Monday, April 5, 1993


The House met at 8 p.m.


ORDERS OF THE DAY  (continued)


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


Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy  Speaker, I believe when five o'clock arrived, we were debating  Bill 20.  It is my expectation that you will call Bill 20 at this  time.




Bill 20‑The Social Allowances Regulation Validation Act


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Madam  Deputy Speaker, I just want to put a very few last words on this  particular bill as it was presented and as we debated earlier  this afternoon.

      The rules and regulations with regard to social allowances  are critical.  They are critical for certain people in this  society in particular, those who are very vulnerable and those  who are going to have real setbacks as a result of the  regulations which this government would introduce.  It would  introduce regulations which will hurt those, quite frankly, who  are trying to begin their lives anew, people who are trying  either because they are refugees to this country or because they  were dropouts in high school, who are trying not to perpetuate a  life on the social assistance system but are trying to move  forward in new and exciting ways for them.

      What this government has done is to close the door in their  face, and it has said go on social assistance, social assistance  which will pay you less than student social allowance, where you  are not able to go to school, where you are not able to get a  foundation necessary for a job market which is going to become  increasingly more difficult for those who do not have high school  or even post‑secondary education as we move into the '90s and  then into the 21st Century.

      I deeply regret the decision that the government has made  mainly because I cannot see that it is going to save them any  money.  If that was the purpose of this, then the purpose was to  somehow or other make their budget balance or provide for less  deficit.  We are all desirous that we get our economic house in  order, but I see no way in which these changes, particularly  those affecting student social allowance, are going to do  anything but cost the government more, because if these people  have to go on social allowance the cost to the government is more  than the cost of them being on student social allowance.

      So it is a regressive step in terms of providing them with  any future, any potential to become taxpayers in the province of  Manitoba.  It is regressive in terms of the bottom line of this  government, and I simply do not understand why the government has  moved in that direction.  Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  As previously agreed, this bill will  remain standing in the name of the honourable member for  Wellington (Ms. Barrett).

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy  Speaker, would you call Bills 5, 8 and 10 in that order, please.


Bill 5‑The Northern Affairs Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable  Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), to resume debate on  second reading (Bill 5, The Northern Affairs Amendment Act; Loi  modifiant la Loi sur les affaires du Nord), standing in the name  of the honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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


Bill 8‑The Insurance Amendment Act


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

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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


Bill 10‑The Farm Lands Ownership Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill  10 (The Farm Lands Ownership Amendment and Consequential  Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la propriete agricole et  apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), on the  proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Agriculture (Mr.  Findlay), standing in the name of the honourable member for Point  Douglas (Mr. Hickes).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy  Speaker, would you call Bill 16, please.

* (2005)


Bill 16‑The Public Schools Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill  16 (The Public Schools Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur  les ecoles publiques), on the proposed motion of the honourable  Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey), standing in the name of the  honourable member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) and standing in the  name of the honourable member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs).

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Madam  Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to rise on Bill 16, on which I have  spoken already at some length and will conclude my remarks this  evening.

       Madam Deputy Speaker, the bill clearly is an infringement on  the rights of municipalities in the province of Manitoba and will  result in no additional revenues to the province of Manitoba, by  imposing a 2 percent cap on the special requirement to school  divisions and therefore in fact to municipalities.

       What the government has done is to usurp the authority of  school divisions to do that very thing for which they were  elected.  School trustees were elected not in 1990, as was this  government, but in the fall of 1992, October 28.  They went to  the electorate and they specifically asked the electorate for a  mandate to develop, to pass the budgets of school divisions.  That is their authority.  It is not the authority of this  government.  That is why I object to this particular piece of  legislation.

       What the government has done is to say, in essence, nobody is  fiscally responsible except us; nobody is prepared to respond to  the taxpayers except us; nobody has a mandate except us.  That is  simply not true.

       The school trustees of this province have a more recent  mandate than does this government.  It is not true to say they  are fiscally irresponsible.  The school divisions have tried year  after year after year to come down with tight fiscal budgets.  In  fact, the settlement of Winnipeg School Division No. 1, which is  the largest school division in the province, with their employees  was less generous than the settlement negotiated by the Finance  minister and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik) with their  employees.

       So to say that school division is irresponsible is simply  false.  They negotiated an increase of 1.4 percent.  That is  lower than what this government was able to negotiate.  It  appears that they were able to negotiate that agreement because  of good relationships which they have developed over years with  the teaching profession within their school division.  To now say  to that school division, you are irresponsible, therefore we are  taking your authority away from you, presumably in perpetuity, to  set your own budget as you see fit, is I think irresponsible on  the part of this government.

       That is the unfortunate part of what this government is  doing.  It would let the taxpayers of Manitoba think they are  doing something to control expenditures, but it is not just  simply a matter of controlling expenditures, it is also a matter  of achieving new revenues.  This government will get no new  revenues from this decision.  All they will do is limit, in some  cases very unfairly, the opportunity to get new revenues on the  part of school divisions.

       There is some confusion that somehow or other every school  division is allowed to increase by 2 percent.  That is not true,  because the special requirement does not permit that.  The  overall increase of 2 percent will in fact mean that some school  divisions cannot come close to that 2 percent.

       I doubt very, very much, judging by some of the budgets that  we have already seen, that this government is going to come in  with an expenditure of less than 2 percent increase.  Yet that is  what they would impose upon their school divisions.  It is not  fair, it is not equitable, it is not just.  I am not prepared to  support it, nor is any member of my caucus.

       This government not only offloads responsibilities onto the  municipalities and school divisions of this province on the one  hand, but it also takes responsibility from them on the other  hand.  It is simply not fair.  It is bad legislation and it  should be defeated.

       Thank you very much.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is there leave to permit the bill to  remain standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson  (Mr. Ashton)? [agreed]

* (2010)

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  Madam Deputy Speaker, it is my  pleasure to rise today to add my comments to Bill 16, The Public  Schools Amendment Act.  There has been some debate on this bill  to this point, and, of course, we are waiting for some comments  from the honourable members opposite to find out what their  position is with respect to this‑‑

An Honourable Member:  The minister gave you our position.

Mr. Reid:  Yes, it was not much of a position.  On top of that I  do not see any other members of that caucus supporting the  minister's position on this piece of legislation.

       I know that this bill, this particular piece of legislation,  is going to have a significant impact upon my own community.  I  know I have been going through my notes now, Madam Deputy  Speaker, for a period of time, and I have been doing some further  calculations to determine the impact, and, of course, I have had  regular consultations with trustees‑‑[interjection]

       The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) thinks that only one  person from his caucus should have the opportunity to speak on  bills that they introduce and that it should only be the minister  introducing the bill.  I do not see why members of their back  bench over there do not have the same opportunities that we on  this side of the House have.  Why is he denying them the  opportunity to represent their constituents' wishes?  [interjection]

       I notice that the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs  (Mrs. McIntosh) likes to chirp from her seat quite often, but I  have never seen her stand up in this House and speak on  particular pieces of legislation like this to find out what her  position is and how‑‑[interjection]

       That is true, the Minister of Finance did introduce it.  Has  he stood up and told us what impact it is going to have on his  community?  Or maybe his community is going to receive the  benefits of this type of legislation.  Is there going to be some  rewards for your constituency, while others like mine are being  penalized for this type of legislation?

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Reid:  I notice that the members opposite are a bit sensitive  on this topic, and it is probably with good reason that they are  sensitive because they are starting to hear the comments from the  various communities, trustees and school divisions throughout the  province, the impact that this legislation is going to have upon  them.

       But I like to think of the opening comments at the start of  this session when we were looking at the Speech from the Throne.  I will quote from the Speech from the Throne, Madam Deputy  Speaker.  It says:  "My government realizes that education and  training are the keys that unlock a world of opportunity and a  future of economic growth and prosperity."

       Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, I was heartened to see those words  and to hear those words in the throne speech when it was  introduced at the end of last year at the start of this session,  and I thought that maybe we are on the right track, and that  education was going to play a prominent and important role for us  in the province.  That has not come to pass, and that has never  been better explained than through the trustees in my own school  division, Transcona‑Springfield School Division No. 12.

       The member for Springfield, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr.  Findlay), also happens to represent communities who are impacted  by this legislation as well in the sense that he represents  communities that form a part of the Transcona‑Springfield School  Division.  Now, I have attended at least two meetings with the  trustees of Transcona‑Springfield School Division over the course  of the last month, and I have attended their public meetings as  well and listened to the concerns of the trustees when they look  at what this bill is going to have, the impact it is going to  have on their abilities to provide quality education for the  students within my community and within the division that they  have to control.

       The Minister of Agriculture, of course, has not stood up for  his constituents.  He refuses to take an active role.  I will  grant you, he has attended one meeting with the school trustees,  but have I seen any actions, any positive actions as a result of  the attending of that meeting?  None whatsoever, and that is  unfortunate.

* (2015)

       I am sure the constituents of his in Springfield will become  aware of his inability to influence his caucus members or  unwillingness maybe to influence members of his caucus when it  comes to making decisions with respect to the impact upon his own  community because, indeed, this legislation will impact upon his  community.

       This Bill 16, of course, creates several problems for my own  community and for the trustees that have to make decisions that  control and direct the type and quality of education within the  Transcona‑Springfield area.

       I listened to the minister's comments here that she has made  from time to time when she talks about education.  She says that  she is going to have a 2 percent cap on the way special levy  requirements will be allowed to rise within the province.  She  also says that she is going to roll back revenue from the  provinces by 2 percent.  Yet the figures that were released by  trustees within my community show that the level of funding  support from the province is dropping not 2 percent but 3 percent  and that we will sustain a real loss of nearly a million dollars  for this fiscal year.

       Now this million dollars, coupled with the fact that the  division has, much like other divisions, uncontrollable costs,  costs that have gone beyond their control, utilities, some  contracts that they have to sign or contracts that have been  signed that they have and should honour‑‑these costs are beyond  their control.

       They have calculated that it is going to cost the division  nearly a million and a half dollars this coming year.  That means  that this division is going to have to find ways of cutting  programs for teachers or services within the community to the  equivalent of a million and a half dollars.  They had in past  budget years‑‑they have had to already eliminate programs within  the school division.  They eliminated the industrial arts program.

       We are quite fortunate in our community to have a French  Immersion program that I would say is probably second to none.  They also have an English‑Ukrainian program‑‑I thank the member  for Burrows (Mr. Martindale).  It has a fair number of students  enrolled in the English‑Ukrainian Immersion program and, of  course, the kindergarten portion of that program has been  eliminated, as has above Grade 9 been eliminated.  So there are  only a set number of years that the Ukrainian language can be  taught or instruction can be provided for the students that wish  to avail themselves of that.

       On top of that, the late French Immersion program was  cancelled, so that those students wishing to enroll in the French  Immersion program to learn one of Canada's two national languages  on top of the mother tongue of English are now denied that  because that program has been eliminated.

       They have also cut swimming programs and other programs  within the school division itself.  On top of that, the school  division has had to decrease the number of teaching positions by  17.  They eliminated 17 teaching positions last year when they  had an enrollment increase of 185 students, so we are seeing  fewer teachers and more students.  Now obviously that only leads  to larger class sizes.

       It was interesting to note in my discussions with the  trustees at the meetings that I have attended with them, and they  draw this to my attention very clearly, that the Fort Garry  School Division is seeing less students per teacher than the  Transcona‑Springfield School Division.

       I am not sure if this is coincidence or not that the school  division that the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) resides in,  I am not sure if they have better management of their resources,  or is it that they have opportunities that are afforded them that  are not afforded other school divisions?  Could it be that the  school division of Fort Garry has greater abilities to generate  school tax revenue to support the education programs within that  school division?

* (2020)

       That is one thing that the Minister of Education fails to  take into consideration when she decreases funding to my school  division, and that is one thing that this Bill 16 will impact  upon because what it does, it prevents the school trustees from  generating, through a special levy, the necessary funds to  sustain the type of program that we have become accustomed to  within our community.

       I have asked the minister questions on this at various points  of this session, as I have in the last session.  I have raised  the concerns of the parents and the educators and the trustees of  my school division and made her aware of the concerns of my  community with respect to this unfair funding formula.

       Transcona‑Springfield School Division has a modest  enrollment, nearly 8,000 students.  Yet our expenditures per  pupil are the second lowest in metro Winnipeg, second lowest in  the city of Winnipeg.  Our administration costs are the second  lowest in the city of Winnipeg.  Yet our expenditures per pupil  for exceptional students is in the midrange.

       Our transportation costs are the highest of any of the school  divisions in metro Winnipeg, and we are significantly higher in  the sense that Transcona‑Springfield School Division's  transportation cost per pupil is $254, while the St.  James‑Assiniboia School Division is only $68.

       I think that the main reason for that is the  Transcona‑Springfield School Division is comprised of  approximately one‑third rural.  The division itself comprises an  area of approximately 400 square miles, which is a very large  school division, and we have to transport a fairly significant  number of our students, of our total student population, to the  schools in the rural areas.  I talk in particular about schools  that are in the Minister of Agriculture's communities that he  represents, in Anola, Hazelridge, Dugald, Oakbank, Cooks Creek  and others.  These are the costs that are borne out by the  division that have not been taken into consideration in the  formula calculations in providing offsetting funding for the  division, to provide transportation and education for these  students.

       One‑third of the approximately 8,000 students there in the  division have to be transported, and yet the minister by her own  funding formula will only allow a school division to use the  calculation of divisor of 20 full‑time equivalents.  Whereas if  the school division had been in a complete rural setting like we  might find in Brandon or other rural communities around the  province, we would have been able to use the divisor of 18.5  full‑time equivalent students to determine the level of support  for transportation costs and other costs within the division.

       So the minister, through her own department, has totally  ignored the component, the rural nature of the  Transcona‑Springfield School Division.  School division trustees  over the course of the last year and more have written to the  Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) on several occasions, first  saying that the funding formula is unfair and raising their  concerns with the minister and asking for a meeting with the  minister.

       What does the minister write back?  The minister writes back  and says that she thinks that the trustees were generally  satisfied with the new funding model which is totally  contrary‑‑[interjection] The Minister of Education said that.  The trustees have told me that they were dissatisfied with the  funding formula that is in place and the inequities that it  creates within the school divisions of the city of Winnipeg, and  yet the minister replies that she is pleased that the trustees  are generally satisfied with the new funding model‑‑something  that they never said.  So the minister is trying to put words  into the mouths of the trustees, the elected representatives of  the community, something that we have seen quite often in this  House as she fails to respond to any questions that we have  placed before her concerning education.

* (2025)

       After a considerable period of time, the trustees had written  to the minister asking for a meeting to address their concerns  with the minister.  The minister stalled and stalled, and after  finally four months the trustees became so frustrated with the  minister's ignoring their request for a meeting, the trustees  contacted the MLAs who are within their school division:  the MLA  for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), the MLA for Springfield (Mr. Findlay)  and myself.  We attended those meetings and talked to the  trustees, and it was after that point only when we raised  questions in this House asking the minister after four months of  delay to finally meet with the trustees that the minister finally  met with them.  Now I am not sure if she does not want to talk to  them or if she has no answers for them or she has no  policy‑‑maybe a combination of all of them.

       One of the unfortunate parts about this Bill 16, The Public  Schools Amendment Act, is that it forces the trustees, the duly  elected trustees, to make decisions that they do not feel that  they should have to make.  It forces them to cut back in areas  where they feel that there should not be a need to cut back,  because they have cut their costs, I believe, to nearly as low a  level as they possibly can.  At the same time, this legislation  will take away the opportunity for the trustees, it will take  away the local autonomy of the trustees to make decisions within  our own community.

An Honourable Member:  Especially after they have cut funding by  2 percent or more.

Mr. Reid:  Three percent.  They have cut funding by 3 percent in  Transcona‑Springfield.  Now the Minister of Education (Mrs.  Vodrey) and this government‑‑something that the Minister of  Health (Mr. Orchard) supports obviously because he has never  stood up to say anything to the contrary‑‑has taken and cut the  special levy requirements.

       Now I believe that the only reason that this government has  taken that action is for their own political gains.  Every  taxpayer wants to keep their cost down.  I am sure all of us  recognize and realize that.  At the same time, the school  trustees are elected by the communities to represent them on  school board matters dealing with education, and yet this  government by this legislation has taken away that decision  making from the school trustees themselves, and now forced the  trustees for the first time in a hundred years to make program  decisions that fit the provincial government's policies.

       The trustees, on top of that, have raised with myself and my  colleague the member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) the impact that  this decision is going to have upon the school division itself.  When we realize that our assessment in our community is  decreasing, the assessed value of our property is decreasing, and  it is decreasing significantly to the point where the  Transcona‑Springfield School Division is going to lose on the  average home $24.  Now the taxpayers, of course, may think that  is significant that they will see a decrease in their taxes by  $24, but this will do nothing to improve or even protect the  quality of education within the community.

       This is $24 per home based on many thousand homes, probably  in the range of 10,000 homes within the school division that will  see a decrease in their taxes.  That means $24 per home decreased  revenue that the school division desperately needs to support the  programs that we currently have.  That means that while we  already see classroom sizes in the range of 25, 26, 27 in our  division, while classes in the Fort Garry School Division are 18  to 20 range, we are going to see larger class sizes, I believe,  within the school division.

       Unfortunately, that will put pressure upon the teachers  themselves, who I believe are doing a good job in providing a  quality level of education within our community but now would put  increased pressure on those teachers because not all students  within the classes themselves, as I am sure we all well know, are  equal in their learning capacity.  There are special needs  requirements within those classes, maybe not special needs in the  sense that where you have to require paraprofessionals to come in  and assist or special needs instructors within the class  themselves, but children that learn at different rates.  The  teachers with larger class sizes will then not be able to  dedicate the time necessary to provide that one‑on‑one  instruction to the students.  So it is ultimately going to be the  students themselves that are going to pay the price over the long  run.

* (2030)

An Honourable Member:  Daryl, he is not listening.

Mr. Reid:  I know he is listening.  We have discussed this many  times.  In fact he was quite‑‑the member for Dauphin (Mr.  Plohman) was quite instrumental in facilitating meetings with the  Transcona‑Springfield School Division trustees and our caucus  when the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) refused to meet with  the division trustees.  So I thank the member for Dauphin for his  interest in the educational needs of my community.

       I hope the Minister of Education is listening, because she  has refused to recognize the differences within the division.  I  can see, by the response of the trustees, that they were not  optimistic that we would see any changes by this Minister of  Education or this government with respect to the  Transcona‑Springfield School Division.

       They finally had, after many months of waiting, their meeting  with the minister, addressed their concerns to the minister and  the minister gave no assurances or no understanding that she  would do anything to assist them with their dilemma during this  current and coming budget year.  She has left them totally on  their own, while at the same time handcuffing them in their  abilities to generate the necessary revenues within the community.

       On top of handcuffing them by placing the 2 percent cap, we  have seen a significant decrease in the equalization funding from  the provincial government to the school division.  In 1987, the  school division received over $5 million from the province in  equalization funding.  Now we are going to see, for the '93 and  '94 year, some one and a half million dollars, just slightly over  one and a half million dollars.  That is a difference of  $3,375,000.  This is funding that was used to support the  programs within the division.

       Yet the minister thinks that it is appropriate for her  government to continue to support funding for the elite schools  within our province, mostly within the boundaries of the city of  Winnipeg, and has given them significant increases in their  levels of funding over the last few years at the expense of the  public school system, something that does not sit too well with  my community.  My community has to cut programs and increase  class sizes and attend to the needs of the special needs students  that are stretched to the limit now, and yet we are seeing a  decrease in funding to the public school system.

       The Premier (Mr. Filmon), in his comments on December 13,  1991, indicated that he would work co‑operatively with the  federal government and all levels of government on any programs,  whether they be education, whether they be social programs,  health care programs, any programs designed to eradicate poverty  with respect to the children of our province.  Yet we see today,  on the very steps of this Legislature here, several hundred young  people that want to get off the social assistance treadmill, want  to improve their quality of life, to go out and to be productive  members of society, and yet find themselves trapped as this  government slashes funding and programs.

       They cut the students social assistance program.  I had a  young woman in my community come to see me the other day.  She is  a single parent.  She is just over 20 years of age.  She has a  high school education and is trying to improve her education to  allow her to move into a workforce that will provide for herself  and her young child.  She is told that effective with the new  budget that is coming at the end of the current school year,  right in the middle of her post‑secondary education training, she  is going to have her student social assistance terminated.  Then  she will not know which way to turn, because she will not have  the skills and the training and the education necessary to allow  herself to go out and get a decent job to provide for herself and  her young child.  She will therefore be forced to go to either  minimum wage jobs if they are available and, if they are not  available, to get back onto the social assistance rolls,  something that she is desperately trying to avoid.

       Yet this government fails to recognize the initiative that  these young people are displaying as they try to better  themselves so that they do not have to avail themselves of social  assistance.  People who are on social assistance do not want to  be there.  They want to have a quality job and a good quality of  life, something that this government obviously fails to recognize.

       This Bill 16 will create other inequities and create other  problems for my school division.  The minister talks about school  divisions using their surplus to support the programs that are  necessary that the school division chooses to continue, but she  fails to recognize that there are school divisions within the  province that do not have that type of surplus.  In my own school  division the surplus that we have is approximately $18,000.  Now  some members of the House may say that that is unreasonable for  any school division to maintain a surplus at that level, and it  may be, because it is my understanding that the auditors for the  division have recommended that a 2 percent level of surplus be  maintained.

       The school division chose, the trustees chose, over the  course of the last few years to keep the tax increases down  within the community.  They chose to do that.  It was a conscious  decision they made.  Now they are forced to pay the price for  those decisions.  It is not that they did not make some mistakes  along the way.  We know that they did, much the same way we all  do from time to time.

       The school division had applied to the Minister of Education  (Mrs. Vodrey) to have some special consideration given for a  funding shortfall for the division itself, just under $300,000 I  believe it was.  The minister did I believe give that approval  just recently to the school division to allow them to recoup  those monies from past budget years but, at the same time, while  the minister gave approval for that, she ties their hands and  does not take into consideration the decreasing apportioned  assessment for the community, which is causing a shortfall in the  funding and at the same time fails to recognize the urban‑rural  split, or component I should say, of the division itself.

       Fort Garry's per‑pupil assessment is $135,000 and yet the  Transcona‑Springfield School Division assessment per pupil is  $74,000‑‑half, Madam Deputy Speaker, of Fort Garry.  So if you  look at the taxes that the division charges on a home assessed at  approximately $30,000, which would be close to assessed value for  properties within my community, the taxes for the school division  are in the middle of the list, $517 per home, and yet Fort  Garry's is $520, only a $3 difference, and yet the monies that we  expend in our division per pupil are only half of what Fort  Garry's are.

* (2040)

       The minister by her formula fails to recognize these  differences and the problems that it creates.  It is interesting  to note that the government has introduced other legislation as  well, and it is going to have an impact upon the community.  I  have to wonder what the thoughts are, or the logic, behind the  government's introduction of this legislation.  They talk about  limitations on school boards and leave without pay and how that  is going to impact upon the ability to provide a quality  education to the students in my community.  The leave without pay  is to be taken by teachers, and days to be set aside shall be the  teacher in‑service days and the parent‑teacher conferences.

       Now I have to wonder, Madam Deputy Speaker, if the intent of  this government is to say that the teachers must provide their  services free of charge and must meet with the parents of the  community on their own time away from the job and that they will  not receive compensation for that.  I do not think that is  proper.  I think the teachers need to be there to have that  co‑operative atmosphere, to give parents the opportunity to hear  first‑hand on the progress of their children.  I believe that  this legislation will take away that opportunity, that level of  interaction between parents and teachers.  One member of the  Chamber here indicated that this legislation borders on a  management style that is similar to a dictatorship, and other  members may agree with that.  In the sense that it ties or  handcuffs the school trustees, it may be closer to that reality.

       We also heard‑‑and I know the member for Dauphin (Mr.  Plohman) raised this on several occasions.  We talk about the  loss of the speech and hearing clinicians within the  province‑‑[interjection]

       The Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger)  may not have had the opportunity to listen to my comments  earlier, or may not have had the opportunity to listen to the  comments of the trustees that finally, after four months of  waiting, came in to meet with their colleague, the Minister of  Education (Mrs. Vodrey) where they expressed to the Minister of  Education the unfairness of her funding formula.

An Honourable Member:  There is nothing unfair about the Minister  of Education.

Mr. Reid:  The Minister of Education herself may not be unfair,  but the funding formula that she uses to calculate the support  for the divisions is unfair, and she has been told that time and  time again.  She fails to listen to those democratically elected  representatives of our community that have to make the decisions  of hopefully providing a quality education for our children.

       The minister gave no assurances.  I suspect that she is going  to refuse to take any action during this coming budget year to  assist the school division with the problems that they have.  Yet, at the same time, she handcuffs them when they want to make  those decisions themselves and are willing to make those  decisions and be responsible to the taxpayers of the community at  the same time.

An Honourable Member:  Let them eat cake.

Mr. Reid:  Yes, quite possibly she did say let them eat cake.  Of  course, maybe she is saying that taxes are only for the  poor‑‑only poor people pay taxes.  I think it was Leona Helmsley  from New York:  Taxes are only for poor people.

       By the loss of the speech and hearing clinicians within my  community, I think it is going to have an impact.  We have one  school itself, Park Circle School, that I believe is attempting  to provide a reasonable education for the students that have  difficulties within the school division, special needs students.

       Now, if we eliminate those clinicians within the school  division and we eliminate some of the support services, I think  that students in this school and others within the community are  going to suffer.

       The grant that is provided to offset some of those costs will  not be adequate to make up the needs of the school division.  It  will not come close to meeting the needs.  So the special needs  students will suffer, not only just the regular program students  suffering by the larger class sizes and reduction of educational  opportunities, but it will also create other difficulties within  the division itself as the division is going to have to face a  decrease in programs over the course of the coming years with the  decrease.

       Yet when the trustees at their recent hearings or their  annual general meeting that was held in Winnipeg just  recently‑‑the trustees asked the minister for a freeze on all  division employees.  The minister, by the press clippings that  were out, refuses to assist the trustees in doing their job but,  at the same time, ties their hands when it comes to making  decisions impacting upon the community.

       Recent reports indicate that the Transcona division is going  to be looking at axing teaching jobs and programs‑‑another year  of cuts forced upon them because the minister has tied their  hands.  It is unfortunate that the minister would do that while  at the same time giving such a significant increase over the last  few years to the elite private schools, while putting schools in  my division, in my constituency, in an awkward position of trying  to provide programs with less money.

       The Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) has provided 3  percent less funding for my school division this year, and she  stands up in her place in this House and tells us she has cut  back by only 2 percent when I have the figures right here, if she  would care to come over here and avail herself of the figures and  look at the figures that are published saying that the division  is being cut back by 3 percent.

       On top of that, their hands are being handcuffed in their  abilities to provide programs to the community.  She fails to  recognize the needs of the community.  She has been asked, as was  her predecessor, to take into consideration the needs of the  school division in providing funding for the urban‑rural division  of the school division, but she will not take that into  consideration.  She will do it for the members of her caucus that  are representing rural constituencies, but she will not do it for  a division within the city of Winnipeg if it does not happen to  be one of her colleagues.  It is unfortunate that she plays  political games like this, and she will not represent the needs  of all of the students of the province.  With that, I will  conclude my remarks.

       I am sure I will have other opportunities to address this  Assembly and to represent the needs of my constituents with  respect to the education and the unfair funding formula as the  trustees have told us over and over again.  We will be watching  very closely as this Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) makes  decisions that will impact upon my community, and that I find it  very difficult under the present wording of this Bill 16, The  Public Schools Amendment Act, to find anyway that I can support  legislation like this, knowing the impact that it is going to  have on my community.

* (2050)

       So with those few words, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like  to thank you for the opportunity to put my comments on the record.

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

Madam Deputy Speaker:  It was previously agreed that the bill  would remain standing in the name of the honourable member for  Thompson.

Mr. Ashton:  I am suggesting that it remain standing, but the  main thing is we are prepared to call it ten o'clock if members  will.

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  It is my  understanding that the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) was going  to speak to Bill 16, but, if not, would you call Bills 11, 12,  13, 14 and 15.


Bill 11‑The Regional Waste Management Authorities,  The Municipal Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act


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

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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


Bill 12‑The International Trusts Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill  12 (The International Trusts Act; Loi sur les fiducies  internationales), standing in the name of the honourable member  for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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


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


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill  13 (The Manitoba Employee Ownership Fund Corporation Amendment  Act; Loi modifiant la Loi constituant en corporation le Fonds de  participation des travailleurs du Manitoba), standing in the name  of the honourable member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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


Bill 14‑‑The Personal Property Security  and Consequential Amendments Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill  14 (The Personal Property Security and Consequential Amendments  Act; Loi concernant les suretes relatives aux biens personnels et  apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois),  standing in the name of the honourable member for Thompson (Mr.  Ashton).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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


Bill 15‑The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill  15 (The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act; Loi sur la  Commission de la boxe et de la lutte), standing in the name of  the honourable for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave to permit the Bill  15 to remain standing? [agreed]

Hon. Jim Ernst (Acting Government House Leader):  Could you  please call Bill 19.


Bill 19‑The Court of Queen's Bench Amendment

and Consequential Amendments Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading on Bill  19 (The Court of Queen's Bench Amendment and Consequential  Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Cour du Banc de la  Reine et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres  lois), standing in the name of the honourable member for  Wellington (Ms. Barrett).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

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

       What is the will of the House?  Is it the will of the House  to call it ten o'clock?  Agreed.

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