing just in the recent few months we will be working co‑operatively with the federal government and that should lead to a positive agreement for Manitoba and for Manitobans.

††††††††††† We know for a fact that the numbers of immigrants coming to Manitoba have decreased.Where we used to get from 4 to 5 percent of the yearly immigration intake, we presently are receiving about 2.4 percent.I believe that is a major problem. I know that several provinces have begun discussions with the federal government and some have had discussions ongoing for several years with no positive conclusion to any resulting agreement, but at this point in time Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces, as well as Manitoba, are very actively pursuing this issue and are very serious about developing an agreement.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, it is not an easy issue to come around or to understand.There are many complexities, and those complexities do lead to a series of negotiations that really have to be looked at, a made‑in‑Manitoba response to the solution of not only accepting our humanitarian responsibility for immigrants, for refugees to Manitoba, but also to look at the economic side of immigration.

††††††††††† I have always said that multiculturalism, immigration does mean business, too, and we are very fortunate to have among us in Manitoba a very diverse and very rich multicultural population that contributes in a very positive way to the economy of Manitoba.As people immigrate here and are employed, or create small businesses and employ other people, then indeed we have people that are productive, working, paying taxes, contributing to the economy and contributing to our ability to provide some of the social services that we have here in Manitoba.

††††††††††† There is no doubt in my mind that people do come to Manitoba, to Canada, for a better opportunity, for a better way of life and want to contribute in a very positive way.I can only see that at least achieving our fair share of the proportion of immigrants that come to Canada here in Manitoba can be of positive benefit.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, although I do not agree with the whole intent of the resolution, I do believe that all members of this House would support our government very strongly in working towards an immigration agreement where we in Manitoba have a made‑in‑Manitoba solution, where indeed we have some control over the numbers and kinds of immigrants that come to enhance our Manitoba community and our Manitoba economy.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, I would like to move, seconded by the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer),

††††††††††† THAT Resolution 5 be amended by deleting all words following the first "whereas," especially deleting the reference to Bill C‑78 when indeed it is Bill C‑86 that is the federal immigration act, and replacing them with the following:

††††††††††† WHEREAS immigration has been, and continues to be, fundamental to the future of our country; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS the annual intake of immigrants to Manitoba has been decreasing from a high of 5 percent of Canada's annual intake in the early 1980s to a low of 2.6 percent in 1991; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS Manitoba's ability to manage the levels within the various immigration classes‑‑family, refugee, and independent‑‑has been inhibited by the dramatic fluctuation within classes from year to year; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS this situation has made planning for the settlement and integration of newcomers to Manitoba difficult; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS the current immigration system does not enable Manitoba to achieve the maximum economic benefits which accrue from immigrant; and

††††††††††† WHEREAS Canada and the provinces are currently in a stage of transition regarding immigration and settlement powers, legislation and programs.

††††††††††† THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba actively pursue an immigration agreement with the federal government.

Motion presented.

* (1700)

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to be able to stand up inside the Chamber and be able to add some words with respect to immigration, multiculturalism.It is something that I get ample opportunities outside of the Chamber as the critic for Culture and Heritage, as the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) knows, because we bump into each other every so often and get to hear what we each have to say about different issues that have an impact on Manitobans.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, this particular bill that the federal government has brought forward, Bill C‑86, will have an impact on all Manitobans, if not directly at the very least indirectly.This is the reason why we feel that it is worthy of having some debate inside this Chamber because, as the minister himself alluded to, right now we are in a bit of a tricky position in the sense that we do not have an immigration agreement with the federal government.Other provinces do have an agreement.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, that does cause some concern in the sense that we have the province of Quebec, which has an agreement, which sees them get‑‑well, we use the term "fair share."Many would argue, myself being one, that the province of Quebec is a bit more fortunate than other provinces in the sense that it has been given a bit more than the fair share, that they have been a benefactor of an immigration agreement.We see that in terms of the number of immigrants that the province of Quebec receives.

††††††††††† The minister made reference to the number of immigrants, the per capita in the province of Manitoba, the percentage, if you like, of the immigrants going down in the province of Manitoba. Well, that has not been the case for other provinces.The impact of that is quite dramatic, not only today but for tomorrow, because what will end up happening is, we will see the population, the overall population of the province of Manitoba continue to decline as we go into the next number of years, in fact, into the turn of the century.

††††††††††† I would argue, as the minister had referred to in terms of the hard numbers, that we are not getting our fair share.It is important that we speak as one inside this Chamber, because whatever the political party is that happens to be in Ottawa and governing at the time, you have to emphasize the importance of all provinces being treated equally.We have not been treated equally.In fact, the minister alluded to what I believe was 2.6 percent, when Manitoba makes up a much larger percentage of the overall population of Canada.

††††††††††† That is what causes the concern.This is why I, on behalf of the Liberal caucus, wish the minister well in terms of the negotiations in order to ensure that Manitoba does get our share of immigrants, because immigrants, Mr. Speaker, provide Manitobans the opportunity to be able to grow and to build upon the multicultural mosaic that we currently have.One only needs to attend a number of the different events, as we have as a critic or as a minister or as the minister's assistant, in terms of getting a better appreciation as to the benefits of living in a multicultural society.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, the federal government has to play the leading role when it comes to immigration.I hope that other members in this Chamber, at least I know within my caucus, believe that, but all members of this Chamber, I believe, should recognize the fact that it is the federal government that should be playing the leading role of immigration.

††††††††††† We need the federal government to do that, because we cannot compete with other stronger provinces that have the population base and the larger treasury board to be able to set up little embassies, if you like, throughout the world, that it is in our best interest that the federal government take a very active role in ensuring that all the different regions in Canada are, in fact, getting that fair share.

††††††††††† That means, Mr. Speaker, whether it is an embassy in Hong Kong, whether it is one in New Delhi, the United States, wherever it might be, that the national government is speaking on behalf of all of the different provinces, especially those provinces that do not have, as I say, the treasuries in order to be able to compete.

††††††††††† What type of a role does the provincial government have in playing with immigration other than through these immigration agreements to achieve some sort of a fair share?What other role does the province have to play?Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that ESL, English as a Second Language, is something in which the province does need to play a role in ensuring that the resources are there.

††††††††††† It does not matter who or which group I go out to speak with or to talk to, one of the primary concerns that they have is, how can we compete if we are not given the ability to learn English, to be able to go and compete for the jobs or to be able to talk amongst the different communities?It is not just economic.It is social, the community clubs that are scattered throughout the province.There is a benefit by having an enhanced ESL program in which I would argue, in the long term, would be cost efficient.

††††††††††† Immigration settlement‑‑obviously, the province has to play a role in terms of how and where we can facilitate or maximize a settlement throughout the province, Mr. Speaker.This especially, I would suggest to you, applies in terms of some of the job‑related industries.I look in terms of health care as an example, in terms of northern Manitobans and the demands in northern Manitoba for health care professionals.

††††††††††† It is programs of this nature‑‑I can recall a few years back when my colleague the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema) made reference to a shortage of doctors in rural Manitoba, and why not come up with an internship program that would allow these qualified immigrants the opportunity to use their skills while, at the same time, ensuring that those rural Manitobans are receiving the medical attention that they in fact need.

* (1710)

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, that leads me to another issue in which the provincial government has to play a role primarily because the federal government is not filling that role, and that one of course is of accreditation.People want to be put on equal playing fields.I have had a number of different professions, engineering, accounting, health care, again, in particular with nursing, where we have seen immigrants that have come to Canada and they are washing dishes or driving a taxi or doing that labour‑intensified work primarily because the talents that they brought to Canada are not being recognized for whatever the reason might be.In some cases, it might be those associations that are out there, very powerful associations, that many groups tell me form a type of a barrier, a barrier which is very hard to overcome.

††††††††††† Those are the type of things that government‑‑in particular, I would like to see more of a stronger role from the federal government, but failing that the provincial government should take a stronger stand in ensuring that those fields, those systemic barriers if you will, are in fact being brought down. Hopefully, Mr. Speaker, we will see that.

††††††††††† This resolution deals with a bill that is being passed in Ottawa.Mr. Speaker, we all have, no doubt, opinions on legislation that is in Ottawa and on a wide variety of different issues, but immigration, as I say, is an issue I do a lot of talking on.There are a number of concerns‑‑and hopefully this debate will be forwarded to Ottawa or to the committee members prior to debate so at least they know in terms of what the provincial Chamber is thinking.

††††††††††† There are a number of issues out there that I see that have to be addressed, and hopefully this government or the next federal government, whoever is going to be there, will start acknowledging that there are some problems.I want to point out a couple of those problems.

††††††††††† First is the question of the fee that is charged to would‑be immigrants in order to come to Canada.The fee has been constantly going up to where I believe it is now past $450 just to put in an application to be processed, if you like.This has provided a major disincentive to certain areas more so than other areas of the world.

††††††††††† I think that is unfortunate, that if the argument to have these fees is to ensure that it is cost recovering, that these applications are not going to be costing Canadian taxpayers, if you will. [interjection] Well, if you have to have some sort of a fee, maybe what you should be doing is orienting that fee onto successful applicants, individuals that are successful in coming to Canada.Do not deny individuals the opportunity to put in an application because they cannot afford to put in an application, Mr. Speaker.

††††††††††† If, in fact, they are accepted, you will find that they do not mind having to pay the fee.In fact, you could likely even increase the fee; if, on the other end, for those who have put in the application, that fee is going to be going down.That is an issue that comes up all of the time when I am going out to, especially some of the more immigration waves, whether it is the Polish community or the Filipino community and other communities, that comes up consistently, because this is where, if you take a look at the demographics in the province of Manitoba, we have been receiving a large number of immigrants.

††††††††††† I have been personally able to see the benefits of these immigrants, Mr. Speaker, and the hospitality that has been shown to me.I have seen the entrepreneurs and the talents that they have brought.Let us not discourage individuals from making application to come to Canada.In fact, that is what has been happening.

††††††††††† Another concern that I have is the issue of where we have scattered throughout the world in the different embassies, our resources.How many immigrant processors or immigration officers do we have, let us say, located in Australia or England or the United States?Compare that to some of the other countries like West Indies, the Philippines, Hong Kong, New Delhi.

††††††††††† What I have heard and what the feedback that I have been getting is, that if you want to come, depending on the region of the world that you live in, you could wait up to two and a half, three years, whereas on the other hand, if you are coming from another region, you can wait 60 days, 90 days.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, I believe that, at least in part, the reason for that is because the federal government does not have the resources allocated out in such a fashion that people throughout the world are being treated fairly.I am not convinced that, in fact, the government has been straightforward, and hopefully we will see those changes.

††††††††††† That is why I believe at times it is a positive thing when we see a resolution of this nature, even though it might be somewhat factually inaccurate.But it is important that we discuss issues of this nature, because at the very least for those who are here, they get a better understanding in terms of those individuals that have been going out to the community because of critic responsibilities or ministerial responsibilities, some of the ideas that we have run into.

††††††††††† In that sense, I think it is a positive thing, and hopefully when we see resolutions being debated inside the Chamber‑‑these are the type of resolutions that I believe do have benefit.The amendment that has been put forward from the minister‑‑generally speaking, I do not support resolutions that are self‑congratulatory in nature, but I do want to conclude by wishing the minister responsible, Mr. Speaker, in the best‑‑and in hopes that we can achieve this immigration agreement soon because, as I say, I do not believe that we have been getting fair treatment.

††††††††††† Hopefully, if it means we can enter into an agreement to ensure that we do get better treatment, we will get that agreement soon.Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington): Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak on the whole issue of immigration and the role of the provincial government, the role of the federal government and the amendment that the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism (Mrs. Mitchelson) has put on the floor.

††††††††††† First of all, I would like to say that I am quite disappointed in the minister's original comments that appeared to me to be quite personal in nature in her response to the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) when she first put the resolution forward.I would hope that the debate in this House takes a higher tone than that in the future, Mr. Speaker.

††††††††††† The minister, in her response to the original motion, said that the negotiations with the federal government were going very well, that she hoped to have a conclusion reached soon on the whole issue of immigration and that she hoped that it would be a made‑in‑Manitoba solution.

††††††††††† Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that it cannot truly be a made‑in‑Manitoba solution if the people of Manitoba have not been consulted about the concerns and the issues that are being undertaken in these negotiations with the federal government. That is precisely why we made specific reference in our original motion to public hearings being held in this province.

* (1720)

††††††††††† Immigration, its role in the history of Manitoba, its role in the future of Manitoba, is an enormously important issue and should be discussed with all of the people of Manitoba, not just between the provincial government and the federal government, particularly when we are looking towards a major change in the provision of services and the responsibility and authority around the issue of immigration.

††††††††††† I am very disappointed that the amendment which the minister has put on the table speaks not at all to the issue of public input into this very important set of negotiation.I am disappointed.I am not surprised, because the government of the day appears to use public hearings and "consultation" when it serves their purposes to delay actions on major issues but, where public input would really have a positive response, the government chooses not to take advantage of that.

††††††††††† The minister has talked about the need for Manitoba to receive our fair share of the immigration community. We on this side of the House agree with that.We feel that the immigrant community, throughout the history of Manitoba, has given an enormous positive element to the society that makes up Manitoba. I do not believe anyone in this House is unaware of the role that immigration has played in Manitoba.

††††††††††† Arguably, Manitoba is, if not the province that has been most impacted by immigration, certainly one of the provinces that has been most impacted by the various waves of immigration that have occurred in our province over the last 100 to 125 years, and in all cases a very positive impact that immigration has had on the province of Manitoba.We look forward to continued input from the immigration community.

††††††††††† Our concern here, Mr. Speaker, is not so much that the province is going to try and negotiate less than "our fair share" on a numerical basis, our concern is how the government is negotiating within the categories of immigration.

††††††††††† The minister, in her comments in the media and in her comments in the House today, emphasized very much the economic benefits of immigration to our province.We fear, Mr. Speaker, that these behind‑the‑scenes, one‑on‑one, government‑to‑government negotiations will have the impact of giving the province power without perhaps the requisite degree of responsibility, to ensure that the immigration patterns in this province do not change to the detriment of the refugee population and do not change to the detriment of the family area, of the ability of the province through its immigration policy to unite and reunite families.We are concerned that this is not going to be the case as a result of these negotiations that are ongoing.

††††††††††† The minister stated also that people immigrate here and they want to work.They want to participate in our society, absolutely no question about that, Mr. Speaker, as all members of the province of Manitoba, all citizens of our province want to be productive members of society.However, the question not only in the area of immigration but in the context of the entire province of Manitoba and this government's actions must be:Are there going to be programs and responses and initiatives in place to enable all of the people of Manitoba to work, particularly the immigrant community?

††††††††††† I would suggest that, given the government's response to date, that is not necessarily going to be the case.We have seen a decrease in all the services to enable immigrants to respond to become productive members of our community by this provincial government.We have seen a decrease in the English as a Second Language courses.We have seen decreases in the settlement funding.We have seen decreases in every element that deals with the immigrant community, particularly, Mr. Speaker, as it relates to women and children and the refugee community which, as the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) has stated, is largely made up of women and children.

††††††††††† The services for women and children in this province are nothing to be proud of, and every cut to the social service net, every cut to the education programming in this province, every cut to the health care system in this province, every lack of economic strategy in this province impacts more negatively on the immigrant community than it does on almost any other group in our society with the possible exception of the aboriginal community.

††††††††††† What we are concerned about, Mr. Speaker, is that, if the minister negotiates a bilateral agreement with the federal government, we will see an increase, to the detriment of the immigrant and family classes, of the independent class of immigrant.This will then mean, perhaps, that there will not be the need for settlement services.There will not be the need for English as a Second Language services.There will not need to be the programming necessary currently to assist immigrants to function in our society because the immigration patterns will change.They will change to independent, business‑class immigrants who already have a knowledge of the English language and who do not need those services.

††††††††††† What we would like to see, Mr. Speaker, is a commitment on the part of this provincial government that they will negotiate in good faith with the federal government, that they will negotiate a fair immigration policy that reflects in a fair way all three areas of immigration, which include refugee status, extended family status, as well as the independent economic status.

††††††††††† We have a concern, Mr. Speaker, that this may not happen, particularly in light of the fact that the federal government, in its leaked documents to the press recently, has said that they want to cut foreign aid, which is, of course, something that they have done virtually every year since they have been in power. They want to cut foreign aid to the nations of the world that need it the most and target‑‑another favorite expression of the Progressive Conservative federal and provincial governments‑‑the resources to nations that can provide Canada with the best economic return.

††††††††††† Well, I would suggest that does not bode well if this provincial government is negotiating unilaterally without public hearings, without an understanding of what the province feels is important.If they are negotiating unilaterally with a federal government that has this as their basic underlying rationale for foreign aid, then the immigrant community in this province is potentially in for a nasty shock.

††††††††††† We do not want to see that happen.We want to see the immigration rules and regulations maintain a fair balance.We feel that public hearings in this regard would have enabled the provincial government to understand the people of Manitoba and their concerns on this very important issue.

††††††††††† Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to make a few comments about this resolution as well.

††††††††††† We see a very important resolution brought forward by a member of our caucus who has expressed a great concern about immigration, a very important issue, but the minister has chosen instead to amend the resolution and not take very seriously any of the concerns that have been brought forward by the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli).

††††††††††† All of us, or the majority of us, come from families who have immigrated into this country and have brought very important skills to this country.In fact, all of my descendants are emigrants from another country and have added much, as other families did, to the culture of this country.My descendants came to this country at the turn of the century and faced some very difficult challenges, many different challenges that immigrants today face.

††††††††††† When our ancestors came to this country, my relatives ended up in an area near Dauphin.No services in the‑‑

 

* (1730)

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member will have 13 minutes remaining.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader): I believe, Mr. Speaker, that if you canvassed the House, you would find that there is a will to call it ten o'clock.

Mr. Speaker:Is it the will of the House to call it ten o'clock? [agreed]

††††††††††† The hour being 10 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).

†††††††††††