Thursday, May 13, 1993


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Harold Hodgson, Victor J. Hodgson, Ralph Manshreck and others requesting the Manitoba Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) to consider conducting a plebiscite of Manitoba farmers as soon as possible on the issue of removing barley from the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board.

* * *

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Bob Wright, Keith Smith, Herbie Spence and others requesting the Family Services minister (Mr. Gilleshammer) to consider restoring funding for their friendship centres in Manitoba.

* * *

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of M.J. Ali, B.A. Mallick, Donna Oliveira and others urging the government of Manitoba to consider keeping the Misericordia Hospital open as an acute‑care facility.




Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member (Mr. Clif Evans).  It complies with the privileges and the practices of the House and complies with the rules.  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 Manitoba has the highest rate of child poverty in the country; and

            WHEREAS over 55,000 children depend upon the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS several studies have pointed out the cost savings of preventative and treatment health care programs such as the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS the Children's Dental Program has been in effect for 17 years and has been recognized as extremely cost‑effective and critical for many families in isolated communities; and

            WHEREAS the provincial government did not consult the users of the program or the providers before announcing plans to eliminate 44 of the 49 dentists, nurses and assistants providing this service; and

            WHEREAS preventative health care is an essential component of health care reform.

            WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) consider restoring the Children's Dental Program to the level it was prior to the 1993‑94 budget.

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

Mr. Clerk:  The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

            WHEREAS Manitoba has the highest rate of child poverty in the country; and

            WHEREAS over 55,000 children depend upon the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS several studies have pointed out the cost savings of preventative and treatment health care programs such as the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS the Children's Dental Program has been in effect for 17 years and has been recognized as extremely cost‑effective and critical for many families in isolated communities; and

            WHEREAS the provincial government did not consult the users of the program or the providers before announcing plans to eliminate 44 of the 49 dentists, nurses and assistants providing this service; and

            WHEREAS preventative health care is an essential component of health care reform.

            WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) consider restoring the Children's Dental Program to the level it was prior to the 1993‑94 budget.

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

Mr. Clerk:  The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

            WHEREAS Manitoba has the highest rate of child poverty in the country; and

            WHEREAS over 55,000 children depend upon the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS several studies have pointed out the cost savings of preventative and treatment health care programs such as the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS the Children's Dental Program has been in effect for 17 years and has been recognized as extremely cost‑effective and critical for many families in isolated communities; and

            WHEREAS the provincial government did not consult the users of the program or the providers before announcing plans to eliminate 44 of the 49 dentists, nurses and assistants providing this service; and

            WHEREAS preventative health care is an essential component of health care reform.

            WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) consider restoring the Children's Dental Program to the level it was prior to the 1993‑94 budget.

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

Mr. Clerk:  The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

            WHEREAS Manitoba has the highest rate of child poverty in the country; and

            WHEREAS over 55,000 children depend upon the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS several studies have pointed out the cost savings of preventative and treatment health care programs such as the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS the Children's Dental Program has been in effect for 17 years and has been recognized as extremely cost‑effective and critical for many families in isolated communities; and

            WHEREAS the provincial government did not consult the users of the program or the providers before announcing plans to eliminate 44 of the 49 dentists, nurses and assistants providing this service; and

            WHEREAS preventative health care is an essential component of health care reform.

            WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) consider restoring the Children's Dental Program to the level it was prior to the 1993‑94 budget.

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

Mr. Clerk:  The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

            WHEREAS Manitoba has the highest rate of child poverty in the country; and

            WHEREAS over 55,000 children depend upon the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS several studies have pointed out the cost savings of preventative and treatment health care programs such as the Children's Dental Program; and

            WHEREAS the Children's Dental Program has been in effect for 17 years and has been recognized as extremely cost‑effective and critical for many families in isolated communities; and

            WHEREAS the provincial government did not consult the users of the program or the providers before announcing plans to eliminate 44 of the 49 dentists, nurses and assistants providing this service; and

            WHEREAS preventative health care is an essential component of health care reform.

            WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) consider restoring the Children's Dental Program to the level it was prior to the 1993‑94 budget.

* * *

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

Mr. Clerk:  The petition of the undersigned citizens of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

            WHEREAS the Canadian Wheat Board has played a vital role in the orderly marketing of Canadian wheat, barley and other grain products since its inception in 1935; and

            WHEREAS the federal Minister of Agriculture is considering removing barley from the jurisdiction of the Wheat Board; and

            WHEREAS this is another step towards dismantling the board; and

            WHEREAS, as in the case with the removal of oats from the Wheat Board in 1989, there has been no consultation with the board of directors of the Wheat Board, with the 11‑member advisory committee to the board or the producers themselves; and

            WHEREAS the federal minister has said that there will be no plebiscite of farmers before the announcement is made.

            WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Manitoba Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) to consider conducting a plebiscite of Manitoba farmers on this issue as soon as possible.

* (1335)




Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Actuarial Report on the Manitoba Municipal Employees Group Life Insurance Plan as at January 1, 1992.  I would also like to table the Actuarial Report on the Manitoba Municipal Employees Pension Plan as at January 1, 1992.


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 St. John's‑Ravenscourt School thirty‑eight Grade 9 students under the direction of Bruce Neal.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey).

            On behalf of all honourable members, I would like to welcome you here this afternoon.




Immigrant Investor Fund Audit

Tabling Request


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

            On the Immigrant Investor Fund, the independent consultant has stated that the economic analysis, as we had alleged, for specific projects was primarily conducted by the promoters, and all the information for improvement was done by the promoters themselves, not by the provincial government.

            Yesterday, we learned again that accountability is not a priority with this government in dealing with these funds when we found that the government is late with an audit about their own funds from the Federal‑Provincial Tourism Agreement, and three weeks after asking the question in the House, it is now initiating another audit on the disposition of public funds to another project co‑sponsored by the Immigrant Investor Fund.

            Mr. Speaker, this has been going on for a long time. Questions have been raised in this House, and we believe the public has a right to know the status of these inquiries.

            Does the government have copies now of the five specific audits, and will they agree to table those audits, the specific audits in this Chamber?


Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I will take that question as notice on behalf of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson).

* (1340)


Winnipeg Ramada Renaissance Project

Status Report


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  I would be surprised that the Premier would take as notice, Mr. Speaker‑‑[interjection] Well, the Premier is the chair of the Economic Development Committee of Cabinet, and he does not have any answers on $200 million worth of investment, and he will not give us the assurance in this House that the reports will be tabled in this House.  He takes it as notice.

            Mr. Speaker, one of the specific funds is for a project‑specific development called the Winnipeg Ramada Renaissance Project.  This, of course, has been approved by the provincial government and the federal government.  Funds have been raised for that specific project, and now there are no building permits to go ahead, and virtually there is no project at this point in time.

            I would like to ask the Premier or his minister:  What is the status of the funds, and what is the status of the visas that were potentially issued for purposes of the investments made to that project?

Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism):  I have outlined to prior questions exactly where things are at as it relates to the Immigrant Investor Program, Mr. Speaker.

            In terms of the Ramada Renaissance, as the Leader of the Opposition well knows, those funds are currently frozen by the federal government, partly at the request of the provincial government.  That is one of the five audits he asked about earlier.  We have received four of those audits.  I have said in this House before, when we receive all five audits we will be making a public statement, and we will be making as much information available as we possibly can.

            Obviously, there might well be aspects of confidentiality, third‑party confidentiality, and so on.  We will make that assessment after reviewing all five audits, and we will certainly make public as much information as we can, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Doer:  We would urge the government, on behalf of the public, to make those audits completely public, Mr. Speaker, when he has those audits in his hands.


Fund Transfers


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, there are examples and one specific example dealing with the Winnipeg Ramada Renaissance‑‑and the minister never answered the question on the status of the visas‑‑where the developer has stated that some funds raised for the project were in trust‑‑and the minister has said those funds are frozen‑‑and other funds raised for the project‑specific amount for the Ramada Inn that exceeded the amount required for the project were diverted to so‑called other corporate investments of the same company and of the same developer.

            Given the fact that Crewson has raised this as a concern‑‑he has, in fact, stated there is no control from the provincial government on how these funds are used for designated purposes‑‑does the minister feel that the diversion of any funds or the transfer of any funds for a specific project is absolutely inconsistent with the approval that he and his government gave for those project funds to be raised for those specific projects?

Hon. Eric Stefanson (Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism): The Leader of the Opposition is getting into some of the specifics of the audit that, as I have said, we will make public.

            I want to remind him, though, of the role we play as a provincial government in the whole Immigrant Investor Program. We brought in regulations in 1988 which I imagine was an oversight of the previous government under the NDP.  They brought in no rules or regulations when they were part of the formation of the Immigrant Investor Program.

            In fact, in 1986, Mr. Speaker, we brought in some rules and regulations.  Our role is the economic assessment, as we well know.  We have explained on many occasions before.  The federal government is the final approval authority on the Immigrant Investor Program on syndicated funds and on project‑specific funds.

            I think it is important for the Leader of the Opposition and members of his party to understand the process, to remember what they did not do back in 1986 and the steps we have taken since then in terms of rules and regulations, the audits we are now conducting, and, as I have indicated, it is certainly our intention to make as much information as we possibly can public.

            Obviously, when you are dealing with other entities and companies, there might well be some confidential information that we do not have the legal authority to release.  We will release whatever information we possibly can when the audits are complete.


             Firearms Control

Acquisition Information


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, in January of this year, we asked the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) to ensure that information on firearms acquisition certificates be a matter of public record and available to all police officers in the province, which could be accomplished by recording firearm certificate information on the Canadian police information centre computer system, CPIC, which is a nation‑wide computer program.

            Can the Premier tell the House today if information on firearms acquisition certificates is currently available to the police officers in the province of Manitoba through access on the CPIC program?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  I will take that question as notice on behalf of the Minister of Justice.

* (1345)

Ms. Barrett:  Mr. Speaker, could the Premier explain to us today what progress has been made to ensure that information necessary to the ability of police departments in our province to adequately do the jobs for which they have been assigned by society‑‑what the progress has been to ensure that this information is easily accessible using currently available technology?

Mr. Filmon:  I will take that, as well, as notice on behalf of the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae).

Ms. Barrett:  Mr. Speaker, can the Premier explain to the House today why an issue that has been in the forefront of this government's policy on zero tolerance for almost two years, since the Dorothy Pedlar report was given to this government‑‑why the Premier is not aware of this kind of vital information?  We are not talking about‑‑

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

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, the member opposite may wish to think the Premier does all the work of all of the ministers opposite. That shows her naivete as never having served in government. Clearly, the reason there is a cabinet and ministries set up is so there are ministers responsible whose responsibility it is to carry out these functions.

            I will be happy to take her question as notice on behalf of the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae).


No-Fault Auto Insurance

Income Replacement‑Seniors


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, the government has made a major announcement with regard to no‑fault insurance.  They have had distributed to the householders throughout this province an information package‑‑an information package which is false.  The information package says that people with minor injuries will still be paid for any income they lose or other costs they face.  It goes on to say: Permanently injured people will be paid for any lost income.

            Yesterday, the Premier in this House indicated that this is not the case, that if you are over 65, your income will be 25 percent less, then 50 percent less, then 75 percent less and then 100 percent less.

            Can the Premier tell us why the government has authorized incorrect information to be distributed to the people of the province of Manitoba?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, the member may know that most disability plans, both public and private, do not pay disability beyond age 65.  As I indicated, there would be income replacement, but it would be reduced successively year upon year in accordance with the recognition of other income that does accrue to people who are over age 65, including pension income, both public and private.

            Mr. Speaker, that is the information that I provided very straightforwardly, and I think it covers the case very well.

Mrs. Carstairs:  As the Premier also knows, both public and private pension monies are available to individuals in this province long before they hit their 65th birthday.  CPP can be claimed at age 60, for example.  Private pension plans can be claimed as early as 55 in many cases, including the plan from the Manitoba Teachers' Society that can be claimed at age 55.

            Will the First Minister tell this House today why the MPIC chose that they would not discriminate against young people between the ages of 18 and 25 because they consider it a Charter violation, but they are prepared to discriminate against people who are age 65 and older?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I will repeat so that the member opposite will know and understand, most disability plans, both public and private, do not pay disability beyond age 65.  This plan does.

            We are talking about income replacement, Mr. Speaker, and most public and private plans do not pay that income replacement.  This one does, so it is not a matter of discrimination.


Disability Benefits


Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, under the Quebec system, a woman who has chosen to remain in the home, raise her children and has temporarily left the workforce receives no disability benefit whatsoever for the first 180 days of her disability, and her future disability pension is not based on what her potential income would be when she returns to the workforce.

            Is that the same model we will be using in the province of Manitoba?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I will take that question as notice on behalf of the minister responsible for MPIC (Mr. Cummings).

* (1350)


Tower Funding Business Practices Act



Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood):  Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Consumer Affairs.

            A company called Tower Funding charges advance fees of between $120 and $295 to find lenders for people with poor credit ratings.

            Since the minister has known about problems with Tower Funding for at least a month, why have no charges been laid under The Business Practices Act?

Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, the member, I believe, should know that at this stage, my department is in the midst of an investigation under the BPA into this particular complaint that has been put forward.  As well, the police are conducting their own investigation under their jurisdiction.

Mr. Maloway:  Mr. Speaker, as of this morning, the police had not even been notified of any‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Question, please.

Mr. Maloway:  Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the same minister.  The Better Business Bureau has had 164 complaints of this nature.  How many complaints does it take for this minister to act?

Mrs. McIntosh:  Mr. Speaker, this minister, this government and this department is acting.

            I said to the member just a moment ago that we are in the midst of an investigation, that some handful of complaints had been put forward to the Consumers' Bureau, which is investigating them.  The Consumers' Bureau, as you know, works in close conjunction with the police on this and many different issues on a very constant basis.  Indeed, we have four special constables in the Consumers' Bureau.

            The case is under investigation under the BPA, an act which we brought in, not brought in by the members opposite, and when that investigation is complete, there will be some end that we can speak of.  At the moment, there is no end we can speak of.

            We are in the middle of an investigation, and we do not jeopardize, pre‑empt or prejudge something we are in the middle of doing.


Records Seizure


Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood):  Mr. Speaker, this minister is asleep at the switch.

            Does the minister expect to be able to recover this company's records?  Why did the minister not order the seizure of records of the firm under Section 15 of this act?

Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see the member quoting the act he was so critical of when we brought it in.

            I will say again that we are in the midst of an ongoing investigation.  There frequently is in this House an attempt to raise and discuss issues which have the potential to be jeopardized by discussion in the midst of investigations that have potential for legal ramifications at the end.


Health Care System User Fees


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, on April 22, 1991, the Minister of Health criticized the Liberal Leader (Mrs. Carstairs) for calling for user fees in health care.  We agree with him. There should not be user fees in health care, yet this government has placed user fees on home care supplies, northern patient transportation, and now the government is suggesting it for the dental care program.

            Why does this government say one thing about user fees and do another thing?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, it is with regret that I reject my honourable friend's preamble, question and facts presented.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, I will ask the minister again, why has this government decided to put user fees‑‑and I got two calls from ostomy patients myself this morning.

            Why have they put user fees on home care supplies, northern patient transportation and are now suggesting it for the dental care program?  They sound like federal Tories now.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, let me correct my honourable friend about a factual error in his question.  He suggested that government, myself, is suggesting user fees in the Children's Dental Health Program.  My honourable friend was at the meeting; so was the Liberal Health critic, the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux).  My honourable friend knows full well that was a suggestion made by a superintendent of a school division, not by myself.  I just want my honourable friend at least to be factual in his presentation.

            Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, in terms of some of the budgetary changes that we announced wherein individuals will contribute toward the cost of ostomy supplies and other areas, we surveyed the practice and the policies of neighbouring provinces and provinces across Canada.

            I repeat and I reiterate that many of the contributions that we are implementing are consistent with contributions in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and other provinces across Canada.

* (1355)

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, the people who are paying those do not care whether they are called contributions.

            My final supplementary to the minister is:  Why does the minister's own briefing book‑‑and I will table a copy of the minister's briefing book‑‑call these user fees contributions, when his own briefing book calls them user fees and says we should have a communications strategy to deal with this, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that my honourable friend received, in error, an old and rejected copy of my briefing book.


Health Care System

St. Boniface Community Services


Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

            A year and a half ago, in October 1991, I wrote to the minister asking about the transfer of home care and mental health workers from the St. Boniface office to downtown Winnipeg.  In his reply, the minister stressed that this relocation was a temporary measure.  On April 7, 1992, and on March 18, 1993, in Question Period, I asked the minister when will these community workers be back in their community office providing services.  On both occasions, the minister made a promise to provide the information.

            My question to the minister:  I am starting to worry about those empty promises to provide me and my constituents with this information, but I will ask him again today.  When will the community workers return to St. Boniface?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, with all the apologies I can muster to my honourable friend, I will provide that information to him, as I indicated I would and did not the last time he posed the question.

Mr. Gaudry:  Mr. Speaker, I know the minister likes recommendations or proposals.  Since he has closed departments at St. Boniface Hospital, there would be space available there.

            Will the minister confirm today that it still remains the intent of his government to have these regional home care and mental health workers work out of the community in St. Boniface?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, that is the intention, yes.

Mr. Gaudry:  Mr. Speaker, L'Association des residants du Vieux Saint‑Boniface met with the Premier (Mr. Filmon) and the Minister of Health and Mr. Bernard Blais on March 16, and they were guaranteed at that time a response of a letter within two weeks. As of last night, there has been no answer.

            When will the L'Association des residants du Vieux Saint‑Boniface receive a response from the Minister of Health?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I believe that group, if I have the correct group with the correct name, met with the deputy minister in that regard.


New Careers

Program Funding Reduction Justification


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, one of the consistent education policies of this government has been to take away from those who have the least, to cut away the first rung on the ladder of change‑‑student social allowances, the core area training programs, the ACCESS programs, and now it is evident that New Careers has been cut by $1.7 million or 35 percent.

            Will the Minister of Education tell the House why she cut a program with such a high retention rate which affected communities throughout Manitoba, which led to employment and which demonstrated that the cycle of unemployment and poverty can be broken?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that we certainly remain committed to the concepts of the New Careers program, but government had to make a number of very difficult decisions across government.

            So, yes, there has been some reduction in the area, but I will tell her that we are still committed to the method and to the delivery style.

* (1400)




Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, will the minister tell us what will be the impact on the program of the loss of nine staff years, when one of the keys to the success of that program was those competent community‑based counsellors and supervisors?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, that section of my department is now under a reorganization.  We have taken in other programs from the Department of Family Services and the Department of Labour.

            We are looking for the delivery of a continuum of educational programs, and we look to make sure that the kinds of programs and the offerings delivered in New Careers will continue to be within that continuum of service.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Speaker, will the minister tell us how many of those people who have already been cut were aboriginal?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Speaker, again, when we are in the Estimates of the Department of Education, I will be happy to look in detail at the staffing of the New Careers section of my department.


Manitoba Lotteries Foundation

Gaming Report

Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk):  Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister responsible for Lotteries.  We have seen in this province a series of flip‑flops and ad hoc decisions on lotteries and gaming policy in this province.  Today's announcements follow that pattern.

            My question to the minister is:  What happened to the study on gaming that the minister announced in February?  If she has received a copy of the study, will she table it in the House today?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  Mr. Speaker, I indicated, when we announced the study, we should have that around the end of May.

            I have not received the results of that study yet.  As we receive it and look at ways and means to deal with some of the problems and find solutions, I will be announcing those.


Lottery Revenues

 Rural Manitoba


Mr. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk):  Mr. Speaker, this is my supplementary question.  Today's announcements by the Minister of Lotteries and Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) cover only a fraction of the money drained from rural Manitoba.

            I want to ask the minister:  What further announcements can rural Manitoba expect to deal with the fact that at least $35 million will leave rural Manitoba in profits this year?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  Mr. Speaker, I do know that every Manitoban, whether they live within the city of Winnipeg or throughout the province of Manitoba, does not want to see the provincial government increase taxes, tax them more and spend more money.  They all believe that this government is doing the right things for the right reasons by not taxing them any more.

            Some of the money that has been generated by video lottery terminals in rural Manitoba and again in the city of Winnipeg, when they are implemented in the fall, will go toward deficit reduction.  I believe most Manitobans believe that is the right approach for this government to take.


Break-Open Compensation Program

Revenue Source


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister responsible for Lotteries.

            We have the minister having another idea, Mr. Speaker.  If we go back to the government's last budget proposal, they said 65 percent of the revenues would go for deficit reduction, 25 percent would, in fact, be going toward the REDI program and 10 percent back to the municipalities.

            My question to the minister is:  Where is this $500,000 going to be coming from?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  Mr. Speaker, the $540,000, a hundred thousand dollars more than what rural Manitoba lost, will be going back into rural Manitoba community organizations so they can do the very positive things they have been doing for very many charitable causes in rural Manitoba.

            Mr. Speaker, I question the member for Inkster when he talks about our lottery policy.  That money will be coming out of lottery general revenues, general purpose monies.

            I question where the member for Inkster is coming from when I look at his policy he has announced to Manitobans that says if he was the Leader of the Liberal Party and they were government, indeed, he would establish four casinos in the province‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  Are we finished yet?  Are we ready to proceed with Question Period now?

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I must thank the minister for the advertisement.  At least I have a plan, something this government does not have.




Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, under this $540,000 to 500 nonprofit organizations, does this mean we are going to have these grants being handed out by individual MLAs going to the nonprofit organizations?  Is it going to be administered? How is this particular‑‑

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

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  Mr. Speaker, I have not read through the member for Inkster's complete policy.  I am not sure if that is one of his policy statements or not, that he would have MLAs distributing the money throughout rural Manitoba.

            The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation, I believe, is already looking at having those cheques in the mail this afternoon or by tomorrow at the very latest.


Winnipeg Grants


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell us if, in fact, this $540,000 that has been budgeted will also be used for the city of Winnipeg, or are we talking $540,000 just for rural Manitoba?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  The announcement that was made today does deal with the issue of reduced break‑open ticket revenues throughout rural Manitoba.  The bingo revenues are up, by the way, some 6.3 percent, but break‑open revenues are down, and this is specifically addressing that issue in rural Manitoba.

            In fact, when video lottery terminals come into the city of Winnipeg in September, Winnipeg will receive the same benefit.


Canadian Wheat Board

Barley Marketing


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, since the Carter report was released, and even prior to that, the majority of Canadian farmers have been opposed to a continental barley market.  They want the Wheat Board monopoly retained.  The concern is that there will be lower prices, and that concern is being expressed by American farmers right now.

            Can the Minister of Agriculture now tell us his position?  Is he going to stand up with Canadian farmers, defend their position and retain the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, what we are looking for, at least what my office is looking for, is to determine what the real facts are and what the truths are in all the studies that have been put out on this particular issue. There are a number of issues that we have to address.  Are we maximizing the opportunity to sell in that market?  Are we maximizing the return at the farm gate?

            We are looking at the various proposals, the various studies, the assumptions they have taken, the conclusions they have drawn, and we are also asking the Wheat Board in terms of their interpretation of the studies and what they mean.

            Our emphasis is on what is best for the farmers of Manitoba, what will maximize the return at the farm gate for farmers in terms of accessing that market and other markets in the world.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Speaker, since the minister has said he still needs time to study, will he lobby the federal Minister of Agriculture not to make any hasty decisions, and will he also lobby him to have a plebiscite so that Canadian producers can have input into a change?

Mr. Findlay:  Mr. Speaker, I have written the federal Minister of Agriculture and advised him that he should look at all studies that have been done before any decisions are even contemplated.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Will the Minister of Agriculture stand up and support Canadian farmers and defend the Wheat Board and defend the transportation system we have, and will he not be so anxious to give away all those supports as his federal counterparts are?

Mr. Findlay:  Mr. Speaker, in case that member has not noticed, we are going through an awful lot of change in our industry, and we had better spend time analyzing all the pros and cons.  She does not want to do that.  She just says no to everything, stand still, put your head in the sand.

            My point of view is to be sure we know the facts before making any particular move one way or the other. [interjection] Well, the Leader of the Opposition, he goes like this.  Well, when we get all the facts in front of us‑‑and I am talking to all the players.  I want to talk to all the players on all the issues.  Things are not as black and white as that member would like them to be.


Lakeshore Women's Resource Centre

Funding Review


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, we have seen this government cut funding to resource and crisis centres where increased needs for services to women and children have grown over the many years.

            Mr. Speaker, I want to quote the director of the Lakeshore Women's Resource Centre in Ashern, Mrs. Lori Remple:  The province is really only paying lip service to the zero tolerance of abuse against women and children, for it keeps on cutting funding.

            My question to the Minister of Family Services:  Will the minister not only review the funding to this centre and others in Manitoba, but also review the need of further funding assistance for this particular centre?

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Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to talk about our commitment to the Family Dispute Services.

            Over the last number of years, we have increased that funding by 262 percent‑‑that is 262 percent.  We have stabilized that funding by offering a better balance between grants and per diems so that all shelters are on a stable footing.

            We funded the first crisis shelter for native women in Winnipeg and a new resource centre for Francophone women.  We implemented a new funding model, as I have indicated, which allows those shelters to be open 24 hours a day.  We have also increased the funding for women's resource centres across the province in last year's budget.

Mr. Clif Evans:  Mr. Speaker, that does not do anything for the Lakeshore Resource Centre in Ashern.




Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  How can the minister defend the funding cuts to this centre when the number of clients has increased over 400 percent and the need for that centre alone is two and a half full‑time staff people, and now they are down to 15 hours a week?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  I am puzzled how the member cannot recognize the commitment we have put forward when I have indicated that we have increased that funding by 262 percent for the services offered by resource centres and by shelters across the province over the last number of budgets.


Family Crisis Centres

Transition Housing


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question to this minister:  Can he tell this House, does his department have a policy regarding transition housing and programs for women and children?  If he does, can we see it?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  I am sorry the member did not join about 10 of his colleagues in Estimates where we discussed these things in some detail.

            In the various communities where we have shelters, we also have some access to transitional housing.  I would be pleased to bring that information forward again for the benefit of the member.





Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Speaker, Anne's Care Home in Rorketon has provided sensitive care to severely handicapped clients for many years in Rorketon.  Now this care is being taken away by this minister who is transferring them to ROSE Inc. in Ste. Rose.

            I want to ask the minister whether he can tell this House how much provincial money is being spent on establishing ROSE Inc. in Ste. Rose.  I asked the minister in Estimates.  He said he would provide these answers, and I would like to have them today.

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, we did have the opportunity to discuss this in Estimates.  We have talked about the need to provide the best training programs for those individuals.  In the view of the professional staff who are working with those clients, they are making a change in their day programming.

            The detailed answer the member asked for the other day in Estimates we will provide for him in due course.

Mr. Plohman:  Mr. Speaker, I asked the minister whether he would provide the amounts that Community Places and the Community Services Council were providing to establish ROSE Inc.

            I also asked him how he could justify per‑diem increases from $8.94 per day which they are paying to Anne's Care Home in Rorketon, increased to $21.22 for ROSE Inc., an increase of $18,000 for those four clients, when they are receiving tender care and love from the current home they are in in Rorketon at the present time.

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, the question the member asked on Monday was to get some detail from another department on Community Places grants and the Community Services Council, and we will be providing that in due course.

            This is a bit of a surprise.  It is the first time a member of the opposition has said that we are spending too much money on our clients.  What we are doing is finding the most appropriate service for those clients in a different setting.

Mr. Plohman:  Mr. Speaker, if this minister calls cleaning parks, cleaning up garbage‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for Dauphin, with your question now, please.

Mr. Plohman:  I want to ask this minister to outline the program that he calls enriched programming, Mr. Speaker, that would justify the expenditure from $8.94 to $21.22 per day for these clients.

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, I have indicated to the member that we rely on our professional staff to find the most appropriate day programming and work stations for our clients.

            It is always a challenge to find those appropriate work stations, and I would be pleased to provide more detailed information to the member on the exact nature of those work stations.


Youth Employment Programs

Northern Manitoba


Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, it is the time of year when many young people are attempting to get summer employment, and it is another tough year, particularly in the North and particularly in remote northern communities.  Since this government came to office in 1988, it has cut back a number of summer employment programs.  There are fewer jobs created today than there were then, and it is particularly tough in remote communities.

            I would like to ask the Premier (Mr. Filmon):  Given the fact that in many communities, there simply are not any summer jobs, will the Premier consider reinstating the Northern Youth Corps Program and reinstating criteria for CareerStart that would allow for the different circumstances in communities that do not have any ability to contribute financially themselves, but where there is a great need for youth employment, particularly in the upcoming summer months?

Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member.  However, I think it was obvious, when we came to office, the lack of co‑operation and support by the government to northern communities, particularly young people, which caused my colleague the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson), with the Lotteries program, to implement a recreation program to help create employment and provide opportunities for those individuals.

            As well, I have just provided some $50,000 to the remote northern fly‑in camps to support training of young people over the summer months in a productive, meaningful way.

Mr. Ashton:  Mr. Speaker, when this government came into power, they cut back the North in terms of the summer swim program for‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  I would remind the honourable member for Thompson, this is not a time for debate.  The honourable member for Thompson, with your question.

Mr. Ashton:  Mr. Speaker, I will ask a very specific question.  I asked about the young people in remote northern communities where there just are not going to be the summer jobs.

            I am asking the Premier (Mr. Filmon):  Will he intervene and ensure there will be some summer employment so that young people in those communities will have some hope this summer?

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, unlike the member when he sat as the member for many years with the unresolve of the Northern Flood program which we have advanced and provided funds for in some of the northern communities, unlike the former government that could not see fit to provide overland line hydro service to some 11 northern remote communities which creates employment for those many people‑‑our record will be put against those individuals who were in government, and I am prepared to back our record compared to theirs anytime.

Mr. Ashton:  Mr. Speaker, this is a final question, and I would like an answer from the Premier (Mr. Filmon) or the Minister of Northern Affairs.  I asked about young people.  I asked about summer jobs.

            What are they going to do to ensure there are opportunities for young people in remote northern communities this summer?

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, again, unlike the former administration who were unable for some 10 years to resolve any of the Northern Flood claims, unlike for some 30 years in the Chemawawin area, in the Moose Lake area, unable to provide any settlements by Hydro for damages done, under this Premier who directed Hydro to resolve some of those long outstanding claims, they were resolved.

            Those communities have funds to spend on their young people to create employment in their communities on their own, not always looking to government for support.

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




Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a committee to consider of the Supply to be granted Her Majesty.

Motion presented.




Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me this privilege to present my grievance during this session of the House.  Before I do, I want to say and rate certain things according to my personal experiences.

            When I go to a supermarket and I am wearing my coat and a tie, I am almost always mistaken as a store clerk.  So the clients will ask me, how much are these pineapples, sir?  I used to say, sorry, I do not work here.  But if the same incident happened to me now, I will say, and smile‑‑if they ask me how much the pineapples are, I will say, four for a dollar, just to express my feeling of resentment and sentiment against the Superstores.

            Another incident was, an Anglo‑Saxon called me a Chink.  I said to him, if you choose to be a racist, you might as well be correct in your terminology.  I am not Chinese, so it is better that you use the proper term.  Instead of using "Chink" you should use "Flip," and you could be correct.

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            Mr. Speaker, when a stranger asks me, how are you, I look at myself and then honestly I cannot say how I am.  I do not know what he means.  I do not know, during that particular day, whether my blood pressure is up or my cholesterol is down or my sugar level is down.  I do not really know how I am, so I just smile.

            All these experiences, Mr. Speaker, convey to me that there are some heathen attitudes in the minds of people that are not usually expressed, but once in a while they come out.

            There was an incident last week where these heathen suppressed attitudes and feelings did come out.  Therefore, I am taking this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to grieve on behalf of Esmeralda Bautista's six‑year‑old boy who had been subjected to such an excruciating experience such that his youthful developing self‑esteem has been aborted, and also I grieve on behalf of the integrity of other youths similarly situated.

            The boy, being also a member of a visible minority group in our society, I take this opportunity as a member of the same group to grieve on their behalf as well, for all those members of the visible minority groups who had suffered similar treatment, destructive of their personal integrity.

            I also grieve on behalf of all members of the ethnic groups, particularly workers in our sectors of our industry who suffered unfair treatment in their employment or in their reemployment opportunities.

            I also grieve on behalf of the poor, the welfare recipients, the economically disadvantaged, particularly single mothers who are sometimes ill treated by their caseworkers and by supervisors.

            Finally, I also grieve on behalf of senior citizens who, as residents of nursing homes or other groups homes, are sometimes victims of physical, emotional, financial and other types of abuses.

            Now, what are the facts behind this story and the incident that was the direct cause of the demonstration of a sizable number of people against the SuperValu store.  The facts are these:  Esmeralda Bautista and her six‑year‑old son were at the McPhillips SuperValu store.  A male cashier accused the little boy of stealing gum.  The clerk, without the consent of the mother, searched the boy's pocket but found no gum.  Allegedly, the search was followed by an utterance to the effect that all you Filipinos are thieves.

            A witness by the name of Lee‑Anne Thomas, who was nearby, witnessed the search without the consent of the mother, but she said she did not hear any racist slur.  Because of this allegation of the wholesale condemnation of all the members of a particular group, the Council of Filipino Organizations of Manitoba, angered by the alleged utterance, demonstrated on the Saturday of May 8, 1993.

            Between some 1,500 to 2,000 Filipino‑Canadians showed up to show their community displeasure to the SuperValu store's employee's behaviour.  They were joined by other ethnic groups, member of the Manitoba Intercultural Council, and even some politicians.

            I would like to talk and take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to elucidate on the concept of ethnic identity in a multicultural society, to review some of the major competing theories concerning ethnic identity in the larger mainstream society, and how we can achieve the ideals of formal justice and equality in our society, particularly equality of opportunity, in the sense of being the subject of equal treatment, as well as being treated as an equal.

            I would like to review also some notions of justice, like distributive justice, compensatory justice, procedural justice and the role of affirmative action, if necessary, as a tool of public policy to restore initial inequality that has been sanctioned by traditional practice and institutionalized and embedded in our system.

            I would like, therefore, to start with the notion or concept of ethnic identity.  What do we mean by ethnic identity?  There are at least two meanings attached to the concept of ethnic identity.  The first most popular one was an idea of the psychologist Eric Erikson, who said that the concept of ethnic identity represents the individual's personal identification in terms of the prototypes or models available in society to fix the location that he or she has in history in time and space.

            This identity is formed through the internalization of the models of the self, the prototypes of what is desirable and what is not, of what is good and what is evil.  It is incorporated such that the identity is assimilated in the particular social setting.  It implies that one's notion of self‑identity, a concept of ethnic identity, that it is not just in the conscious level of human consciousness, but lies deeper into his psyche.

            The alternative conception is the contemporary social psychologist theory of what they call self‑concept.  That is to say, the social world consists of different social categories and membership in those categories, and every individual must define for himself or herself what his self‑image is in terms of these various categories of social life.  Thus, a particular individual may simultaneously be a male, Polish, a father, a plumber, whatsoever categories there are in the society in the social setting.

            Some of them are loaded with emotional elements which determine self‑esteem derived from his own image of himself and of other people's expectation of his present or future behaviour.  Whether or not the individual as a human being will subscribe to his particular self‑image is a question of commitment, the degree of investment that he is willing to grant to others and the particular social costs of renouncing his own identity.

            It follows that one's notion of self‑image, self‑concept must be linked to the other elements in society such as prevailing interests, dominant interests, family connections and fellow feelings with other ethnic groups of his own kind.  But the dominant ingredient is one's own satisfaction and security that the person usually finds when he is among those who are like himself.

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            Therefore, there are various social structures in our society like structures of friendship groups, family units and organizations to which the individual considers himself a part, such that the members of any group shares the group's history, their distinctive values, their point of view about life and the rituals of their social life.

            The search for ethnic identity does not stop with the family.  It has to find other social settings where the individual can freely air and discuss matters pertaining to his ethnicity.  He feels safe at home in the old neighbourhood where he thinks he belongs.

            Now let me review the major competing theories about social identity of human beings.  The first major theory is that propounded by Herbert Gans in his work, The Urban Villagers.  It conceives of ethnicity, defines ethnicity as a working and lower‑class style of living.  It follows that ethnicity is the strongest among the socially disadvantaged groups, but it is gradually and slowly eroded by social and geographical mobility.

            In an open society like ours in Canada where traditional class ideologies are muted and hidden, ethnicity provides the medium and the idiom by which the disadvantaged can identify and understand the nature of their disadvantaged positions.

            The underlying premise of this view of ethnicity as a working lower‑class style of life is that there is a correspondence between the working and lower classes in society and their work and their residence such that their ethnicity is conceived and considered to be the principal determinant of their chances in life and of their own lifestyle of living.

            Therefore, it is reflected in their family networks, in their neighbourhood base, networks that define the character of the lower and the working class groups of people in a particular community.  It carries the implication that ethnicity and ethnic identity is much more salient and stronger and more intense among the lower socioeconomic groups than among the higher social classes.

            The members presumably are suppressing their feelings of ethnicity in order that they can freely mix with people of very widely differing ethnic backgrounds.  It suggests that there is a connection between class position, ethnically based network and identity and that their social networks are primarily family based and this can be tested empirically.  The competing theory of ethnic identity is advanced by Glazer and Moniyhan, and this is called the politicization of ethnicity.

            Daniel Bell, noted social scientist, advanced the argument that politics is increasingly replacing the market mechanism as the chief instrument for the distribution of advantages in society.  Therefore, since politics considers only group claims and not individual claims, there is a need and an imperative for ethnic group consciousness.

            But others said, the politicization of ethnic groups is just an intrinsic feature of the growing complexity of our society, which is in its advanced stage known now as the post‑industrial society.

            According to this view, the ethnic identity of people is strongly linked to political attitudes, to political participation and to collective behaviour.  More likely than not, the ethnic group members will be involved in some political causes within or beyond the national boundaries; for example, the involvement of the Irish with the status of the Catholics in Northern Ireland or of the Jewish people with the case of the state of Israel.

            Some claim that ethnicity is sometimes a revival of the old identities after they have adapted to the new molds of life in the new society that they have adopted for themselves.  In other words, Hansen advanced the proposition that what the son wishes to forget, the grandson wishes to remember, saying that usually in the third generation there is a revival of one's own ethnic identity after they have successfully adjusted to the present style of life in the society of the country which they have adopted for themselves, such that there is a perception of renewed interest bound up with ethnic language, for example, ethnic literature, with ritual, ethnic festivals and the celebration of their ethnicity.

            As proof of this, in our university structure, for example, you will find certain departments, like Icelandic studies in The University of Manitoba, emphasizing the study of a particular ethnic culture.

            Others say, this is merely symbolic.  The people actually want to identify but only in a symbolic sense; they turn to the occasional feeling of identity, eating the ethnic food and participating in their cultural activities, with really no political significance.

            Given that our society is multiracial and multiethnic and there are varying differences and distinctions among various groups in society, there are certain features or characteristics that many people cannot explain in a rational way.  For example, I myself do not understand‑‑I was born as a Catholic‑‑why it was prohibited to eat meat on Friday or at least during the holy day weekdays, and I was told when I was young, if you eat meat, you go straight to hell.  I would be ashamed if I reached the place, along with murderers and rapists and child molesters, when they ask me, what are you in here for?  I would probably be ashamed to say, I had a Big Mac.  So there are certain cultural characteristics that cannot be explained by the rational mind, but they are part of our cultural upbringing.

            Because of these differences in behaviour and characteristics and qualities, it is sometimes difficult for some groups of people to make the necessary adjustment, especially in a society like ours, which is a model that we call the mosaic model of society, as distinguished from the model of society dominant across the border which is the assimilative model of society where everybody is supposed to merge and forget their past identities and become simply an American.  Here we are allowed to retain and maintain our particular unique characteristics and qualities and even get some government funding for maintaining your own traditional features and characteristics.  I do not know what the disadvantages or advantages are of these two competing models of society, but we have chosen our own model and we have to, for example, accept the consequences flowing from such an acceptance.

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            What is meant by formal justice as a principle, as a doctrine, in modern civilized society?  According to Perelman, formal justice is the principle in which beings of one and the same category must be treated in the same way.  In other words, persons similarly situated should be treated similarly.  I say, if justice means equality of one individual with any other individual, and equal treatment as such, who is to be equal with whom?  We must be equal to every other individual in a certain sense, or one group must be equal to every other group in another sense; but we must understand another element of the notion of equality relationship, which is the domain of equality.

            The domain of equality refers to things that are to be distributed and allocated equally, but there are only certain classes of things that are recognized to be allocated equally, for we know that the doctrine of equality is not factually based.  In fact, it is a doctrine that is contrary to what we actually observe in life, to the biological and social fact of life.

            I have alluded to this before in the sense that it is simply a moral rule of conduct.  This doctrine of equality is, in fact, counterfactual in the sense it does not depend on its validity upon the empirical fact of what we can observe around us.

            To put it in the correct phraseology, it is prescriptive equality rather than descriptive equality, because you can hardly claim as a factual, empirical description that people are equal in appearance, in physical strength, in intelligence, level of intelligence and other observable characteristics.  Even identical twins are not equal in any sense because there is at least some single identifying quality that distinguishes one of the pair from the other.

            When Thomas Jefferson said in the American Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, he was not describing human beings in their natural setting.  He was making a declarative statement.  He was making an exhortation, a command that we should treat people as if they were equal, although we know fully well that they are not.

            In other words, it is an ethical and a political doctrine. That doctrine emerged as a reaction, as a moral weapon against the privileges of status and the privileges of birth that had been characteristic of the old feudal order of society.  At the very least, this doctrine of equality condemns the use of differences based on the status of birth or on family status or on sex or on gender.

            We know that even the traditional political philosophers, like Hobbes and Locke, have accepted the basic inequality.  In the sense of Hobbes, he mentioned and sanctioned clearly and accepted clearly the doctrine of the enormous inequalities in which begin the power of the sovereign and the power of the subject.  Whereas with Locke himself, his own brand of liberalism justified the great inequalities in the distribution of property; the consent of the use of money was assumed.  There are these political and economic inequalities that are all the time present in the social system.  What we are trying to prevent and to preclude in our society is the American or what we call the first order type of discrimination.

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            If the society is riddled with racism and discrimination such that it is curtailing the opportunities and rights of minorities to equal opportunity of obtaining a job or securing secure economic stability in their family or in their home life, then that society will be risking substantial social unrest.  If no remedy can be found, people in the workforce would likely be so frustrated that in all likelihood there might erupt some violent reaction in certain sectors and segments of society.

            What we are looking for, therefore, is some kind of a formula by which we can find and restore the situation of equal opportunity without at the same time bolstering and accepting the recurrence of first order discriminatory treatment.

            Ronald Dworkin had offered this utilitarian formula when he mentioned two fundamental rules or principles which make a distinction between what he calls the right to equal treatment as against the right to be treated as an equal.  The right to equal treatment Dworkin defines as the right to equal distribution of some goods or some benefits.  So, if a person has the right to some equal distribution of anything, then he has satisfied the concept of right to equal distribution.

            On the other hand, the right to be treated as an equal refers to something else.  It is not a right to receive any particular good or benefit, but rather it is the right to be treated with the same respect and the same concern as is offered to anybody else.  In this respect, to any member of our society it is very significant that he be accorded the right to be treated equally. That is to say, we should give due respect to every member of our society.  We should give due concern to his or her own interest just like anybody else.  That is what is known as integrity.

            If those who are in positions of temporary authority in society are by their behaviour not following this rule of equal treatment, then there will be what we call discriminatory treatment, which is a defect in the social relationship in a society we call a democratic society.  However, in certain respects under particular circumstances, if the overall gain to the community is greater than the overall loss, there might be some form of public policy which may be looked upon as a departure from equal treatment.  That is in accordance with distributive justice, the distribution of public goods by public authorities to every member of society.

            It is required, according to Aristotle, that a government acting as the public authority should act equitably in the distribution of public goods and services among the members of society, among the citizens.  For example, this government:  If this government in its function as the temporary governor or ruler in this province are distributing educational opportunities in an inequitable way, as evidenced by their larger allocation of public resources to some segment of the private school system, and then depriving the public school system of such financial support, then we can say that the government is not acting equitably and is violating distributive justice because it is placing greater opportunity to certain segments of the population and less and less opportunity to other segments of the population.

            If it is the poorer elements of our society who are least able to sustain and support themselves in order to improve their well‑being by the pursuit of educational opportunities, then we can conclude that such a government, if such be the case, is even oppressive in the sense that it is taking the opportunity from those who are least able to have the opportunity because of lack of resources to improve themselves as citizens of the country or the state.

            It is therefore very difficult for any group in temporary position of authority and rule in society to make the equitable distribution of goods and services because of this constant intrusion of the idea of self‑interest and self‑protection.  No ruler is entirely devoid of self‑interest, and if they consider themselves as part of some particular group in society they would eventually subconsciously, whether they are doing it deliberately or not, be diverting the public resources for the benefit of those groups by which they identify themselves.  That leads to the institutionalized inequalities because the rule makers now are the ones who make the rules, and they are the ones who enforce the rules, and they are the ones who interpret the rules.

            They are making all these rules, all in favour of some particular group and against other groups in society.  How can that be rectified?  Even if you appeal to the institutions of any particular society, the occupants of those positions in those institutions to arbitrate all these disputes of inequality and justice are in themselves the guardians of those interests, of this group that they wish to protect.

            Hence, this debate about the wisdom of new forms of public policy like affirmative action policy.  Affirmative action relates to a conception and an idea and a principle which attempts to bring the members of the underrepresented groups, usually those groups that have suffered discriminatory treatments in the past, into a higher benefit, a higher degree of participation in some beneficial program just to rectify their historical underrepresentation.  Some affirmative action programs may include preferential treatment.  Other affirmative action programs may not include preferential treatment.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member's time has expired.

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Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to rise at this time‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  On the grievance?  Okay.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, I was wanting to comment on the issue of gambling this afternoon, but just prior to doing that I want to add a couple of remarks to what the member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale) has put onto the record. [interjection] My apologies, the member for Broadway (Mr. Santos).

            The incident that had occurred a couple of weeks ago, in fact, occurred to a constituent of mine, and, Mr. Speaker, I can somewhat understand in terms of why it is that so many people are very upset.  I know on the day of the incident I received a telephone call from my constituent expressing some concerns about what had occurred at the Superstore, and I believe that something did in fact occur.  From what I understand and in talking to the mother of the child, the cashier had searched the six‑year‑old child's pocket, which is, in fact, a clear violation.  That today is not being questioned, and I understand the store itself has apologized for that.

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            The greater issue is the one of the racial slur that has been alleged that occurred.  I talked to the lady shortly after the incident and believe that something in fact did occur because she did not have any reason to give me a call.  We discussed it for 15 to 20 minutes over the telephone, and the suggestion that I had made to her at the time was to look at bringing it to the Human Rights Commission, to possibly getting a lawyer to look into the aspect of the search in the pockets.

            What disturbs me about this whole issue has been the lack of action from the Superstore in dealing with and trying to come to grips with this issue with this one particular community.  I would argue that it has an impact on all of the different ethnic communities, and I would only hope that Superstore will come to grips with this particular issue, sit down with some of the community leaders and, particularly, the family, the mother, and the grandmother, and try to resolve it.

            I just wanted to say those very few words on it and go right on to the grievance and the purpose as to why it is I wanted to stand up today.

            Mr. Speaker, today in Question Period, once again we have seen an announcement from a government in a very ad hoc way in dealing with an issue that has been ongoing for the last number of years.

            I want to do a bit of backtracking.  We all recall, Mr. Speaker, when the casino was first announced, the Crystal Casino.  When it was announced, it was said that all of the proceeds, revenue generated from the casino would go towards health care.  I argued the reason for the tie to health care was more to try to justify the whole issue of gambling.  So if individuals felt that gambling was not what they would favour but they were concerned about the state of health care, if the money was going towards health care then they might be a bit more sympathetic to allowing the casino to come into being.

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

            Shortly after the casino, we had the government announce the VLTs.  There were two reasons why they brought in the VLTs.  One was for the hotel industry scattered throughout rural Manitoba. The second reason was because they were wanting to provide rural economic development.

            Now, with respect to the hotel industry, Madam Deputy Speaker, it has been very successful.  You have seen that the number of individuals attending these rural hotels where the VLTs are has gone up.  You will find very few complaints from within the industry in terms of the impact of the VLTs with respect to attendance at their local facilities.

            The issue I was wanting to talk about, on the second one, is with respect to why it is they brought‑‑the second issue‑‑in the VLTs.  That was justified by saying, again, all revenues and proceeds would go back into rural Manitoba, into rural economic development.  They created a program called REDI, the Rural Economic Development Initiative.  The commitment at the time, Madam Deputy Speaker, was to take all of those revenues and put them back into rural Manitoba.

            Then, we are going to go on by about a year when we start seeing some of the numbers coming in.  We see the numbers, in and around $30 million, coming out of rural Manitoba, out of the rural communities.  A very small portion of it, depending on whom you talk to, Madam Deputy Speaker, approximately less than 10 percent of that money went back into rural Manitoba. [interjection] No, that is not.  I would challenge the minister to demonstrate that that is not the case. [interjection] Well, I did put it on the record.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, this is in fact what the government has done.  If we say, what role or what are the government's intentions on gambling, I would argue that the plan for gambling is to raise revenue.  You know, when the minister stood up today and she made reference to the four casinos, I am going to comment on that, because there is a difference in terms of what it is that I am proposing as a leadership candidate for the Liberal Party and what the government is in fact doing.

            Their gambling is based on nothing more than additional revenues brought into government.  That is the reason why they have the VLTs.  That is the reason why they have the casino. They try to tie it to other issues in order to squash the debate on gambling itself.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, what I have tried to do, through a campaign of my own in consultation with many Manitobans, is come up with what I believe is a responsible plan in dealing with the issue of gambling.  Something, as a critic, I have been asking the government to do is to present to Manitobans what it is that they really want from gambling instead of making these ad hoc decisions.  Well, what is it that I and my campaign committee have come up with?  We have suggested that we would introduce a casino in the Gull Harbour Resort.  We have also suggested that other potential facilities, up to two more casinos that is, could be found in rural Manitoba if, in fact, it could be demonstrated that it is convention‑related tourism.

            Tourism is the biggest key here, what I want to focus on. You see, what we have said as a campaign is that the gambling policy should be based on tourism, whereas this government's policy has been to base gambling on increasing revenues for the government.  I believe that there is a significant difference. We do not know what the government is going to be coming up with next.

            We are suggesting, Madam Deputy Speaker, that in fact there is a responsible approach to this whole issue that could be taken.  Hopefully, the government will be following suit.  The Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) says, more casinos. I challenge anyone in that government to stand up and say that there are not going to be any more casinos, because if someone did say that, I would say that they are not being truthful inside this Chamber.

            We have heard rumours that this government is looking at having a casino in Brandon.  We have heard rumours that this government is looking at putting a casino on a river boat.  Madam Deputy Speaker, these are not just rumours coming from the person on the street.  We have, in fact, raised these issues in Estimates.

            The government says, yes, well, maybe we are.  We have not ruled it out.  We have not ruled this out.  We have not ruled that out.  The government is not being straightforward with Manitobans in dealing with this particular issue.  Having said that, I wanted to comment on the actual release that came out today.  The government has said in this release that $540,000 has now been put aside to subsidize those nonprofit organizations that have been losing money as a direct result.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, we have been saying for a long time now that when the government brought in the VLTs, there was a very negative social impact.  Part of that impact has been the community centres, community clubs, curling rinks, local community groups that are scattered throughout the province in terms of their abilities to be able to raise funds.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, the government has now acknowledged that has in fact been a problem, and they have come up with this $540,000.  Today, we asked questions with respect to where this $540,000 is going to come from, because, after all, the government did commit 65 percent of the revenues to go towards deficits from the VLTs, 25 percent to go towards the REDI program, 10 percent to go back to the rural municipalities.

            The minister, in her response, said that the $540,000 is not going to be coming from the VLT revenues.  Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, again, this is where I will say that they are kind of shuffling things around and trying to hide what is actually going on.  This is $540,000 that could have possibly been used for the deficit reduction.  This $540,000 is not what the government is saying, by, we are going to be taking 65 percent of the VLT revenues and putting it towards the deficit, and then saying, we are going to have $540,000 coming from somewhere else.  Where are they going to be getting that additional money from?

* (1510)

            So again what I would argue is that the reason they tied that 65 percent into the deficit reduction is because they believed the public is very sympathetic towards deficit reduction and they can throw all of the money they want into deficit reduction.  So, once again, what they are doing is they are trying to legitimize the issues of VLT gambling by saying that any revenues that are being created‑‑because now it is virtually unlimited, especially if you factor in the VLTs that are going to be moved into city of Winnipeg.  If you factor that in, you are talking about, probably in and around $60 million, $70 million a year that is going to be generated.  So they can put all the money they want from the VLT revenues into the deficit, because the deficit is not going to be taken away from VLT revenues.

            Now, they are going to come up with other programs in order to patch up, to fix up some of the things that have occurred with the VLTs being instituted throughout the province.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, if we look at it and we say, in terms of, what are some of these social impacts that have been occurring, they have been very numerous.  I have heard of tie‑ins with individuals who have committed suicide, to individuals' children falling asleep while parents are playing video lottery terminals, to individuals that are selling property in order to be able to finance this habit they have acquired because of accessibility to these machines.  There are a number of things that are happening as a direct result of the VLT machines being scattered throughout the province.

            I believe this is just one of those issues in which the government has dealt, at least in part, with today in the press release that they have issued out, but no doubt some time in the not‑too‑distant future, we will have another press release to deal with another issue, another negative social aspect of the VLT gambling out in rural Manitoba.

             Madam Deputy Speaker, I do not believe that is the best way of doing it.  In fact, the government should have had a better idea and known in terms of what was going to occur by instituting or by putting in these VLT machines throughout the province.

            Again, it goes back to the idea of this plan or lack of a plan from government.  I would ask‑‑and this is again the primary reason why I chose to stand up today‑‑that the government be forward with the people of Manitoba and tell us what it is they want to do with the issue of gambling.  Do they want to have gambling VLT machines in more than just the hotels in rural Manitoba?  Do they want to have additional casinos in different areas of the province?  Do they want to extend the hours again over at Crystal Casino?  What is it that this government‑‑[interjection] And the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) makes my point in saying that he does not know.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, that is just it.  I do not believe that this government knows what it is doing in dealing with this particular issue.  This is why we believe, or I believe, that what needs to happen is that this government has to come to grips with what it wants to be able to do.  Sitting where I am and watching and following this debate as closely as I have over the last few years, the only thing that I have concluded from this government is that its primary reason for these VLTs and casinos is nothing more than to generate revenue.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, if in fact that is the policy, then that is fine.  Government can say that, but I would ask that you do not try to confuse the issue by tying it into rural economic development, health care, deficit reduction and so forth, that you deal with the issue of gambling.  Had the government been dealing with the issue of gambling and consulted with different individuals throughout Manitoba, I am sure they would not be taking the same approach they are taking today, because I have consulted with individuals from within the hotel industry, local councillors, individuals who have played machines and so forth.

            There are some alternatives.  For the hotel industry, if it is a question of ensuring that they have patrons who are attending on a more regular basis, one has to question in terms of, would not 5‑cent and 25‑cent VLT machines suffice?  Will it not still be able to bring in or allow the hotel industry to survive if they need that form of entertainment?  Do you need to have 10, 12 machines located in each and every hotel?  It takes four times as long to lose a quarter as it does to lose a loonie.

            There are some other alternatives that could have been looked at that would have appeased the hotel industry, I believe, had the government done its homework and consulted with Manitobans, because you will find a vast number of rural Manitobans do not like having VLT machines scattered throughout the province.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I am not going to say that tomorrow you walk in and you take out every VLT machine, because it would be very easy to be able to make that sort of a statement if in fact the will is to do that.

            I believe what you can do is you can put some limitations on it.  You say that there is only going to be whatever number of machines in rural Manitoba, that no facility will have more than a set number of VLT machines, and that these VLT machines are not to say that you are going to have the primary purpose of generating revenue for government, so you can have things such as the 5‑cent and 25‑cent machines outside, I would argue, of those designated casino spots that I, in fact, am promoting.

            I am going to promote those casinos, Madam Deputy Speaker, because I do believe that, if we look to what is happening in Saskatchewan and Ontario and other jurisdictions, you are starting to see a change in lifestyle as people become somewhat more mobile.  If we want to take advantage of this, we can designate areas.  I was fairly clear in terms of what types of areas that we should be designating as those casinos.

            I do not believe, Madam Deputy Speaker, that any casino, for example, should be privately run; it has to be run through the government.  I believe, as a specific example, that Gull Harbour would be an excellent starting point.  We could put into place into Gull Harbour a casino which caters towards tourism, which would have an extra attraction to the facility.  I would caution government members from quickly ruling it out, because even the government when I was in committee had expressed some interest in doing just that.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I think that there is a place for casinos in the province of Manitoba, but I really and truly believe that it has to be tourism driven.  If it is going to be tourism driven, there are things that can be done to alleviate some of the pressures of the negative aspects of gambling.  That might mean providing funds for some of the nonprofit organizations that are out there to prevent gambling addiction. It would, I would suggest, mean having a very limited number of VLT machines in rural Manitoba.

* (1520)

            We have seen, I believe, the province of Nova Scotia withdraw VLT machines, taking them out of circulation, and this is something that I believe that the government of Manitoba should be considering to do, that they should be cutting down on the number of VLT machines that are out there, because, after all, as I say, the other reason for it was to have it for the hotel industry, to help the hotel industry.

            If this is going to help the hotel industry in terms of surviving, maybe there is a compromise that can be found.  I would suggest that that compromise would be in terms of a very limited number of VLT machines, and the 5 cent and 25 cent with the high payout, which will not lead to as many individuals getting addicted to these machines, because, as I say, if you talk to these rural Manitobans, you will find that they are very concerned about the addiction and the problems they are having as a direct result.

            If we saw the government move towards the tourism‑‑and at least in part we have seen some admission that it is not just for rural economic development and health care‑‑I believe it would be a positive thing.  I wait for the next couple of years to see if in fact, or how in fact, this whole issue develops.

            It is very easy to criticize from your seat when someone decides to take a position on the issue of gambling.  I know the government has not taken a position.  I know the NDP has not taken a position on gambling.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, that is fine.  If they do not want to take a position on the issue of gambling, that is fine.  I will continue to go out on the speaking engagements that I do enter into and I will point that out, at least, that I am quite prepared to take a responsible approach to dealing with gambling.

            Far too often, governments have tried to justify doing something by tying it into something nice, something that is perceived as the public would support.  Whether it is federal government on the GST and using the GST to say they are going to fight the deficit, or whether it is this government by now saying that they are going to be fighting the deficit with the VLT revenues, Madam Deputy Speaker, that is dishonest.

            That is not the reason the money that is being generated from either the GST or the VLTs‑‑there is no sure thing to assure us that money is going to be definitely used for deficit reduction. It might mean that they are going to use or spend money on a different line all that much more, instead of cutting back on some other area, or whatever it might be, or by spending more, that this would have been additional revenue.  It is a game of deception to the public.  I do not support that.  That is the reason why I say the government should come clean in terms of what it is they are doing.

            I had the opportunity to be out in Neepawa.  I saw a very clear example of how government tries to sidestep an issue.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) had announced and was very pleased to announce that they had come up with this wonderful rural business program that would see loans given to small business, entrepreneurs.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I agree.  It is a wonderful program. The monies, of course, were going to be coming from the REDI program.  Well, you know, it really gets me when you have the Premier announcing a program, a so‑called new program, when you know the background to it, when you know that all the VLT revenues were supposed to go back to rural Manitoba, and then when you find out that only 25 percent is going to be going to be going back in terms of rural economic development.  Then we are talking about a commitment that is now going to be coming from that 25 percent.

            So the government is coming up with programs, the so‑called new programs that they are now going to go out to rural Manitobans and say, look how wonderful we are.  We are creating a program, and this program is going to be coming from the REDI program.  The REDI program, we sold short.  We did not fulfill‑‑we did not come up with what our original commitment was.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, again, whether it is the issue of gambling or some of the other issues that have been out there, it is a sleight of hand and the art of deception.  I guess that is, at least in part, how governments have worked and have worked in the past and this government continues to work.  But it does not necessarily mean that it is right.  How can you say one thing so very clearly and then a year and a half later be making these announcements after you just finish kicking every rural Manitoban in the stomach and then saying, oh, we are pulling out the foot and here it is wonderful.

            The member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans) agrees on this point because that, in fact, is what this government is doing. You are trying to say that you are a good government.  This is what you are doing for rural Manitoba through the REDI program, but you are not being honest with rural Manitobans.  Madam Deputy Speaker, I would argue that, if REDI was such a wonderful program‑‑and I believe it is; I think that the REDI program is a wonderful program‑‑I could suggest to you a few ways in which it would be that much better of a program.  Do not go around telling Manitobans that the REDI program was a creation of the VLT revenues because that is not true.

            If the REDI program is a wonderful program, I would argue that the government would have brought it in whether the VLTs were there or not.  Would you not?  Would not the government have done that?  If you did not have the VLTs, would you not have brought in that program?

            If, in fact, we say that it is a good program‑‑and I say it is a good program.  The government applauds when I say it is a good program, but when it comes to the VLTs not being there, well, they are not too sure how good of a program that really is.

            What about issues with the Crystal Casino and some of the monies that have come out of the Crystal Casino and into health care?  Are they saying that would not have been done had the casino not been there?

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An Honourable Member:  Where would we find the money, Kevin?

Mr. Lamoureux:  Well, the minister says, where will we have found the money?  Madam Deputy Speaker, that is part of the issue.  Is the government's line to increase revenues through VLTs, and I believe that is what their line really is, to increase revenues. Yes?  No?  I believe that is really what the line of this government is; it is to increase the revenues.

            If, in fact, that is the case, then the will would have been there to have the REDI program and so forth.  For the Minister for Lotteries (Mrs. Mitchelson), the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), the casinos that I am promoting are based on tourism, are based on providing some economic activity in very selected, well‑thought‑out and planned areas.

An Honourable Member:  So you would not put that money into a REDI program then?

Mr. Lamoureux:  Madam Deputy Speaker, I am not going to mislead rural Manitobans or individuals that live in the city of Winnipeg.  I would ensure that Manitobans are getting the straight goods.

            I would have argued that the REDI program is a worthy program, and this is the reason why I support it.  But I do not believe that the government is being honest by saying that the REDI program is only there because of the VLT revenues, because if, in fact, they are saying that, I am bit disappointed.

            I would like to think that rural economic development is just as important, that that particular program would be here today. You know, I looked at the member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans), would he like to see that program here today whether the VLTs were here or not?  He says yes‑‑the member for Interlake.  At least one New Democrat agrees with me that that program should be here whether or not VLTs are here or not.

            So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I think that is responsible; that is what I believe, too.  The member for Interlake and I agree on this.  I only hope that this government would come clean and agree with me, because I think that they really and truly do agree with me.  But they are not going to admit it, because then they would be admitting that the VLTs and the casinos have been absolutely nothing but a farce in terms of where the money has been designated to.  That is what they would be admitting, indirectly.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, only because I have the minister right in front of me, I am going to give her the policy direct, just because she is sitting right in front of me. [interjection] Oh, she has read it.  Okay, I will not read it verbatim then into the record.

            I would hope that she and her government would only be as bold to say what it is that they would like, or what direction they would like to take, gambling.  I would be very pleased if the New Democrats were only as bold, because after I was listening to the scrum, and it was asked of the NDP critic of Lotteries, well, do you believe VLT machines should come into the city of Winnipeg?  The response, well, we have not caucused it yet.  It has been an issue that has been around for quite a while.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe that everyone wants to try to skate around this particular issue, and I am not going to.  I am not prepared to skate around this issue.  I am going to let, hopefully, as many individuals in Manitoba know about what I believe, and my campaign group believe, that would be a very responsible approach to dealing with the issue of gambling.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, I do believe that is what Manitobans want to hear.  If you deal with an issue in itself that you do not try to divert the issue.  If you do that, you are going to get much better public input in terms of the issue itself.  I know when I talk to some individuals about the issue of gambling, the comments are entirely different than when I talk to them about the issue of the REDI program or health care, entirely different than when I talk to them about the issue of the REDI program, or health care, entirely different.

            I do not believe that you have to tie them in together.  The government has tried to tie them in together by saying that we need those revenues in order to pay for these programs.  No, I would argue that what the government is doing is that it is saying that we want more revenues, and we are quite willing to take gambling dollars as revenue.  Then they say, in order to prevent the public from getting too upset with us, we are going to say that the revenue that is being generated is going towards something that is real nice, real nice being health care and rural economic development.

            Madam Deputy Speaker, that is what they tried to do‑‑

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert):  That is just nice?  That is not a good choice, to put the money into health and into economic development?

Mr. Lamoureux:  To the member for St. Norbert, he brings up valid point.  But we caught the government somewhat unprepared because they did not expect so much money to come in from the VLTs.  Then their priorities changed, and no longer was it just good enough for rural economic development and health care, but now they take 65 percent of it and say that is to fight the deficit, just in case they get more and more money and they cannot come up with more good ideas in which to designate it out to.

            So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to be able to conclude by suggesting to the government to be very clear with Manitobans on what it is the government's intentions are with the issue of gambling.  That is what we want, some sort of informative statement of policy from this government dealing with what it is that they want, what direction that they want to take the province of Manitoba on the issue of gambling.

            I only hope that they will look in terms of what it is that I and my campaign are promoting, and that is to have‑‑[interjection] Well, read the booklet, because if you read the booklet you will find out, or just ask the minister.  She has a copy of it, and I am sure she will be happy to give it‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member's time has expired.

* * *


Madam Deputy Speaker:  The question before the House is on the motion moved by the honourable government House leader (Mr. Manness) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a committee to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.

Motion agreed to, and the House resolved itself into a committee to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty with the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) in the Chair for the Department of Education and Training; and the honourable member for Seine River (Mrs. Dacquay) in the Chair for the Department of Agriculture.



(Concurrent Sections)




Mr. Deputy Chairperson (Marcel Laurendeau):  Order, please.  Will the Committee of Supply please come to order.

            This afternoon, this section of the Committee of Supply, meeting in Room 255, will resume consideration of the Estimates of Education and Training.  When the committee last sat it had been considering item 1.(c)(1) on page 34 of the Estimates book.

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  When we were last together, I had agreed to table at our next sitting the submission that the Department of Education made to the Northern Manitoba Economic Development Commission.  I would like to table those now.


Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Thank you.  Shall the item pass?

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  I thank the minister for that.

            We were looking, at the end of the last time, about the possible submissions or absence of a similar submission to the Rural Economic Development commission.  So I wanted to pursue that issue with the minister.  Why did the department choose not to make such a submission?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I can tell you that the department was specifically asked to make a response to the Northern Economic Development Commission.  We were not specifically requested as a department to make a response to the rural commission; however, we did send representatives to their meeting in Neepawa.  Also, as I have said, our Distance Education task force did have contact.

            I understand theirs was not a formal submission but that there was contact with our Distance Education task force and that rural economic development commission.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, could the minister tell us what the substance of her advice would be in the sense of developing educational policy in rural Manitoba and the economic context?

* (1550)

Mrs. Vodrey:  Again, in looking at the issues of rural Manitoba, some of the concerns and initiatives that we would be interested in would be somewhat similar in some cases to those of northern Manitoba, in that we would be looking at the issues of access and also lifelong learning.

            As I said the last time we spoke about Distance Education, one of the issues that was discussed with our Distance Education task force was that Distance Education need not be just confined to the K to 12 side of the department, but that people, particularly in rural Manitoba, said that they would be interested in access to Distance Education for some, in some cases, short‑term training programs as well.  Some people mentioned specific kinds of programs they might be interested in, such as business administration kinds of programs, accounting programs that would be of help to them in their businesses, particularly in some cases in farming.

            In terms of rural Manitoba, we would like to examine further the results and the impact of the task force on Distance Education because that does offer a possible way to meet some of the requests of those Manitobans.

            In addition, we also have looked to support rural schools through the small schools grant and have also paid attention to the concerns of some of the rural schools and modified our funding formula to deal with issues such as sparsity.  In some cases, in rural Manitoba, even in southern Manitoba, some schools also qualified for the sparsity grant as well, the remoteness and sparsity grant.

            So we look to the main principles of continuing to provide and looking how to develop issues of accessibility.  Also, we look to see what the issues are that have been identified by some rural Manitobans in terms of what they would be interested in. We also look at some of the formalized systems which we have presently, Assiniboine Community College being one, Keewatin Community College being one; and we look at the availability of some of the satellite programs available through Red River Community College which allows for, again, access for rural Manitobans to aspects of education and training.

Ms. Friesen:  I would like to address the issue of access as it relates to both northern Manitoba and rural Manitoba, and I wonder, since we are on the line of Planning and Policy‑‑and I am trying to keep my questions in that context‑‑could the minister tell us what the magnitude of the accessibility problem is in rural Manitoba?  I am thinking specifically of comments in the newspaper from Portage la Prairie, which talked about the difficulties of access to university and college education of people in the Portage area, perceived it as a far fewer percentage of students who are going on to post‑secondary education in that particular area.

            What studies has this section of the department conducted that would give us some sense of comparison of the proportion of students from rural and northern Manitoba, and we can separate the two, who are experiencing that lack of access to post‑secondary education?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I do not have any specific statistics available regarding studies of numbers of students who come from rural Manitoba or northern Manitoba, specifically, but I would say that the issue of access is one in which we have wanted to make sure that there are opportunities for those Manitobans.

            One way that we have looked at it is through the First Year by Distance Education Program which, as the member knows, allows students to take first year university without having to leave their home communities and, with that opportunity, to see if that course of study is appropriate and of interest to that student, and then to make the move in the second year if that is what the student would like and has decided to continue.

            We also look at Inter‑Universities North, which is a joint program and allows for students in the North to undertake a program of study.  Then, through our University Review, we have looked at a couple of areas.  One, we have asked the University Review to look at the issue of accessibility, and we expect to hear from them when they offer their report to government.

            In addition, that University Review, as well as looking at accessibility, we have also asked them to look at the issue of articulation.  That would mean where students had a program of study from a community college, for instance, and were living in rural Manitoba, how that program of study at a community college might then relate to a university program because, at the moment, it is very difficult for students to get credit, and we are wondering now if there is perhaps another way that we can look at it.

            Just again, a little bit more on the Inter‑Universities North, the member may know about this, but it is a co‑operative venture, as I said, among three of the universities, Manitoba, Winnipeg and Brandon, and it does deliver about 40 university courses to 20 communities which are north of the 53rd Parallel.

            The University Review, I have already discussed.  We are looking at issues of accessibility and also articulation and quality.  I have spoken about Distance Education and I have also spoken about the small schools grants as well.

Ms. Friesen:  It seems to me that the planning context is lacking.  The minister says that we have no studies and no investigations and no numbers that tell us what the needs are and, yet, there are courses being delivered, courses being selected, years at which those courses are to be delivered being selected.  We seem to be concentrating upon First Year Distance Education.  I think there might be some reason to have a look at that.

            Studies that I would be aware of suggested in terms of efficiency of learning‑‑I do not mean efficiency of access, but efficiency of learning‑‑that correspondence courses and Distance Education courses are probably more effective when people are in third and fourth year and at least have some experience of using a library, of understanding course requirements and of those kinds of studies.

            I wonder if the minister's policies have given any kind of consideration to that.  First Year Distance Education obviously fills a gap at the moment, but we do not know the full context of what is required, what the needs are.  So where is the planning in this?

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Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I have already explained the purposes of the Roblin commission and the University Review. We are asking through that process and that will provide us with information.  That information will come from research that has been done.  It will also come from the opportunity to speak with Manitobans about the plan and the areas of interest that they would like to see offered.  So there is most certainly work being done in that area.

            In addition to that, I would say that the goals of Manitoba Education are that we look at the increased level of literacy skills and we look at increased levels of critical thinking for Manitobans.  We look to provide through programming that increase in that area.  We also look for increased rates of program completion.

            So there is, as I said, the Roblin commission, which is undertaking a look at education in Manitoba, post‑secondary education at the university level, very specifically, and then Manitoba Education and Training also has some broad goals which it is working towards, and I have given the member some examples.

Ms. Friesen:  Then in terms of understanding need, the minister then is relying upon the Roblin review.  I did ask last time how many staff there are for the Roblin review who are conducting these research studies and presumably in contact with all the rural schools of Manitoba to undertake an estimate of what their need is for transition to post‑secondary education.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Well, as I said when we spoke about this the last time, I will be happy when we get to the line of the University Review, to look at the kinds of studies that have been undertaken, what the committee has asked specifically to look at.

            I used the University Review as an example of an initiative which this government has undertaken, because we were discussing particularly universities, and we were discussing particularly First Year Distance Education and what may be other options, and that is one of the reasons, that through our University Review, we have asked them to look at university education.

Ms. Friesen:  Again, it seems to me that a Minister of Education would want to have some sense of how many students are proceeding to post‑secondary education and training in the city of Winnipeg and how many are proceeding and having the opportunity to go to that in areas outside of Winnipeg.

            In rural Manitoba and northern Manitoba, it seems to me that there are particular conditions there which, if the teacher or principal who spoke on behalf of the school in Portage is right, that there are fewer opportunities and fewer people are going on to post‑secondary education proportionately from rural Manitoba, and it seems to me that that is a concern for a Minister of Education.

            I am glad to hear that the Roblin review would be looking at that.  I hope that they have the staff to deal with the kind of inquiries and range of contacts that they will need but, surely, a Minister of Education ought to have some sense of inquiry into where our post‑secondary education students are coming from.

Mrs. Vodrey:  I am informed by staff that we can get the numbers of high school graduates who go on directly to post‑secondary education.

            We take those numbers from information which school divisions provide to us, and they in fact keep those numbers.  As we progress on in the Estimates process, we will also have an opportunity to speak about a new information process which our department is now going to be entering into, because it has been difficult to have the capacity in the past, and we certainly think that there is some importance in knowing where our students are attending.  So we could get that information for the member.

Ms. Friesen:  Just to clarify that, the minister then has the numbers as reported by the school divisions rather than the particular schools?

Mrs. Vodrey:  It is by school division.

Ms. Friesen:  Does that information include people who go on to post‑secondary education outside of the province, both in colleges and universities?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, no, it is those students who go on to post‑secondary within this province.

Ms. Friesen:  Well, that is odd.  Why would they not know who is going on outside the province?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, the information that we receive is university information from MAST by school divisions.  We tabulate that with the number of graduates within the province. That information is merged together.  So that is how we have received the information and, at this point, we are able to report it.

Ms. Friesen:  I thank the minister for that, but I still do not understand why such information from MAST would not‑‑since it is exit information, it is not entrance information from the university‑‑why would that not include the people who are going to college, for example, in Saskatchewan and Alberta, which I gather there are numbers of students who are, and those who are going to universities outside the province?

            If I may continue, the issue that I am trying to address here is essentially what are the futures of students from each of the regions of Manitoba?  So that it is not so much what the pressure is upon the universities, I mean that is a different question and we will look at that later.  It is an issue of the exit opportunities of students in different parts of the province.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, I can tell the member that CMEC, the Council of Ministers of Education, is looking at this information as well, with a subcommittee on university entrance. So through that subcommittee, we may, as ministers, also be able to look at a system through CMEC.

            Also, as I said, we are looking at our own new information system, and through our own new information system, we look to be able to track students in a much more effective way.  So that is another way in which we will be able to, I think, be more precise in tracking our students.

            However, I think it is very important to acknowledge what has been done so far in looking at the needs.  As I have said, so far we have acknowledged and looked at the needs of rural and northern Manitobans through the Distance Education task force. They did look at what might assist students in rural and northern Manitoba in terms of staying engaged in a program of study, whether it would be a short‑term training program or whether it would be a longer term program of study.

            We also fund FYDE the First Year by Distance Education Program, through the universities.  Our colleges are moving to governance and our colleges will then be more responsive within their own regional area.

            One of the other areas of interest to us is to make sure that what is offered at the community colleges is well known within the regions and that it responds to the regional needs and the regional interest.  We believe that as it has moved now to board governance with the two‑way communication that I have spoken about during our past few sessions that we will get more of that information out into the community.

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            I add also that we have commissioned the University Review, which is also looking at the issues of accessibility across Manitoba.  That is four or five examples of what is being done. We have one future initiative with our new information system and then we have CMEC examining the issue also.

Ms. Friesen:  The issue I am pursuing is, what is the information base that you are working from and why can school divisions not tell us who is going to university and college in Manitoba and why can they not tell us, which is what I understand from your response, the locations that they are going to college and university outside?

            The Council of Ministers of Education, I am glad to hear that there is some movement there.  In fact, one would be glad to hear of any movement on the part of the Council of Ministers of Education; it is one of the slowest moving bodies of any kind of federal‑provincial co‑operation.  You would not be the only minister, I think, who would agree with that.  I think ministers in previous governments were.

            The new tracking system, I am interested in that.  I think that is quite probably a very interesting and could be a very productive use, but that is going to take some time to kick in.

            What I am asking for is now, because what you are doing is, you are developing a series of programs and you have a perception of need presumably.  What is that perception based upon and how do we deal with the perceptions of people in rural Manitoba or in parts of urban Manitoba who are essentially saying, we do not have the same access to post‑secondary education as others do? Are they right?  That is really all I am trying to track down.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, again, in relation to the CMEC, the member might like to speak to her colleague the Minister of Education in Ontario, who is chairing CMEC right now and who may provide her with a slightly different perspective.

            The other issue that I would like to say is, the member has asked again for statistics, and I have spoken about the statistics we receive at the moment, how we intend to look at a more inclusive information system.  Statistics are one way in which information may be collected, and we have also engaged in a number of other projects, a number of other initiatives to gather information about northern and rural Manitoba.  I have listed those initiatives.  Some of those initiatives rely on Manitobans directly reporting to us how they see the issue and how they would like to see the issue develop.  We have taken those individual talks very seriously.

            We are looking to provide responses and, as I look for the information from the University Review, I look to see what its recommendations are and what the impact might be.  I have a feeling the member is looking only at numbers and I wanted to let her know that we have also looked at a way of gathering information about Manitoba that does not rely strictly on a statistical study but, instead, has relied on the opportunity to speak to Manitobans.  The information that we have gathered has been through personal meetings.  It has been through task force reports.  It has been through meeting with representative groups such as trustees and teachers and it has also been worked on at the staff level in terms of committees and representative committees in which people serve.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, yes, of course, quantitative and qualitative replies are very important and both are useful.  What I am simply asking for is a verification that the assumption that is there and that is reported in newspapers in Brandon and Portage, for example, that rural students do not have the same access to post‑secondary education as others, that there is a basis for that.

            Does the minister believe there is a basis?  On what grounds does she believe there is a basis?  What is the magnitude of the issue?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I think that is an important part of our mission statement that we have looked at the need for literacy and education and training for all Manitobans.

            The member is speaking about two specific areas of the province.  As I have said to her, we have made efforts to gather information about these areas and other areas of Manitoba and to look at what the needs are in all of these areas.  The verification, the very specific verification that she is looking for, we may be able to provide when the information system is operative.  But what we have understood is that Manitobans need the opportunity to have‑‑it may be short‑term training programs, it may be access to our larger institutions, and we are making an effort.

            Again, I remind her, we have moved the colleges to governance.  That is one way in which we have tried to make our community colleges more accessible and more responsive.  We are also undertaking a university review and that university review will look specifically at our university education.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, does the minister believe that rural Manitoba students have the same accessibility to post‑secondary education, universities and colleges, as do students in Winnipeg?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we would recognize that the needs of students across Manitoba may be varying.  They may be somewhat different in terms of what their needs are, depending on where students live in this province.  We attempt, through a number of initiatives, to look at what the kind of need is that students have in different parts of the province.

            Sometimes it may be the opportunity for First Year Distance Education so that they can look at a sampling of university education.  It may be other kinds of programming, so we are looking across Manitoba to the needs.  We recognize needs in different areas are somewhat different and may require somewhat different supports or somewhat different initiatives, and that is why we have undertaken to look at a number of issues.

            I keep going back to saying the issue of the University Review is looking at issues of accessibility.  Our Distance Education task force is looking at accessibility and the use of Distance Education to provide some kinds of training and education on the K to 12 level.  Then we will have some students who wish to come to our community colleges.

            So we are looking to provide students across Manitoba‑‑because we realize, too, their choices will be different.  Their needs will be different and their choices will be different.  So when I look at our K to 12 model of funding, I can say that looks to accessibility, and accessibility and equity are guiding principles.  I know that when we were together the last time, we spoke a little bit about a long‑range plan.  We spoke a little bit about a plan in terms of education.

            I just remind the member that when we released our strategic plan in 1991 it did include a mission statement.  This Ministry of Education in this province is the very first to share its direction with the public.  We did believe that it was important that the public understand and see the path that we would like to move along.  We have shared that with the public, and the public has given that a great deal of, first of all, scrutiny‑‑they looked at it‑‑and then support.

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Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the minister wants to talk about differences, variabilities, different needs.  It seems to me that we are working in a fog, because there is no comparable basis of data across the province that she seems prepared to put on the record.  Vision statements are fine.  Acknowledgement of differences is fine.  What are the differences?  Where are they? Whom do they affect?  Does the minister believe, for example, that the children who graduate from school in Portage la Prairie have the same level of accessibility to post‑secondary education as students who graduate from suburban Winnipeg, for example?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, again the member is relying on a statistical method to determine differences.  That seems to be our point of some difference at this point, because when I provide information which is not just statistical but which relies on our information which comes from representatives of those areas, from individuals themselves, that personal information from Manitobans does not seem to satisfy the member. Then when she spoke about a plan, I reminded her of the plan that we have and it is the first plan in Canada that has been shared by a ministry across Canada.  That plan does not seem to be the right one for her, in terms of what she is looking for.

            We have recognized the differences in regional location.  We do recognize that a large portion of Manitoba's population lives in remote communities or rural communities.  Many live on reserves.  Many do have a different type of access to post‑secondary education.  We are looking at addressing these issues.

            The three universities, in Winnipeg and also Brandon, are co‑operating and offering courses in arts and science and education to those northern communities, those communities north of the 53rd Parallel, through the Inter‑Universities North project, which I have spoken about already this afternoon.

            Each of the community colleges has satellite campuses.  I spoke about the fact that there are satellite campuses.  In these campuses there is a variety of full‑time and part‑time courses which are offered.  The fact that they are both full time and part time provides a range of accessibility for students.  The communities included in the satellite network are communities such as Winkler, Portage la Prairie‑‑that has been a specific area which the member has spoken about‑‑Selkirk, Steinbach, Dauphin, Russell, Flin Flon, in addition to main campuses at Brandon, The Pas, Thompson and Winnipeg.

            I want to remind her again that we have taken action.  I think that is an important part of what this government has done.  We have not just relied on a statistical study, but instead, we have taken what Manitobans have told us, and we have provided an action plan.  We do have the availability in some of those communities where the member has expressed concern about access.  I have just related to her what some of those programs are.

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  I think the honourable member for Wolseley is tired of hearing the same old broken record here today.  It is clear that the minister has indicated that she just does not have the quantitative data that the member was asking for.  Is that clear?  Just say yes or no and do not tell us all the programs you are doing.  We know about the things that are happening, and we know that it needs improvements, but we do need to know whether you have that data or not.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I have explained to the member the data that we have.  I have explained the data that comes from MAST.  I have explained the data which we have on high school graduation.  I have explained how we merge that information together.  I have explained to the member also that we are moving towards a new information system in the Department of Education which will allow us to have a more comprehensive view of what Manitobans are doing.  I have explained to the member also the project underway in CMEC.

            So I have given her a number of cases in which we have statistical information.  Then I also explained to the member that relying on statistical information is only one way to look at the issue and that we have also taken a broader view than statistical information, where we have arrived on direct face‑to‑face consultation, reports of task forces, and that we also have ongoing information coming from a university review. We have just moved to college governance.

            So I have explained a full range of ways in which we have gathered information.  I followed that up with her by letting her know the action that we have taken.  I have given her examples of the action which this department has already in progress across Manitoba.

Mr. Plohman:  Yes, and I am going to deal with some other issues, but I do want to get clarification whether the minister has said that the one way‑‑and I acknowledge that it is one way of making judgments.  The statistical information, is it available to track students from various areas of the province to various destinations and outside the province as well as within?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I have explained to the member the information which comes to us from MAST, and also with our graduation rate, speaks to students' post‑secondary choices within our province, and that the Council of Ministers of Education is looking at a way to see, through a subcommittee on universities, how we can look at students across Canada and what their attendance is at other institutions.

            I have explained with our new information system that we look to be able to provide even more comprehensive, statistical information.  However, I come back to saying, it is one way to look at the issues.  We also are wanting to look at what people's express views are and what it is that they would like to have in their communities.

Mr. Plohman:  Certainly that is important, and I just simply ask the minister about this one way, the statistical information. Does she have it or not, in terms of the tracking of students?

            I mean, it is nice to say I have explained this and I have explained that.  So it would be very easy to just say yes or no or we are working on it, we hope to have it next year, we do not now, whatever, but tell us clearly whether you have it or not at the present time, the information, because‑‑[interjection] No, the minister has not said it.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, let me repeat again then what I just said.  The information that we have which comes from the Manitoba Association of School Trustees speaks to students' post‑secondary choices within this province.  We merge that information with our number of high school graduates.  The Council of Ministers of Education, the subcommittee on university education, is looking at how we can look at students' attendance across Canada.

            We are developing a new information system in which we look to have a much broader scope of being able to have statistical information available and, as I said to the member, in the next year we hope to have more information.

            If statistical information is what‑‑and is the only way that the member would like to look at information regarding students' post‑secondary choices, then I believe that is the same answer I have given at this table at least three times.

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Mr. Plohman:  So the minister says she does not have it, she hopes to have it soon, and we acknowledge that it is only one way to look at the kinds of decisions used as data for decisions that are necessary in providing a responsible and responsive education system throughout the province.  That is acknowledged.

            However, we hope that we can follow this up with the minister and that indeed the Council of Ministers will move quickly, and, if the minister is not able to get this data on her own, or provide a system in the province as to where Manitoba students go, that she will be able to determine that more readily once the council ministers have that information.

            I wanted to ask the minister about a couple of other issues‑‑


Point of Order


Mrs. Vodrey:  Again, I would not want to leave false information on the record by that member.

            Let me tell him again.  We have information which relates to where students attend within Manitoba.  The member seems to, with a very broad brush, say that that is not available.  I do not want him to leave information that is incorrect on the record. We have that information and‑‑

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The honourable minister does not have a point of order.  It is a dispute over the facts.

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Mr. Plohman:  So the minister has the information as to where the students attend in Manitoba but not throughout the rest of the country, and that is the information we have asked the minister to provide.  She said she does not have it, so now that is clear.  It took a long time to get that answer.


Point of Order


Mrs. Vodrey:  I would just like to clarify again.  It is how many students‑‑not exactly which institutions‑‑it is how many students progress into post‑secondary study in this province.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The honourable minister did not have a point of order.  It was a dispute over the fact.

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Mr. Plohman:  So all the minister has is how many, but she does not have from which area of the province and to what institution within the province or without?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I will tell him again.  We have information from within this province, and we will look to provide, when we have a new information system, when we have information from the Council of Ministers of Education across Canada, and to have further information, further statistical information, which the member seems to be relying very specifically on.

Mr. Plohman:  Well, we were asking only in this particular context of statistical information.  It does not mean that it is the only information that we require.  I think the member for Wolseley has quite clearly provided that information in the proper context earlier on in the questioning that was done.

            Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I wanted to ask the minister about the issue of parental involvement.  In one of the statements made by the minister the other night when she talked about this branch, and the kinds of things that were being deliberated in her department, she talked about policy statements and documents that were being developed on such issues as teacher training, parental involvement, assessment standards, gifted children, adult education and special needs.

            Just on the issue of parental involvement in the public education system, can the minister tell us whether she has a policy statement on that at the present time?  This is an issue that was raised in the legislative reform report that the minister had for some six months before releasing, and it is also one of great concern to the public, I think, in terms of having input into the education of their children, and it is an important, and therefore, topical and current issue.  Would the minister be able to provide some information as to how she views it?  In what type of structure does she see it within the school divisions, at the school level, whatever, and how she sees it working in the governance of the public schools?  What kind of role does she see parents having in the governance of the public school system?

Mrs. Vodrey:  We believe that the involvement of parents within the school system is very important, and certainly we are pleased to see that particular recommendation by the task force who just reported on legislative reform.  We believe too that children can benefit when their parents become involved in the education at the school level, and this was indicated in Strategy 66 of the High School Review and Answering the Challenge that the department is committed to finding ways in which parents and communities can be encouraged to become more involved in the education of their children.

            The department established the Student Support Branch in 1992 to improve the educational outcomes of students at risk, and parent involvement is a program priority for this Student Support grants program.  Educational programs designed with strong parental involvement can enhance the academic accomplishments and the social development of at‑risk students in particular.  In 1992‑93, approximately 85 schools in 32 school divisions received funds to involve parents in the education of their children.

            The funded programs were in the following categories, home school programs.  These programs were designed to promote more effective parent‑school communication about school programs and children's progress, and they included home visits, increased phone communication, school newsletters, information on skills required of students, increased parent‑teacher conferences, and informal parent evenings.

            A second program was the early school years language development programs.  These programs assisted children from kindergarten through Grade 4 with language difficulties by providing specialized programming and involving parents so that school learning is supported in the home.  This provides some specialized training for the parents.

            We also funded early literacy programs.  These programs promote parent‑child, in the K to 4 area, literacy activities in the home that are co‑ordinated with the classroom reading and writing, and they include home reading and writing programs.  We also looked at home math programs, and these programs promote parent‑child math activities that reinforce math skills by co‑ordinating the activities with the children's classroom programs.

            Other titles of programs are the family intergenerational literacy programs, parent education programs, parent volunteer mentor programs, services to immigrant students and families, and programs for adolescent parents.

            Mr. Deputy Chair, as well, the Student Support branch has developed parent‑involvement resources for schools.  This includes Home and School Reading Programs:  A Handbook For Teachers.  It also has provided Learning, Living and Loving Language:  A Handbook For Parents.  Also, the Student Support Branch has developed a document, Parents and Schools, Partners in Education.  I will be pleased to table a copy of that for the member the next time we are sitting together.

Mr. Plohman:  Just for clarification, did the minister say she is going to table her policy statement on parental involvement or one small part of it?  I did not catch that.

Mrs. Vodrey:  We have worked, the Student Support Branch has worked, and we have developed a document and this document is called Parents and Schools, Partners in Education.  This document assists schools in designing parent‑involvement programs to meet the needs of parents and their children.

            It also discusses the benefits of parent involvement and the ways that schools may involve difficult families and families that are difficult to reach in terms of their involvement and ways to try and bring children in and bring families in.  That document I will be happy to table for the member.

Mr. Plohman:  I would very much appreciate having that at the next sitting before the Estimates for this department.  I appreciate the minister providing us with that document.

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Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chair, I just wanted to clarify something the minister said earlier and that is she would provide the information that she receives from the school divisions on the transfers to post‑secondary education.

Mrs. Vodrey:  For the member, I know she is interested in statistics.  Yes, we can provide that information.

Ms. Friesen:  I thank the minister for that.  I wanted to go back to the same issue, perhaps to quote one of the honourable members of this House who says that rural children have always had a tougher time getting into post‑secondary education.  I wonder if the minister believes that situation has changed, and could she tell us how its changed?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I did recount for the member a number of initiatives which are ongoing, which have provided support and have assisted in access for rural Manitobans to access post‑secondary programs, whether they are programs through the colleges, whether they are university programs through Inter‑Universities North or whether they would be training programs.

            So there has been a recognition of the need to assist all Manitobans, and assisting all Manitobans to recognize that Manitobans who live outside of the city of Winnipeg or the city of Brandon, specifically, may have other kinds of needs.  We have put in place action to assist those Manitobans.

            Again, I point to the satellite offices and programs which are full‑ and part‑time for our community colleges.  I think that is another example in the range that I have also looked at.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, well, the minister is yet again reading a list of programs.  The issue I am asking for is change.  I am asking, have things changed under this government, under other governments?  If the minister believes that her programs are effective, presumably she will say that there has been access under this government.  If so, let us see that.  I think everybody would welcome that.

            The point I am making is, if you do not know where you start, how do you know that there has been change and that access has been improved?  Are there steps being taken, even given the relatively simple mechanisms we have now of providing that kind of information, that base information, of giving us some sense of what the effect of these programs is?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, in terms of the programming I was speaking about, it was not the reading of a list.  It was providing for the member some information, again, which I have already spoken about.

            She asks, under this government, what have we done?  We have expanded the satellite areas or campuses for our community colleges.  We have also expanded our literacy programs.  Before this government came into power, there was not a literacy office, there was not the literacy office responsible for literacy programming.  That literacy programming provides community‑based programming, and it is funded also through rural Manitoba.  There is funding within the city of Winnipeg and the city of Brandon; there is also funding through rural Manitoba.

            So when the member asks, how have things improved, I point to those two examples to say, when our goal is to increase literacy, when our goal is to increase accessibility and availability, there are two examples that this government has been able to provide.

Ms. Friesen:  Perhaps the minister misunderstood my question.  My question was:  How has accessibility of university and post‑secondary education changed in rural Manitoba over X number of years, and how does the minister know that it has changed since the minister does not know the range of differences between rural and urban Manitoba and/or northern Manitoba?  That is really all I am asking for.  It seems to me a relatively simple thing for a minister to say, yes, that would be interesting information to have and, yes, it would help in our planning and, yes, that is something that any government should be doing.

            I am not particularly, at this stage, in a question of policy and asking for information making this a partisan issue, but the minister persists in listing programs and not answering the question.  It really seems to me very self‑defeating both of the process that we are in now and wasting the time of a considerably large number of her staff.  I simply do not see the point in it.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the member asked me, in her question:  What has the improvement been?  We can, perhaps, check the record, but the question was, under this government.  So I did provide her with information about how we have expanded opportunities and accessibility under this government.  I have spoken about, in the post‑secondary area, I gave the example of the expanded satellite programs in our community colleges.

            When I look at all Manitobans, and if the member only wants to speak of post‑secondary, but I thought her interest also included training, and the training spectrum includes the literacy programming.  So I provided her with answers which dealt with a portion of the spectrum of educational opportunities available for Manitobans.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, my questions have dealt with the transition from high school to post‑secondary education in colleges and universities.  That has been in the entire line of questioning.

            My question is, how does the minister know that change is occurring?  We know that it has always been difficult for rural and northern Manitoba students.  How does the minister know what change is occurring and whether it is improving or whether it is deteriorating?  Are, for example, these Distance Education programs simply taking up the slack of students who can no longer now afford to come into Winnipeg or Brandon?  Are we, in fact, educating the same proportion of students simply through a different way, a different method?  Are we, in fact, giving greater accessibility in the sense of greater opportunities to rural and northern Manitobans through these programs?  My point is, if you do not know where you start from, how do you have any sense of evaluation?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I think the member knows that university enrollment has continued to rise over the past few years.  So we are not just looking at a same pool of students which are now doing First Year Distance Education which take away from the numbers of students who might enroll at university, because we know that the university enrollments have increased.

            When the member asks for assessment, First Year Distance Education has just undergone an assessment.  We will be able to look at the assessment, and we will be able to look at the assessment in relation to what is being proposed through our Distance Education task force.  So when the member is suggesting that there has not been any way to look at the changes and any way to look at the accessibility to post‑secondary, I go back again to saying we have expanded the college campuses to satellite campuses.

            Within those satellite campuses, we have been able to provide full and part‑time programming.  We have been able to provide First Year Distance Education.  We are looking at an evaluation of that First Year Distance Education, because when we look at that evaluation, then perhaps we will be able to see what changes need to be made and how we might offer that in the most effective way.  When the University Review comes in, we will have again another opportunity to look in detail about accessibility as one of the many issues that that commission has looked at.

            So if we are only going to focus in this discussion on post‑secondary opportunities at the colleges and the universities, I think that I have been able to provide her with information from the University Review, First Year Distance Education and our expanded college campuses.

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Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, yes, the minister has provided a lot of information, but the minister does not seem to be able to relate it to the question that I am asking.  For example, she has now argued that university enrollment has expanded, and yes it has.  But who is enrolling in university? For example, are our universities‑‑the teacher training program at Brandon, for example, is it increasingly rural Manitoba students who are registering there or is it people from Ontario or Saskatchewan?

            What is the relationship between the expansion of university enrollments and the question which I have been asking for some time now and that is the increased accessibility of opportunities to rural and northern Manitoba?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, at the moment the universities do not report to us specifically where their student population comes from.  It may be that it will be a recommendation of the Roblin commission that the universities do begin to report or at least look at regionalization of where students come from and those who come from outside of the province.  They do not report it in that way at the moment.

Ms. Friesen:  Well, that is right, so why did the minister offer that as a piece of evidence that there was a greater accessibility for rural Manitoba students?

Mrs. Vodrey:  The question was, with First Year Distance Education, did that take away from the enrollment at the university main campuses.  My response to her was, with First Year Distance Education, enrollment in universities continues to rise.

Ms. Friesen:  It still does not answer the question.  The enrollment may be rising because of people coming from outside of the province or it could be an increase of enrollment from people within Winnipeg.  We seem to be going around in circles and I really can express, I think, my disappointment.

            I was looking for a discussion of policy of the kinds of things that any government in Manitoba would want to know at the level of policy and planning that we do not know now, that there are a lot of assumptions which are made, programs which are based upon assumptions, programs which are based upon research, information and some statistics and some qualitative information, some anecdotal information, and really, it seems to me, not much basis for measuring change, improvement, loss, expansion, whatever.  That is really all I am looking for.  I just find it very disappointing that the minister would choose to engage in this kind of discussion.

            I would like to move on, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, to look at the overall policy of this department which I expressed in Question Period today and that is that it has every appearance in Education and Training, and I am again particularly talking about a number of particular programs, but the overall approach of the department seems to have been to take from the poor, to take from those who are at the lowest level in education.

            The kinds of things that I mentioned in Question Period were the cuts to the ACCESS programs, the loss of the Student Social Allowances, the loss of the SOSAR program, the transition to loans rather than bursaries, and today what I was specifically asking about were the 35 percent cuts to New Careers.  The minister surely must recognize that the version of that, that is so evident to people across Manitoba, is that this is a government which really is not interested in breaking that cycle of poverty, of taking the people who have no other opportunities, and giving them, first of all, some hope, and second of all, giving them an opportunity to get one foot on the ladder of education that may offer them some chance to change the conditions of their lives.

            The minister chose not to respond to that in Question Period.  So as a matter of policy, could the minister explain to us why all of the cuts seem to have been made in those areas where people have no other alternatives?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, again, I can say that the reductions that this government had to make across government were not easy decisions.  They were decisions in which there was an effort to not have to look only at one specific group.  That is why you will see that the reductions occurred across all departments.  They did not just occur to affect one single group of individuals or one single need.  The reductions did not occur in one department only.

            In the past budgets, the Departments of Education and Family Services and Health had not gone through a reduction.  There was a continued amount of increase in those departments even at times while other departments, which provide important work and important service, had to look at a reduction.  But this year, the position of Manitoba was that we had to look in all places. We had to look in all places because we recognized that if we continue to build on our debt and our deficit, that we would then have nothing that would be available for any Manitobans at all.

            The member knows, in very simple terms, if you continue to increase your debt, then you are no longer able to borrow, then you are no longer seen as financially viable.  That would not have been a good legacy to leave to any one of our children or any Manitobans when that day came.

            So this government did look at having to make reductions across all departments.  We looked to try and make them in a way that was not targeted or focused at any one specific group.  So we did have to make some reductions.

            The member asked me about New Careers, and the member has asked me about Access Programs.  I can tell her that, yes, there were some reductions in the New Careers area, but we have maintained our commitment to the type of community‑based programs that New Careers offers and that it was not targeted at any one group of people and that we certainly think the concept is important.

            I also have explained that the Advanced Education and Skills Training part of this department is now reorganizing.  In that reorganization, we will be able to look at where other kinds of community‑based programs may also be available to Manitobans so that in the New Careers area, where there has been some reduction, there will also be an opportunity for Manitobans to look across the department and see what additional kinds of programs may be available.  But we have continued our commitment.

            I can also tell the member that in the area of ACCESS, which we have discussed several times, this government has also maintained a commitment.  The federal government has changed how it will be flowing its funds for ACCESS programs.  Last year that change in commitment occurred partway through some students' programs, through their year.  It was this government that stepped in and provided the support.  It was support of over $1 million in support of those students.  That is a commitment. That is a commitment to students in post‑secondary education.

            I look at the fact that, yes, there have been some changes, but we have endeavoured to also maintain a level of commitment to these programs and to these students and also to the type of program.  So I speak about the programs specifically and then the types of programs, because we recognize that the ACCESS programs are one kind of program, New Careers are another kind of program.

            I have spoken about literacy this afternoon, several times, because literacy programs, programming within our Human Resources Centres also, all of these programs are now within one part of the department, and we will be able to look at the focus and the availability of the training and the training opportunities through the number of programs which are available.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  The hour being five o'clock, time for private members' hour.  Committee rise.



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Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Will the Committee of Supply please come to order.  This section of the Committee of Supply is dealing with the Estimates for the Department of Agriculture.  We are on item 4.(a) Agricultural Development and Marketing, page 15 of the Estimates manual.

            Would the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

            Item 4.(a) Administration.

Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Just as we were finishing in the last session, we were discussing irrigation developments, and I had asked the minister whether his department was doing an analysis of the impacts of the proposed Assiniboine diversion on the irrigation on the agricultural production downstream in the Portage la Prairie area.

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Before I answer that specific question, I would like to give the member some information she had asked about the other day on some property that MACC had sold in the Miniota area.  We have some detail on the half section and the quarter section that were involved.

            The half section, the west half of 29‑14‑26, consisted of 81 acres and had an appraised value of $16,000.  The northeast of 30‑14‑26, the quarter section referred to, had 140 cultivated acres on it.  It was appraised at $25,000.  Now, if she divides the acres into the price, she will find that the price is not much different.  So the half, obviously, is not worth twice as much as the quarter, because there are about half the acres on the half that there are on the quarter.

            The member said that the person who bought the half section had sold it immediately after and made a sizable profit.  The facts are that the individual, who bought the property, purchased it in December of '91 and sold it in January of '93 for a price, we understand, of $500 more than he bought it for‑‑not that much of a profit.  It probably did not even pay for his legal costs. The issue the member was trying to raise has no substance in fact.

            With regard to whether we are doing any studies for the downstream area of the Assiniboine, as I mentioned last day, we are offering technical assistance to a number of committees and task forces that are in operation, including the Central Plains Task Force, the Portage irrigators, the Pembina Valley Co‑op and the Agassiz irrigators association.  Extension staff are available to work with any and all and are working with those various groups.  In terms of the department doing specific studies by ourselves, no.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chairperson, I want to thank the minister for the information on that land in the Miniota area because, as I had indicated, I was not familiar with the area.  I do not know the terrain of the land.  It was brought to my attention.  I think the fairest way to get the information is to ask the minister about it.

            He did not say whether that other quarter was‑‑has that quarter been sold, the northeast of 30‑14?  Is there a price on that one as well or just the one there?

Mr. Findlay:  My understanding is, it was offered for tender. There was a successful bidder who then withdrew, did not follow through, to the best of my knowledge.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Thank you for that information.  I will convey it to those people who expressed the concern.

            Getting back to irrigation, the minister said that they just provide technical assistance.  I would have thought the department would be doing some work to see the impacts.

            There have been concerns raised in the Portage la Prairie area that they are going to be affected.  If additional water is drawn off from the river then is the department not concerned with those farmers in that area?  Would they not have a responsibility to do some analysis of what the impacts of additional lowering of the water levels would have on the people and on the agricultural production in the Portage area?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, the member for Swan River says, the lowering of the water.  I am not aware that there is any proof that there will be lowering of the water.  If there is going to be an additional draw from there, in the process of managing the water, you manage it at the headwaters to determine the actual withdrawal, and then you release the water from the headwaters to keep the flow or the volume at what you might call a "normal" level.

            We as a Department of Agriculture are concerned about all farmers all over the province, not just a selected few in certain locations.  So we work technically with anybody who wants to do anything in regard to irrigation, if that is the issue, or with any other aspect of agriculture.  So we will work with the people with irrigation interests on the Assiniboine Delta Aquifer or the people around the Portage area who withdraw from the river or people in the Pembina Valley who have interest and need for water.  We are concerned that everybody's needs be met.

            As I said the other day, it comes down to an issue of being able to manage.  Mother Nature gives us the water.  We have not figured out how to manage it yet to keep it here for use for domestic, industrial, municipal or agricultural irrigators' use. but we are pretty confident the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) has this completely in hand.  He will supply us with the water, and we will handle it responsibly.

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Ms. Wowchuk:  Can the minister tell me then, since irrigation is an agricultural issue, are licences to draw water from rivers for irrigation purposes issued by the Department of Agriculture?

Mr. Findlay:  Licences for water use are issued by Natural Resources.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chair, the minister said through the Department of Agriculture there are technical services provided for anybody that is looking at different projects, whether it be irrigation, to help them develop.  Is there anywhere or has any money been allocated from the Department of Agriculture in last year's budget or in this budget that we are now dealing with for any irrigation projects other than technical assistance?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, the member asked if we contributed dollars towards irrigation in areas other than technical assistance in the last two budgets, and the answer would be no.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Let us move to another area.  I want to ask about what other work is being done with residue management and alternate uses for straw, whether any research is being done or if there is any assistance for people who want to develop new equipment for residue management, and whether any work is being done in the department or anyone is doing any research on different products?  We hear about, possibly, a fibre board being developed out of straw.  We hear about different kinds of, possibly, fuels.  Straw has a very high energy level.  Is there any research right now?  Who would be doing it?  Where would that research be done?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, there is quite a bit of interest in how to handle straw or how to deal with the issue of excess residue after the harvest season.

            Right now, there is a research project that has been approved involving the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba, looking at the issue in a broad, sweeping manner in terms of shorter straw varieties, how it could be properly incorporated, how it could be chopped up to be incorporated.

            There are other proposals that are in various stages of analysis to determine how to manage straw, how to use it in alternate ways or how to incorporate it properly.  Several of those ideas come forward and some of them probably will bear further investigation and other ones may not.

            There is a fair bit of interest by entrepreneurs looking at whether there is a market for a by‑product of straw or whether there is a market for a piece of equipment to chop it up finer. There is some equipment now on the market that will do a pretty good job of chopping crop residue up into very small particles for eventual incorporation.

            There is a fair bit of activity and some of it has been ongoing for a while.  I would have to say that the level of activity has picked up since last fall, since there was a fair bit of an issue with regard to the volume of straw that is around.  Some people see it as a resource, as a starting product for some other kind of manufacturing or industrial activity.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chair, there was one specific case that I had with respect to equipment.  I have not got that letter with me, but perhaps a little later I can bring it back and ask whether anything is happening with that one.

            As I just look under Soils and Crops, one of the items identified is a line on bee colonies and honeybees.  There is the whole issue that the federal government is proposing to open up the border to allow bees in from the United States.  This has caused a lot of concern amongst beekeepers and has been an issue for many years.

            I raised the issue with the minister in Question Period and asked him if he would discuss this matter with his federal counterparts to discourage opening those borders.  I wonder steps the minister has taken in that area.

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, as I told the member in Question Period, the border has been closed since 1987 in response to a Varroa mite that was in the States.  What had been happening prior to that was, bee packages were being purchased in the southern states and brought up to Manitoba for use in the summertime, consisting of a queen and other bees in each package.

            The Canadian industry felt it would be appropriate to close the border to slow down the spread of the Varroa mite, knowing that bees can migrate and the mite might eventually get into Manitoba or into somewhere in Canada.

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            The department has been involved in surveys every year and have identified that the Varroa mite is present, to some extent, in a small area just north of the border in southcentral Manitoba.  Really there are no sightings elsewhere in the province, certainly of any significance.

            If the border was to be opened, there would have to be enough evidence that the packages could be treated to be sure we got rid of the mite that was in the package.  I have asked the department to get involved in that kind of research with the university. There are people in the industry that promote that the bees should be imported.  The only way we can argue against that is if the research shows that the use of phlivalvinate [phonetic] strips do not adequately guarantee that the mite is killed in the packages.

            We do not want to be importing packages that bring in the mite or any other problems that might be in the bees in the southern states.  I know some people are raising the issue of the Africanized bee, and we are not aware that it would ever overwinter here, but we will set that aside.

            I want to work with scientific data and information.  To this point in time, we believe that the process of keeping the border closed has been very effective in decreasing the probability that we will have a mite problem in the future that will require chemical treatment.

            So the position of the Canadian Honey Council and the Manitoba Beekeepers' Association is that they want to keep the border closed for the time being, but I understand they did pass a resolution along the lines of, let us investigate what we need to do if the border was open.  That is the research side of the question.  I think that it is appropriate that we do the research to determine if phlivalvinate [phonetic] strips will work, and if they will not work, then obviously we will work very hard to keep it closed.

            My understanding is, it will be closed for at least this year.  The federal government has not discussed it with us at this point, in terms of the last few months.  Certainly, we will discuss it at that federal‑provincial meeting in the beginning of July.  In previous years, we have advocated maintaining the closure because there was no way to treat the affected colonies in an economic way if the mite got in here.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Just for clarification, did the minister say that there were some in the southeast corner of the province, and if there were, what happened?  Were those colonies destroyed?

Mr. Findlay:  The area that I mentioned where there were some colonies found with the mite was south central Manitoba, more or less to say, the Killarney area.  Two years ago, colonies that were found affected were destroyed, and there was federal compensation paid.

            For the colonies found last year, our understanding is that there is an experimental process of treating those affected colonies this year, right now, the ones that have been overwintered, to determine if the treatment process will adequately control the mite that was identified in those colonies.

Madam Chairperson:  Item 4.(a) Administration (1) Salaries $105,400‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures‑‑$27,500‑‑pass.

            (b) Animal Industry (1) Salaries $1,446,100‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $510,200‑‑pass.

            (c) Veterinary Services (1) Salaries $1,338,200‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $506,000‑‑pass; (3) Grant Assistance $467,600‑‑pass.

            (d) Soils and Crops (1) Salaries $2,193,700‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $674,100‑‑pass.

            (e) Technical Services and Training (1) Salaries $1,139,200‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $633,300‑‑pass; (3) Grant Assistance $382,100‑‑pass.

            (f) Marketing (1) Salaries $342,700‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $296,700‑‑pass.

            (g) Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations ($46,100)‑‑pass.

            Resolution 3.4:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding $10,016,700 for the Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Development and Marketing, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1994‑‑pass.

            Item 5. Regional Agricultural Services.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chair, I do not have very many questions in this area, but the one area of concern or issue that often arises is that we do not have enough information in our school curriculums, enough understanding of the agricultural industry. I think that the whole public should be aware of, all people should be aware of where their food sources come from and the value of agriculture.

            In this line, we see about making an effort to make the school students more aware of the agricultural industry.  I want to ask the minister, what extra efforts are being made?  Do the home economists and other staff people get involved any way with the school programs?  Are they encouraged to do that?

            I know they are involved with 4‑H as an extracurricular activity, but what efforts are being made?  Through the department, are any efforts being made to get more agricultural‑related information into curriculums?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, there is no question that it is important in agriculture that we inform the urban public wherever, whenever possible about our industry, try to put our industry in a positive light.  Certainly that is one of the consumer awarenesses, one of the issues addressed in our Vision for the 1990s document.

            Our staff are involved wherever, whenever an opportunity arises to work with the educational system.  I guess the most formal way in which we do it is through the Ag in the Classroom committee.  Really, it is a group of citizens who have an interest in exactly this topic to be sure that we maximize our presence in the school curricula wherever, whenever possible.

            About a third of the members on the Ag in the Classroom committee are department personnel.  They are working with the Department of Education in putting together modules of education that can go into various school courses.  If there is any shortcoming, it is the fact that schools and school divisions voluntarily decide if they want to incorporate it in their curriculum.  I think it is very important that we aggressively work to achieve integration into school curricula wherever possible.

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            Staff are also involved in a speakers bureau.  In other words, when requested, they will appear and speak on topics of agriculture.  We are also working with the university's speakers bureau in career development to stimulate people in high school to look at a career in agriculture through the University of Manitoba.

Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  To follow up with what the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) was saying in regard to a request to have speakers, let us say, from the university or from the Department of Agriculture, do you keep a record of how many requests?  What is the record of the speakers going out to the communities?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, I would like to introduce two staff who just joined us here at the table:  Mr. John Neable, Director of Crown Lands; and Mr. Wayne Digby, Director of South‑West Region.

            I guess it is fair to say that the answer to the member's question is, we do not have a compilation of the number of requests.  We feel that probably each ag rep gets two or three requests in a year, but some of the staff will do it on staff time and other staff will do it outside of traditional hours almost on a volunteer basis.  It is done both in staff time and out of staff time and no record is being kept of all the occasions and appearances.

Mr. Gaudry:  In the first Expected Results here, again to follow up in this area, it mentions:  Utilize various media venues extensively to reach farmers, farm families, agri‑industry and the consumer‑‑newsletters.

            What is the budget for that kind of media or communication?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, we cannot give the member a specific budget number in terms of what it costs, because the activities are spread broadly across extension staff and come out of the expense aspect of various budget lines really.  We are involved with such things as putting columns in rural newspapers on a weekly basis, newsletters that will go out to particularly ag rep offices, Crown Lands branch offices.  We put together public service announcements that will be on radio or on TV, so we are trying to reach the public in a variety of ways, and it is difficult to put an exact figure on the cost for this.

            It is not isolated to any one group of people, it is broadly based across the department in terms of the activities.  A lot of newspapers look for that kind of input.  Sometimes I see on rural television, there will be a 30‑second public service announcement on a conservation project that is going on and the staff have done it on request by the station.  They say give us something in this area.  That is the way we get some of our information out.

Mr. Gaudry:  So you would say that the department is satisfied with that kind of communication to the communities through the radio and through the newspaper?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, the member asks if we are satisfied.  I guess the part that we are satisfied with is that a lot of this is gratis in the newspaper columns, on the public service announcements, so it is very cost‑efficient to be able to do things that way.  There will never be enough that is done, and I commend the staff for the opportunities they pick up on.  We will always pick up on as many opportunities that exist.

            Do not forget also that the marketing boards do quite a bit of this activity too in terms of advertising meat or milk or eggs, and they have these display booths at the fairs, particularly Brandon fair, the member may have noticed a group of booths.  There must have been eight or nine of them, one for pork, one for beef, one for eggs, one for milk and free samples, recipes and that sort of thing.

            It is an ongoing process by the department, by the various commodity groups and marketing boards.  We work together and share activities.  We will always do as much as we can, and I know that more is always going to need to be done because consumer awareness is very critical.  So when difficult issues come before the public like irrigation, they have an understanding that we are responsible and we are using water for the right reasons.  Whether it is a hog barn being built, they see the positive side of the location of a hog barn in an area. It creates jobs, creates economic activity, makes food.

            The job to reach the urban public will never end.  I think it will only speed up as people get more generations away from the farm and have less understanding of what we have to do in order to produce food of the high quality and high food safety that they have in the retail outlets.

Mr. Gaudry:  Again, here it says:  assist producers' efforts to conserve and improve the quality of soil and water resources.

            I know there has been discussion of soil and water in the Estimates during this process.  Could the minister tell us briefly what kind of assistance that they give to the producers in regard to soil and water resources conservation?

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Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, we have become quite involved on the conservation side with producers trying to improve our activities on conservation of soil and water and managing soil in a very agronomically responsible way.  Back in 1990, the Farming for Tomorrow program started.  It was federal and provincial money.  We set up soil and water associations across the province, and there are 44 of them.  Sometimes it is two municipalities, sometimes it is three or four municipalities. This has been a very effective way to use minimum dollars to promote people to do some of the things that they think are important in their region.

            These associations are run by local people‑‑councillors, farmers, interested people‑‑and they lease out equipment for farmers to use, whether it is a zero till drill or whether it is an air seeder or whatever, and plant trees, grass down gullies and that sort of thing.  Small incentive grants are given to the farmers so much per acre or so much for trees.

            I will just give you some of the practices that are being funded through these associations over the last few years.  There is residue management studies, shelter belt establishment, shelter belt maintenance, forage establishment, field gully projects, small dam structures, annual crop barriers, strip cropping, cover crops, green manuring activities.  These are decisions made by local communities that this is what they would like to see done.

            I see quite a noticeable improvement in the way people are handling land.  This all came about, to a large extent, in Manitoba because in 1988, the first year I was minister, we had a horrendous water erosion up in Swan River with a quick melt and a heavy rain, and it was the worst disaster I had ever seen.  I did not think Mother Nature could do that to flat land.  Then in the South here, we had terrible windstorms, a tremendous amount of topsoil lost to wind erosion.  That was in late April of 1988.

            The farm communities responded very positively to these kinds of initiatives.  They see the merit of doing these things.  These projects and the successes of these projects and the involvement of the people are the forerunner of what we will be doing with federal‑provincial money under the green plan as a follow‑up to the Farming for Tomorrow program.  So it is a good initiative.  I think it is environmentally responsible.  It is certainly responsible from the standpoint of handling soil and the practices that we employ in agriculture.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chairperson, there are a couple of areas that I want to touch on in this area.  Just generally looking at all the regions of the province, there is a tremendous amount of work that is done by the agricultural staff.  What I want to know is with the summertime being a very busy time and a time when farmers would need most of the assistance, what will be the impact, or has there been any decision on how the four‑day workweek will be implemented?  Are days going to be taken off during the summer, or with the Department of Agriculture is a shift going to be taking time off during the winter months where staff might not be as busy?

            I realize that there is work to be done all year, but it is during the summer months that farmers tend to need most of their assistance.  So how is that going to affect the regional offices?  Does the minister feel that there will be adequate services there, or what is going to happen?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, certainly the executive has discussed at some length as to how to accommodate the days off. The seven Fridays in July and August will be the official days off plus the three between Christmas and New Year's.  But certainly staff in the past have always responded to where need existed, to where emergencies were, or where there was a 4‑H rally and working of the Saturdays and Sundays or on a Monday, if it was a long weekend, and the same principle will apply.

            If it is a day off like one of those seven Fridays, if there is need, if there is an emergency, if there is a hailstorm and crop insurance, or if there is a disease outbreak and needs technical staff in that regard, or whether there is a 4‑H event or a fair where staff are needed, they will work on that particular day and take other time off.

            It is generally the seven Fridays in July and August but flexibility to deal with the services that are needed to be delivered, as has always existed on weekends and long weekends in previous years, that level of flexibility in staff time will be maintained.

Ms. Wowchuk:  I guess the minister has addressed what I was concerned about.  In reality, there are many fairs and events that Agriculture staff have to participate in.  But the information we got on it was sort of outlining that there would be seven long weekends.  So in reality, it is not long weekends for these people.  They will have flexibility, and if they have to take them off later on in the fall, that will be dealt with. Okay.  That is good.

            Have there been staff meetings?  Has there been any resistance to this?  I have talked to people in other departments, particularly in my area, where there seems to be some frustration and inability to work out when the services are most needed.

            I can understand that Agriculture is much different than Family Services or Health services where there could be a crisis arise much more quickly than there would be in Agriculture, but has there been resistance or has there been dissatisfaction by many of the staff people, or has this been accepted quite well?

Mr. Findlay:  The general answer is no.  Neither the executive nor the director is aware of resistance.  The challenge will be in working out the flexibility where and when it is needed. Although you think of Agriculture as being busiest in the summer, that is when farmers are busiest in terms of crops, but in terms of our staff, what has been discussed is the fact that our staff are quite busy in the wintertime and maybe even busier because courses are going on and all those kinds of jobs.

            In the summertime, unless some emergency arises, sometimes the offices are a lot quieter than you would think, and that has usually been the good news.  But certainly if emergencies arise, as always staff will respond and be flexible in the whole process of when they have to work.  I am sure the member is aware that many of our staff work a lot longer than the 40‑hour week, where and when needed, as farmers need their assistance.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chairperson, I would like to just ask a few questions on Crown lands.  You talk about improving productivity on Crown lands and improving management.  The minister may not agree with me, but many times Crown lands are lands that are quite often of poor quality and lands that are more fragile and have to be farmed in a different way than very rich soils.  Many times there is a lot of that land that is Crown land that should not be farmed.  It is pasture land and things like that.

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            I am wondering if there are efforts being made to discourage the cultivation of these lands, to leave them more in their natural state, to manage them better rather than tearing up some of these pieces of land that really are not very productive.  Is any effort being made to preserve those lands more?

Mr. Findlay:  The vast majority of Crown land is not under cultivation.  It is really forage land.  Approximately 20,000 acres are cropped and about 1.7 million acres are in continuous forage.  Under the Farming for Tomorrow program on the forage leases, producers can receive a grant of up to 25 percent of costs of using new technology, whether it is breaking up, reseeding, watering patterns, cross fencing or rotational grazing projects.

            So the whole idea is to improve the productivity of the forage in terms of fertilization, management, rotational grazing.  When the time comes to break it up and reseed it, the lessee is to get clearance from the agent and that sort of thing.  The whole intent is to make sure that the land that is most vulnerable remains in forage and that farmers are allowed to improve the productivity of that forage in a responsible manner.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Has very much Crown land been sold?  There is a land exchange program and also land that is sold.  Has there been much land exchanged in the last year and has there been much of this Crown land that has been bought?

Mr. Findlay:  Well, the policy is, a lessee has the right to purchase Crown land if he so desires.  In 1992, 31 parcels were sold and the process is that the lessee makes application to Crown Lands, and then the Crown Lands Classification Committee determines if the land that is being requested to be bought falls into the category of land that we are prepared to sell.  If the Crown Lands Classification Committee turns down a proposal, the applicant can appeal to PLUC.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Could the minister tell us then, is there an increase in the amount of Crown land that is being sold or is that a fairly consistent level that has been staying there?

Mr. Findlay:  Over the last approximately 10 years, it varies between 25 and 40 parcels per year, so it is reasonably consistent over a period of time.  There is no great increase or a lack of desire.  Just always somebody comes forward and says, I want to have more control of what happens to this land or I want to make investments in the land so I would just as soon own it. They come forward and make application to be able to purchase it.

Ms. Wowchuk:  We were talking earlier about this land being in many cases quite fragile land.  Is any consideration given to that when somebody wants to buy a piece of land, that it is not really good for very much agriculture production, and that if you turn it over to somebody else then you lose control on protecting those marginal pieces of land?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, the Crown Lands Classification Committee has a number of criteria on which they will make a decision as to whether the land should or should not be sold. Some of them are things like if it is fragile land.  Vulnerable land is best if it is held by the Crown.  If it is subject to erosion, whether it is subject to flooding, particularly the land around the lake, if it is frequently subject to flooding or if there is a gravel deposit, the Department of Highways thinks that the government should keep it for future use.  Those are some of the criteria used.

            Approximately half of the requests are turned down each year and many farmers know they are in an area that they would never be approved, so I am sure they do not even bother to apply.

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Madam Chairperson:  Item 5.(a) Northwest Region (1) Salaries $1,800,900‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $686,800‑‑pass.

            (b) Southwest Region (1) Salaries $1,720,300‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $466,700‑‑pass.

            (c) Central Region (1) Salaries $1,885,800‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $518,700‑‑pass.

            (d) Eastern/Interlake Region (1) Salaries $2,108,100‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $773,200‑‑pass.

            (e) Agricultural Crown Lands (1) Salaries $1,117,700‑‑pass; (2) Other Expenditures $573,700‑‑pass.

            (f) Less:  Recoverable from Other Appropriations $935,000‑‑pass.

            Resolution 3.5:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding $10,716,900 for Agriculture, Regional Agricultural Services, for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1994‑‑pass.

            Item 6. Policy and Economics.

Mr. Findlay:  I wonder if I could ask the opposition, since there is only a little over 15 minutes left, if they could go to Vote 7, because staff from Carman are here on the Canada‑Manitoba Soil Conservation Agreement, if we could clean that off today or deal with it so that we would not have to have staff come back from Carman, if there are any questions in that area.

Madam Chairperson:  Is that the will of the committee?  Agreed? So we will forgo dealing with item 6. Policy and Economics and proceed now to item 7. Canada‑Manitoba Soil Conservation Agreement, with the understanding we will revert to item 6 after conclusion of this resolution.

            Would the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

            Item 7. Canada‑Manitoba Soil Conservation Agreement.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chair, this is I believe a new agreement?

Mr. Findlay:  It is about four years old.  That is Farming for Tomorrow.

Ms. Wowchuk:  The minister has indicated it is Farming for Tomorrow program.  If it is four years old is it near the end of its program?  Okay.

            Since it is near the end of the program, can the minister tell us then what negotiations are taking place, what plans there are to replace this?  Are there negotiations with the federal government on a further program that will be cost‑shared?

Mr. Findlay:  In terms of what is the follow‑up for what we have called the soil accord, soil agreement, which led to the Farming for Tomorrow program, over the last four years we have expended $8.7 million federally and provincially.  The expenditures on the provincial side have come from both Agriculture and Natural Resources.  The follow‑up agreement, as I mentioned earlier, will be under the green plan, and federal‑provincial negotiations are going on right now on what projects will be undertaken building on the successes of the Farming for Tomorrow program.

            The expected expenditure will be a little bit more over the next four years as what has been over the last four years, again involving both Agriculture and Natural Resources.  That process of determining what will be the activities under the green plan in the future has been ongoing for over a year and getting close to a conclusion.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chair, if I remember correctly, under the previous agreement, under the soils accord, there was more effort put into damming of rivers, diking and controlling water flow. In this program, there is more effort being put on farm operations.  Was that a different guideline that was used?  Was there a different choice being made in what the priorities of the funding would be used for under the soils accord versus what is being used under this agreement, Farming for Tomorrow?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chair, the member for Swan River speaks about the soil agreement and the Farming for Tomorrow Program as being different.  Technically, the Farming for Tomorrow Program is under the soils agreement, and that has been what has happened over the last four years.

            The green plan activities to follow up will start next year. The activities to determine what the grassroots wants in terms activities under the green plan have been going on for some time, going back as far as February '91, when a workshop was held to determine what the activity level was needed or wanted beyond 1993 in the green plan.

            So what we have seen in the last four years really was the soil accord, then there was the soil agreement and then Farming for Tomorrow, and it is all the same thing.  That is what has been delivered over the last four years.  The degree of water storage structures varies by location across the province.  The various associations, some want some of that activity, others have no need for it.

            The Deerwood soil and water association, which was in existence during the latter '80s, did a lot of preliminary work in terms of managing water with small dams, what the engineers called energy dissipation structures.  That is where a lot of that work started.  There was a lot of local input.  That was under the previous agreement that the Deerwood soil and water association did their work.  It led to activities in other locations in the course of the Farming for Tomorrow Program of the last four years.

            To what degree there will be that kind of activity in the next agreement is subject to final decisions.  As I say, we have tried to stimulate a lot of the discussion and the decision‑making process from the grassroots of the associations that have been in place and working very well over the last four years.

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Ms. Wowchuk:  Madam Chair, I am not exactly sure what agreement it was under, but I am thinking back to pre‑'88.  There was a federal‑provincial agreement, and I am thinking of one specific project.  That was a structural dam that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources did an awful lot of work on.  It happens to be in my own community.  It is on the Cowan River.

            The minister alluded to the damage that was done in 1988 from the flooding on that river.  Then when the new agreement was signed, we could not get anywhere on it.  That is why I am asking whether the focus has changed, whether there is no more interest in controlling water coming off escarpments, because there has been no progress on that whatsoever.

            We were told, when the new agreement was signed, whether it was in '88 or '89, somewhere in there, that focus was gone.  So I am asking now, as you are looking at the new agreement, is there any intention to look at that again?  I am encouraging the minister and his staff, or whoever is working on that agreement, to look at structural construction that has to be made because of damage that can come with water coming off mountains.  That is what I was looking at, whether there was a change in focus.

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, we will certainly take the member's comments into account as we look on into the new agreement.  As I mentioned, this agreement involves both Agriculture and Natural Resources, and really, handling the water in that context is more a Natural Resources' responsibility, but it is always a joint activity of the two departments.

            Certainly there have been activities under what is called headwater storage in the Farming for Tomorrow, but we are just not fully aware of whether there was an interest there or whether it got missed in the process as to why activity did not occur. Maybe the local association did not see the need along the way, and they may well in the future agreement, but we have noted the member's comments on that particular aspect of Cowan River, I believe she said.

Ms. Wowchuk:  The river goes through town.  It is the North Duck River.  I would appreciate if we could find out why that proposal died.  There was a tremendous amount of work done both by agricultural staff and Natural Resources staff.

            The community has given up on it now, but basically because they cannot get any answers.  We have tried very hard, and it is an important project although it is a small community.  So perhaps after Estimates, I can maybe contact people in the department, and we can work through it as to where we should get started on it again.

Mr. Findlay:  I will have staff look at it, and we will respond as quickly as we can in terms of giving the member an understanding as to where it is at, what took place and what may possibly take place in the future.

Madam Chairperson:  Shall item 7. Canada‑Manitoba Soil Conservation Agreement $1,040,000 pass?

Mr. Gaudry:  I do not want to waste time here, but could the minister quickly explain No. 1 at the bottom of page 18, in addition, $260,000 is included in the Canada‑Manitoba Enabling Vote for the Canada‑Manitoba Soil Conservation Agreement?  Why the difference there of $1,040,000 and then it goes to $1,300,000?

            Madam Chairperson, if the minister wants to give me the details after, it does not matter because it is coming close to five o'clock, and if he wants to pass that.

Mr. Findlay:  I just can tell the member that it is an accounting procedure used by Finance to set up the flexibility to source money out of what is called the Enabling Vote.  We will give you some more detail later.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Just one more question on this area.  There are 44 local organizations, and there is technical support provided. Are any of these organizations involved with irrigation projects?  Is there any money from these agreements that are used to support conservation projects or technical service for conservation projects?

Mr. Findlay:  Madam Chairperson, in the process of the Farming for Tomorrow program and setting up the associations, there are four soil conservation specialist positions located in four locations in rural Manitoba.  The member asks if any of the associations were involved in irrigation projects per se, no. Conservation activities and projects could be on irrigated or nonirrigated land, but they are not specifically involved in irrigation projects.

Ms. Wowchuk:  The minister said that there was over $17 million federal and provincial spent over the past few years, $8.7 million federal, $8.7 million provincial.  What amount, if any, of that money was spent on irrigation or is it just on conservation?  Is there any money dedicated specifically to irrigation projects?

Mr. Findlay:  The only irrigation aspect that could have happened would be in some of the small dams that might have been built to hold back water in terms of doing some back flooding or something like that, maybe that kind of irrigation.  But in terms of irrigation facilities or irrigation in the general context, the answer is no.

            There will be none of the money used for irrigation projects, other than very small dams to hold back water to maybe create back flooding or something of that order.

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Madam Chairperson:  Order, please.  The time being 5 p.m., it is time for private members' hour.

            Call in the Speaker.




Committee Report


Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  The Committee of Supply has adopted certain resolutions, directs me to report the same and asks leave to sit again.

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

Motion agreed to.

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

Some Honourable Members:  No.




Mr. Speaker:  The hour being 5 p.m., it is time for private members' business.




Bill 200‑The Child and Family Services Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett), Bill 200, The Child and Family Services Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les services a l'enfant et a la famille, standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake (Mr. Clif Evans).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand?  Also standing in the name of the honourable Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer).  Stand?

            Is there leave that this matter remain standing in the name of the honourable two members? [agreed]


Bill 202‑The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale), Bill 202, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la location a usage d'habitation, standing in the name of the honourable member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? [agreed]


Bill 203‑The Health Care Records Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable member for St. Johns, Bill 203, The Health Care Records Act; Loi sur les dossiers medicaux, standing in the name of the honourable member for Emerson (Mr. Penner).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? [agreed]


Bill 205‑The Ombudsman Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak), Bill 205, The Ombudsman Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'ombudsman, standing in the name of the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? [agreed]


Bill 208‑The Workers Compensation Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable member for Transcona (Mr. Reid), Bill 208, The Workers Compensation Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les accidents du travail, standing in the name of the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? [agreed]




Mr. Speaker:  Bill 209, The Public Health Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la sante publique.  Are we proceeding with Bill 209?  No?  Okay.  Bill 211, The Municipal Assessment Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'evaluation municipale. Are we proceeding with Bill 211?  No?  Okay.  Bill 214, The Beverage Container Act; Loi sur les contenants de boisson.  Are we proceeding with that bill?  No?  Okay.




Res. 23‑Partners with Youth


Mrs. Shirley Render (St. Vital):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose), that

            WHEREAS the Partners with Youth program was designed to foster an important partnership between government, business and youth in our province; and

            WHEREAS through the Partners with Youth program, Manitoba youth have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while creating lasting benefits for communities across the province; and

            WHEREAS project areas include:  environmental initiatives, infrastructure development and tourism projects, which aid in enhancing our urban and rural communities; and

            WHEREAS support for this valuable program is derived from the Rural Economic Development Initiative fund.

            THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba continue to foster partnerships between government, business and youth to build a strong Manitoba.

Motion presented.

Mrs. Render:  Mr. Speaker, it is good to be rising to speak to a resolution such as this.  I think the key word with this resolution is "partners."  Now, partners indicates that there have to be two halves to this.  It is like an equation.

            Now in this instance, who are the partners?  Well, on the one hand you have got the sponsors, and in this instance it could be things like municipal government, agencies, registered businesses or a nonprofit organization.  On the other hand, the other partner could be called employees.  But actually, as the title of this resolution suggests, it is youth.  It is the young people of Manitoba, those between the ages of 16 and 24.

            I mentioned earlier that this is a partnership, a partner with youth.  That suggests an equation, and an equation that is balanced on both sides‑‑two sides each wanting something, two sides each looking for something.  In this instance, we have a community or a business organization that needs something done and does not mean something done just on the short term, but something that is going to provide a lasting benefit for the community.

            The other partner is our young people here in Manitoba, young people who require a job.  Not just any job, a job that is going to provide them with valuable work experience.  I think it is important for our young people to build up a resume that is going to give them a wide assortment of experience.

            Any government at any time should never spend money foolishly.  Particularly in hard times this is a rule that we absolutely must follow.  Now quite often we hear things like put more money in, do this, make work, produce jobs.  Well, in this instance we are producing jobs, but they are jobs that are going to be giving a lasting value.

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            Because we want to make sure that we are not just dumping money into a project which is not going to provide some sort of benefit to the community or the organization, this program states that projects must fall within four categories.  They are: environmental, business community development, tourism and marketing.

            I just want to go back to these four categories and expand a little bit.  Any project that applies underneath the environmental category could be things that promote environmental improvement and awareness within the community.  Things like conservation planning or environmental education programs or recycling activities are all things that this project would consider to be proper.

            The second one, business community development, is really focusing on the infrastructure, and projects in this category must provide for changes, in other words, improvements for a physical structure or for the development of resources for use in the business or the community.

            An example of this particular one could be, well, let us say, upgrading of a park or recreational facility.  For that matter, a business organization or a community organization may choose to develop new resource materials, or a private company may expand its business facilities.

            The third category is tourism.  Projects in this category, needless to say, must be to promote and support the tourism industry in Manitoba, and I think all of us recognize that tourism is an absolutely vital industry in this province.  I think we all remember that not too long ago the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) unleashed a new marketing strategy.

            So I think it is very significant that this is one of the categories that this Partners with Youth program has targeted, because we recognize that tourism is vital in this province and we must be promoting it.

            Now, the fourth category is marketing, and here projects in this area must be promoting a new product or service or be marketing a community feature.  For example, an organization or a business may want to involve a young person in an advertising strategy or a municipal government or community organization may wish to initiate a marketing campaign for a local fair or celebration that it holds, say, in the summertime.

            Now this year a fifth category was added, and it is called the Young Entrepreneurs.  This is for youth who are between the ages of 18 and 24, and it is designed to encourage these young people to start their own full‑time businesses, not part time, not just for a few short weeks during the summertime, but full time.  Under the Young Entrepreneurs program or project, whatever you want to call it, the approved applicants will be provided with a matching grant to help defray business start‑up costs, but before that is going to happen they have to submit a very comprehensive business plan.  It cannot just be a lemonade stand on the street.  It has to be something a little bit more businesslike than that.

            This to me is a very important addition to this Partners with Youth program, because it encourages our young people to not always be looking to somebody else to provide them with a job, but to be looking to their own initiative, their own creative abilities, to start their own businesses.  As I said earlier, businesses must be ongoing for the full year.  It cannot just be a short‑term summertime kind of business.  It must be permanent in nature and the applicant must work full time at it.

            Now this program was introduced a year ago, and I am not too sure just how many people here in the Chamber today know of some of the projects that were undertaken.  I think it is always important when these programs are introduced to go back and look at them and make sure they are doing what they said that they were going to do.

            Now, obviously if this Partners with Youth program was not good, did not have a good basis to it, nothing would have happened.  So I think it is very significant with these numbers. Let me just give you some numbers here.  There were 276 sponsors who participated in the Partners with Youth program in 1992. There were 464 positions that were generated under this program and 496 students and youth, and that is including the replacement employees who were provided with employment under this project.

            Now where did these projects happen?  Well, they happened all across the province.  My colleague here sitting beside me of the constituency of Gimli (Mr. Helwer), there were more than a dozen young people in the constituency of Gimli who found summer employment with this particular project.  Five young Manitobans, for instance, were employed for a campground expansion project last year at Stonewall's Quarry Park.  Quarry Park, I think as a result of these young people, is now a very improved facility that thousands and thousands of people, whether they are from Manitoba or other parts of Canada or from the United States, will be able to enjoy this coming summer thanks to the Partners with Youth program.

            In the town of Gimli itself, the seniors resource council took advantage of this program to hire a very enthusiastic young person who did computer filing for this nonprofit group.  The Ukrainian Homestead Museum in the Winnipeg Beach area employed one person, which means that this, well, I think you could call it a historical gem, can better serve the public.  That is just in the Gimli area.

            There is also here in Winnipeg the Youth For Christ who developed and constructed a skateboard centre for young people. In Grandview, the Watson‑Crossley Museum was a restoration of an old and original pioneer home.  In Churchill, there was an environmental cleanup of the Hudson Bay lowlands.  In Roblin, there was an upgrading of a landfill site.  In St. Pierre, there was a new firehall that was constructed.

            I think these things all give sustenance or truth to the fact that this is a program that was initiated and a program that worked, a program that provided lasting benefits, or will be providing lasting benefits to the community and also be providing a very good work experience for the young people that were involved in the program.

            I think it might be useful if I just maybe go over some of the details of this Partners with Youth program.  They are a little more mundane than the actual things that some of our young people have done.  For instance, when the projects are turned in and people are looking to see whether or not it is a worthwhile project, what kind of assessment or criteria do we look at? Well, the degree to which the project addresses the criteria of one of the identified categories, and I have already mentioned the five categories that any of these projects must fall within‑‑the degree to which the project provides a lasting capital asset or other benefit to the community organization.

            Another thing that people look at when assessing whether or not a project is worthwhile to fund is whether or not the proposed activity is in addition to the regular, planned or normal seasonal activities.

            We talked about money earlier.  This government has committed $1.4 million to this program.  I think that shows the commitment it has not only to the local community, but also to our young people.

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            Now just breaking that down so that it is something that we can identify with a little better, sponsors, in other words, the employer, the municipal level of government or the community organization, these sponsors are each eligible for a grant of $2,000 per youth participant, provided that the sponsor or the youth entrepreneur contributes matching funding to the financial support provided by the Partners with Youth.

            These funds, I think it should be noted, cannot be levered from any other provincial or federal government programs or from grants given, say, under the Lotteries umbrella.

            Something else that has to happen is that the youth who are participating in this program must be employed for a minimum of the equivalent of 10 weeks of employment at 40 hours per week. For sponsors who are employing the high school students, projects of a minimum of eight full weeks will be approved, and a grant available on a prorated basis will come forward with this.

            Sponsors are eligible to apply for grant support for up to five youth positions.  A sponsor may be considered for more than five positions for a special project that would provide a very exceptional benefit to the community, but obviously this has to be worked through.  Approved sponsors will be reimbursed at the conclusion of the project, following the submission of a claim for grant funding.  I think it is important to note that the funding comes at the end after people have assessed it.  The claim for grant funding will detail all project costs including payroll, capital costs, equipment purchases, rentals, and must be supported by cancelled cheques, receipts or paid invoices. Again, we can see the accountability that is built into this program.

            There are 17 offices throughout the province which are involved with this program.  All in all, I think it is a program which shows a partnership between our young people and the community, a partnership which has been formed within government because this is a program that has been undertaken with the departments of Industry, Trade and Tourism; Education and Training; Culture, Heritage and Citizenship; and Rural Development.  So we have a partnership, a co‑operative integrated approach.

            This program will be a boost for communities, a boost for the young people and a boost for businesses, and I think with today's job market realities, this program, Partners with Youth, shows this government's continuing commitment not only to our young people but also to enhancing things in our communities.  It is a natural kind of partnership, and once again shows the theme that this government undertakes, the theme of partnership, which underlines our government's philosophy.  We all benefit from partnership, and we all benefit when we look left and right and work in concert, whether it is within government with other departments or whether it is with our young people and the business community or the community club or whatever the project sponsor is.

            I would just like to say that this is a program that I think, if any of you know of young people between the ages of 16 and 24, encourage them to check into this because it will be very valuable.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member's time has expired.

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the chance to speak to this resolution, which is a pretty soft resolution.  It does not call for the continuation of the program but merely the partnership, and it is interesting that it comes from the member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render) in the back bench. It seems to be some kind of cry for attention to young people, which I would say the cabinet of this government really needs to hear.  Unfortunately, it seems to be only coming from the back bench with this soft resolution, and it provides us to take a look at what this government is actually doing in terms of support for youth, job experience development and education.

            It is interesting to note that this particular program, Partners with Youth, has created opportunities for 496 young people.  Mr. Speaker, that is a drop in the bucket when you look at the exodus that is occurring of young people out of the province.  Some 23,000 young Manitobans within the last four years or so have left the province, forced out because the government has not been creating any opportunities or any incentive for them to stay, and they are forced to take their education, their skills, their enthusiasm and their ideas out of the province.

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

            When you look at the $2,000 that goes toward creating programs and salaries, again, it is a drop in the bucket when you look at what young people are faced and trying to pay for.  When you look at the increase in tuition fees, when you look at the more competition that there is to qualify for programs, when you look at the increased costs of books and transportation and all of these things, and then you look at the fact that there are fewer jobs and there has been no increase in the salaries of those jobs.  There has not been an increase in the minimum wage, which many young people work for in this province, during the time that this government has been in power.

            Another important thing to look at with all of these programs is that this program as well is only 10 weeks in duration.  So students, particularly university and college students, are out of school for a lot longer than that time.  Yet, there is only 10 weeks of employment provided through this program, and that leaves them unemployed for a large percentage of time in the summer and forced to look at other ways of gaining an income.

            It is interesting to note that with CareerStart, with the Student Temporary Employment Program, all these partnership programs where half of the salary comes from government and the other half comes from a business or a community agency used to provide a full four months employment.

            I know when I was a student at university, I benefited from the Student Temporary Employment Program.  I worked 16 weeks, Mr. Acting Speaker, and that allowed me to raise enough money over the summer, through employment, to pay for university.  That does not happen anymore.

            Not only, as I said, is there a decrease in the wage in relation to the costs that students and young people are facing to pay, but there is also a decrease in the number of weeks that they can work and, as I have said, there is an increase in the tuition costs they are trying to earn money to pay.

            So these are the kinds of programs that we have to be developing but, unfortunately, under this government, there is a very small commitment.  We see that in the small number of positions that are created, the short number of weeks that students are employed.  These are not really promoted all that much, because I do not think they want students pounding down the doors to apply for these programs.

            With the Student Employment Office, Mr. Acting Speaker, that has been open since the beginning of May, there have been lines every day and students being turned away every day who are unemployed throughout the summer.

            The office on Main Street, I understand, has been closing its doors as early as eleven o'clock in the morning because they no longer have any jobs to offer all the young people that are coming to those offices.  They only have enough jobs every day to service a very small number of the young people who are unemployed under this government's out‑of‑touch and ineffective economic policy.

            We can talk also about the number of programs that they have cut to service youth‑‑the Northern Youth program, the ACCESS programs, the way they have seemed to not move in the trend that was originated in the '80s to get young people off social allowance and welfare through programs such as Gateway and use that money to train them in education and then place them in work experience.  This government has chosen to either cut and not expand those kinds of programs.

            We have seen a tremendous increase, Mr. Acting Speaker, in the number of young people who are on social allowance and are forced to turn to welfare because they have no chance to go to school, they cannot afford it, and they have had no success in finding work.

            This government is also missing the boat on developing co‑operative education.  They talk a great deal about partnership but, under this government and under the federal government, there were a number of other work study programs that have been eliminated and co‑operative education has not been developed as it should be and could be.

            Now even I have had phone calls from the Transcona area that the power tech program has been threatened, which was a program that trained people in small motor maintenance.  That is the kind of program where co‑operative education could be developed, where there are small businesses that can employ young people in an area where there is an opportunity to generate more employment. We are seeing this government back down in their support for that kind of a program.

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            This program mentions environmental initiatives, and I raised a report the other day where there is a huge potential for environmental initiatives and job creation for young people working with the universities to train people through our community colleges, Mr. Acting Speaker, to retrofit small motors, to retrofit houses through the construction trades, to deal with lighting and water conservation and plumbing and to create jobs in partnership with agencies that would benefit from the increased demand, if the government got serious about energy conservation and water conservation.  There would be a huge potential to create thousands of jobs for young people if we would just take some of the money that we have not spent now in Hydro from not going ahead with Conawapa.

            The other thing, Mr. Acting Speaker, is that young people do have a tremendous number of ideas for entrepreneurial projects and for creation of jobs, particularly in the environmental area.  They need more promotion and assistance through an entrepreneurial program so that they can put those ideas into effect and create some of the businesses that there is the potential to create, and to get serious about the lip service that is given by this government to partnership and environmental technologies.

            Also, I would talk in the area of tourism.  This is another area where young people can be trained and can do a huge amount of benefit work as well of providing tours, wilderness tours especially, for people who like to come to our province to enjoy the outdoors.  This is an area where I do not think this government understands the potential that is there of taking people out into the wilderness and giving them a truly new experience.  There is an incredible opportunity to have Manitoba‑owned businesses in this area, rather than what is happening now where we have the majority of our ecotourism industry operated by American‑owned companies.  This is, in my opinion, a travesty.

            We could talk also about the shortsighted cuts to Education, the $16 million that has been cut, the 2 percent, and the effect that is having on young people.  I have had a number of young people talk to me about the kind of courses that are being cut. The programs that are being cut are the kinds of courses that keep young people in school often, and those are the kinds of things that this government does not seem to realize.  They are showing now that they are really not serious about seeing young people as the future and seeing their education as important and as a link to the economy.

            I look at the kind of programs that are being cut.  The first to go are often the programs that keep the most vulnerable students in school, the English language programs, the counselling programs, resource programs.  We are getting to this bare‑bones education that is not developing the full potential of all students.

            I think down the road we are going to see that this is going to translate into a negative effect on the economy.  Young people are not given much hope by a government that continues to make education inaccessible, continues to allow it to be financially out of reach of a greater and greater number of young people.

            This government does not seem to see the connections in real terms of developing, for instance, the community college programs in our province.  They have allowed the community colleges to deteriorate in the province and do not seem to understand that a lot of the potential growth in trades and communication areas, telecommunications, could come through the development of the community colleges.

            This goes the same for a lot of the areas in health care, in education, in the emphasis on having more preventative and more community‑based health care.  There is a tremendous amount of opportunity to create jobs in this area and train them through the community colleges.

            Rather than developing programs that are training people to work in group homes and the like, they are cutting back on those community college programs.  They do not seem to see the potential in employment of training people to work with the elderly populations in our province, and that there is an incredible need to train people in working in a community setting with seniors, and rather than having the expense of having seniors in hospital, institutions, of training people to work with seniors in their homes developing home care programs and having people train to do that.

            I think that it is important to look at what is happening in some of the other provinces.  In Ontario, there was $20 million put into youth programs and $2.7 million into work‑study programs.  That is the kind of support I think is required.

            It is interesting that there is no total on the government's sheet about the Partners with Youth program that talks about the amount of money that has gone into it.

            I think I would be remiss if I did not mention, Mr. Acting Speaker, that with all these initiatives, we be careful that young people are not being exploited.  I have talked before in this House about the number of young people who suffer greatly in the marketplace and in their places of employment by being intimidated by their employers.  Because of their age and their inexperience, they often do not feel able to, or do not have the skills to stand up for their rights.  There is a tremendous need in this province to inform young people about their rights under employment regulations, to inform them of how to deal with sexual harassment and racial harassment in the workplace.

            I would hope that, along with all of these programs, there is information that goes out to both workers and employers that would deal with these important issues in the workplace.  So that young people are not working in unsafe conditions and that they are not exploited under schemes where the employer knows they are only going to be there for a short amount of time.

            In the same vein, it is it important for us to look at these programs where young people are brought on and the program is cost‑shared with the intention that there would be a full‑time position created, and that does not happen.

            Thank you for your time, Mr. Acting Speaker.

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

Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Acting Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise at this time to talk about this rather interesting resolution, Partners with Youth program.  I think the intent of the honourable member who introduced it is certainly worthy and that she recognizes that youth can be involved in considerable productive activities that would benefit the economy in Manitoba and certainly benefit the youth in their development.  So we do not have any quarrel whatsoever with the objectives of this particular resolution.  In fact, it sounds, if I can use the terms, very much like motherhood or fatherhood, parenthood or whatever, in terms of its description and its objectives.

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            But it does bring to mind, to me at least, the fact that the youth of this province are facing unemployment problems as they have never faced before to my knowledge and in my lifetime.  I was not around to understand what was going on in the great Depression of the Dirty Thirties.  We have had a couple of recessions since World War II, but I cannot think of any time when jobs have been so tough to find as it is at the present in Manitoba.  It is probably pretty tough in many other parts of this country as well, but it is particularly tough here.  I say that, not only because of the statistics but also because of information that I have of individuals who simply cannot find work, young people who have good training.

             (Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

            I talked to a young lad just a couple of days ago.  He came to see me in my office.  He not only had a Master's degree in Public Administration, he went on to obtain a Master's degree in Business Administration, and he has had a couple of part‑time and also short‑term jobs, but he has not been able, for the life of him, to get a regular job.  A very nice young gentleman, he presents himself well, he is intelligent, he has two graduate degrees and simply cannot find work.

            Another lady tells me that her son graduated a year ago from the University of Manitoba with a degree in electrical engineering, a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering.  The nearest he can get to electrical engineering is selling electrical appliances in a retail store.

            Well, this is a sad state of affairs, Mr. Speaker, when our young people who are well trained, well motivated, ambitious, wanting to work, cannot find work and they are totally frustrated.  It is no wonder that the welfare rolls today have, more than ever, people on them that have good training and who are motivated and have skills, and yet they are on welfare because there is no work for them.

            This is different from what it was a few years ago.  Five or six years ago, usually people who ended up on municipal welfare tended to be people who had little or no training, had difficult times in schools, had other disadvantages, emotional problems.  I am not saying these types are still not there.  There are people, unfortunately, who have difficulties and end up not being able to keep jobs and they end up on welfare.  But, in addition to that group that has tended to be there traditionally, you have this other category of young people, in particular, who have training but have absolutely no chance of working and therefore cannot exist, and unfortunately they end up on welfare.  Yes, in some cases they can live at home.  A lot of young people do live at home, but that is not true for all of them.

            So I think back when we last had a recession in Manitoba, it was the years '82‑83 when I had the privilege of being in government with Howard Pawley as Premier, and we established the Manitoba Jobs Fund.  The Manitoba Jobs Fund was not perfect, Mr. Speaker, but at least it was an honest effort made by the government of the day to address what was then the No. 1 problem, and indeed is the No. 1 problem now, and that is unemployment.

            When I say that, you have to underline youth unemployment because according to the statistics, the degree of unemployment among young people is far higher than it is on average. Certainly, when you compare it with the adults, that is people over 25, you find that it is considerably higher than the adult unemployment rate.  So you have this as probably the No. 1 problem facing this province today.

            I do not believe, I know governments are concerned with deficits and debts and interest on debt and so on, but for the average person out there, for the average family out there, the No. 1 problem is unemployment.  How can the family's son or daughter or cousin or whomever find a job?  Well trained, well motivated, but no jobs.

            Now this program the member mentions, Partners with Youth, perhaps is all right as far as it goes, but I do not think it can make up for what the government should be doing in terms of other initiatives.

            It is really sad to me to see this government having cut millions of dollars out of the CareerStart program.  I know that was just a summertime program but at least it gave the young people some experience.  They were at least producing some wealth in the province, and at least they were earning some money that would help them survive and perhaps contribute towards their continuing education.  So that is a real step backward.  I wonder where is this government's commitment to the youth of this province when they can so blatantly cut the guts out of the program‑‑well, eliminate half of the program.

            Another one which has been totally eliminated, Mr. Speaker, and which was referred to by my colleague the MLA for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) in the Question Period, that is the Northern Youth program in northern Manitoba, where unemployment is astronomical compared to southern Manitoba, where there just are not the job opportunities and where you do have youth in the North totally out of work, totally without employment opportunities who had, at least under this program, a chance of earning a few dollars and being productive for two, three, four months of the summer period, depending on the circumstances.  Yet that program has been eliminated by this government.  I say, where are your priorities, just where are your priorities and what are your concerns about youth?

            If you want to talk about a Partnership with Youth, surely a Partnership with Youth is a program that is positive and effective, that gives work to young people who want to work and who want to succeed and who want to get ahead.

            The other program that has been virtually killed is the STEP program, Student Temporary Employment Program, which was an excellent program for young people to come and work in the civil service in a job, during the summer usually, and to get excellent experiences.  Those were fine jobs.

            I know personally of many university students who were able to get into that program and obtain relevant experience.  No matter whether it was with computers, whether it was in fisheries or wildlife, whether it was in some scientific area, whether it was with highway construction or whatever, people who had been in engineering, who had been in human ecology programs, people who had been in business administration, or wherever they were, had an opportunity to work in government and get useful experience that stood them in good stead for future occupations, for future employment.

            Then I think, too, of the education cuts that have been made by this government.  If anything has been an attack on the youth indirectly, and then directly, it has been the cuts in education.  We see this going on in spades in this budget and these Estimates where millions of dollars are being eliminated in the educational system and the bottom line, Mr. Speaker, is that the youth of Manitoba are going to be shortchanged.  I think particularly of universities in this province which have been starved for funds for years.  I do not know how they manage, where the classes are getting larger and larger, and where the facilities are running down and where the standards are deteriorating on that account.  Insufficient funds for library, insufficient funds for books, for research equipment and so on. There has been this squeezing of the university system and, of course, the tuition increases that result from inadequate funding of the universities.

            This is not a partnership with youth.  This is a plan to hurt youth, Mr. Speaker.  This is a cutback of universities, and then the resulting tuition increases that hurt youth, that do not help youth, that do not offer a partnership with youth, but indeed provide obstacles in the way of young people from getting a higher education.

            I think of one other program, which is a shame, Mr. Speaker, that has been eliminated by this government and that is the Student Social Allowances Program.  Basically it was not necessarily confined to young people but most of the individuals were in their younger years on this particular program.  We have totally eliminated it, and the excuse that the minister gives is, well, there is no other province that does it.

            Well, this goes to show you, because this program goes back to the Schreyer years, where we set this up when we had the Schreyer government, NDP government in office, and we set this program up.  We were a beacon across the country.  We were a progressive government, and we provided a beacon of light, I guess, to everyone else.  Say, look, this is what we can do for young people on welfare.  We can give them a chance to get trained, to get better qualifications so that they get off of social allowances and become gainfully employed.

            Admittedly, the problem we have is, even if we do train people, there are not jobs for them.  That is a real problem, and as I say, when we are talking about migration statistics, we see in spades thousands of young people leaving this province.  As a matter of fact, as I stated yesterday in Question Period, approximately 41,000 people were lost since this government took office in early 1988.  That is a net loss; that is not a gross figure; that is a net figure.  That is after you take everybody that has come in and everybody that has gone out, the bottom line is we lost 41,000 people, and the great majority of those people are young people, who are totally frustrated with this provincial economy, totally turned off.  They simply cannot find work here. They probably would like to stay in their home province.  They cannot find work here and they go.

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            So I do not know to what degree the program, Partners with Youth, has been able to offset this.  I do not think it has made any difference whatsoever, Mr. Speaker.  The fact is that we have lost people, and we are continuing to lose people.

            Another thing I would like to mention is something that we did under the Jobs Fund when we were in government, and I was the Minister responsible for Employment Services, and that is, we made a deal with the federal government to utilize welfare monies to put into a program to give people work.  This was not workfare, which I am totally opposed to.  This was monies used to provide job opportunities in small business and nonprofit organizations and therefore which allowed those organizations to hire people.

            So, Mr. Speaker, that is something that should be looked at again, but it is not being done, because job creation is not a priority of this government.  It seems to be way back on the back burner.

            I would, therefore, make an amendment to this particular resolution.  I move, seconded by the MLA for Transcona (Mr. Reid), that Resolution No. 23 be amended as follows:

            By striking out the words "Legislative Assembly" and replacing them with the word "Government" and by striking out the word "continue" and replacing it with the word "start" in the THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The amendment, as moved by the honourable member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), I am going to take this matter under advisement and I will report back to the House about said resolution.  I am taking the amendment under advisement so it is not before the House.

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

            The hour being 6 p.m., this House is now adjourned and stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday).