Monday, March 15, 1993


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Nelia Irvine, John Raposo, Maria Raposo and others, requesting the government of Manitoba take the necessary steps to reform the Pharmacare system to maintain the comprehensiveness and universal nature and to implement the use of a health "smart card."




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

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

       WHEREAS the state of Highway 391 is becoming increasingly unsafe; and

       WHEREAS due to the poor condition of the road there have been numerous accidents; and

       WHEREAS the condition of the road between Thompson and Nelson House is not only making travel dangerous but costly due to frequent damage to vehicles; and

       WHEREAS this road is of vital importance to residents who must use the road.

       WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislature of the Province of Manitoba may be pleased to request that the government of Manitoba consider reviewing the state of Highway 391 with a view towards improving the condition and safety of the road.




Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to table to the House the Detailed Estimates of Expenditure for the Departments of Manitoba Agriculture, Manitoba Family Services and Manitoba Highways and Transportation, and also, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), Supplementary Information for Legislative Review for the Department of Agriculture.

Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Supplementary Estimates for the Department of Highways and Transportation for the year 1993‑94.

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


Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of honourable members to the gallery where we have with us this afternoon, from the Acadia Junior High School, twenty‑four Grade 9 students under the direction of Carla Bates.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Gaudry).  On behalf of all honourable members, I would like to welcome you here this afternoon.

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Manitoba Anti-Poverty Association Funding


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

       We have some difficult choices always in a government budget to be made, but what we have been concerned about throughout the last number of months, in terms of this Conservative budget's agenda, is that people that are most vulnerable and people that require a voice in terms of their vulnerability are the ones that are being sacrificed in terms of the government decision making.

       We have had lots of questions and answers in this Chamber on child poverty and poverty.  The Premier has answered a number of times that he will do everything possible to work co‑operatively to eradicate poverty in our society.  In spite of that commitment, child poverty and poverty itself have risen in Manitoba.  It has gone on the increase, rather than on the decline, something that no one I know in this Chamber is proud about.

       Today, we are absolutely shocked to see in the list of grants the Manitoba Anti-Poverty Organization, a group that is in the grassroots working with some of the most vulnerable people in our society, has had its grant withdrawn from the provincial Conservative government under the stewardship of the Premier.

       Mr. Speaker, this group and all governments from all political stripes do not always agree with what they say, but this group has represented the most vulnerable people, no matter who the government is of the day.

       I would like to ask this Premier how he can justify withdrawing that grant for the groups of people working at the grassroots of poverty in our communities, how they could justify withdrawing that grant for the Manitoba Anti‑Poverty Organization at the same time they are looking at other grants to other organizations, other consultant contracts for health care, et cetera, in the levels of millions of dollars, how they can justify the choices they are making today on behalf of people in Manitoba.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, what this government is doing is something that is being done by governments right across the country, including those of New Democratic stripes.  It is only when in opposition that New Democrats can afford to be irresponsible and make demands that every single grant and every single payment that has ever been made before has to continue.

       The budget of the New Democratic government of Saskatchewan will be out this week, and the member opposite can look at the difficult, difficult choices that are having to be made‑‑[interjection] No, I am not talking about the New Democratic organization knows as Choices, Mr. Speaker, that gimme group that wants to have everything for themselves and their own self‑interest at the expense of the taxpayer.  I am not talking about that.

       I am talking about ensuring that we can protect the vital services that people depend upon.  What we have to do is use every scarce and every hard‑earned tax dollar to the maximum and not pay for organizations that deliver no services to the most vulnerable, to the people who need it.

       To continue to deliver those services, we had to make choices.  Those choices were that we would use the funding for the delivery of services, not everything because it is not possible to deliver and to do everything.

       It is possible for us to protect health care, to protect social safety nets and to protect education in this province, but only by conserving every possible dollar available to us.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to visit that community group, and for the Premier to say that organization does not deliver services means that the Premier has not visited there or, if he did visit there, he does not know what is going on in that organization.

       I saw families with children getting help, getting assistance, getting aid to get back on their feet.  I saw people getting aided in terms of getting economic opportunities.  I saw people that were hungry get sent to places where there were food banks, Mr. Speaker.  So for the Premier to say that this organization does not provide services means the Premier is absolutely out of touch with the reality of the poor people of this province.

       Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Premier today to cancel the $4‑million‑plus contract that his government is entering with American consultants because they did not have a health care plan, cancel that contract and reinstate the funding for the community‑based groups that are providing services to the most vulnerable people in Manitoba.

Mr. Filmon:  There are many organizations that are providing services to people.  The very things that the member said were being provided are being provided by other organizations.  We cannot fund everybody to do the same thing, Mr. Speaker.  The reality is that we have to make these difficult choices.

       I will say to the member opposite that the contract that he has spoken of is not a contract that has been awarded, so I cannot cancel a contract that has not been awarded, Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, a list of between $5‑million and $6‑million grants to groups of people or corporations was in the 1991 budget‑‑up to $7 million.  Now these might be nice grants for training.  They might be nice forgivable programs for the payroll health and post‑secondary tax.  They all may be valid. But, when you put these organizations against Palliser Furniture and a number of others‑‑good organizations that hire people‑‑but when you put those corporations, many of which are having profitable results, when you put that against cutting money for the poorest people and the most vulnerable people, will the Premier take the tough choice and put that money back for the antipoverty organizations, for the poor people in our province, rather than giving it to many of his friends in the corporate community in terms of these grants?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is confused and all over the map.

       The fact of the matter is that consistently they are saying, put more money into educating and training our people in this province.  So what we have done, Mr. Speaker, is say to those organizations that you can in fact get a portion of the cost of training your people based on the investment in training, upgrading and providing skills and knowledge for your people.

       We have done exactly what New Democrats have advocated, and now they are telling us to cancel the training programs for all of those thousands of people who have benefited by it.  It is irresponsible, and it is absolute nonsense, Mr. Speaker.


Aboriginal Self-Government

Government Commitment


Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, this government has a choice in whom it supports.  Once again, it has chosen to cut funding to organizations representing the aboriginal peoples.  The very people working to implement aboriginal self‑government, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the MKO, are both having their funding cut.

       I want to ask the Premier how eliminating funding to these organizations fits in with the government's commitment to aboriginal self‑government.

Hon. James Downey (Minister responsible for Native Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, the member refers to specific grants.  At this particular time, this government has made moves as it relates to the providing of resource‑raising capabilities through the Lotteries program on individual reserves.  It has made moves on taxation of tobacco and gasoline taxes and does in fact provide them now an opportunity to raise money on their own to support their own central political organization if those bands desire to do so.


Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Report



Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Why is the government choosing to cut funding to these organizations when it has not implemented a fraction of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry recommendations?  Has this government‑‑to the AJI recommendations‑‑it is eliminating this funding to the group it is supposed to work with?

Hon. James Downey (Minister responsible for Native Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, this government offered the opportunity for all organizations that he refers to, the Assembly of Chiefs, to sit on a working group to implement some of the recommendations and to pay them a per diem for their participation.  So far they have denied that opportunity which was offered to them.


Aboriginal Friendship Centres Funding


Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, this government is doing the same thing to aboriginal people that the federal government is doing.  How does eliminating funding to every friendship centre in this province, resulting in the loss of 25 jobs or more, match the public commitment by this government to aboriginal people in this province?

Hon. James Downey (Minister responsible for Native Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, again, the member has to be aware of the fact that last year the federal government reduced by some several millions of dollars the funds that are paid to support many of the aboriginal people who are now not living on reserves.  I think it is in the neighbourhood of some $17 million to $20 million that the provincial government had to pick up in responsibility.  To maintain the essential service that the Premier (Mr. Filmon) talked about for those individuals, these tough decisions had to be made.

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Manitoba Foster Family Association Funding


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the minister referred to essential services.  I would like to take the Premier across his own press release issued today, or his government's press release, in which they say:  but we have tried our best to be fair.

       They then go on to say that they want to protect services like education.  The Manitoba association of foster parents deals with the most vulnerable children in our society.  They take children whose own parents have abused them, take them into their care and provide services for them.  They also train those foster parents so that they can deal with those children who are at risk.  I want to know why the Manitoba foster parents' association has had its budget eliminated by this government, a budget that was $373,000.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, the member is starting to take liberties with the truth.  The payments for the care of those children are made directly to the foster parents.  That is where the money comes from.  It does not come from the foster parents' association.  They are an advocacy group.  The funding continues to go through the Department of Family Services directly to the parents for the care and the nurturing of those children.


Manitoba Foster Family Association Funding


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, let me speak directly from the information I was given by the Minister of Family Services last year.  In this information it shows very clearly that the Manitoba Foster Family Association gets $373,400 and then it says these amounts reflect grants only and do not include per diem payments.  This is a payment to this organization to in turn provide the very training that is necessary for foster parents in order to do their job effectively.

       Is this First Minister (Mr. Filmon) suggesting that he wants foster parents to have no training, to have no expertise in dealing with the children who are at risk who are going to be found in their foster parents' homes?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, in the past years the Foster Family Association as part of their budget was responsible for training of foster parents. In the coming year, we are going to call on the agencies, the Child and Family Services agencies, to provide that training to the foster parents.  These are the people who are responsible for recruiting those foster families.  They will now have to use some resources for the training of those parents as well.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Mr. Speaker, these are the very agencies that this government has been cutting year after year.  Where are they going to find new dollars, new money to provide the kind of training that has been provided by this association?  Where are they going to find the expertise that has already been providing that training within these agencies that are already overworked, understaffed and underfinanced?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  The Leader of the Liberal Party has indicated that we have cut funding to agencies and groups that come under the auspices of the Department of Family Services.  I would ask her to look at the Estimates for the last number of years to see the dramatic increases that have taken place in the Department of Family Services.

       The member also criticizes the agencies as not having the resources to do the training.  Well, I have a lot more confidence in those Child and Family Services agencies, that they do have the resources to train those foster parents.  They have that expertise and have been working with the foster families over the last number of years.


Child Care Associations Funding


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Over the last few years, the number of child care spaces has been increasing while the Child Day Care office has remained relatively static in terms of staffing.  At the same time, parents, staff, social workers and even Child and Family Services agency staff have increasingly relied for advice, support and resources on the Manitoba Child Care Association and the Family Day Care Association.  How can the Minister of Family Services justify cutting the grant to MCCA and the Family Day Care Association?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, as the member's Leader said a few minutes ago, there are difficult choices facing government and, I would suggest, all governments across this land, including municipal governments.

       During the 1970s and '80s, we saw tremendous resources coming to government, an expansion of programs throughout Manitoba and other provinces.  As we get into the 1990s we are faced with the declining revenue, and we have to target the revenue that we have for the direct service for the day care centres and day care homes that provide that direct service in the day care area.

       All governments are faced with these difficult choices, and we have made some of those choices that were announced this morning.

Mr. Martindale:  The problem we have is that government is making the wrong choices.


Family Day Care Association



Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Did the minister consult with the board of the Family Day Care Association as to the effect of withdrawing their grant?  Does he realize that by withdrawing their grant, he is putting the Family Day Care Association out of business?  Does he realize that they may be‑‑

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

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  The member has asked if I have met with members of the Family Day Care Association.  The answer is yes.  We met in my office last week, and also with the MCCA at that time.

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Federal Training

Project Status


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Does the Minister of Family Services realize, and did he realize when he met with them, that the decision to eliminate the grant to the Family Day Care Association, that he was putting in jeopardy and probably losing the funding for a training project of federal government dollars of $361,000?  Why would the minister eliminate a $20,000 grant and jeopardize $361,000 in federal funds for a training project?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  There is no line in our department and probably no line in government which has increased as dramatically as the day care line.  We have virtually doubled the amount of funding that we have given to day care over the last four or five budgets, particularly the funding that goes to individual citizens through the funding that we provide for subsidies.

       I met with both the MCCA and the Family Day Care Association last week.  We discussed a number of the difficult choices, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the near future.


Ducks Unlimited Complex

Funding Justification


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, we know that this government only listens to whom and what they want to hear.  That is so clearly reflected in these cuts that I think everyone in Manitoba can clearly see this government's agenda.

       Today the federal court is going to hear an appeal regarding the Ducks Unlimited office complex at Oak Hammock Marsh.  My question is for the Premier.  What principle of sustainable development has guided this government to spend more than a million dollars of taxpayers' money to put concrete and sewage at Oak Hammock Marsh, which is a wildlife protection area?  At the same time, they are cutting organizations that do environmental education, like the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides and the minister's own environment advisory council, to name a few.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, one of the foremost principles of sustainable development is the education of people about the environment, about conservation and about ensuring that we protect our waterfowl population.

       The money that the Province of Manitoba is putting in is directly for ensuring the education of the broadest possible group of the public, and the numbers are expected to increase dramatically as to how many of our school children will go to that centre and become educated as to the need to protect wetland habitat for our waterfowl in this province.  There will be a much greater opportunity for education than ever before in the history of this province.  I hope that the member understands that.

Ms. Cerilli:  Mr. Speaker, I would like the Premier to tell the House, with all the cuts to education, with cuts to the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides, which young people in the province are going to be able to afford to go and visit the Minister of Natural Resources' (Mr. Enns) palace at Oak Hammock Marsh?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I would dare say that almost all of them.  In fact, it has never taken government funding in the past to have parents take their children to the Fort Whyte environmental centre.  Thousands of children go there every year without having the government force their parents to take them, because they are interested in the environment.  They are interested in conservation.  They are interested in protection of our wetlands and educating their children, and they do not have to be paid by government to take their children to these places.

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Ms. Cerilli:  It is interesting to note, Mr. Speaker, that this project at Oak Hammock Marsh is not even in the government's Interlake tourism guide, so that shows you where they are at.

       Can the Premier confirm that a half million more dollars is going to be coming from organizations like Boy Scouts and Girl Guides to pay for more farmland that is going to be used to extend the road and parking lot at Oak Hammock Marsh so that the ministers and their friends can park their cars there?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, every year, millions of dollars of private money are raised by Ducks Unlimited to preserve‑‑[interjection]

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

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, the member for Radisson obviously does not listen.  I answered her last question, that our money is going to ensure that school children and many others in this province will be educated in wetland development and protection, the preservation of our waterfowl and the enhancement of the habitat for our waterfowl.

       Mr. Speaker, the member for Radisson sits there with her empty sloganeering, looking for an issue to try and drum up when‑‑


Point of Order


Ms. Cerilli:  Mr. Speaker, I would just ask, on a point of order, that the minister stick to the facts and answer my questions, please.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  That is a dispute over the facts.

       The honourable First Minister, to finish his response.

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Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I am, despite her attempts to shout me down, sticking to the facts.  The problem is that when the member is confronted with the facts, then she does not know what to say.  I will continue to answer with the facts, no matter how loudly she shouts, no matter how upset she becomes, because she does not have an issue here.

       The fact is that the people of this province want to have their wetlands developed and protected.  The people of this province want to have the enhancement of the waterfowl in this province.  The people of this province want to have more educational opportunities for their children, Mr. Speaker.


Flin Flon/Creighton Crisis Centre Inc. Funding


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of lip service from this government about zero tolerance.  We have also learned in the last week of people getting out of Headingley Correctional Institution having served six days of a 90‑day sentence, for abuse.

       Now we learn today that the Minister of Family Services is going to cut the grant for the Flin Flon/Creighton Crisis Centre Inc., some $90,000.

       Can the Minister of Family Services tell us how he and his government can support zero tolerance and then cut the funding for an organization that helps to promote the safe and secure environment for children and their mothers?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my answer to a previous question, there are many difficult decisions and choices we have to make as we are faced with declining revenue in putting together our budget.

       We are seeing here some rationalization of the services that are offered through the shelter system.  In the Westman area, for instance, we have one shelter in Brandon that covers the entire Westman region.  In the Norman region we have another shelter operating in The Pas.  We have a Flin Flon women's resource centre, as well as a crisis line that they can access.  So while we are aware that these are difficult decisions because of the difficulties we are facing, this is one of the issues that we have to move forward on.

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Mrs. Carstairs:  With the greatest respect, Mr. Speaker, this is not a region that is well represented proportionately by crisis centres.  This is an area of the province that is in desperate need.

       Can the Minister of Family Services tell this House today why it is the only crisis centre in the province that has been cut, that has been eliminated from the face of the Earth in terms of its funding?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Over the last number of budgets we have seen the increased funding and stabilization of all of the shelters in Manitoba.  The Flin Flon/Creighton shelter, which serves the immediate Flin Flon area as well as part of Saskatchewan, is one that has been through some difficult times.  Again, this is one of the difficult choices that we have to make in providing funding for shelters.  Unfortunately, we were in a position to make a decision where we were going to ask this shelter to do without this funding.  At the same time, we are aware of the fact that there is a women's resource centre in Flin Flon to take care of some of the basic needs.


Association for Community Living Funding


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, we have been informed today that women who have been the victims of violence in the Flin Flon area will not get service, that Manitoba foster parents will not get the resources in order to help their membership achieve what is necessary for the children in their care, and we have been told that the association which represents vulnerable adults and children who are mentally handicapped will have their funding cut as well.

       Can the Minister of Family Services tell this House today how the cut to the Association for Community Living and this so‑called plan of community service jive?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, the member is asking about the grant for the Manitoba Association for Community Living.  This is an umbrella organization.  The service delivery is provided by the 26 local ACL organizations within the province and they will continue to provide that service.


Flin Flon/Creighton Crisis Centre Inc. Funding


Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, we have seen on many occasions how ill informed this government is when it comes to issues in rural and northern Manitoba.  I will acknowledge the question from the Leader of the second opposition party when it comes to services in northern Manitoba.

       I do not know how the First Minister (Mr. Filmon) can stand in his place and talk about protecting vital services when he knows that his Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) has just cut the funding for a crisis centre in a community where there are limited services at best and now no services for families and children who are being abused in a community that is undergoing its own trying times.

       Mr. Speaker, I want the First Minister to tell this House: What is a vital service if it is not protecting the children and the families and the women who are victims of abuse in communities like Flin Flon and Creighton?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in a previous answer, clients will have access for service through the shelter that exists in The Pas that we will be continuing the funding with.

Mr. Storie:  Mr. Speaker, that is ridiculous.

       Women in crisis need a place they can go to right now.  They need to protect their families and themselves.  They do not have access to vehicles necessarily.  Mr. Speaker, this is a kind of cruel, thoughtless and careless cut that northerners should not have to put up with.

Mr. Speaker:  Question, please.

Mr. Storie:  My question is to the First Minister.  How is this protecting vital services?  How is this cut protecting vital services?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, I know that the member for Flin Flon will acknowledge that we do not have shelters in each and every community, that we have to have shelters that are in various centres where individuals, where women and families in those areas can access those shelters.

       I indicated before, the entire Westman area is serviced by a shelter out of the Brandon area.  Similarly, in Winnipeg, the entire city of Winnipeg is served by the Osborne House shelter. In the Norman region, there are services for women and children, and they will access that service through the shelter at The Pas.


Flin Flon, Manitoba

Social Service Cutbacks


Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, you will forgive me if I am paranoid, but the services have also been cut.  Funding has been cut to the Flin Flon Friendship Centre, the Lynn Lake Friendship Centre and the Association for Community Living, which operates a group home in Flin Flon.

       My question is:  Where are the people in crisis, the families in crisis, the children in crisis supposed to go in Flin Flon and the surrounding area after these cuts?  Are they supposed to come to your office?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, the member is aware that there are regional offices located through the North which provide a lot of the services that the member is referencing.  Specifically with the shelter, I have indicated that the services will be accessed through the shelter at The Pas.


Manitoba Intercultural Council Funding


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, we have been talking in the House today about the cuts that have taken place to many of the vital services to the most vulnerable people in our province.

       I have a question to the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism that deals not only with a cut but with a process.

       Mr. Speaker, the Blair Report on the future of the Manitoba Intercultural Council recommended either the abolition of MIC through legislation or amending Manitoba Intercultural Council.

       Can the minister today tell this House why, through a cut in the budget she has eliminated, not through legislation and not through community hearings, the entire Manitoba Intercultural Council?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for Multiculturalism):  Mr. Speaker, I do not accept any of the preamble of the question that was just posed, because the Manitoba Intercultural Council can and will survive if in fact the community deems that it is the organization that should speak on their behalf.

       We commissioned the Blair Report, and we do know that the Manitoba Intercultural Council has a surplus of over $100,000 that they will be able to utilize while they are going through their restructuring program and becoming completely community based.  They have every opportunity to set up an extremely viable organization that will, in fact, serve members of the multicultural community.


Multicultural Organizations

Funding Justification


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, can the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism explain to the people of Manitoba, particularly the multicultural community, why, given the current budget cutbacks to MIC, the only government money going to multicultural umbrella organizations is to organizations who are completely staffed by political, not community appointees?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister responsible for Multiculturalism):  Mr. Speaker, I totally reject the preamble in the second question which in fact is not supposed to have a preamble.

       We fund through government support to the Manitoba Multicultural Resources Centre, to the Folk Arts Council of Winnipeg, to many other umbrella organizations, and we provide special project grants to many ethnocultural organizations, Mr. Speaker, to carry out their functions.  I would question whether she believes that all of those umbrella organizations are‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Ms. Barrett:  Mr. Speaker, I will ask the question again.  Maybe, I will rephrase it so that it will be clearer.

       Can the minister explain why, given the fact that there were government staff people staffing the Manitoba Intercultural Council through Civil Service appointees, the regular process, why those monies have been cut and the only people who are funded directly to provide information or some assistance to the minister and the community are from the Multiculturalism Secretariat and the Multicultural Grants Advisory Council, all of whom are political‑‑

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

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Speaker, I have heard both opposition parties many, many times in this House tell this government that government should not have any control over the hiring of the staff of the Manitoba Intercultural Council.  I can read quotes from Hansard that have indicated that there should be no control by government.  We accepted‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mrs. Mitchelson:  Mr. Speaker, both opposition parties, as I have indicated, have many times in this House indicated there should be no government control over the Manitoba Intercultural Council.  Indeed, we have handed the Manitoba Intercultural Council over to the community, and they can determine the kind of structure, the type of staff they would like to hire and their role and mandate.

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Committee on Unplanned Pregnancy Funding


Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (St. Johns):  Mr. Speaker, this government talks about fairness for all but chooses to target the poor, unemployed and vulnerable with a kick in the teeth.  This government also talks about prevention, preventing ill health and social problems.  Today, it has killed one of the most successful programs in the area of vulnerable young people and unwanted pregnancies.

       How can this government justify eliminating total funding for the Committee on Unplanned Pregnancy which has been recognized nationally and has played a critical role in encouraging young people to be realistic about their lifestyle choices and to take responsibility for their actions?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend poses a very important question, and if that source of information was the sole source of information for children, students, the youth across Manitoba to assist in avoidance of pregnancy, then I would be subject to significant criticism.

       But that organization has been one of several groups that have provided those kinds of services, part of an available program throughout many ministries, mine not being the exclusive one, not to mention the least of which is that most, if not all, school divisions offer some direct support to students in the classroom, Sir.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  How can the minister justify that kind of argument when, in fact, it is the schools that rely on the materials produced by the Committee on Unplanned Pregnancy?  Who will fill the gap for an organization that has put out leaflets entitled Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself, or provides information to parents and has tips on talking with your kids about sex?

Mr. Orchard:  There are a number of opportunities in which that kind of supportive material can and will continue to be available.  For instance, my ministry has a certain provision of information and role to fill there.

       I would say in this very, very important area that many of our churches and the organizations involving churches across Manitoba will likewise be part of information providing guiding, counselling in an effort to assist youth in making appropriate choices to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis:  How can the minister make that kind of case today when, in fact, reports show, particularly the federal report on sexuality, that media campaigns in terms of sexuality and family planning are the most successful way for getting through to young people?  How can he justify cutting the only program in Manitoba that provides that kind of campaign?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend makes a quantum leap in faith that because one organization receives less funding that the whole initiative of education, promotion, et cetera, will be absent and will not be available to students, to youth across the province.

       That assumes that the only time there is anything good happening in society is if government provides a grant to make it happen.  That is possibly the way my honourable friend grew up and currently believes, but there are many other organizations, there are many other groups, there are many volunteer organizations.  There are many groups that will fill the void, the gap, the opportunity to help youth in making appropriate choices.


Aboriginal Friendship Centres Funding


Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk):  Friendship centres in this province provide educational, social, athletic and cultural services to native and non‑native Manitobans.

       My question to the Premier (Mr. Filmon) is:  How does he justify this blatant attack on aboriginal and Metis people in this province?

Hon. James Downey (Minister responsible for Native Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I disagree totally with the question and the preamble of the member for Selkirk.

       When one looks at the track record of the supports and the work that this government has done with the aboriginal community, whether it is Northern Flood, whether it is the provision of funding through the Lotteries program, as it relates to north central hydro providing electricity that he and his constituents have taken for granted for many years‑‑it is finally on the path to completion.

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


Speaker's Ruling


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

       On March 9, 1993, the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), the official opposition party House leader, raised a point of order questioning whether unanimous consent or leave was required by a member, in this case the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman), to pose questions to a minister, in this case the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey).  After the minister had concluded her remarks at second reading of Bill 16, The Public Schools Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les ecoles publiques, the Deputy Speaker took the matter under advisement.

       In making his point of order, the opposition House leader argued that leave was not required for a member to ask questions of a minister at second reading.  The government House leader claimed that while ministers in the past had accepted questions, they had done so "in essence granting leave" and that it was "fully within the purview of the minister to grant leave or to accept a question."

       In my time as Speaker, I recall that there have been instances where ministers have accepted questions after concluding their remarks at second reading.  However, I am not convinced that this is a long‑standing practice or tradition of this House.

       I also note that in the case of this particular point of order, the honourable member for Dauphin had at the outset requested leave to pose a question.  Therefore, in my opinion, the point of order was not over whether leave was required to ask questions; it was over the fact that the minister chose not to accept the questions.

       Our Rule 46 states that no member may speak twice to a question.  The rule is based on wide‑held parliamentary practice throughout the Commonwealth.  Therefore, in order for a member to participate twice in a debate, in this case once to ask questions of a member and later to participate in debate of the bill, leave would be required for the member to do so.  This, however, assumes that the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman), as opposition critic for Education, will be speaking later in debate on Bill 16.

       In conclusion, then, I do not believe a member has, in essence, a right to pose questions to a minister at the conclusion of a minister's speech at second reading, and I am ruling that the honourable member for Dauphin would have required leave of the House to do so on March 9, 1993.

       Having said that, I fail to see what harm there would have been in granting leave to the member for Dauphin to ask the questions.  The minister could have taken them under advisement if she did not wish to answer the questions at that time.  This sort of incident does nothing to improve the harmonious workings of this House, and I encourage members to make every effort to expedite business by a more liberal use of courtesy and consideration.




Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call the government motion dealing with the introduction of Estimates?


Point of Order


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, we cannot take lightly any decision to ignore the established practices of this House.  This motion would serve to create a precedent, a very dangerous precedent.

       I stand on this point of order with the following arguments. The motion, as it reads, would have the Legislature act in a way in which, as the motion itself admits, is contrary to the established practices of this House.  In any instance where we, as a Legislature, propose to change the rules and practices by which we are governed, we must seriously reflect on what we propose to do and the impact it will have on the future deliberations.

       As Erskine May 21st edition, page 2, defines it, parliamentary "practice is that part of procedure which developed spontaneously in the course of the transaction of business in each House.  The authority for many of the old‑established forms and rules of practice is unrecorded.  Some of them were no doubt invented in Parliament itself, but others have been traced to analogies in medieval courts of law and in the councils of the Church."

       Mr. Speaker, as parliament matured, some of the practices were confided into what has now become a standing orders. However, a large part of the tradition of parliamentary practice has remained unwritten.

* (1420)

       I quote from Erskine May, which reads on page 1:  "Many Parliamentary procedures originated in the period when the Commons, at least, regarded themselves as in opposition to the Crown and devised ways of checking and controlling the actions of Ministers.  Today, by contrast, the Crown's Ministers are entitled to assume that they enjoy the general support of a majority of the House of Commons, and the purpose of many of the rules is to safeguard the rights of a minority of the House; to guard against the development of an 'elective dictatorship' which some have predicted."

       Mr. Speaker, the democratic process is such that we are, as members of the legislative body, bound to safeguard the interests of the people.  The protection of minority rights is fundamental to our democratic system.  The purpose of the rules and of these practices is to safeguard these rights of the minority.  These practices evolved over time.  They were designed to aid government in carrying out its duties and to also ensure fair debate.  We cannot ignore them, without first seriously considering their impact.

       Again, I would quote from Erskine May, pages 2 and 3:  "The principle common characteristic of rules of practice was to provide ample opportunity for debate and for initiative in choosing subjects for debate, and ample safeguards against business being taken without due notice so that decisions could not be reached without opportunities for full consideration being given."

       Mr. Speaker, this is in fact where the government is taking a very dangerous precedent here.  This motion will not allow for due consideration of the Estimates as a whole, as it deals with the two departments in isolation from the rest.  That is why it is important that we consider the propriety of this motion very carefully.

       It would be irresponsible of us to pass a motion such as this without serious consideration of the implications that it will have.  It is a very dangerous precedent that we are dealing with here.  Although, it is the prerogative of the government to formulate financial policy, it is the duty of this House as a whole to assure that the financial procedures are followed.  It is also the duty of this House as the whole to approve, at least in principle, public expenditure.

       The role of government in terms of financial controls is twofold and, again, I would go to Erskine May on page 684:  "The financial control of the House of Commons is exercised at two different levels.  As an agent in the formation of policy, it authorizes the several objects of expenditure and the sums to be spent on each; it also authorizes the levying of taxes.  On the level of administration, it satisfies itself that its expenditures, decisions are duly carried out‑‑in other words, that the sums it has granted, and no more, are spent for the purposes for which they were granted, and for no other purposes. For both sets of functions the House of Commons has, partly through its own procedure, and partly through legislation and administrative practice, secured appropriate machinery."

       The practices regarding the introducing and tabling and consideration of Estimates are well established.  They were developed over time to allow for the fullest opportunity for debate and to ensure that the rights of the minority were protected.  As Erskine May states on pages 692, 693:  "The rules of financial procedure, whether based on practice or upon the standing orders, are strictly observed by the House of Commons; and any disregard of them would now only be due to misunderstanding of their applicability in a particular case, or to inadvertence."

       Never has it been so important that we fulfill our responsibility to Manitobans, Mr. Speaker.  It would be irresponsible on the part of this House and on the part of government if we took lightly our role in overseeing the spending of taxpayers' money.  It is expected that this government's budget will introduce serious changes in the funding of many of its major programs.  The budget will have a serious impact on many of the fundamental institutions.

       To that end, we as the Legislature need to view all of the Main Estimates in order to make the informed decisions that are necessary, Mr. Speaker.  It is incredible that we are being asked to believe that the system of communication is so terrible between the minister and his colleagues in Ottawa that he had no knowledge of these serious cuts which were being made in the provincial transfer payments.  Nonetheless, to examine these two departments in isolation of the main body of the Estimates would be irresponsible.  It would also be dangerously precedent setting, and it would set a precedent that we could not accept.

       It is the duty of the government to formulate financial policy.  It is the duty of the opposition to ensure that the rules and practices of the House are being followed and that the government is held accountable.  It is the duty of the whole House to consider and approve the public spending.

       Mr. Speaker, the Speaker's role and, again, what I want to emphasize is something from Erskine May on pages 1 and 2 in dealing with the Speaker's role and the role that you have in the Chamber:  "Above all, the balance between the right of Governments to obtain their business and the right of the House as a whole to examine it, and to require the opportunity to amend it and propose alternatives before ultimately approving it, is maintained through the discretionary powers given to the Speaker.  By calling to its Chair a member who thereupon permanently distances himself from his former political background, the House of Commons has evolved a method of entrusting to a colleague the oversight of 'fair play'.  This has enabled the Speaker to be given power to select which amendments will be debated; to decide whether or not he will allow the Closure of Debate, or a dilatory motion to be moved and from day to day to decide which members should be called into debate so as to provide representative expression of the House's opinions. Such authority which is also reflective in powers and conduct of the chairman of committees is the principal defence against the arbitrary use of the executive majority position."

       I say to the Premier (Mr. Filmon), Mr. Speaker, he should read‑‑this is actually a quote that is definitely relevant.  It is imperative that the Premier know what he is actually asking his government House leader to do.  It is unprecedented.  It has to be acted upon.  You cannot justify doing this.

       Mr. Speaker, having said that, I would ask that we recess, you give the point of order some consideration, and then we come back to hear your decision on it.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, I admire your tolerance.

       Mr. Speaker, what the member is trying to do now, under the guise of a point of order, like you rightly pointed out on Friday last‑‑that is really what he should have used.  He is reflecting totally on the decision you made on Friday.

       You ruled on this issue.  You ruled on this issue in its entirety on Friday, and I say to you, I am not going to prolong my statement again with respect to you and your office.  Sir, you have ruled.  You heard the representations made by all three parties.  The members of the Liberal Party challenged your ruling.  They had an opportunity to vote against that ruling. They have done so.

       I find it absolutely unacceptable that today, Monday, the next business day of this House, that they would rise in their place and again attempt to challenge your ruling.

       Mr. Speaker, nowhere in my reading have I seen a rule requiring the tabling of the entire Estimates package‑‑nowhere. That is what is at issue here.  I say also, if one wants to look at Beauchesne 318(3).  It says:  "One cannot rise on a point of order to deter or impede the progress of one's own motion . . . ."

       The member moved a motion on Friday that was spoken to, ruled out of order and voted on.  His issue has been dealt with.  I call upon you, as the government has asked, Mr. Speaker, given the business of the House, to let the motion, dealing with respect to the introduction of what members opposite call the unprecedented motion dealing with Estimates, come forward at this time.

* (1430)

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to deal on this point of order with a question of whether this is a legitimate point of order in the context raised by the government House leader.

       With all due respect, I reject the argument made by the government House leader, because in fact in your ruling on Friday on the matter of privilege you specifically pointed out and quoted Maingot from page 190:  "A breach of the Standing Orders or a failure to follow an established practice would invoke a 'point of order' rather than a 'question of privilege'."

       Mr. Speaker, whether or not the government House leader agrees with the proposed point of order in this case, to my mind it is legitimate and in fact follows from your ruling on Friday in which you indicated there was no prima‑facie case of privilege on the matter raised by the Liberal House leader.  So indeed we are dealing with a question of order in this particular case.

       The Liberal House leader is correct in that our parliamentary procedures are a combination of established practices which go back to the Mother of Parliaments, the House of Commons in Britain and also include many changes over the years which have been codified in Beauchesne, in particular in Canada, Mr. Speaker, and in the form of standing orders in the House of Commons and, in our case, in terms of our House rules.

       I would like to point out that the principle of amending the order for discussion of Estimates is not clear in our rules.  I think there is clear precedent for separation of Estimates and budgets.  That, I do not think, can be disputed, but there is not clearly a consideration in the rules in the current circumstances of the particular type of motion moved by the government House leader.

       Mr. Speaker, I would point out that there are a couple of principles that are established in terms of dealing with Estimates.  One is a prescribed order that is established by the government House leader and the opposition House leader.  I consider it unfortunate in this particular case that there was an inability to achieve consensus on the matter of proceeding from the Liberal House leader, but that indeed is his option, although consensus is not required under our rules.

       I would point out that one other fact that is in our rules is a clear indication that changes to sequence, Mr. Speaker, can be made in this House either by unanimous consent or by a substantive motion with a required notice given.  Now some might argue that we do not have the prescribed order at this particular point in time.  That may be a matter for a separate ruling as to whether announcing two particular departments would activate our rules.  By the way, I am quoting specifically from our rules page 42 (6.3) which does indicate that changes can be made by a required notice.

       I would suspect that as is the case with the rest of our rules, Mr. Speaker, where we often run into problems, some cases with contradictions in our rules and other cases with circumstances, such as in this particular case, not considered, I think the principle is clearly established for the establishment of the order.  I can indicate that the two departments that are specifically referenced in this motion from the government represent a consensus both of the government and the official opposition.  I can also indicate that I would anticipate that within the next 24 hours, perhaps 48 hours, I would hope, there would be an agreement by both parties, following the normal process and hopefully with consultation with the Liberals, of a complete schedule.  But, I think the principle is clearly established of amending the order by motion.

       I do want to indicate that we are prepared to support discussion of Estimates in terms of the Department of Highways and Transportation.  We are not, Mr. Speaker, prepared to discuss the Department of Family Services, because we did not receive any detailed information until just a very short time ago.  So I want to indicate that qualification, and I would hope that the government House leader would accept that if we do proceed with this particular motion, it would essentially be Highways and Transportation and then perhaps at another sitting, our normal sitting on Wednesday or perhaps some other date through negotiation, we might get into Family Services.

       Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the Liberal House leader, while it is legitimate for him to be raising this matter as a point of order, I would suggest we have a very clearly established set of rules that are not particularly clear on the particular circumstance of this case but make it very clear on the rights of the official opposition and government to set the order for Estimates and to be able to amend that by motion, and essentially that is the type of principle that is involved in this particular motion.  So with all due respect, I believe the member does not have a point of order, and we should proceed with the motion which is indeed debatable.

       I am sure the Liberal House leader can also make those points on that, perhaps his third try, in terms of raising it the appropriate way.  Thank you.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  On the point of order raised by the honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), and I am quoting from Hansard of Friday, I should also point out to the House that this is a matter concerning the methods by which the House proceeds in the conduct of its business, and therefore I ruled that would not be privileged but the member could deal with it on a point of order, which the honourable member has indeed attempted to do here this afternoon.

       I also quote from my ruling on Friday:  "As Maingot points out, on page 190:  'A breach of the Standing Orders or a failure to follow an established practice would invoke a 'point of order' rather than a 'question of privilege'.'

       "Furthermore, there are several, several precedents of similar occurrences in the Canadian House, . . . .  Clearly, then, both the authorities and our practices allow for standing orders to be suspended or amended by motion on notice."

       If memory serves me correctly, I believe this was on notice on Wednesday.  The honourable government House leader attempted to deal with it on Friday, at which time I ruled the honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), his motion, as a matter of privilege, was out of order.  Therefore, I believe, today I am ruling that the honourable member for Inkster does not have a point of order.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, with respect, I challenge your ruling.

Mr. Speaker:  The ruling of the Chair having been challenged, the question before the House is, shall the ruling of the Chair be sustained?  All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

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

* (1440)

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is, shall the ruling of the Chair be sustained?

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


       Ashton, Barrett, Cerilli, Chomiak, Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Dewar, Doer, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst, Filmon, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Hickes, Lathlin, Laurendeau, McAlpine, McCrae, McIntosh, Maloway, Manness, Martindale, Mitchelson, Neufeld, Orchard, Pallister, Penner, Plohman, Praznik, Reid, Reimer, Render, Santos, Stefanson, Storie, Sveinson, Vodrey, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.


       Alcock, Carstairs, Cheema, Edwards, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 43, Nays 7.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness).

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  I move, seconded by the Minister of Highways (Mr. Driedger), that debate be adjourned.

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable Minister of Environment has attempted to adjourn debate, but I must remind the honourable minister that it has not been moved, seconded by anybody at this point in time.

* (1540)


Point of Order


Mr. Manness:  I apologize, Mr. Speaker.  On a point of order, I moved and seconded the motion duly on Friday.  It was moved and seconded.

       The House leader of the Liberal Party stood on a matter of privilege, but that motion was moved and seconded.  Now whether or not you accepted it or not, I will let you decide, but it was certainly duly moved and seconded on Friday.

* * *

Mr. Ashton:  Mr. Speaker, rather than go through this series of different maneuvering back and forth, I would suggest perhaps that the House leaders sit down and try and deal with this matter in terms of Estimates.  Perhaps the government House leader may wish to call some other business and give us an opportunity to try and deal with this matter rather than bringing these various spiralling levels of disputes into the House.


Point of Order


Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, if I may be of some assistance.  I understand that the government House leader did introduce the motion on Friday, but because the motion was not read back into the record from yourself, it was in fact not tabled.  Again, according to the rules, the government House leader has to reintroduce the motion, and then after he reintroduces the motion and you read it back in, then it is open to debate.

       At that point in time I would love the opportunity to be able to debate that particular motion.  So if the minister does not have the motion on his table, I would be more than happy to recess for a few minutes so that he can get his act in order.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  I do not believe the honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) rose on a point of order, but the honourable member's recommendations as to House business, I will leave that with House leaders.

       On the point of order raised by the honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), indeed the motion was put to the House by the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), seconded by the honourable Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings).

       As indeed it indicates on the Order Paper, it is not standing in anybody's name; therefore, the House is still in possession with it.  At this time I will now read off the motion.

       It has been moved by the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), seconded by the honourable Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings),

       THAT notwithstanding Rules 65(6.1) and (6.2) and the established practices of this House respecting the introduction and referral of the government's expenditure Estimates, the Estimates of the Department of Highways and Transportation shall be tabled, referred to the Committee of Supply and considered by the section of that committee meeting in the Assembly Chamber; and that the Estimates of the Department of Family Services shall be tabled, referred to the Committee of Supply and considered by the section of that committee meeting outside the Assembly Chamber prior to the tabling and referral to the Committee of Supply of the Main Estimates book containing the expenditure Estimates of all government departments.

Mr. Cummings:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), that debate be adjourned.

Motion presented.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker:  Okay, we will put the question to the House first. Order, please.  It has been moved by the honourable Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings), seconded by the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation, that debate be adjourned.  Agreed?

Some Honourable Members:  No.


Point of Order


Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  For clarification, the honourable member for Inkster.

Mr. Lamoureux:  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

       I would ask yours and the Clerk's guidance as to when I can actually stand up, the earliest possible moment, to speak on this motion.  I was informed from the Clerk's Office that it is in fact a debatable motion.  I am prepared to debate the motion as of right now if the government is in fact to listen to the debate.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  On that point of order raised by the honourable member for Inkster I have asked, shall debate be adjourned?  There are some dissenting voices.  Now I will put the question to the House.  I will put the question to the House.

       The question before the House is, shall debate be adjourned? All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I call for Yeas and Nays.

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

* (1550)

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  The question before the House is, shall debate be adjourned?

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


       Ashton, Barrett, Cerilli, Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Dewar, Doer, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst, Evans (Brandon East), Filmon, Findlay, Friesen, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Hickes, Lathlin, Laurendeau, Manness, Martindale, McAlpine, McCrae, McIntosh, Mitchelson, Neufeld, Orchard, Pallister, Penner, Praznik, Reid, Reimer, Render, Santos, Stefanson, Storie, Sveinson, Vodrey, Wasylycia‑Leis, Wowchuk.


       Alcock, Carstairs, Cheema, Edwards, Gaudry, Gray, Lamoureux.

Mr. Clerk:  Yeas 43, Nays 7.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, would you call it five o'clock?

Mr. Speaker:  Is it the will of the House to call it five o'clock?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  Leave has been denied.

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable government House leader, what are your intentions, sir?

* (1650)

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, would you call the bills in the order as shown on the Order Paper, Debate on Second Readings?




Bill 2‑The Endangered Species Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), Bill 2, The Endangered Species Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les especes en voie de disparition, standing in the name of the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, I think before I begin talking about the specifics of the bill, I should perhaps make a comment about the tactics that have been used in the Chamber for the last several hours.

       Natural history has shown that those groups and individuals who stick their head in the sand the longest tend not to survive and so perhaps this Endangered Species Act is referring to my colleagues on my left.  I do not understand what games the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) thinks he is playing here, but I think someone tried to explain to him once that the fact of the matter is that if we do not begin the Estimates debate now, we will have to begin it later and the amount of time we are going to consume is the same amount of time whether we start now or later.

       The member may be disappointed because he is not getting his opportunity to filibuster on some meaningless Liberal motion, but the fact of the matter is there are some other things that we should be debating.  This act is one of those things, and I was getting to that very point.

       Mr. Speaker, this is one of those acts where I think most members on both sides of the House, including my colleagues from the Liberal Party, are likely to agree.  I was perhaps inadvertently making light of the Liberal position on some of the procedural issues that have‑‑I was going to say, plagued the House, but I will not use that word‑‑but the fact of the matter is that the agenda, unfortunately, at this point for the Legislature, is to put it mildly, light.  I think that reflects badly on all of us, and I think it reflects particularly badly on the government, who have had many months to put together an agenda that would have been substantive and attempted to deal with some of the issues that face Manitobans.

       The relatively minor amendments that are a part of The Endangered Species Act, while they may be important and they may be significant in terms of this act, I do not think they represent, Mr. Speaker, the real issues that confront most Manitobans.  The announcement by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) earlier today about cuts to agencies that provide vital social services is an example of the kind of thing that we need to be addressing in this session.  Instead, we are making some minor amendments to The Endangered Species Amendment Act, an act which everyone in this Chamber knows was first introduced by the New Democratic Party government back in 1988 and subsequently introduced and passed in subsequent sessions under the stewardship of this government and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns).

       Mr. Speaker, the amendments here are, I think, supported by many groups in the province, particularly those involved with the preservation of wildlife.  However, there are a number of groups that I think have legitimate concerns generally with the government's, I guess, stated position on the protection of endangered species in the province and on their action.  It is not always easy to see any consistency between the government's stated intentions and their actions.  We have seen many examples of that in the past several months, and those issues have been referenced in the Chamber on many, many occasions.

       Mr. Speaker, I wanted to say to begin with that over the past several months I, like probably a lot of members, have been reading and following the debates that are emanating from just south of us, the environmental debate, I think, is heating up across North America.  I think the election of the Clinton administration and the election of a vice‑president of the United States who is as environmentally aware and has, I think, an environmental conscience is going to create an interesting dichotomy between our two countries.  We are going to see a government, I hope, in the United States that displays not only the rhetoric of a concerned government about the environment but some action.

       Mr. Speaker, we on this side, while we support I guess the government's intention, are not at all supportive of the government's actions when it comes to environmental protection. I referenced in my remarks earlier the fact that the government has done some damage to the fabric, the network of social services that are available in communities like Flin Flon.  At the same time, in the same announcement, we saw cuts in funding to the Manitoba Environmental Council, a group which would have, if the government would have wanted, provided support and advice to the government on issues like Bill 2, The Endangered Species Amendment Act.

       Mr. Speaker, we cannot do without the expertise of people like those who are representatives on the Manitoba Environmental Council.  We need those kinds of people.  We need that kind of expertise if we are going to balance the interests of other groups like Ducks Unlimited or any other group when it comes to not only protecting endangered species, but protecting our natural habitat, protecting our game and protecting our natural resources.

       So there are a lot of us who sit here and look at this piece of legislation with some mixed emotions, because it is not clear at all that the government has any internal agenda in terms of conservation, in terms of environmental protection nor in terms of the protection of endangered species.  It is not clear at all that the government is not using focus groups to test its environmental message, rather than doing something that is substantive, principled and that has been vetted in one way or another through the many groups which are interested in environmental protection, which are interested in the preservation of species of wildlife, of flora and fauna in the province of Manitoba.

       Mr. Speaker, that is something that we need to know from the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns).  It is not clear how thoroughly the Minister of Natural Resources consulted with the various interest groups across the province which may be interested in the government's amendments, in the implications of those amendments and the need for those amendments at this time.

       The government often, in its remarks, whether it is the throne speech or public remarks of the front bench, talks about the consultation the government is doing.  Well, this is one of those areas where, even though it is a fairly minor bill that deals with a couple of issues, it is not at all clear from the minister's remarks in second reading that this bill has received the kind of review, discussion and consultation that perhaps is warranted.

       I would hazard to guess that if the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) were to take this legislation and sit down and talk to Eco‑Network or the Environmental Council or any of the other myriad of environmental groups who have organized across the province, he would find that they have a list of concerns about the actions of this government that he himself as a Minister of Natural Resources should be aware of.

       We sometimes and ministers sometimes get caught up in their own administrative work when it comes to bills like this and forget that the environmental issues are not simply the purview of the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings), that they cross over virtually every department.  This is also true, I suppose, of some aspects of The Endangered Species Act, Mr. Speaker.

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       The fact is that the Minister of Environment‑‑the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) is perhaps a good example of having a conflicting interest in this particular legislation, the right to set aside preserves, the right to set aside‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie) will have 31 minutes remaining.

       The hour being 5 p.m., time for Private Members' Business.


House Business


Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, before we go into private members' hour, I would like to rise on House business.

       The Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources will meet on Tuesday, March 16, tomorrow, at 7:30 p.m. to continue to consider the 1992 Annual Report of the Manitoba Hydro‑Electric Board.

       Also, the Standing Committee on Economic Development will meet on Thursday, March 18, 1993, at 8 p.m. to consider the 1992 Annual Report of A.E. McKenzie Seeds.

Mr. Speaker:  I would like to thank the honourable government House leader for that information.






Res. 6‑Confronting Elder Abuse


Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Leader of the Second Opposition (Mrs. Carstairs),

       WHEREAS many seniors in Manitoba are victims of physical, financial and psychological abuse; and

       WHEREAS the majority of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members or friends of the victim, thereby making seniors reluctant to report their abusers to authorities; and

       WHEREAS abused elders must often leave a domestic situation and therefore require shelter which accommodates their particular needs; and

       WHEREAS abused women seniors are sometimes placed in women's shelters, which are not adequately equipped to care for the particular needs of the elderly; and

       WHEREAS seniors are often faced with mobility, hearing and sight impairments which present special accommodation difficulties which are not addressed in existing facilities; and

       WHEREAS the Elder Abuse Resource Centre, a demonstration project funded by federal and provincial governments, is not guaranteed funding beyond the three‑year life of the project which ends in 1993; and

       WHEREAS the Seniors Directorate has not received significant funding or responsibilities; and

       WHEREAS Manitoba seniors have been profoundly disappointed by the government's failure to act on issues of prime concern to them; and

       WHEREAS seniors are a vital part of the Manitoba community and expect and deserve a serious commitment by the government of Manitoba to meeting their legitimate needs.

       THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba urge the government to consider urgently ways to better meet the need for safe houses for abused elders; and

       BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Assembly urge the government to reflect the seriousness with which Manitobans regard the problem of elder abuse by considering support of the Elder Abuse Resource Centre beyond its three‑year deadline.

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to putting the question back to the House, I would like to remind the honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) that in his opening remarks, he has indicated that‑‑seconded by the honourable member for River Heights‑‑we do not respond to the member by name.

Motion presented.

Mr. Gaudry:  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on this resolution.  The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) just mentioned it was a good resolution, but I have to say, one day last week, I was sitting in my office downstairs, and I was told to rush to the Chamber to come and speak on my resolution, because they were trying to hijack it to the end of the list.  So it shows their hypocrisy in regard to the elders when they want to do that.


Point of Order


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  On a point of order, and I think it is a very valid point the member for St. Boniface raises, but if he will recall the conversation, we had proposed that if the member was unavailable, we would be willing to switch the elder abuse resolution with NAFTA, but not put it to the bottom of the list.  If we were trying to do that, the member would have been incorrect.  I just want the record to show that we think this is a good resolution.  Thank you.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  On the point of order raised, the honourable Leader does not have a point of order.  It is clearly a dispute over the facts.

* * *

Mr. Gaudry:  No, Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear.  I walked in the Chamber here, and they said, there he is.  Then they started to debate the bills the second time around on the bills of the day. [interjection] Yes, I do.  I was there.

       Mr. Speaker, it is quite important, as far as I am concerned, to introduce a resolution for elder abuse.  We know, we are talking about it.  It happens on our streets and in our families, and it exists in all of our lives.  We know of that.

       Just last week, again, we read in the paper the abuse that is going on financially with people who are so vulnerable in regard to finances.  They are taking advantage, like contractors, fly‑by‑night outfits that do take advantage of our seniors.

       Maybe I should reflect here on a little incident last week again that happened in the constituency of St. Vital and St. Boniface.  Two older ladies phoned the Minister responsible for Seniors (Mr. Ducharme) and requested his assistance to see what was going to happen here with the furniture that they had taken to some refinishing, manufacturing business.  They were told that the Minister of Seniors did not refinish furniture, so they did not know where to turn.

       They called backed there and they said, well, is there somebody who we can talk to?  They said, who is the member for St. Boniface, and they gave my name.  They called, and I listened to them for half an hour.  My nature is to listen to the people who phone me.  Anyway, I did meet with them.  They are members of the St. Vital constituency.  I had never met these two fine ladies.

       I took them down to this business and rectified the problem with them.  It came out that nothing was wrong, but they were pleased to get their furniture back, regardless that it was not finished.  But they had given a fair amount of money to this man.  They could not get their money back, because he had no money to refund to these two ladies.

       I said, can we have a portion of the deposit that was given to them, and he said, well, I will give you a postdated cheque. So I took the cheque and gave it to the lady.  The lady said, well, we will tear it up because he probably needs it.  I said, no, it is the principle of the thing.  You can give them whatever they want after a later date.  That is just an example.  I think we have to listen to the seniors when they phone our offices.  A lot of times it takes them time to explain what their problems are.

       Mr. Speaker, we look, for example, at the 55 Plus program. It is very seldom that I would like to congratulate the government.  Today I will, because I have received a 55 Plus program form and they are bilingual.  We asked for them to be bilingual, and today they are bilingual.  So I congratulate the minister for doing that, because it is important to my community, to the Francophones in Manitoba.

       The NDP said that they have been talking about 55 Plus. Well, in the eight years that they were in government how many times did they increase the 55 Plus program?

An Honourable Member:  We introduced it.

Mr. Gaudry:  Yes, but how many times did you increase it?  Last year you tried to say that the government‑‑sure.  I do not approve that they did not‑‑

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

An Honourable Member:  The Liberals did not do it.  The NDP did.

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Mr. Gaudry:  Yes, but they criticize about the fact that it should be increased, but they did not do it while they were in government.

       We must affirm that the seniors have the right to maintain their dignity and their integrity.  They are people who are vulnerable to society, because they are taken advantage of at all times.  There are steps that should be taken by the government to protect our seniors.  I have been involved with the seniors a lot, not only in St. Boniface but in other communities, and I enjoy working with them.  There are steps to be taken to have trained people to recognize where we can intervene to protect the seniors.  There is a lot that can be done.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, the dignity and the integrity of our seniors‑‑it is becoming very sensitized to the issue of elder abuse and advocating with and on behalf of the seniors.  One must not lose sight of one's reality.  The approaches we use must affirm that seniors have the right to maintain their dignity. Seniors have the right of access to comprehensive information, and people can assist them with services and counselling.  I think the minister has tried to do so, but I think he has failed in some instances.  I have phoned the minister, he has provided me with information, and I have taken it to the seniors.  I hope he will continue to do so, because it is important.

       Shelters for elderly people who are abused financially, physically‑‑and we see that every day.  We hear about it.  We know of instances.  I hope the minister will consider all the proposals that we bring forward to protect our seniors‑‑shelters and the education.  I think it is not only for the seniors, but for the people who look after the seniors.

       I know he has produced a video.  He passed it on, and I have used it a lot.  I have sent it to organizations in St. Boniface. Again, it was bilingual, which I think was appreciated.  I have had calls by members from the hospital, nurses who have used it for presentations.

       I think it is sad to say that in our day and age we have to defend this kind of thing going on towards our seniors.  It is very important that we continue to fight this abuse that is going on in our society towards our seniors.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, I will end my remarks in hoping that the minister will consider this resolution in regard to helping our seniors of Manitoba.  Thank you very much.

Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister responsible for Seniors):  Madam Deputy Speaker, in regard to the previous remarks from the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry), I appreciate‑‑and I always appreciate his comments on the record.  I doubt very much whether someone phoned my Seniors Directorate and was ignored.  I am very proud of the work that our Seniors Directorate does.  They continue to receive hundreds and hundreds of calls from seniors throughout Manitoba.  We are one of the first provinces to develop a toll‑free line throughout the rural area and also a 24‑hour call in the city and the rural areas.

       To the member, I want him to know that probably this province has been recognized nationally as the people who are the front runners in dealing with the senior elderly abuse question.  As a matter of fact, I was invited to give a talk in Ottawa last Tuesday to the subcommittee on seniors for health issues.  This came as a result of my presentation to the meeting of the seniors officials in Edmonton in November.  The talk that we gave was only supposed to be about 15 minutes; however, it did last for a good part of an hour until we ran out of time at the committee.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, he did mention that the NDP usually puts things at the bottom of the list dealing with seniors.  They proved that while they were in power.  They put all seniors issues at the bottom of the list.

       The other thing I would like to remark on and before I get into my presentation is that I could probably speak on this issue for the next two hours, of all the things that the Manitoba government and this government has done for the seniors of this province.  During the speeches that I will make on seniors throughout the next upcoming months, in the time we are given on bills, et cetera, and giving a speech on the budget, et cetera, I will give up‑to‑date information on the process that we have done.

       We also, just to align the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) and the other members of the House, is that we did start this process back in 1988.  Our Premier at the time derived the Seniors Directorate.  I notice the member for St. Boniface refers to things that he would like the Seniors Directorate to fund. Unfortunately, the budget, it is only a Seniors Directorate; it is not a budget to fund different things.  We try to do the important part of the Seniors Directorate, and that is the awareness question and the awareness question dealing with all levels of government and all the ministers whom we deal with from day to day.  That is the job of the Seniors Directorate.

       First of all, when we established the first document on elder abuse to increase public awareness, we produced a discussion paper that I know the member‑‑and this was initiated by the province.  A wide consultation with seniors and of course service providers was carried out in the province.  I believe there were 63 consultation meetings throughout the province conducted over a period of five months.  The meetings were attended by approximately 1,000 Manitobans.

       These consultations were intended to act as a catalyst for development of policies and programs reflecting the concerns of the seniors.  The other provinces throughout Canada have now or are now conducting those consultation processes.  They are now taking the focus that this province did back in '88 and '89.  The Province of Alberta, the Province of British Columbia, the Province of Ontario have now decided that this is the way to go, and they have now decided to use some of our process in that particular process.

       I have been proud to be the Minister responsible for Seniors the last couple of years.  The Seniors Directorate, also after consultation, had two wide scope meetings, the first one to look after the people who are the caregivers in the province, attended by 325 people.  It was in Winnipeg.  Then, also, we held one in Brandon and had about another 150 people who attended that particular meeting in regard to the elder abuse question.

       As a result of this consultation and during these meetings, we did make the announcement, as mentioned by the member from across the way.  He did mention our video, and yes, we are very proud of the video.  The video is a very good, nonconfrontational type of focus that people can use, and yes, it is in both Canadian languages.  As a matter of fact, the province of Quebec has bought many, many copies.  Now there have been purchased copies all the way through the United States, California.  As a matter of fact, California just traded us their copy of their elder abuse that was done by one of the ladies from the Golden Girls; however, I will tell you, they are very proud of the actors and actresses who did our abuse video.

       This is just a start of the many things that I can go on and on with.  We must remember also that we have been articled in magazines of the Bankers' Association.  As a matter of fact, we are involved in a copy that the minister wrote in The Canadian Banker, trying to point out problems that people can have with their monies at the banks.  The Bankers' Association called me to Ottawa approximately a year ago to sit down with their groups, and now they have teed in on what they can do with their employees to try to make seniors more aware of the many, many things that come as a result of cashing pension cheques, et cetera.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, can you tell me how much time I have? [interjection] Okay.

       They also like to focus in on‑‑as you know, most of the financial abuse that does occur occurs between families.  A lot of times the reporting issue that is very, very important between families is probably the key to financial abuse.  As you know, most families believe that mother and father's money is theirs, and unfortunately that is what they believe.  A lot of times mother and father do not even realize that they get pension cheques.  We first discovered that during the postal strike. Children would phone and say, Mom and Dad will not come down to sign the cheques off at the post office.  We say, well, why do you not bring them down and sign off?  I think a lot of them never received their money or maybe got half the cheques after they were cashed.

       So there are many things that can be developed over the financial abuse question that is happening.  Seniors have to learn that, when they give power of attorney, they can limit those powers of attorney.  They can actually list in those powers of attorney what rules to follow so that they are not abused; they say they have given power of attorney, and then, all of the sudden, large sums of money are transferred over or overdrafts are accumulated, signing over power of attorney to families, where they can turn around and sell different products.

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       Madam Deputy Speaker, I could go on and on in regard to the process, the consultation, the remarks made by the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry).  What I will do at the time, though, so I make sure that I get my resolution before the House, I move, seconded by the member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that Resolution 6 be amended by deleting all words following the first WHEREAS and replacing them with the following:

       WHEREAS financial abuse of seniors is one of the biggest forms of abuse that seniors in Manitoba face today; and

       WHEREAS seniors in Manitoba also face physical and psychological abuse both on the streets and in home; and

       WHEREAS the government of Manitoba has always been committed to preserving the security of seniors; and

       WHEREAS with the support of the government of Manitoba, the Seniors Directorate has been able to co‑ordinate two conferences on elder abuse in the past year that were attended by service providers from all over the province in addition to several seniors organizations; and

       WHEREAS the Seniors Directorate is developing protocols that will be appropriate for use in all parts in Manitoba; and

       WHEREAS the government of Manitoba has funded a three‑year demonstration project in partnership with the Winnipeg Foundation and the federal government called the Elder Abuse Resource Centre; and

       WHEREAS Winnipeg, Brandon, Selkirk and Dauphin are able to meet the physical needs of older women because of the provincial government's renovation of shelters in the province, including handicapped suites; and

       WHEREAS the government of Manitoba has opened a similarly equipped shelter in Portage la Prairie to ensure that the services for female seniors are more widely accessible; and

       WHEREAS the government of Manitoba created the Family Violence Court in September 1990 to deal with family violence cases such as those of elderly abuse in a more specialized and expeditious manner.

       THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba continue to support the government for its ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of seniors in Manitoba; and

       BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Assembly support the continuing efforts of the government to seek solutions that will meet the needs of the abused older members of our province today and the future.

Motion presented.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The amendment is in order.

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  If the amended motion is in order, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to speak on‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Yes, the honourable member for Broadway, the amendment is indeed in order.

Mr. Santos:  The amendment says that this government has an ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of seniors in Manitoba. That is what they said, but what do they do, Madam Deputy Speaker?  Let us see and investigate what they actually do.  Why does this government freeze the automatic increases in the 55 Plus program?  Why does this government double the waiting period for eye examinations, which particularly affect senior citizens? Why does this government confiscate the Pharmacare refunds even if it is late only for one day?  What they do is contrary to what they say, and in case of a conflict between what a person does and what a person says, which one do we take?  We take the one that they do because actions speak louder than words.

       There is no such commitment to senior citizens on the part of this government as proven by their behaviour as government.  All of us in our materialistic society are potential victims of abuses and scams and fraudulent schemes but, among all the segments of the population, the senior citizens group are the most particularly vulnerable to all these scams and fraudulent schemes.

       Why?  Madam Deputy Speaker, the explanation is that the senior citizens as a group tend to be more trusting of other people than other groups, and they assume the same sincerity in return from other people with whom they deal but, because they are very trusting of other people, they become vulnerable and particularly subject to this elder abuse.

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       I would like to talk about these different kinds of situational schemes which the senior citizens should be worried about before they react to all these schemes.  In general, there will be different types, general types of these manipulations and arrangements that take advantage of senior citizens.

       Generally they fall into three categories:  frauds which are done on the telephone; the second type will be frauds that are done at the doorstep face to face; and a third type, a general type will be fraudulent schemes that are done through the mail.

       Of course, let us investigate each one of these different types.  What would possibly happen through the use of the telephone?  If you are a senior citizen and you receive a postcard or any written communication or any telephone call saying you have won a prize‑‑you know that you have not entered any contest, but you will get a telephone call saying that you have won a prize.  Of course you are excited.  As a senior citizen the senior citizen should investigate, because the same telephone call that they will get will be asking their credit card number in order to verify the so‑called identity of the winner of the prize or the contest.

       If they fall into that scam they will give their credit card number to the one who is phoning them, and of course there will be pressure tactics there on the phone that they should buy certain merchandise or certain services‑‑high‑pressure tactics. If they do give their credit card numbers on the phone, that credit card number can be used by the caller on the telephone to make purchases without any authority from the owner of the card. Indeed, they may not receive the merchandise that was purchased by the use of the credit card number.  If they do receive such merchandise, usually such merchandise is not worth the money that is paid for it through the use of the credit card system.

       So what does a senior need to do in order to protect herself or himself from this kind of fraudulent scheme through the use of the phone?  The first thing they should do is ask for the name and address of the company that is supposed to be selling them the merchandise through the phone.  If they are selling subscriptions to some magazine or some other travel offer at a bargain discount, they should ask for the details.  They should not easily reveal their credit card numbers.  The con artist will use those credit card numbers to make fake orders and fake transactions and charge their account without their saying anything or having any say about it.  This is one form of scam that they should be worried about.

       Another situation using the phone number is the so‑called pseudo bank examiner kind of set up.  Here somebody will phone the senior citizen and say that they need the co‑operation of the senior citizen because they are investigating some kind of a bank disbursement of funds that is unauthorized, that they want to check the honesty of the teller of the bank, so they will ask the co‑operation of the senior citizen, if they could withdraw some cash money from their bank account and entrust the cash money to some representative of the bank examiner, so that the representative can deposit it again to the account of the senior citizen in order to investigate the honesty of the teller, the employee of the bank.

       If they fall for this kind of scam, and they say, you have to make the deposit in cash so that we can check the serial numbers of the bills that will be deposited to your account, the same amount of money that they will withdraw from the senior's account, guess what?  You will never see this money again that you lent to the so‑called representative of the bank examiner in order to deposit to your account, because they will take this money.  You will never see or hear again about this so‑called bank examiner.

       The lesson‑‑never turn any cash or any amount of money into the hands of a stranger, particularly one you do not know or you are not familiar with.

       Of course, when you get telephone calls like that and there are some doubts in your heart, the best thing you can do is hang up the phone.  Another thing you can do is call the police or call the bank, verify whether such as a thing is really happening or not.

       They will even ask you to make investments of your money. This happens when someone, for example, stops at your door and talks about some kind of legitimate investment that will bring instant profit.  Here they are appealing to the sense of a quick‑rich kind of scheme, and they will say, well, give us a handful of money, some cash to prove your good faith that you want to enter into this kind of investment transaction.  Somebody will hold that amount of money as a good‑faith deposit in order to check the validity and the reliability of the investment scheme.

       If you get such a phone call like that, asking you to make an investment on anything, try to ask for specifics.  Let the company send you their name, address and their telephone number, ask for some written materials, report the situation to the Better Business Bureau or let the police check about these things, otherwise, you will fall for a thing like that, I will say, a fly‑by‑night kind of opportunity for investment.

       The honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) has already talked about the quick home‑repair kind of scheme situation.  Here, some stranger will go to your doorstep and will look at your house and see that there is something wrong with your roofing or your electrical circuit or your driveway or your pavement, whatever.  They offer to fix whatever they notice as needing some repair, and they will ask, of course, for some reasonable amount.  You being the homeowner, will easily say, oh, this is convenient, I can have it repaired without going to lots of trouble.

       What will happen is when they do start working on the thing to be repaired, suddenly serious difficulties begin to crop up. More expensive problems will be conjured up by the repairman, the fly‑by‑night opportunist, who says you will need much more money to fix this one and there are much more serious defects in the home.  In such a situation the so‑called experts are themselves creating the damage probably, and the poor senior citizens fall for this and they end up spending a lot of money rather than being conveniently situated in order to fix their home.  If you are confronted with such a situation like that, try to ask for more than one estimate from other builders and other repairers in the community.  Of course, there is the cooling‑off period statutes that you can take advantage of.  Before you sign anything, try to investigate all possibilities and make comparative estimates of how much it really costs to fix that roofing.

       Then there is the situation called the funeral chaser situation.  These are the people who suddenly drop by the family circle of someone where the senior has just passed away, and they say that the deceased has made advance payment on a certain merchandise but that there is a balance owing.  Usually the family will be easily persuaded.  They will pay off the balance right away, and, of course there is no such thing.  This is just a make‑up kind of a transaction.

       What do they need to know?  They will mention something about the deceased, which, of course, they pick up from the obituary columns, as if they really know the senior citizen who just died.  The deceased owed them some money in a kind of transaction that was completed, and there is a balance remaining and they want to collect from the family circle.  The family circle, of course, will easily pay without thinking, because they are in such a stressful situation.  In such a case like that, take your time, think, ask for a receipt, or ask for proof of the transaction, for the contract, before you pay out anything, because if you usually pay the balance right away, of course, you fall into such a scam.

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       We have heard about the fact of social security cheques in the mail, especially in those communities where more senior citizens are congregated, in senior homes or complexes.  There are very unscrupulous persons who will know when the cheques will be coming in the mail.  They know how to pick them up, and they know what to do in order to pass these cheques and negotiate these cheques.  I think the one great advice we can give to senior citizens in this regard is for them to make arrangements with a bank or with a financial institution for automatic deposit of their cheque to their account.  This deposit is electronically done.  There is no need for a cheque to go through the mail system; and, if they are willing to make that arrangement, then they eliminate that risk of the cheque being stolen.

       The fake contests kind of scheme also through the mail‑‑they will get a notice saying they have won a TV or they have won a car, and that they are entitled to a trip to the Bahamas or some place for a very low cost, but they say that they need to send a certain amount of money to pay for these winnings and send the money to a certain place.  Watch out for all these kinds of scams where you have to pay for prizes that supposedly you have won. You carefully examine all those letters and then report them to the police if it looks suspicious.

       There are many, many such schemes where we can foul up, and the best thing is, we think twice, ask for written evidence before we commit ourselves or pay out any money.

       Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise to speak on the amendment which I think is indeed regrettable.  I have heard the Family Services minister (Mr. Gilleshammer), I have heard the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), I have heard the Premier (Mr. Filmon) saying you cannot do everything, and we recognize that there are failings and that there are weaknesses and there are new things that we need to address.

       The Minister for Seniors (Mr. Ducharme) would have us believe there is nothing in his department that needs to be addressed‑‑everything is perfect‑‑but it is not perfect, and all we were doing in this resolution was urging the government to pay close attention to the needs of the seniors in our society.

       This is the ongoing, quite frankly, tragedy of this House, that when you put forward legitimate positions based on parliamentary practice, based on parliamentary tradition, then you are accused of posturing, of playing politics, of doing all kinds of things and, yet, the resolution which the honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) put forward today is not highly critical of the government.  It urged them to do more investigation, to do more analysis, more detailed study, to work urgently on the problem of senior abuse, because everyone recognizes that there is senior abuse going on within our society.

       In a recent study which has just been prepared at the University of Manitoba, which this government paid for in part through the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), it indicates very clearly that this is exactly the dilemma that is facing many seniors within our society.  It talks about seniors who are facing physical abuse, and it will not surprise, I do not think, anybody in this House to know that the victim traditionally of physical abuse is a senior woman.  Senior men are subject to it but not in the numbers that senior women are.

       They define physical abuse as the willful infliction of physical pain or injury and/or sexual assault, rough handling, shoving, slapping, pinching, kicking and restriction of movement.  This is happening to our senior citizens.  It is not the greatest form of abuse but it is one of the forms of abuse and it is one of the reasons why seniors are asking for some form of safe housing that they know that they can go to when such incidents occur to them.

       We made a proposal several years ago that there were, in fact, vacant suites in one of the main senior blocks downtown. It would have been very inexpensive to have established one of those units as a safe house.  There was already administration there, there was already maintenance there.  All that would have had to have been put in place was a liaison perhaps with one of the shelters so that support could be given in terms of counselling and economic support.

       It was not going to be a costly measure, but the government, to the best of our knowledge, did not even examine the option to see whether it was a realistic way of dealing with elder abuse.

       One of the major aspects of abuse affecting seniors is, of course, financial abuse, and I think, quite frankly, that many of our banking institutions should be congratulated for the fact that they have been monitoring very carefully the withdrawals of large sums of money by older citizens and, in many cases, they have been questioning the senior citizens as to what that expenditure is to be made on and, in most cases, it has been welcomed by the senior.

       If, obviously, the senior does not want that kind of counselling, the bank and the bank employee can go no further. But at least they have become sensitized that when a senior citizen goes in and wants a withdrawal, particularly if that withdrawal is in large cash amounts, something may be suspicious, and that someone should call it to the individual senior's attention because we know that there are scams out there.  There are individuals who would prey on seniors and who would take advantage of the fact that they do not always understand the evaluations that are being done on their homes.

       Somebody knocks on the door.  He says, I think your roof is damaged, climbs up onto the roof, comes down to the senior citizen and says, you need a new roof.  Now, many 75‑year‑olds would find it a little difficult to climb up the ladder and examine the roof for themselves and, yet, they are taken advantage of.  We have seen exposes on television in which people have spent $30,000 and $40,000 on renovations which were absolutely unnecessary.

       Family members also financially abuse seniors and, unfortunately, it is often seniors who are first‑generation immigrants to this country and who are not necessarily familiar with all the social safety net programs for which they are eligible.  It is often because they have language barriers because, in the past, we have failed them by not providing them with the kind of English as a second language program that is so essential for them to function adequately in our society, and so they are able to be taken advantage of, because they do not always know their rights.  They do not always know what it is they need to sign, or whether they should sign, or whether they can refuse to sign a whole array of documents that are sometimes placed before them.

       This study very carefully shows that the greatest form of abuse in our society directed toward seniors is neglect, neglect which is both passive and active, neglect which is in fact a failure or a refusal to fulfill a care‑giving role to provide for the necessities of life.

       I am always shocked when I learn of the diets of many of our senior citizens, diets not often based on their inability to buy the food, but based on their inability to get the food into their homes or to prepare the food.  That kind of neglect in a society which is becoming increasingly aged is difficult, I think, for many of us to understand.

       There have been some wonderful programs that have been put into place that try to alleviate some of these problems, but there are many senior citizens who are not even aware of Meals on Wheels, so that they can access the programs.

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       In other communities, because of a lack of a transportation budget, they cannot get the meals to seniors.  In other instances they are, in fact, setting up settings within communities‑‑I know Portage la Prairie does this‑‑and they bring in people to have one good meal a day, but they suffer frequently from cutbacks to their transportation budgets.

       But it is not just food that they find they have inadequate protection of, it is also health problems.  That is one of the reasons why we are so supportive to the reform agenda which talks about making sure that there is more and more support in the community, so that seniors can access it.

       None of us want to put our senior citizens in institutions if they can possibly live within the community and that they can live enriched and fulfilling lives within that community.  That requires, however, the constant vigilance not just by, I would suggest, the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) but also the Minister responsible for Seniors (Mr. Ducharme).  Because seniors, knowing that they have a particular minister upon whom they can call, are more likely indeed to go to the Minister responsible for Seniors than they are to the Minister of Health. So there has to be clear liaison between those two departments, and we know that clear liaison does not exist.  We know that the information is not moving back and forth between these two ministries with respect to the very essential needs of our seniors with respect to health.

       We also know that neglect can actually occur when senior citizens do not obtain the kinds of medications that they require, and that their health can be severely jeopardized sometimes, again actively by a caregiver refusing to give the medication, but much more frequently passively because the caregiver often does not understand the importance of that senior citizen taking that medication.  Sometimes there are serious side effects to medications not always recognized by the caregiver. There is also, Madam Deputy Speaker, the psychological abuse to which seniors are often subjected to.  In some cases that kind of psychological abuse comes from people who really do not mean to inflict it.

       Before my mother died she had congestive heart failure.  She found it very difficult to walk.  When she would try to cross a street the lights would go on for her to walk, but she would only be 10 feet into the crosswalk before the other light would go on and there would be a honking of horns and a beeping in order to get this quite frail lady‑‑although not old but frail‑‑across the street, as if she were deliberately walking that slowly because she wanted to abuse the driver who wanted to get on his or her own way.  That is not why they walk slowly.  They walk slowly because they cannot walk any faster.  It is as simple as that. That is a form of psychological abuse, and it is a form of psychological abuse that most people do not recognize even of themselves because they are busy and they want to get through the light.  They want to get on their way.  These are some of the things that we are going to have to change.

       I was quite amused the other day watching a mother with about a three‑and‑a‑half‑year‑old.  She had obviously told this little boy in very clear terms that he was not to cross the street if the white walk light was not on.  They walked across the street and in the middle of the intersection the white light went off. The little boy started to cry.  He stopped his mother and held her hand and he said, Mommy, you cannot go, you cannot go.  The mother was trying to drag this child across the rest of this intersection because she knew they had to get to the other side while the little boy was digging in his heels and was not prepared to move.  I just jokingly said to her when she got to the other side, Mom, you have taught him too well.  That is your problem here.  She tried valiantly to explain to him that the light could change in the middle.  He was not allowed to start before the white light was on, but he might not get all the way over.

       Can you imagine the fear of a senior citizen when that happens?  You sometimes see them running across the last twenty or thirty feet.  I always sit there and think, my goodness, they are going to fall in the middle of this intersection, and we are going to have major health care costs because we have not adjusted yet to the fact that there are many in our society that need additional services and need additional help.

       That, Madam Deputy Speaker, is why we wanted to alert the Minister for Seniors (Mr. Ducharme) that there is still much work to be done, that it is not complete.  By the very amendment that he has introduced to this resolution, what he is saying is, the work is finished.  I do not have to do any more.  I am complete and absolute 100 percent perfect in the running and the operation of the Seniors department.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

       That is simply not true.  It is not perfect.  There is still work to be done, and the fact that he would not even allow a resolution in this House which stated, be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba urge the government to consider‑‑that is all we asked them to do, to consider ways to better meet the need for safe houses for abused elders, that is all we asked.  We said, that the Assembly urge the government to reflect the seriousness with which Manitobans regard the problem of elder abuse by considering support of the Elder Abuse Resource Centre beyond its three‑year deadline.

       Did we tell him he was incompetent?  No.  Did we tell him he was doing a terrible job?  No.  We said, it is not perfect, Mr. Minister, and we would like you to look at these critical areas, but no, they were not content to accept that resolution.  They had to once again pat themselves on the back and leave the impression that everything was perfect.

       Well, it is not perfect, Mr. Speaker, and I am deeply unhappy and dissatisfied with this minister that he would have to do this kind of self‑aggrandizement in this Chamber today.

Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  No, they made him do it.  It would not be like Gerry just to do it.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Well, it may not have been.  You could be quite right, the honourable member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).  It may be that classic a situation where they made him do it.  He did not really want to, but they made him do it.

       I would suggest to the minister that he be a little stronger and a little bit more persevering, a little bit more co‑operative, a little bit more willing to accept guidance from others than just the members of his particular government.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  I appreciate the member for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie).  I have been wanting to put some remarks on the record regarding this bill.

       I would agree that what the government does with private members' resolutions is quite pathetic, and I think their performance on areas like violence is quite pathetic.

       The Minister responsible for Seniors (Mr. Ducharme) might do well to listen to some of my response because one of the things I will just frame is that I would like to define the legal and the social definition of abuse.  I would like to frame this into some context of what is societal abuse of seniors, and I would like to talk a little bit about population demographics and the reality that is going to create for the generation that is growing up now.

       With that, when we come back to this station the next time, we can continue‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) will have 14 minutes remaining.

       The hour being 6 p.m., I am leaving the Chair with the understanding that I will return at 8 p.m.